Opinions need not be feared nor suppressed.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

WBPD ride-along pics

To the hapless putz who stupidly asserted that I was telling some rather tall tales when I mentioned my three ride-along adventures with both the Wilkes-Barre PD and the Plains Township PD, I offer the following pictures, most of which have never been published before today:

Unlike the vast, vast, vast majority of citizen journalists, I do not search the Internet for pictures to accompany my posts. Rather, I post the images that I alone captured.

No, I did not copy that picture from MySpace.
No, I did not copy that picture from Facebook.
No, that picture did not come my way of any twit wasting away on Twitter.
Nope. That's not an image I captured from YouTube.
Wow! Look at that. Rather than fight with a barrel-chested guy known for fighting with the police, they took the guy at gunpoint. No "police brutality," mind you. But I'm sure some limp-wristed cop-basher would cry brutality simply because the police dared to unholster their firearms.
Nope. Once again, that's not a picture I snagged from the Internet. It's simply an image of something I witnessed first-hand, in person, and courtesy of the WBPD.

Look, I've been called many, many disparaging things over the course of my blogging "career," most of which were real side-splitting inaccuracies. Call me this, that and call me everything that is not publishable while grandmom is still alive, but don't dare to be so completely clueless as to call me a liar.

Because a liar I am not.

And to "Chief" Steve Corbett and his legion of dimwitted, inexperienced callers I would have to ask, did you see any overweight police officers in any of those pictures? No? Well, then. Y'all stand corrected yet again. So what else is new?

And this ends our correction of the hapless putz, and all of the other ill-informed police bashers out there.


Mayor Tom Leighton ruined Wilkes-Barre (for me)

A Bike-Riding Blogger’s Perspective

While on vacation earlier this month, I decided to jump on the Hummer and pedal my way through the downtown, and wherever else the streets might lead me. You know, yet another bikeabout.

Being a Thursday, I knew I was headed into the teeth of our Farmer’s Market on Public Square. While this event has gone on every Thursday throughout the warmer months for many years now, it’s never served as a roadblock or an impediment for this avid cyclist. But on this particular Thursday, it was. It was an impediment. It was annoying.

With a patrol car in the downtown, a beat cop on the square and three bicycle cops touring their way through the retail affair, for the first time since I was a teenager, I was reduced to walking my bike through the crowds three separate times. You see, if I had chosen to plow my way through those people (as they have done in the past back before the previous administration damn near deleted the police department), one of those cops would have called me out on that obvious hazard for everyone involved. And it was annoying.

Not only was the square crowded with people in search of fresh veggies and the like culled from local farmers, the sidewalks in every direction were way too crowded with shopper’s, movie-goers and folks in search of lunch. In busy retail districts and hopping downtowns, they call this foot traffic. In Wilkes-Barre, we’d have to call this shocking.

Being the pioneering, rabble-rousing blogger that once captured a picture of the first block of S. Main St. looking south while being totally devoid of human beings on a business day, you can appreciate that 1., it used to be a helluva lot easier to embarrass our elected leaders, and 2., I used to be able to pedal these very same streets and sidewalks with my eyes closed.

Ah, the good/bad old days.

And that’s when the epiphany jumped up and slapped me upside this ugly mug of mine. As that pioneering blogger that once demonstratively demanded better from and for my city by way of a digital camera and a keyboard, it used to be easy to wreak havoc on my elected and appointed officials. In fact, it was too easy. It wasn’t even fair. It was a pigeon shoot ala Hegins, PA.

No longer can I publish exposes on how the fire department was operating with rusted, decades-old equipment and working out of aged firehouses that filled with water when it rained. No more “Rain forest.” No more screeds about having to push Engine 5 to get it rolling. No more surround-and-drown as the standard operating procedure.

No longer can I document just how understaffed and outgunned a shrunken police force was. Or how that police department was operating out of repainted government surplus automobiles that were about as dependable as a wager made on sports. No more blog posts about having only three officers on patrol on a Sunday afternoon in a city of 42,000. No more tales of police officers being injured for lack of necessary backup. No more ungodly long waits for police assistance.

No longer can I capture a picture that would be simultaneously embarrassing and damaging to the city’s administration practically any time I wanted to. No more repeated images of a long-collapsing infrastructure. No, the hundreds of collapsed catch basins have all been replaced. One by one, the eyesores are being done away with. The numerous flood control projects are all nearing completion. And believe it or not, my beloved Coal Street Park is no longer in dire need of a thorough napalming. This is bunk.

