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



Sunday, January 30, 2011

Domestic Battery: Side-effects include...

I had an interesting, albeit, a frustrating conversation with a fellow resident of Nord End today. In response to the Saturday morning homicide on Dana Street, he said that the mayor has got to do something about “all of this crime.”

In response, I asked, “Like what? Outlaw domestic violence? Station a cop in every household?”

As a result of my queries, I was told not to be a smart-ass. Trust me on this, I was practically raised on domestic violence. It’s not something I take lightly, and not something I am even remotely tolerant of.

When I was in the first grade at Oxford Elementary, my step-dad surprised my mom with a brand new stove. He and his buddy brought the thing home in the back of a pickup truck. Being someone who absolutely loved to cook and bake while yodeling away, my mom was not only surprised, she was thrilled.

After Leo’s buddy drove off, he disconnected the ancient stove from the gas line. Much like it always did over even the most mundane of things, then it started. He wanted my mom to help him carry the old stove up the steps and into the unfinished attic. She suggested that they simply slide the thing out onto the back porch until it could be disposed of.

Voices were raised. The insults and vulgarities flowed from his lips like rounds from an automatic weapon. The more she argued, the louder and meaner he got. And being a well-decorated veteran of their frequent domestic outbursts, I took my sister by the hand, retreated to the open attic steps and took a seat.

As was almost always the case, my mom threw in the proverbial towel by agreeing to help hump the thing up the steps and into the attic. At that point, my sister and I watched from the doorway to the kitchen.

Needless to say, my mom was having a bit of trouble with carrying this ancient half-ton stove up the steps. They’d lift it a step at a time, put it down, scream and yell some more and then repeat the process. About half way up, Leo had heard enough from her and pushed the stove down towards her. Yes, believe it or not, she was supporting the bulk of the weight on the lower end.

The stove drove her backwards, tumbled right over her and she followed it by rolling down to the bottom of the steps. She was obviously injured, but she somehow found the strength to get up, take a 30-odd-6 off of the gun rack, point it right at Leo’s face and proceeded to pull the trigger. And when we heard the click rather than the explosion of a round out of the barrel, she collapsed to the floor sobbing.

He told the police as well as the ambulance guys that the stove had simply gotten away from him. And as was always the case until their relationship grew even stormier at the end, she covered for him. But I know what I saw. And what I saw was uncontrolled rage converted to violence. And as a direct result, I saw an attempted homicide that just didn’t work out right.

The last time I saw him as a cohabitant, he had been released from the local veteran’s hospital after a similar incident with my mom. Amazingly, someone from the hospital had called to warn her that he was just released, and he seemed none too happy. She called the Derby police and begged them for protection. They told her to call if and when he actually arrived on seen.

After that call ended, she was hysterical and started barricading the doors and some of the windows. She was frantic, she was sobbing all the while, she knew she was in for it. After piling furniture against the front and back doors, she had me spot for her as she backed the Datsun up against the garage door in the basement. The thinking being that the bumper would prevent him from raising the door after he had unlocked it.

As his taxi arrived and pulled into the driveway, she called the police screaming for help. He unlocked the front door, but very quickly realized that the pile up against the door would deny his entry. So he stated yelling, “You’re effing dead, Dot.”

At the back door, he came up against yet another unmovable pile, and the verbalized threats continued. As he walked back around to the front of the house, my mom told me to take my sister into my bedroom and to lock the door behind me. I locked Sue in my room, but I ran into their room to see if I could watch him through the front windows.

After he unlocked the aluminum garage door, and after he realized it would not raise more than a foot or two, he went into a crazed rage and pulled on the door until it buckled in the middle. He pulled and pulled, it buckled and buckled and then it just kind of popped right out of the track.

I heard him pounding his way up the steps, the basement door burst into pieces and my mom then took the worst beating of her entire life. I came to her aid, and I remember being awakened by a police officer. That was my fourth one-punch KO thanks entirely to the step-dad. And at the tender age of 12.

After 4 police officers fought with him before taking him into custody, and after they put her in an ambulance for the very last time by his clenched hands, the cops asked me where my nearest relative resided. “Uh, Wilkes-Barre,” came out.

When she got out of the hospital, she had finally smartened up and filed for divorce. We brought to Pennsylvania with us only what would fit in a 1966 Datsun (not very much), and we were living with my grandparents by that September of 1971.

With these sorts of remembrances, I could go on and on and on and to the point of being accused of being a writer of fiction. I’ll spare you.

I have two thoughts on all of this domestic battery nonsense.

First of all, there aren’t any mayors or any police departments that can foresee and then prevent any of these sorts of needless incidents.

And secondly, honey, if he hits you once, he’ll do it again. In fact, if he hits you but once, you’d be smart to expect to get hit again and again and again. The more precise point being, honey, if he hits you once…get the hell out of the relationship. Leave. Split. Vamoose. Go!

Because the side-effects of domestic battery are physical injuries, psychological trauma, undo suffering, emotional detachment, familial upheaval, oh, and sometimes premature death.

