Sunday, October 23, 2005

News-Record.com - Greensboro, North Carolina: Townsend Hoopes: "We believe the enemy can be forced to be 'reasonable"

News-Record.com - Greensboro, North Carolina: People & Places: Operation Rolling Thunder: ill-conceived and ego-driven: "During the early stages of the war in Vietnam, well before we had committed huge numbers of ground troops, American leaders decided to use judiciously applied air power to convince the North Vietnamese that they should stop trying to unite the country under a Communist government.

Townsend Hoopes, Undersecretary of the Air Force, put it this way: "We believe the enemy can be forced to be 'reasonable,' i.e., to compromise or even capitulate, because we assume he wants to avoid pain, death and material destruction. We assume that if these are inflicted on him with increasing severity, that at some point in the process he will want to stop the suffering."

Accordingly, in early March 1965 the U.S. began "Operation Rolling Thunder," as ill-conceived and ego-driven a military campaign as we have ever waged. The goal was to apply increasing pressure by destroying selected segments of the North Vietnam economy.

What we did not understand was this: Whatever else it was, the war being waged by the North Vietnamese was a war of liberation, not unlike our own war for freedom that began in 1776. As such, it would take more than mere suffering to snuff out.

Rolling Thunder was planned as an eight-week operation; it lasted three years. When it was called off in October 1968, we had dropped more than 1 million tons of munitions. The enemy response was to attack our air bases in South Vietnam. This forced Gen. William Westmoreland, the American commander of our military advisers, to tell Washington that without more American soldiers on the ground (at that time, we had about 23,000 military advisers working with the South Vietnamese soldiers) the North would take over South Vietnam.

On March 8, 1965, 3,500 U.S. Marines from the 3rd Bn., 9th Marines, 9 Marine Expeditionary Bde., 3rd Marine Div., landed at Da Nang. These were the first "official" American combat troops to be ordered into the fighting, and press releases at the time stressed that this was a temporary measure to protect Air Force personnel.

Rolling Thunder had cost the United States 922 aircraft. The CIA characterized it as "the most ambitious, wasteful, and ineffective campaign ever mounted."

If any readers were part of Rolling Thunder in Vietnam, by all means write in and tell what part you played in this three-year battle. I'll print as many of your stories as I can.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Editorials - The Lafayette Daily Advertiser - Tancredo Plays Dirty Politics

Editorials - The Lafayette Daily Advertiser - www.theadvertiser.com: "Tancredo attack on Louisiana reeks of political motivation

In an editorial calling for strong safeguards to assure effective and honest use of federal funds to recover from Katrina's damage, we mentioned that U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., doesn't want our state and local officials handling any federal money at all. "Given the long history of public corruption in Louisiana," he said, "I hope the House will refrain from directly appropriating any funds . . . to either the state of Louisiana or the City of New Orleans."

There was too little space to address Tancredo's comments in the previous editorial, but they cannot be ignored. If the Colorado congressman and potential candidate for president is not playing politics, he is into something that smells much the same. He says Louisiana officials are too corrupt to handle federal funds, yet he has no problem with money flowing into the hands of Mississippi officials. Granted, Louisiana is ranked as the third most corrupt state in the nation. Mississippi, however, is Big Number One - the most corrupt of all the states, according to The Corporate Crime Reporter. Tancredo conveniently overlooked that.

The congressman says keep the money in federal hands, not only because of the corruption but because Louisiana and local officials were incompetent in responding to Hurricane Katrina.

Federal officials were not?

FEMA performed so ineptly that the director was removed and the president acknowledged the federal failure.

Here are a few examples of federal incompetence that Tancredo missed. More than 50 civilian aircraft swarmed to the area a day after Katrina hit, but FEMA blocked their efforts. In advance of the storm, New Mexico offered hundreds of National Guard troops, but federal red tape and paperwork delayed their arrival until Friday.

Hundreds of firefighters responded. They were sent by FEMA, not to New Orleans, but to Atlanta for days of training in community relations and sexual harassment.

Tancredo says agencies that showed incompetence should not be allowed to handle federal funds. Extend that to its logical conclusion and he would have to advocate keeping it out of federal hands also.

As for corruption, Tancredo may not have received word that David H. Safavian, a White House procurement official involved until about a week ago in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, has been arrested in a corruption probe, albeit unrelated to the storm.

Again, we urge strong state safeguards over the Katrina relief funds, more transparency in state spending and appointment of independent analysts to watch the money. It is our chance to change a persistently bad state image.

Tancredo, however, was obviously digging in the storm's wreckage for a strong issue that would raise his visibility and boost his chances in a presidential campaign. What he came up with is as deficient in logic as it is replete with hypocrisy."

Monday, September 05, 2005

Ballot Proposals Spark Uproar in Colorado - Marc Holtzman

Ballot Proposals Spark Uproar in Colorado - Yahoo! News: "Ballot Proposals Spark Uproar in Colorado By STEVEN K. PAULSON, Associated Press Writer
Mon Sep 5, 2:33 PM ET

DENVER - A pair of November ballot proposals aimed at fixing Colorado's financial woes has sparked a nasty campaign that has split the state's Republican base, already reeling from losses in last fall's elections.


