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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, June 29, 2007

BernieGate - Day 17: Boscola Ripped by Former "Executive Director"?

Yesterday, I told you about the email campaign launched by Aphrodite's Daughter. It's directed at Bernie Kieklak, aka BTNP, chief of staff to state senator Lisa Boscola. Kieklak has offered no apology to the private citizen he most viciously attacked, and we'd like him to remedy that insensitive oversight. A sample email, including all relevant email addresses, is right here.

In one of many comments posted to yesterday's blog, someone suggests Kieklak is "insanely jealous of his access to [Boscola] (witness his behavior in getting [Lisa]'s top aide -- a woman -- fired)."

It's true that in 2001, Kieklak was employed with another state senator. He wanted to reunite with Lisa afyer being yanked from her by senate leaders. He wormed his way back into Lisa's office by slamming her then female "executive director," Jennifer Boger, with demeaning emails very similar to the slings and arrows he unleashed here.

Boger soon left Boscola for another state senator, and Bernie was back!

I was about to correct the person who claimed Boscola had fired her only female top aide. But before that happened, it appears Boger did it herself!

Holy schneike!

Although I can't be positive we were talking to Boger, here are some of the exchanges.

Boger?: BTNP didnt get me fired I left on my own free will.

Anon: She would have been better off trying to convince you to stay.

Boger?: I would never have agreed to stay and work for someone of my gender who condones BTNP's behavior because by keeping him on her staff is exactly what she is doing - condoning his behavior.

Me: Actually, I blogged about this. As I recall, you returned to Senator Fumo's office. Did you suffer a paycut?

Anon: If there is even a remote chance that you are who I think you are, let me say this: Boscola lost her last opportunity to be taken seriously when you left her office.

Boger?: I am not sure I am the person you think I am but I think I was her only female executive director. COS title was reserved for BTNP only. I have been lurking and reading since this whole thing came about I suffered nothing when I left her office. As a matter of fact I gained more by leaving than had I stayed.

Me: Holy shit! You're Jennifer Boger! Good for you. I blogged about your situation, and it doesn't seem to me that there is any difference between the way BTNP acted towars you and the way he dealt with other women. I'm truly sorry for what you had to endure. What bothers me most is the failure to recognize this bad behavior toeards woman. Did he ever apologize to you?

Boger?: No I wish to stay as I posted.. Anonymous

This commenter loses any claim to anonymity when she tells us she was Boscola's only female executive director. Although I can't be sure it is Boger or someone posing as Boger, I do know one thing. Whoever posted that comment, Boger or not, did so from the senate of Pennsylvania. I've saved the results from my sitemeter.

The Lehigh Valley Blogosphere Continues to Expand

The blogosphere is defined in the Devil's Dictionary as a "poisonous environment of methane, self-satisfaction and other hot gases," where it is said the only creatures who survive are "low-order molds, able to feed off the waste of others.” And a blogger is "anyone with enough time or narcissism to document every tedious bit of minutia filling their uneventful lives."

Is it me, or is that a shot?

Well, I'm taking my fellow narcissists on a tour de blog here in the Lehigh Valley. Here are some of the latest trends.

1. State Legislation Coverage, Lehigh Valley Style.

Blue Coyote has really found a useful niche posting legislative proposals from Lehigh Valley state reps and senators. He clues us in on items that might not hit the mainstream but are nonetheless interesting. The latest example is Rich Grucela's link-to-learn idea for kids in private schools.

2. Christmas City Rising.

Bethlehem has two newly-discovered blogs. AJ's Web Blog offers the perspective of a 24 year-old dude. He shares my concern that our society is still too divided. Down and Out in Bethlehem, the product of BethlehemDem, is a welcome spotlight on Bethlehem city hall. In one of his first posts, BethlehemDem tells us there are actually two Democratic parties in Bethlehem - the Callahan and Schweder factions.

3. Placeblogs Rising.

Anyone who reads NewsOverCoffee (Nazareth) or Our West End Neighborhood (Allentown), knows the value of a placeblog. It's a place to spotlight topics specific to a particular community. The print media must appeal to a much larger community, so placeblogs fill an important niche.

The Morning Call is attempting to fill this niche with an Allentown-specific blog called the Queen City Daily. It has cast a glaring spotlight on Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski's most recent campaign finance report. The Express Times also has a few community blogs, including Jim Deegan's Around Town (Easton) and Nick Falsone's Bedlam in Bethlehem.

Queen City Daily is the most informative mainstream placeblog, while Jim Deegan's Around Town is by far the most entertaining. Look at his headline about old Fleck campaign signs - You won't Fleckin' believe this ...

4. The Voice of Women Rising.

Early this year, prominent blogger Kathy Sierra was forced to cancel a public appearance and suspend her blog. She was, in fact, locked inside her home. She had been the victim of all kinds of verbal use, including death threats. When she finally spoke out, she had this to say.

If you want to do something about it, do not tolerate the kind of abuse that includes threats or even suggestions of violence (especially sexual violence). Do not put these people on a pedestal. Do not let them get away with calling this "social commentary", "protected speech", or simply "criticism."

Unfortunately, some women in the LV blogosphere have already been subjected to exactly that kind of treatment by Bernie Kieklack, chief of staff to state senator Lisa Boscola. He's even given the same stupid defenses.

In spite of, or perhaps because of, this abuse, there has been a refreshing outburst of female bloggers with their perspective. Pam Varkony's Perspectives is a must read. Look Out Lehigh Valley, Aphrodite's Daughter and UpperMacQueen have their own blogs, but all of them post frequently at LVPoliblog. I'd offer them mine, but I get too many libel threats. They have mounted a campaign to force both Boscola and Kieklak to apologize personally for Kieklak's sexist rants.

And fortunately, even more women are speaking out. Lehigh Valley Housewife, Dottie, RadCenter and others have proven to be a forceful and much appreciated voices, and I hope they start their own blogs, too.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Northampton County Council Vainly Tries To Justify $1.5 Million Boo Boo

Yesterday, I told you that Northampton county council has short circuited the bidding process for the county's computer services, leaving only one, very high, bid on the table. This will end up costing taxpayers $1.5 million. Today's Express Times and Morning Call include some of council's goofy justifications.

Charles (I'm an expert on everything) Dertinger: ''The playing field has been opened up. Everybody now knows each other's numbers.'' (Um, Charles, that only helps the taxpayer. The next set of bids would be lower, and you were told that during a public meeting.)

John (I want to be exec) Cusick: "I think the administration really needs to look at how they wound up in this situation with only one responsible and responsive bid to the RFP.'' (John, that's because you refused to let them rebid the package. That's an easy one, but maybe you should study it in a committee for a few years.)

