ssǝɹddns ɹou ɹɐǝɟ ɹǝɥʇıǝu plnoʍ ʎʇǝıɔos ǝǝɹɟ ʎlnɹʇ ɐ ʇɐɥʇ ƃuıʇnɔolɯnɔɹıɔ suıɐʇuoɔ ǝʇıs sıɥʇ



Sunday, February 28, 2010

What this country needs is a beer storm

I recently made mention of the NEPA Blogging Council, even though there is no group operating under that name. There is a real consortium of NEPA bloggers that meet every now and again, the name of which escapes me at this very moment. It's, it's something like The NE Beer Stormers & Operatic Society. Something like that. I dunno.

I've been invited to quite a few of these brainstorming events, but I missed all but one. Even though I rarely make it to these sorts of think tank gatherings, I did enjoy the hell out of the one I did attend. I met some interesting people. We talked sports, pop culture and politics, politics and politics. In one sitting, we tried to cure all that ails the planet. Kind of like Woodstock, except without all of the public fornication and overrated musical acts.

I drank enough fermented weeds to inebriate the entire French navy. All 19 of them. I took some pictures and a secret video, the posting of which got me damn near banned for life. I also learned that the then NEPA activist of all known activist had gonads the size of fleas malformed by internal growth regulators. And I got to argue at length with some guy direct from Allentown who's opinions on every freaking issue that mattered started and ended with "Bush did it."

Yeah, one of those.

Anyway, I was reading this tidbit today--Unemployment Benefits to Expire Sunday After Senate Stalemates On Extension--which got my always swirling vortex of a mind to swirling off of it's already fatally corrupted axis. The article explains that the 535 jackasses plus-two currently stinking up Washington D.C. can't seem to get anything done anymore without a scrum. And in this case, a lengthy one.

The latest stalemate, however, produced a rare, late-night partisan floor brawl between two scrappy senators.


In the red corner is Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., whose decision not to seek re-election this year has made him a wildcard. He has blocked a $10 billion bill that extends the benefits for 30 days because he wants to lay out how the extension will be paid for, preferably with unallocated stimulus funds.


In the blue corner is Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., who, along with other Democrats told Bunning no way because the extension is an emergency and shouldn’t come with any offsets.


The battle lasted for hours Thursday when Durbin sought unanimous consent, a move that forced Bunning to object each time to uphold his filibuster.

So the unemployment extension and the COBRA deal will have to wait until after the next scrum. This following blurb is classic...

Bunning decried the move and was joined by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who accused Democrats of a “sneak attack.” Corker vowed to stay on the floor with Bunning all night.


Durbin said he was defending out-of-work Americans, that he would love to be home because he is “no spring chicken."

No spring chicken, eh?

Okay then, say it with me, kiddies...TERM...EFFING...LIMITS!!!

All of which reminds me of the president's ad-hoc job summit. Yeah, they sat around, said high-minded things in addition to taking smarmy-sounding shots at each other. And then they had this laughable health care summit, again, at the president's behest, by which they repeated the steps from the equally ineffective job summit. And our trainee president even had to take a sophomoric jab at his former presidential opponent. And with John McCain's temper, he was probably thinking to himself, "Twenty years ago, I would have popped that no good sumbitch."

To that self-absorbed president of ours, I would refer him to something Lady Thatcher said years ago: "Consensus is the negation of leadership."

Those overrated pundits on the cable news networks usually refer to this phenomenon as gridlock, or partisan infighting. But I liken it to employing people who are ill-equipped to handle the tasks sprawled out before them. Thing is, if you elect buffoons in the first place, why the sudden surprise at all of the nonstop buffoonery?

Yeah, I know the deal. Collectively, Congress sucks. But not your congressman. Nah, he deserves to be reelected in perpetuity, like, until they have to wheel him in strapped to a hand truck for the next regularly scheduled scrum. He's really, really, really good, just like all of the other (insert favorite team, I mean, insert preferred political party here).

Anyhow, what came sailing out of the aforementioned wildly spinning vortex this morning is as follows...

If the NE Beer Stormers & Operatic Society were to take Washington D.C. by lethal force, if we were to imprison for life the 535 jackasses plus-two, and if we were to seize the reins of power for ourselves, would that produce a different result?

Methinks not.

But be mindful, if we were to take power, and if we were to legislate by way of barrel after barrel of fermented weeds and a jukebox, things couldn't get any worse. In fact, there's a better than average chance that things would get noticeably better and fast.

Sez me, President Lonesome Cowboy Mark.

Vice President Gort, on to the next beer storm!!!

Er, beer summit, that is.

Later

Friday, February 26, 2010

Meet Josh Fox

Josh Fox, the director of the Sundance award-winning documentary Gasland, during a Q&A session at the Sundance film festival. Enjoy.

GASLAND Q & A (part 1) @ 2010 Sundance Film Festival (10:00)
 

 
GASLAND Q & A (part 2) @ 2010 Sundance Film Festival (9:48)
 


GASLAND Q & A (part 3) @ 2010 Sundance Film Festival (5:55)
 


Frack this, no?

WBHO

As many of you know, I am hopelessly addicted to talk radio. My addiction has less to do with the radio personalities at any given time than it does the fact that, for the most part, I work alone. I spend too much of my usual work day in basements, in subbasements, in crawl spaces, in the bushes and generally, places where you usually do not find human beings milling all about for too long.

So, the digital pocket radio and the accompanying headphones keep me company. Your voice helps to buffer the isolation and penetrate the darkness that is my typical work day. And I thank you for that.

But now, but now Barack Oblahblah, in a bid to save his sorry, fast-fading political ass, has launched an initiative that threatens to turn talk radio into a blab fest for the easily-led people currently praying for enhanced entitlements.

Yes, his anti-capitalist rantings have created more than enough uncertainty to continually tamp down the economy more than it otherwise would have been. He is threatening to screw up my health care plan that I am completely happy with. He has put the future of the country in jeopardy by pumping billions of stimulus dollars we do not have to his constituency groups, primarily organized labor. And now he's poised and ready to turn talk radio into an endless cacophony of voices of those who are easily-led, as well as ill-equipped to deal with life without government intervention.

So now, thanks to the self-absorbed great one, even talk radio has to be retooled in his image?

The link: Organizing for America/On The Air

The excerpted marching orders: CALLING TIPS

Be polite, respectful, and clear. Remember, you represent Organizing for America.

How radio stations will connect you will depend on the show. Some radio shows may connect you right away, but most will take your name and basic info and put you on hold. You may or may not be able to hear the broadcast on the show while you're waiting. You may hear the radio host say something like, "Hello, we have your name on the line with us."

Some hosts may challenge your views. Stay calm and firm. Sharing a personal story about how health reform affects you and your family is a great way to show the importance and urgency of health reform.

If you can't get through, don't worry! If the show you call is busy or not accepting calls at the moment you call in, simply click "Give me another show" to find another.

So, the Obama apostasy has now devolved to the point where the easily-led are being told when to call and whom to call.

And not only that, they're being told what to say as well.

Another excerpt: DISCUSSION POINTS

These points are only to provide extra information and suggestions. Your personal story will make the most compelling message.

For most Americans, their health care plan covers too little and costs too much. Far too many people delay or even skip the care they need because they simply can’t afford it.

The plan the President laid out includes the largest health care tax cut for middle class families in history and makes coverage more affordable for tens of millions of families and small business owners and expands coverage to over 31 million Americans who are currently uninsured.

This plan will give millions of Americans new choices in health insurance by making coverage more affordable, ending the denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, putting power in the hands of consumers instead of insurance companies and providing one of the largest tax cuts in history while also reducing our national deficit.

Reform couldn’t be more urgent – just this month consumers in California were told their premiums could go up as much as 39 percent.

Too many in Washington are now saying that we should delay or give up on reform entirely, but Americans understand the stakes for our economy and our lives, and we want action.

Un-freaking-real!

If you're a fan of talk radio, you have to be annoyed by this. It's one thing to have to listen to some boob you do not agree with in the least (Kurt comes to mind), but it's a whole other insufferable thing to have to listen to some prearranged script that Dr. Obama sent to his legions of under performing people looking for the next big governmental handout.

Kevin? Nancy? Enjoy and pretend not to notice.

