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Live From FBI Headquarters

Thursday, January 22, 2015



The director of the FBI in Washington calls his special operations team into his office because he's heard rumblings about political shenanigans in Scranton.

"So what else is new, boss," the agents say.

Grizzled, smelling of non-filtered Luckies and reeking of bad grooming and Jade East cologne, the agents smirk, slap each other on the back and pass around a bottle of Paddy whiskey.

"Knock it off," the boss says. "Who knows anything about the mugs on the Scranton school board?"

The agents freeze.

"No, boss, please, not them. Don't send us up there to deal with them. The school board president is meaner than Dillinger with hemorrhoids. Ma Barker wouldn't let her kids go to school there. Even the school district PR flack, "Baby-Faced Justin," lost a loaded gun on the street near an elementary school, a piece he borrowed from his moll while she was running for mayor.

"Hey, knock it off," the boss says. "We're the FBI. What's our motto?"

"We ain't ascared of no Scranton."

"That's the spirit."

"Now, what's the story on this school board president Cy Douaihy?" the boss says.

"He publicly disowned his own cousin," says Agent Y. "Says he doesn't even know where Lebanon is? Down near Lancaster, he says?"

"Yeah, but she's still his cousin," says Agent Z.

"Slick," the boss says. "Real slick."

"They claim they did a national search for the school superintendent's job, $150,000 clams a year, and who turns up as one of the finalists? Douaihy's long lost cousin. But he swears they're not related. Then he gets mad at everybody who says she is. His buddies on the board play dumb – and some of them are as dumb as a slate blackboard as it is."

"Cy even hand-picked the interview committee," says Agent X.

"Nice touch," the boss says. "I hear they whittled the finalists down to three. And guess who's one of the three?"

The special ops agents laugh so hard they almost convulse.

"Elvis?"

"No, Cy's cousin."

"So here's what we're gonna do," the boss says.

"Convene a federal grand jury? Subpoena the whole school? Even the thousand or so politically-connected janitors who work part time?" asks AgentY.

"Maybe."

"Convene a state grand jury and subpoena all the guys selling football tickets and taking bets on school property?" asks Agent Z.

"If we can persuade the local DA to take the case."

"What else, boss? What else?"

"Find out if it's legal to wire up a Scranton school director. Then send the goof everywhere wired for sound, meeting with vendors, teacher's union officials, other board members and administrators."

"Whoa, like shooting fish in a beer barrel," says Agent X

"Exactly," the boss says. "Even if we can't wire somebody we float the rumor that we did, that we wired up three school board members whether we did or not. Before every board meeting these esteemed public servants will all be hugging each other like real cousins, patting each other down, trying to feel the wire, just like in a cheesy Paul Sorvino mob movie. If nothing else they might be petrified to try to pull a fast one."

"And the people benefit."

"Yeah, and we will have done it for the children," the boss says. "Just like real school directors are supposed to do."

"But maybe we'll get lucky and really reel somebody in, boss," says Agent X.

"Reel justice?" says Agent Y.

"That's already been used," says Agent Z.

"So we recycle?"

"Right," says the boss. "Speaking of recycling…" Aw, never mind, that's a whole other investigation. Okay, lads, hit the streets. See you in Scranton."





 
Tags :  
Locations : LancasterWashington
People : Cy DouaihyDillingerJade EastPaul Sorvino


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C'Mon, Wolfie, Let The Good Times Roll

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tom Wolf is afraid of the press.

Pennsylvania's new governor gets pale and weak-kneed at the mere mention of speaking off-the-cuff with newspaper reporters, editors and columnists as well as radio and television broadcast journalists. This dull terror bodes poorly for his - and our - success on the big stage of public service opportunity and, hopefully, state prosperity.

Wolf's fear is puzzling. Did his timidity contribute to his multi-million-dollar wealth and power? Did paranoia and trembling help him win a heated Democratic primary and eventual victory over a mean-spirited former federal prosecutor and burly governor?

Looks like it.

So imagine what a powerhouse Wolf could become if he develops the chops to take it on the chin when necessary, laugh it off and ask if that's all we've got. Put some teeth in Wolf's style and maybe he can help us gnaw our way out of a Pennsylvania prison of despair and lead us toward renewal and even good government in the Commonwealth of Corruption.