Ann (I wanted to be exec first) McHale: ''It's going to get to a point where no one is going to want to bid on county business because if it isn't the price the county wants to hear, they are just going to reject the bids until they get something they want to hear. I don't think that's fair.'' (Newsflash to Ann - you represent the taxpayers, not the bidders.)

Council's concern that no one will do business with the county, is pure manure. As long as they're there to throw our money away, the list of potential vendors will be long, but not so distinguished.

Coucil Prez Grube made the right call for the county. A simple rebid will result in cheaper bids and more options for the county. That's in the best interest of the county and its taxpayers. Instead, we're stuck with one high bid, a formal protest from one of the bidders, and Angle intends to sue next week.

BernieGate - Day 16

On June 13, The Morning Call first reported sexist and misogynistic remarks that Bernie Kieklak, chief of staff to state senator Lisa Boscola, published on this blog. His remarks to the press? "Do you think I care?" Boscola's public statement? ''What, do you want me to fire him now?''

On June 20, Boscola decided to keep her chief of staff. She's betting this crisis is just a tempest in a teapot, not The Perfect Storm. Inside sources tell me she's met with the editorial board of at least one local paper to put a lid on this story. Despite Boscola's efforts at damage control, The Morning Call and Express Times have both exposed Kieklak with a combined total of thirty-six news stories, editorials, letters to the editor and blogs.

Yesterday, Aphrodite's Daughter started an email campaign directed at Bernie Kieklak. She apparently subscribes to Edmund Burke's observation that evil triumphs "when good men [or women] do nothing." She urges us all to send emails, asking Kieklak to do two things.

First, track down Look Out Lehigh Valley, one of his victims, and make arrangements to apologize to her in person. Lisa Boscola doesn't seem to think we private citizens need an apology. Not important enough. The rest of us feel otherwise.

Second, after apologizing, Kieklak is asked to resign. ... Immediately.

Aphrodite's Daughter suggests we send a copy to Morning Call Comments Editor Glenn Kranzley. I'll be sending a cc to Lisa Boscola as well. If you'd like a sample email, including all relevant email addresses, just click here.

Also in hiding are most of the LV delegation to the state assembly. With the exception of state representative Doug Reichley, not a single member has condemned Kieklak's behavior. Their silence makes them enablers.

Yesterday, I individually emailed all members of the LV delegation to the state house and senate. This includes senators Pat Browne, Jim Rhoades, Rob Wonderling, and representatives Karen Beyer, Jenn Mann, Joe Brennan, Doug Reichley, Steve Samuelson, Bob Freeman, Rich Grucela, Craig Dally, Julie Harhart and Carl Mantz. Here's what I asked them.

As a member of the Lehigh Valley delegation to the General Assembly, you're undoubtedly aware of the sexist, misogynistic and vulgar remarks from Bernard Kieklak, chief of staff to state senator Lisa Boscola. It may interest you to know that, in addition to some of the remarks that were publicized, Mr. Kieklak also referred to state rep. Doug Reichley as a Nazi and slammed open records reform efforts as meaningless.

By retaining Kieklak, state senator Boscola has become his enabler. Her decision reflects poorly on the entire general assembly. It lends credence to what Express Times editor Joe Owens says about all of you. "[I]f you believe [Kieklak's] foul rant is anything more than what is said at every Harrisburg, Trenton and D.C. saloon within walking distance of bureaucratic fatcats, you're woefully mistaken."

I am asking you, as a local leader, to condemn what Kieklak has said, and make clear it is contrary to what you would tolerate from any member of your own staff. Regardless of your personal affection for Lisa, her decision to retain Kieklak diminishes all of you. Your own refusal to condemn this conduct will make you an enabler as well.

I already have one response, and will wait one week to tell you whether our delegation is willing to do what is right.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Thanks ... For Nothing!!

Yesterday's harmless little post about possible county exec candidates resulted in some nasty shots directed at Express Times editor Joe Owens.

"A slave to Joe Owens is worse than the lowest bowels of hell ... not even Stoffa deserves such a fate."

"I really hope you do not schmooze with the likes of an ignorant, pompous, self-important load like owens ... you deserve a better slave master."

I'm already in enough trouble with that guy, thank you very much. Not a good thing with a dude who buys his ink by the barrell.

Honest John Stoffa, who was talking to Owens today, just had to dime me out. Now Owens is demanding a full investigation, the Spanish Inquisition is pounding at my door, and Wayne Grube is slicing my tires again.

"Some might says it's more sex-charged ranting. It's an outrage. Or how would they say it in cyber space ... IT'S AN OUTRAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "

I'll make it up to him. I'll do his lawn and snow-shoveling next year, and this time I won't even ask for Italian ice. I just hope he doesn't discover the nasty comments being posted about Deegan.

Northampton County Council Makes a $1.5 Million Boo Boo

Last Friday, Northampton County Fiscal Affairs boss Vic Mazziotti spent much of his day wandering aimlessly through the halls, mouth ajar. Every now and then, he'd mumble, "I just don't believe it."

Vic was in shock, and understandably so, over what had happened during the previous night's council meeting. So was Al Jordan, the county's contracted computer guru, and direct beneficiary of a $1.5 million county council blunder.

Let me tell you the story.

ACS is the county's "information technology" vendor. That's where Al Jordan works. They keep the computers up and running. But this outside contract is up at the end of the year, so the county sought new proposals from ACS and two other qualified vendors, CAI and CMC. Here's how the bids come down:
ACS - $10,002,873;
CMC - $8,747,686; and
CAI - $8,503,100
ACS was high bidder by $1.5 million.

Low bidders CAI and CMC had some minor errors with their proposals. CAI failed to acknowledge two addendums. CMC forgot to sign its proposal. But county lawyers ruled these were serious enough to require rejection of those bids. Mazziotti was also told he was unable legally to negotiate with the only successful bidder, ACS, for a reduced cost.

So the county could either award a new IT contract to ACS for $10 million, or reject all bids and start all over. OurAdministrative Code allows county council to do that when "it is in the best interest of the County."

Now here's where things get really goofy. At last Thursday's council meeting, Vic asked council to kill the bid. He explained that, now that every one knows each other's numbers, the new bids would be lower. That would benefit taxpayers. He even assured council the three bidders were willing to try again. No nasty lawsuits.

But council was having none of it. Why are so many bids being rejected? Why do we make things so hard for those poor little vendors?

Lamont McClure: "Is there anyone here who's dissatisfied with ACS?" (That's not the point, Lamont. It's time for a new contract, and the county has to get the best bang for its buck).

Charles Dertinger: "I'm very familiar with the bidding process and know how it feels to do everything right and be rejected." (Is there anything at which Charles Dertinger is not an expert?)