Them’s my thoughts. The thoughts of a kid who got hit in the head one too many times.

And yet, they wonder why I was diagnosed as having auto-hostility issues.

Later

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fedrule Judge: Illegal "aliens"

To all the leftist pantywaists who cannot bring themselves to mouth the words “illegal aliens,” dig this from the Associated Press…

ACLU: Detainees owed bail hearing after 6 months

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Immigrants fighting deportation should not languish in U.S. detention centers for years without bail hearings, civil-rights lawyers argued Monday in a U.S. appeals court.

The American Civil Liberties Union, representing a Pennsylvania man now held for nearly three years, suggested a six-month window for such hearings. Cheikh Diop is fighting deportation to his native Senegal over a 1995 drug case.

"We think, under any reading, three years of locking somebody up without a bond hearing is unreasonable," ACLU lawyer Judy Rabinovitz argued to the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court.

Justice Department officials object to any set time limit, saying hearings should at most be ordered on a case-by-case basis. Immigration judges need flexibility to assess each situation and would be overwhelmed by the six-month rule, they said. At least one other U.S. circuit has said each case should be reviewed for "reasonableness."

"One size doesn't fit all," Justice lawyer Theodore Atkinson argued Monday.

Wait…For…It…

"I tend to agree," Judge Julio M. Fuentes said. "(But) I start to wonder what is 'reasonable' when the position of the government is we can detain aliens indefinitely."

So, according to a federal judge, “aliens” are subject to deportations because they entered the country illegally. Therefore, one must conclude, they are illegal aliens.

Undocumented immigrants? Not according to the judge. Nice try, though.

Only on the planet of Kumbaya do undocumented immigrants exist.

Toke up, girlies.

While driving past the Fedrule courthouse here in Wilkes-Barre this afternoon, I came across an illegally-parked vehicle that was detailed as follows: Ponte-Al-Dia.com/Breaking News En Espanol

Seems they made the trip from Philly in hopes of reporting that those Gringo cops from Shenandoah were convicted.

I wonder if they made the trip after the double murder on Wyoming Street in Hazleton last week. Nah, probably not. The perpetrators of that heinous double murder were not gringos.

As far as being parked illegally goes, it seems to be a recurring theme for some.

Later

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A societal "clip to the lip"

For the third consecutive January, Mr. Baroke Oblahblah is promising the creation of jobs.

And since he’s now seen as the ‘boy who cried jobs’ one too many times, he appointed GE Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt to lead a new President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

Wow! This is serious. Another advisory panel.

Perhaps he should have gotten serious about job creation before he spent two years on a START treaty, “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the health care boondoggle.

Cities and states are cutting services as well as public safety employees in droves, California is a certified financial basket case, but we need to be more competitive, says the clueless wonder. Translation: We need to spend more newly printed federal dollars.

Yep, we’ll just spend our way out of a debilitating debt overload.

Yes we can!

Whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent or a member of the Pan-sexual Peace Party, you had to be thinking what I was thinking after Chinese President Hu Jintao’s recent powwow with our, ahem, our so-called commander in chief.

Did Oblahblah not come off like a 98-pound weakling trying to win even the slightest of nods of approval from the hulking bully?

Be honest.

As a matter of full disclosure, does he even weigh 98 pounds?

I keep hearing this haunting jingle on WILK that goes like this: “Green, green, green…it’s your home, it’s your dream.”

At nearly every turn, the Fedrule Govmint is pushing that “green” agenda to the point of it being outright brainwashing. Yet, that very same government has exempted gas drilling companies from some rather crucial elements of the Clean Water Act, thereby making it perfectly legal to inject millions upon millions of gallons of “proprietary” fracking fluids into our soil and our watersheds.

So, my freaking light bulb has the potential to destroy our precious environment, but an unleashed and barely regulated Chesapeake Energy does not? Is that what I’m supposed to swallow?

When the ill-fated Knox Mine collapsed and took a goodly amount of the Susquehanna River with it in January 1959, people instantly knew what a lack of industrial oversight could mean to their local economy, to their local environment and to their immediate families.

But with hydro fracturing, it’ll likely take a generation before people realize that we were once again allowing industry to work too perilously close to our water.

Green, green, green…it’s methane in your stream.

I have this rule about convenience stores wherein I will not patronize any mini-market with less than two employees behind the counter. Allow me to explain.

For me, convenience means I grab a Diet Coke, pay for the thing within a minute or two, and then continue on with my wonderful day. But all too often, I would grab that aforementioned chemical concoction, and then wait an inordinate amount of time as one employee wrestled with two lines; the lottery line and the Access card line.

As a result, I only pop into the stores that have enough manpower on hand to keep things moving at a decent clip. No biggie.

At the new mini-market in the neighborhood here, a new phenomenon has managed to muck up the works. And in a particularly disturbing way.

At the new place, we have the lottery line. And then we have the Access card line. And we also have the line at the counter containing the numerous variations of artificial marijuana. This is a line dominated by young people. Some (you could say most) even appear to be underage.