Gov. Bill Owens, once touted in conservative Republican circles as presidential material, teamed with Democrats last spring in drawing up the proposals that will ask voters to give up as much as $3.7 billion in tax refunds over the next five years.

This from a politician who used to tout the state constitutional amendment that limits how much Colorado governments can tax and spend — the very amendment that would essentially be put on hold if the twin ballot measures pass Nov. 1.

The fight over the ballot proposals has become an issue in the bitter race to replace the term-limited Owens next year, as Republican Marc Holtzman says his likely primary opponent, Rep. Bob Beauprez (news, bio, voting record), is failing to oppose Owens' ballot plan strongly enough.

Their divisive fight comes as the GOP is trying to rebound from last fall's election, when it lost a Senate seat and one U.S. House seat to Democrats. The GOP also lost control of the Legislature for the first time in more then 40 years.

The turmoil centers on the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, or TABOR, a constitutional amendment approved by 54 percent of voters in 1992. It limits the growth of government spending to 6 percent a year and requires voter approval for tax hikes. It holds down state taxes and fees through a formula based on population growth and inflation. Extra money must be refunded to taxpayers, and they got millions before the economy soured in 2001.

One of the ballot measures, Referendum C, would temporarily lift TABOR's government spending limits and allow the state to keep surplus tax revenue — an estimated $3.7 billion over the next five years — instead of giving it back to taxpayers. The other, Referendum D, would allow the state to borrow up to $2.1 billion for roads, school maintenance and other projects; it would take effect only if C is approved.

Owens acknowledges the plan does not have much support among Republicans, but says Colorado faces a fiscal crisis next year if voters refuse to give up surplus tax refunds.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said Colorado has been a national model of fiscal sanity. He says politicians who fail to support spending limits — he singles out Owens — are committing political suicide.

"The lesson to be learned from Colorado is that a governor who could have been president, once he turned on TABOR, ended his national ambitions," Norquist said. "Being on the wrong side of this issue is a career-ender."

TABOR has been held up as either a blueprint for limited government or the biggest reason Colorado lawmakers have cut everything from health programs to higher education.

California has a similar spending limit on the Nov. 8 ballot, proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Voters in Ohio, Maine, Nevada and Arizona are looking at similar measures next year.

Holtzman is attacking Beauprez for not declaring outright opposition to the two measures. Holtzman and his backers see any change to TABOR as an attempt to weaken it and have vowed to protect it.

Beauprez spokesman John Marshall insists the congressman has never wavered in opposing changes to TABOR as a "tax increase."

Owens and other supporters of the ballot measure maintain it is not a tax increase because they are not raising the tax rate, just using provisions of TABOR to ask voter permission to spend the tax surplus over five years.

The Democrats so far have only one official candidate for governor, former Denver prosecutor Bill Ritter. He supports the two measures.

Democrat Wally Stealey, a former lobbyist who helped kill two previous attempts to limit government spending, said neither party understood the full impact of TABOR until the economy slumped. He remembers Democratic former Gov. Roy Romer warning that TABOR would force the state to put up a "going out of business sign.""

Friday, August 19, 2005

David M. Satterfield betrayed America -DAWN - Top Stories; August 19, 2005

US diplomat provided information to Israeli lobby -DAWN - Top Stories; August 19, 2005: "US diplomat provided information to Israeli lobby

By Masood Haider

NEW YORK, Aug 18: The diplomat holding the second highest position at the United States embassy in Baghdad is one of the anonymous government officials cited in an Aug 4 indictment as having provided classified information to an employee of a pro-Israel lobbying group, said the New York Times on Wednesday quoting sources.

The diplomat, David M. Satterfield, was identified in the indictment as a US government official, ‘USGO-2’, the people briefed on the matter said. They asked not to be identified because many of the matters related to the case were classified, the report said.

In early 2002, USGO-2 discussed secret national security matters in two meetings with Steven J. Rosen, who had since been dismissed as a top lobbyist for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and charged in the case, the newspaper said.

The indictment said that Mr Rosen met Mr Satterfield on Jan 18 and March 12, 2002.

It did not describe Mr Satterfield’s activities in detail, nor did it specify what classified information the diplomat discussed with the lobbyist. The meetings were also confirmed by documents, sources said.

The indictment did not accuse Mr Satterfield of any wrongdoing, nor did it indicate whether he might have been authorized to talk with the lobbyist. He is not believed to be the subject of a continuing investigation. He is the first higher-ranking government official to be caught up in the criminal inquiry. The paper said Mr Satterfield’s role in the inquiry had been known within a small circle at the state department."

US diplomat provided information to Israeli lobby -DAWN - Top Stories; August 19, 2005

US diplomat provided information to Israeli lobby -DAWN - Top Stories; August 19, 2005: "US diplomat provided information to Israeli lobby

By Masood Haider

NEW YORK, Aug 18: The diplomat holding the second highest position at the United States embassy in Baghdad is one of the anonymous government officials cited in an Aug 4 indictment as having provided classified information to an employee of a pro-Israel lobbying group, said the New York Times on Wednesday quoting sources.

The diplomat, David M. Satterfield, was identified in the indictment as a US government official, ‘USGO-2’, the people briefed on the matter said. They asked not to be identified because many of the matters related to the case were classified, the report said.

In early 2002, USGO-2 discussed secret national security matters in two meetings with Steven J. Rosen, who had since been dismissed as a top lobbyist for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and charged in the case, the newspaper said.

