Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Villanova, Happy 25th NCAA Champs

Courtesy of

25 Things to Ponder!!!

It was April 1st, 1985 when Villanova shocked Georgetown in claiming college basketball's top prize in Lexington, Kentucy. 1985 marked the first year the tournament expanded to 64 teams and the last game ever without a shot clock.

Connally Brown 50 Sophomore Orange, TX
Veltra Dawson 10 Freshman highwood, IL
Chuck Everson 51 Center Junior Brentwood, NY
Brian Harrington 20 Senior

Harold Jensen 32 Guard Sophomore Trumbull, CT
Wyatt Maker 43 Center Sophomore Salinas, CA
R. C. Massimino 13 Guard Junior Dwayne McClain
33 Guard/Forward 6-6 Senior Worcester, MA
Gary McLain 22 Guard Senior Methuen, MA
Ed Pinckney 54 Forward/Center 6-9 Senior Bronx, NY
Steve Pinone 25 Sophomore Wethersfield, CT

Mark Plansky 31 Forward 6-7 Freshman Wakefield, MA
Harold Pressley 21 Forward 6-7 Junior Mystic, CT
Dwight Wilbur 4 Guard Junior Paterson, NJ

Happy Anniversary Guys!!!

Mass Amnesia!!!

For some reason our country is moving toward a mob rule mentality than looking at the facts. The final signatures have been put on the the Health Care Bill and many people claim to be up in arms. Our last century has seen mass suicide in Jonestown, while this century has bred mass fear and hysteria. Please add mass amnesia to the list.

While the Health Care Bill passed and the naysayers are asking who is going to pay? The last time health care had any legs was in 1993 and where have your premiums gone? For the most part, this is Health Care reform but Health Insurance Reform. I would like to see a public option somewhere down the line. If it were truly socialized takeover the law would have said Medicare for everyone.

If you want to look at some spending in case you forgot, we continue to spend on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at a 12 BILLION dollar a month clip thanks to Big Dan. With thanks to conservative Pre-Brief, if we would only spend 20% more on defense, we will outspend the rest of the world combined on military expenditures.

In case your keeping score over the last century here is the scorecard of the party of "No":

VOTING RIGHTS ACT OF 1965 333-85.MEDICARE 307-116.

according to Lulac.
Before the Social Security Act of 1935, women were not allowed to collect a pension!!!!

I will have to hand to the PR machine of the "Party of No". They are amazing in convincing a massive amount of people that something bad for them is actually good for them. If you want to roll the dice in November and bring back the party who brought down Glass-Steagall and nefarious oversea adventures costing billions a month do so at your own peril.

Special kudo's go out to Congressman Carney for taking a stand in the 10th and Kanjorski in the 11th. However, Kanjorski tripped when he could have added Carney to much for seniority.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

So Long Johnny

Johnny Maestro of Johnny Maestro and Brooklyn Bridge passed away yesterday. Here is Johnny singing the group's signature hit.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Letter to Conservatives

I thought this really hit the nail on the head from the last few days of debate. Here is the direct link to it on TPM.

Stay safe America.

Written by Russell King

Dear Conservative Americans,

The years have not been kind to you. I grew up in a profoundly Republican home, so I can remember when you wore a very different face than the one we see now. You've lost me and you've lost most of America. Because I believe having responsible choices is important to democracy, I'd like to give you some advice and an invitation.

First, the invitation: Come back to us.

Now the advice. You're going to have to come up with a platform that isn't built on a foundation of cowardice: fear of people with colors, religions, cultures and sex lives that differ from your own; fear of reform in banking, health care, energy; fantasy fears of America being transformed into an Islamic nation, into social/commun/fasc-ism, into a disarmed populace put in internment camps; and more. But you have work to do even before you take on that task.

Your party -- the GOP -- and the conservative end of the American political spectrum has become irresponsible and irrational. Worse, it's tolerating, promoting and celebrating prejudice and hatred. Let me provide some expamples -- by no means an exhaustive list -- of where the Right as gotten itself stuck in a swamp of hypocrisy, hyperbole, historical inaccuracy and hatred.

If you're going to regain your stature as a party of rational, responsible people, you'll have to start by draining this swamp:


You can't flip out -- and threaten impeachment - when Dems use a prlimentary procedure (deem and pass) that you used repeatedly (more than 35 times in just one session and more than 100 times in all!), that's centuries old and which the courts have supported. Especially when your leaders admit it all.

