November 2008

click the box above for current gas prices at gasoline stations
throughout the lehigh valley

Federal, State, and local taxes are a large component of the retail price of gasoline. Taxes (not including county and local taxes) account for approximately 27 % of the cost of a gallon of gasoline. Within this national average, Federal excise taxes are 18.4 cents per gallon and State excise taxes average about 21 cents per gallon. Also, eleven States levy additional State sales and other taxes, some of which are applied to the Federal and State excise taxes. Additional local county and city taxes can have a significant impact on the price of gasoline.

Refining costs and profits comprise about 15% of the retail price of gasoline. This component varies from region to region due to the different formulations required in different parts of the country.

“HOT Topics”

The Conference of Catholic Bishops has stated that Catholic Hospitals will CLOSE – and not just change hands – if they are forced by FOCA “Freedom of Choice Act” to provide abortions. Catholic run hospitals serve us all reguardless of our faith and they serve a disproportionately high number of poor and underserved members of our community.

The so called FOCA “Freedom of Choice Act” if enacted would permit the gruesome partial birth abortion procedure, remove all limits on abortion, nullify all state parental consent and parental notification provisions and force your taxpayer dollars to be used for abortion. It would remove consciense clauses for pharmacists and physicians and force Catholic and other faith based hospitals to commit abortions or CLOSE. Believe me – they will CLOSE. We can ill-affored the loss of so many quality hospitals.

You can write your elected federal representatives to ask them to vote AGAINST the FOCA “Freedom of Choice Act” . You can also sign the online petion at

U.S. Representative Charles Dent (PA-15)
116 Cannon House Office Building,
District of Columbia 20515-3815
Phone: (202) 225-6411

U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (PA)
711 Hart Senate Office Building,
District of Columbia 20510-3802
Phone: (202) 224-4254

U.S. Senator Robert Casey (PA)
383 Russell Senate Office Building,
District of Columbia 20510-3804
Phone: (202) 224-6324

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General Guideline to help with your next move

8 weeks before moving:
• Get estimates from about three professional movers.
• Draw a floor plan of your new home indicating where to place the furniture in each room.
• Decide which furniture you want to move, dispose of or just replace.
• Give the Chamber of Commerce a call for a new resident “information packet.”

6 weeks before moving:
• Inventory all your possessions and decide what to move, sell, or donate to charity.
• Complete the US Postal change of address forms and mail to stores and anyone else who may need to know your new address.
• Obtain copies of all medical, legal, and accounting records.
• Arrange for record transfers between schools on both ends of the move.
• Ask your tax advisor to review your potential moving related tax deductions and potential tax liability.
• Itemize moving related costs with mover including packing, loading, special charges, insurance, etc.

4 weeks before moving:
• Repair, reupholster, or clean furniture, drapes, carpeting as necessary.
• Have a garage sale to dispose of unneeded furniture, accessories, clothes, etc.
• If a professional mover is packing your goods, schedule packing day(s) one or two days before the move.
• If you move yourself, get adequate boxes, packing materials and tape.
• Get short-term or long-term storage if you will need it.
• Make travel arrangements for pets, including necessary medical records, immunizations, etc.

3 weeks before moving:
• Assemble sufficient supply of packing materials, equipment.
• Pack items you won’t use immediately or that will go into storage.
• Contact utilities on both ends of the move, order termination or turn-on for occupancy date.
• Confirm final travel arrangements for family and pets.

2 weeks before moving:
• Prepare you car for trip to new home. Check tires and have the car serviced before the move.
• Cancel newspaper and other delivery services.
• Confirm your new bank accounts.
• Schedule an appliance service firm for moving day to prepare major appliances for the move.

1 weeks before moving:
• Gather your important papers, records, valuables, for protected shipment to new home or safe deposit box.
• Notify friends and neighbors of your new address, and phone.
• Make plans for young children to be cared for on moving day.
• Fill any necessary prescriptions, medications needed for the next two weeks.

Moving week:
• Defrost refrigerator and freezer. Give away all food in both units.
• Plan simple meals for moving day (or take out food) to avoid using the refrigerator.
• Pick up cash for your trip and a certified check for the mover’s invoice.
• Pack items you need to take with you including valuables, financial records, personal papers.
• Pack signed bill of lading and inventory where they can be easily reached at your destination.
• Mark LAST BOX PACKED – FIRST BOX TO UNPACK containing tools, flashlights, etc.
• Give the mover a telephone number and address where you can be reached in your new town.

I have one rule that ranks head-and-shoulders above all of my other lifestyle rules. My ultimate rule…..”Never, Never, Never make generalizations”.

When you make a generalization you leave no room for the exceptions to the rule and there always are exceptions. But here I go anyway. I am about to break my ultimate rule.

“Hollywood actors, as a group, have to be the dumbest people on the planet”. Notice that I did slip in a caveat clause – “as a group” – to soften this stinging acclamation about actors.

It must be the fact that they play all of those different movie and TV roles and live in a fantasy world that makes them compelled to comment on just about everything and everybody. Attention All Actors! Please just act and entertain us, that is all that we want from you, leave the politics for the politicians. This may come as a shock to you but reading movie scripts and Variety does not really give you a keen insight or understanding of the “real world”.

People can come to there own conclusions. Kindly keep your celebrity opinions to yourself. I don’t think we need 20-year-old starlets telling us what is good for the country or who should lead us. Attention – Hayden Panettiere

It seems that every election cycle we are faced with a selection of the “lesser of two evils” when we need to select a candidate for office. People become polarized and revert to their party affiliation – Democrat or Republican. Many of the candidates on either side of the political spectrum have good qualities but we are blinded to those qualities because our party affiliation will not allow us to see the good on the other side. Too bad we can’t combine those qualities into one super candidate.

We need to loose those labels of Republican or Democrat and just search out the best candidate from a pool of qualified people all belonging to one party. We can call them “Demopublicans” or maybe “Repubocrats”. It is a sad commentary on how many voters simply buy into the political stereotypes that have been perpetuated over the years and do not even bother to really listen to the other side.