The indictment said that Mr Rosen met Mr Satterfield on Jan 18 and March 12, 2002.

It did not describe Mr Satterfield’s activities in detail, nor did it specify what classified information the diplomat discussed with the lobbyist. The meetings were also confirmed by documents, sources said.

The indictment did not accuse Mr Satterfield of any wrongdoing, nor did it indicate whether he might have been authorized to talk with the lobbyist. He is not believed to be the subject of a continuing investigation. He is the first higher-ranking government official to be caught up in the criminal inquiry. The paper said Mr Satterfield’s role in the inquiry had been known within a small circle at the state department."

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sen. Vincent Fumo, of Philadelphia - A passion for politics - PittsburghLIVE.com

A passion for politics - PittsburghLIVE.com: "A passion for politics

By Richard Gazarik
Sunday, July 31, 2005

After a dinner of crab cakes with Louisiana hot sauce and a long, sleepless night trying to pass a state budget, Sen. Vincent Fumo, of Philadelphia, was back at his desk the next morning, working the telephone and talking to aides.
In a hoarse voice, he said his stomach was roiling from the combination of spicy food, irregular hours and Gov. Ed Rendell's comments to a reporter that he'd support a legislative pay raise if lawmakers brought him a responsible budget. Rendell's remarks, he said, complicated the already complicated recent budget negotiations.

Fumo, who represents south Philadelphia, and Rendell aren't strangers. They worked together often during Rendell's two terms as the city's mayor.

"Ed can be very frustrating to say the least," Fumo said. "... He tells you what you want to hear just to get you out of his office."

Fumo said he's just the opposite.

"I don't give my word lightly," he added.

The 62-year-old Fumo is a brash, bright, outspoken political dynamo in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, where he holds sway over the state budget process as minority chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which controls the state's purse strings.

First elected in 1978, the six-term Democratic lawmaker can be a hard man to label.

The former high school biology teacher is a strange mix of liberal and conservative. He's a member of the American Civil Liberties Union and rails against the erosion of civil liberties since Sept. 11, 2001, and the war in Iraq. He's also a member of the National Rifle Association and believes in an individual's right to carry a gun.

A twice-divorced Catholic with three children, Fumo is somewhat of a Renaissance man, having earned an airplane pilot's license and boat captain's license. A licensed electrical contractor, he also can fix engines.

He grew up in the 1st District in South Philadelphia, the neighborhood he represents. "South Philly," at the heart of the city along the Delaware River, is populated largely by people of Italian, Irish, Asian and Hispanic heritage.

It has been home to various celebrities, such as singers Bobby Rydell, Fabian, Frankie Avalon, Eddie Fisher, Jim Croce and Chubby Checker. Comedians David Brenner and Joey Bishop, actor Jack Klugman and opera singers Marian Anderson and Mario Lanza also lived in the neighborhood.

The city's major sports venues are there, including Lincoln Financial Field, home to the Eagles football team; Citizens Bank Ball Park, home of the Phillies, and the Wachovia Center, where the Flyers hockey and 76ers basketball teams play.

South Philly is also known for its color: cheesesteaks, outdoor markets, soft pretzels, hot dog carts, street singers and wiseguys. It is a place where politics is a "blood sport," according to Zach Stahlberg, retired editor of the Philadelphia Daily News.

"Over the years it's been more intense than it is right now," Stahlberg said. "There was a period when Vince and (the late state Sen.) Buddy Cianfrani and ( former Councilman) Jimmy Tayoun and the forces of (the late) Mayor Frank Rizzo were allied with each other on any given day. It was a helluva lot of fun to watch."

Fumo said South Philly politics is competitive. In the past, it was violent. Voters expressed their loyalty for a candidate by settling disputes with their fists.

"People were getting beat up in the streets," Fumo said. "I said it had to stop and it did stop. Elections are fairer and cleaner than when I first started. The neighborhood has changed as well."

Depending upon who you talk to, everybody seems to have a different take on the relationship between Fumo and Rendell, two of the strongest personalities in state government. David Cohen, vice president of Comcast in Philadelphia, who served as Rendell's chief of staff when he was mayor, said the relationship between Rendell and Fumo is "generally productive but sometimes contentious."

"Both are passionate men. Both believe very strongly in principle," Cohen said.

"I think their political rapport is based on mutual respect," said House Minority Leader Bill DeWeese, of Waynesburg, Greene County. "They are such dominant intellects in their respective branches ... and come from the same proverbial neck of the woods. Certainly, they're bound to collide from time to time."

Former Philadelphia Councilman Jimmy Tayoun is more direct.

"He scares Eddie," Tayoun said. "He can deliver votes for Eddie, He can deliver legislation for Eddie, but you never know where he is on the bottom line."

Rendell's press secretary disagreed with Tayoun's description of the relationship.

"I would not at all characterize the governor as being scared of him by any measure," said Kate Philips, Rendell's press secretary. "Both are strong personalities. Both have strong opinions about what is right and wrong. They both have the good of the people in mind, but they're cut from two different cloths.

"I think they respect each other. They are both very powerful men."

In his role as minority chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Fumo's counsel and help have been sought by governors trying to get their budgets passed. In fact, Fumo said Gov. Robert Casey once dispatched a state airplane to return him to Harrisburg from vacation to talk about the budget.