You can't vote and scream against the stimulus package and then take credit for the good it's done in your own district (happily handing out enormous checks representing money that you voted against, is especially ugly) -- 114 of you (at last count) did just that -- and it's even worse when you secretly beg for more.

You can't fight against your own ideas just because the Dem president endorses your proposal.

You can't call for a pay-as-you-go policy, and then vote against your own ideas.

Are they "unlawful enemy combatants" or are they "prisoners of war" at Gitmo? You can't have it both ways.

You can't carry on about the evils of government spending when your family has accepted more than a quarter-million dollars in government handouts.

You can't refuse to go to a scheduled meeting, to which you were invited, and then blame the Dems because they didn't meet with you.

You can't rail against using teleprompters while using teleprompters. Repeatedly.

You can't rail against the bank bailouts when you supported them as they were happening.

You can't be for immigration reform, then against it .

You can't enjoy socialized medicine while condemning it.

You can't flip out when the black president puts his feet on the presidential desk when you were silent about white presidents doing the same. Bush. Ford.

You can't complain that the president hasn't closed Gitmo yet when you've campaigned to keep Gitmo open.

You can't flip out when the black president bows to foreign dignitaries, as appropriate for their culture, when you were silent when the white presidents did the same. Bush. Nixon. Ike. You didn't even make a peep when Bush held hands and kissed (on the mouth) leaders of countries that are not on "kissing terms" with the US.

You can't complain that the undies bomber was read his Miranda rights under Obama when the shoe bomber was read his Miranda rights under Bush and you remained silent. (And, no, Newt -- the shoe bomber was not a US citizen either, so there is no difference.)

You can't attack the Dem president for not personally* publicly condemning a terrorist event for 72 hourswhen you said nothing about the Rep president waiting 6 days in an eerily similar incident (and, even then, he didn't issue any condemnation). *Obama administration did the day of the event.

You can't throw a hissy fit, sound alarms and cry that Obama freed Gitmo prisoners who later helped plan the Christmas Day undie bombing, when -- in fact -- only one former Gitmo detainee, released by Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, helped to plan the failed attack.

You can't condemn blaming the Republican president for an attempted terror attack on his watch, then blame the Dem president for an attemted terror attack on his.

You can't mount a boycott against singers who say they're ashamed of the president for starting a war, but remain silent when another singer says he's ashamed of the president and falsely calls him a Moaist who makes him want to throw up and says he ought to be in jail.

You can't cry that the health care bill is too long, then cry that it's too short.

You can't support the individual mandate for health insurance, then call it unconstitutional when Dems propose it and campaign against your own ideas.

You can't demand television coverage, then whine about it when you get it. Repeatedly.

You can't praise criminal trials in US courts for terror suspects under a Rep president, then call it "treasonous" under a Dem president.

You can't propose ideas to create jobs, and then work against them when the Dems put your ideas in a bill.

You can't be both pro-choice and anti-choice.

You can't damn someone for failing to pay $900 in taxes when you've paid nearly $20,000 in IRS fines.

You can't condemn critizising the president when US troops are in harms way, then attack the president when US troops are in harms way , the only difference being the president's party affiliation (and, by the way, armed conflict does NOT remove our right and our duty as Americans to speak up).

You can't be both for cap-and-trade policy and against it.

You can't vote to block debate on a bill, then bemoan the lack of 'open debate'.

If you push anti-gay legislation and make anti-gay speeches, you should probably take a pass on having gay sex, regardless of whether it's 2004 or 2010. This is true, too, if you're taking GOP money and giving anti-gay rants on CNN. Taking right-wing money and GOP favors to write anti-gay stories for news sites while working as a gay prostitute, doubles down on both the hypocrisy and the prostitution. This is especially true if you claim your anti-gay stand is God's stand, too.

When you chair the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, you can't send sexy emails to 16-year-old boys (illegal anyway, but you made it hypocritical as well).

You can't criticize Dems for not doing something you didn't do while you held power over the past 16 years, especially when the Dems have done more in one year than you did in 16.

You can't decry "name calling" when you've been the most consistent and outrageous at it. And the most vile.