Again, from the perspective of a muckraking blogger, how am I supposed to make any noise about finances when the city continues to offer balanced budgets, and keeps on with this silly notion that deficit-spending should be avoided like the plague? What’s up with that?

Where once we needed multiple Tax Anticipation Notes (TAN) just to get through yet another red ink-filled fiscal year, now we have fiscal sanity, this tireless devotion to watching the bottom line. No more $5.3 million muddy holes. No more Holeplex money pits. No more Call Centers turning into financial albatrosses. These days, they secure the local, state and federal financing, and then go and complete all of these high-profile projects. And they even have the matching funds. And it sucks.

From my standpoint, what’s a political blogger who writes about the local goings-on to do? What can I complain about of late? The Mayor’s hair-trigger temper? His “bloated” salary? His stated favorite color? His ugly ties?

If things keep progressing at this rate, I’ll likely be reduced to blogging about my undying dream of being a drunken redneck up Sorber Mountain way, where my first cuzzins (female or otherwise) dare not bend over during one of my many week-long drinking binges. Yeah, all you’ll be getting out of me will be yarns about me and Opal sitting out back of the chicken shack in our underwear, drinking warm beer and shooting squirrels, possums and those silly city folk who lost their way.

Opal, you hot lil’ bitch! Get me a goll danged Rheingold, woman!

Seriously, what’s a local political blogger to do? Jeez, man. Can’t I even get me one of those poorly crafted and horribly misspelled press releases to make fun of every once in a while? C’mon Mr. Mayor! Tell us about the upcoming potwhole project, will you? Can’t you hire your brother or something? Can’t you go and earn a good public tongue-lashing from the governor as your predecessor had?

And where once the empty streets and empty sidewalks belonged to me, now I have to share them with shoppers? I have to walk my bike through the crowds so as to not get a response from the police officers that didn’t used to be there?

And now, now when me and the grandkids decide to frolic in the unfiltered water fountain in the middle of Public Square on a hot day, now there’s a cop bringing my attention to the fact that we are violating a city ordinance? Where once we could do as we wished completely free from police supervision, now we have to obey the law while bathing directly under that sign that states that public bathing is prohibited?

Why, I never!

Assuming that I want to continue blogging about my urban environment (bitching about reverse-gentrification, urban sprawl and societal decay), if it keeps going like this, I’m going to have to move to Pittston or Nanticoke. Anywhere but here.

Thank you, Mr. Mayor.

Thanks a lot!


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Violence begets violence

I left the modest adobe Friday morning headed to the nearby Turkey Hill, and the first person I encountered was sporting a light jacket covering a hooded cotton jacket. Yes, it’s that time of year again.


Ted Kennedy passed on? Never really liked the guy, but I can’t say I detested him either. As far as his legislative achievements go, well, I figure I could do that…taking money from one group so as to help some other group. It’s akin to setting up a charitable foundation, I suppose.

Today I’d like to announce the formation of my new charitable pursuit, the Bikes for Poor Kids Foundation. Something like that. I’m still working on the name. It goes like this: Deliver to me your old, unused bikes, or the bikes we see abandoned here, there and everywhere; I will repair them and offer them to any underprivileged kid who wants one.

Needless to say, bicycle replacement parts do cost money, so make your sizable checks payable to: The Mark Cour is a Great Man Foundation, P.O. Box 777, Wilkes-Barre, PA., 18702. And the generous donation of tools, oil-based lubricants, office furniture, a telephone and a blonde receptionist with large mammalian protuberances would be greatly appreciated.

Oh, and, I’m going to need a van (preferably one with A.C. and a kick-ass stereo), a work shop, a 2-3000 square foot warehouse and a staff of 3, maybe 4. And some T-shirts with my do-gooder image splattered all over it. And a Jacuzzi. And some condoms. Lots of them.

Know what, forget the wayward bikes, the spare parts and the used rotary telephone. Being the unassuming philanthropist that I am, just send me the checks (only much bigger) and the blonde receptionist with large (gargantuan) mammalian protuberances. As for myself, I’ll kick in the know-how, a couple of hours per week and the alcohol with which to ply the blonde.