"He's been the dominant budgeteer in the state for the past 15 years," DeWeese added.

Not surprisingly, Republicans think Fumo's influence is overstated.

Retired Sen. Richard Tilghman, of Montgomery County, who was majority chair of appropriations, concedes Fumo is "an able guy." However, he said Fumo's clout with GOP governors wasn't that influential because Republicans controlled both chambers.

Fumo himself admits he is not without faults.

He said he's blunt, has a temper and is prone to name-calling when he's angry. He said his temper may be due to a volatile combination of ancestry, noting he's half Italian and one-quarter each Irish and English.

"He knows as many four-letter words as I do and he uses them," Stahlberg said.

But Fumo doesn't hold a grudge.

"I do get angry at times," Fumo said. "Once I blow up, I get it out of my system. My biggest fault is that I'm too forgiving. I'm not vindictive. I'm too forgiving."

Fumo once called Republican Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer a "faggot" and then repeated the name several times.

"I've apologized to the gay community for that," Fumo added.

He once tore into DeWeese for failing to line up House votes for Rendell so Comcast could get a tax break.

"He was kinda stunned. I think his jaw dropped," Fumo recalled.

DeWeese couldn't remember details of the confrontation, although press accounts indicated the younger lawmaker admonished Fumo to "sit down, old man."

"My memory is fogged," DeWeese said diplomatically.

Records show Fumo was sued by a former court official who blamed him for the loss of his job. When Fumo won the case, he turned around and the sued the man for personal injury, later saying he recouped $300,000 for the state because the plaintiff had sued the state Supreme Court as well.

He also sued an official of the Transport Workers Union after a bus strike because the official accused him of taking a bribe.

"He implied I took a bribe. I went ballistic," Fumo said. "I sued him for that. I don't do slip-and-fall cases."

He sued a Teamsters union official in Philadelphia for accusing him of being a "spokesman for the Mafia in the Senate." That case also was settled in his favor, he said.

Fumo's behavior has earned him nicknames like "the Vince of Darkness," "Vince the Merciless" and "Vinnie Kilowatt." He's also been called "Senator R2D2" because of his interest in computers and technology.

He jokes that he had to hire an aide just to clean up his reputation. The nicknames, he added, come with the territory.

"I want him to turn me from Darth Vader into Luke Skywalker," he said. "He hasn't done his job. I am tough. I deliver. I keep my word and I don't lie."

DeWeese said Fumo's word is as good as gold.

"He is a dominant force in the General Assembly by anyone's standards," DeWeese said. "Vince brings a lot of fire up the turnpike each week. His word is good and that's the only species that counts in the capitol complex."

Philadelphia Councilman Frank Rizzo Jr., son of the city's late mayor, said he believes people are jealous of the senator.

"He's a wealthy man. He doesn't need politics. He doesn't need people to wine and dine him," Rizzo added. "I'm not ashamed to say it's never affected my relationship with him."

Stahlberg, who has known Fumo for about 25 years, said he's seen him operate on a political and personal level.

"He's a very, very sharp guy," Stahlberg said. "You can't help but enjoy being around him. At the same time, we would butt heads from time to time. He's got plenty of emotion and is willing to express it. I think it's not just passion. It's a combination of intellect and passion which makes for a very potent force. I can't think of anyone in public life who has that mixture."

During meetings, Fumo "usually is the smartest person in the room," according to DeWeese.

"There are moments when GOP members aren't brimming with affection for the gentleman from south Philadelphia .... he could care less if people aren't fond of him," DeWeese said.

"Vince has an agenda which very few of us go to watch and try to figure out," Stahlberg added. "One thing he is not is some type of cartoon character. He's not your typical tough-talking south Philadelphia pol. When Vince steps into something, he's not just stepping in or trying to get you an extra dime. He's stepping in with a tremendous arsenal of personal assets."

Fumo went to St. Joseph's Prep and graduated from St. John Newman High School, where he later taught. He has degrees from Villanova, Temple Law School and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

He's a wealthy lawyer, banker and businessman. He runs a banking concern that has grown from $1.5 million in assets to $500 million, sits on the board of directors of corporations and is associated with the Philadelphia law firm of Dilworth Paxson, he said.

He said he has a financial interest in at least 15 business partnerships and a mortgage company and is a landlord with real estate properties in Philadelphia and Harrisburg. He sits on the board of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Authority, the Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System, the Delaware River Port Authority, Independent Blue Cross and the Philadelphia City Board of Trusts.

Fumo said his late grandfather, a tailor, came to America from Italy through Ellis Island and became a real estate broker in Philadelphia. When Italian immigrants couldn't get loans to buy homes, he founded the Fumo Savings and Loan Co. The senator's late father, Joseph, also became a real estate broker and ran the company until 1976 when Fumo took over management.

Fumo's parents didn't want him to get into politics, so he enrolled in medical school to become an osteopath.

"In his first year, his father talks to the head of the school who also was a Republican ward leader and he says 'maybe you should get your son out of here,'" Tayoun recalled.

Medicine's loss was politics' gain, although some of Fumo's detractors now may wish he had become a doctor, confining his interests to the human body rather than Pennsylvania's legislative body.

