Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Baker Still Wins After Luzerne County Corrects its Totals
Here are the election results as listed by the Department of State:
20th Senatorial District Wide Results
Baker 10,933 46.02%
Madeira 5,010 21.09%
Haggerty 4,236 17.83%
Bigus 2,999 12.62%
Sutton 579 2.44%
Baker 4,428 41.72%
Haggerty 2,110 19.88%
Madeira 1,935 18.23%
Bigus 1,798 16.94%
Sutton 301 2.84%
Baker 163 54.33%
Haggerty 67 22.33%
Madeira 44 14.67%
Bigus 19 6.33%
Sutton 7 2.33%
Baker 1,414 54.18%
Madeira 680 26.05%
Haggerty 364 13.95%
Bigus 115 4.41%
Sutton 37 1.42%
Baker 917 59.47%
Haggerty 363 23.54%
Bigus 136 8.82%
Madeira 80 5.19%
Sutton 46 2.99%
Baker 2,286 45.52%
Madeira 1,308 26.05%
Haggerty 873 17.38%
Bigus 477 9.50%
Sutton 78 1.55%
Baker 1,725 46.54%
Madeira 958 25.85%
Haggerty 459 12.39%
Bigus 454 12.25%
Sutton 110 2.97%
Sunday, May 21, 2006
OK, We're Sticking Around
20thsenatorial Will Cover the General Election
You've talked us into it. So as long as Baker doesn't have us shut down, deported, or imprisoned, we will continue to cover this race. The ole microbus probably has another campaign left.
We'll be taking a little break for a while, but we'll try to post periodically throughout the summer. Come Fall, we'll be plugging away. Please send any information you have to us at email@example.com. There's a lot more investigating into certain issues that has to be done. Help us out.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Time For A Little Break
Post Election Analysis
Now that the election is over, I can get back to cataloguing my Lawrence Welk records. I promised an analysis of the election, and I will provide that before I take my leave. Baker people need not read this, because it will get in the way of your kool aid drinking.
The election came down to that old saying: "You can fool all of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all of the time. "
Lisa Baker spent twenty years running for this seat. The powers that be chose her to be Charlie Lemmond's replacement long before any of the other candidates decided to run --the best we can guess is sometime in the late 1980s. They realized that Baker would make the perfect front person for their needs. She was semi-attractive, semi-articulate, and semi-intelligent. She also lacked any leadership ability which would only be a detriment, because God forbid she thought for herself. This qualities and lack of qualities made her ideal for their plan. She was good at following directions, and that is exactly what they needed. She was also a non-offensive person -- always ready with a phony smile, a insincere handshake, and usually carrying a large check of other people's money.
Being the chief of staff for Lemmond, a title we believe was made up after the fact, she was able to travel the district glad handing and taking credit for the Lemmond "accomplishments." We note accomplishments, because an in depth look at Lemmond's record proves another old saying --- even a blind chicken gets a kernel of corn now and again.
When the Republicans took over the governor's mansion in 1995, the powers that be decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to send Baker to Harrisburg. They called in a few favors, and reluctantly, newly elected governor Tom Ridge, gave her a position of "deputy chief of staff." "Deputy chief of staff" sounds impressive, but it is impressive in title only. The position, one of fifteen or so, is given primarily as a political payoff.
This position again allowed Baker to take credit for projects to which she was only tangentially connected. Many of these projects were listed on her website as "her accomplishments." Remember this simple truism: the easiest way to pad your resume is to take credit for other people's successes. Taking credit for the stuff she took credit for is like 20thsenatorial taking credit for the success of the blogosphere. This may come to a shock to many of our loyal readers, but 20thsenatorial is only one of millions of blogs, so whereas we may have added to the success of blogs in general, we only played a miniscule role.
All good things must come to an end, as did Baker's job as deputy chief of staff. Fortunately for Baker, she had a golden parachute in the form of the Blue Ribbon Foundation. This gave Baker another opportunity to travel throughout the district and hand out other people's money. The most offensive thing about this job was that the money came directly from higher health care premiums. We had the honor of personally hearing Baker say the money "doesn't come from premiums." Well, let me tell you this, the Blue Ribbon Foundation doesn't run fund raising bake sales. Baker's comments are either outright lies or demonstrate a complete ignorance of how the health care system works.