First of all, how did we get to the point where we have to differentiate between legal and illegal forms of marijuana? Secondly, why do so many of our young people need to have a buzz on all day long? And thirdly, where are we headed as a nation when people are literally lining up in stores to secure their next high?

What ever happened to working hard all day and then going home and cracking a beer or two or three over some sports? Now it’s the norm to get wasted during the day? We’ve somehow begrudgingly legitimized this ill-advised behavior?

When my then-girlfriend told me she was pregnant, I was immediately thinking in terms of needing health insurance, all the overtime I could get and a promotion to management as fast as humanly possible.

After the fast-forwarding of three decades, I’m seeing young girls with one hand on a baby stroller and the other on a prohibitively priced vile of legal pot. And in plain view, no less.

Ah, times change, I suppose. And apparently, so do priorities.

Where once we went out and earned what was necessary, now young people just get high as often as possible and wait for the Govmint to supply them with what they think they need. And believe it or not, the Govmint which missed a crucial waypoint or two ups and reciprocates.

Oblahblah wants another stimulus package? He wants to invest even more into our infrastructure and whatnot? Okay, I’m in. Tell him we’re going to need more public housing, more intermediate units, more juvenile detention facilities and more prisons.

And instead of handing out surplus government cheese, how about surplus booze, drug and cigarette giveaways. Give the (young) people what they want, right? Not to worry though, Markie will be working all the overtime he can get to help pay for it all.

As my grandfather used to say, “Somebody needs a clip to the lip.” And you know what?

It ain’t me.

Buh-bye

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Storm

Somehow, everybody missed this anniversary date.

When we invaded Grenada on October 25, 1983, I was in a labor room of the maternity ward at Nesbitt Hospital pretending to be tending to my wife as she delivered my daughter Ebon. Truth is, I was fascinated by the fact that I was watching warfare--live--on CNN. Never before had I watched war unfold as it was happening on the television.

When we rolled into Iraq from Kuwait in 1991, my neighbor had one of those early satellite dishes that were as big as Europa, and I caught a few more snippets of live warfare going down, only this time totally uncensored. And suffice it to say, these sorts of adventures are definitely not for the feint of heart.

Anywho, if nothing else, you need to follow this link.

Desert Storm + 20

Some see it as derring-do. Some see it as a sacrifice. But most of us never go and do it.

Bye

Agnes Anniversary Project

A big thanks to WILK's Sue Henry for the time she devoted to...

The Agnes Anniversary Project

I cannot wait to see the finished product.

Later

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Luzerne County seeks to own and operate a hill

The surreal gone sublime…

From the Times Leader: Historic park plan hits snag

Luzerne County did not receive a grant to buy land to create the historic Ashley Planes Heritage Park, so commissioners must determine if they want to come up with the money or scrap the project.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Ashley Planes is a series of steep inclined planes along state Route 309 toward Mountain Top. The planes were used from 1843 to 1948 to move millions of tons of coal from the Wyoming Valley floor to the top of the Wilkes-Barre Mountain.

The park has been on the drawing board for nearly a decade.

Commissioners agreed in 2002 to develop and operate the park. At that time, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation committed a $1 million grant to fund a parking area, kiosks explaining the site’s history and other amenities.

However, the state won’t fund land acquisition or turn over any funding until the property is owned by the county.

The non-profit Earth Conservancy will donate about 250 acres of its land to the project, but the county must acquire another 107 acres from the Reading Co.

The company had backed out of plans to lease the land to the county, which means the county would have to take the land through eminent domain, said county Planning and Zoning Director Adrian Merolli.

Commissioners applied for a $130,000 state grant to fund land acquisition last year, but the application was denied, Merolli said.

Ready? Here comes the fun part…

Commissioner Chairwoman Maryanne Petrilla said commissioners must discuss options.

Commissioner Stephen A. Urban said he has always supported the project and wants to discuss it at the next work session.

“We’ll have to look at our capital bond money and see if any residual dollars are available,” Urban said.

Residual dollars?

Uh, what of the now shuttered Moon Lake Park?

We cannot afford to operate the few county-owned parks we have now, we cannot mow the grass on the levee system without levying new taxes, so we should work towards creating a whole new park?

It must be me.

G’nite

The Ashley section of Wilkes-Barre

A few years ago, during the McGroarty administration, Sugar Notch was so completely cash-strapped, it had to borrow a police cruiser from Wilkes-Barre City after it’s lone police vehicle encountered mechanical difficulties.

My thought at the time was, if a municipality cannot afford a transmission, let alone a 24-hour, seven day a week police department, it’s time to cease operations as a separate governing body.

Here we are 7 years removed from those McGroarty years, and Sugar Notch still has serious budgetary constraints.

Warrior Run recently deep-sixed it’s police department by entering into a policing arrangement with Nanticoke.

Luzerne backed out of a policing agreement with Swoyersville, created it’s own part-time force, and just months later severely slashed it’s employees hours and eliminated benefits. Nothing causal about that.