Fumo, reflecting on his career, said he started out at the bottom of the political ladder.

He became a committeeman and served as Philadelphia coordinator for then-U.S. Rep. John Dent, of Westmoreland County, who challenged incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Clark. After Milton Shapp was elected governor, Fumo became the right-hand man of the late Pete Camiel, a Philadelphia power broker and later head of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Fumo was in charge of patronage under Shapp and went on to become deputy commissioner and then commissioner of Occupational Affairs in the Department of State.

Fumo learned politics at the feet of a master -- the late Buddy Cianfrani -- according to Tayoun. Fumo succeeded Cianfrani in the state Senate after Cianfrani went to prison on corruption charges.

"Buddy understood the political game," Tayoun said. "We all learned from Buddy Cianfrani."

Fumo agrees, to a point. He was related to Cianfrani by marriage, but he said he and Cianfrani had different views on how to accomplish things politically.

"My uncle was married to Buddy's cousin," Fumo said. "Depending on the day, he either was my uncle or didn't know me. I do think strategically. Buddy liked to shoot from the hip."

Laura Foreman, a former Philadelphia Inquirer reporter who was married to Cianfrani, said she didn't think Fumo and her husband were as close politically as some people thought.

"They knew each other all of Vince's life," she said from her home in New Orleans. "I think Buddy knew Vince was very bright. They had their differences along the way. Vince comes from a very political family. It's a very large family through marriage relationships and the world he grew up in."

Fumo said his worst career memory is of then-Mayor Wilson Goode, of Philadelphia, ordering the police bombing of a row house occupied by members of MOVE, a radical back-to-nature movement, which resulted in 11 deaths and the destruction of 61 homes in 1985.

"Wilson Goode had no Plan B," Fumo said.

Tayoun said he is amazed that the years have not damped Fumo's ambition and ability to think two or three steps ahead of everybody else. He recalled the ambition surfacing after Fumo was elected to the state Senate.

"He wins the seat. One day in the office, I'm on the phone talking to constituents and he said to me, 'I'll never be like you. I want to be a power broker. I want to put key people in key positions across the state.' He did that. He did it very successfully. He changed the way politics is played in this town."

Fumo's high profile has attracted law enforcement scrutiny from time to time.

He has been on the radar screen of prosecutors ever since he worked for the Shapp administration. He escaped one criminal conviction and now finds himself again under the scrutiny of federal prosecutors in Philadelphia.

"Vince always was a target for law enforcement. He always was the target of somebody's investigation," said a former Shapp official who knows Fumo. "I don't think there's ever been a prosecutor who didn't have a Fumo file close at hand."

In the early 1970s, Fumo, Camiel, Democratic Majority Leader Tom Nolan, of Turtle Creek, and Chief Clerk of the House, Vincent Scarcelli, were indicted for mail fraud and conspiracy for placing 33 "ghost" employees on the state payroll. A jury convicted them, but a federal judge overturned the conviction.

"Vince has been a very, very lucky man when it comes to court decisions," said Tayoun, who served time in prison for bribery, tax evasion, mail fraud and obstructing justice during his tenure as a councilman.

Earlier this year, a federal grand jury subpoenaed documents and witnesses in an ongoing investigation into Fumo's ties to a series of nonprofit organizations that received state grants. Prosecutors also have subpoenaed records of Verizon Communications, Ikea and Peco Energy Co., which donated $17 million to the Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods, a Fumo-supported organization.

FBI agents in May also seized the computers at Fumo's Philadelphia and Harrisburg offices. In June, a federal judge rebuffed Fumo's efforts to block the seizure.

Fumo will not discuss the investigation, nor will he talk about the newspaper stories that have been published about him regarding the federal investigation. Despite the journalistic scrutiny, he said he gets along well with reporters.

"I think most of the guys like me. Lately, over the last two years, the (Philadelphia) Inquirer has had a tear on me. There's nothing I can do. I tried. It's interesting to note that the Inquirer, after vilifying me for about a year, wrote a glowing endorsement."

Fumo said he has a difficult time turning off the internal switch that motivates him.

"In many ways, Vince is a comparatively private individual ... he's not out backslapping and shooting the breeze because he's always working," DeWeese said.

Rizzo recalled a fund-raiser at the Philadelphia Museum of Art during which the street around the museum was closed to traffic so participants could drive go-carts around the block. Rizzo said Fumo, hands gripped on the steering wheel, was flying around the block, cutting off drivers and ramming others.

"These little cars went like hell," Rizzo said. "About 35 to 50 miles an hour around a course at the art museum."

Fumo chuckled as he recalled the story. He readily admits he has a difficult time relaxing.

"I have a home on the beach," he said. "I like watching the ocean ... but I can't sit on the beach. ... I'm not a person who's at ease when he's at rest."

Richard Gazarik can be reached at rgazarik@tribweb.com or (724) 830-6292."

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Philadelphia Daily News | 07/22/2005 | Pa.'s Congressman Sherwood admits affair, denies abuse

Philadelphia Daily News | 07/22/2005 | Pa.'s Congressman Sherwood admits affair, denies abuse: "Posted on Fri, Jul. 22, 2005

Pa.'s Congressman Sherwood admits affair, denies abuse
Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Rep. Don Sherwood, R-Pa., admitted in court papers filed yesterday that he had an affair with a Maryland woman for five years, but he denied abusing her, as she claimed in a $5.5 million civil suit.