I am a great man.


A couple of days ago, I ran across the following prompt at the Political Rants blog.
Should there be more qualifications to vote other than age?

Definitely a fair question when you consider that we just elected an inexperienced far-left underachiever, a financially reckless sycophant as president.

The gist of the question is that some people are just too simple-minded to be trusted with a vote. Or ignorant. Or apathetic. Or inbred. Or on welfare and set for life. Or Philthydumpia Eagles fans. Somewhere thereabouts.

More qualifications other than age? In a word, I’d have to say no. And my reasons are as follows:

For whatever reason, (pick a number, any number) 24.9% of the electorate just doesn’t care and will probably never vote. And they are continually excoriated for that by the people that do bother to vote.

Another 24.9% of the electorate will probably vote for whichever candidate or political party that offers said group the most, as in taxpayer-provided goodies. At this juncture, your mind should be picturing our current Know-it-All-in-Chief.

Yet another 24.9% will only consider voting for a Democrat, and will never, ever (even a fleeting nanosecond) listen to the incessant noise coming from the dastardly Republicans, no matter what logic, common sense or data may accompany it. Hopelessly partisan, I call them.

Then we have the 24.9% will only consider voting for a Republican, and will never, ever (even a fleeting nanosecond) listen to the incessant noise coming from the dastardly Democrats, no matter what logic, common sense or data may accompany it. Hopelessly partisan, I call them.

It goes without saying that these percentages are known to fluctuate wildly as time marches on and the same decades-old troubling issues are repackaged and prevaricated in a much more concise way.

And for the folks that do not neatly fit into any of these categories, that’s why we do voter registration drives. To get those non-believers nestled into our camps and educated as to how best do war with those non-believers on the other misinformed side.

So I must conclude that, since the vast majority of the electorate has no real clue about how to vote responsibly, or vote in a manner that could be called anything other than self-centered, there’s really no need to pick on any individual group, or any sub-group within that offending group.

If we all suck, where’s the foul?

Then again, the non-smoking voters have enabled and cheerfully encouraged a legislatively-driven financial assault on the voters that do smoke, so I guess we’re at the tipping point where one group of voters should be able to do harm to some other group it disagrees with, dislikes or has been incrementally taught to hate.


The “less fortunate” are working towards the eventual demise of the “more fortunate.” The sophisticates and elites want the less intelligent more closely regulated so as to save them from themselves. The skinny people want the morbidly obese people to pay more than they do. And the elected kings and queens of Amerika want us to believe that, despite their lofty status and their overly cushy lives, they are tirelessly working…they are fighting to better our individual predicaments.

Face it, we all suck.

Unlike WILK’s Steve Corbett, I am not going to pretend that, I alone, am the foremost expert on all things policing. Neither will I attempt to leave you with the distinct impression that the Wilkes-Barre police department should immediately demote their training officer, and hire me as the most obvious replacement.

I have no law enforcement training. I have never tried to handcuff somebody who didn’t want to be handcuffed. And never have I pummeled anyone in any official capacity. Darn it!

But as far as this, in my opinion, this future parolee is concerned, as far as this kid and his flacks making the police brutality claims are concerned, I’m not buying a single word of it. Not a single word.

First of all, not only have I studied police issues as they would pertain to my smallish city, I have ridden along with two different police departments a total of 3 times, I am a hopelessly addicted scanner junkie; and being the avid bicyclist always armed with a scanner, I somehow find myself in the mix very many of the times when the sirens get to screaming across the city. Completely by design, I might add.

I would have to dare to say that there is probably not a resident of this city that knows more about small town policing than I do. And I would also have to surmise that no resident of this city has seen the city’s police department in action and as close up as I have for a number of years. No, I’m not ready to join the auxiliary police corps or anything, but if you want to glean a few insights as to how things work when the subject is policing Wilkes-Barre, you could do much, much worse than to talk to me. I’m just saying.

My first problem with the police brutality story was how fast the outlandish-sounding accusations kept escalating every single time the press got within earshot of the victim or any of his supportive cohorts.

For instance, first it was 5 cops beat him, then 6 and then 7. 8 was mentioned on WILK. First it was 1 racial slur thrown his way, now it’s a cacophony of racial slurs. Then it was coerced statements from witnesses. Then it became coerced statements and threats of imprisonment for the witnesses. The way I’m thinking, you know, you people really ought to get your stories straight before you endeavor to fabricate things for the willing press and the outside investigators.

