Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winding Down 2010

Another year is slowly coming to a close.  Is it a time to reflect.....ponder the future?  Time to make resolutions or find absolution?  I try to not read too much into it.  I think you serve humanity better if you strive to be a better person each day.

It would be nice for a 30 hour day to leave time for more activity other than the daily grind.  I did accomplish one small goal.  With the advent of indoor softball, I got to umpire all 12 months of the year north of the Mason-Dixon line. Not a great feat but it kept me in the game for 12 months.

It was great to mark the 125th anniversary of Transfiguration Church in Shamokin and learn more about my family's heritage.

My 11 and 9 year old sons captured Little League championships in their respective divisions. The championships were nice, but is was nice to see them show leadership in times of adversity and cheer each other.

I had a great time with the cub scouts at Camp K. in Union County.

Little things that don't mean much, but offer a little more upon reflection.  Lift our glass to the little things.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

On a 2-1 Vote, Northumberland County Passes 2011 Budget

Let the fireworks begin.  All three commissioners seats will be up for reelection in 2011.  Let this serve notice as the first shots fired during the election season.  All three can claim they didn't raise taxes until after November.

While Clausi goes on about a rant and rave about the union contracts, the big bite is the 25% increase in health care premiums. Does walking into a doctor's office cost 25% more on January 1st? 

While Clausi threw Masser under the bus just after the November election, Vinni is longing for the days that Masser was a county commissioner taken from the News-Item.

While it is possible to re-open the budget in the new year and consider layoffs and spending cuts, Clausi is convinced it will never happen since he is the minority opinion despite being in the majority party. It requires a majority vote to do this.

He promised Sawicki and Phillips to remind them of their votes when they are struggling to stay within the budget.

"I miss Commissioner Masser today," said Clausi as the budget discussion ended, referring to former Commissioner Kurt Masser who resigned in November after he won the legislative seat in the 107th district.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Eagle Mere Lands on Endangered Places List

Just a short drive from the Coal Region is Eagles Mere in Sullivan County, PA.  You could still get a glimpse of this area's past on a visit there in any season.

The town just landed on a preservationist website for endangered places.

Now you will be able to leave a place of the future where a town had it's head handed to it by an industry, look at the past, and go back to the future.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Shell Game Continues Northumberland County

Northumberland County commissioners plan to adopt a $69.4 million dollar budget with no tax increase at their meeting today. Commissioner Vinni Clausi calls the budget "phony" and plans to vote note.

Once again Clausi doesn't hesitate to throw a commissioner under the bus, hop in, and run over him:

Clausi added, "In my opinion, Mr. Sawicki doesn't care about the taxpayers because next year is an election year for the commissioners and he doesn't want to offend anyone by making cuts. He's agreed to give more money to the unions, while I've fought against union raises. I promise the people of Northumberland County that we will face a $3 million deficit in 2012 because Mr. Sawicki won't sacrifice and do what's right this year."

This big stat caught my eye.  80k has been budgeted for attorney fees.  Last year is was great to be a member of the bar and work for Northumberland County.  In 2010, attorneys netted over 500K.  There is an ongoing case against two fired sheriff's deputies in 2011.

In other news, rumor on the street according to the Daily-Item print edition is that Gene Welsh of Coal Township and current commissioner of Coal is pondering a run at a county commissioner opening. Welsh has until April 18th to get on a primary ballot.  An interesting Democratic would pit Welsh, Clausi and Frank Sawicki on one ticket. Welsh also serves on an advisory board to bring the Northumberland County OHV Park to fruition. Welsh does have a past business relationship with Clausi.

Let the fireworks begin.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Gingerbread House

It seems every Christmas bring about some sort of "tragedy." Although this was not the Bumphus' bloodhounds stealing the holiday turkey, nonetheless, our gingerbread house had to be condemned.

Inspectors arrived on the scene and could not determine if shoddy construction or inferior materials were the cause of the accident.

Just two years ago after high winds on Christmas Eve in 2008, the jolly old elf  crashed into my tree row.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

24 Hours of A Christmas Story

Once again this Christmas classic will air on TBS for 24 hours beginning at 8 pm on Christmas Eve. Jean Sheppard's childhood adaptation of a boy who just wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas is a must see for any generation.

Although no exact year is given for the movie, it falls somewhere between post-Depression Era and pre-World War II. Roughly around the time my of my father's childhood.

I love when Randy is bundled up and cannot move. Who remembers that when they were a kid. Father paints profanity like Picasso and the parents are bewildered where the son "gets it from."

Remember how houses were wired when the Christmas light go out? Stringing up the lights was major undertaking.

Once again, enjoy this timeless classic.

Speaking of classics, BILL 95FM will broadcast an evening with Tom Kutza the legendary "Morning Mayor" on the mighty WISL 1480AM/95.3 FM. The broadcast will run from 7 pm to 12 am on Christmas Eve.

Happy Festivus!!!!

December 23rd marks the celebration of Festivus. Author Daniel O'Keefe invented Festivus and it was brought to popular culture by his son Daniel, who was a writer for the Seinfeld TV show in the episode called the The Stike.

Although the original Festivus took place in February 1966, as a celebration of the elder O'Keefe's first date with his future wife, Deborah,  it is now celebrated on December 23.  The strange irony is that I was born in February of 1966.  There must have been a month of celebrations.

Common practices to the holiday include the airing of grievances and the feats of strength.   The head of the household usually challenges someone to a wrestling match in the feats of strength.

In the Polish-Ukrainian culture, airing of the grievance is usually made made about a family member not in attendance who dissed the Christmas celebration.  Feats of strength were usually celebrated as an endurance contest of drinking F & S or Old Reading Beer, along with few select whiskeys and gorging yourself in a colossal ham sandwich or two.

As for today, let's have a Festivus for the rest of us.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

18 Years for Christy

As people from Shamokin came home from work on December 21st, 1992 or waking up on the 22nd to their morning news, they found out one of their native daughters was murdered in Lancaster County.  Christy was working as an elementary school teacher in the Hempfield School District at the time.

Here is the article as it appeared in 1992 in the Lancaster New Era:

by John M. Hoober III and Janet Kelley

Rohrerstown teacher slain in suburb home

Christy Mirack was strangled in E. Lampeter

A Hempfield School District elementary teacher was found strangled to death this morning in her East Lampeter Township townhouse apartment, police officials said.

Christy Mirack, who is in her mid-20s, was murdered between 6 and 8 a.m. in here home at 2071 William Penn Way in the Greenfield Estates complex, police and county coroner Dr. Barry Walp said.

No arrests had been made as of 1 o’clock.

A representative of the school district, concerned because Mirack did not show up for work, discovered the body when he went to the apartment shortly after 9 a.m.

Authorities this morning confirmed the death as a homicide, but withheld releasing the victim’s identity until shortly before 1, when police were able to reach next of kin.

Walp said the cause of death appeared to be strangulation. He pronounced Mirack dead at 9:55 a.m., about a half-hour after police and emergency personnel learned of the death from the employer.

The coroner said an autopsy would be conducted Tuesday.

Neighbors said Miss Mirack shared a three-bedroom apartment with at least one other woman.

Walp said Mirack is an elementary school teacher in the Hempfield School District and school officials confirmed that a teacher by the name of Christy Mirack was employed at Rohrerstown Elementary School.

Neighors said the victim had lived in the apartment complex for about four years.

The school district employe who found the body arrived at the apartment at 9 a.m. The employe, identified as a man, found the door was ajar, neighbors said. Mirack’s body was in the living room. The man raced outside, ran to a neighbor and dialed 911.

East Lampeter police, Lancaster state police, an ambulance from Community Hospital of Lancaster and Walp were at the scene late this morning.

Most were summoned shortly before 9:30 a.m., county dispatchers said.