Sue? Steve? Expose the easily-led phonies that would spread the gospel according to the biggest phony that ever hit the big time.

Later

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Snowathon

The alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. this morning, playing some horrible "big hair" noise from the 80s. Michael Bolton or some such bombastic bit of nonsense. The kind of noise that gets alarm clock radios smashed to tiny bits all too often.

We had our monthly training meeting this morning, and after that was concluded, I packed up my gear and headed on home. It's been snowing since I got up, so as of this moment, it's been snowing steadily for 18 1/2 hours.

Check this picture that was taken by my future daughter-in-law at Kirby Park earlier today. That's my daughter Ebon taking the serious header at somewhere abouts 50 miles per hour. Yeah, that broken foot of hers is all healed now, so why not go and break something else, right?



Not to worry, though. Dr. Obama will take care of it.


At this juncture, I'm still using one of the spare trucks at work. An S-10 that is due for inspection in a couple of weeks. And since the tread depth on the tires is not near what it should be, I seriously doubt that I'll be heading off to the Hazleton area in the morning, as I am scheduled to do. As a rule of thumb, if the roads are tough to navigate in this area, they will be doubly tough in the higher elevations of that area.

I've left a sunny Wilkes-Barre only to arrive at a fog-bound and drizzly Hazleton more times than I care to remember. It's only a few miles away, but there are those days when it feels like it's in a different time zone. And Freeland? Don't get me going about Freeland. Jesus!

Here's one I could have predicted.

It's snowing like all hell. The snow is blowing completely sideways more often than not. The roads are getting so treacherous, the police on patrol have almost no incoming calls to deal with, and rarity of odd rarities, are probably posted up with a hot coffee in their respective patrol zones.

The voices on the radio are saying the worst is yet to come. The talking heads on the television are saying pretty much the same things, but with video. And right out of the bad, bad snowstorm playbook, 911 tones the fire department: "Report of a working structure fire...256 S. Welles Street!"

F-6: "Headquarters cleaning house."

What is it about snowstorms and structure fires? And this one is an abandoned house, which leads me to believe that some hunkered down person got bored and decided to liven things up. There's a bet you can wager at Patte's every time. If the meteorologists are sounding the bread and milk alarms, make book on a structure fire. You'll be glad you did.

Monday is the 1st official day of termite season. And if you know anything about me at all, you know that I'll be an ultra busy boy for months on end. If it's a termite problem in Luzerne County, it's mine. Overtime up the proverbial wazoo. Cuts, scrapes, bruises and the occasional lower back flare-ups. Basically, I'll be held hostage by the most fragile creatures this side of the DNC. Fragile but persistent and secretive creatures that, when left to their own devices, can destroy your biggest single investment--your home.

Fact is, I love termite work. Not sure why exactly, except to say that the investigational aspects of it invigorate me to no end. Trying to figure out how they got where they got to and how I'll put that to an abrupt halt right quick. That sort of stuff. It's not about applying materials as much as it is applying them correctly.

I have every confidence in saying that I've forgotten more about subterranean termites than anyone in this county is ever likely to know. And come Monday morning, I'll be getting to proving it all over again. Needless to say, I am ready to rock.

And I'm hunkered down. And I'm bored. And I'm obviously meandering all over the place.

G'nite

O'Brien: 10, Kanjorski: 0 (???)

I'm not so sure about this one.

From the email inbox:

Dear Mark:

On Tuesday, we asked our opponent to participate in ten candidate forums, two in each of the five counties in the congressional district, so that voters could ask questions of both candidates regarding their ideas for the future of the district. We offered to work with our opponent’s campaign to determine the formats and rules for those forums. As a good faith gesture, we offered to hold the first forum in our opponent’s home town of Nanticoke.

The response from the Kanjorski camp: “The Congressman is too busy doing the job he’s paid to do to worry about that now.”

Corey believes that a Congressman’s most fundamental responsibility is to listen and respond to the needs and concerns of his constituents. If Paul Kanjorski is “too busy” collecting $4 million from Wall Street and meeting with political insiders to take questions from his constituents, we should send Paul Kanjorski a message: we are too busy for him.

As your Congressman, Corey will never be “too busy” to hear your questions and concerns. Days, nights, weekends -- 365 days a year. And not only will Corey participate in forums as a candidate, but he has also pledged to hold regular, face-to-face community forums throughout the district when he is in Congress.

It’s time to replace old-style politics with new style leadership.

Join us today at www.obrien2010.com.

Justin F. Carroll
Campaign Manager
Corey O'Brien for Congress

I take absolutely no issue with the great majority of what is expressed in that email. In my opinion, Paul Kanjorski has outlasted his welcome when you consider that his political campaigns are always funded by the very same people he's charged with providing the oversight of. That's like warning you not to touch my little sister after providing you with the keys to the ole man's liquor cabinet, a box of Trojans and complete privacy.

And I don't care what any ethics committee known for trading ethically charged prisoners on occasion had to say about the Cornerstone scam. Is it illegal to steer millions upon millions to your family? Apparently, it is not. Is it ethical and moral to fleece the taxpayers in such a way? Obviously, it is not.

But I do think it's a stretch, an intentional overreach to challenge any political opponent to 10 public debates inside of 10 weeks as the campaign winds down, and expect them to agree to it. Especially an opponent that is drawing a treasury check as a member of Congress, as in, he really does have a job to attend to. And especially a man of Kanjorski's considerably advanced age.

And it's not as if Kanjorski has been laying low of late. The guy has been all over the television dial of late, appearing on most of those Sunday politico shows I never, ever watch. Sorry, but the guy has been readily accessible. At least, his opinions on the pressing issues of the day have been.

In my twisted opinion, a challenge to debate one, or two, or three times during the run-up to an election is as doable as it is reasonable. But to chastise that opponent because of the rejection of a debate schedule that was probably ill-fated by design, to me, that's a bridge too far.

If Kanjo sucks, and if Kanjo needs to go, that's one thing. But tell me why Corey O'Brien should be his immediate successor and not how the grumpy old congressman is unwilling to debate at a dizzied pace that approaches absurdity and saturation overkill.

Sez me, Markie in Nord End.

Later

From the email inbox: Note to all: Tonight’s Luzerne County Council of Republican Women’s meeting has been postponed.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mayor McCormick?

As of this date, I have signed Eddie Day Pashinski's nominating petition. I have also signed Tom Leighton's petition. And I theatrically declined a friendly invite to sign one of Uncle Paul Kanjorski's petitions.

Paul Kanjorski? Jesus! I'd rather be doused with gasoline and...

Anyway, here's the "what if" post as it pertains to Wilkes-Barre's possible immediate future.

If Mayor Tom Leighton makes it all the way to Harrisburg, if he ascends to replace the retiring Ray Musto, then Wilkes-Barre would need a replacement mayor.

Since (as of this typing) our city council members are (off the record) saying they have no interest at all in serving as the next mayor, and since City Administrator J.J. Murphy was forward-deployed to Haiti and his exact status as a city employee at this very moment is in doubt, the only available candidate to leap frog over the entire cabal and replace a then senator-elect Leighton would be the Deputy City Administrator, Marie McCormick.

Of course, the city council would have to vote to send her up the ladder to the mayoralship, but as of this writing, that is not only a possibility, it is a distinct possibility depending upon how Tom Leighton fares in his bid for a state senate seat.

Say it with me...Mayor McCormick.

No! Not Maureen! Not Maureen McCormick! Not Marcia!

Mayor Marie McCormick.

What is it with you people? Why is it always Marcia, Marcia, Marcia?

Later

GOP to WBASB: Do the right thing...appoint Haas

This just in via the email inbox:

Luzerne County Republican Party
41 S. Main St. Ste. 14
Wilkes-Barre PA 18701
570-208-GOP1 or lcgop@luzernegop.org
http://www.luzernegop.org/


WILKES-BARRE (Feb. 24, 2010) – The Luzerne County Republican Party is urging the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board to “do the right thing” and appoint Harry Haas to the open seat on the board.
Haas, a Republican, finished fifth in the November 2009 race for four seats on the school board. Haas missed out by 116 votes.

“We are asking the School Board to do the right thing,” Republican Chairman Terry Casey said. “Harry is exactly the type of person we need to make decisions for the district, its taxpayers and most importantly, its students. He is intelligent, open-minded, fair and has a background in education.”