Ann McHale: "I just feel this is unfair to bidders, who get penalized when they do everything right." (Uh, Ann, you represent the taxpayers, not bidders. What about them?)

By a shocking seven to one vote, county council refused to reject ACS's lone $10 million bid, knowing damn well they just blew off at least a $1.5 million savings to the taxpayer. Now, rejected bidders are considering filing formal protests, which will only cost the county even more.

The lone member of county council with the sense to start the bidding over? Mike "God Loves business" Dowd? Nope. John "no new taxes" Cusick? Nah.

It was Council Prez Wayne Grube, standing alone. Now he knows how Angle feels. The rest must think they work for ACS. They don't. They work for the taxpayers of Northampton County.

And where was Ron Angle, who would have scremed about this $1.5 million boo boo? Currently in talk radio rehab, Ron missed last Thursday's council meeting. I broke the news to Ron in his padded cell. He's now undergoing electroshock therapy, and his stay has been extended by therapist Jolly Joe Timmer for another week.

Things could be worse. Angle could be a county employee, watching council flush $1.5 million down the drain. That money could help pay their salaries or keep taxes down.
Update - Angle Threatens to Sue! I told you Angle went ballistic when I broke the news last night about council's refusal to reject the bids. Although he was on vacation, he had asked to participate in the meeting via speakerphone. That didn't happen. He's furious that council would throw away $1.5 million, and believes they both abused their discretion, violated their fiduciary responsibilty to taxpayers, and deprived slate belt citizens of representation on council. He intends to sue unless the Stoffa administration re-submits the resolution to reject all bids and starts the process over.

Women's Perspectives About Boscola - Disgust

I was appropriately put in my place a few days ago by a female blogger at LVPoliblog. "[I]t seems to me a lot of men are writing about what is important to women on blogs, but they don't really have a clue. I don't like when someone says they are speaking for me, when they don't know a thing about me." So this post is devoted entirely to female perspectives on Senator Lisa Boscola's decision to retain a sexist and misogynist chief of staff.

Look Out Lehigh Valley is one of two female bloggers that Boscola chief of staff Kieklak viciously attacked with sexual accusations. Here's part of what she wrote at LVPoliblog.

I guess I'm feeling slightly, well.... slighted that the story has been that he mouthed off about Charlie and Sam, but seemingly its no big deal that he shot extremely nasty insults my way. In the same breath, Boscola called both Sam and Charlie to apologize, but makes no mention at all anywhere that she's sorry that her chief of staff verbally attacked a 23 year old private citizen. I guess maybe as far as they are concerned it's no big deal that I was spoken to this way since neither of them will ever have to convince me to give them funding or support for a bill. I'm not saying I want a phone call from Boscola apologizing to me - I just want Lisa or Bernie K to stand up and say "Its inappropriate for him/me to speak to anyone the way I did, not just other elected officials or candidates." One of my coworkers said to me yesterday "well, they're all just missing the point."

Pamela Varkony, an Allentown writer and former member of Allentown city council, is the founder of Power of Women. She's also the Perspectives blogger at The Morning Call. Reading her blog is like sitting in some one's living room, having a nice conversation. Here's Pam's perspective.

What I want to say is directed to Lisa Boscola, woman to woman: Lisa, what you have done by leaving Bernie Kieklak in a position of authority on your staff and in your life, has set women's leadership back ten years. I am beyond disappointed, I am disgusted.

In a subsequent comment, Pam offers a possible explanation why there is no hue and outcry from women's groups. "I believe that if a male politician had retained a member of his staff who had said such things, there would be a much louder outcry from women in general and women's organizations in particular. But because 'the boss' is a woman and she's giving him a pass, so is everyone else."

Dottie, at LVPoliblog, chimes in with this. "[W]e should write letters to the editor, and question why the other elected women like Jennifer Mann are not speaking out on this. I saw two letters to the editor in the paper today but I believe they were written by men."

Finally, Aphrodite's Daughter, also at LVPoliblog, has this. "Today I wrote a letter to the Morning Call asking that the women who hold elected office in our community state publicly how they feel about the creep Bernie Kieklak's remarks. I would like a public C-O-N-D-M-N-A-T-I-O-N of Senator Boscola's overly lenient and inadequate punishment of her Chief of staff, by someone in government, mostly a powerful woman. I'd write a letter to Lt. Governor Knoll, but I'm not sure she's all there to begin with."

Michael Moore's "Sicko" Hits Lehigh Valley July 1

Michael Moore's latest documentary, Sicko, will have its Lehigh Valley premier on July 1, 7:30 PM, at Allentown's beautiful 19th Street Theatre. It will run there for three weeks.

I don't think any of us, on the left or right, will dispute our health care system is broken. For that reason, this is probably the least controversial of Moore's films. But Congress has stumbled at solutions, whether it's single payer health care or easing regulations to qualify for group insurance.

One quote from that movie should spur Congress. "If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Who's Running for Northampton County Exec?

In Northampton County, the county executive is the "chief executive and administrative offial of the County." Although John Stoffa is barely in his second year, sharks are already circling. Stoffa swims alone. So they sense weakness. Who are these sharks?

Ann McHale, the angel shark. This hard-working member of county council has a solid base in Bethlehem, the right last name, and has earned the respect of county employees over the years. But party bosses resent her independent streak, and she was deposed as council VP in January. It's unlikely she'd run against John Stoffa.

Rich Grucela, the tiger shark. Although serving his fifth term as state rep in Harrisburg, Rich originally comes from the ranks of local government. He presided over county council between 1987 and 1990. He told Stoffa in January he won't run against him. And he's done no fundraising. But if he changes his mind and decides to run, this popular and well-known house member will be tough to beat.

Ron Heckman, the silky shark. Currently doing a good job in Lehigh County with local municpalities, Heckman's previous gig was as Director of Human Services when Glenn Reibman was at the helm of a sinking ship in Northampton County. Most members of the Reibman administration shunned county council meetings, but Heckman attended every one. He clearly cares about the county. But having failed in his bid for Bethlehem City council, he must be having second thoughts.

Ron Angle, the hammerhead shark. Angle is a terrific hammerhead shark. I've never seen anyone, including the best litigators, question someone as effectively. He's the least educated member of county council, and is occasionally derided for his poor grammar. But he's easily the most brilliant of that bunch. He's a natural story teller, can exude charm when he wants and would run the county effectively. But Ron's fatal flaw is he has a tough time building coalitions. He gets divisive, even with his own party.

Joe Long, the sand shark. The rumor is there, and I hope it's true. Please run, Joe.