Can you commit a punishable perjury from your front porch, or from the tree lawn? Whatever.

Here’s how I put it to "Chief" Corbett, NEPA‘s most decorated law enforcement professional, via the e-mail outbox:


First of all, the two platoons-worth of new police officers hired by the current administration of Wilkes-Barre are graduates of the Pennsylvania State Police academy. So much for the purposefully suggestive "lack of" training questions, or the "small-town" police force argument.

Secondly, while you are using words such as "attributed to, allegations and accusations," I find it interesting that every time the press gets anywhere near the "witnesses," i.e., the friends and family, the accusations grow by leaps and bounds and then some.

First 6 cops beat him. Then it was 7. Then 8 came up. Originally, a witness claimed she was taken into custody. Then, it became 'sign this statement, or I'll arrest you.' Then we had the highly predictable accusations of racial slurs having been used. By this time tomorrow, they'll be telling us he was shot at, he had his Spanish-language Pokeman cards ripped-up before his blood-filled eyes, and that his puppy was beaten for no good reason.

Dude, there's some storytelling going on here, so watch how far out on that plank you walk.

Cops face intense scrutiny from the public, the press, their peers and their higher-ups. And that's a necessary component to all of this. Oversight must accompany empowerment. But I'm here to remind you that when you choose to physically resist arrest or resist being detained for a field interview, you are entering some uncharted territory you may not like after having chosen to go there.

In conclusion, why speculate or draw unsubstantiated conclusions when we can wait for the results of the investigation being conducted by the State Police, an organization you profess to respect.

Your, ahem..."regular listener,"

Markie in Nord End

As for the police roughing the kid up, I have personally witnessed what could only be called two “beatings” administered by members of our police force. And like it or not, they both got me to outwardly giggling at the abject stupidity displayed by the highly agitated and doggedly uncooperative recipients. In a nutshell, they brought it on all by themselves. Or, if you trust and respect your police department as I happen to do, you could say they deserved it.

I’m sure I could be wrongfully accused or wrongfully arrested. And that’s what courts and attorneys are for. But I am supremely confident that if I were to be commanded to do anything by a Wilkes-Barre police officer, I would not be beaten to a bloody pulp after I chose to comply. I’m confident I would not be pummeled for having the temerity to inquire as to just what it was that he thought I did. Call it sheepish and unmanly on my part, but as a general rule, compliance is always a good starting point when confronted by police officers who seem even mildly excited, or who might have one hand on their firearms.

Yes, when you resist arrest, you invite whatever force is necessary to put an abrupt end to said resistance. If your attempts at resistance are weak, you’ll be facedown in an instant. But if your resistance is robust and sustained, you might be in for a world of hurt as the police response escalates just as high as it needs to to get you under control and fast.

Sorry, but that’s the way it has to work. Police officers come with a hefty price tag attached to them, and we really don’t need a large percentage of them sporting slings or crutches. They need to be able to, and we need for them to defend themselves when put in fluid situations that could quickly spiral out of control if taken too lightly.

And to approach it otherwise, to attempt noticeably kinder and gentler arrests of ramped-up punks would only lead to more injuries or even worse being suffered by our police officers. We recently had a local State Trooper killed in the line of duty, another one shot, as well as a Wilkes-Barre officer attacked and knocked out of commission since. Interestingly, save for the incident with the trooper, nobody cries for them. Nobody worries about whether they’ll be okay and back on the job soon, or whether they’ll be looking at prolonged periods of disability and rehabilitation.

To trim it down to it’s simplistic best, I hearken back to the overnight restaurant days, when the motto, when the necessary mindset was: If you wanna fight, we will fight! If you put in harm’s way my physical plant, my customers or my employees, we will fight. And especially, if you brought my well being in question by way of your drunken or drug-addled physicality. If you wanna fight, we will fight!

At the end of my shift, the very worst I wanted to have to face was a few sutures or a few staples at the local emergency room. Much like a police officer would, mind you. Call that a hyper-aggressive approach if you must, but be mindful of the fact that the sutures, the staples, some welts, some bruises and some partially shredded clothing was the worst I ever suffered.

And whether anyone wants to accept it or not, the kid crying police brutality wanted to fight.

