Monday, July 27, 2009

Calling All Blogwhores

Why, hello there, sailor!

Looking for a good time? You've come to the right blogspot.

You see, I'm a blogwhore. I found that this weekend. On Saturday afternoon, Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan told a few reporters he plans to challenge LV Congressman Charlie Dent next year. By Saturday night, before I'd even written a single word about this race, I'd already been snarked as a "Blogwhore for Dent."

Political kneebreaker Chris Casey, trying his best to ingratiate himself with the Callahan crowd, has apparently taken it upon himself to screech that I will soon lead the "Callahan hate parade." I'll even be using a Morning Call "portal," whatever the hell that is, to smear the Christmas City mayor. Oh yeah, after complaining about some personal shots being directed at Callahan, he gratuitously adds that Lehigh County DA Jim Martin is some sort of boozehound.

Extremist rants like those spewed by Casey will do one thing - drive voters to Charlie Dent, especially in the Lehigh Valley.

Between tricks, I've just finished reading a series of historical novels about 9th century England, collectively called The Saxon Tales. Saxon England was in danger then of being totally assimilated by the evil Danes, who raped and pillaged their way through Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia. Wessex, ruled by Alfred, stopped the advance. In a black and white world of Christians and pagans, Alfred could still see the multiple shades of grey. He succeeded by combining Christians and pagans, Saxons and Danes.

Today, the war seems to be between Democrats and Republicans who are equally unwilling to listen to each other. Despite a recent apology over remarks directed at a Cambridge police officer, President Obama has failed to produce his promised bipartisan approach to our stagnant economy, dependent energy policy and ailing health care system. Dent, on the other hand, has consistently strived for bipartisan solutions.

Callahan's sale pitch so far seems to be limited to the good job he's done in the Christmas City. He claims to be bipartisan, too, and did help Republican Meg Holland behind the scenes in her race for city controller. But he's mayor in a city with no Republicans on council. That's great, but it's no reason to elect him to Congress.

Now if you'll excuse me, someone has just tuned into my webcam for a private show.


You Rang? said...

Let me ask you this, I realize County Exec is very different from Congress; but what did Cunningham accomplish that warranted him to be bumped up to County Exec? (my sentence lives in run-on city!)

In my best recollection, I can't think of too many politicians, even Fast Eddie, that did such a bang up job, that it warrants a higher position. (Run-On City, Pa., 10684)

Heck that argument may even hold water for our current Commander?

What did any of them accomplish to gain the voters support?

If several people didn't get killed, former Mayor of Philadelphia Wilson Goode would have had my vote for fixing up those buildings he ordered to be bombed. Too bad I don't live in Philly!

Peace, ~~Alex

Anonymous said...

Hey Bernice is that the dress you wore in the Courthouse bathroom when Onembo caught you.

Anonymous said...

I've been a regular reader of your blog for quite some time, and I've noticed your tendency to pick favorites at the start. I've also noticed your ability to stay intellectually open and occasionally allow your opinions to shift, sometimes quite significantly. That's how I like to be.

This is going to be an interesting election, but only if we all stay open-minded until the race kicks into gear. We really have a tough choice to make this time. Truth is, both of these guys are powerhouse politicians.

I know both Dent and Callahan. I like them both, but very differently. Dent is a total nerd, which I like: an American war buff who can talk for hours (or whatever the length of the Bethlehem Halloween parade is) about every battle fought on U.S. soil. I thoroughly enjoy that kind of company: I learn something. He's the real deal, but he's in it for a career, and he's SO foolishly chosen to tow the Republican line. I was straying, but he lost me totally at Lucy Ledbetter.

Callahan is so different, so Irish-American (and other stuff too: a mutt), so middle-class and plagued with issues.

It's odd: Cunningham, Callahan, and Dolan (City Councilwoman, maybe future mayoral candidate) all had awful childhoods, and those stories are part of what make them the most resilient and hard-working politicians with roots in Bethlehem.