Ashley’s police department has dwindled from 5 to 2 police officers during the past two years. It’s finances have been the subject of an outside audit by investigators. It is an Act 47 participant--a “distressed city.” And it recently raised it’s property tax rates by a whopping 80.4%.

Plymouth and Plymouth Township have made recent overtures about consolidating the two communities into one. The township has no police force, plus it is also an Act 47 casualty. And but days ago, Plymouth raised it’s property tax rate by 68%.

Then we have Forty Fort, where residents were treated to a 47.7% property tax increase combined with a 200% sewer fee increase. Forty Fort has an operating agreement with Kingston’s fire department, shared resources if you will.

West Wyoming (from the Times Leader): “This is the first year since 2005 the borough will complete the year in the black and paid back its tax anticipation note three months early,” said council President Eileen Cipriani. “2011 will be the first year we have not needed to take out a (tax anticipation note) in many years.”

That was the good news.

The bad news is that the borough is still $809,000 in debt, Cipriani said, pointing out that at the beginning of the year that figure was $900,000.

“We will still owe the pension fund $41,000 at the end of this year, but we have come a long way from where we were last year,” she said.

*The previous report is typical of what our smaller communities face on an ongoing basis.

The way I see it, Exeter needs a Sprawl-Mart so as to remain solvent going forward.


Luzerne County held the line on taxes by overestimating it’s 2011 revenue by $4.4. Million, banking on a land deal that may or may not come to pass. Good luck with that.

On the brighter side, both Plains Township and Wilkes-Barre Township delivered balanced budgets for 2011, but not every municipality plays host to an arena or a casino. I’m of the firm opinion that both of these outfits should be showing substantial surpluses.

Hazleton City had no tax or fee increases, but did hand over garbage collection duties to the Hazleton City Authority. Some say there’s a bit of budgetary sleight of hand going on there.


Nanticoke City agreed to provide police protection to Warrior Run borough, but raised property taxes on it’s residents by an additional 1.25 mills.

Pittston City presented a balanced budget by eliminating positions and raising the garbage sticker fee by 12%.

Wilkes-Barre City saw no tax or fee increases that I know of, but employee positions were eliminated, one of three fire engines have gone part-time and austerity is clearly the rule of the day.

Look, since Luzerne County has 76 municipal bodies, I could go on and on and on with this. My sole point is, rather than entering into shared services agreements that deliver minuscule savings, our smallest communities should be absorbed by the larger ones.

With the economy what it is (isn’t), with the Fedrule budget approaching incalculable heights and with the State of PA going financially tits up in slow motion, what we here in Luzerne County need is consolidation rather than the much-ballyhooed regionalization.

The ridiculously expensive redundancy of operating so many financially flailing municipalities is patently absurd at this point. There should no longer be a flailing Ashley Borough. What there should be is the Ashley section of Wilkes-Barre, or the Ashley section of Hanover Township.

And rather than going half way by sharing fire services and code enforcement with Kingston, Forty Fort should go all the way by becoming the Forty Fort section of Kingston.

Warrior Run? I’ve got throw rugs bigger than Warrior Run. It’s time to give it up by being absorbed into either Hanover or Nanticoke.

One police chief, not two. One fire chief, not two. One mayor, not two. One bolstered police force, not two lesser ones. Code enforcement and detectives for both communities, not just one. Plus, maximized buying power in addition to greater grant opportunities.

Austerity can only take our smallish communities so far when it’s all but certain that state and federal aid will be harder and harder to come buy when the folks at the higher levels finally sober up and reign in the out-of-control spending.

Anyway, we need full-blown mergers. And we need to keep saying it until the folks in the tiniest of the thiefdoms finally speak up and demand better for themselves.

Ask those under-served folks in Ashley if they’d rather stick with the two-man police force, or add their two to our ninety-one.

The Ashley section of Wilkes-Barre?

Kind of has a ring to it, don’t it?

Later

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Citizens Opposing Premature Selections

Why would you settle on and vote for any candidates for elected office long before the entire field is set?

Endorsements well over a month before potential candidates can file and carry nominating positions? A tad premature, wouldn’t you say?

Citizens' Voice: Watchdog group endorses 13 candidates for county council

Citizens Opposing Political Suppression, a watchdog group that opposed Luzerne County's home-rule charter and is looking into how municipalities can secede from the county, has endorsed 13 candidates for county council.

The home-rule charter, which was approved by voters Nov. 2, eliminates county commissioners as chief decision-makers and establishes a part-time county council with 11 at-large members. All 11 council members will be elected next year and must appoint a manager as chief executive when they take office in 2012.

Charmaine Maynard, executive director of Citizens Opposing Political Suppression, served on the Luzerne County Government Study Commission, which wrote the charter, and was the only member to vote against it. Maynard wanted a smaller council with members representing districts and wanted to elect the county's chief executive.

"I know all the flaws (in the charter)," said Maynard, of Sugarloaf Township. "Without the right people in there, we're going to be screwed."