So for twenty years, Baker was able to establish a reputation of being the "woman with the big check." She never faced adversity head on, and when something adverse did happen -- the gas spill in the Hazleton area -- she ran for cover. This image of a smiling, check giving woman was very hard to overcome.
Russ Bigus began an attack on Baker and the Blue Cross connection, but unfortunately, he did his attack in newspaper ads. Sorry Russ, nobody reads them. Haggerty continued the attack on the airwaves. Unfortunately, Haggerty's attack began too late. Baker had already solidified herself as the "Golden Child." Lemmond and Ridge said she was "top shelf." We were particularly offended by Ridge calling Baker "a leader." For 20 plus years all Baker demonstrated was her ability to be a good staffer and good at following orders. It appears Tom gave the "leader" comment about as much thought as that color code crap.
In the end, Haggerty's attack ads on Baker paid off, but not to his benefit. The top beneficiary of the Haggerty attack ads was Madeira. Without the Haggerty attack, Baker's percentage would have topped 65%. Unfortunately for Haggerty, he experienced some "shoot the messenger" wounds. People began to question Baker, and they needed an alternative. They found that in Madeira, and to a lesser degree Bigus. Baker should thank her lucky stars that this was a multi-candidate race. If the opposition had gotten together, Baker would be looking to Pat Solano, et. al. for another golden parachute.
As for me, there is an old saying, "Old bloggers never die, they just fade away into the blogosphere." Thank you everyone for this opportunity. We appreciated all your kind words and all your comments. We have certainly had a diversity of opinion on 20thsenatorial, and to that the citizens of the 20th owe all of you a big thank you.
We wish Bob McNamara all the luck in the fall, but this district is way too Republican for him to have a chance. To Lisa Baker, we hope she rises above the political hacks who put her where she is today, and we pray to God that Tom Ridge's "leader" comments were more than the bullshit we know they were. We do not look forward to the 20 plus years of mediocrity which Baker is bound to give us. Please prove us wrong Lisa. Please prove to us that you are not just another puppet of the powers that be. You don't need them anymore. Break away and put that Shippensburg education to use.
As for us, we believe Lawrence put it best: adios, au revoir, auf wiedersehen
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Queen E-LISA-beth Reigns
Baker Gets Crowned
Needless to say we are disgusted with the outcome of the Republican primary. We will be doing a complete Monday morning quarterback analysis of the race sometime within the next few days. What further adds to our disgust is two run-ins with her majesty on election day. If royalty exists in NEPA. it is Lisa Baker.
We had the honor of meeting the annointed one and her entourage at a polling place in Pike County. If anyone believes that Baker can represent the needs of the "common man," they are sadly mistaken. Our other run in with Her Highness occured at her 'victory' party, (a victory for her, a defeat for NEPA.) We haven't been in a room of so many stuck-up, self important people in a hell of a long time. It was quite appropriate that these snobs decided to hold their party at a country club. The biggest sacrifice that most of the people in that room had to make was settling for sevruga over beluga caviar.
Too bad the district is gerrymandered so much to the Republicans, because it looks as though we'll have Lisa Baker to kick around for many years to come. The only solace we have is the fact that our expectations of her are so low, that she can do nothing but exceed those expectations.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Enough is Enough (20thsenatorial Undorsement)
A Vote For Lisa Baker is a Vote for the Status Quo
We have had the pleasure of covering the 20th senatorial race for the past two months. We've observed the candidates at candidate forums and debates, we've traveled from Oakland Borough to Middle Smithfield Township to Nescopeck Borough, we've talked to average voters, we've examined the candidates' issue statements, their responses to our questions and the questions of others. We feel we know the candidates pretty well. One thing has become abundently clear, Lisa Baker should not be our next senator. We need change in Harrisburg and she is too much of the same.
Every time we've seen her at an event, she has a binder of canned answers. She never personally responded to any of our inquiries --- every answer came from a staffer. After reviewing her financial report, we are convinced that she is too beholden to the good ol' boy network which gave her everything she has. Throughout her adult life, she has been handed every job, and the powers that be have groomed her for this Senate position for many years. We live in a democracy, not a monarchy. We elect our senators and representatives, we do not have them thrust upon us by the elitists who think we're too dumb to think for ourselves.
We have four other Republican candidates who would provide a fresh face in Harrisburg.
We are very impressed with Carl Sutton. Sutton, a newcomer to politics, started out slow. In the early part of the campaign, Sutton was hesistent and a bit nervous, but his performance at the Lisa Baker Lovefest in Pike County may be reason enough to vote for him. Carl Sutton will take no crap from the insiders in Harrisburg.