I like both Dent and Callahan. I really want to see who runs the most issue-oriented campaign, and I can't wait to see them face to face in a debate!

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Hey Bernice is that the dress you wore in the Courthouse bathroom when Onembo caught you."

Why yes, thanks for noticing.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 1:43,

I like them both. Contrary to what I'm sure we'll be hearing, Callahan has been a good mayor for Bethlehem. And Dent has always impressed the hell out of me.

If Callahan were running for two incompatible offices at the same time, like Koury did when he ran for judge and magistrate simultaneously, I'd have a problem. But I see no problem w/ him running for Congress one year after his reelection as mayor. If anything, he's being open about his intentions and voters in Bethlehem can certainly decide to run someone else if this bothers them.

But I'll go w/ Dent and I'll be honest about it. I know where he stands on most issues and basically find myself in agreement with him. I like his centrist approach and the careful consideration he gives to the issues. I would have voted for the stimulus package that he voted against, and in hindsight, I'd have to say Dent got that right and I was wrong. I do disagree with his vote on the Lilly Leadbetter legislation, just as I'm sure I would disagree w/ some of Callahan's positions.

And that's a problem, at least for now. We don't know where Callahan stands on any of these matters. Is he going to be a Pelosi Democrat or will he be adopting a more centrist approach? If he is, then why is he running? Is it just because he thinks he can win?

Right now, the only reason to support him would be his party affiliation. And that means very little to me.

But this is not like the Bennett or Dertinger campaign. The former was a joke from beginning to end and the latter had no intention of running until the last minute. It will be a true test for Charlie Dent and John Callahan. The voters will have two good choices.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:43. Please! kissing up to BO by dropping the Cunningham and Dolan name are chaep and transparent ploys. Joe Long while a Party Chairman actively campaigned for Callahan in his first Mayor primary. The Long ties are there.

Dent is knowledgable about many issues while Callahan is alrady reading what his little skunkworks operatives are writing for him. Dent is a regular guy while Callahan knows you when you are of help.

Anonymous said...


I think next year will be a Republican year. The pendulum is swinging back from Democrat/change and that will have an effect here locally.Perhaps a case of poor timing by Bethlehem's mayor.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...


Don't let the party affiliation of Bethlehem's City Council fool you. There have been at least 2 members of council who have worked against Callahan more than any Republican would have. And a third member, who just dislikes/hates Callahan so much that he worked against him. While it may be a D behind their name, it should include an INO.

Callahan will make a fine Congressman and will work to help the people of the 15th.

Anonymous said...

Callahan = Rendell.

Any questions?

Anonymous said...

Bernie, how can you have time to even read the want ads much less a volume of work with working and blogging. I can't get past Section A anymore. You are a marvel. I say, a marvel. Keep up the good work and keep us politically informed. Dent vs. Callahan to be a good show.
Amazed in Allentown

Anonymous said...

What happened with Lucy Ledbetter? Hear this name mentioned a lot. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Have listened to Callahan at many a public event. He is an engaging speaker: charming, handsome, welcoming. Debates will be most interesting. Where does he stand on federal issues? Sad to read of these three Bethlehemites having sad childhoods but as blogger says,
it has made them what they are today.

Anonymous said...

"It will be a true test for Charlie Dent and John Callahan. The voters will have two good choices."

2:10 AM

well said.

Anonymous said...

this race, if it sticks to issues, will result in LV voters being the true winners. But, I'm sure we are going to hear all kinds of crap about how charlie dent is a GOP lacky and that john callahan is really the worst mayor of the worst city in the state.

Bernie, I find it remarkably interesting that you would focus on Callahan being a D mayor in a city with no R's on council. How can you even hold something like that against him? The guy, along with Cunningham, bucked the old guard D's in bethlehem to get elected to city council and then mayor.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I find it remarkably interesting that you would focus on Callahan being a D mayor in a city with no R's on council. How can you even hold something like that against him?"