You can't spend more than 40 years hating, cutting and trying to kill Medicare, and then pretend to be the defenders of Medicare

You can't praise the Congressional Budget Office when it's analysis produces numbers that fit your political agenda, then claim it's unreliable when it comes up with numbers that don't.

You can't vote for X under a Republican president, then vote against X under a Democratic president. Either you support X or you don't. And it makes it worse when you change your position merely for the sake obstructionism.

You can't call a reconcilliation out of bounds when you used it repeatedly.

You can't spend tax-payer money on ads against spending tax-payer money.

You can't condemn individual health insurance mandates in a Dem bill, when the madates were your idea.

You can't demand everyone listen to the generals when they say what fits your agenda, and then ignore them when they don't.

You can't whine that it's unfair when people accuse you of exploiting racism for political gain, when your party's former leader admits you've been doing it for decades.

You can't portray yourself as fighting terrorists when you openly and passionately support terrorists.

You can't complain about a lack of bipartisanship when you've routinely obstructed for the sake of political gain -- threatening to filibuster at least 100 pieces of legislation in one session, far more than any other since the procedural tactic was invented -- and admitted it. Some admissions are unintentional, others are made proudly. This is especially true when the bill is the result of decades of compromise between the two parties and is filled with your own ideas.

You can't question the loyalty of Department of Justice lawyers when you didn't object when your own Republican president appointed them.

You can't preach and try to legislate "Family Values" when you: take nude hot tub dips with teenagers (and pay them hush money); cheat on your wife with a secret lover and lie about it to the world; cheat with a staffer's wife (and pay them off with a new job); pay hookers for sex while wearing a diaper and cheatingon your wife; or just enjoying an old fashioned non-kinky cheating on your wife; try to have gay sex in a public toilet; authorize the rape of children in Iraqi prisons to coherce their parents into providing information; seek, look at or have sex with children; replace a guy who cheats on his wife with a guy who cheats on his pregnant wife with his wife's mother;


You really need to dissassociate with those among you who:


If you're going to use words like socialism, communism and fascism, you must have at least a basic understanding of what those words mean (hint: they're NOT synonymous!)

You can't cut a leading Founding Father out the history books because you've decided you don't like his ideas.

You cant repeatedly assert that the president refuses to say the word "terrorism" or say we're at war with terror when we have an awful lot of videotape showing him repeatedly assailing terrorism and using those exact words.

If you're going to invoke the names of historical figures, it does not serve you well to whitewash them. Especially this one.

You can't just pretend historical events didn't happen in an effort to make a political opponent look dishonest or to make your side look better. Especially these events. (And, no, repeating it doesn't make it better.)

You can't say things that are simply and demonstrably false: health care reform will not push people out of their private insurance and into a government-run program ; health care reform (which contains a good many of your ideas and very few from the Left) is a long way from "socialist utopia"; health care reform is not "reparations"; nor does health care reform create "death panels".


You have to condemn those among you who:

Oh, and I'm not alone: One of your most respected and decorated leaders agrees with me.

So, dear conservatives, get to work. Drain the swamp of the conspiracy nuts, the bold-faced liars undeterred by demonstrable facts, the overt hypocrisy and the hatred. Then offer us a calm, responsible, grownup agenda based on your values and your vision for America. We may or may not agree with your values and vision, but we'll certainly welcome you back to the American mainstream with open arms. We need you.

(Anticipating your initial response: No there is nothing that even comes close to this level of wingnuttery on the American Left)

Friday, March 19, 2010


The Healthcare Bill will probably come up for a historic vote on Sunday. There have been groups spending a million dollars a day in trying to block it. To the crowd of starting over, please look at 1993. That was the last time healthcare reform was discussed.

Where is your premium, coverage or insurance now?


March Madness got off in full swing yesterday and my #2 seeded Villanova Wildcats got off the hook. When they looked like Abe Vagoda in the Godfather, Michael Corleone let them "off the hook."

The Wildcats continue to be plagued by poor shooting from the floor. Personal fouls have improved. We will see what they do against St. Mary's.

The great thing about March Madness in PA is the silence that will continue from Happy Valley until August.


This weekend will be great to hear the Michael O'Brian Band at Spyglassridge Winery at 2 pm this Saturday.
Next Friday is a blogger meet up in Pittston.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"V" for Villanova

The Villanova Wildcats take the court today at 2 pm against Marquette. Most of the Golden Eagles games were decided by possession. Villanova won both meetings each by two points. Here is what happened to the Cats on their last possession against West Virginia:

A young Villanova fan gets pictures with Corey Stokes and Scottie Reynolds.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Health Care Reform Panel?

