As always, I was listening to WILK while working on Thursday, when up pops this interruption from ABC News. Rutro! Breaking news. As the introductory music played on, my imagination combined with the latest news trinkets kicked into overdrive. Stuff like the following.
The North Koreans launched another missile, it misfired and landed in a crowded South Korean neighborhood.
The Iranian revolution is on!
Barack Oblahblah begrudgingly admitted that he does not in fact know everything.
But alas, the breaking news was the passing of Farrah Fawcett. And I thought to myself at that moment, that’s freaking breaking news? That’s worth interrupting the regularly scheduled programming over? Farrah? Whatever. Must be me, right?
As we now know, that breaking news item was seriously trumped by yet another breaking news blurb just a few hours later: No more Michael Jackson.
After listening to caller after caller on WILK the next morning going on and on about how sad they were, or how much Michael meant to them, I have nothing of the sort to share with you. As a kid, I absolutely loved the music of the Jackson 5. And as an adult, Michael Jackson’s solo career was not even on my radar.
And I think I can encapsulate his latter years and his untimely passing as follows: “Side affects include…”
All of which reminded me of when John Wayne died, I think, in 1977. And with that date in question, my self-inflicted policy of not Googling everything to prove myself to be a genius remains intact.
I can’t recall when first I spied John Wayne killing America’s many enemies on the big screen, but I strongly suspect that I took in my first Wayne flick while still in the womb. The thing is, unlike the lot of you, I did spend ten months there. Yep, ten. True story.
Anyway, I watched him slice and dice his way through the Nazis, the Japanese, the Vietnamese, a few Chinese, Apaches, Iroquois, Cherokee and hopefully, more than his fair share of Mohegans. He was the man. He was larger than life. He was a heavily-armed Jolly Green Giant among undersized and unbelieving mere mortals from over there.
And then one day, my grandma told me he had died, something I had trouble getting my mind around real quick like. And it was then, at that moment, that I first considered the mortality thing. That while all of us have a beginning and many memorable waypoints along the way, we likewise have an end point waiting on us. You, me and even the mightiest of the mighty, John Wayne.
Since it’s become readily apparent that the self-appointed Mayor of Home Rule, Jim Haggerty, is forever fearful of the public or the media gleaning too much information of the goings-on of the Government Study Commission, I figured I’d up and publish one of his many e-mails that were sent to fellow commission members, but were also forwarded to me.
First, a few facts. He prefers to have the GSC meetings held in private whenever possible. And he also wants public comments at the meetings attended by the public to be very, very limited. Apparently, he’s got one eye on Walter Griffith for the purposes of diminishing his chances of capturing the county controller’s seat in November, and the other on his wristwatch. Like the career politician that he is, he wants his meetings to be as short as humanly possible.
And his other clearly stated problem is with those commission members who might endeavor to share information (including e-mails) with the press, WILK’s Steve Corbett, or with internet bastards such as myself. Yes, it seems the GSC members are sworn to secrecy with him at the helm.
And I fail to see how we go about combating the conspiracy of silence that now passes as government in this county by the studying of and then the recommendation of a new system of government by those who operate by way of an iron-fistedly enforced conspiracy of deference.
Allow me to explain that…the “conspiracy of silence.”
Damn near everyone in a position of authority at the courthouse has a scam going on by which they intentionally defraud the taxpayers of this county. And since they all know what‘s afoot, but refuse to speak out or change anything, they are all thereby guilty of perpetuating a conspiracy by way of their ongoing silence.
On a brief aside, WILK’s Sue Henry keeps reminding us that good people do in fact toil away under that rotunda dome. Assuming that to be true, I’m just wondering if she is prepared to identify that person at this time.
Anyway, the e-mail I decided to publish:
Dear GSC members,
With regards to the letter from the county solicitor to Walter, please refer to my earlier e-mail.
Pursuant to his legal opinion, no member of this commission will be allowed any bathroom breaks during GSC gatherings without first securing permission from me…in writing. Hall pass privileges are also hereby suspended.
In addition, it is a serious infringement on the independence of our commission for any member thereof to share any of the details of our closed-door meetings with the media or persons unknown, including the snack break menu.
Furthermore, we decide the subjects of our study, the length of our study, the parameters of our study, and the necessary expenses of our study, not that no good prick Walter.
I, for one, am committed to my oath as a GSC member and will zealously defend our independence. And if anyone…anyone sheds any light on our commission study business, I will personally call WILK and trash them unmercifully, especially that loose-lipped prick Walter.
And I must remind you, I will enforce the dress code that I personally crafted and forwarded to each and every one of you. Be mindful of the fact that while we do what we were duly elected to do, we will be appropriately dressed, especially that prick Walter.
“Squeaky,” I have read the minutes of the last meeting you had prepared and forwarded to me, I approve of them and they can be entered into the official public record that I may or may not release to prying eyes, especially those of that four-eyed prick Walter.