I don't. He claims to be bipartisan, but it's hard to claim bipartisanship in a one-party town. I do note that Callahan did at least secretly support the city's R controller. I also agree that Callahan and Cunningham have had friction with the old guard Ds like Schweder.

Anonymous said...

After eight years of Bush/Cheney it's going to take a LONG TIME for the pendulum to swing back for Dent's advantage, more than just one year.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Obama's formerly high approval ratings have gone negative. The stim package, which was supposed to prevent unemployment from exceeding 8&, has failed. That cap and trade energy bill will hurt Pennsylvanians, costing us as many as 36,000 jobs. Health care reform, though desperately needed, is being rushed.

I don't see the pendelum swinging all the way back in one year, but it's coming back.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The Lucy Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is a reaction to a 5-4 decision of the Supreme Court.

Ledbetter, right before retiring from Goodyear, learned she had been subjected to gender based discrimination for 19 years. The Supreme Court upheld the 180 day statute of limitations even though Ledbetter had no idea what other workers were earning until right before her retirement.

Congress clarified the language of the statute in the Fair Pay Act of 2009, which I believe is the first bill Obama signed as President.

Anonymous said...

Dent needs a good opponent.

Not so much to see Dent defeated or to change the seat to the other party, but to force the Republican Party to open their tent a little.

Dent is unique and sometimes bucks party leadership. The Republicans need to accept tolerance to broaden their appeal. Otherwise the Republican Party is doomed as a fringe group.

Anonymous said...

I do not think that Callahan and Cunningham had "awful" childhoods. They grew up in working class families and probably struggled at times but say it was "awful" is an overstatement. Cunningham speaks fondly of his growing up in Bethlehem...although you will be convinced he grew up in West Bethlehem if you speak to him...really he grew up in northeast Bethlehem and went to Freedom HS.
Dolan did not even grow up in Bethlehem. She was an army child. She moved here in the late 80s.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:13- perhaps the C's grew up in an abusive household with a Da' who had the Irish curse. Otherwise they had the same "awful" experience that I had growing up in Betlum.

Anonymous said...

"Anon 12:13- perhaps the C's grew up in an abusive household with a Da' who had the Irish curse. Otherwise they had the same "awful" experience that I had growing up in Betlum."

dude, how bout not speculating about that of which you know nothing. Callahan's father is deceased, and can't defend himself from your libelous "perhaps..."

Mr. Cunningham Sr. is nothing but a class individual (albeit in dire need of rogaine) who many of us think the world of.

Bernie O'Hare said...

What's all this about an Irish curse? Am I going to go bald now, too?

You Rang? said...

The Irish curse is half over. The Red Sox won a few World Series. Now all we need is Notre Dame to start winning again. By the way, when was the last time Notre Dame won a National Championship? If you think it's football, you are wrong. It was the women's basketball team under the guidance of Muffet McGraw back in 2001.

Peace, ~~Alex

You Rang? said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony K said...

Are we talking about Mayor Callahan? The mayor that mailed out fliers against his own party members on Bethlehem city council. As for dolan as an 8th grade english teacher at Nitschmann middle school she decided on her own without anyones permission to have a discussion obout their use of the "F" word? And yes it was a co-ed class of 12 & 13 year olds. Some people may think they are a bit light on judgement.

ironpigpen said...


Obama poll numbers dropping?

No way. He is the SMARTEST President in the HISTORY of the United States. I have been told 10,000,000 times by everybody, so you can believe it.

Obama is also the GREATEST President in the HISTORY of the United States. I was told that 10,000,000 times by everybody, too.

Get with the program, O'Hare:


The Constitution is "adequate enough" --- OBAMA


Enjoy the Obama Presidency, the FUN is just BEGINNING...



Buyers' Remorse, anyone?

ironpigpen said...

PS - Could have had Hillary :)

Rising Sun said...