The court papers were filed by Sherwood in response to the lawsuit filed last month by Cynthia Ore, 29, of Rockville, Md. In it, she alleges that he assaulted and struck her on several occasions.

Sherwood, 64, denied in his filing that Ore lived at his Capitol Hill apartment, as she claims in her suit. He said the affair ended Sept. 15, 2004 - the day police were called to his apartment after Ore dialed 911.

In a statement released yesterday, he apologized for the affair but denied having hurt Ore.

"I will defend myself to the fullest extent possible against these malicious and baseless allegations," Sherwood said.

Sherwood, a married millionaire with three daughters, is a four-term congressman.

According to the Sept. 15 police report, Ore called 911 on her cell phone from the bathroom of Sherwood's apartment and reported that he had "choked her for no apparent reason." Both parties said he had been giving her a back rub, but he said she had "jumped up" and ran to the bathroom."

Scandal shadows Northeast Pa. Congressman Donald L. Sherwood - Violence and Sex With Foreign National Less Than Half His Age

Scandal shadows Northeast Pa. congressman, hometown: "Scandal shadows Northeast Pa. congressman, hometown
Saturday, July 30, 2005

By Bill Toland, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

TUNKHANNOCK, Pa. -- In this old lumber town, part of the state's conservative northeast, the Sherwoods are the local version of the Kennedys: wealthy, iconic and, now, because of U.S. Rep. Donald L. Sherwood, knee-deep in scandal.

Sherwood, 64, a Republican, is embroiled in a salacious, he-said, she-said affair with a Peruvian-born woman named Cynthia Ore, 29. Ore alleges that her five-year relationship with Sherwood, who is married with three grown daughters, turned violent.

News of the relationship began to dribble out of Washington, D.C., at the end of April, when a political foe sent a copy of a police report to the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre and other papers. The report, and the newspaper story that followed, said police visited Sherwood's Washington apartment in September after Ore called 911 to tell police that, during the course of a back rub, Sherwood had tried to choke her.

He denied that, saying he never choked her, and that she was the one who interrupted the back rub when she "jumped up" and went to the bathroom to call 911.

No criminal charges were filed, but a civil suit has been. In June, Ore sued Sherwood for $5.5 million, saying he bruised her, punched her and yanked her hair, and that police didn't take her charges seriously. She stayed with him through the abuse, the suit says, because Sherwood promised to marry her. Sherwood, while saying Ore's lawsuit, in general, and the accusations of abuse, in particular, are without merit, has admitted to the affair.

He'd kept quiet, offering only a quick apology for the "pain" he's caused, until 10 days ago, when he filed his response to Ore's lawsuit and issued a more in-depth statement:

"For about five years, I had an affair I deeply regret," the statement says. "Although it was intermittent and ended last year, nothing I say can diminish the pain and hurt I have caused my wife and family. While I can't change or erase what I did, I accept full responsibility for my behavior, and I apologize to my wife, my family and to the people I represent in Congress."

He added, "I want to be absolutely clear that I never physically hurt or abused Ms. Ore. I will defend myself to the fullest extent possible against these malicious and baseless allegations." In the court papers, filed in Washington, D.C., Sherwood says he can't remember how he met Ore, while Ore says they met at a Young Republicans meeting in 1999.

Ore's attorney, Patrick Regan, declined to comment on Sherwood's statement.

Around Sherwood's rural, 13-county congressional district, people are just as likely to be suspicious as they are to be sympathetic. Sherwood's reputation as an upstanding, family-values politician is now sullied by the scent of hypocrisy, some say.

"My problem is not with the fact that the guy decided to fool around. Guys do that," said John Braun, a retiree and registered Republican who lives 15 miles west of Tunkhannock. Braun's problem, he said, is that he feels his intelligence has been insulted by Sherwood's story that Ore abruptly "jumped up" and ran to the bathroom in mid-back rub, for no good reason.

"To me, that doesn't ring like an event that could have actually occurred that way," Braun said.

But in leafy Tunkhannock, where Sherwood's name still graces the wall of a main street car dealership, the man is more likely to be given doubt's benefit.

"He's human," said Paul Litwin III, a lawyer with an office on Tunkhannock's short business strip. He noted that police had investigated Ore's September phone call and declined to press charges. "If she's lying about that, there's a possibility that she's lying about the abuse," Litwin said. He added that "any type of abuse" would be unforgiveable if Ore's accounts were proven true.

But if they're not true, Sherwood's affair was private, Litwin said, and shouldn't have played out in the papers. "Most people I speak with are more sympathetic toward the family than disgusted toward him," he said.

Many defenders in this town were reluctant to talk about Sherwood's fortunes, protective of one of their own. The Sherwoods still keep a home and do business here, eating at in-town restaurants and buying arrangements from the local florist.

In his pre-Congress life, Sherwood lived by the all-American model of service and hard work. He went to Dartmouth College, joined the Army, opened a car dealership at age 26. When his father died, Sherwood inherited part of the family estate, worth $1.4 million at the time.

Sherwood's supporters think so much of him here that a local media chain, Times Shamrock Communications, initially declined to cover the Sherwood saga, which most newspapers or TV outlets would have considered newsworthy. After the police report became public, The Scranton Times, one of three papers in the chain, criticized the Times Leader for writing about it.