That's why I'm inviting Wolf to Corbett's Gym, a bust 'em-up, rock 'em sock 'em training camp for political pugs who truly want to serve the public and help restore the public trust.

Wolf's absence from the WILK News Radio airways during the primary as well as the general election remains seriously troubling. Wolf ran from us all – my Democratic as well as Republican colleagues. Not once did he call the show or respond to our many invitations to appear and speak to the people of Northeastern Pennsylvania he now represents.

One day when Wolf showed up at a hastily-called gathering in Wilkes-Barre, he high-tailed it from "Karel On The Street." What did WILK get for Karel's trouble? I got a weird on-air interview with "Bowzer" from Sha Na Na, who had showed up at the rally in emaciated oldies but goodies character to support Mr. Milquetoast.

C'mon, Wolfie, let the good times roll.

Pennsylvania deserves a leader who's not afraid to go off-script.

I realize that a cardboard campaign cut-out has more personality than the real deal, but hiding in the back seat of his Jeep will seriously harm Wolf's ability to do battle with government business sharks, crooked union bosses or special interest lobbyists out to fleece taxpayers and the needy while their profit margins swell with public cash.

That's why I'm willing to get Wolf in the ring and help teach him all I know about public speaking and even public relations.

First, fire the new press secretary. This is the same guy who blew off and disrespected the press during the campaign. Bowzer would make a better PR flack. Next, make some calls to members of the press – including me – and take whatever heat the most aggressive among us throw at you.

Then take the reins in an aggressive, yet polite, manner. Tell the gas drillers that you're coming for our money. Jump in the Jeep with a video crew. Drive to Dimock. Wave your boney little fist at a gas rig. Better yet, wave it at a roughneck. And kiss a baby even though the campaign is over. Tell the little bundle of indigestion that he or she will breathe easier now that you're there to save the day. Tell the rich that you're one of them but expect you all them to pay. Act like a heroic Bavarian chieftain of old who prefers the peasants over the feathered finery of your peers. Tell the gentry that you're there to help the poor. Wear a sword if need be.

The press will go wild. I'll go wild. I'll even accompany you to gas country in case one of those Confederate roughnecks acts up and you need a Yankee coal cracker to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you on behalf of Pee-Ay people.

Am I dreaming?

Probably.

You won't call. You won't take the jeep to Dimock. You won't fire the press secretary or stick it to the rich. Your bashful song and dance will likely define you and us as we drift into an uncertain future.

Fraidy-cat.

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I'm Sorry, Do I Know You?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cy Douaihy says he's angry.

Poor Cy.

The Scranton School District (SSD) board president must be upset that he won't get invited to the next family reunion because he says he doesn't recognize his own cousin. If that isn't bad enough, Cy might have jeopardized her shot at a fat school district salary and benefits that could help her relocate from Georgia and come home to hard coal country.

That Cy, he's a real peach all right – the king of hard head country.

Fuming and sputtering that the selection process is now tainted because word leaked that his distant cousin through marriage is a finalist for the job, Cy blames young board member Robert Casey for calling the process corrupt – which it is.

Casey says the selection process is tainted and should start all over again. Since I recommended the very same move on the air Wednesday night, of course, that suggestion sounds good to me.

After suffering more than his own share of tainted integrity, young Casey is now back in the driver's seat. The last time our young hero found himself in the driver's seat he rolled a car that didn't even belong to him and agreed to enter a first-offender's program for driving under the influence. The kid didn't even have a driver's license.

Rehab looks like it might be working for the 24-year-old recovering school board member who should have resigned his seat but chose to stay the course.

The latest dirty SSD joke broke wind about a month ago when the rumor mill kicked into high gear with word that Cy's distant cousin through marriage was a lock to get the new super's job. I received a dozen emails about how sides on the board were at each other's throats and how Cy was throwing his weight around like he was a thick defensive tackle on a bad high school football team trying to bully his way through the line of scrimmage.

So, on January 5, I emailed Cy.

Here's what I wrote:

"Mr. Douaihy,
Is your cousin from Georgia a finalist for the superintendent's job? Have you in any way, formally or informally, discussed increasing the superintendent's salary? Have you spoken with your cousin about this position? Have you spoken with any board members about your cousin or a salary increase for the position? Did you know your cousin applied for the job? Did you encourage her to apply for the job?"