"We got a call today about a woman who did not show up for work," said East Lampeter Township police Sgt. Ronald Savage. "When we checked her apartment, we found she was dead. We are listing it as a suspicious death. It is definitely suspicious."

At 11 a.m., about 90 minutes after the initial call, an estimated 12 police officers were at the scene, talking to neighbors and processing the scene.

District Attorney Joseph C. Madenspacher and First Assistant District Attorney John A. Keneff also arrived.

Neighbors said they believed Mirack and at least one other woman lived in the two-story, three-bedroom townhouse "for almost three or four years."

"They seemed to be very professional and very hard workers. They would come home in professional clothes and go out in waitress uniforms," one neighbor said.

The initial call was for a "unconscious person" at the address, dispatchers said.

Lancaster County Control received the call at 9:22 a.m.

Today’s incident took place almost exactly a year after 16-year-old Laurie Show was stabbed to death in her home at the Oaks condominium complex, also located in East Lampeter Township.

Miss Show died Dec. 20. Two teen-age girls and their male accomplice were later tried and convicted of participating in the crime.

One of the young women who share the townhouse drove up to the home shortly before noon.

(Staff writers Cindy Stauffer and Joe Byrne also contributed to this report).

Click here for the website for more info.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Is Life So Fragile.............A Radio Story

In the mid to late 1990's when I started do part-time sports at the old WISL 1480 AM and 95.3 FM, there were two men deejaying at the station.  The legendary "Morning Mayor" of Shamokin Tom Kutza and his sidekick John Berry were still piloting the airwaves at the airwaves.

I had the pleasure of meeting John a few times and wished me well in my endeavors at the station and always good luck.  John, however, was battling cancer that proved to be terminal.  I knew of John's wife Carol and his two older sons Mike and Brian.  I also found out there was a third son named John who was around 12 when a fundraiser was held for his father at the Mother Cabrini Youth Center.

Early this past Friday morning, John was fatally injured in a car accident while on his way to work.  He was 25.

Also involved in the accident was Margaret Barbarito who is a teacher in the Southern Columbia school district.  Barbarito was treated and released.

John was young and just graduated from Bloomburg University.  Ms. Barbarito was still influencing young lives as a teacher.  I remember years ago running into Brian Berry.  Brian was so proud his younger brother was on his way to study at Bloomsburg.  You don't hear many brothers speak of sibling pride these days.

We try to find purpose, we try to find meaning.  A wife loses her husband to cancer and son to a car accident, while siblings lose a brother.  Their neighbors lose a brother and a friend.

This Christmas season cherish the time with your friends and family.  When all is said and done, they are all we have.

Healthcare for All

Last week healthcare nonprofit provider Geisinger and healthcare insurer Highmark did their best to scare the living crap out of their customers.  There has been an ongoing dispute of reimbursement rates between the two.

Your doctor is at Geisinger, but your insurance company won't cover it.  Imagine the parents who had children with chronic conditions.

An editorial by the Daily-Item summed it up best.  When two corporations battle, the customer is the loser.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Wrap on the 2010 High School Football Season

Yes, we are not in Hershey yet, but here is my wrap of the local high school football season.  First of all, congratulations to the Lewisburg Green Dragons.  Although they didn't make it to the finals, they capped off their best record in school history with a 14-1 record. I had them on top of my Heartland Fab Five poll from wire-to-wire.  Only a few years ago, winning a game was a big prize. 

Coach Tilford, I hope, receives Coach of the Year honors.  I do not get a vote.

Also, shout outs to (and not in any order) Shikellamy, Selinsgrove, Shamokin, Mount Carmel, Southern Area and Bloomsburg.  A guts award goes out to Lourdes Regional who battled numbers problems all year.

From the things to get off my chest file

Every championship brings up the debate of private vs. public schools in the PIAA playoffs from football to basketball to even cross country.  The Daily-Item offered this editorial about school choice.  School choice should always come from academics and have nothing to do with athletics. 

In the case of my local area school districts, Shikellamy, Mount Carmel, Line Mountain, Shamokin, and Southern Area (note: I live within 15 minutes of any one of these borders), what would the dramatic shift of students from one school to another year after year.  Budget-wise, how can you plan


The last high school football game in PA will end on December 18th.  Most winter sports seasons will be twenty percent finished!!!  This little ditty from Rod Frisco caught my eye.  The PIAA wants to start the high school football season on August 6th in 2012.  The 16 game season is just too long.  The season should be backed to 14 games max with 2 more classes added.

So someone who want to play football and maintain a summer job will miss out on most of August.  Would he be shun by employers.  Tack some snow days on the front end of summer and now your looking at a one-month earning season.


If the PIAA and local districts had to market themselves they would starve to death.  The issue first reared it's ugly head with the Danville-Lewisburg game a few weeks ago.  I would guess 1000 casual fans were scared away by the lack of seats and bathrooms for the games.  That is $6000 in ticket sales. 

First, a move with guts to move championship games to Saturday.  A and AAA could be played as a double header at Bucknell, Selinsgrove, and or Shamokin.  AA could be the following Saturday.  Northern Tier, when you start winning playoff games and could host more than 1000 fans, you will be considered.

Why does a number one seed in basketball have to play at a neutral site in District IV???

Going forward, the PIAA has a problem.  Whether private schools win or not, they often go deep into the playoffs.  I was at the Lewisburg-West Catholic game.  The Burrs had about 250 people on their side.  According to the Daily-Item, stated attendance was 1400+.  Visually, attendance on the Lewisburg side alone looked to be over 2500 if not more? 

Unless the PIAA is making more money on TV and corporate sponsorship, fans are not going to the games in December.  For Pennsylvania football, that is shame. 

If you happen to be heading to the games and not worried about winter weather and freezing, here are my picks:

Clairton over Riverside
South Fayette over West Catholic
ACC over McDevitt
North Allegheney over Lasalle College.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's Full Drill Ahead for Cabot Oil

Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation agreed to pay 4.1 million to 19 homes affected by methane contamination.  Most homes will receive twice their home value and no less than 50 thousand.  Cabot also agreed to install whole-house mitigation systems. 

The original proposal was for Pennvest to build an 11.8 million dollar pipeline to link to the PA American Water Company.  Pennvest was going to go after Cabot for the money through the court system.

From the article:

Mr. Hanger said it became clear the waterline would not be built after Republicans won control of both the governorship and the General Assembly during the November elections.

"Cabot's opposition was the opposition of elected members of the General Assembly, whom we respect. Two sit on the Pennvest board and voted against the waterline," he said, naming state Sen. Donald White, R-41, Indiana, and state Rep. Dick Hess, R-78, Bedford.

"It is quite likely that their views will in fact be in the majority come January at Pennvest," he said."
Many Dimock residents in favor of the gas industry claim the homes were contaminated for longer than 10 years.

It does look like the investment of the gas industry to elected officials has paid immediate dividends.

The settlement between Cabot and DEP does not preclude residents from continuing with a lawsuit many families filed against Cabot alleging damage to their health and property because of the company's operations.

Translation, Cabot will tie that up in court for years.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lewisburg, A Revisit to 1996.

The Lewisburg Green Dragon football team will battle West Catholic at 1 pm this afternoon at Hersheypark Stadium.  Many thought the Green Dragons season will be over after week 13, but it is now week 15 and Lewisburg will still be taking the field.

Although the history of Lewisburg and Mount Carmel's football programs could not be any different, the Green Dragons are playing in a similar type game in the eastern final like Mount Carmel did in 1996.  Most of the state did not give Mount Carmel a chance in 1996, nor or they giving Lewisburg a chance today.