Glenn Reibman, the blind shark. Despite my harsh criticism of Reibman over the years, I've always considered him a gentleman. Reibman introduced diversity to an overwhelmingly white county government. But he was a slave to special interests. And his ill-considerd $111 megabond eventually resulted in layoffs, salary freezes, tax increases and pushed county workers into the arms of eleven different unions. I'm nevertheless sure he'd like a second crack at Stoffa. What might compel Glenn to run is what ruined him as a county executive. He's blind. He just does not see the damage his policies and administration have caused. He has no idea that he was wildly unpopular in his second term. He's already begun to spend money. He contributed $4,150 to candidates in the last reporting cycle, including Ron Heckman ($2,000), Lamont McClure ($1,000), Lisa Boscola ($350), $250 for Bill Leiner and Todd Buskirk, and $100 for Jeff Warren, Gordon Mowrer and Bob Donchez. He's also still sitting on a campaign treasury over $100,000.

John Cusick, the dogfish shark. Lurking in the reefs, Cusick has been an effective member of county council. But fellow Republicans distrust him. Perhaps he should have thought twice before trying to recruit another Republican to run against former council member Peg Ferarro. He's not ready.

Jolly Joe Timmer, the clown shark. OK, I made that one up.

John Stoffa, the great white. He swims alone. He keeps his own counsel. Those slighted by Reibman's embarrassment seek revenge. But I hear this strange and scary music. I think he's running.

LV Ramblings One of Pennsylvania's Most Influential Political Blogs, at least for a Week

A bit of shameless self-promotion here. BlogNet News has just released its latest weekly list of Pennsylvania's most influential political blogs. Five area blogs made this week's list, including me. BNN claims it "combines a variety of data sets to determine which blogs are most powerfully influencing the direction of the Pennsylvania political blogosphere."

I think they just throw darts.

LVDem, who has only been able to post sporadically over the past few months, still managed to make the top twenty. I earned my ranking the old fashioned way - I paid them off. Here's this week's list, complete with links to each blog.

This rating probably has more to do with all the interest generated by Bernie Kieklak's remarks. Next week, I'll be back down to 145,356.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Boscola's Former Opponent, Bonnie Dodge, Speaks Out!

Affable Democrat Rick Orloski, an unsuccessful state senate candidate, surprised me last week. He penned a letter to the Morning Call editor, criticizing Boscola's judgment. "Sen. Boscola has displayed an appalling lack of judgment by keeping such a vulgar person on her staff. Her decision is an embarrassment to the Democrats who have supported her over the years, particularly her female voters."

A bit less surprising, but still quite interesting, are Bonnie Dodge's comments. She was Lisa Boscola's republican opponent for the state senate. She's tied to the religious right, which has divided the country by exploiting issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and school prayer.

But Dodge ran a clean campaign, on the issues, and had a reform agenda. She took no personal shots.

I still supported Lisa.

Boscola easily crushed Dodge, who came out of nowhere and had no money, with 72% of the vote. Since that time, Bonnie's been as quiet as ... well, a churchmouse.

She has finally decided to speak out. Here's what she has to say.

These two don't even have a passing friendship with family values, despite her claiming to be a practicing Catholic. In my campaign, I opted not to go after Lisa based on her open record of ludicrous public behavior, but the most recent dust-up with Bernie Kieklak is the last straw for me. Does anyone really believe she didn't know what was happening? They are mirror images of each other and nothing either does will surprise the other.

I hope your readers and the voters don't forget their antics next time around.

Remember how she force-fed local school boards the dismal Act I, another of her failures, and we get a pretty complete picture of someone who has been in Harrisburg too long!

Hopefully, someone will (1) raise tons of money, (2) have name recognition, and (3) beat the pants of Lisa in 2010. Personally, I hope she does run against Charlie Dent because he knew her back when. Nothing like a little primary information to blow an incumbent campaign out of the water!!! The voters re-elected her and they have to un-elect her. Period!

Congressional Wannabe Sam Bennett: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Now that state senator Lisa Boscola has destroyed any hopes she may have entertained of running for U.S. Congress, it appears increasingly likely that Allentown's Sam Bennett will be the Democratic party's standard bearer in 2008.

Now's her chance to shine in the sun!

So what does she do? Screw up her first financial disclosure. According to The Express Times, her recently filed financial disclosure report claims she has between $150 and $250 million set aside for retirement. "Take three zeros off all of it, and you've got the right answer," her campaign spokesman chuckles.

Congressman Charlie Dent's campaign spokesman, Shawn Millan, isn't laughing. If she can't get her personal finances straight, "What happens when we're talking about the country's budget or budget matters?"

Even the NRCC got into the act. “If Bennett is incapable of filling out one of the most basic disclosure forms necessary to be a candidate, how could she possibly handle the important responsibility of representing the people of Pennsylvania in Washington,” NRCC Communications Director Jessica Boulanger said.

In reality, this is just a minor error, quickly corrected. But Bennett can't afford to make any.

I can see it now. Replays of Bennett's drunken campaign concession speech in Allentown, combined with her adding a few zeros here and there.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Joe Brennan's Plan to Curb Underage Drinking

It happens nearly every Spring. At a time when new life is blossoming everywhere, many teen-aged children will be seriously injured or lose their lives because they drive drunk.

Thanks to Blue Coyote, I've learned that freshman state rep. Joe Brennan has proposed legislation that might just save a few lives. In Blue Coyote's words,
Brennan’s legislation (H.B 1512) would give establishments that utilize age verification devices a break on their annual liquor license renewal fee. “The whole goal here is to stop underage drinking before it starts,” Brennan said. “Too often kids under 21 are walking into bars, giving a fake ID and being served alcohol. This age verification technology can tell right away who is lying.”
Thanks, Joe.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Expect No Meaningful Reform From Land of Midnight Payraises

In his most recent post, LVDem tell us it's time to start lobbying for reform, including legislative improvement of arcane open records laws. But for some reason, he's fearful of "reform" when it's proposed by a conservative. He's afraid conservatives will disguise their political agenda as reform. "[S]ome people will say and do anything to get elected."

Well, let's take a look at state senator Lisa Boscola's attitude towards reform, as exemplified by one of three emails sent to me by her chief of staff the night before The Morning Call outed him as a sexist and misogynist.

You keep writing about Lower Macungie and open records. Pat yourself on the back. What a difference you make.

In that email, state senator Boscola reveals how she really feels about reforming open records or our second class township code, which allows township supervisors to hire themselves.

I sent a copy of that email to Boscola, complaining about her chief of staff's attitude towards reform, but she never bothered to respond or even acknowledge receipt.

Sure, he apologized in a public statement to Congressman Charlie Dent and Dem contender Sam Bennett. But not a word of regret to two women from the private sector who he slammed much harder. I guess the lowly peasants don't count.

And reform? You won't hear much about that until Boscola runs for her next office.