Flaws? Our new super duper, double-secret form of government is going to be flawed right from the get-go? Oh, goodie.

The Conyngham-area organization known as COPS endorsed seven Democrats for county council - Wil Toole, Michelle Bednar, Kevin Casey, Casey Evans, Thomas Ksiezopolski, Thomas Rome and Gary Reese; and six Republicans - Michael Cabell, Kathy Dobash, William James, Moderno "Butch" Rossi, Edward Warkevicz and Frank Vandermark.

I’m sure the endorsed candidates are all qualified and as squeaky clean as the wind-driven culm. But some rather astute political observers expect upwards of 50 candidates to emerge when the date to file and carry finally arrives. Some are calling those estimates conservative.

With that said, why would we endorse any candidates before we know who will round out the field?

And, COPS? How about if we tweak that acronym just to meet the needs of the overall electorate in this county? How about Citizens Opposing Premature Selections?

Later

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kickin'

Home Rule...our new beginning brought to us by the same old political crowd.

The link: Home rule would change hiring policy

The excerpt: Advocates for the home-rule charter proposed for Luzerne County claim it would transform how county employees are hired and promoted.

"For too long, Luzerne County government has served as a vehicle to provide patronage jobs to relatives, friends and political supporters," the Luzerne County Government Study Commission wrote in its official report.

"These practices have excluded many qualified and meritorious candidates from service to our county. At a time when Luzerne County government should be a shining example of a meritocracy, it is instead often perceived as simply a bureaucracy of the well-connected."

Flashback…from The Times Leader:

FOR THIS CREW, COUNTY JOBS A FAMILY AFFAIR

After a sudsy flea bath, Babs headed to the Luzerne County Courthouse this week to sniff out a tip about a bunch of kinfolk with public jobs.

After a brief delay in the security area - her dog tags set off the metal detector - Babs paused in the courthouse rotunda, wondering why only two-leggers are pictured in the water-stained artwork on the ceiling.

Just the thought of water gave Babs the urge to lift her leg (so to speak) on the commissioners' glass door, but she resisted. She followed her nose down the marble steps to the basement, trailing slobber as the rancid scent of political patronage grew steadily stronger.

There, in the Assessor's Office ... A-Rooooo! A-Rooooo!

The tip: ``Check out the Heffron family. Eileen Heffron is a tax assessor. Her brother, Richard Heffron, is in personnel. ... A sister-in-law, Donna Heffron, works with the gypsy moth spraying program. Also, they hire all their kids for every summer program above everyone else. You'll find they all came from Frank Crossin. Eileen spends most of her day at ...''

The background:

It's common knowledge in the courthouse the Heffron family is close to former Commissioner Crossin, who still carries a lot of behind-the-scenes weight in county government.

``I'm doing my job, that's all I have to say,'' said Richard Heffron, executive director of the Luzerne County Human Resources Development Department, who declined to address the caller's allegation about the Crossin connection. His sister, Eileen Heffron, referred comment on her productivity to her boss, Assessor's Office Operations Director Tony Alu.

``She's a very valuable part of my team. She's great. She has experience. She has a wonderful personality. She works well with people,'' Alu said. ``She's nothing but an asset to my department, and I'm very proud to have her working for me.''

What Babs found:

Two members of the Heffron family and one former member of the family work full-time for the county. Four of their children have had summer jobs. Richard Heffron worked as a county adult probation officer in 1996. His date of hire was not available from court administration.

In April 1997, he was hired as an ``employment component manager'' at the county Department of Human Resources for $32,334. Last year he was promoted to human resources executive director for $56,000 a year.

Richard, who often goes by the nickname ``Kick,'' donated $100 to the election campaign of majority Commissioners Tom Makowski and Tom Pizano in 1999 and $125 to the campaign of Makowski/Crossin in 1997. His daughter, Megan, also donated $100 to the Makowski/Crossin campaign in 1995.

One of Heffron's children, Erin, worked as a recreation aide at the county Mental Health/Mental Retardation summer day camp in the summer of 2000. She was paid $5.25 an hour for 250 hours.

Eileen Heffron works as a real property field investigator in the Assessor's Office for $23,592 a year.

Her daughter, Kimberly Heffron, had a summer job at the Moon Lake Park concession bathhouse in the summers of 2000 and 2001. She was paid $5.15 an hour in 2000 for 450 hours.

Donna Heffron, an ex-sister-in-law, has worked for several years as an environmental technician/secretary in the county Environmental Special Projects Office. Her annual salary is $22,792.

Two of Donna Heffron's children have been hired for summer jobs in the county.

Her son Patrick worked as a recreation aide in the summer of 1994. Then he earned $4.25 an hour. Donna's daughter, Melissa Ann, has worked as a field assistant in the Environmental Special Projects Office in the summer of 1996, 1997 and in 2002. She earned $40 a day in 1996.