Here's Cy's reply:

"Mr. Corbett,

Neither I nor any other member of the Board is a relative of any of the applicants for the position of Superintendent of Schools. Nobody. As to your other questions; I have had absolutely no communication with any of the candidates. The Board has not discussed the increasing of the salary for the Superintendent's position, and I would be opposed to that move as we are no position financially to do so."

Nobody, Cy?

Now that the truth that Cy tried so hard to hide or didn't understand in the first place has oozed from the inner sanctum of the SSD, he cannot have anything to do with the selection process involving his cousin – or whoever that woman from down south happens to be.

A state ethics investigation at the very least is warranted. Each school board member also must be asked on the record when and how he or she first learned that Cy's cousin was a candidate for the public service job that pays close to $150,000 a year.

By the way, Cy, as a Scranton taxpayer and property owner, I'm angry too. Lots of people are angry, Cy. And I'll match a righteous anger produced by the power of the people against your sleazy windbag anger any day.


 
Tags :  
Locations : Georgia
People : CorbettCy DouaihyRobert Casey


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Come Home Kathleen

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Raising our glasses that night in an East Scranton bar, we toasted "our Kathleen" Kane and her future political success. Smiling that big black Irish smile of hers, she seemed confident, smart and gutsy enough to pull off the upset we all believed she could.

Not long after that informal meeting, I attended a party loaded with Kane supporters willing to work to help her win state public office. About 100 people cheered when she walked into the room. What a grand campaign it would be.

No, I'm not talking about Kane's successful run to become Pennsylvania's first elected Democratic and female attorney general. I'm talking about Kane's rarely discussed failed plan to take out Democratic Party warlord and veteran state senator Bob Mellow, long before he got indicted, pleaded guilty and went to federal prison.

Just six of us gathered that night in the neighborhood saloon to encourage Kane to challenge Mellow in 2010, supporting her challenge to the feared powerbroker who few people in Northeastern Pennsylvania challenged about anything. Our Kathleen promised she would take the fight to Mellow.

She lied.

Oh, she had a good reason. Eventually she told a small circle of friends that her husband's side of the family (the truckling company side) leaned on her because they feared losing a multi-million dollar state liquor hauling contract if she stood against Mellow, a malicious sucker puncher known for getting even at the slightest insult.

But that night of sparkling promise marked my first experience with what has become a pattern for Kane – a desperate political hustler who says one thing and does another – that clouds her judgment and eventually sends her close to the edge.

Kane is walking that edge right now, teetering and staring into the abyss. If she falls, I worry that she's willing to take us with her. The good citizens she is paid well to represent deserve better. So does her political party.

So I'm asking Kane to resign, leave quietly and come home.

Seek help, maybe counseling – and I don't mean huddling with crisis manager and celebrity lawyer Lanny Davis or one of the late Mafia don John Gotti's lawyers, both advisors who have checked into the Kane camp, whom she says she's personally paying for guidance. Save your money, Kathleen. With the divorce for which you recently filed, you'll need it. I'm giving you my best advice for free.

I felt sorry for Kane when her family pressured her unfairly. I felt sorry for her that night she walked into the room to rousing applause. Standing by her father, she looked lost, weak, and afraid. Some people have good reason to believe she had already met secretly with Mellow and on bended knee with a tear in her eye promised the vengeful political fixer to never challenge him about anything – not a good sign for a future corruption buster.

Granted, after becoming attorney general she charged Mellow with public corruption in a Turnpike case but a county judge called the case feeble and Kane did not protest. Had the case gone to trial, Mellow's lawyers strongly hinted that they hoped to capitalize on her past relationship with their client and cite her quest for revenge against her former nemesis.

I feel sorry for Kathleen now. After getting everything she supposedly wanted – power, status, privilege, money and more - she still has very little good to show for her trouble. Divorce, public humiliation by smarter prosecutors, possible indictment, an alleged concussion in a mysterious early morning car accident and maybe even a perp walk if she gets arrested for leaking grand jury testimony all shape a dismal future for her and for us.

If Kane truly cares about Pennsylvania, her hometown West Side Scranton neighborhood where she grew up and even her own sense of self-worth, she should step aside as gracefully as possible, work on healing her paranoid character flaws, commit to getting a simple life back together again and return to the tribe where she still has support. Some loyal neighbors still embrace an old-fashioned image of the woman they call Kathy - lovable, valuable and nice.