Blogger's Note: This post is being emailed to Boscola. I request she publicly disavow Kieklak's slur on reform efforts and state exactly what she's doing to make a difference, especially about our open records laws and second class township code. Her COS can fill her in on the details.

Should a Newspaper Reveal Race of At-Large Rape Suspect?

In Bill White's words, "It’s not the newspaper’s job to protect you from the truth." Sounds pretty lofty, eh? But many newspapers, including The Morning Call, do it all the time. They shy away from racial identifiers, even when a criminal suspect is at large and the rest of the description is detailed enough to make a suspect's race meaningful.

I sympathize with the editorial concern over "the mangled language of race." The concern about stereotyping is justified, and racial identifiers have traditionally been used to establish white superiority. But it's very relevant when police are actively searching for someone and plenty of other physical characteristics are known.

The Morning Call is the only local media that refused to use any racial identifiers at all last November, when police were actively seeking a person who assaulted a bus driver. The Express Times included a more detailed description, and WFMZ actually played a video.

Now, alone again, The Morning Call refuses to reveal the skin tone of an alleged rapist who last weekend disguised himself as a cop. Plenty of other physical characteristics are known so there's no danger of racial stereotyping. And police are still looking for this guy, too.

I agree with what Bill White said. Newspapers do have an obligation to tell us the truth.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What the Far Left Thinks About Boscola

For the most part, LV Independent Press is just another in a long series of disappointments from our local peace community - LEPOCO. But today, I was pleasantly surprised to see an article, not about Columbia or El Salvador, but Lisa Boscola.
As to the politics of Lisa Boscola, a quick look at her positions shows us that she is identified as “mixed” in her support for choice on the abortion issue. She supports cuts to the capital gains tax. She supports the death penalty. She has not spoken out on the war and occupation of Iraq, but if one reads the comments of her chief aide on the blog of O’Hare, you find that Kieklak supports a nuclear war against the Islamic world, starting with Iraq, after a withdrawal of US troops. The bottom line is that it appears that Boscola is to the right of Charlie Dent on the political spectrum. In other words, she is a perfect Democratic candidate for this 15th Congressional District. From Tad Walters to Paul McHale to Charlie Dent, this district loves a rightwinger.
Like it or not, moderate Charlie Dent is probably the most liberal member of Congress ever elected in the Lehigh Valley.

State Senator Boscola Keeps Potty-Mouth COS: She's Counting on You to Forget

On Tuesday, I warned you state senator Lisa Boscola would retain potty-mouth Bernie Kieklak as her chief of staff. Daily phone calls from constituent River, a frequent blog commenter, were ignored. Wednesday, when Boscola finally made her announcement, she just issued two written statements and then ran like hell.

One is a note from Lisa. She's really, really, really mad. And she means it.

The other is the obligatory apology from BTNP, aka Bernie Takes No Prisoners, aka Bernie Kieklak. He'll NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, NOT EVER, EVER, EVER .... EVER do anything like that EVER, EVER AGAIN. It's a little hard to stomach from a guy whose first reactions were "Do you think I care?" and "I do not regret a single thing I have ever done in my entire life".

As a demonstration of his complete insincerity, Kieklak has yet to call Congressman Charlie Dent to apologize in person.

This is a disgusting display of arrogance by both Boscola and her chief of staff. Joe Owens and Bill White knew she'd keep him. Lisa's counting on you to forget. She doesn't think that highly of you, when you come right down to it. She has stumbled through a very clear situation that demanded an immediate response. But she needs Bernie's "special" skills - his ability to slam potential opponents.

You see, the Lisa Boscola of today is a far different person than the person who first ran for the state senate in 1998. She was accessible then, and wasn't afraid to say what she thought. If you made an appointment to see her, you met with her, not Bernie. She got in trouble at times with party bosses in Harrisburg, but we admired her independence.

Her opponent, Len Gruppo, was running a dirty campaign that ranged from distortions of her voting record to stalking her with video cameras and tape recorders. Gruppo's negative campaign consultant? Tom Severson.

Lisa blasted Severson. "He is the ultimate sleazebag political consultant." She claimed Severson even admitted "they will do anything to win this race - lie, whatever. Because winning is all that matters."

Lisa won that race, striking a blow against sleaze politics.

Today's Lisa is a much different and far more careful person. And guess what? Now she actually uses Severson, the man she once called a sleazebag. In her 2006 campaign against an unknown with no money, Boscola paid $43,659.65 to the king of slime.

Severson does most of his campaign billing through Precision Marketing, Inc. But when he wants to stay under the radar, as he does with Dems, he uses other outfits. One of these is Political Strategies, Inc. It's not registered in Pennsylvania. Although identified as a Santa Monica corporation in Boscola campaign finance reports, I was unable to locate the company through a Google search. But guess what? Easton Mayoral candidate Sal Panto also uses that outfit. His finance report has a slightly different address for Political Strategies, Inc.. It's 2906 William Penn Hwy, Easton PA 18045.

That's the same address as Precision Marketing, Inc.!


Lisa now subscribes to the Severson philosophy of sleazeball politics, and Bernie Kieklak fits right in. Slime opponents with remarks like "spineless shitbag" or "phony political whore." I'm sure Severson chuckled all the way to the bank. Winning is all that matters. Spend enough money, and people will buy it.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tim Bannon Golf Tourney This Saturday

District Judge Jim Stocklas has responded to my post concerning this Friday's benefit concert for the family of fallen Nazareth police chief Ruch. Another benefit, in the form of a golf tournament, is scheduled this Saturday for retired public employee Tim Bannon.

This worthy cause deserves a separate post. Here's what Judge Stocklas tells us.


Tim Bannon worked in parks and retired because of his illness several years ago.

He currently is in Good Shepard and still volunteers at the information desk at Bethlehem city hall a couple days a week.

A group of his friends heard about some bills that apparently aren't covered or the need for some other expenses and are having a golf tournament this weekend at
Bethlehem golf club.

They set up a Foundation (The Bannon Foundation) and will help to defray any additional expenses Timmy may have in the future. His good friend Paul Hanchick(Bimby) owner of Hanchick and Learch Used cars in Bethlehem township is on the board.

If someone is interested in making a donation or still playing in the golf outing they can contact him at 484-357-6817 or Jim Hintze at 312-560-0444. Hole sponsors start at $100.00 bronze, 250 silver, or $500 for gold. Golf is $100.00 per player.

Shotgun start at 1pm with dinner at the BVFHA afterwards. Some great prizes ie: tv's callaway golf bags, equipment, tools, golf clothing ect. have already been donated for give aways. It is a scramble format and there is still some room for golfers. You also can contact me at my office for any additional information, but I think I covered it all. Thanks to all who can help -- Judge Stocklas 610-691-1501

Correction: The golf tournament is on Sunday, not Saturday. I apologize for any confusion I caused.

