"What's black and white and read all over?"

Thursday, October 12, 2006
Posted 9:17 PM by

Indicted Fumo aides have secret defense fund

I could see if powerful allies of state Sen. Vince Fumo started a defense fund for him, but for two indicted computer techs in his office? Something sure stinks.Here's the question of the day and it comes from the pre-trial hearing of one of two indicted flunkies from Pennsylvania state Sen. Vince Fumo's office.

"Why do two lowly computer technicians have a legal defense fund created by three prominent Philadelphians?" Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Zauzmer asked.

And he isn't the only one curious about the all-too-cozy arrangement.

"We are assuming that the senator is heavily involved in that trust fund" since the donors' names remain secret, U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn Jr. told defendant Leonard Luchko.

The fund benefits Luchko and Mark C. Eister, who are charged with obstructing the investigation by deleting years worth of e-mail about Fumo's ties to the Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods.

Federal authorities are probing whether the Philly Democrat extorted $17 million in donations from PECO Energy to the non-profit.

The defense fund was established by J. Whyatt Mondesire, the local chapter president of the NAACP; lawyer Rhonda Resnick Cohen, who is married to Comcast executive and former mayoral aide David Cohen; and former U.S. Attorney Robert Curran, now a lawyer in Delaware County.

Defense lawyers say their clients have offered to cooperate but want immunity. Prosecutors say they won't offer immunity unless they know what the men have to say.

NEWS FLASH: Wal-Mart abuses its wage slaves

Here's a shock the nation's biggest retailer and employer forces its Pennsylvania workers to do additional unpaid work off-the-clock.

A state jury found Thursday that Wal-Mart broke Pennsylvania labor laws by forcing employees to work through rest breaks and off the clock, a decision plaintiffs' lawyers said would result in at least $62 million in damages.

Is anybody really surprised that Wal-Mart forces its employees to do work off-the-clock? Name me a non-unionized Pennsylvania employer who doesn't.The jury deliberated on the verdict for several hours over two days, after a five-week trial. Jurors found that Wal-Mart acted in bad faith but rejected claims that the company denied workers meal breaks.

Wal-Mart settled a similar Colorado case for $50 million and is appealing a $172 million award handed down last year by a California jury.

Hey, whose company doesn't do this? Mine does, but gets around labor rules by declaring us all management employees subject to termination at any time.


In what is my favorite news story of the week so far, Pennsylvania Congressional candidate Raj Peter Bhakta paraded an elephant and a six-piece mariachi band through the water near the mouth of the Rio Grande along the Texas-Mexico border Tuesday.

Bhakta, who appeared on "The Apprentice" before getting fired by Donald Trump, is running against Democratic freshman Rep. Allyson Schwartz for her congressional seat.

This was the Republican's not so subtle hint that America's borders could be more secure.

Although not directly related to Bakhta's elephant stunt, Time Magazine's cover shot and story this week reveals how desperate Republicans have become."The elephant never made landfall into Mexico, but I tell you something, he could have made 15 laps back and forth, but no one showed up," Bhakta said in Wednesday editions of The Brownsville Herald.

My question is why would anybody show up, unless the band members didn't have green cards?

Besides, the 9/11 hijackers didn't sneak across the border in the middle of the night. They flew here with the full knowledge of our government, which was later too mired in its own bureaucracy to stop them.

Securing our borders is a pipe dream. America is just too damn big for that. Instead, our money woud be better spent helping Mexico modernize so that its people don't feel compelled to flee here for a better life.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Posted 11:29 PM by

Slow and steady Pa. lawmakers lose race

Pennsylvania lawmakers have not addressed any meaningful reforms this year despite the ouster of 17 incumbents in the May primary.Sorry I haven't written for a week folks. Been a bit busy at work wearing two hats as a full-time sports editor and part-time webmaster/submissive.

It's not like a missed much anyway, which is precisely the point of today's post.

Amid an onslaught of political corruption cases in New Jersey, top legislators on Wednesday vowed to push sweeping anti-corruption and ethics reforms toward law in an aggressive bid to tackle the state's leading concerns by year's end.

Constrast that with Pennsylvania's Legislature, which after months of talk over the summer recess, was unable to reform the state law legalizing slot machines before the first five licenses were handed out this month.

The legislators still haven't prohibited themselves from owning up to 1 percent of a slots parlor.

Pennsylvania lawmakers also haven't passed any meaningful campaign finance and lobbying reforms, curtailed their per-diems and other perks, or proposed more meaningful statewide property tax reform.

It's high time the reform movement in this state dusted off its primary election playbook in preperation for the general election.

One final thought, New Jersey lawmakers are paid $49,000 a year while their unproductive Pennsylvania counterparts are now making $72,187.


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