So, when dealing with police officers that understand the inherent risks associated with the thankless jobs they do, but really would prefer not to be injured, disabled or killed today…be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.

Better put, while technically being under arrest, violence begets violence.

Them’s my unsolicited thoughts on all of that.

And with that, I’m off to fantasy football land.


Editor's note: The most-recent police trainees in Wilkes-Barre did not attend the State Police academy.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My latest musings

Let us begin with a brief recap of the ongoing corruption saga in Luzerne County, shall we?

What it amounts to is this: If your name is highly recognizable, if you’ve been a high-profile political player or a career politician for longer than most of us have progressed much past the drooling stage, you’re probably just as dirty as the folks currently feverishly working to delay their sentencing dates.

Details? Background? Nah, ain’t no need for any of that. Guilty as charged by the Court of The Culm. The folks that did with less, the folks that dealt with it, while our "leaders" made off with whatever could have been made off with.

They played their self-centered games for decades on end, while we picked up the scraps, i.e., we had no real employment opportunities to speak of. And as a result, our kids beat it out of here in droves by way of the brain drain highway thereby beginning the destabilizing influx of outsiders in search of affordable housing, a low cost of living and easily-had social services.

While the well-entrenched ruling class had it so good for so damn long, they basically killed this area. They killed it.

May they all rot in a 6X6, roach-infested cell.

I’ve heard much about how P.J. Best supposedly did the right thing by pulling his name for consideration of being appointed to a Pittston City Council seat by way of the back door closed meeting. Probably too much.

P.J., listen to me tell it. P.J., this is from that nether region, that region on the far side of the nearest available black hole gobbling those unfortunate enough to have ventured near it. This is from the private sector, where well-meaning people are judged on their performance, their actions and their character.

One “Ah-sh*t!” wipes out all previously earned “attaboys.”

You’re back to square one, boy.

Ever since I turned 50, I’ve been harassed nonstop by the A.A.R.P., that association of automatons currying favor with the goodie-doling Democrats.

These people have been bombarding me with offers of reduced this, reduced that and reduced everything. None of which I want nor need.

So I called them and demanded that they remove my name from the list of possible Democrat party operatives. Didn’t help. And not only did they keep the unwanted mailings coming, they upped and called me with yet another offer on my cell phone. My cell phone! A number they obviously sought out.

Look, the offers are wonderful and all, but the undeniable fact is that this is just another lobbying group in search of goodies from the empty treasury based in Washington, D.C.. And while I may be a lot of seedy things, I’m not some scumbag continually petitioning the treasury for more and more at everyone’s else’s expense. I won’t go there.

Personally, I abhor any group that lobbies on behalf of children or senior citizens, groups that offer feel good arguments purposely crafted and intended to paint those who possess the unmitigated audacity and ultimate in temerity to dare to take issue with those arguments as uncaring, insensitive clods.

Yes, it’s for the children, or it’s for the seniors, and the rest of you can pay for it all and go fu>k yourself.

And it’s obvious that the A.A.R.P. is digging into my personal information, being that they managed to come up with my cell phone number. So if they know anything about me at all (which they obviously do), they already know that I am not a city, state or federal government employee. And they have to know that I’m not a teacher. And they likewise have to know that I was never elected or appointed to my career.

You know, I work for a living. I produce. I deliver.

With all of that duly noted, why would I be retired at the tender age of 50?

Never did I ever envision a day when the president of this fast-flailing country would refer to his growing number of critics as being “wee-weed” up. I’m not nearly as appalled as I am amazed.

I find it interesting that the Democrats did their level best to portray both George Bush and Dick Cheney as assistants in training to Satan, despite the fact that Bush--the then president--never once publicly responded to the most vociferous, the most rabid of his critics.

But since the inauguration in January, the name-calling coming from the DNC, the president, the leadership of the House and Senate, and the appointed underlings of the president has risen and risen to a now fever pitch.

The belittling has been constant, and especially ferocious since Oblahblah totally screwed up the health care reform pitch by demanding that it be done inside of a week in August. Yep, despite the fact that uncertainly was swirling around every aspect of our bottomed-out economy, he wanted what couldn’t and shouldn’t be delivered in such a short space of time and without enough due diligence having been done. Yep, he goofed.