Tom Severson's Profitable World of Sleaze Politics

He may be a political genius.

But he's also the king of sleazeball politics.

That's Tom Severson, whose Precision Marketing Inc., is just one of the companies he uses to launch smear campaigns. His company motto - "It's time to play hardball. Precision Marketing Inc. -- when you want to play to win."

Severson is the first person locally to overlay US Census and other available data sources with voter files and phone records to create some very good targeted voter lists. He maximizes the impact of mailings and call centers. He simply destroys those without these abilities.

He didn't do this on his own. He's a logo watch salesman. But someone who understood computers partnered with Severson. And life was good. By 1991, Severson and partner Jim Corsa were grossing $750,000. Then Tom got sneaky and greedy. He accepted clients behind his partner's back, including a three-year deal with state senate republicans, valued at $627,000. Corsa sued, and Severson eventually settled the claim.

Another tactic Severson introduced to the Lehigh Valley was push polling, the use of anonymous phone calls to cast a candidate in a bad light. That's what he did to Jerry Seyfried in 1989.

Those tactics are criticized by former Norco Councilman Jim Hemstreet. "If telephone calls are being made ... you have a right to know who you're talking to, what they're paid ... .That is really deceptive campaigning. It's like turning your campaign over to a hired gun."

Another Severson trait is a total lack of allegiance. He sells out to the highest bidder. He has big state republican contracts, and when he polls, he'll drop in a question for one of his local candidates, who gets a discount. Since his inhouse call center and mailing house are funded by the state republicans, local republicans get upset when he runs campaigns against them.

He'll poll to pick winners, and then works for those already ahead. His favorite tactic is to bash his opponent with a smear campaign. Here's a few examples of Severson patterns over the years.

1989 - L. Jack Bradt was far behind Jerry Seyfried in the polls. But the week before the election, anonymous telephone calls rang through the Lehigh Valley, painting Seyfried as a Chrin lackey. Jerry still managed to win, but by fewer than fewer than 700 votes. Bradt paid Precision Marketing over $61,000. Cha ching.

1991 - John Morganelli spent $32,169 with Severson to oust three-term incumbent Don Corriere. During that campaign, Corriere charged that Severson used phone solicitors posing as reps of the state ethics commission.

1992 - After Congressman Don Ritter inceremoniously dumps Severson as a campaign consultant, Severson goes to work for challenger Paul McHale.

1993 - Jerry Seyfried uses Severson for his re-election bid, even though Severson worked against him in the last campaign. This time, Jerry loses.

1998 - Mudslinging is rampant in a GOP primary for a state house seat between Dave Bausch and Rima Fahl. That Severson name pops up.

2006 - In a primary race for state rep., Joe Brennan is viciously slammed in a postcard attack as a "criminal who can't be trusted." Brennan blames Severson for the slime campaign. Opponent Rybak admits using Severson, but no payments are ever listed on Rybak's campaign finance reports.

2006 - Severson's Precision Marketing rakes in a whopping $1,397,868.88 from candidates seeking state office. Much of this comes from the state republican committee. Amazingly, this figure does not include local or out-of-state races, or payments made to Severson's other companies.

2007 - Severson's Precision Marketing paid $67,000 by Bucks County taxpayers for a mailing from Bucks County commissioners right before the election.

So what do local pols think of this guy? I'll tell you later this week.

Bloggers note: Factual averments not directly linked were obtained from Morning Call archives.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Senator Boscola Will Retain COS Who Made Sexist and Misogynistic Remarks

Some inside scuttlebutt.

State senator Lisa Boscola will retain potty-mouth Bernie Kieklak as her chief of staff. She makes this decision with complete knowledge that her number one's vocabulary includes a lot of number two. She does so knowing that Kieklak has no remorse, as indicated by statements like "Do you think I care?" and "I do not regret a single thing I have ever done in my entire life". She is ignoring overwhelming pressure to dump him.

Kieklak will be forced to undergo anger management counseling and agree to an official sounding "condition of employment" that means nothing. Maybe wash his mouth out with soap, too.

Expect the news to hit the mainstream very soon.

Update: Mainstream Micek, our spy from inside the land of midnight payraises, cautions us to be ... well ... more cautious. "State Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Northampton, Will announce the fate of embattled aide Bernie Kieklak today. Despite what you may have read elsewhere, there hasn't been a formal announcement yet. Stay tuned today. We'll bring you the news as it happens." Inside word is that potty-mouth stays.

BernieGate - Day 6

June 13 A.M.: The Morning Call reports sexist and misogynistic remarks that Bernie Kieklak, chief of staff to state senator Lisa Boscola, published on this blog. His remarks to the press? "Do you think I care?" Boscola's public statement? ''What, do you want me to fire him now?''

June 13 P.M.: Kieklak, who fails to appear for work, offers his resignation, but Boscola won't accept it. Kieklak tell the press. "I do not regret a single thing I have ever done in my entire life."

June 14: Although Kieklak and Boscola are scheduled to meet, they both dodge the press.

June 15: Boscola's office confirms she met with Kieklak, but no decision is made and Boscola goes on vacation for the weekend.

June 16: Nothing new.

June 17: Nothing new.

June 18: Nothing new.

Is this leadership?

Tom Severson, King of Sleazeball Politics, Behind Monahan Smear

On Friday, I told you about the primary race for Easton's magisterial district of Williams Township, Glendon Borough and Easton's south side. Brian Monahan, a Republican lawyer, was in a three-way battle with designer Cindy Greene, another Republican, and Easton councilman Dan Corpora, a Democrat.

About a week before the election, the bombs started dropping, not from the sky, but from mailboxes. In three massive mailings, Monahan was unfairly and maliciously tarnished as an unethical lawyer who obstructed justice. He was accused of preventing "the prosecution of a heinous double murder," a blatant lie! The author of these defamatory attacks? He refused to identify himself.

Naturally, Monahan initially assumed he was being attacked by one of his opponents. But as bad as he felt, his opponents were even more depressed. You see, they were blameless. I spoke to both of them at the time. You could hear it in their voices. Disgust.

Corpora learned this mailing came from the same bulk mail permit he used for his own campaign literature. And Cindy Greene was immediately accused of trying to knock Monahan off so she could get the republican nod.

I spoke to Corpora and Greene yesterday. Dan tells me, "I have a lot of respect for Brian and what he's accomplished," and was very proud of the positive campaign. He's still quite upset over what has happened. Cindy is even more specific. "I am just so aggravated. I see a lot of people are turned off by politics." Greene tells me that on election day, a few voters marched up to her and said, "I'm not voting for a mudslinger. I'll vote for Monahan."