Appointing Haas to the vacancy created by the resignation of Frank Pizzella would offer the school board the opportunity to prove to residents of the district that it is “not business as usual, or even, politics as usual,” Casey said.

Haas, 34, of Wilkes-Barre, is a teacher in the Dallas School District. During his campaign last year he advocated the preservation of the Wilkes-Barre Area School District’s old buildings, promised a fair-hiring process and supported training and advanced technology to meet the needs of a changing student body.

Haas has submitted a letter of interest to the school board which is expected to make an appointment on March 8.


Contact: Renita Fennick
570/208-4671 or 570/239-8851
Harry Haas 570/239-4067


Allow me to "second" that one.

Bye

Petrilla statement

Near as I can tell, this one is a Times Leader exclusive:

The link: Updated: 12:25 PM--Petrilla releases statement about tax break problem

The excerpt: Following is Petrilla's statement:

I want the taxpayers of the county to know I hear their frustration and anger at the recent mix-up concerning the Homestead Tax Exemption. There was a mistake made here. We’re all human. I told the people attending the commissioners’ meeting last week who protested that we would correct this. And we have.

I can’t dial back the play clock on this one item. We will make sure things like this don’t occur again.

I also hope that all I have tried to do to improve county government at this crucial time in our history will not be judged by this one incident. I’ve finally put an end to the wasteful practice of seemingly endless county borrowing. We had to raise taxes, but we made many cuts in this year’s spending to try to minimize the pain. We now have a fairer tax system with everyone paying their fair share instead of some receiving a better deal over others. This preferential treatment went on for decades beyond when other counties reassessed. Additionally:

• I singlehandedly worked with the principals of PA Child Care to end their lease that cost $58 million.
• Discovered the practice of contract piecemealing, stopped and exposed it, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars.
• Completely put an end to nepotism and cronyism by hiring professional and experienced directors to fill jobs.
• Developed a cooperative working relationship with the courts to streamline their budget and save taxpayer’s two million dollars a year.

There has been much to cleanup since I became chairwoman of the commissioners. I’ve worked hard to begin the cleanup. I hope people won’t rush to judgment on my overall record before some time passes and it can be judged in it’s entirety.


These have been tough times in Luzerne County for a variety of reasons. We’re doing our best in these trying days. I hope people will look at the big picture. Thank you to the taxpayers for any patience they can afford us. We will continue to try and do better.

Fine! The Homestead mix up was exactly that--a mix up. A mistake. An oversight. Whatever.

The problem is...

*Based on what Walter Griffith has unearthed in less than two months as county controller, Maryanne Petrilla was obviously a do-nothing, see-nothing controller.

*We never seem to forget how many tens of thousands of dollars retiring, fired or disabled (?) county employees are owed in accrued sick says, vacations days and the like, but when it comes to the minuscule $50 the taxpayers might be owed...oops!

*The PA Child Care lease? Are we supposed to believe that the two now indicted principals in that deal were going to push their fast-fading luck with the Feds breathing down both of their backs, while the third was trying to disassociate himself from them and the entire legal morass?

*The courts? Does she mean the judges who were still standing when the fallout cloud settled? The few who were not criminals, or closely associated with criminals?

Y'all can do what you need to do. But I maintain that she and her fellow commissioners need to be put out to the political pasture when next we vote.

Enough. No more.

Buh-bye

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The latest from O'Brien and Toohil

From the email inbox:

This afternoon, I sent the attached letter to Paul Kanjorski's campaign manager, inviting the Congressman to participate in 10 candidate forums with Corey O'Brien throughout PA-11 prior to the Democratic primary election to be held on May 18th, 2010.

We believe that in this critical election year, it is vitally important for voters to hear from both candidates, so that voters can fairly and accurately assess the candidates' records and positions on the issues. We have proposed Nanticoke, Kanjorski's hometown, as the site of the first of these candidate forums.


Justin F. Carroll
Campaign Manager


Corey O'Brien for Congress
(570) 343
-1111
http://www.obrien2010.com/

Markie sez: Ain't gonna freakin' happen. The all-knowing and all-powerful Uncle Paulie would not lower himself by appearing at the same venue with a lowly peon of any sort. Especially some upstart kid still wet behind the political ears. Uncle Paul is an arrrogant sort. So if O'Brien keeps on buzzing around, Uncle Paul will simply reach for the Deep Woods version of Off!

From Luzerne GOP dot com:

Republican Tarah Toohil, candidate for Pennsylvania's 119th Legislative District, called on state Rep. Todd Eachus, D-Butler Township, to return per diem money he used to pay his mortgage.
In a statement released Feb. 23, Toohil said:


"Taxpayers are outraged at the House Majority Leader's abuse of per diems.


"This abuse of the system is another reason why I'm running for office. It is wrong for Todd Eachus to collect per diem money while owning a home in Harrisburg.


"It is wrong for him to use per diems to pay his mortgage and make a property investment for himself.


"This money must be repaid to the taxpayers. "
READ MORE ABOUT PER DIEMS

You go girl! Besides, that dude is starting to look like Barry Bonds from the neck up. And that isn't a good thing by any measure.

I gotta admit, if they keep on giving me an excuse, I'll just keep on posting her picture. Hell, she's cuter than Sue Whats-her-name on the radio.

Later

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sen. Arlen 'trippin'' in the W-B

The following caught my eye this afternoon, and for one specific reason.

The link: Specter tours Intermodal; will seek funds for sidewalks

The text: U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter Monday said he still has the clout to deliver funding to cities like Wilkes-Barre and Mayor Leighton has asked him to do just that.

The five-term Democrat was in town to tour the still-incomplete Intermodal Transportation Center and to announce that he will try to get the city an additional $500,000 for the Streetscape Project.

“This is a tremendous addition to the city,” Specter said. “Mayor Leighton has asked me to get some additional funding for sidewalks on the Public Square which I understand haven’t been replaced since the food of 1972.”

The Intermodal cost has risen to more than $28 million and $13.2 million of that is federally funded. The 752-space parking garage is now slated to open on March 1, but the bus terminal and lobby won’t open until late May or early June, the mayor said.

For the whole story, read Tuesday's The Times Leader.


As I had stated in that "I still believe" post of mine, those red paver bricks haven't been replaced since they were laid in place after the Agnes flood. As I also noted, despite having oodles and oodles of palletized replacement bricks on site, there was never any maintenance to speak of done as those "sidewalks" disintegrated.

And I reiterate, the city had been on auto-pilot for far too long.

And where none before him had bothered, who's working to have them replaced? And who's always striving for more and more infrastructure improvements? Why, that would be one Mayor Tom Leighton.

I don't really have much time for this today. But before I make my escape from this electronic Never Never Land...

This one damn near floored me.


From Not Cease From Exploration:

I've found that I've had a tendency of late to sit here and write about politics, politicians, policy, people and other things on the outside (not all of which start with "p" by the way). Now I don't mean to imply that those are easy targets, because sometimes that kind of stuff actually requires a fair amount of mental lifting in order to pull off to any great extent. In fact there are many very well exceptionally written political blogs in NEPA (Gort, NEPArtisan, Mark Cour's blog among others)...stuff that is amateur only in the sense that the writers don't get paid to write.

Dude, as appreciated as they may be, kind words about me are not allowed as per the NEPA Blogging Council by-laws. Please refer to section 3, page 37, and you'll see that you have clearly violated the terms of agreement. If you persist with this sort of ill-advised malarkey, you can expect to be censored by the council when next they meet over a couple of thousands beers.

Now wise up!

Later

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A precautionary tale

Consider this post a public service, some really good advice, a warning or what have you. But please pay close attention.

First of all, I want to respond to the following:

D.B. Echo said...
Amen.
By the way, a friend at work was looking through the classifieds to buy some second-hand furniture, including bedroom furniture. I warned him about the bedbug problem, and advised him that I vaguely remember reading somewhere that bedbugs will burrow into furniture and lay their eggs or wait for a meal to show up or something. So I would avoid getting any sort of second-hand stuff - I've actually turned down a few offers of free furniture because of this.
February 20, 2010 9:09 PM

Remember, because of confidentiality agreements, I cannot go into great, great detail. But I can tell a precautionary tale.