The 1996 matchup featured the PIAA's defending "AA" champs in Bishop McDevitt (they will be making their first appearance in the final next Friday since 1995) against the 1994 PIAA champion Mount Carmel at Kemp Memorial Stadium.  When the dust settled, Mount Carmel was headed to Altoona with a 18-7 over the Crusaders.

A few plays from that game still standout today.  Mount Carmel had a first down near midfield.  The Red Tornadoes lined up Brett Veach in the slot and ran him on an out and up.  Mount Carmel quarterback Vic Kornaski hit Veach in stride to give the Big Red and early lead.  It was the first time Mount Carmel ran the play all season and it was week 14.

Kornaski added a quarterback sneak for a touchdown, the Joe Costello came up with a goal-line stop on 4th down in the second half and Matt Montgomery had a big interception for the defense.

What does all this have to with Lewisburg.

Like in 1996, Lewisburg faces a tough private school from an urban area.  West Catholic like McDevitt is a quad-A team in AA clothing. Both teams had speed.  Lewisburg like that MCA team from 1996, has many players that could step up at any given time.  Mount Carmel was led by Veach and Costello, but there was a great supporting cast with Vic Kornaski, Dave Evans, the Sinkovich brothers and Jason Malakoski to name a few.

The Green Dragons feature Merle Moscarello and Nate Browm, but there is a great supporting cast like Robby Gaines, Ryan Lopes, Nick Kiflio, Cam Cassels, Jared Laino and Nick Cozza.  Anyone of the cast could make a big play at any time.  This team is built for a four quarters of smash mouth and not to win the game in the first quarter but wear you down after 4.

Lewisburg also adds a new wrinkle to their offense each week, while making adjustments to their defense scheme.  Last week, the Green Dragons hit a "hook and ladder" play for the first time all season.

This afternoon the big adjustment will be to the speed of West Catholic.  This can be neutralized by hard and clean hits early in the game and each man winning their individual assignments.

Don't get caught in the talk about recruiting and things of the nature.  Harold Raker points out from his column on Friday, that the PIAA is worried about a legal challenge which translates into litigation and money before it worries about fairness in the system.

West Catholic should be a heavy favorite today.  However, take Lewisburg lightly at your own peril.

College Football

As we move ever closer to prolonged agony and the college bowl season,  I have to get a couple things off my mind.  Urban Meyer stepped down from Florida citing family reasons.  Now NFL forums are lighting up like Christmas trees that he will be reunited with Tim Tebow at Denver.  When someone says their leaving to spend more time with their family, they are not leaving to spend time with their family.

When someone say a win in a bowl game could spur a team on to better things the next season, don't count on it.  Since 1989, Penn State had gone 12-5 in 17 bowl appearances. This translated into 3 top 10 final rankings.

Charlie Weis of Notre Dame broke a 9-game bowl losing streak for the Irish last season, but was shown the gate. 

Dave Wannstedt led Pitt to 10-3 record last year and a bowl win over North Carolina.  Wannstedt like Felix Unger was asked to leave.

Do you realize that there are still 3 divisions of college football teams still competing in playoffs?  Do you realize that after playing 12 or 13 game seasons, we need a computer to decide who are the best two teams in the country?

Do yourself a favor.  In the early afternoon when your channel surfing (maybe eating Cheetos) and stumble upon the Outhouse Bowl, tune in the Winter Classic from Heinz Field.  The will be dropping a puck outside!!!!  

Anything put in a bowl that is mediocre ought to be flushed not rewarded.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fracking has a Friend In PA

Anyone remember the old tourism saying of years gone by?

According to the Newsweek article, state lands in PA could go from 25 active wells to 10,000.

Corbett to DCNR.......FU.

Once again the industry seeks the public's money for infastructure.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

GOP Math Lessons

This week was an interesting week in Washington DC if you are following the President and Congress and their showdown on taxes.  At the end of last week, President Barack Obama proposed a two-year freeze on the salaries of federal workers.  This would have had dramatic savings of 10 billion dollars in the first year.

A deal was struck by the White House and the GOP extending the Bush era tax cuts for two more years.  Cribbing from Yonk:

The overall cost in lost revenue to the government is at least $450 billion in 2011 (or a tad higher than the yearly cost of the 2009 stimulus) and could climb as high as $600 billion depending on how much the economy grows over the next two years.
Dr. Robert Reich has this to say:

It will cost $900 billion over the next two years — larger than the bailout of Wall Street, GM, and Chrysler put together, larger than the stimulus package, larger than anything that’s come out of Washington in years.

It makes a mockery of deficit reduction. Worse, the lion’s share of that $900 billion will go to the very rich. Families with incomes of over $1 million will reap an average of about $70,000, while middle-class families earning $50,000 a year will get an average of around $1,500. In addition, the deal just about eviscerates the estate tax — yanking the exemption up to $5 million per person and a maximum rate of 35 percent.

Who got shafted???? Individuals making under 20K and families making under 40K will actually see a tax increase.

By the middle of the week, General David Petreaus was saying our commitment in Afghanistan could last into 2014.  The going rate to fight the war over there is about 2 billion per week.

Lastly, a bill to give Social Security recipients a one-time check of $250 was defeated. The goodness there are reps to stand up for our grandchildren like this one:

Rep. Sam Johnson of Texas, the top Republican on that subcommittee, acknowledged that disappointment but noted the big increase seniors received in 2009 and the fact that a COLA increase means there will be no rise in Medicare Part B costs for doctors' visits. "Increasing our nation's crushing deficit on the backs of our children by an additional $14 billion is wrong," he said.
The Scorecard looks like this:

Federal Workers - 10 Billion - No
The Elderly - 14 Billion - No
Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless - 450 Billion - a resounding yes
The War Machine (For Afghanistan) - 2 Billion x 52 weeks x 3 years = 312 billion (very conservative and doesn't count Iraq.)

When either party talks about deficit reduction, they are both full of shit.

In closing, when I hear one more politician talk about donating a salary to charity, please pass the barf bag.  First, you have to accept the salary.  Next, you have to donate it.  Last, you get to write it off on your taxes!!!!!

Remembering John Lennon and Elizabeth Edwards

December 8th, 1980 shots rang out in front of the Dakota Hotel in Manhattan and John Lennon was pronounced dead after being taken to Roosevelt Hospital in New York shortly after 11 pm.

I bought my first Beatle album at St. Stan's Block Party on Vine and  Chestnut Streets in Shamokin.  It was the Magical Mystery Tour for 50 cents, but missing it's 23-page color photo album.  I may have been in the 3rd or 4th grade.

On that day in 1980, I was 14 years old and walked home from Lourdes Regional High School on brisk December night in anticipation of watching the Monday Night Football match up between New England and Miami. 

Late in the football game, Howard Cosell interrupted with a bulletin that Lennon was shot and killed in front of his apartment building in New York City.  The world would come to know Mark David Chapman a few days later.  Lennon had just released his Double Fantasy album and his song Starting Over was being played on the radio.

It is hard to imagine what direction Lennon would have taken in the past 30 years.  What would he have done when he met Bono from U2?  Lance Armstrong?  Would he have made a statement at Live-Aid???? Musically, you just have to marvel at the accomplishments before the age of 30 with the Beatles.  In all, a man who pissed off Richard Nixon can't be all that bad.

Years later while cleaning out a closet, I found the "45" of Starting Over with the sleeve and all.  It was probably the last "45" I ever purchased.

There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all
Elizabeth Edwards

"The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that."

"You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces - my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope."  "These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined."

"...there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like," she added. "It's called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful. It isn't possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know."
Elizabeth Edwards posted the above to her Facebook page on Monday.  By Wednesday morning, she was gone.  She was given 6 to 8 weeks to live.  She lasted days, but her legacy will live on.

