Happy New Year!
Right. Like any of us are going to be truly happy anytime soon. Well, that is, I suppose we could be happy, perhaps as contented as ever if we’d just stop paying attention. No news. No radio. No internet. We could just sit in a circle, hold hands, smoke an awful lot of pot and think pure, happy thoughts. And with that, our conversion to the left side of the political divide would be almost complete.
As the ball was set to drop on 2009, our county commissioners approved a budget for 2010 that includes…
Let’s do that again.
As the ball was set to drop on 2009, our county commissioners approved an outline, a rough sketch, a kind of, sort of a budget framework that includes a 10 percent tax increase. For now. And it includes proposed cuts, proposed furloughs and other cost-cutting initiatives that are certain never to happen. So it’s a 10 percent tax increase until next they gather and raise it some more to more accurately reflect the true nature of their incompetence.
In a nutshell, with the drunken lawlessness that accompanies the yearly calendar switch about to explode, they passed this whatever-the-hell-it-was quasi budget so as to not have to shut down the county. Most importantly, it guarantees that the county can obtain a Tax Anticipation Note. Or, in common parlance, it guarantees that the county can waste some more money. Money you’ll never miss until next year’s tax increase.
From the Times Leader:
Employees were left in the dark because the $124.8 million spending plan also calls for $5.7 million in additional staff cuts and furloughs, with the salary portion of most department budgets reduced by 6.7 percent.
County Budget/Finance Chief Tom Pribula wouldn’t take ownership of the budget because there are no specifics on achieving the cuts, leading him to conclude that the spending plan “has a high probability of failure.”
Ah, yes, the definition of insanity is as follows: Doing the same red ink-stained budget over and over and expecting a different result.
This excerpt made me want to leap up and urinate on my keyboard:
Cooney criticized the county’s reliance on borrowing, saying the $466 million in outstanding debt will force taxpayers to shell out $60,000 per day next year in debt repayment. He said he is “open to suggestions” on ways to carry out the $5.7 million in budgeted cuts and possibly avoid a tax increase.
“Taxpayers and county employees must step forward and must come together,” Cooney said. “No one should walk away. No one should say ‘not me’ or ‘not us.’ ”
Oh, him. Thomas Cooney, our newly appointed county commissioner. Yeah, appointed in secret after a three-minute interview process. That Thomas Cooney.
Is he effing serious? Open to suggestions?
What kind of hog swill is that? Sorry, but after you’re put in charge, you don’t go and install a suggestion box. You don’t gravitate to the top, and then look down upon the beleaguered hoi polloi you leapfrogged for the answers.
I swear, there’s something in the water at these golf clubs we’ll never be invited to unless we‘re hired as caddies. Something that causes a swift and noticeable retrenchment from cognitive thought processes.
He did get one thing right. No one should say ‘not me’ or ‘not us,’ because everybody will now pay for the continuing incompetence and corruption from the invite-only play land of the related, the connected and those offering paper bags full of bribes--the courthouse.
So, in summation, they passed something or other because they either don’t know what to do, or they do not possess the political courage to do what’s right. Oh, and because they want to borrow some more money.
Happy New Year! (Shut up & pay your taxes)
The new year sure did come in with a bang…literally.
As is tradition in this modest adobe, we load up on foodstuffs and fermented weeds and then settle in close proximity to the police scanner for a night of good fun and great cheer at other people’s expense. And with the snow falling and falling fast an hour or so before zero hour, we knew this was going to be good. Well, good for us, but maybe not so good for our first responders.
We had us no shortage of domestic battery and the like. A couple that included the brandishing of knives. We had a foot chase in the Heights. A drunk girl who took a flying leap in front of a moving city vehicle. A drunk underage kid wearing no shoes or socks, despite being on probation. Can you say PA Child Care?
Some drunk guy on Public Square too drunk to, well, too drunk to function. Car accidents here, there and darn near everywhere. There had to be a dozen hit-and-run accidents within a two-hour period. And then the big one, the one that causes every scanner owner to reach for the volume knob…”shots fired!”
This one was hard to follow, due to the mass confusion that was both the Hardware Bar’s and Luna bar’s patrons spilling out into the street to see what all the fuss was about. The fire engines and the medic unit found it difficult to wade through the mass of drunken humanity.
It originally came in as “Shots fired at the Hardware Bar,” but quickly became a flurry of seemingly disconnected radio blurbs. “All available units…” “Black guy, white vest.” “Gunshot victims.” “Come in through the parking lot by the YMCA.” Stuff like that.