Just this week I was summoned to a public housing unit that was literally overrun with bed bugs. This unit was so far gone, the tenants were relocated to a nearby vacant unit with only the clothes on their backs. No exaggeration. They took the clothes they were wearing and all of their other worldly belongings were packaged, thrown into a garbage hopper and trucked away. It was either that extreme measure, or they were faced with being evicted.

Now, before you go judging these people too harshly, know that they were not dirty or filthy or anything like that. There were no sanitation issues at work here. What these people were guilty of was grabbing a decent-looking couch off a a sidewalk. A couch that had a "free" sign attached to it. And contained within that couch were bed bugs of an indeterminable amount. As I have alluded to many times over, it sucks to be poor. Been there, done that. And I didn't like it none too much.

This apartment was so besieged that the housing authority removed all of the baseboards, the ceiling trim, the receptacle covers, the vent covers, the light fixtures, the smoke alarms, plus they opened all access ways such as bath traps, attic hatches and electrical panels. This wouldn't be a treatment as much as it would a napalming. The workers who did all of the pre-treatment preparations were covered head-to-toe with 18% DEET.

As the guys were stripping the baseboards away from the walls, they were revealing thousands upon thousands of bed bugs that were clustered behind them. The windows and window sills were loaded with them. They were milling down and about as the ceiling trims were being removed. And they were clustered in tight bunches behind the few remaining wall hangings that were inadvertently left behind. Their fecal droppings and caste skins could be seen in plain view just about everywhere you looked.

In a word, it was gross.

With bed bugs making a heretofore un-envisioned comeback in great, great numbers, here's the scoop.

If someone offers you some hand-me-down furniture, you might want to decline that generous offer. And with these little buggers now emerging here, there, and practically everywhere, you might want to consider buying some plastic mattress covers. They are readily available.

If you, or someone you know is suffering from unexplained skin irritations or what look like bites, you should either see a doctor, request an inspection from a reputable pest control professional, or both. If you see what looks like pepper on any bedding or furniture, the same advice applies. If you need to secure lodging in a hotel or motel, check the bedding for what looks like pepper before you open your luggage.

Bed bugs have piercing-sucking mouth parts which means they suck blood. They deal in blood. And it is for that very reason that they can vector diseases. This is a developing public health issue. I'm not suggesting that anyone should freak out. What I am saying is that you folks should bring yourselves up to speed on all things bed bugs. Be mindful.
And that's all I got. Good luck.

Later

To Troy or not to Troy

So, according to the Citizens' Voice, our state legislators have been playing even more "per diem" hanky panky at our expense. It's always fast and loose with these people. Fast and loose, but just under the reach of the radar.

The link: Legislators collect housing stipend while owning homes

The excerpt: State Rep. Jim Wansacz routinely collects up to $163 a day for meals and lodging when he's in Harrisburg, even though he owns a house in the state capital where he stays when conducting legislative business.

And he's not the only member of the area's legislative delegation collecting full per diems, while staying at properties they own.

Four others - House Democratic leader Todd A. Eachus and Reps. John Yudichak, Michael Peifer and Mario Scavello - also own buildings in Harrisburg, where they stay while on business, and also collect per diems, often for the full amount.

Mayor Tom, make a mental note of that one. Yeah, that one. As in, the taxpayers are on the hook for Yudichak's mortgage.

Is this getting ridiculous or what?

First we had the emergence of the right-leaning Tea Party, which caused the lefties to go all spastic and whatnot. Apoplectic at times. And now, I see that Gort has run across a fledgling Facebook opposition group--The Coffee Party?

If you ask me, the whole lot of these people have been slamming back way too much caffeine, so I am requesting that some of us band together to form The Decaf Party. (???)

Seriously, people...get a freaking grip already.

Wednesday morning I got a phone call from an employee of the television show Troy the Locator. If you've never seen the show, it's on one of those 5,000 cable networks we get, a network that draws a mostly female audience--WE.tv--The Women's Entertainment Network.

Anyway, what these people do is reunite lost family members and the like, and they do it on camera. Some months ago, I sent an email request to these people explaining that I wanted to meet, or at least speak to my long-reclusive father before I pass on to wherever it is that we pass on to. And in the months since, I got no reply at all. Until Wednesday, that is.

The lady from the television show asked me a litany of very pointed questions about the strange circumstances surrounding my father and my decades-old estrangement. She was interested in names, dates and whether or not we had any supporting documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates and stuff such as that.

In a nutshell, she said the producers of the show were very interested in this somewhat bizarre case or mine. Instantly, my heart raced. Surprising as it was, I felt myself filling with nervous excitement. Holy frig!

And then she announced that I would have to pay them $695 and sign a contract obligating me to appear on the tv show in the event that they find my father, and if he chose to be reunited on camera. As I had said to my daughter some weeks back, if they want me to cry on television, I'll do it. So long as I get to meet the man.

Honestly, I was highly surprised to hear that I would have to pay any stipend at all before they would turn their "investigators" loose on my father's whereabouts. I mean, this is a television show that generates income and attracts advertisers and all of that. She also advised me that we would have to turn over to them any and all documentation that we've been able to unearth, yet another surprise. And that got me to wondering what the investigators would be doing, since my daughter has already done the bulk of the sleuthing.

So, as of this moment, I'm still up in the air as to whether I'm going to go for it. She told me no matter the results of their investigation, the case would remain open for six months and six months only. So I'm thinking I might plunk down 700 bucks only to be disappointed all over again. Still, part of me says I have to go for it no matter what.

Stay tuned.

Literally, stay tuned.

Bye

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I still believe

What was it I posted a couple of days ago?

Oh, yeah, "More on that later today." More on Tom Leighton, it was. Yeah, well that was before work went and interupted my plans. For those of you here in Amerika, "work" is a term used by some people to denote that they have a job. It's kind of little-used in the U.S. of late.

7 a.m. to 7 p.m. yesterday. It hasn't gotten much press, but there is a huge outbreak of bed bugs in this area. Huge. If you even hear those two words used in conjunction wih each other, bed and bugs, run screaming just as fast as you can.

Anyway, my thoughts on Mayor Tom Leighton's decision to run for the retiring Ray Musto's seat in the state senate.

My thoughts drift back to when the post-Agnes reconstruction of Wilkes-Barre was complete. 1975? Perhaps 1976. Somewhere in there. When the rebuilding of the city was complete, it was new and shiny from end-to-end, top-to-bottom. New streets, new curbs, new streetlights, new storm sewers, new sidewalks and a new-look downtown. A hustling and bustling downtown, in fact. For a while, that is.

As far as I'm concerned, from that point until the year 2000, no elected or appointed official in Wilkes-Barre City earned their salaries, benefits and perks. Not a one of them. And I've always likened what happened to Wilkes-Barre during that protracted and painful down slide as a pilot putting his aircraft on auto-pilot. In other words, as the city's infrastructure and outlook all but collapsed, and while it's downtown was all but deserted and left for dead and it's while finances were frittered away, no one at City Hall did much of anything to counteract that disastrous slide into insignificance.

Proof that the city was on it's own, on auto-pilot if you will was pallet after pallet after pallet of unused red paver bricks I found languishing far, far to the rear of the DPW property. Paver bricks that had been piled there for thirty-odd years while the faded and battered paver bricks in the downtown were missing, broken or uneven and causing untold numbers of claims against and law suits to be filed against the city. We had the replacement bricks. The entire time, we had the capability to easily repair those disheveled downtown sidewalks. But nobody ever bothered to make it happen.
Auto-pilot!

It should be noted that one exception was former mayor Tom McGroarty, a man long on ideas but woefully short on execution. He had some good ideas, he had the drive and the fire in his belly, but his my-way-or-the-highway approach led to umpteen failed projects, massive unpaid debts and a city staring down the barrel of the bankruptcy gun, evidenced by the fact that the incoming Leighton administration's first official act in January 2004 was the floating of a $10.4 million bond to pay off the previous administration's overdue, unpaid debts. By the way, $5.3 million of which was to settle the debts for the muddy theatre hole, or the Holeplex as I always called it.