Severson's Bogus "John Doe" Report

Last Thursday, the anonymous culprit who attempted unsuccessfully to sleaze Monahan crawled out from under his rock to file a 30 day post primary report as an "independent expenditure." Identifying himself as John Doe, he claimed one payment of $861.91 to Precision Marketing for mail on May 21, nearly a week after the primary, long after the three mailings had gone out.

Although still claiming to be "John Doe," this anonymous filer is known to me. He's Tom Severson, owner of Precision Marketing and King of Sleazeball politics.

How do I know this? Not long after the mailings went out, I talked to District Attorney John Morganelli. I told him he could send a detective with Pat Vulcano, the bulk mail permit holder, and get all the records for the bulk mail permit. That way we'd know how much was paid for these three mailings and who sent them.

"I'm not going to do that."

"Why not?"

"I already know who sent those mailers. It's Severson."

Morganelli assures me anonymous mailers are legal, and handed me a pile of memos to that effect, but they involve inadvertent violations of elections laws. This is something different. I told John the law may permit anonymous mailings, but the person who pays for them must be identified. Finally, I told John these mailings violate other sections of the elections code, relating to reports.

"We'll have to wait and see," John smiled. John and Tom are pals, and it's time he refers this to the AG without running interference for Severson.

What election laws are we talking about?

According to our Elections Code,

* A person who pays for a direct mailing designed to influence an election must "clearly and conspicuously" identify himself. The author can be anonymous, but the person who pays must disclose.

* Any person who spends more than $100 to advocate the defeat of a clearly identified candidate, is subject to the same reporting requirements as any candidate or committee.

* Any person making an independent expenditure of $500 or more after the final pre-election report, must report that expenditure within 24 hours.

* Violating these laws is a misdemeanor that can get you two years in Northampton County's overcrowded slammer, and District Attorney John Morganelli or Attorney General Tom Corbett has full authority to prosecute.

Severson, who paid money to defeat Monahan, failed to identify himself. He clearly paid more than $500 to send these mailers about a week before the election, but did not report this expenditure within 24 hours. His "John Doe" report, in which he refuses to identify himself, is a mockery because it's clear that three mass mailings cost much more than $861, and those payments were made before the primary.

Cindy Greene has yet to file her post-election report. She was at the beach last week.

Here's what she tells me, "Why file anything? A lot of people don't even want to vote anymore. I can guarantee you I don't get any special privileges. I am going to pay a late fee, but some people are above the law."

She also raises a pretty good question. How the hell does an anonymous John Doe get his signature notarized? "What does he do, whip out a license showing his name is John Doe?"

Severson's "John Doe" report is notarized by Priscilla M Jroski, a notary presumably following the directions of Severson's lawyers, the Leeson law offices. As much as I respect the lawyers in that firm, this is bullshit. A notary exists to identify the person appearing before her, not obscure that person. She must have personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence in the form of a driver's license or other form of identification.

The report is a sham. Norco elections solicitor Chris Spadoni told the Express Times he's never seen anything like it. That's because it totally defeats the purpose of our campaign finance laws, which are intended to encourage disclosure, not hide expenditures in a shroud of secrecy.

Who is Tom Severson, and why is he after Monahan? I'll answer those questions later this week.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Bernie Kieklak Parodies Galore!

I'm no early bird. I need all the beauty sleep I can get. But at the crack of dawn today, my phone was blaring like a fog horn.

I stumbled to the phone, stubbing my toe in the process, and finally got there in writhing agony. The lady at the other end, a woman I work with, was "cackling maniacally."

"Bernie, have you checked out Bill White's column today. Bernie K is a pirate, trying to pick up the ladies in a bar."

"Arrrghhh." (Not a pirate sound, it's my damn toe).

I've checked out Bill's column, and it's one of his funniest. It was worth the early call. Even the stubbed toe.

There are more parodies at LV Poliblog and LV Road Rage.

Shiver me timbers!

Wit & Wisdom of State Senator Lisa Boscola's COS Bernie Kieklak

For the past few days, Bernie Kieklak has been in hot water over sexist and misogynist remarks on this blog. He's state senator Lisa Boscola's chief of staff, and she incredibly claims she had no idea he was like that. Since November, BTNP, aka Bernie Kieklak, has shared his views on political players and issues. I'm sharing some of his views with you.

On Michael Molovinsky, former Allentown mayoral candidate:

What a major league douchebag! Whenever I see ego-idiots, assholes, phoneys, fakes, and political poseurs like this dickhead, I immediately think: "Less competition."

P.S. Listen, numbnuts, why don't you try getting elected dog-fucking-catcher or Village Idiot before you continue your fantasizing, mental masturbating, and pretending that you're actually smarter than ANY elected official, anywhere, on any planet.

P.P.S. You couldn't lick Don Cunningham's ass if NASA trained you to do it.

On Mike Fleck, former Easton mayoral candidate:

Fleck is a moron. (And I mean no disrespect to all the morons visiting this blog... but THIS GUY really is your king!) I know for a fact he fucks fat girls. * * * Fleck is an idiot . . . and I mean no disrepect to all the idiots out there, but this guy really IS your King.

On civilians in Iraq:

Fuck 'em all! Get our troops outta there, drop the big nuke, and let Allah sort 'em out...

On The Morning Call: REPUBLICAN PAPER. REPUBLICAN PAPER. REPUBLICAN PAPER. REPUBLICAN PAPER. ... Charlie Dent could fart tomorrow and he'd get accolades on the front page. If a Dem did that, the paper would blast him or her for causing global warming!

On Morning Call State Editor Pete Lefler: The bottom line is that Pete Fucking Lefler coddles Republicans (I mean, can his tongue get any further up Dent's colon?) and despises local Democrats.

On Express Times Managing Editor Jim Deegan: I've also heard from good friends of mine in the Express-Times newsroom that sometimes, when Deegan doesn't comb his hair "just right," you can see the numerals "666" on his scalp.I know what you're thinking... if the Anti-Christ was going to take the shape of ANY human being on the planet, why wouldn't he choose a MUCH BETTER (less repulsive) shape than Deegan?

On Dent's political consultant, Shawn Millan: I respect and admire Shawn because he is really and truly "the Lehigh Valley's Karl Rove." Plus, he had the class to send Lisa flowers on an occasion or two in the past, which shows how effective he is on so many levels.

On fellow blogger BillyBytes: Billy Fucking Givens IS the biggest, dumbest asshole in the universe. Long may he reign as Surrogate Super Idiot for all those villages around the world that lack one.

Bernie Kieklack to me: WHY CAN'T WE ALL GET ALONG?