"Where is the connection between the politician's private moral life and his public performance?" Lawrence Beaupre, managing editor of The Scranton Times, wrote in a letter to his readers. The Times Leader, he said, was guilty of "sanctimonious self-righteousness" in its decision to publish a story.

Times Leader Managing Editor David Iseman answered in a column of his own, saying that the "alliance" of papers and TV stations that initially declined to report on the hubbub was neglecting its duty. He said the inter-media sparring "kind of wasted a little bit of our time."

The papers are 20 miles away from each other. The Tribune and The Citizens' Voice of Wilkes-Barre, the two other Shamrock papers, also refused to write about Sherwood, at first.

Whether the allegations affect Sherwood's political career is unclear. His district is heavily Republican, and no Democrat has challenged him since his second congressional race in 2000, when he defeated Pat Casey, son of the late governor and brother of state Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr.

GOP colleagues are offering support, with U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, of Penn Hills, doing so during a recent visit to the area.

"I don't know how that's going to shake out," Santorum said, quoted by the Times Leader. "All I would suggest is that, again, until we know all the facts, [we] look at the job that Congressman Sherwood is doing and make decisions based on the facts."

Some Democrats are lining up to challenge Sherwood, believing that he's weakened. And at least one Republican politician, state Rep. Jerry Birmelin, R-Wayne, said he would consider a run at the seat, but only if Sherwood stepped aside. (Sherwood has no plans to do so, saying he's running for re-election next year.)

Tunkhannock's parable on lust and fallibility wouldn't be complete without a lesson in mercy. Heather Johns, who owns Reese Florist and the next-door bridal boutique, said even if Ore's abuse charges prove to be true, Sherwood ought to be forgiven by his town. "I don't think anybody should be judging him on one incident," she said.

(Bill Toland can be reached at btoland@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1889.)"

Monday, July 25, 2005

Young Bill Scranton wants to be Pennsylvania's First Heathen Govenor

Scranton: 'Appetite for change' - PittsburghLIVE.com:

Pennsylvania has had many Christian Govenors and a few Jewish Govenors but is Pennsylvania preparred for a Heathen Govenor. Bill Scranton an avowed heathen is a follower of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi the founder of a Far Eastern Cult known in the west as "Transcendental Meditation" or "TM". Bill Scranton needs to come clean on his religion and on his history of drug use. Barry O'Connell

"Scranton: 'Appetite for change'

By Bill Steigerwald
Saturday, July 23, 2005

Bill Scranton almost became governor of Pennsylvania in 1986 when he lost one of the closest gubernatorial elections in commonwealth history to Robert Casey. Scranton, who was Gov. Dick Thornburgh's lieutenant governor from 1979 to 1987, is one of the leading Republican candidates vying for the chance to challenge Gov. Ed Rendell next year. The son of former Gov. William W. Scranton, he calls himself a "progressive conservative" who believes "in limited government and strong free markets." Scranton has extensive experience as an executive in direct marketing and insurance. I talked to him by telephone on Wednesday, his 58th birthday, when he came to Pittsburgh to announce that FreeMarkets founder Glen Meakem would be his "Scranton 2006" campaign chairman:
Q: Pennsylvania is by all accounts and all measures an economically stagnating state, with probably too many taxes and too many regulations left over from the New Deal. Is it fixable?

A: Yes.

Q: How would you fix it?

A: Cut the cost of government, return private tax money to the private sector, and tighten education so that it is meeting standards. Those are the most important.

Q: And these things can be done without spending more money, without raising taxes?

A: It's got to be, because we're not competitive right now. We don't have a choice.

Q: What's the most pressing problem the state has now -- something the governor can do right now?

A: It is not competitive. We are not attractive to new jobs, not attractive to new investments. We are not keeping up with our sister states or, on a more compelling basis at the moment, other nations of the world. ... Government in this era has to be conducted on a very lean basis, with an eye toward creating an investment climate that is compelling.

Q: Does that mean throwing subsidies at companies to bring them in here?

A: The exact opposite. We've been playing that game in Pennsylvania for 50 years and we are 47th or 48th in this nation in economic growth. ... That tells you we are on the wrong path. Instead of government making political decisions about where subsidies ought to go, let's put money back into the private sector and let the private sector make decisions about where its investments are going to be. ... (I)investment will come into this state as a matter of course.

Q: Is there any one worst thing that Gov. Rendell has done that you would try to fix or reverse as soon as you took office?

A: The worst thing he's done is waste time. He came in with a mandate to change Pennsylvania and has not done it. He's raised taxes, he's borrowed money, he's brought in gambling -- none of which has made a bit of difference to this state. Now, what a governor has got to do is very quickly take costs out of government, very quickly lower taxes, very quickly make ourselves more attractive to investment.

Q: Would you have vetoed the legislative pay raise?

A: Yes.

Q: What would have happened then? Would you have been over-ridden by the Legislature?

A: I don't think it would have been. I blame the legislative pay raise on the governor. I think that was his deal to get his budget. If the governor isn't prepared to make that deal, there is no pay raise. Were I governor, it wouldn't have been a bill.

Q: How do you define your politics?