Russ Bigus has impressed us, too. He was the first of the candidates to hammer Lisa Baker on the Blue Cross connection. He brought that issue to the forefront, and that's what we need in Harrisburg --- someone who's not afraid to stand up to the Blue Crosses of this world.
David Madeira has shown a dedication to purpose that is seldom seen in politics. Although we don't agree with all of his views, he is very sincere in his beliefs. He also was very responsive to us with our many inquiries. If this is any indication of what he would be like as a Senator, he'll make us proud.
Jim Haggerty has a proven track record in Kingston. He balanced eight consecutive budgets and cut taxes six times. This is the type of fiscal responsibility that Harrisburg needs to see. We also believe that Haggerty could be a star in Harrisburg.
So when it comes to the 20th Senate seat. Get out and vote. If you want change in Harrisburg, which almost all of us do, DON'T VOTE FOR LISA BAKER. Vote for Haggerty, Bigus, Madeira, or Sutton.
FOR DEMOCRATS ONLY
We really like Bob McNamara. He is a man of impeccable character and would make a fine Senator. So to those Democrats in the 20th (both of you) vote for Bob. Bob will have an uphill battle in November, but he will make a worthy opponent for whomever he faces.
Issue 11 ----- Tort Reform
Candidates Express Their Views on Tort Reform
We asked the candidates for their responses to 13 questions. Here is issue 11. We put the candidates names in the blogomatic candidate randomization selector, so the order of their answers is totally random. Here's the eleventh of our questions.
What is your position on tort reform?
The system is set up to protect the consumer and that’s the way it should be. There are safeguards in place to protect physicians. We need better quality healthcare. Sometimes a person has to sue to ensure others get it.
According to William M. Sage, MD, JD, The key to making this work is selectivity. Hospitals and medical groups with demonstrated capacity to deliver high-quality care should receive malpractice relief in exchange for putting in place systems that detect and prevent medical errors, communicate effectively with patients, and pay timely, reasonable compensation for avoidable injuries. I agree with this direction for reform.Haggerty
I am opposed to putting arbitrary limits on damage awards. A one size fits all damage limitation will do nothing but victimize those who seriously injured by the negligence of others. Lawyers do not make damage awards, juries of non-lawyers make awards. Most important, there is no solid evidence that arbitrary caps on damages actually reduce insurance costs.
Strike a balance between those injured in the course of medical care and the need for access to medical care. Caps on non-economic damages like California has had for decades reduce the time and cost of adjudication and increase access to the courts for non-fatal injuries - justice for all. “Loser-Pays” protects the rights of the injured and the innocent simultaneously. Support Empower PA.
The Fair Share Act, recently vetoed by Governor Rendell, would have provided that a defendant be financially responsible only for his or her proportionate share of liability in a civil case and would have brought Pennsylvania in line with lawsuit reform measures passed in 44 other states. I support enactment of this legislation
Additionally, I support common sense caps on non-economic damages in civil cases.
There is a crisis with all matters regarding litigation in PA. We have been witness to people suing and being awarded large sums of money for things that we truly their fault. In reforming this process, the first area that should be examined is frivolous lawsuits that cost all of us money in legal fees and court costs as well as the lawsuits that are filed that simply take advantage of good doctors. I do not believe an overall "cap" should be placed on everything, but I do believe we are in desperate need of medical malpractice reform and more protection for our Physicians.
Issue 10 ----- Gambling
Candidates Express Their Views on Gambling
(This is not the major announcement.)
We asked the candidates for their responses to 13 questions. We've made it to issue 10. We put the candidates names in the blogomatic candidate randomization selector, so the order of their answers is totally random. Here's the tenth of our questions.
What is your position on legalized gambling in Pennsylvania?
Act 71 and Act 72 were about 3 issues: Referendum, Gambling and Property Tax Relief. As a Superintendent along with our School Board, we became an Act 72 School because that was the only way to provide for some property tax relief to our home and farm owners. I am not a proponent of gambling but I wouldn’t turn the clock back towards no effort for property tax relief.
Gambling is legalized in many forms in Pennsylvania. The upcoming revenues that will be generated from slot machines are expected to be $1-2 billion. This should be used in a program I have developed to reward academic excellence and help families with the cost of higher education. High school students who graduate with a “b” or higher average would be eligible to receive scholarships to attend our state-system schools.