Anyway, it’s patently obvious to me that the current mindset of the Democrats is…you’re either with us or you’re a fu>king dummy. Nice. Dividers, not uniters. Yet, they whine aloud on cue about the heated state of the “wee-weed“ “discourse.” Repudiate that!

You tell me, man. I'm not buying into the program. Obviously, I'm too completely stupid to follow along.

I snagged the following reader’s comment from David Yonki’s Snap Lac Political Letter:

Anonymous said...

Dave, you might not print this but I'll try to ask you this question. I've read you, Gort, Mark Cour and Doc Leonardi as well as the guy who ran for State Senate in the 20th a few years back. You are all well read and intelligent men. Yet I have dealt with representatives from Kanjorski's office, Musto's office, Carney's office, Sherwood's office, Rendell's office and Casey's office. Why don't they hire comon sense guys like you people instead of the wet behind the ears syncophants that nod yes, yes, yes and do nuthin, nuthin., nuthin'?

5:09 PM

Whoa! That’s a freakin’ first. I’ve been called many, many disparaging things over the years on this here Internet, but never have I been called well-read or intelligent.

Hey, I’ll work for Kanjorski. Although, it’d probably be a short run and all, since he’d probably be smart enough to deduce that it was me that put the itching powder all over his zircon-encrusted throne. Oh, and that the Whoopee cushion at the press conference was my idea. And he'd have me investigated by the A.T.F., the F.B.I., and the I.R.S. if he happened upon a single picture of myself sitting in a red kayak large enough to ram surface warships with. Rats!

Dave, when it gets so completely bad that people are complimenting the likes of me, I think it’s high time that you hire a fulltime editor to monitor the comments from your readers.

Just a friendly suggestion, mind you.

I would have loved to have taken in the localized Town Hall Meeting last night. But as I mentioned here before, I need a tad more than 40 hours warning or less. Jeez!

Either everyone is willing to drop their plans in an instant when the blogger clarion call goes out, or I’m the very last to learn of these impromptu gatherings. And as a result, the economy received much less of a boost than it could have, and all because I was not there in person paying way too much for a draft. Well, a few drafts. All right, lots of drafts. Too many drafts.

No matter, though. My grandson Zach and I settled in and watched HBO’s Band of Brothers on disc last night. Since it’s practically illegal to teach American history in our (cucumber and condom) public schools, I figure I might as well teach it.

Somebody has to do it. Right?

The big news, the all-important story is that my fantasy football draft is on tap for tomorrow. And I have the first pick.

#1, baby.

Honestly, my draft strategy is still not set in stone. Not even at this late date. I know what the conventional wisdom is, but I’m not one for going with the flow. The conference call begins just before 6 PM, and the fur will get to flying but a few moments later.


As far as this FACEBOOK gibberish goes, I started that thing for a couple of different reasons, none of which have anything to do with this thoroughly demented site.

In all honestly, I’m not even sure how it all works, or how it’s supposed to work. And any perceived sleights on my part are completely unintentional. Obviously, I have some homework to do.

Please resist the urge to get all wee-weed on me.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fu>k Woodstock!

“The first word in this song is discorporate

It means to leave your body“--Francis Vincent Zappa

You know, if I have to see, hear or read much more about the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, in the true tradition of Woodstock, I’m going to drink a fifth of Southern Comfort, drop a couple of hits of purple micro-dot and pass out next to the latrine trench right after I projectile vomit on that underage girl I was groping in public. Peace and love, man.

Cut me a break with the revisionist history. The vast majority of those kids wallowing away in the mud at Woodstock were there to take in a concert, not join any fledgling protest movement or protest anything of note. In my opinion, this single event perfectly encapsulates an entire generation of self-absorbed people who did not appreciate what they were handed by their forbearers, the quote/unquote, Greatest Generation.

While that WWII generation gave us sweat equity, blood, tears and made unending sacrifices, their self-absorbed children gave us rampant drug use, an explosion of sexually transmitted diseases, shacking up or divorce after divorce in lieu of proper parenting, record numbers of abortions and living by way of excessive credit when self-restraint and common sense were giddily dismissed as being horribly old-fashioned.

Or as they once so proudly and defiantly put it, Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll!

Peace and love and flowers and beads and sex and drugs and more sex and more drugs and even more…Whoa! It wasn’t about changing the world. It wasn’t about protesting a war you’d most likely never get to participate in. No, it was mostly about getting that underage girl with the tie-dyed T-shirt sitting next to you at the love-in stoned enough and just drunk enough to have her sign off on her own deflowering. Real Clinton-esque stuff.