At 48, maybe she can salvage some last vestige of innocence in her life.

I truly hope she does – for everybody's sake.



 


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Drop The Curtain On Hugo's Act

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Manic and bouncing like an unpredictable circus animal on a leash, accused killer Hugo Selenski seems to savor every moment in the public spotlight. Walking with the gait of a deranged fashion model on the catwalk, he oozes a sneering energy packed with gruesome grins and flirty wisecracks.

Selenski enters and leaves the Luzerne County courthouse for legal proceedings to the sound of his one man outlaw band and the eerie voices in his head.

Get the hook.

It's time to remove this pathetic preener from the stage.

No longer should government officials allow this 41-year-old demented criminal another moment to further taunt the family and friends of his two alleged murder victims. No more should we expose anyone in his path to the dangerous sickness he carries. No more silly struts should be inflicted on law-abiding taxpayers who continue to pay for Selenski's bad boy performances.

Call it a security precaution.

Now that jury selection is underway in Selenski's trial for the 2002 killings of Wyoming County pharmacist Michael Kerkowski and his friend Tammy Fassette, deputies should bring Selenski to the court house early and return him to the county prison late.

Wake the defendant at 4 a.m., hose him off, get him dressed, give him a brown paper bag with an apple and a baloney sandwich and escort him to the courthouse. Fawning gawkers and even members of the press will likely be few at 6 a.m. When court ends, hold him until the press changes shifts then send him on his way with his empty lunch bag and bruised ego rotten to the core.

If members of the press want to talk with this narcissistic loser, write Selenski a letter and, if he agrees, go to the prison and ask questions. Nobody who's interested in real news appreciates the nonsensical banter with Selenski by immature reporters who show up like by his side like puppies with microphones, wearing gaudy smiles and no shame.

Court officers absolutely have the power to marginalize Selenski for "security" reasons.

One caller to my radio show said he would consider killing Selenski if a family member of his had been one of the victims. That's all District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis needs to write in a legal document to new President Judge Richard Hughes to justify cracking down on Selenski or even moving the trial from the main courthouse.

I understand that the low key Penn Plaza court building is equipped perfectly for security - unlike the red carpet Academy Awards stroll to the courtroom we now endure – where guards can whisk Selenski from van to elevator to defense table before he has time to paste that weak freak smile on his smug mug that we know all too well.

Law enforcement officials owe good people the satisfaction of knowing that Selenski will no longer play us for suckers, that this walking personality disorder who already is serving 32 ½ to 65 years for a Monroe County home invasion will no longer manipulate the scene to his perverted advantage.

If convicted, Selenski faces the death penalty.

This is likely his last hurrah. So let's give this sad chump something special to put in his cell block scrapbook that he can consider a going-away present to remember us by.

Let's drive home the point through Selenski's sorry skull that, when it comes to homicide, we refuse to accept his or anybody's else's frivolity. Selenski, an accused double murderer who police say tortured Kerkowski and Fassett by beating and strangling them with flex ties around their necks, needs to see that civilized people see no humor in the cruel holiday greeting Selenski sent to the prosecutors and the press. A safe and sane society looks out for people who deserve to be looked after.

Decency contributes to justice.

To accept any part of Selenski's dumb dancing bear routine insults the memories of the dead and the responsibilities of the living.

Hugo must go.






 


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Serving The True Call Of Duty

Monday, January 05, 2015

Hundreds of New York City cops Sunday turned their backs on their mayor, Bill de Blasio, at a funeral for one of their own, slain in the line of duty.

The mayor has blood on his hands, they howl, because he dared try to police the police and warn good people everywhere that violence begets violence.

Pat Lynch, the head of the largest NYPD union justified the heresy.

As a surviving son of one of the most highly decorated members of the Pennsylvania State Police who came within a hair of dying in the line of duty, I refuse to stand with those officers who shirk their duty to justify this gross disrespect.

Police must always exhibit respect. Police must show the greatest discipline even when emotion threatens to control them as gunfire explodes and chaos overpowers reason.

If cops - particularly those of the NYPD who are heralded as the greatest police department in the world - are unable to control their actions, they should resign and find some other line of work where real courage is not required.