In 3/5 edition of the News-Item, the paper published their 2010 business roundtable including a panel of heath care providers talking about heathcare reform.

Listed in the panel were doctors, hospital administrator, home health care providers, senior living, pharmacy, and a government representative.


I do agree with many things that were discussed. Shamokin Area Community Hospital is a fine heath care facility. Dr. Miller discussing food industry. Mary Stout discussing the way things were when people were covered 100%.

Somewhere along the line, insurance companies forgot about spreading the risk.

Trudy Rubin of the Philadelphia Inquirer, opines how the US ignores health care success in Europe and Japan.

The panel argues that Medicare Part D has been successful. Yes, but at what cost? It is still illegal to negotiate the price of drugs even those Medicare is "Big Pharma's" biggest customer.

We need a start in reform. Where will it come from?????

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Youth Catches Up With Bucknell Bison

Despite a 19-point effort by Darryl Shazier, the 2nd-seeded Bucknell Bison dropped a 67-64 decision to the 7th-seeded Holy Cross Crusaders. As a young team will do, all the little things went wrong. Poor shooting and a 10 for 17 effort at the line for the Bison. Andrew Beinert banked in a three with 1:57 to go to put Holy Cross up by four and the Bison didn't have an answer.

The Bison have a lot to be proud of and to build upon. With winning 8 out 11 down the stretch and earning the 2nd seed, the Bison are now out of the shadow of Pat Flannery. 2010-11 season will be Dave Paulson's team. The Bucknell faithful will also have everyone returning with the exception of Pat Behan. The senior hampered by a foot injury tonight was held scoreless in his final collegiate game.

It may have been Behan's leadership coming off the bench and saving the season for Bucknell. The Bison finish the season at 14-17.

March Madness, It's Bucknell and Holy Cross Again

Although it is only the first round of the Patriot League, these teams have slugged it out over the years.

Check out the matchup.

Memories of Iwo Jima

The 65th Anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima is taking place. Down below is clip of the ceremony. Also, an interview I did with noted author Richard Wheeler on the 60th Anniversary of the battle is there. Wheeler who passed away in October 2008 was a platoon member of the original flag-raisers. Wheeler was wounded two days before the flag raising but heard the celebration while recovering on a hospital ship.

Pine Grove author recalls 3 harrowing days on island.

This article was published by the News-Item in March of 2005 on the 60th anniversary of Iwo.

February 19th marks the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Iwo Jima.

This battle has become famous for two reasons. First, the US Marine Corps suffered the most-ever casualties in any battle in it's history. In a little more than a month of combat, the Americans suffered 6,821 dead, 19, 217 wounded and 2648 cases of battle fatigue.

Second, the photograph taken by Joseph Rosenthal of the second flag raising on the summit of Mount Suribachi, which first appeared in US newspapers on February 25th, 1945, became the most reproduced photograph in history.

I recently had a chance to sit down with Richard Wheeler of Pine Grove, who had served in Iwo Jima as part of the 5th Marine Division, 28th Regiment, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Platoon of Company "E" or "Easy Company".

I had met Wheeler in June of 2004 on a cold call searching for information on an Army unit that my grandfather, Stanley J. Comoss, served with in Guam. My grandfather served with the Army's 77th Division, 305th Regiment of Company "L" and was one of the division's 839 on Guam in the summer of 1944.

Wheeler, 83 has authored three books on the battle including, The Bloody Battle for Suribachi, Iwo and A Special Valor, along with 14 other books dealing with the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. But its the memories of that famous battle 60 years ago that stirs Wheeler's memory. "I would say 99 out of 100 of us were really scared," Wheeler said. Wheeler hit the island with the 11th wave of Marines. Most battle historians concur that the landing was rather uneventful. It wasn't until the Marines were assembled on the beachhead that the Japanese opened fire with ferocity. "The reality of combat hit immediately as the firing started as soon as I was on shore, and the man right next to me was hit with a mortar, but miraculously survived.."

Wheeler's first three years in the corps were rather uneventful. After enlisting six weeks after Pearl Harbor, having just celebrated his 20th birthday, Wheeler drew guard assignments in Keyport, Washington and Alaska and still winces to this day about the stint. Finally, his orders came for combat training in Camp Pendleton, California, then Hawaii for a year in preparation for the invasion.