Is that your bongo, baby? Groovy. Like, far out, man.

Most disturbingly, these sorts of sad sots are in Congress today. You know, the ones that somehow managed not to overdose long ago. Yes, despite their youthful worship of the use of narcotics and hallucinogens and model glue and dried banana peels as some sort of twisted right of passage, now they sit on their lofty, insolated perches and prosecute the, ahem, War on Drugs.

Ah, Woodstock. Those were the days, man. They look kindly on those heady and defiant days (at least, the days they can actually recall) and rumble forth to gather at the remote site of one of their 40-year-old transgressions against sanity and civility. But yet, they’ll legislate your kid into a lengthy prison stay for daring to do even half as much.

The father's a Nazi in Congress today

The mother's a hooker somehwere in L.A.--Francis Vincent Zappa

If Woodstock were to break out today, I’m thinking the official response from those aged hippies in places of power would probably rival what happened at Waco, Texas a while back. Remember? Remember when 80 or so innocent people were burned to death simply because the aged hippies in power had a beef with only one of them? Remember that?

“Peace, love and vegetables.”--WILK’s Steve Corbett, 8-14-2009

Yeah! Peace, love and vegetables. That’s one of the newer refrains of a entire generation that realizes it was probably lucky to have survived it’s copious amounts of unhealthy, unseemly and unproductive excesses. Too old for sex without pills, too old for drugs and too old to clearly recall what happened when last they massed to orgy. Hippies, they proudly called themselves. The drug-addled folks so oft-prone to “living in the now” that gave us Charles Manson, a legend direct from the hippie communes.

Dreaming on cushions of velvet & satin

To music by magic by people that happen

To enter the world of a strange purple Jello

The dreams as they live them are all mellow yellow

--Excerpted from “Absolutely Free” by the Mothers of Invention
And as far as the musical acts that appeared at Woodstock go, for the most part they were overrated, over hyped after Woodstock and over-drugged when they probably should have been closer to sober…while on stage. To single one out, Jefferson Airplane is a perfect example of a bunch of kids that probably should have stuck with the music lessons a tad longer. Sorry kiddies, but a promiscuous slut with a great voice surrounded by amateurish musicians does not a legend make.

Mountain? Country Joe? Joe Cocker screaming and straining and wailing like a dying hyena with a spike stuck through it’s underbelly? It’s a wonder he didn’t have a stroke. Hendrix? Do we honestly believe he even remembered being there afterwards? For that matter, how many of the drug-addled concert-goers remember much more than puking into one of the latrine trenches, or making it with a complete stranger under a muddied blanket? Would Hendrix be idolized today if he had not killed himself before his intended changeover to recording jazz? Methinks not.

“Flower Power sucks.”--Francis Vincent Zappa

Anyway, I have no tolerance for the folks that think making a drug-crazed spectacle of oneself on a grand scale and en masse should be recalled so reverently. I have no tolerance for the celebration of such an embarrassing spectacle by the aged slackers, while their children and grandchildren shrug their shoulders and look stumped when any mention of D-Day is made.

By the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong?

Yeah, just like dad and the boys were when they flocked to Omaha Beach to take in a sustained chorus, a high-velocity instrumental courtesy of the lead-laden artists of all artists at that time…the German military.

Gimme an F!
Gimme a U!
Gimme a C!
Gimme a K!

What does that spell for Markie?

Fu>k Woodstock!


Politics as Usual in Pittston

A guest post by Walter Griffith, candidate for Luzerne County Controller.

The recent developments in the City of Pittston, regarding the placing of Mr. Terry Best’s son, P.J. Best, on the November Ballot for Pittston City Council, by the Pittston City Democratic Committee is more of the same " taxpayer be damned" attitude by some people in our area.

The election of people to "Serve" has once again been made to look like the democratic process is more about "who you know" and not " How can I help" my City and my County, to be a better place in which we all live and work.

Terry Best and his antics to withdraw from the ballot for City Council of Pittston, is just more reasons why the Democrats in the Third Ward of Luzerne County and Pittston City should always remember to look deep into the hearts and souls of their candidates that they chose to elect in the Primaries to "Serve" them into the General Election and possibly beyond for the next 4 years.