The Mayor of Home Rule
And that concludes our behind the scenes glimpse into the one-man show that is our Government Study Commission.
If we remember correctly, on a very recent Saturday, Kayak Dude and myself were, literally, awash in tens of thousands of gallons of raw sewage that was spewing from a combined sewage outflow on the shoreline of Pittston. Raw sewage that was pouring into the river at a rate of thousands of gallons per minute. In short, that’s a heck of a lot of raw sewage.
And then, the very next day, Kayak Dude found a grouping of small children frolicking away in the swollen Susquehanna at the lower level of our new River Common. And when he informed the nearby adoring parents of the massive sewage discharge but hours before, said parents very quickly removed their children from the lower level of the River Common.
Check this out:
Harrisburg closes City Island Beach because of E-coli
by DAN MILLER, Of The Patriot-News
Wednesday June 24, 2009, 1:27 PM
Harrisburg today closed City Island Beach to the public until further notice because of elevated E-coli levels.
Mayor Stephen R. Reed said results of water quality tests by the city Monday show E-coli levels have risen above the state maximum of 235 colonies per 100 milliliters to more than 900 colonies.
Spokesman Matthew Coulter said the city does not know what has led to the elevated E-coli. ( DUH!) Reed said more testing will be done on both sides of the island to identify any "potential water quality problems" in the Susquehanna River.
Testing of the beach area itself will be done over the next three days. If tests show the level falling below the maximum, the beach could reopen for the weekend, Reed said.
Reed said the city ban only covers swimming at the public beach on the northwest side of City Island. But Reed said the closing serves as a warning of elevated E-coli in other areas of the river where people swim.
Other areas? Um, like, other areas such as Wilkes-Barre?
By reprinting this news bit, my intent is not to dissuade anyone from enjoying our river, or any of our new river amenities. My sole intent is to educate people to the fact that our river is at it’s absolute worst, at it’s most unhealthy and quite possibly dangerous when it’s swollen as a result of periods of sustained and/or very heavy precipitation.
When it rains like all hell, the combined sewage outflows are predictably going to discharge untold tens of thousands of gallons of untreated raw sewage directly into the river, and at a dizzying rate. Thereby, this is a public health issue that needs to be addressed by both our county officials, as well as our city officials. The public needs to be educated whereas high water events are concerned.
As a general rule, try this one: If the river has swollen beyond the lowest of the River Common’s concrete barriers, it’s most likely tainted by tens of thousands of gallons, perhaps more, of untreated human excrement. When the river swells to that point, you might want to restrict the children to playing in the pulsating fountain just up the hill a ways.
From the e-mail inbox:
Many of the recipients of this e-mail have friends in local/regional government. I'm asking that you forward this e-mail, including pictures, to them ASAP. This is a potentially hazardous situation.
As we all know, the Susquehanna River has been rising, and it has begun to flood the lower level of the fishing platform. I stopped by on Sunday evening, only to find ~10 young children playing in the river water that was collecting at the lowest level of the fishing platform. This should absolutely not be happening. There is raw sewage pouring into the river due to recent rains. To my utter disgust, I witnessed thousands of gallons of stormwater mixed with raw sewage pouring out of the CSO in Pittston ( by Cooper's ) on Saturday.
You can get a second confirmation here: http://mcour.blogspot.com/
Many of these kids were soaking wet from head to toe.
I could really embarrass some folks by naming who was there on Sunday @ ~5:15 p.m., saw this happening..,.and did nothing. I won't this time. I spoke with every parent I could find and told them what was in the water. They all immediately got their kids out.
There should be signage, or at minimum, someone patrolling the park who understands kids should not be playing in river water when there is a clean fountain for that purpose only a hundred feet away.
End public health segment.
Since everyone on talk radio seems all annoyed and such what with these corporate giveaways known as Keystone Opportunity Zones, since the Feds are in town and overturning every politically stained rock they can find, and since only the politically connected or previously affluent seem to have access to said tax freebies, why not take a look into this one…
COPYRIGHT 2005...The Times Leader
Byline: Dave Janoski
Dec. 11--WILKES-BARRE -- Of all the questionable KOZ decisions in Wilkes-Barre, the inclusion of Lowe's Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge in the tax-exempt zone has drawn the most scrutiny and criticism.
Thomas Williams, the owner of Lowe's, is a longtime aide to U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke. And the restaurant's designation as a KOZ property by then-mayor Tom McGroarty in 1998 was seen as nakedly political...
Long story short…a longtime aide to the local congressman received the tax forgiveness from a politically conniving mayor, he then never expanded the business in any way or created any new jobs as a result of the politically motivated move, which flies in the face of the program, and he has since sold his business to a neighboring business owner.
In other words, being in the political loop, he was simply excused from paying his taxes for a decade.
It’s a great program if you can get in. But being the hardscrabble common folk that you are, you cannot get in. Ever!
Photo (by request): My grandkids, Gage, now 8, and Taylor, 6.