Northeast Pennsylvania: A Hotbed of Political Scandal

Why is Northeastern Pennsylvania a breeding ground for scandal? A local author has an answer, and it lies in the region’s history of immigrants and coal-mining.

Since 2008, Northeastern Pennsylvania has been ground zero for presidential politics, the national media, and, above all, fraud. Dominating the headlines are stories of greed, controversy, corruption, and immorality that are rooted in nepatism.

Writer and educator Kenny Luck defines his neologism: “
Nepatism refers to a system of outdated beliefs born among immigrants who were exploited in the coal mines, mills, and factories in the region: Be quiet, respect authority, don’t ask questions, and maintain the consensus. The coal is gone, replaced recently by natural gas, but the antiquated thinking remains the same.”

NEPATIZED! investigates the most recent scandals in Northeastern Pennsylvania. With more than 30 interviews with local politicians, media figures, and activists, this book takes a critical look at some of the people and events that have redefined the region. Anti-minority rage, divinely-inspired bigotry, organized crime, corruption in the courts and schools, destruction of the environment, and talk radio’s cacophonous diatribes are all part of what the author calls “a spectacle of unequivocal idiocy.”

With wit and intellect, Luck’s fact-filled exposé explores the region through the people who have helped to mold it: Lackawanna County Recorder of Deeds Evie Rafalko McNulty, former WILK host Kevin Lynn, filmmaker Josh Fox (“Gas Land”), political scientist G. Terry Madonna, union leader Michael Milz, blogger Dan Cheek, and King’s College student Justin Vacula tell in their own words the recent story of Northeastern Pennsylvania, their grievances against the status quo, and their roles in making things better.

NEPATIZED! is a cautionary tale for the rest of the country, but it ends on a positive note. The final chapter recommends eight ways to “de-nepatize” and make real change happen.

ISBN 978-1-936936-00-7

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