Let's be honest here my friend, Obama's average approval remains 56%, or roughly where President Bush was at the start of his re-elect, a re-elect he won with under 50% approval. President Obama is still remarkably strong by any modern equivalent. Go back and look at Clinton, Bush I, and Reagan by the fall of their first years. The fall was in full swing. President Obama is beating all 3 of them, and President Bush II for that matter at the same point.

Now, let's also take an honest broker look at whether or not Charlie was right for voting against this President's agenda- from the stimulus, to the budget, to war funding, to the first round of budget votes, to Lilly Ledbetter, to EFCA, etc.- based on the results to this point. In January, we were losing 700,000 jobs a month, now we are losing 300,000 a month, and the trend is falling. Second quarter GDP figures rose from the first quarter, and their year end forecast is better than it was early this year. The banks that were about to "melt down" are turning a profit in July of '09, and some are paying back their TARP funds already, plus interest. Now, to be fair, the deficit was projected at $1.3 trillion for this year on January 20th, roughly the same as last year's actual deficit, and it is $1.8 trillion projected now. I'll take that as a fair argument for the other side, and I'll accept it if the other trends continue. Hell, even the automakers are coming out of bankruptcy faster than previously expected.

Now, as for John's record as Mayor, I'll be happy to defend that too. 6 balanced budgets, several years since the last tax increase, job creation that is the best in the Lehigh Valley, and the re-development of the South Side. For those who wonder what he did to warrant a promotion, there you go.

I don't think it's productive to get down in the gutter, and go with the "Charlie is in the pocket of the oil industry" garbage we heard in the past, because quite frankly it doesn't work. I do however think Charlie should be evaluated for his record on the big-ticket items of this current term. The Lehigh Valley back Barack Obama by large margins. So far this year, Charlie has voted against the stimulus, budget, cap and trade, war funding, Lilly Ledbetter, and is planning to oppose Employee Free Choice and Health Care. We can disagree on what that means, but we can't disagree that these are the facts. I don't support him for these reasons, you may support him for your reasons, and good people can come to different conclusions based on these facts. Let's just agree on the facts to begin with.

As for Scott A's argument that next year will be a GOP year, he should read public opinion polls putting his party in the 20's for approval, in other words every poll not from Rasmussen. The generic ballot is as wide as it was in 2007 at this point, with no change. He can cite Pat Toomey's performance against Specter, and that is totally fair, but I would have to say that Arlen's problems are Arlen's. His support personally is lukewarm amongst Pennsylvanians. Quite frankly, I think the party switch is hurting him with general election voters because it's a sign of bad faith.

ironpigpen said...

"No business as ususal in Washington" - OBAMA ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL



Sorry --- Obama IS a liar and a fraud

Slick marketing campaign, though!

Anonymous said...

Does Bernie still have the stained dress.

Anonymous said...

THe only person with the Irish curse is Anna McHale and she's not even Irish, poor thing.

Anonymous said...

7:43, I guess if you ever go for women Ann is in trouble.

Anonymous said...

Will the pendulum swing back next year? We can all think what we chose to on this subject but events will play out on their own accord with no consideration for our thoughts. Republicans having weather several years of countervailing trends understand this all too well. The mood of the public has changed dramatically in a relatively short time, but please don’t let me worry you.

Scott Armstrong

Rising Sun said...


I'm sorry, but no credible evidence exists to support your assertion that public opinion has dramatically changed in the last 6 months. No public polling, for that matter no private polling in this state at least, suggest you are correct. Most polling suggests the President would still have been elected, by the same margin in the EC, and close to the same in the PV. As for your assertion, you are right, things can absolutely change. It would be foolish for a Democrat to assume we are in the clear because your party has 24% approval in July of 2009. Things could also be bad for your party again though in 2009.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Rich, I don't think things can get much worse for the Rs. They're on the mat. And like Scott says, the pendelum will soon beging to swing the other way. Obama's popularity is declining and this is because he has been over-reaching, trying to do too much, too soon. It will catch up to him.