Bravery does not define those spoiled NYPD cops and their shameful followers from other departments who turned on de Blasio and, as a result, turned on society as well.

Exhibiting sullen ignorance far worse than simple insubordination, they also turned on the very man for whom they supposedly assembled to mourn – police officer Wenjian Liu, 32, slain with his partner Rafael Ramos, 40, as they sat in their patrol car.

Cops turned on us at Ramos' funeral, too.

In addition to turning their backs, the New York Daily news reported that some officers snickered when de Blasio spoke Spanish at Ramos' funeral.

Those pathetic cops now lead the charge on the very breakdown of society they are duty-bound and paid to help prevent.

De Blasio asked police under his command for reconciliation and harmony. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called for dignity, asking police under his command to show respect by putting aside the sad theatrics of men and women who forget why they serve in the first place.

Bad cops – both active duty and retired - ignored their responsibly somber pleas.

By their asinine act of self-absorbed defiance, they turned their backs on every good cop alive and dead who ever served the city. By putting themselves first they put the latest two dead cops last. By pouting, they showed the world that they are not fit to wear a badge.

Yet they continue to defy us.

By us, I mean all of us who respect and value good cops. By us, I mean the family and friends of Liu and Ramos. By us, I mean communities that depend as much on good cops as good cops depend on good citizens to support them and live law-abiding lives of decency and justice.

The cops who turned away from the true call of duty are not good cops.

They are outlaws who turn on the rest of us who pledge to work together through the toughest times, to stand together when violence rages and calm courage is the order of the day. Bloodshed defines every day nowadays. Gunfire regularly explodes. More police fall while protecting and serving neighborhoods that depend on them in desperate matters of life and death.

Good cops easily understand the mission.

Outlaws, in uniform and out, understand what lies ahead as well. That's why they take rather than give, lose control rather than focus and fail rather than succeed in their day-to-day lives, all the while struggling to drag us down with them.

We must rise, in the names of Liu and Ramos and the others. We must rise in the names of civilians who died unjustly at the hands of wild extremists who must be stopped.

Snicker if you like, but peace is the answer.

Until peace officers commit to keep the peace, violence will rule and another funeral born of madness awaits.

 


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Hector The Turkey Deserved Better

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hector was more than just a turkey.

For weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, the live bird meandered up and down the streets of Tunkhannock, spreading a spirit of good old-fashioned fun throughout the little town.

Hector stopped traffic. Hector ate Cheerios and M&Ms. Hector pecked at the doors of a motel and a bank and ate pretzels right from the hand of an admirer. People went looking for Hector just to show their kids. Parents, grandparents and strangers all laughed together.

Traditional hometown feelings that the good people of Tunkhannock successfully work so hard to maintain – that special safe and secure feeling that so many little towns miss – seemed all the more powerful.

Hector made Tunkhannock homier than it already is.

Mayor Norman Ball even pardoned Hector for Thanksgiving.

Whenever you caught a glimpsed of Hector you suddenly forgot the terrible trouble in the world and briefly, just briefly, thought that everything was all right.

Of course everybody knew that most people would sit down to a Thursday feast that included Hector’s cousins as part of the menu.

But Hector would be spared.

Like Rudolf- the red-nosed reindeer, Hector was one of a kind. Dressed in nothing but traditional gobbler dignity, Hector offered the townspeople a goofy kind of gobbler love that only Hector could show.

Then state Game Commission agents killed him.

Boom.

So long Hector.

Commission agents claimed Hector was a “traffic hazard,” nothing but trouble, an accident waiting to happen, a catastrophe instead of a celebration.

Mayor Ball said a man with a gun took Hector out along a stretch of otherwise serene rural road.

A woman called the show Monday and said she saw flashing lights at the scene of the slaughter and wonders how a commission officer could even legally discharge a weapon that close to a highway teeming with people on the road for holiday shopping.

A Tunkhannock resident said that game commission apologists were now spreading the tale that Hector was sick and that he – or she, since Hector’s turkey gender is in dispute – even attacked somebody.

Oh yeah?

Show me the paperwork. Did state officials test poor Hector’s carcass for disease? Did witnesses see the alleged attack? Even so, how hard is it to throw an Army blanket over a friendly and trusting turkey’s head before shuffling him or her off to a sanctuary for safe-keeping and care?