By the time Tom Leighton took possession of the keys to City Hall, the infrastructure was an absolute shattered mess, the finances were non-existent, and the city's bond rating was in the sunken storm sewers. The police department's manpower had dwindled to the point where we could not capably patrol a city of this size. The fire department was operating out of rusted, tired, aging vehicles that the Mogadishu F.D. would reject. Collectively, the then five firehouses needed millions upon millions in upgrades and repairs.

The downtown was all but abandoned, except for the persistent prostitutes and their ever-circling clientele. The neighborhoods were suffering through reverse-gentrification the likes of which we had never seen, let alone ever imagined happening here. We all know about the well-documented suicidal streetlights taking flying leaps to the ground below. Never did I ever think a city as a whole could be embarrassed and mocked over streetlights, but we were.

Kirby Park was such a deplorable mess as the 4th of July 2003 approached, that my company closed our local office for a day and all of our employees spent the entire day raking and sawing and cutting and bagging and trimming and on and on it went. As was documented through pictures by none other than myself, Coal Street Park looked as if it belonged in Cabrini Greene. It was broken, bowed, stripped, splintered, overgrown and covered with obscenities by way of the graffiti "artists" of the area.

I could go on and on, but I don't want to spend an entire day typing.

The long and short of it is, the infrastructure has been repaired, albeit, maybe not as fast as some of the more impatient people would like. The finances as well as the bond rating have been stabilized. The police department has been bolstered by some thirty-plus officers, in addition to countless new vehicles. The fire department has a fleet of new vehicles, two remodeled firehouses and a brand new one located in my neck of the northern woods.

The downtown is jamming. And producing revenue, I might add. The long lost projects of the McGroarty years are all being completed, one by one. With that said, more are scheduled to begin soon. Piece by piece, building by building, blight is being slowly removed from our neighborhoods. Both of the long-abandoned, long-shuttered Murray complexes are being removed from the landscape. The Pine Ridge development has brought new, energy-efficient homes into the urban mix. Coal Street Park is about to celebrate it's rebirth. Wilkes-Barre will be ground zero for the AHL Penguins. Kirby Park has regained it's former luster.

We now have a remodeled River Common beckoning people to rediscover the Susquehanna River. We have 14 screens by which to enjoy a movie within walking distance of most of our homes. We still have hopes of seeing the mothballed Hotel Sterling brought back to it's former glory, but as a mixed-use facility. The corner of North and Main, a busy thoroughfare through the heart of the city, is no longer an abandoned amalgam of blight and urban decay on display for all to see when they knife their way through the city.

Again, I could go on and on. But I won't.

With all of that noted, too many of us mocked the man, Tom Leighton. Too many of us couldn't buy into his vision when he asked us to believe. But when you consider where we were (weren't) in 2003 and how far we've come since, it's hard not to believe him when he tells us that he'd be a man on a mission in Harrisburg.

And when it comes to comparing resumes and recent achievements, I wouldn't want to be John Yudichak right about now. Nor would I want to be him when next we vote.

Personally, I'd prefer that Tom Leighton stay right here in Wilkes-Barre. But I put my trust and faith in him once and was greatly rewarded, speaking as a resident of Wilkes-Barre. And if he thinks the next logical step is Harrisburg, I will put my trust and faith in him once again. Because the way I see it, throughout the entirety of my mostly wasted life, he's the one person, the only person that did anything especially noteworthy for Wilkes-Barre.


The thing is, I still believe.

Later

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Leighton for PA dot com

Here we go...

Leighton for PA

As a resident of Wilkes-Barre, a resident that once documented a broke and beaten and battered city, I have mixed emotions about this.

More on that later today.

Bye

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Eight-Day March

From the email inbox:

MEDIA ADVISORY For WEDNESDAY February 17th at 12pm EST

CONTACT: Robin Stelly 203.216.9719 rstelly@pennaction.org
Alison Hirsch 570-974-3101 ahirsch2008@gmail.com

Health Care Reform Activists to Walk From Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.

Eight-Day March Will Stop In Delaware, Maryland, and Washington And Deliver Message To Congress: People Are Dying. No More Delays.

Philadelphia, PA – On Wednesday February 17th at 12pm EST, hundreds of health care reform activists and supporters will kick off “March to the Finish Line for Melanie” – an eight-day march from Philadelphia, PA to Washington, DC in honor of one health reform advocate who recently lost her battle with breast cancer after her insurance company refused to pay for the treatment her doctors said she needed. Local residents are participating in the march and are available to the press.

During her illness, Melanie Shouse was a tireless campaigner for health care reform for all Americans, and the marchers will be bringing Melanie’s message to Congress that not one more person should have to suffer or die for lack of health care in our country.

The “March to the Finish Line for Melanie” group will arrive in Washington, DC the day before President Obama’s Health Care Summit. As the summit is set to begin, the marchers—and supporters expected to number in the hundreds—will be there to tell lawmakers enough is enough!

They will deliver the message that Members of Congress have had plenty of time to discuss and debate health care over the past year, and now it's their job to make it happen. It’s time to get it done and get it done right. Congress must deliver the change people voted for.

The March starts with a noon rally at the Mother Bethel AME Church in Philadelphia and proceeds through University City and Southwest Philadelphia, ending the first day with a vigil at Taylor Hospital in Ridley Park. The group will hold rallies in Wilmington and Baltimore and host meet-ups for local residents in small towns along the way. Supporters and press can track the walk online at http://melaniesmarch.com/. This website will be updated throughout the march with logistical information for the events and video from the marchers.

Members of the press are invited to join the group at any point along the route and interview walkers - some of whom have personal stories about the difficulty of securing access to affordable health care in America today. They will be accompanied by an RV with Internet access.

WHAT: “March to the Finish Line for Melanie” - A Walk from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. for Health Care Reform
WHO: PA citizens and activists from Health Care For America Now, Families USA, SEIU, Catholics United, The AME Church, Families USA, Health Rights Organizing Project Interfaith Worker Justice, National Physicians Alliance Pennsylvania Health Access Network, Philadelphia Unemployment Project, UFCW, Raising Women’s Voices (List in formation).
WHEN: February 17 to February 24, beginning with a noon rally in PA and ending in DC at 2 p.m.
WHERE: Starting point is Mother Bethel AME Church, 419 S. 6th St., Philadelphia

For more information: http://www.melaniesmarch.com/.

For a fleeting nanosecond, he had the knack

There's a 'Lil Birdie that keeps dropping home-burned musical discs in my snail mailbox.

So far, two discs by The Hold Steady have appeared, "Stay Positive" and "Boys and Girls in America."

Funny thing, as I was marveling over the latter of the two somehow dropping out of thin air, I got to figuring that I'll never grow out of it. I'll never grow out of this never ending search for the next new band to get overly excited about.


Far as I can recall, the last thing that got me to jumpin' around the room and buying a new set of light gauge Silver Bullets was Nirvana. More accurately put, I was all agog over Kurt Cobain. Never was there a more honest songwriter.


When I was doing my level best to mimic the Hansen brothers of "Slap Shot" fame back in high school, I couldn't help but identifying with KISS and their stripped down sound. Lead, rhythm, bass, drums, and gnarly loud. Totally stripped down. No arsty fartsy bullspit. No Moogs. No mellotrons. And most importantly, no strings. Just straight ahead, pin-your-ears-back rock 'n' roll.

After initially conquering the world, even KISS succumbed to the glitzy production techniques of one Bob Ezrin, a producer extraordinaire. And with the passage of even more time, KISS did the previously unthinkable by releasing a disco-tinged song. Argh!


But in 1979, out of nowhere came this band called the Knack, who's first offering "Get the Knack" shot right to the top of the charts. And the first single from that LP, "My Sharona," topped the charts for six weeks. In addition, Get the Knack was the top-selling album of 1979.


While their sound has been dubbed "power pop," what they were was the latest outfit to reject the excessives of the recording studio, the wizardry, the strings and what have you by stripping it down to it's basics all over again. And you couldn't help but to be hooked by the choppy, start-stop-start-stop intro of My Sharona.


I played the grooves off of that album, neccessitating the purchase of a second copy, which I still have today. And to this day, after having packaged and carted off thousands upon thousands of CDs to events I have either DJed or simply provided the music for, Get the Knack was the only CD to have ever been stolen from me. It was immediately replaced.