Environmental Special Projects Director Ron Rugletic said he has requested that Melissa Ann work in his office this year because she is familiar with the county's West Nile Virus prevention program from her past work with the county and her involvement in a West Nile public awareness campaign as a student at King's College.

``I do ask for the same people back so I don't have to spend time doing a lot of training,'' Rugletic said.

Donna's ex-husband is Charles Heffron of Luzerne. Charles Heffron, 215 Union St., Luzerne, donated $600 to the election campaign of Makowski/Crossin in 1995. A company named Heffron, Heffron & Hinchey at the same Union Street address gave $230 to Makowski/Crossin in 1998.

How Mad is Babs?

The Heffrons are clearly connected. Babs gives them 4 HOWLS (out of a possible five), which puts them in the doghouse - at least in Babs' book. Of course, their doghouse should have a dome.

And to quote INXS, one of my favorite bands…

Sometimes you kick!

Sometimes you get kicked!

I realize you girlies on the left have idolized Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, the lifelong Democrat who incorrectly sought to score political points by blaming completely unconnected Republicans to a multiple murder in Arizona.

He said all the right things, as if they were previously written for him by James Carville Or Bill Maher: Open only in the event of Tea Party-inspired violence.

But, as is usually the case when Democrats deliberately overreact to breaking events (in lieu of facts), Sheriff Dupnik is obviously the second biggest dupe in this case, second only to the deranged shooter.

And before you go nominating him for the coveted Democrat/Marxist of the Year award, consider this quote, attributed to him by the Arizona Republic newspaper from 2009:

He said it was wrong "to spend the millions and millions and millions of dollars that we do catering to illegals."

Blasphemy! Blasphemy, you say.

According to your past statements, there is no amount of money not worth investing in (giving to) Amerika’s largest illegal voting bloc.

Anyway, your new darling is a dupe.

Later

* Nancy Kemp, where are you?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Left sez to the Right: Fight nice while we rip you a new one

It’s horrible to think that a town meeting with a member of Congress could turn into a maelstrom of bullets. It’s also beyond belief that average folks are legally in possession of automatic weapons with 30-shot clips. When the civilians are more heavily armed than the police out on patrol, something has gone awry.

As a result of this regrettable incident in Arizona, the folks leaning to the left were lightning quick to blame the “vitriolic rhetoric” coming from the folks that lean right for this needless pogrom. That wholesale indictment of the dogmatic coming from the equally dogmatic is as absurd as it is devoid of merit. Insert finger, puke.

The obviously deranged shooter, Loughner, lists "The Communist Manifesto" and "Mein Kampf" among his favorite books on his MySpace page. Yeah, he sounds like a real died-in-the-wool right-wing, bible-thumping gun nut to me.

Books have inspired the unstable to take action. Movies have done the same. And a Beatles tune even helped to motivate a hapless mass murderer in the making. So even if incendiary political discourse helps to further delude the deluded, it’s beyond our control to know where and when the next nut job will strike and why. That’s why the self-serving howling coming from the left isn’t worth the electronic ether it’s being printed on.

Interestingly, when a gunman goes berserk for any number of reasons not related to the almighty government, the left barely takes note and moves on. Oh, but when the beloved government serves as a motivator of violence, well, then cries for action and retribution and vengeance and even more legislation immediately go out.

Funny though, while they steadfastly maintain that the separation of church and state is an absolute must, they pray at the altar of the state.

Some from the Entitlement Party are linking this incident to talk radio and, you know, Fox News. Just like they did back in 1995 when a couple of disgruntled boobs took down a federal building with some fertilizer and a couple of Evereadys.

References to Rush and Beck and Palin are being made, those supposed heroes of the bitter, clinging homophobes, racists, sexists and those who visit McDonald‘s. Well, that was all bullspit back then. And it’s complete bullspit now.

What the left is telling you is, tone it down, while they continue to crank it up; the accusatory, the incendiary and the vitriolic rhetoric. They reserve the right to assign labels, while you must self-censure. And every time somebody goes way off of their meds, you will be reminded that “hate speech” and all of that purposefully crafted malarkey is subject to exclusivity rights.

It takes two to tango. Be mindful of that as the feigned concern rains down from the left.

Personally, I don’t know why anyone would want to partake of a town meeting with anyone that calls Washington D.C. home. What? Are they going to listen to your concerns and take action? No. From their comfy perch of perceived superiority, they will interrupt you and proceed to tell you how you don’t understand what you think you understand. Right, Uncle Paul?

"Nuts with (insert politically expedient word here)?"

Close the borders? Why would we want to provide for our sovereignty and protect American citizens from the bevy of illegal invaders when we’ve got bigger concerns like providing for the safety of the privileged, elected upper, upper class? Silly, silly taxpayer.

In closing, I see absolutely nothing wrong with shouting down a member of Congress when they make a rare appearance in their district and expect it to be a good old-fashioned communal love-in. And here’s why…

I didn’t screw up everything that could possibly be screwed up. And neither did you. No, the reason Amerika is fast becoming a second-rate, third world country is because those 535-plus two jackasses in Washington keep shooting themselves, as well as us, in the foot that China now owns.