Benefit Concert for Family of Fallen Nazareth Police Chief on June 22

The Holy Family Social Club in Nazareth will host a benefit concert on Friday, June 22, between 8:00 PM and midnight, for the family of Nazareth Police Chief Bruce Ruch, who passed away recently after a lengthy illness. Bands featured include 9919, Point-O-Eight, Magic Bean and Doll. Tickets are just $12, and a famous Martin guitar will be raffled off.

You can pick up tickets at the Holy Family Social Club or Nazareth News Agency (Java Lounge).

Update: Reporter JD Malone at The Express Times has written a small story about this fundraiser. Organizer Chris Thomas says it best. "It's all about a community coming together to support a family who lost a loved one who had given so much to Nazareth."

Friday, June 15, 2007

Tom Severson's Precision Marketing Behind Dirty Campaign Against Monahan

In the primary race for Easton's magisterial district of Williams Township, Glendon Borough and Easton's south side, things got ugly. Smear tactics, or guerrilla politics, victimized Brian Monahan, a Republican lawyer in a three-way battle with designer Cindy Greene, another Republican, and Easton councilman Dan Corpora, a Democrat. Both Corpora and Greene convincingly deny being involved in dirty politics, but someone was trying hard to trash Monahan. And it's someone who knows how campaigns work.

Anonymous mailers viciously distorted Monahan's career as a defense attorney. It is impossible to defend against them without violating attorney-client privilege. Monahan is falsely accused of preventing "the prosecution of a heinous double murder." "We deserve an ethical judge who will be tough on crime - NOT Brian Monahan!" Of course, the candidates suspected each other, but they were all innocent. Unfortunately, this anonymous smear also probably turned off a lot of voters. Why bother?

These unsigned mailers violate The Elections Code. A person who pays for a direct mailing designed to influence an election must "clearly and conspicuously" identify himself. That's the rule, bippy. The author can be anonymous but the person who pays for it must identify himself. And any person who spends more than $100 to advocate the defeat of a clearly identified candidate, is subject to the same reporting requirements as any candidate or committee. Violating these laws is a misdemeanor that can get you two years in Northampton County's overcrowded slammer.

Yesterday, a "John Doe" report was filed in the elections office, revealing that $861.91 was paid to Tom Severson's Precision Marketing on May 21 to oppose Monahan's election. So, as some of your probably guessed long ago, we now know that Tom Severson is the bastard behind the smear campaign against Monahan.

The expenditures occurred before, and not after, the primary. This bogus report was prepared and filed only because Severson knows I'm on to him. It's not going to help. Because more than $500 was spent to influence an election after the final preelection reports were due, Severson was obligated to disclose the expenditure within 24 hours of his visit to the post office. He didn't.


Severson is laughing at us all, and has made a mockery of our election finance laws. He thinks he can ignore election finance laws because of his friendship with District Attorney John Morganelli. He had better think again.

I'll have more on this next week.

Eulogy for Boscola COS Bernie Kieklak, ... by Bernie Kieklak

Blogger's Note: BTNP wrote this himself, back in March.

CNN/AP/FOX NEWS/AL JAZEERA -- The war in Iraq, the death of Anna Nicole Smith, and the firings of 93 U.S. Attorneys-General took a back seat to breathtaking news out of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania today.

Political blogger Bernie O'Hare won a highly publicized wager with an idiot aide to a local State Senator that has sent shock waves throughout this quiet hamlet.

O'Hare, a known child pornographer who lives in sin with an inflatable girlfriend at a well-known crack house, was carried through the streets of town in a celebration described as "bigger than 100 Mardi Gras."

The public orgy included a military marching band, 4 hours of fireworks, and Mayor John Callahan, who presented O'Hare with the key to the City, a summons for fondling homeless people, and The Medal of the Highest Order of Purple Heart Pains-in-the-Asses.

A Catholic priest also exorcised 100 demons from O'Hare on the very spot at the Bethlehem Comfort Suites where The Blessed Virgin Mary gave birth to Baby Jesus.

School children joined the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in singing "O, Little Town of Bethlehem" during O'Hare's coronation ceremony. The planned "Virgin Sacrifice" was canceled due to the inability of local officials to identify a single virgin within the tri-state area.

O'Hare, who wore his high-school prom dress for the occasion, was humble as ever in front of the throng of international reporters, papparazzi, and inflatable groupies who numbered in the thousands.

"I'm the smartest person on the planet and I'm always right," O'Hare said.

Meanwhile, the idiot Senate aide, Bernard Kieklak, was shackled and locked in stocks in the town square until his boss, Senator Lisa Boscola, doused him with 15 gallons of gasoline and set him ablaze with the designer Gucci flame-thrower she always carries in her purse.

As the flames consumed him, Kieklak could be heard to shout, "I was wrong and I admit it. Bernie O'Hare was right. And I apologize to Lefler and Micek for saying such stupid things... and at least I don't have to kiss Jolly Joe!"

There are no funeral arrangements planned. No one liked him, not even his friends.

I am Not Bernard Kieklak: I am St. Bernard

My full name is Bernard Vincent O'Hare III. Sounds pretty distinguished, eh?

Not in grade school. Not when kids call you Bernard the turd.

We O'Hares have no imagination. The first male who pops out of the oven is always named Bernard. My son is Bernard, too. He's Bernard Vincent O'Hare IV, or Bernard the fart. His son most likely will be Bernard Vincent O'Hare V, or Bernard the filth. It's boring, but a great way to evade creditors.

We're a dynasty.

All this brings me to yesterday's email from Chris Casey. It includes a warning from his wife. "Last night Mrs. Casey turned to me and said that Channel 69 was doing you a disservice. They kept showing your picture from your blog on each newscast, and she felt that people would think that you, Bernie O'Hare, was Bernie Kieklak, Boscola's COS." I quickly brushed these concerns aside.

Who could possibly be that stupid?

I found out. When I finally made it to the local courthouse today, where I search titles to support my luxurious lifestyle, I got the cold shoulder from nearly everyone. They usually don't act that way when I shower, and today I even flossed!

I'd walk into a room, and people suddenly would clam up. The recorder's office was as quiet as a funeral home. I checked my zipper, but all was secure.


Finally, late this afternoon, a young lady I know called me. Her boyfriend actually works at Channel 69, and told her I had said all kinds of disgusting things about women.


"Yeah, it was on, like ... the news, Bernie. There was even a picture of your blog and you and that Rob Vaughn dude and he said you were saying real gross things and ..."

"It wasn't me."

"Duh, yeah ... right! I know how stupid you get."

"It was a different Bernie."

It took awhile, but I think she believes me now.

I am not BTNP. Nor Bernie Takes NO Prisoners. Nor Bernie Kieklak. Nor St. Bernard.

I am Bernard the turd.