I’ll bet the 9-year-old girl whose mother called the show and said her daughter has been crying for two days over Hector’s loss could have figured out a way to keep a fine-feathered fowl alive and well.

Instead, enter the giblet goon squad.

I didn’t know that turkey sanctuaries exist. But people who know such things in Tunkhannock tell me they do, and not very far away. But I do know that something as simple as a wild turkey can and did bring joy to a town where not everybody is doing as well economically as they deserve to be doing and could use a little simple cheer to help make them happy.

The sad lesson here is that too many public servants serve nobody but themselves. They act before they think. They sometimes don’t even think. Their search for common sense is continually hunting without a license.

Hector’s legacy is forever free because Hector taught us something nice.

The state game commission taught us something foul.

Their legacy is for the birds.

 
 
Tags :  
People : HectorNorman Ball


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Kathleen We Hardly Knew Ye

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
 
A few years ago I watched in horror as a television commercial showed a dull young woman dancing around the screen to a giddy pop music beat.

“You can go to college in your pajamas!” the announcer squawked.

 Empty-headedness is something you can put on your resume – like community service and cheerleading. And we’ve now taken simplicity to a new level.

You can be state attorney general in your pajamas.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has not gone to work since October 21 when the work day came to a crashing halt at 6:55 a.m. when her driver slammed into a parked Jeep in Dunmore. The driver, Robert Ruddy, is a former Dunmore cop. Former Dunmore police chief and Kane bodyguard Patrick Reese also rode the state-owned Tahoe into the slow speed sidelines that fateful day.

As you might expect, I have questions.

Were they really driving 15 miles-per-hour? Where were they that early before the crash? Did anybody call an ambulance? If not, why not? Did ex-con admitted criminal and former Democratic Party war lord Bob Mellow put a curse on Kathleen?

Since then, Democrat Kane has not returned to work, where she is paid handsomely to do the people’s business. Instead, she is giving the people the business.

As you can see, Kane’s press office has its work cut out for it. AGPR, however, is not what it used to be. It took 10 days for Kane’s press flack to acknowledge the crack-up, and only after reporters started asking about it.

Islamic fundamentalists have a smoother public relations machine than Kane.

Poor Kathleen.

“Aw, shush now, Kathy” her friends must be telling her. Yes, her friends call her Kathy even though she is less than chatty. “It’ll all go away. Before you know it you’ll be having a grand highball at the Irish Women’s Society dinner where nobody questions you.”

If only life was one big St. Patrick’s Day fog where all the drinks were free. But harsh reality has once again reared its ugly head and the facts must set us free.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has reported that Kane was headed the morning of the accident to a Montgomery County grand jury appearance where she was expected to testify as a witness in a very serious proceeding investigating alleged leaks to a newspaper. Kane canceled after the wreck – and no, I’m not talking about her election to office – the second time she bailed out of a grand jury appearance, according to the Inquirer.

Then there’s the matter of the Dunmore police report.

All three passengers were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident, the report claimed. Then Kane’s press secretary said she was not restrained and that the law allowed her to ride free in the back seat. The report should be corrected, Kane’s press secretary demanded.

The Dunmore police chief did not return the Inquirer reporter’s call seeking an explanation for what officials call a “clerical mistake.”

Why were Dunmore cops even handling a case involving the former Dunmore police chief and a veteran Dunmore officer? At the very least, Pennsylvania State Police from the Dunmore barracks should have handled the case. On second thought, they have a conflict of interest too.

Some people around here will tell you with a straight face that “Our Kathleen” should have simply investigated herself.
Aw, sure, she’s as fair as the Tullamore dew on a golden spring morning in County Mayo.

Despite the blarney, Kane's dilemma - and ours - is no laughing matter.

Kane’s tenure as a public servant continues to crash and burn.

A former Philadelphia traffic judge recently signaled her intention to plead guilty to a charge of political corruption in a case Kane dropped amid charges of racism, ineptness and political chicanery. The former traffic judge is black, as is the Philly district attorney who brought the charge. And the only incompetence in this matter is an unrestrained Kane running amok in her pajamas.

Maybe the doctor who gave her an excuse to stay away from work should write her another.

Stay home, Kathleen.

Permanently.
 