Anyway, I was saddened to read this morning that Doug Fieger, 57, had passed away after a prolonged battle with cancer. Without Doug Feiger, there was no The Knack. In a nutshell, Doug Feiger was The Knack. And like KISS before them, The Knack reminded me that roll 'n' roll ought not include boys choirs, orchestras or the Bob Ezrins of the music world.


Just plug it in and play it flat out in 3 minutes or less. If it ain't loud, it ain't worth a fu>k. Sad to say, but I'll never grow out of it.


R.I.P.


G'nite

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mayor Tom Leighton to "announce" tomorrow

I got a call this morning from a woman inviting me to Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton's 5:15 p.m. announcement tomorrow at Rodano's on the square. Interesting.

So I asked of her, "He's really going to do it? I didn't think he would." She responded with, "Come on down to Rodano's and find out. Okay, so we're going to play it like that, are we?

So I called and got Hizzoner on the cell phone. And I asked of him, "What are you going to announce? Are you going to do it, run for the state senate?" He said, "Come on down and find out." Okay, so we're going to play it like that, are we?

Being that he wouldn't tip his hand either way, I switched tactics.

I said, "If a mayor were to run for a state senate spot, and if that mayor were to win, how would we replace that mayor--by a special election?"

He said he believed that a replacement mayor would be chosen by the city council, to which I blurted, "We're going to let those kooks pick the next mayor?"

"No comment" was his predictable reply. That cracked me up. I've had his ear for many a year, but more often than not, my ears were treated to a steady stream of "no comment" or "off the record." And patting myself on the back, I've never once made him regret the "off the record" conversations.

By the way, before anybody gets their panties all bunched up, I was kidding when I made that crack about the council being a bunch of kooks. Kidding. Go easy, man.

Anyway, I told him that the thought of city council picking the next mayor made me instantly recollect the old Ted Nugent song "Free for all." But I quickly corrected myself by saying that I'm sure a deal would be in the works before council was even seated for that vote.

So, after a bit of small talk, that phone call did end. And I seriously doubt that Tom Leighton would hold a press conference and invite people to said event if he was going to announce that he was not interested in jumping into that state senatorial fray. A fray, by the way, that is so far limited to John Yudichak and John Yudichak only. But I'm of the firm opinion that he'll have himself an opponent come late day tomorrow.

And there you have it. Tomorrow, at 5:15, at Rodano's, Mayor Tom Leighton has something to announce.

And, no, I don't think it's about a return engagement to Wilkes-Barre for the Beach Boys.

Later

Sunday, February 14, 2010

GOP updates

From the email inbox:

FIRST DISTRICT GOP BREAKFAST

With Special Guest, Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta

Sunday, Feb. 21, 10:45 a.m.

$20 if paid by Feb. 15; $25 at the door

Genetti’s, Hazleton

Info: stormpolitics@gmail.com


**********************

FOURTH DISTRICT BREAKFAST & PETITION-SIGNING

Saturday, Feb. 27, 9 a.m.

Lee Park American Legion, Lee Park Avenue, Hanover Township

Info: lorriv@msn.com

Tickets: $12 for adults; $8 for children under 10


*************************

Check our Web site for updates

http://www.luzernegop.org/

Renita Fennick
Executive Director
Luzerne County Republican Party
570-208-4671


Editor's note: Don't forget to register to vote.

Bye

Luzerne County Govt: A public-sector dependency

"The wisest of men follow their own direction."--Euripides

I think what the Times Leader published today was proof positive that our two majority commissioners lacked the intestinal fortitude and the political will to avert the recently enacted 15% property tax increase.


The link: Luzerne County staffed far above average (The county has 1,698 full-time employees, more than its similarly-sized counterparts)


The excerpt: The size of Luzerne County’s workforce has been a heated topic at commissioner meetings in recent months.

Taxpayers demanded staff cuts to avoid a tax increase this year, bolstered by a suggestion from the county’s financial recovery consultant to eliminate 150 positions.


Commissioners Maryanne Petrilla and Thomas Cooney ended up voting to furlough just 15 workers and to raise taxes 15 percent, arguing that they couldn’t identify further job eliminations.

15. That's it. 15 furloughs and then the tax increase was approved. And in hindsight, I'm sure the majority commissioners, if pressed, would attempt to prevaricate by saying that the numbers are skewed by differing demographics. You know, we've got more seniors drawing services. Far more children & youth cases. A billion more miles of road to upkeep, or dozens more bridges to maintain (er, sleep under). Bunk such as that.

The highly-paid (taxpayer-supported) consultants recommended the elimination of 150 positions, so the commissioners, in all their, ahem, wisdom, cut just 10% of those positions. All of which makes one wonder if those hefty fees for the bean-counting consultants could have been better spent at Patte's Sports Bar.

Oh, and there was that dishonest claptrap about shuttering Moon Lake Park and furloughing the park's handful of employees for a lack of funds. Remember that bit about trying to find an outside outfit to take over management of the park? Turns out, what the commissioners were really hoping for was for some outside outfit to come in and turn the picturesque park into a sprawling waste water pond for fracking fluids.

You know the rub. The only way to hide the gross mismanagement and the financial irresponsibility is to find new revenue streams and stick with the status quo, i.e., protect the unionized employees who vote predictably democrat. Therefore, in an effort to save the unneeded jobs of those unionized employees, Moon Lake Park would have to be converted into a vast drilling wasteland. Out goes the swimming pool, in come the pollution pools and the over-weight trucks.

And whatever happened to all of this experience as a town manager that Maryanne Petrilla was purported to have when first she sought a county-wide elected position? Where was it again? In Sugarloaf, or Drums or Incest Creek or some such glorified corn field with one traffic signal? Is that how she ran the show there, by deficit-spending and raising taxes year-in and year-out? Gee, that's not the way I remember the campaign pitch.

At this point, her stock has to be dropping about as fast as that know-it-all spending us into oblivion in Washington. Being irrefutably overstaffed coupled with being either too completely incompetent or totally unwilling to enact the long overdue austerity program has to lead a thinking voter to a vote of no confidence for Maryanne Petrilla.

After reviewing her spotty performance as the county controller, and then later on as a majority commissioner feigning concern, one could only conclude that her track record suggests a clear abnegation of responsibility on her part. The overriding responsibility of any manager is to protect the assets and investments of the owners. And in this case, with the residents being being the owners, could she even attempt to make the case that she has protected our assets and investments? Methinks not.

Check this excerpted swill:

Petrilla, who endured criticism for the recent decision to cut staff at the now-closed Moon Lake Park, said she will continue to study ways to reduce the workforce.


The county eliminated a switchboard operator position, opting to rely on an automated phone system to direct callers. The county also is exploring the possibility of outsourcing security and processing of back taxes, which could lead to more staff reductions.


“We’re trying to trim and do more with less. We’ve made a commitment that we’re going to try to streamline government and operate as lean as we possibly can,” said Petrilla, the board chairwoman.

We're going to try? We're trying?

That'll only cut it for so long before the underachieving manager in the private sector gets his or herself unceremoniously canned. Fired. Box up the pictures of the brats, take your clock radio and leave your keys on the desk. Canned!

Therefore, since Maryanne Petrilla tried (really?) but couldn't or wouldn't do it, obviously she needs to be sent packing by the owners--the voters. Canned, I say.

And since this county has recently been documented to be a one-party thiefdom of epic proportions, it's fair to suggest that the local democrats have broken the public's bank as well as lost the confidence of the public.

Much like the bloated and ever-expanding federal and state governments that are currently ignoring our needs over their own, the government of Luzerne County has become a public-sector dependency. And I'm saying from my electronic soapbox that the local welfare reform initiative starts with the firing of the (mis) managers.

Send Maryanne Petrilla packing. Tell Thomas Cooney, thanks, but no thanks for nothing. And encourage Steve "Dr. No" Urban to run for that state office he has his oft-covered eyes on.

Enough is enough.

It's time for the public-sector dependency to end.

Sez me.

Later

Friday, February 12, 2010

Patte's gone patty-cake

Part deux of...what the hell is going on around here?

Jesus H. Allah!

Feds serve subpoena on W-B sports bar, charge worker

BY DAVE JANOSKI, PROJECTS EDITOR Published: February 12, 2010

Federal agents conducting a corruption probe served a subpoena on Patte's Sports Bar in Wilkes-Barre Thursday night, sources familiar with the case said today.