Was that too vitriolic?

Later

Friday, January 7, 2011

Marino press release

CONTACT: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Renita Fennick Jan. 7, 2011
202-870-3386
Renita.Fennick@mail.house.gov
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Marino, of Pennsylvania’s 10th District, will receive a third U.S. House Committee assignment next week.

The House Steering Committee on Friday recommended Marino, a freshman Republican from Lycoming Township, be assigned to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. Marino was previously named to the House Judiciary and Homeland Security committees.

The Foreign Affairs Committee is involved with the oversight and legislation relating to foreign assistance, national security developments affecting foreign policy, strategic planning and agreements, war powers, treaties, arms control and the deployment and use of the U.S. Armed Forces. The panel also deals with international law-enforcement issues including narcotics control programs and activities.

Marino, 58, is a former U.S. Attorney and Lycoming County District Attorney.

"My work as a U.S. Attorney involved not only domestic work but international relations with other countries and I’m sure that will help with this committee assignment," Marino said. "I’m glad to be able to play a role to help the United States establish a peaceful relationship with other nations."

Marino said he was honored to be asked to sit on a third committee – which he says is unique for a freshman congressman.

"There is a lot of work to do as far as foreign relations go, with the Middle East and Korea," Marino said. "There are some pressing issues and I look forward to helping to work with my colleagues to help solve them."

The committee is chaired by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican congresswoman from Florida, and includes other notable Republicans such as Dan Burton, Indiana; Ron Paul, Texas; Mike Pence, Indiana, and Connie Mack, Florida.

Marino was sworn into office on Wednesday and voted on several key issues in his first week, including a House rules package designed to create a more transparent, ethical and fiscally responsible process. The new rules require members of Congress to cite constitutional authority for every piece of legislation they introduce; requires publication of legislation for a set period of time to give the public and members time to review it; and implements several budget and spending reforms.

Also this week, Marino supported another piece of legislation which will reduce by 5 percent the operating budgets of House committees, leadership offices and individual member offices.

$1,000,000 or: Surround & Drown

I was listening to all of the talk radio back-and-forth coming from both sides of the political aisle today as it pertained to new Speaker of the House John Boehner’s tendency to cry like a blabbering girlie whenever he encounters oxygen.

All of which got me to wondering about how often I’ve made with the tears routine. And here’s the list, which was verified by none other than Wifey.

2007: I cried when my brother died.
1988: I cried when my mother died.
1984: I cried when my grandfather died.
1980: I cried when my grandmother died.
1974: I cried when Marcia Brady left the airwaves.

My point? Enough with the bullsp*t mass apologist bit.

Tell the new Speaker of the fallen House to dial it back already and act like one of the big boys.

Cripes!

I know this is all public sector, union related (you know, like The Outer Limits meets The Twilight Zone on overtime), but here in the private sector an old adage applies: One ah-sh*t wipes out all atta-boys.

W-B fire personnel get big back pay

WILKES-BARRE – Call it a late Christmas present, a windfall or a late payment on what was owed all along.

Eighty-five present and former city firefighters are getting lump-sum payments from an arbitration battle with the city administration that ended last month.

Most of the firefighters are to receive $14,339 each, according to documents received by The Times Leader on Thursday in response to a Right-to-Know request.

There are some larger payments to the department assistant chiefs…

They tell me the payout could have been higher, but the union wanted the lights kept on in all 3 of our firehouses.

Damn, when a public sector union goes before an arbitrator, it can always go higher. And higher and higher and higher. When it comes to binding arbitration as it applies to public sector unions, there is no apogee to the expenditures.

Uh, $47,639 to not perform a policing function? Yikes! They tell me the generic sleeping pills are very affordable.

So much for whining about the concessions the firefighter’s union made to the city a few years back. That goodwill is blown all to hell. The initiative just burst into flames, as did the support of the taxpaying public.

Suddenly, "cleaning house" takes on a whole other meaning.

Will the last English-speaking resident of Wilkes-Barre to leave please drop off the keys to the city at fire headquarters?

Buh-bye

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Update: Election 2011

Call it ass-backwards if you must (and rightly so), but rather than speculate too, too much more, I went and made a few phone calls this afternoon.

And here's what I got...

According to very, very, very reliable sources who chose to remain anonymous, Mayor Tom Leighton will be seeking a third term as Wilkes-Barre's mayor when next we vote in the Municipal Primary on May 17th.

And that's that.

Bye

Commissioner, er, Mayor Urban?

A few have asked me if I think Mayor Tom Leighton will seek a third term in 2011.

I could call him and ask him, but I’m sure I’d get his usual non-committal answer of “You never know.”

You could make a case against his doing so. He’s got 20 years in as a councilman and mayor, so his pension is locked in. In addition, his executive assistants have all left for other opportunities, giving one the impression that they were getting out in advance of a change of administrations.

Plus, some have said that his poor showing in his own city against John Yudichak in the most recent state senatorial race points to a growing electoral vulnerability. No matter his intentions, City Hall is in for a shake-up in 2011.