I had visited the neighborhood in which Edwards resided since 2004 back in 2002.  Invitations come with a blink of an eye.  The words always flow smoothly.  "You have cancer."  The next thing you know the ball in your court and the choice you have is how you will play your next shot. 

Elizabeth Edwards illness played out in public and she got to fight for those less fortunate than her.  She also had to battle in public while her husband's infidelity came to light.  She did both with poise and grace. 

Today, marks 8 years since I almost left this world.  Hear my words.  Cancer at any age sucks.  From the child under 5 to the octogenarian battling leukemia, nothing about it is fun. You do get to see things in a different light, maybe a higher truth.  You get to see how much people actually do care about you.  It is knowing this that Ms. Edwards died in peace.  God Bless!!!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pearl Harbor, December 7th 1941

Today commemorates the 69th anniversary of the attack by the Japanese of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  Over 2400 military personnel lost their lives in the early morning surprise attack. 

The United States keeping out of aggressions in the Pacific and Europe for years, declared war on Japan and Germany declared war on the US.  World War II would continue until Germany's surrender on May 8th, 1945 and Japan's surrender on September 2nd, 1945.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Baseball Rich, Football Broke?

This past weekend the New York Yankees committed over 80 million dollars to Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter for the next 3 years.

Jason Werth will be making the train ride from Philly to DC for the next 7 seasons for 126 million dollars.  Merry Christmas Jason.

Hope all you Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankee fans enjoy the the view.  After all, we will be paying for the upgrades.

Meanwhile, the NFLPA tells it's players to start saving their money.  

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

War on Christmas in Sunbury, PA

                                  Photo courtesy of John Deppen                                                         

As resident of Shamokin Township and frequent visitor to Sunbury, I got a kick out of this. 

Remodel Town Park in Sunbury, check!  Move military cannon to new site in park, check!  Place Santa's house at traditional place in park, fire!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Will Bill O'Reilly return to his WNEP haunts to check this out?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Colon Cancer, 8 Years of Survival

On November 29th, 2002, I awoke with the anticipation of doing some "Black Friday" Christmas shopping.  However the day turned quickly south as deep, sharp pain in my abdomen affecting my ability to function.  With the Mount Carmel-Northwestern Lehigh game later that Friday night, I decided to go home and lie down.

Making a long story short, I made my way to a doctor on the following Tuesday.  On Friday, December 6th, I had a plum-sized tumor removed along with a few feet of colon.  From pain to the operating table was 7 days.  I was only 36 years old.  There was no family history, no prior symptoms.

In my little neck of Penn's Woods, I had great medical care from nurses, doctors, to surgeon's expertise.  I didn't have to the insurance battle like so many other cancer patients who are "out of the norm."  I was one of the 10% diagnosed with colon cancer under 50.  You can say I hit the lottery in reverse.

The disease did have it's blessings, though.  I did get to meet and work with many people to realize colon cancer screening being covered by insurance in Pennsylvania.  I also got to meet fellow survivors that were on the same boat as me, young and scared.

If you are approaching age 50, please talk to your doctor about screening.  If you have a family history of colon cancer and other digestive tract conditions, please talk to your doctor.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ode to Gort42

I was sorry to see read earlier this week about Gort42 transitioning out of his blog.  Although the move may only be temporary, the final decision remains to be seen.  I think we all go through blogging slumps or blocks.  Like Gort42, the Phillies and election results both hit us like a ton of bricks. Even the NEPArtisan went through some post election blues.  I got over the Phillies pretty fast knowing they will be competitive and a Philadelphia team will always be in the wings ready to break your heart and mine.

Gort42 once told me challengers don't win elections, incumbents lose elections.  I hit this blog hard in the beginning of 2007 as a poll watcher working for Chris Carney in 2006 and trying to pass colon cancer screening legislation in PA.  I guess it was the questioning by candidate Marino of Carney being at home with his wife during cancer surgery in late August that had some people think, but for the most part Marino never had to answer for the comment.  Mr. and Mrs. Carney and myself have all have had our bouts with the "devil".

I am in the process of finishing my second novel by author P.F Kluge of Eddie and the Cruiser and Dog Day Afternoon fame.  Kluge states that his goals of writing are:

to make what matters to us matter to others, to make an audience of strangers care.

For Gort42 and NEPArtisan, there is still something out there that matters.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Jim Roth Previews Riverside

Jim Roth talks about Riverside for Week 13.

Working in radio for nearly 15 years has it's high and low moments and many times you look back and laugh quite a bit about some of the stunts and pranks. This has to be one of the funniest sitcom episodes to air about Thanksgiving from the show WKRP in Cincinnati.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Epilogue for 2010 Shamokin Indians

Now that the dust has settled and Shikellamy is the new District IV Class AAA champions, I would like to offer the good, bad and ugly of the Indian's 2010 campaign. 

There was a lot of good when you look at the program on whole.  Shamokin made the playoffs for the first time since 2004.  Penalties were drastically cut down. The offense produced a 1000-yard for the first time since 2005. There was much improvement on the offensive line.  The freshman program was eliminated but the program had good numbers from 7th through 12th grades. 

The bad was bad when it reared it's ugly head.  The Indians showed as much inconsistency and being consistent.  It seemed Shamokin was a different team on the road than they were at home only winning one game away from Kemp.  After a two touchdown lead, they had to hang on at Montoursville.  The Indian schedule was back end loaded. (You don't get to pick and choose) For the first time in a long time, Shamokin had some "easier" competition in the beginning of the season.  Even though they were winning, it didn't appear they were improving.

Ugly is ugly.  Shamokin went through a two-game stretch where they were outscored 99-7.  Kick in the Mount Carmel game, the first team offense disappeared for three games.  Some of this had to do with predictability.  The defensive backfield had major breakdowns all season and tackling on the whole defense at times was not up to par.  After watching many teams, good defensive backfields are luxury commodity.  In my opinion, it is a generation problem and not so much isolated to Shamokin.  Offensively, the Indians became a very predictable bunch in the end.

The hallmark of the Shamokin football program over the past 30 years hasn't been the great games or the great players but the head coaching shuffle.  Mr. Foor came to Shamokin as an outsider, but has poured a strong foundation.  If you want to define the season in a nutshell, look at the last game.  Any team that was beaten 44-0 could have laid down two weeks later and ended the season.  Shamokin was a first down away from beating the team that won the district.  You don't do that unless you have players that could believe they could do it.  It was a combination of the coaches and the kids working together. 

Most of the great programs around the state have experienced the agony of the big loss before tasting the big victory.  See at what happened to Southern Area, Selinsgrove and Manheim Central to name a few.  Shamokin can build on this defeat.

Being around this game for somewhat of 35 years as a student, fan and reporter, I have observed one thing.  Three teams in the Heartland Conference, who I like to refer to as the "Big Three" in Selinsgrove, Mount Carmel and Southern Area, have kids with one thing in common that give them a leg up on everyone else.  It is pride in the program and the uniform.  Being a Red Tornado, Seal or a Tiger is something bigger than themselves.  Take note all three have won championships under more than one head coach.

A Parade?

On Friday night the Shikellamy Braves went on a parade through their school district after winning the District IV Class AAA title from arch-rival Selinsgrove.  It was the first win over Selinsgrove since 1996.  Shikellamy has a few winning seasons in the last 3 decades.  These Braves worked hard to be on top.  I think it was a good move for the program and district.

Have Mercy!

A few seasons ago, the PIAA adopted a "mercy rule".  When a team is ahead by 35 points in the second half the clock doesn't stop except for timeouts and a change of possession of the football.  The idea was good, but I have seen too many games last much longer than they should and risk injury. It is not designed to keep in starters against the winning team 2nd or 3rd string unless there is a roster shortage.