The visit by FBI agents followed gambling-related charges filed Wednesday against an employee of the bar/restaurant on Hollenback Avenue. Owner Patrick Patte did not immediately return a phone message left at the bar today. The U.S. Attorney's Office declined comment.

On Wednesday, the FBI filed a single count of conspiracy to transmit wagering information through use of wire communication against Patte's employee Mark G. Fino, of Wilkes-Barre. Documents in the case were sealed by U.S. Magistrate Malachy Mannion.

Fino could not immediately be reached for comment.

More than 20 people have been charged in the wide-ranging federal probe since January.

Holy muck, man!

A couple of summers ago, Wifey and I were bored to death one night and we decided to take a slow walk over to Patte's and order some good food, and suck back a few drafts. The food was barely above average, the drafts were plenty cold, but the atmosphere was such that we never bothered to return.

To be blunt, we were seriously put off by the loud, boorish and sometimes rowdy exploits of the self-absorbed Who's Who of Luzerne County, who seemed to think they were the Golly Green Giants of the entire place.

During the walk home, I explained to Wifey why each of these slothed individuals seemed to think they were the cat's ultimate meow. One by one, I filled her in on the worst that Luzerne County had to offer at that time, many of which are now indicted, or who have already copped a plea agreement.

And I'll never forget what she said in response. She said, "So they had to pay off, hire, or blow somebody?"

And my response?

"Pretty much."

Fu>k Patte's and fu>k it's regular clientele.

Sez me.

Bye

Think it through

Data Dude, you know I love and respect you, but I have to respond to this one. Don't go getting all enraged on us over it.

D.B. Echo said...

"Miss me yet?" Do we get to throw three balls for a dollar? And if we hit the target, does he fall in water?

Employers just have to lay off existing employees and replace them with new hires. Lower pay, no grandfathered benefits, and a $5000 tax credit! And after six months, the old employees fall off the unemployment rolls, so it's like they never existed.

At some point I'm going to write about the one lesson Obama should have learned from Bush, but did't.

February 11, 2010 10:04


First of all, the '3 balls for a buck" bit cracked me up. With that said, if Dubya were to fall into the water after a ball or two, the left would surely assail him for having done so. Then again, if all three balls were to miss the mark and Dubya didn't hit the bottom of the dunk tank, that would be pointed to as proof of some conspiracy against the common man.

Admit it, repetition is reputation. And we both know how that one was perpetrated by the democrats and a willing press. There was no love him or hate him, it was eight tiring years of hate, hate, hate and hate him some more. In the end, proof that far too many of us are easily manipulated.

No biggie, but I don't want this to devolve into being the four billionth referendum on George W. Bush. Oh, god no!

Rather, I'd like to address that second part, that part that smacks of an innate and irrational hatred and distrust of all things Big Business in Amerika, yet another constant target of the repetition/reputation thing.

Some years ago, as a general manager, I was hit with a triple whammy. In very short order, I was stung by the opening of both Red Lobster and Chi-Chi's (both unique to this area at the time and both but hundreds of yards away), as well as PENNDOT's decision to remove Kidder Street and start over from the ancient base up. No exaggeration, for an entire summer, I had an oft-flooded moat out front where the busy street used to be. The end result was a 9% drop in sales versus the previous fiscal year.

Needless to say, everyone involved was directly affected, and basically, peeved with me. My district manager worked to get to the root of the problem, rather than admit that I was an incident bystander at the time. The employees, faced with less hours, less overtime and less tip income dropped hints about visiting greener pastures. And personally, my quarterly bonus took a major hit, as well as my previously unscathed record as a general manager.

Anyway, at 9% down, we were working with a skeleton staff during the lesser of the day parts, and with reduced staffing levels otherwise. And with less employee hours scheduled per day parts, I was leaving myself vulnerable whereas trying to ensure good service was concerned. So long story short, the first to be cut, the first to be let go and the first to be scheduled far less hours than they wanted were the very weakest of the employees.

My key employees, my strong employees, my department heads and my trainers suffered far less of an income loss than did the weaker employees. So, in effect, at 9% down, I surrounded myself with only the best of the best, and bid the rest a heartfelt 'hang in there.' And many of those employees did not hang in there.

Now, as for your assertion that Corporate Amerika will cut capable employees for trainees just to cash in on the suggested tax incentives, that's hogwash.

That might work on an assembly line, where yet another monkey can be taught to affix an imported hub cap to a wheel just in from Canada. But, we must also consider that manufacturing jobs have also become about as scarce as Democrats big on morals.

At 20% down, or 25% down, no company worth it's weight in rubber dog sh*t would cut into a skeleton staff of proven employees, replace them with inexperienced trainees, and all for a tax incentive. And at 25% down, what would there be a need to produce?

No, big business realizes that the current administration imported from Chicago is clueless, and as a matter of fact, has been outwardly hostile to big business as well as small. And that's exactly why big business is prepared to hunker down and wait 'til next we vote. Because big business is hoping that the next administration is comprised, at least in part, by people who understand what drives and motivates a free market, capitalist country.

Bush may have been too cozy with big business interests, as you democrats have howled about all along. But the necessary correction to that is not to elect people who openly despise big business, people who openly chide big business and people who openly promise to punish big business.

The fact is, right now, Obama and his cast of commies need big business more than big business needs Obama and crew. So if the anti-business creeps keep it up, big business will not expand on their troubled watch, millions upon millions of angered Americans will remain jobless and big business and the jobless combined will work to defeat them at the polls.

Uncertainty coupled with cluelessness will not make this economy hum any time soon. And therein lies Obama's rapid undoing.

And as far as job creation goes, if big business doesn't create jobs, who will? Obama? Obama and his bumbling cast of lashing-out Marxists?

Yeah, that'll happen right after Cuba and Mars sign a defense pact.

Dude, you cannot be that far gone. No insult intended, but think it through.

Later

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fess up

It's beyond obvious that the NEPA blogging community consists of a ragtag collection of closet neo-Bolsheviks and me. Yup, I'm the oddball. They've all got their various reasons for praying at the cracked altar of the democrats, most of which they will never admit to while using their pseudonyms. I'll not go into details.

But, while they all wax poetic about this, that and everything local, state and otherwise, they adeptly sidestep one subject in particular--the performance of our would-be, know-it-all trainee, Barack Oblahblah. First of all, spare me the "Bush's fault" nonsense in the reader's comments. That's an intellectually incontinent argument already.

You wanted him gone in the very worst of ways, he's long gone, but as your one-time messiah continually stumbles and bumbles his way through his one-term run as the Trainee-in-Chief, you suddenly want to keep bad ole Bush around a while longer for the purposes of assigning, er, reassigning blame.

Now, I want all of you Pravda fans to answer me this: As part of his pretend "jobs bill," Obama is proposing a $5,000 tax credit for businesses that hire new employees. That's $5,000 per new hire. Here comes the really hard part where you have to answer the question. Ready?

If your sales are down 15, 20, even 25% as are those of most of our few remaining major league employers, why in the funk would you be interested in hiring new employees?

In case you've never done the private sector in any meaningful or appreciable sense (I mean, you people are hard-left, right?), when sales drop noticeably, employee hours must also show a corresponding decline. That's how you maintain a comfortable profit level. And if our sales are down significantly, we would hire new employees why? Why?

Repeat after me, comrades...plenty of new hires plus a precipitous drop in incoming revenue equals...Chapter...11.

One...More...Time!

Out of business.

I really hate to be snarky about it, but your Boy Wonder of a president hasn't a clue, and neither do any of those from within his inner circle of advisors.

When are you people going to admit that you feverishly supported the biggest huckster ever to travel with a teleprompter in tow? When will you admit to your egregious mistake? Seriously. Enough with the Palin bashing. And one a more local note, enough with the Barletta bashing. In general, enough with the purposeful deflection of your gullibility. When you gonna fess up?

Whatever.

As the lone non-socialist among the NEPA blogging community, a veritable needle in the politically left haystack, I guess I'll post the following billboard pic since everyone else choose to sidestep it as if by rote. As if by template.


I never thought I'd admit it, but, yeah, a little bit.

Buh-bye

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow day

Well, we finally caught a whiff of that wayward jet stream, and the crunchy water is coming down by the pound. Cool.