This Times Leader story--Two eye W-B council chair, but also have sights elsewhere--points out that District C Councilwoman Kathy Kane covets the controller position, since our current controller claims he’s stepping down.

And it also goes on to clearly suggest that District A Councilman, Rick Cronauer, has his sights set on a vacant magisterial position. If all of that holds true, at the very least, we’ll have a new controller as well as two new council folks.

Personally, I always figured Kathy Kane to be the heir apparent to Tom Leighton at the top of the city’s political heap. But with her stating a desire to be the next city controller, that hints that Leighton will indeed be seeking a third term as mayor.

If Tom Leighton does run again, who might his challengers be?

Supposedly, the Luzerne County GOP is all resurgent and energized these days. But I doubt that parlays into any challengers toting serious name recognition, proven fund-raising capabilities or a prior groundswell of support.

On the Democrat side of the aisle, one name keeps gnawing at me.

The name of a person who will be out of a decent-paying political job at the conclusion of 2011. A person who some purport will seek a poorly-paying seat on our soon-to-be-seated Luzerne County Council (an idea that I just do not buy into). A person who recently spurned the Republican camp in favor of the Democrat party in a heavily Democrat county and city.

A person by the name of Steve Urban, perhaps? Maybe?

Whatever the case may be, we'll have to wait for February 15th--the first day candidates can circulate and file nomination petitions--to find out.

Anyway, I’m just wondering aloud.

Later

Saturday, January 1, 2011

You'll shoot your eye out, Nord End kids

I've taken in many a kick-ass New Years Eve party over the years, but nothing rings in the new year quite as well as snuggling up to the police scanner on amateur might. Well, it's not quite as much fun as managing a 24-hour restaurant on said night, demonstrating time and again that beer muscles don't amount to much when the 'muscled' act out against sober people with nasty dispositions.

My thoroughly enjoyable tours of duty on that overnight shift led me to believe that we are surrounded by assholes. And a few years later, the police scanner only confirmed what I already knew--that we are completely surrounded by assholes.

Last night's debacle was much like every other one that came before it. The folks at 911 were busy relaying calls for the unresponsive, the vomiting, the physical, the outright violent and variations thereof. All of which made me yearn for those heady restaurant days when whatever happened happened. And whatever happened before the police arrived on scene was good with me so long as the right people got hurt.

Happy Effing New Year! Yeah, yeah. Blah, blah, freaking blah.

Whatever, man.

Even though we men are supposed to be acting like chicks these days, and even though the City of Wilkes-Barre has an ordinance on the books outlawing the discharging of BB guns within the city's confines, earlier today Zach, Jeremy and I headed over to the broken remnants of the old Nord End breaker so as to kill untold numbers of innocent bottles and cans.

Yep, believe it or not, I got them a couple of Red Rider BB rifles for Christmas. You know, those rifles of the "You'll shoot your eye out, kid" variety. So off we went with those two 350-feet per second toys. Oh, and with my 760-feet per second Crossman rifle. And my 25-shot semi-automatic pistol, too.


I'm not looking to help raise any limp-wristed metrosexuals (Democrats) or any misguided pansexuals (Religious Right) gone to the halls of Congress. I like to have my grandsons out and about and doing the little boy things of old. So when I told them we were going to head out and shoot cans, bottles, birds and maybe even some of those homeless drunks that live in what remains of the old breaker, they were sold. Raring to go, they were.

I think they thought I was kidding about the homeless drunk people. That is, until they saw the pillows, the sleeping bags, the shopping carts, the camp fire made upon 10,000 pounds or so of glass shards and enough empty whiskey, beer, and wine bottles to fill the world's largest super tankers.

Tough life, ain't it? No boss, no bills, no alarm clock and no schedule other than that of the soup kitchens. Oh, and all the alcohol you can handle courtesy of the hordes of well-meaning, but mostly clueless philanthropists.

Wifey was concerned that someone might call the police. You know, with the cache of guns and all. Seriously, now. What Wilkes-Barre police officer would be willing to climb on down there only to confiscate a couple of little kid's Christmas presents. Most of Wilkes-Barre's finest have a military background and would probably be tempted to squeeze off a couple of, uh, rounds. Hell, they'd probably adjust the scope.

Yeah, as it turned out, the homeless drunks were nowhere to be found. They were no doubt out working the charitable circuit before settling in for the night with a 40-ounce Utica Club. No, we did not kill even a single bird, so the easily-offended left-leaning need not get all apoplectic while still nursing their hangovers.

But we did unmercifully slaughter those untold numbers of innocent bottles and cans. For the boys, this was a giddy new experience. For me, it was a flashback circa 1967. The thing is, I'm really not sure who enjoyed it more, the boys...or me.

Later

*My prediction for 2011: Males of the Democrat persuasion--closet female haters--will remain obsessed with Sarah Palin. Move over Condeleeza and Hillary, there's a new bitch to be taken down.