Although there isn't any formal mercy etiquette, there is something about having some class.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Kurt Masser Says So Long

Kurt Masser resigns as Northumberland County Commissioner effective at the close of business today.  In Masser's last act as county commissioner, Masser suggests Why Can't We Be Friends by War as the official song of the Northumberland County Commissioners.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pottsville Loses a Giant

Irvin D. Schappell passed away on Wednesday in his home.  For most Little League and District 24 fans Irv was the manager of the 1997 Railway Park Little League team that made their way to the big stage in South Williamsport.  In 1997, only four team made the Little League World Series.

For his many years of service, Schappell could have walked away from the game.  13 years later he was still a fixture at Railway.

Many towns across the United States have an Irv Schappell.  Men like Schappell are hard to come by in youth sports.  In today's world, many parents and coaches look out for their own well being at the expense of the rest.  They have hard time seeing the big picture.  Their own influence on the lives of children under 12.

The men like Schappell do what they do because they love to do it.  In 1997, glory found Irv.  God bless the Schappell family. He will never be replaced, but he will always be remembered.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fate Not Kind To Shamokin Indians

Back in August, if you would have told me Shamokin would be playing in Week 11 with a chance for a playoff win I would have done a double take.  Sure, with a four team playoff for 6 "AAA" teams in your district, I would have said yes.  The Indians would limp to 4th place finish and get dusted off early in the first round.  Predictions were that Selinsgrove and Shikellamy would be on the top of the heap, followed by whoever.

Since 2004, the Shamokin Indians had a combination of athletes that never realized their potential in an 11-man team sport.

Last night the seniors and the rest of the Indian football team had to replay a house of horrors that they experienced just two weeks earlier over Halloween weekend.  It was hard to describe to people two weeks ago how a team could lose 44-0 and not be pushed around.  Usually, the two will go hand-in-hand.

Last night, Shamokin Area not only proved that the game two weeks was an aberration, but Shamokin also came to play and came to win.  Shamokin dominated offensively and defensively.  You can certainly talk about the tying Shikellamy touchdown and whether there was possession or not.  The Braves scored on first down, there still would have been 3 downs to defend.

Parents and fans, look at the big picture.  Shamokin put in a new offense.  The new offense produced a legitimate 1000-yard rusher.  Penalties were cut down big time.  The Indians were competitive in the playoffs.   Many freshman seen time on the varsity.  To practice with the varsity will produce dividends.  Trust me on this one.

If the worse thing that happens in life is to lose an overtime football game on the road at a place you were beaten 44-0 just two weeks earlier, the Shamokin Indians are well ahead of the game. Hats off to seniors and the coaches. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Shamokin vs. Shilkellamy Part 2

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," says the opening line of the Dickens' novel Tale of Two Cities. You are never as good as you are on your best day and never as bad as you are on your worst day.

Shamokin will travel to Sunbury to take on Shikellamy for the second time in three weeks.  Two weeks earlier the Indians lost to the Braves 44-0. The loss marked a two-game stretch for Shamokin where they gave up 99 points and scored 7.

This highlights an huge offensive drought for Shamokin.  After scoring 21 points in the first half against Montourville in a game the Indians held on to win, 21-17, the starting offense has just scored 7 points in the last 14 quarters.

The good thing about playing Shikellamy is that you seen their offense and speed.  The bad thing is that they put 44 points up rather easily and had 28 on the board before the end of the first quarter.

In the battle for the Coal Bucket last Friday against Mount Carmel, the defense came alive but was on the field too long.  The defensive backs improved in the tackling department.

This game is simple, offense moves the ball, Shamokin has a chance.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Celebrate Our Veterans

I am posting this announcement a day early.  I you are traveling or in the Reading vicinity, there is very comprehensive Veterans' Day Program on Saturday, November 13th..  Here is a comprehensive list of speakers from World War I to the present:

Margery Mattox Wheeler (author, artist, & daughter of WWI veteran Clarence Wheeler)
Lyle Koenig (WWII, Pearl Harbor survivor)
Gene Strine (WWII, anti-submarine air squadron)
Ed Taggert (WWII, Guadalcanal, New Caledonia, Leyte, Philippines)
Gust Kraras (WWII, OSS, Greece)
Richard Biehl (WWII, Sicily, D-Day, Europe)
Paul Gordon (WWII, B-17 ball gunner, POW)
Stan Blazejewski (WWII, Battle of the Bulge)
Severin Fayerman (Holocaust survivor, Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buchenwald)
Felix Uhrenik (WWII, Battle of the Bulge, Remagen Bridge)
Ken Stoudt (WWII, Navy, Pacific)
Stewart “Rusty” Lerch (American WWII Orphans Network)
Joseph Boccagno (Korea, Vietnam, Army)
Bob Orzechowski (Vietnam, Marine Corps)
Douglas William Graybill, Jr. (Vietnam, tunnel rat, Grenada, Beirut)
Liz Graybill (Bosnia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Germany)
Joseph Baddick (82nd Airborne, author)
You could also check out this event on Facebook

Margery Wheeler Mattox has just released her book called Lifetime of Illusions. Mattox's late brother, Richard Wheeler wrote 17 books on the Revolutionary and the Civil War.  Wheeler's most read works are Iwo and the Bloody Battle for Suribachi.  Wheeler served at Iwo under the command of Lt. Keith Wells and was injured two days before his platoon raised the first flag on Iwo.

Wheeler was called a modern day Thoreau by fellow Pine Grove author Conrad Richter.

If you are in the Selinsgrove area, HBO documentary War Torn will be shown at the Selinsgrove VFW.

For all the Marines including my father, Happy 235th!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bimbo Coming to Sunbury

Funny, but true.  Sara Lee announced that it is selling it's North American Bakery unit to Grupo Bimbo of  Mexico.  Included in the sale will be the Butterkrust division in Sunbury.  There is no word on what the future of the Sunbury plant.

Hopefully, the plant will remain open and part of the Sunbury community.

I Just Bought The New York Yankees

It is a stretch, but yesterday an agreement was hammered out between Lackawanna County and Mandalay (not Vandelay) Baseball Properties and the New York Yankees.  Here is how the deal breaks down:

The Yankees

- Pay 14.6 million for the franchise.

 -Pay rent on the stadium or whatever is there for 750,000 a year for 30 years. This commitment is for 37 million over 30 years. 

State (taxpayer)

-Kicks in up to 20 million in stadium improvements.

Lackawanna County

-Kicks in 20 million for stadium improvements which breaks down as following:

4.3 million from the sale (kickback?)
3 million in state reimbursements from the courthouse projects
8.7 million in new authority financing (bond?)
4 million in stadium authority funds.

There is a small pittance of the lawsuit filed by Luzerne County that should be resolved. 

If you look at the deal in the context of the New York Yankees.  They only have an upfront commitment of 11 million if you take off the 4.3 million rebate plus stadium rent.  Since 2003, the parent franchise has payed 175 million (90%) of baseball's total luxury tax collected. 

The Yankees end up getting a 30 year deal for the going rate of  CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee.

Shortly, the Yankees will be making a mega offer to free agent Cliff Lee while gaining total control of their Triple AAA franchise for peanuts.

Sell my soul to the devil........Damn Yankees!!!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Possible GOP Plan for Healthcare

During the past campaign season, everyone from the winning GOP side of the election including federal and state elections are suggesting to buy insurance over state lines.

All you have to do is revisit the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act of 2005.  Under the guise of helping out small business, the bill would enable small business health plans to purchase health insurance coverage that deviates from state insurance requirements as long as the plans offer an alternative containing the covered benefits offered in a state employee health plan in one of the five most populous states: California, Texas, Illinois, Florida, and New York.

However, there was a bad side to this bill.

Why is the legislation harmful?
• S. 1955 would create a federal ceiling on consumer protections that would lessen the protections offered to consumers in virtually every state.