I don’t believe increasing our dependence on gambling revenues is sound public policy, or that gambling should be viewed as an economic development tool. However, gambling is here, and we need to provide our communities with the resources to address the consequences, namely more state police and assistance to local law enforcement departments.
The Gaming Control Board must be open and accountable to the public and the system must be appropriately and vigorously monitored.
I support Representative Clymer’s efforts to repeal gambling. Like the pay raise, it was unconstitutional in process and wrong in principle. It pretended to cut taxes and limit spending, but all it did was open the floodgates for a vice. Some have said it is here to stay, but that is what they said about the pay raise. If we want to repeal it, we can. PA doesn’t need gambling, we need good jobs.
What is your position on legalized gambling in Pennsylvania? Gambling in PA is going to foster yet another addiction. However, many Pennsylvanian's that I have spoken to on the campaign trail are happy gambling is coming! If we are going to have gambling, and it looks like we are, then we should take advantage of the revenue with regards to reducing our burden of property tax. As you know, I have already taken these steps as an elected official of the Dallas School Board in voting for Act 72.
I believe the revenues from legalized gambling in Pennsylvania can go a long way to reducing the property tax burden in the Commonwealth. High property taxes are an undue burden on all property owners, but particularly upon our senior citizens.
Friday, May 12, 2006
20thsenatorial Will be Making a Announcement Tomorrow
We are pleased to announce that tomorrow we will be making a major announcement. Please stay tuned for details.
Much Ado About Nothing
Haggerty Receives a Whopping $675 more from Lawyers than Baker
Jim Haggerty should be ashamed of himself. If you're a lawyer, Haggerty, where's all that lawyer money. The financial reports have been reviewed, and Haggerty's lawyer contributions amount to $675 more than Baker. (Based on financial reports filed on May 6, 2006, we determined that Baker received $12,600 from people identified in the legal profession, whereas Haggerty received $13,275) Maybe he's not as "in bed" with the lawyers as the conventional wisdom would have us think. We were, to say the least, surprised. We were beginning to believe the "word on the street," but we guess R. Saunders and John Adams were right --- facts are stubborn things.
Perhaps Baker's old boss Senator Charles Lemmond (also one of those "evil" lawyers) could account for Baker's more than respectabe showing among lawyers. A cursory review of old Lemmond financial report shows that Lemmond always received hefty donations from the legal community.
Haggerty did in fact receive contributions from those in the legal field, which was expected. After all, the guy is a lawyer. So was Charlie Lemmond. In fairness, we checked Madeira's report, a chiropractor, who took a lot of money from chiropractors. Bigus and Sutton did not have sufficient funds to warrant scrutiny.
A further review of Haggerty's finacial report shows that only 3 of the top 20 money contributors to the Haggerty campaign were lawyers. Haggerty's three largest contributors consisted of $10,000 from his aunt, $5,000 from a college room mate, and $5000 from a Kingston businessman.
We're really glad we took the advice of the commenters, or we wouldn't have gotten to the bottom of this. Thank you.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Back In The Saddle Again
Felt to Dust Off the FBI Duds to Get Financial Reports
Since we have been unable to access the Haggerty financial report on line, we have called W. Mark Felt back into action. W. is, as we speak, waiting for Haggerty to move the planter on his front porch to a specific location. That will tell W. where Haggerty will be dead dropping a copy of the campaign finance report.
Hopefully tomorrow morning, after W.'s nap, we will be fine tooth combing the financial report.
Is This Baker's Jack Abramoff Moment?
Baker's Blue Ribbon Foundation Gives Wyoming Valley Health Care System (WVHCS) $200,000 in 2003
WVHCS Executives Give Baker for Senate $2000 in Campaign Contributions in 2005
20thsenatorial has discovered what may be Lisa Baker's Jack Abramoff moment. The Times Leader reported today that "the biggest recipient" in 2003 of Blue Ribbon Foundation funds "was Wyoming Valley Health Care System, which received $200,000..." This amount represents nearly one quarter of all monies disbursed by the Blue Ribbon Foundation in 2003.
On November 29, 2005 and December 15, 2005, WVHCS said "thank you" in the form of two $1000 campaign contributions from Dr. William Host and James P. Carmody. Dr. Host is the President and CEO of WVHCS. Carmody is the Vice President of Human Resources for WVHCS.