The cap and trade energy bill is a perfect example. 300 pages were dumpred on Congressmen's desks at 3 AM on the day that bill came up for a vote. It will drive utility rates thru the roof. It does provide tax concessions for low income people, but is vague about that. Here in Pa. it will mean 36,000 lost jobs.

This is over-reaching. This is what happens when one party does not listen to another.

On top of that, we are going to have some powerful Rs running statewide. Corbett will liely be the next governor. Toomey may lose, but will run very hard.

I'm no political strategist, but my rhunesticks tell me things are looking bad for the Dems necxt year.

Rising Sun said...


The President remains the most popular President 7 months into his term in modern times. His popularity is in the high 50's. Let's not get too far out on this one. He still beats the GOP on nearly every conceivable issue, even on a lot of defense issues. I think his demise is being over reported.

As for their candidates in 2010, Harrisburg folks are completely split on the ability of Corbett. Yes, he won, down the ballot. As many Democrats want to run against him as want to run against Gerlach. I wouldn't bet very much on him. Time will tell here, as is the same for Toomey. Toomey's only prayer is a race against Specter, where he can go very negative. Even then, it's dicey.

At the end of the day, this state voted for the President by an overwhelming margin, his approval is still a solid 56% here, and we have a million voter registration advantage.

As far as cap and trade Bernie, I'm sorry, I do not accept the 36,000 jobs lost number. That number first came out in a GOP committee report in the House. The complaints about "time to read the bill" are a little weak to me too, the bill's been in the relevant committees being worked on since last winter. Any member could check in on the progress there and get an idea what's happening during the process. Not saying there shouldn't be a period to read it, I'm just saying that it did not change Charlie's vote, or anyone else's.

Bernie O'Hare said...


The cap and trade energy bill was an 1,100 page bill. 300 pages of that bill were dumped on Congressmen's desks at 3 AM on the morning of passage. The stim package, of course, allowed no opportuinity for consideration, although the argument of exigent circumstances can be made there.

I'm sorry, but must conclude that a cap on coal emissions in Pa. will have a dramatic impact on our economy. That's just common sense. It may or may not be 36,000, but it will be a job loss and higher utility bills. it will be some time before green jobs kick in. Ironically, one of the promoters of these green jobs is Charlie Dent, who advocates the use of hudrogen and even nuclear power. both of which are environmentally friendly. But just the other day, I posted a video in which language concerning hydrogen was completely omitted from a bill.

This is why I claim we are over-reaching. I'd love to see green jobs in Pa., but think we need more of a transition than what the cap and trade bill allows.

Rising Sun said...

As I said Bernie, it's not a great process, but the reality is that Charlie and the other 434 members of Congress would have voted the same on that bill had they had a week with it. I believe the bill will create just as many jobs, even in Pennsylvania, as it loses us. You disagree. I'm not deriding your logic, this is a coal state, and it may in fact be painful. I just don't agree that it will. As for Charlie on green energy, there are a lot of real good scientists and experts who don't like his ideas on nuclear and hydrogen power. It's a debate to be had for sure, but I'm not conceding he's Mr. Green.

Anonymous said...

Rising Sun,

As I wrote, don't let my concerns about the public mood trouble you.It appears you have it all figured out.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

"The Irish curse is half over. The Red Sox won a few World Series. Now all we need is Notre Dame to start winning again. By the way, when was the last time Notre Dame won a National Championship? If you think it's football, you are wrong. It was the women's basketball team under the guidance of Muffet McGraw back in 2001.

Peace, ~~Alex"

wrong. fencing, 2003.

Anonymous said...

Is that a nationally accredited TEAM sport or a club sport?

Anonymous said...

Combined men and women's fencing:
2003 + 2005

Women's soccer: 2004

Anonymous said...

Bye bye Chuck.