• Only benefit protections that exist in the vast majority of state would remain, potentially eliminating valuable benefits that states have afforded their citizens.

• Stronger state laws that limit the ability of insurers to vary premiums based on age, gender and geography would be preempted.  For many older and sicker Americans, this would price them out of the health insurance market.

• S. 1955 would likely place additional stress on the health care safety net – especially on the Medicaid program – and would likely increase cost-shifting because the proliferation of health plans to that do not cover basic and preventative health care services such as annual physicals, mammographies, maternity coverage, colonoscopies, clinical trials and other proven therapies.  As a result, many consumers would lose valuable health care benefits.

Everyone including small business would like to extend the insurance pool and spread the risk, but long hard fought basic service should not be lost.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Is Vinny Clausi Off to Elba?

Recent election results in Northumberland County have sent Republican Kurt Masser off to Harrisburg with a 2-1 margin of victory.  Does the 2-1 margin, set Masser up as being the Northumberland County's next powerbroker?

In the latest series of developments already since the Tuesday victory,  current Northumberland County Commissioner Vinny Clausi has seem to put himself on an island. On Thursday, DCNR gave the county a $400K check for the proposed OHV Park for which Masser still serves on the Steering Committee.  But Masser said the decision is up to the county now.

Clausi has now declared was on the union that represents the Transportation and Weatherization departments in the county.  Read this account in the Daily-Item. In News-Item account of the same story, this little piece caught my eye:

Clausi, who is very upset about the union's rejection of the county's contract offer, added, "Under the Sam Deitrick, Kurt Masser and Frank Sawicki administration in 2007, they gave the kitchen sink away to the union for three years." 

In 2011, all three commissioner seats will be up for election.  Will Masser use his new found machine to swing the election to a 2-1 Republican majority.  Governor-elect Tom Corbett campaigned on lower taxes, lower spending and less government.  Does he want to give away 5 million away for the park to make, Clausi and Sawicki look good?  Or was a promise made to Masser who sits on the OHV committee?

If your keeping score at home, since Tuesday, Clausi has thrown Masser under the bus once, while Masser has punted on the OHV issue once. 2011 promises to be big drama on the local county scene.

Both have a way out.  Masser through Corbett could simply say the state can't afford the grant at this time.  Is Clausi's way out through ballot referendum on the OHV Park and leave it up to the voters?

Want to follow the money, big business (drillers) funded the Corbett campaign.  To paraphrase NCFE the least of our brothers (Matthew 25:45), look for funding for human services to be slashed big time.

With Clausi's war on the county worker and the new Masser machine, Clausi's 2011 election prediction come next November could indeed come to pass.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Does Tom Marino Hate College Students?

Marino talks about his mission to repeal HCR in the Daily-Item, but this little diddy caught my eye:

Marino said there was an earmark in the bill that addressed federal student loans.

"What," he asked, "does that have to do with health care?"

Although attached to HCR, it cuts out the middleman(banks and fees) in the student loan process.  The CBO estimates that  61 billion would be saved over 10 years with 36 billion going back into Pell Grants (students). The other monies would to reducing the deficit and other Democratic educational priorities.

It was a nice gravy train for lending institutions who made the profit without assuming the risk.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Football in Northumberland County Park

Last night Northumberland County and the DCNR of PA decided to play their own little game of football last night. DCNR presented a 400K check to Northumberland County for the proposed Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area.

According to accounts in the Daily-Item and News-Item, further funding may need to be "creative."  DCNR punted the ball to Northumberland County.  Newly elected 107th state rep, Kurt Masser punted:

County Commissioner Kurt Masser is a proponent of the park and views it as providing a potential economic boost to the region, but said the decision on how to proceed will be up to Clausi and board Chairman Frank Sawicki because he's resigning this month to take a seat in the state 107th Legislative District
Northumberland County officials Vinny Clausi and Frank Sawicki decided to defer action until more money is available for the project. 

The project by some estimates could bring in 30000 visitors and generate revenue of 3 million dollars.

In a strange irony, Masser may have to step up to the plate early in his term on this one.  Masser who last week campaigned with Tom Corbett at the Southern-Mount Carmel football game is on record to reduce spending and cut taxes. 

The reduction in spending not yet named by Corbett, could cause future holes in local government budgets including counties, municipalities and school districts.

The first order of business for county may be looking for sponsor to name the park as one source.  For the record, I am for the project but the county is wise to table the project until funding arrives.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Battle for the Coal Bucket

For the first time in nearly 30 years, this annual battle returns to the final spot on the season schedule.  From 1934 to 1973, it was played on Thanksgiving Day as part of many Turkey Day games.  Shamokin's last win in the series came in a 14-0 win at Kemp Memorial Stadium.  Mount Carmel will be looking for 15 in a row come Friday night.  Both schools have gone are on their third head coach since that game including one that has shared time at both schools during the last 15 years.

Trust me. When Shamokin sent Carmen DeFrancesco into exile after the 2006 season, Defrancesco never thought he would be part of a Coal Bucket game as a coach again.  Only a football purgatory called Upper Dauphin came calling in 2007.

"Not getting the job last year when it was open was heartbreaking," said DeFrancesco.  "I was getting prepared to spend the rest of my time coach at Upper Dauphin and we had a nice thing going there."

History for Shamokin Area is not on their side.  Beside Mount Carmel winning from 1972 through 1984, the Red Tornadoes have won the last 14.  Since Shamokin High's merger with Coal Township, Shamokin Area have on in 1988, 1990 and 1992 at the Silver Bowl.

In recent years, Shamokin has been plagued by someone stepping up from the Red Tornadoes.  In 2004, Ryan Kogut's 98-yard quarterback sneak was the difference in a 13-11 game.  In 2005, Dave Pellowski came out of nowhere to rush for close to 100 yards and a touchdown out of the fullback slot.  Trailing, 12-7 at the half in 2006, Jonas Pachuski's 6 receptions for 166 yards and 4 touchdowns came out of nowhere.  His 4 TD receptions in a game are still a Red Tornado record. Justin Pellowski had 5 receptions for 162 yards and two TD's in a 41-14 win in 2007.

The last two years have been 47-7 and 33-6 blowouts in favor of Mount Carmel.

Shamokin has been a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde team in all of 2010.  They have played really well at home, but not on the road.  When they play bad, it's really bad.  Pass coverage has been dismal.  Over the years, no matter the record or one-sided, Shamokin Area has played MCA tough with the exception of the last two seasons. 

The Indians have to stop the running of Myerick Lamb before doing anything at all and to put pressure on Rob Varano who will be making his first start at quarterback for the injured Eddie Stewart. Varano has been a starting quarterback on most of the football teams he has been a player.  Friday, only the stage gets a little bigger.

With the game somewhat returning to it's roots on the schedule, will the outcome be any different?????

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Swipe of a Credit Card

Last night the voters with the swipe as quick as a credit card sent their message out loud and clear to the incumbents Democrats across the country and state.  In my own neck of the woods (PA-10th), Tom Marino defeated Chris Carney by nearly 10 points.

Working as a poll watcher for Carney in 2006, I was worried about his reelection in 2008 more than 2010.  His district is registered 48 to 40 percent in favor of the GOP.  The 10th elected a man who criticised a husband for being home with his wife during cancer surgery and missing a vote.  Classy!!!!

The bottom line, broke out of work people saw the federal government spending money that the people don't have to spend on themselves.  The people who voted for President Obama in 2008, change didn't come instantaneously as the credit card swipe.  The often referred to the Constitution, but forgot it contained checks and balances.  Employment was also the key with unemployment hovering close over 9% but a really number of 17%,

Who were the winners and losers?

Winners both Federal and State

Marcellus Shale Coalition - the drill baby drill crowd is now in PA.