The disjointed kind of stuff you’d expect when police officers have to wade through a crowd of hundreds, into an unsecured scene with gunplay afoot. In my mind, not the place you’d want to be standing around whooping it up, if and when another gunshot rings out.
Then again, at 1:50 AM on this particular night, I doubt that most of the people in that crowd would have even known it had they been shot. Whatever. They wanted a party and they found one. And some of them even caught a bullet. Ah, a New Years Eve to remember.
If memory serves, that’s the second shooting associated with that first block of South Main Street since those two watering holes opened their doors. Hey, no “nuisance bar” issues going on there, heyna?
I mean to say, most of the patrons are white, so there’s no way the City of Wilkes-Barre or the Liquor Control Board are gonna come down on any of that. As we all know full well, at least in these “I’m not a racist, but…“ parts, to qualify as a full-blown nuisance bar, the great majority of your gun-toting clientele needs to be black or Latino.
When whites shoot up the neighborhood, those are isolated incidents. But when blacks shoot up the neighborhood, those are god damn nuisances that need to be dealt with. The initial police response aside, the full extent of the law is applicable only when minorities are involved. So, the Hardware Bar has got nothing to worry about.
Jiggle on, girlies.
Keep your mammalian protuberances up and your heads down.
Here’s one WILK’s Sue Henry threw out there a few days ago.
If you could have anything at all for Christmas, what would it be? Anything. You name it. What would it be?
Interesting. I’m sure you could chew on that one for quite some time, but this process took me all of 30 seconds. If I could have anything for Christmas, I’d choose to meet my father.
But, I might as well have asked for a time machine and a potent, synergist-laden aphrodisiac that Deborah Harry would have no defense against circa 1980.
From the e-mail inbox:
Not sure if you saw this mention of your site at Yonki’s Lu Lac.
THE DECADE'S TOP 10
The top ten news stories of the decade were:1. 9/11.
2. The Election of President Obama.
3. The war in Iraq.
4. The War in Afghanistan.
5. The confused 2000 election.
6. Death of John Paul II; selection of Pope Benedict.
7. Hurricane Katrina.
8. Mapping of the human genome.
9. The rise of Google and new media including Gort 42, LuLac and Wilkes Barre On Line.
10. The ascension of China.
Yeah, I did see that list. I’m not sure I agree with all of them, but I certainly didn’t put any time into compiling a list of my own. Hmmm, the genome. Doesn’t he work at Travelosity?
I’ve mentioned this before, but I started Wilkes-Barre Online on December 2, 2000. The interesting thing was, I once ran across and read a story about blogs--Web logs--only because I was totally unfamiliar with the word “blog.”
Anyway, as I was a ways into that piece, it occurred to me that what they were describing was what I had been doing for some time. I blogged. I was a blogger. Good, bad or obscene...that’s what I was doing.
I later read that the earliest blogs date back to 1998, but I don’t know that I had ever seen one. All I knew was that I was totally unhappy with the condition of this city way back then, I wanted to write about it, post pictures of it and get to the bottom of why it had to be that way. And what a wild and informative ride it was.
During it’s heyday, in it’s varying forms and hosts, Wilkes-Barre Online generated upwards of 1,000,000 hits. And that was with no promotion and no blog rolls. The fun part was, since no one in this area had ever written about such localized, such up close and personal subjects as I had, it produced far more people who despised it than liked it. Or should I say, people who despised me.
But once some enterprising internet outfits made it possible to blog without knowing HTML coding and the like, the Wilkes-Barre area suddenly had no shortage of people giving it a go. Most of those ill-fated sites lasted about as long as a smoke bomb typically does, with the notable exeptions being Gort's Gort 42 site and David Yonki's Lu Lac oasis.
And new political blogs of the local variety usually appear during the run-up to every election cycle. And then after those elections play out, most of those decidedly partisan blogs are quickly abandoned or deleted. Like grass sprouting in the Spring, blogs appear when we've got an election to decide.
As for the oft-repeated term “new media,” I’m not sure that I would call anything dominated by the anonymous as media, but that’s for the folks much smarter than I to decide upon.
With that in mind, just a few days ago, I think I invented a new word destined to be enshrined in a dictionary one day. Rather than type “anonymous asshole” in response to some wildly off base anonymous asshole, I typed anon-hole. And for the most part, the internet is the ambient domain of the ever-circling anon-holes.