A: I don't have a glib, two-word answer. But I would say "progressive conservative." That is to say, I believe in conservative means to progressive ends -- that is, to growth, to change. I am one who embraces the future but believes in limited government, strong free markets and strong free people.

Q: How have your ideas about the role of state government changed over the last 18 years?

A: I've become less convinced that government programs are answers to economic problems. I've become impressed with the power of the New Economy and how it can reap greater opportunity for more people. The older I've gotten, the more I've learned, the more I believe in the power of free people and free markets, and I believe it's the government's job to support and protect both of those.

Q: No incumbent governor in modern state history has lost a run for re-election. What makes you think you will be able to make Gov. Rendell be the first?

A: Because I think I have a compelling vision for the state. I think the people recognize that he has squandered his opportunity. And I know there is a real appetite for change right now in Pennsylvania.

Q: Where in the state is Rendell most vulnerable?

A: I think he's most vulnerable in Western Pennsylvania. The farther you get away from Philadelphia, the more vulnerable he becomes.

Q: The people in Western Pennsylvania are Johnstown Democrats -- conservative social Democrats. There's still a lot of union thinking going on around here. Why would he be vulnerable here?

A: I think it's because he promised a new Pennsylvania and didn't deliver. And people in Western Pennsylvania are wise enough to know that the old days dominated by steel mills and heavy manufacturing are gone and they want something new and they look around the world and see that it is possible and ask why can't it be possible here.

Q: Can you win back any of those rich Republicans in the Philly suburbs who voted for Rendell in 2002?

A: Absolutely, because many of them have been disappointed by his leadership. They are Republicans. They are willing to vote Republican with the right message and, obviously, I need to get to them.

Q: You will probably have to comment with your interest in Transcendental Meditation, which became an important issue in the final days of your 1986 campaign against Bob Casey (when the Casey campaign unearthed photos of a younger Scranton in long hair and beads). How will you deal with it?

A: It's pretty simple. First of all, people don't like the kind of personal negative advertising that went on in 1986 and they've shown that. Second of all, 20 years on, the idea of somebody closing their eyes every once in a while and relaxing their mind and releasing some of their tension is not a foreign idea anymore. And that's all this is. James Carville clearly tried to make it into something ugly and it backfired on them, actually. A lot of people don't understand this, but it did. The (poll) numbers after that came out began to erode for Bob Casey, but unfortunately for me, they didn't erode fast enough.

Bill Steigerwald can be reached at (412) 320-7983 or bsteigerwald@tribweb.com."

Beaver County Times Allegheny Times - News - 07/25/2005 - Casey Still Over Shadows Republican gubernatorial hopefuls

Beaver County Times Allegheny Times - News - 07/25/2005 - Republican gubernatorial hopefuls differ in speaking styles, not much else: "Republican gubernatorial hopefuls differ in speaking styles, not much else
Marc Levy, Associated Press Writer

GRANTVILLE, Pa. - Three candidates for the GOP's gubernatorial nomination gave a list of reasons Saturday why they want to unseat Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, but offered a Republican crowd little contrast among themselves - other than their public-speaking styles.

Former Lt. Gov. William Scranton III thundered from the podium, gesturing at every turn and audibly tapping his fingers in front of the microphone to underscore his points.

Lynn Swann smiled early and often throughout his speech, warming up the crowd of GOP faithful with stories from his days as a star wide receiver with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

And state Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, known for his serious personality, effusively thanked the crowd for their grassroots work on GOP campaigns, but yielded most of his speaking time to a campaign consultant who narrated a PowerPoint presentation of Pennsylvania voting trends.

About 150 county chairmen, volunteers and party operatives at a suburban Harrisburg hotel listened, having already attended training sessions on grassroots organizing at a Republican State Committee event.

The state committee will likely endorse a candidate early next year, several months ahead of the gubernatorial primary.

The election will be held in November 2006 and Rendell is expected to run for re-election.

Already, the candidates are raising campaign funds and traveling around the state, promising to reach every county.

Saturday's event was not the first time the three men have appeared together.

On policy, all three hit on the traditional GOP theme of cutting taxes, and Piccola even talked about ending property taxes as a way to fund public schools.

Education was also a central theme, as the candidates talked about the need to improve schools and bring down costs.

None of the candidates mentioned his competitors by name; and none told listeners why he would be a better person than the other two to bear the GOP standard.

Scranton, the only one of the three to have won a statewide election, sought to reassure the crowd that he is "deadly serious" about returning to statewide public office after nearly two decades in the private sector.

"I lost an election in '86," he said, referring to a gubernatorial campaign he lost to Democrat Robert P. Casey. "I'm not going to lose another election."

Piccola's campaign consultant, John Morgan, said that Piccola's name-recognition in central Pennsylvania should help increase turnout in his favor; he also said Piccola's Italian heritage would appeal to Italians in the battleground suburbs around Philadelphia.

Piccola twice called himself "the strongest candidate to bring off" a victory against Rendell, whose broad appeal in southeastern Pennsylvania helped carry him to victory in 2002.

And Swann, who works as a college football television analyst and co-chaired the African-American steering committee for the Bush-Cheney campaign, used anecdotes from the Steelers' championship days to illustrate the trust and leadership he said he would bring to the governor's office.

"I am about winning people," he said. "Let's get that straight."

©Beaver County Times Allegheny Times 2005 "