Big Media - 4.2 billion was spent in 2010.  My figure is going to 10 billion to unseat Obama in 2012.

William Jefferson Clinton and Michelle Obama - still pretty popular on November 3rd.

Sarah Palin - and the rise of the Tea Party and probably won the House for the GOP.

Defense spending - Hello Iran and Yemen!

Masterbation - "Ding, dong the witch is dead"  Sorry, I couldn't resist.


The enviroment - I'm sure DCNR, DEP and EPA will be underfunded or told to look the other way.

Public Employees - if you work for the state or federal government, most things are on the table.

The Democratic Party - see November 2nd, see redistricting.

The Republican Party - Karl Rove must do battle with Sarah Palin.  The ball is in their court.  They are great at election rhetoric but lousy at delivering results.  With the number one job to repeal Health Care Reform, what will be first?  Cut children with preexisting conditions, donut hole seniors, college age children.....take your pick.  If people don't see jobs, Palin and O'Donnell become mainstream. God only know what will crawl out from under the abyss.

The Tea Party - they probably lost the Senate for the GOP.  How did Harry Reid survive?

Big Money - 200 million just doesn't buy what is once did.  See Whitman, Fiorina, and McMahon or the New York Yankees.

Witchcraft - I couldn't resist

State Government - I will save that for another post.

The unemployed - to borrow something from the GOP - pray that another extension could get passed.

If you look at this election, many people that voted started to vote after 1980.  Most people born after 1984 or grew up after Vietnam did not have any idea of hard times until September 11th, 2001.  They got mostly everything they want in life and instant gratification was the norm.  They came out and voted for President Obama in 2008 and were not rewarded like they were most of their lives. For both sides of the aisle, you need to know who your constituents (customers). Trust me, there are many of these elections in the making, but remember checks and balances.

President Obama and the 111th Congress were faced with war, financial meltdown, unemployment, the oil spill and tackled health care reform in 21 months.  By the way, did we win the war in Iraq?

Change in Northumberland County

First off, congratulations to the candidates who ran for office yesterday and were elected.  Much on that later.  With Kurt Masser winning the 107th District held by the retiring Robert Belfanti. Northumberland County will have to replace Mr. Masser.  This will be done by the Republican Party, but will they look short or long term?

The relationship between fellow Democrats Vinni Clausi and Frank Sawicki has not alway been the best.  They have never campaigned as a team and minority commissioner Masser became an ally of Clausi as noted in Masser's campaign.  Will Clausi be able to work with the new "minority" commissioner or will Clausi have to bridge a divide that exists between himself and Mr. Sawicki.

Masser may not be the only that needs to be replaced.  County Controller Chuck Erdman was a contender in the 108th primary and lost a close vote to eventually winner Lynda Culver.  Could the new Corbett administration tap Erdman's talent?  In his years as Northumberland County Controller, Erdman usually enjoyed bipartisan support and has ruffled the feathers of both parties.

Will Coroner Jim Kelley decide to run for a seat held for many years by his father? 

Guess what?  We are less than a year away from another spirited county election.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Exercise Your Right to Vote!!!!

Over the next 24 hours, we as a nation, will exercise our right to vote.  Roughly over 4 billion was spent on ads by candidates critical of each other.  Come Wednesday morning, it will be all over.  

The Democratic Party gained 58 House seats and 14 Senate seats in the 2006 and 2008 elections.  It looks likes the Republican Party will regain the House while the Senate is a toss up.  For their 21 months in power, the President and the 111th Congress accomplished the following:

  • Passed Health Care Reform - (note it's a start)
  •  Saved the American and possibly a global banking meltdown - (this was TMI folks)
  • Drew down combat troops in Iraq - (The War was based on lies)
  • Throw in bank reform, credit card reform, equal pay for women, insurance for children, cut into the deficit, and create more jobs than the last administration in 8 years.

America by most accounts will reward the party that did absolutely nothing.  Instead of new ideas, their platform consists of doing absolutely nothing.  But hey, this is America.

Lulac has these questions:

As a potential voter who has seen and heard all the talking points offered by the national GOP, I have a few questions.

1. What are you going to do if you get the majority and you have to raise the debt ceiling?

2. By extending the Bush tax cuts to everyone, how can you justify the added deficit expense when you would have denied unemployment benefit extensions to middle class workers?

3. How are you going to defund Health Care and what parts of it are you going to gut? Pre-existing conditions?

4. How can you blame individual Congressman for the economy? Exactly what will a Freshman Congressman be able to do if you take power?

5. You demonize the health care program. You say you’ll fix it. How is it in a 1200 page bill you couldn’t find anything you liked? That’s like going to the Mall of America and hating every thing.

6. If you gut the health care plan, are you going to divest yourself of tax payer sponsored health care for you and your family? We are, after all starting over so I think it’s only fair you pay for your own.

7. Why did you refuse to vote on tax breaks for small businesses the last session? Are small business owners becoming the new Pro Life version of the GOP? You yes them to death and say you’re behind them but never, ever give them any substantial political change? Are you making fools of small business owners like you’ve done for years with the Pro Life people?

8. Do you actually know the difference between Medicare and Medicare Advantage programs? And why are you deliberately mixing them up? Get your rocks off scaring old people? Let me explain it to you. The health care reform law works to reform Medicare Advantage by reducing overpayments to insurance companies whose bottom lines have greatly benefited from the program. The law works to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse from Medicare Advantage, and then inject that $500 billion in savings back into Medicare. As a result, it will extend the life of Medicare by almost ten years. The health care reform law will, in fact, provide cost savings for many seniors.

9. What are your specific plans for governmental cuts to balance the budget? Are you going to go after seniors, veterans, children’s early intervention programs or tax breaks for millionaires? Why is it that no Republican running in this country has every offered anything specific on what they will do?

10. You’ve told us you’re going to give us our country back, take back our liberty and take back our freedoms. Where exactly are they, where did they go?

11. Finally, why should we vote Republican? Last chance: give us a reason. And please be specific, if you dare. 

Where as the Rendell Administration championed property tax relief through casino gambling, this election is about drilling and how much sovereignty we as Pennsylvanians give up to the Cabots and Halliburtons.

I have a big problem with one candidate trying to find the identity of a blogger just for criticism about his own hypocrisy.  (Google: CasablancaPA) Do you think this will occur again in the next four years?  You betcha!!! 

As a businessman, not getting anything in return for an energy resource is hazardous at best and moronic at worst.  

Above is the evidence from the last energy revolution in Pennsylvania.  A few men became rich beyond their wildest dreams, you had class of indentured serfs, and the "shit criks" still flow through our valley floors.  

Every election they preach jobs, less spending and less government.......delivering is a another story.

This Texas Statesman once said, "There's an old saying in Tennessee—I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee—that says, fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can't get fooled again."

Wealth Creation

Did anyone see David Stockman on 60 Minutes last evening? He was the former budget director under Ronald Reagan.  Here is what he said,

"In 1985, the top five percent of the households, wealthiest five percent, had net worth of $8 trillion, which is a lot. Today, after serial bubble after serial bubble, the top five percent have net worth of $40 trillion," he explained. "The top five percent have gained more wealth than the whole human race had created prior to 1980."
Does anyone remember the first piggy bank that got raided?  Remember what S&L's primary missions were to customers?

If you were born prior to 1980, did you take part in this great wealth expansion?  Where have you gone middle class?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Corbett and Masser set to attend MCA game at Southern Columbia

107th District candidate Kurt Masser and Republican gubenatorial candidate Tom Corbett will attend the Mount Carmel at Southern Area football game tonight according to the News-Item.

Dan Foor and a Preview for Shikellamy

Shamokin takes a short trip down route 61 to take on the Braves of Shikellamy.  Last years the Braves picked up their first win against Shamokin since 1983.  This season we could include both teams in playoff talks.