Prior to his enlistment, Wheeler had worked for a small weekly paper in Reading called the Reading Shopping Bulletin. "I was hoping to live an adventure by enlisting," he recalled. "Diaries that my father kept while serving on the front lines in World War I had always sparked my interest in military writing."

A Bloody Day

Wheeler's platoon advanced across the island on the first day only to come halfway back on the second day, where the troops positioned themselves across the base of Suribachi for an assault that was to occur on the third day.

The Japanese, under the direction of General Tadamichi Kuribayashi--whose widow, Wheeler notes, sent him a postcard after she read Iwo--built a system of trenches and underground tunnels to the extent that 21,000 Japanese soldiers who occupied the island were, for all practical purposes, invisible. The US Navy spent seven months beginning in June of 1944 bombing the island with little of to no affect.

"Morale was kind of low because the Japanese were able to recover their wounded and dead without us knowing it through the system of underground caves and trenches," Wheeler said.

Wheeler's third day on the island changed his life forever. Howard Snyder, Ed Romero, Wheeler and another Marine began their charge for Suribachi by advancing through craters created by Navy bombing. These craters soon became traps as Japanese mortar shells rained down on them.

Romero was mortally wounded by the first shell. The second mortar explosion caught Wheeler in the jaw, causing him to bleed profusely. Corpsman Cliff Langley arrived to aid Wheeler, applying compresses and stopping the bleeding. Minutes later, a second mortar blast ripped the calf muscle from Wheeler's leg. Langley, who was also wounded by the explosion, came to Wheeler's aid once again. The burst also claimed the life of an unnamed Marine. A third shell hit, but never exploded. "That shell would have killed me," said Wheeler of the dud. " I was in rough shape thinking I wasn't going to make it."

"The thoughts of being on Iwo for almost three day and not firing a shot had made me feel like a coward for letting the other men down," he added. "I tried to crawl toward a machine gun position that was close by to get a shot in, but a stretcher arrived and took me back to the beach which wasn't any safer."

Wheeler's stint as a combat Marine had lasted only three days. It was while he was recuperating from his wounds in the hospital of an offshore ship that Wheeler heard the commotion when the first American flag was raised on Iwo on February 23rd, 1945. He remembered the corpsman who came into the hospital yelling that flag had been raised on Suribachi.

Wheeler was eventually evacuated to Guam, a US territory my grandfather help recapture, then on to Hawaii before returning to mainland San Francisco. It was there that Wheeler started to realize his place in history.

"I was looking at photographs that were being circulated and recognized the men from my unit," he said. "I asked for a notebook and immediately started to take notes on my part in the battle."

For the first time in World War II, a US flag would fly over Japanese territory. It was also the beginning of Wheeler's personal literary journey that would culminate with one of his work being accepted for publishing in 1964. "I was rejected nine times by publishers until The Bloody Battle for Suribachi was published," he recalled. To this day, Wheeler is thankful her served on Iwo. An excerpt taken from his book sums up his account of the battle.

As for Death, I had come face to face with that old ogre and noticed he
was mostly a sham. I'd enjoy the truce he granted me, but would live
with the feeling that when he renewed his fight in earnest, I'd be able to
make my surrender without begging for terms."

For Richard Wheeler, it is 60 years and counting since that fateful day on a tiny island half a world away.


A conversation with Wheeler on 2/15/07, discussed the movie, Flags of Our Fathers. Most viewers including myself and Wheeler thought the use of flashback made the movie hard to follow in it's final edit. There was also a note of disappointment with the Hollywood vs. History point. Wheeler spent Veteran's Day in Washington DC at the opening of the Marine Corps Memorial and was honored with 100 or so veterans with a breakfast at the White House. Wheeler was able to get a picture taken with President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. Wheeler noted, "The first lady is very attractive."

Monday, March 1, 2010

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. It is also one of the most preventable. It ranks second in cancer deaths in the United States.

90% of colon cancer diagnoses happen in people aged 50 and over. The American Cancer Society recommends that screening for the disease should start at age 50 and over. If you have a history of the disease in your family. please consult your family physician.

Medical insurance companies in PA have to cover the cost of screening as long as you fall into the guidelines put forth by the American Cancer Society.