I got up early as always, copped a quick glance outside and realized the roads were in good condition. Really good condition. And since I had a stop here in Wilkes-Barre that was of the public health/public safety variety, I decided to gear up and head on out.

After a quick stop at the shop, I arrived at my job site by 8 am and got to it. At that point, I figured I'd keep working up until the roads were putting my safety in danger. And since I rarely fear much of anything, I also figured putting in a full work day might be a possibility.

But upon exiting the building I was working in little more than an hour later, the realization that my work day was over was immediate. You see, an S-10 with anti-lock-brakes in a serious snowstorm usually means a motor vehicle accident of some sort is a high probability. So back to the shop I slogged, uploaded my info, and back into the mix I went.

And I have to say, the city, from one end to the other was a virtual demilitarized zone completely devoid of vehicles and pedestrians. So, we finally got ourselves a taste of winter, and I'm beaming proud to say I was not among the hordes of easily-led sheep who flocked to the supermarket last night in a clear display of media-induced mass hysteria. No milk, no bread, no nothing.

Although, I did have a gnawing hankering to stop at Musical Energi and blow a considerable wad of money on used CDs. Seriously kiddies, addictions are terrible, terrible things. Thankfully, the convulsions and the tremors have passed.

Sue, please burn me some of that Hold Steady stuff before I go and do something rash with a bed sheet. Please, please help me.

Anywho, if you don't absolutely have to go out, don't. And if you're dangerously low on milk or bread, please call Help Line at 829-1341.

And with that, I'm off to the CD-Rom version of Civilization IV. I have a score to settle with the Chinese. I'm going to arm up, expand my empire rapidly, and then rumble thee forth over the land of the unbelieving scum on the other side. 'Cause they don't go for what's in the book and that makes them bad.*

What better way is there to spend a snow day than by a starting a 1,000-year religious war?

Later

*Excerpted from Frank Zappa's "Dumb all Over."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Yellow Mellow

What the hell is going on around here?

First it was Ray Musto's sudden and unexpected exit from politics, and now State Senator Robert J. Mellow, D-Peckville, has also suddenly and unexpectantly opted out of the electoral rat race.

So who's next?

And then there's this, from the Citizens' Voice:

Rendell nominates attorneys for Luzerne County bench

Gov. Edward Rendell has nominated two local attorneys to serve as judges on the Luzerne County bench, Lewis Wood Wetzel and Joseph Van Jura. He has also nominated John F. Gilligan, former police chief of Wyoming Borough, to serve as sheriff. All three nominations must be approved by the state Senate.

If confirmed by the Senate, Wetzel, of Dallas, and Van Jura, of Kingston, would fill vacancies created by the corruption-related resignation of former judge Michael T. Toole and the election defeat of former judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr., who was rejected by voters in a retention bid last November.

So, two more new judges, and a new sheriff even though it feels like we just elected a new sheriff. In actuality, we did.

If we had to sum up Northeastern Pennsylvania's politics of late in one word, that word would have to be upheaval. Or perhaps, incarcerated. I dunno.

Now we wait to see who's going to be interested in seeking 's Mellow's still warm seat, even though the field is not yet set on the fledgling battle to succeed Musto. This is close to becoming downright confusing.

And to that persistent rumor that Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton might seek to replace Ray Musto, I'd say he should wait another week and a half and see if Paul Kanjorski's seat is about to be vacated. At this dizzying rate, who knows what might be right around the corner?

Stay tuned, kiddies.

Later

Note: Let the rock salt games begin!

A late afternoon update from the National Weather Service predicts 4 to 8 inches of crunchy water for NEPA.

Monday, February 8, 2010

T.T. Party

From the email inbox:

FOR MEDIA PLANNING PURPOSES Contact: 570-788-2479 or mailto:vince@loubarletta.com

Tarah Toohil to Take on Eachus in the 116th District

Hazleton, PA – Local attorney and candidate for Pennsylvania State Representative will kickoff her campaign on Tuesday night by issuing an official announcement of her candidacy.

Tarah Toohil said, “When you look around our community, you see the hard times that people are facing. You also see the lack of leadership and support coming from Harrisburg. It is time to stand up and say we deserve better.”

The public is welcome to join Tarah and her supporters as she outlines the issues that she intends to tackle as State Representative. Refreshments will be provided. Tarah will also be available for questions following the program.


WHO: Tarah Toohil
WHAT: Official Campaign Announcement Kickoff
WHEN: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 @ 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
WHERE: The Elks Lodge #200
635 E. Broad Street
Hazleton, PA 18201

PAID FOR BY THE COMMITTEE TO ELECT TARAH TOOHIL

You know, if we voted based on looks, here's your next president. Come to think of it, if we went by the candidate's appearance alone, Todd Eachus would be ruled ineligible to run for elected office.

Sez me, Markie.

Later

Sunday, February 7, 2010

GOP news

From the email inbox:

The Luzerne County Young Republicans will not meet on Monday, Feb. 8, so that members can attend the Lou Barletta announcement in Wilkes-Barre Township.
Please read on:

Mayor Lou Barletta to Kickoff Campaign in Northern Luzerne County

Hazleton, PA – Hazleton Mayor and candidate for Congress Lou Barletta will be in Wilkes-Barre Township on Monday night to kickoff his campaign in Northern Luzerne County.

Barletta said, “Luzerne County is my home and the fact that we won it in 2008 is a testament to our message and to the hard work of our supporters. I am very excited about kicking off my effort in Northern Luzerne County even earlier this year.”

Mayor Barletta will be joined by volunteers, activists and elected officials. He will be available for questions following the program. Refreshments will be served.

WHO: Mayor Lou Barletta
WHAT: Northern Luzerne County Campaign Kickoff
WHEN: Monday, February 8, 2010 @ 7:00pm
WHERE: Wilkes-Barre Township Fire Company 152 Watson Street Wilkes-Barre, PA
______________________________________
Check our Web site for updates
http://www.luzernegop.org/

Renita Fennick
Executive Director
Luzerne County Republican Party
570-208-4671

Stupor Bowl preview

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL!!!

I know I am.

I've read just about all that there is to read about this game. And despite the "Peyton knows best" gibberish that is the safe pick adhered to by almost all of the would-be prognosticators, I still think the deadly-accurate Drew Brees wins this one for "The Aint's," that team we all know and love as The Saints.

Yeah, according to all of the so-called experts on sports talk radio, Reggie Bush is the wild card in this one. Yes, according to the experts, Bush just might freak out and win this game all on his own. While I understand that mindset, that perspective, it needs to be noted that none of those so-called experts honestly believe that will come to pass. Instead, they wholeheartedly feel that Peyton Manning's remarkable command of the "Static O" offense will again rule the day. Um, considering the start time, rule the night.

I don't see it that way.

Knowing how versatile the Saint's offense is, and knowing Brees' propensity for hitting the open man no matter what the original play call may have been, I'm thinking the Saints prevail in this one. And I'm also thinking that Pierre Thomas, David Thomas and Robert Meachem--one of them--will be the difference in this game. Most likely Meachem.

And to the democrats, liberals, progressives, socialists, communists, welfare patients, or whatever name you're hiding behind of late, did you boys happen to notice that a woman--Sarah Palin--called out your trainee president from the pulpit of the Tea Party convention when she scolded Barack Oblahblah by saying, "...you better stop lecturing and start listening?"

BANG!!!

Oh, the nerve. The nerve of that woman.

Now, I know you so-called progressives hate women as evidenced by your electoral throwing under the bus of Hillary Clinton, the presumptive presidential nominee. And your irrational and overly exuberant hatred of Sarah Palin is quite apparent, if not, downright troubling. Sickening, in fact. It's sickening to read the words of the men who can not stand strong women. Men who can not stand strong women? Oh, you know, Moscow-leaning democrats.

Yes, you are all-inclusive, until chicks want in. I saw it happen. I got it. And I'm watching it happen as you wimps practically freak out over Sarah Palin's every spoken word. Yes, you're for the underdog, you're for the little guy, the guy not trusted in the shower, the black guy, the bomb-laden guy, the peanut farmer, the shameless philanderer.... just not the chick. Anything but a chick. But I digress.

Then again, you better stop lecturing and start listening.

Saints by 16.

But don't quote me on that.

Later

Editor's note: Go, Meachem, go!!