The Braves feature a strong running game led by QB Garrett Pope and Dominick Wolfe.  Shamokin Area counters with 1000-yard rusher Jared Montgomery.  Both teams like to keep things on the ground with Shikellamy running a triple option while the Indians counter with the wing-t.

Right now Shamokin leads Shikellamy by 10 point in the District IV standings and face Mount Carmel for the Coal Bucket next Friday at the Silver Bowl.  Shikellamy closes out the regular season at what should be a winless Milton Black Panther team.

The Braves defensively had a hard time stopping anything in the beginning of the season, but have been better lately.  Shamokin's Achilles heel has been pass defense?  Will a pass win this for the Braves?  We will see tonight.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Size of PA State Legislature Too Big?

There are many points that I and Talking Points author Greg Maresca disagree.  We do find a common ground when it comes to the size of the PA State Legislature.  Here are some of the obvious:

PA has 253 legislators including 50 Senators.  We have 50 Senators representing 12 million people.  The United States has 100 Senators representing over 300 million people.
  Here are some of the rest.

If the Tea Party Wins, America Loses

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Race for PA Governor.....Only a Creek Runs Through It

Growing up in the greater Shamokin area and calling the area home for most of my 44 years, a common sight to see was like the on pictured above.  The common name for it among the locals was a "sh*t crick".  In the scientific community it is called "yellow boy." It is a stream of water affected by acid mine drainage.  Along the shore nothing grows and the ecosystem is fragile.  High concentrations of iron, aluminum and magnesium populate the creek.

There is no historical record exist of when Shamokin Creek changed color but the Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance have identified 54 areas of discharge into the creek. The Alliance was formed by a group of volunteers in the mid-90's.  Through grants and volunteers are trying to restore life to the creek.

Throughout my life, many family and friends have come to visit Shamokin and wonder why a "sh*t" flows through the main artery of our town.  It has been flowing so long, we have accepted it as part of our life.

How does this effect the PA governors race???

Tom Corbett is running for governor on the Republican ticket.  He does not favor a severance tax on the natural gas industry.  His claim is a tax will chase drillers away from the state.  So every other state that drills and has a tax has chased drillers away?

With the industry just in it's infancy is PA, the environmental problems are creeping in and well documented.

The Pocono Record could give you 835,720 reasons for not voting for Corbett.

Other reasons for not voting for Corbett. First, he doesn't like the First Amendment.   Remember ITRR, Rendell gets too much of a pass here.  What did Corbett know and when did he know it? Imagine finding out former Governor Ridge hired the same company as the head of Homeland Security to give the same phony terror alerts.

Corbett doesn't like the 2nd Amendment.  MSNBC reports Cabot hired armed guards to accompany employees onto residential properties after a resident was charged with disorderly conduct earlier this month for an incident with a gun.  What is Corbett's comment?  Was the Coal and Iron Police resurrected led by Franklin Gowen?

Corbett's friends don't play nice with children's money. Also, here is another questionable deal. Ridge and former state AG Leroy Zimmerman both sitting on the Board of Trustees at Hershey.

If you have to work for a living, Corbett has a problem with you.

On Tuesday, a vote for Corbett could be four years of a creek like the one pictured above coming to you. Remember, greed never sleeps.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's Nice to be Read

In this past Sunday's News-Item, I got a plug Talking Points author Greg Maresca.  Mr. Maresca references a post I made back in December titled Carney being Courted by the Darkside.  If you don't want to link up with the original article, here is the text:

Chris Carney (D-PA10th) was asked by John McCain to join the Republican Party.

With Malcolm Derk of Union County being the first to throw his hat into the Republican Party, there are several questions to ask? Do the national Republicans have or want to throw any money into this campaign. In 2008, Dan Meuser and Chris Hackett were well funded and lost a district McCain won by 9 points.

Could they be strong arming Carney with a threat of big money? Stay tuned.
Since I ran the original post in December of 2009 and the decision in Citizens United vs. the FEC, SCOTUS ruled 5-4 in favor of corporations and unions with First Amendment protection came out in January, My last sentence turns out to be true.

On his October 24th article, Mr Maresca argues that people are not leaning left or right, but back to the Constitution..  In his article published on September 26th, Maresca wonders why the GOP can't find room for O'Donnell under the "big tent."

In only a few short weeks, O'Donnell had problems with the First Amendment while debating her Democratic counterpart.  In an interview ala Sarah Palin, O'Donnell had problems with naming a SCOTUS decision that she didn't favor.  In her deer-in-the-headlights moment, she said she would put it on her website.

Columnist Leonard Pitts opined over the weekend that "we get the leaders we deserve."

In a letter to the Daily-Item on Sunday, William Shirk questions the "conservative outrage." 

I would love to see the US go back to the Constitution.  We have spent 1.1 trillion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Why was Article 1, Section 8 ignored?  To boot, most of the money came in supplemental spending and was not included in a fiscal year appropriation.

We have a local candidate in the 107th that wants to put Healthcare Reform Bill on a PA Referendum.  Please check Article VI of the Constitution.  He follows a gubernatorial candidate who filed a lawsuit 7 minutes after the bill was passed.

In all the ads leading up to the November 2nd election, you would think Nancy Pelosi was running for a House or Senate seat in PA.  She is currently the speaker of the House and it is up to her to get legislation to the floor for a vote.  If you approve any legislation, you will side with the speaker of the House no matter what party they represent.  You can usually find a Pelosi reference in Talking Points weekly.

Tony Rhodin thinks Pat Toomey is very smart and also very wrong.  Rhodin offers a simple version of Pat Toomey while sitting on the Lehigh Valley Express eeditorial board. If you can read a little more than a bumper sticker, this is for you.

Also, please read Dave Johnson's Eight False Things the Public "Knows" Prior to Election Day.

I once read in Talking Points how the stock market tanked from the Election of Barack Obama until mid-February.  For the record, since Obama took office the Dow Jones is up nearly 3000 points.  (2935.08 to be exact from his first full day 1/21/09 to the close of the market on 10/25/10.)

If you want a regurgitated version of what is said by the Heritage Foundation with a sampling from Fox News and a vilified sidebar of the New York Times, Newsweek, or Time, Talking Points is a great read for conservative fans of the Sunday News-Item.  Colbert and Stewart are usually off on Sunday.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Phall of the Phils in 2010

Best record in baseball, yeah right!!! Strong pitching, check!  No-hitter pitched in the fist round?  All came tumbling down last night as the San Francisco Giants advanced to their first World Series since 2002.

The Phillies were attempting to become the first National League three-peater since the 1940's.   Now just go down in Philadelphia lore as the '77 Sixers or 2002 Eagles.  Why the comparison?  The '77 Sixers won two games in the NBA finals on the road before losing the final 4 to a Bill Walton led Portland Trailblazers. 

The 2002 Eagles had everything going.  Facing a franchise that never won a road playoff game.  A team that was 1-22 in games under 40 degrees.  Last game played at Veterans Stadium.  Bet the house on the Birds???  Three hours later and 27-10 loss was maybe the worse in Philadelphia sports history. 

Rank this collapse or absence of bats just as historic.  If you would have told me a week ago Tim Lincecum would be 0-1 with a no decision and the series would only go six,  I would be looking for a World Series ticket to fall out of the sky.

This team will be losing Jason Werth to the high bidders, but seems to be built to make another run. Lets face it, the Braves have a new manager, the Mets have a new manager and are awful, and who is the Nat's manager.  Some players have to regroup and get healthy again, but player moves are for another post.

Back to earth and being a Philadelphia sports fan. High hopes dashed once again.

At least this Yankee fan knows that "NY" stands for next year.