 
 


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Feds Should Investigate Feds

Thursday, November 06, 2014

When members of a federal special operations team captured accused cop killer Eric Frein, the highest-ranking Pennsylvania State Police officials agreed at a press conference that injuries to Frein’s face happened before law enforcement apprehended him.

Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan confirmed that fact. So did PSP Lt. Col George Bivens. Gov. Tom Corbett provided silent affirmation as he stood silently to the side.

Now those same PSP officials say that the U.S. Marshals Service officials did not tell them the truth when they briefed PSP about Frein’s arrest. USMS provided wrong and untrustworthy information that PSP then told the world.

When marshals who participated in the capture eventually admitted in press accounts that they ground Frein’s face into the asphalt as they took him into custody, the integrity of the PSP - praised for its discipline and restraint during the 48-day hunt for the man who allegedly killed one PSP trooper and severely wounded another - was now being questioned.

Yet PSP officials said nothing in their own defense.

I reported during Monday’s show that some members of the PSP wanted to defend themselves. They had worked too hard and too long to let a rogue cop or two from another law enforcement agency smear their stellar reputation.

The troopers said Noonan and Bivens only reported what they were told.

Now they felt manipulated and disrespected.

Earlier in the day I had called and left a message for Bivens, inviting him on the air to talk about the controversy.  Some people accused PSP of covering up for the use of excess force. Some people accused PSP of refusing to tell the public the whole truth. Some people felt betrayed since they had provided overwhelming public support for police – all police – during the long and dangerous manhunt.

I had not known when I called for Bivens, though, that some officers were angry about marshals misleading them, hoping that Bivens would speak and clear up the confusion. Obviously they could not speak on the record. But they could get the word out. And they did, through a credible source I know and trust.

Until then I had some serious questions of my own.

The first photograph of accused cop killer Eric Frein showed a nasty gash across the bridge of his nose. A colleague who showed me the picture on his cellphone said, “Looks like the cops tuned him up pretty good.”

We’ll have to wait and see, I said.

On Friday too many callers to the show willing jumped into the rumor mill, speculating and guessing that police had indeed beat, manhandled and violating Frein’s rights.

Too many callers even endorsed revenge against the suspect.

No evidence exists that any abuse happened, I said. Repeating a refrain that I have repeated for decades in the news business, I said, “In the absence of evidence to the contrary, police get the benefit of the doubt.”

Gloating marshals then changed their story. Yes, they said, they had physically scuffled with Frein as they took him into custody. Yes, he got injured in the process. Unlike previously reported by the PSP and the press, the damage to his nose and left side of his face had not happened before they spotted and captured him, the marshals said.

Until then, news reports across the world quoted marshals – members of a supposedly elite squad that includes former military special operations personnel and combat vets – as saying that Frein surrendered with incident. He kneeled, raised his hands over his head and went quietly, they said.

Now, they changed their story.

I did not expect PSP to confirm what my source told me.

PSP Press Secretary Maria Finn at first declined my request to interview Bivens, saying that officials needed to protect the integrity of the investigation and that no comments would be forthcoming.

I responded in an email while I was on the air that I was not interested in facts about the investigation or prosecution of Frein. I said I needed facts about whether USMS officials lied to PSP brass who then misinformed the public. I was more interested in the integrity of the PSP than the integrity of the case. I relayed what I had reported earlier about the claim that federal marshals had misinformed PSP.

Finn quickly responded in another email (while I was on the air) that I was right.

Finn wrote: “I understand and you are correct.  Commissioner Noonan and Lt. Col. Bivens have only repeated what the USMS reported to them at their briefing the night Frein was taken into custody.  This is why we are referring all media questions on this specific issue to the USMS.  Our troopers were not on scene when Frein was apprehended so we can only provide what we were told directly from the USMS – that is, the facial injuries happened prior to arrest.  The discrepancy should be addressed by the USMS. “

Case closed?

I hope not.

The public deserves to know exactly what happened during Frein’s capture. Video, if available – must be released. PSP officials should answer any and all questions about the USMS briefing, including who in the USMS misled them.

So far, no USMS representative has returned my calls.

I hope that Noonan and Bivens – as well as the governor himself - have already  asked for a formal internal investigation.

When it comes to the public trust, the search for truth is always worth the effort.
 
 
 


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