The good people of Pittston City placed their trust in Terry Best, who campaigned and promised to serve them, if elected to City Council, and took Terry Best at his word to be there if the taxpayers came out and voted for him in the Primary on May 26th 2009.

The deadline to withdraw your name from the ballot was on Monday August 10th 2009 and Terry Best withdrew his name at 1 PM just hours before the deadline, after he had 2 ½ months to decide, and the reason that Mr. Best gave was because he thought he would be better able to "Help" the taxpayers of Pittston by staying on the school board because of the investigations and alleged wrongdoings of several on this school board.

The reason that Mr. Best gave sounded like he was sincere, and actually looking to better "Serve" the people, until what appears to be a "Backdoor Deal" to wrangle away the power and control of the people of Pittston City.

Luzerne County is currently under a very dark cloud of scrutiny by the FBI, and also the "Good People" of Luzerne County, and we deserve to have people elected that have a true heart of service to the taxpayers, and not a heart of deceit and deception for their own self motivated interests in the "Control Arena" of Political Power in Luzerne County.

The Primary Election was finished on May 26th 2009, and the people of Democrat Party of Pittston have voted for their candidate to represent them in the General Election in November and the ability of some to "Thumb their Noses" at the taxpayers should be stopped, and those people like Terry Best, and the politically connected cronies, that feel nepotism and cronyism is "Alive and Well in Luzerne County" should hear loud and clear that, we the taxpayers, are "mad as hell" and we are not going to take it anymore.

Walter L. Griffith Jr

Candidate for Luzerne County Controller

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

School daze

A smarmy e-mailer took me to task for daring to mention the other day that both my old sidekick and I toiled away under less than ideal conditions in a developmental sense. And he used the following paragraph, penned by me, as proof that I was “whining again.”

I’ll not use his full name here, but at one time Mike and I were inseparable. And even though we had radically different skin colors, we were much the same in that we both lived in a public housing project, we had no father figures, our families were hamstrung by very limited financial resources and we were both being nudged in the right direction by our relentlessly watchful mothers. More accurately, we were being pushed and shoved in the right direction by those moms of ours.

Short and sweet, here’s my response to that e-mail: Facts is facts. And stating facts should never be misconstrued as whining. Thing is, about the only thing that gets me to whining aloud is NFL officiating. Oh, and the helmet-first late hits the scumbag Philthydumpia Eagles are known for administering to a pile as the whistle is being blown.

Oddly enough, while Mike and I were operating out of that public housing project, that was probably the most stability I enjoyed throughout my years as a juvenile. I had the same address for almost six years. I attended the same school for five years. And I also went 5-plus years without getting beat within an inch of my life by a father figure.

Sure, we were poor back when being on public assistance meant you were provided with a far more threadbare existence than are the lifetime welfare recipients of today, but you have to look at the bright side, I guess.

Anyway, I provide the following list not as proof of poverty or anything. Rather, I’ll publish it here to show how debilitating and disruptive marital disharmony can be on a child.

This list was compiled some years ago by my sister and I as a way of demonstrating to our much younger brother just how chaotic our shared childhood was. Oh, and how it drove the sales of U-Haul for years on end. It was our way of saying to him, “You think you had it bad?”

This is a list of addresses we resided at and the school’s I attended starting from when my mom’s ill-fated and beyond combative second marriage began in very late 1962.

1962...225 Golden Hill Street…Bridgeport, CT.

1963...686 Capital Avenue…Bridgeport, CT.

1963...264 Howe Avenue…Shelton, CT…Kindergarten at Ferry School.

1963-64...27 Hill Street…Shelton, CT…Finished Kindergarten at Unknown School.

1964-65...Oxford Road…Oxford, CT…1st Grade at Oxford School.***

1965-66...638 N. Washington St…Wilkes-Barre…2nd Grade at St. John’s.

1966...124 Direnzo Heights…Derby, CT…Finished 2nd Grade at Bradley School.

1966-1968...Direnzo Heights…Derby, CT…3rd and half of 4th grade.***

1968...25 George Avenue…Derby, CT…part of 4th grade.

1968...638 N. Washington St….Wilkes-Barre…finished 4th grade at St John’s.

1968...Pulaski Highway…Derby, CT…Start 5th grade at Derby elementary.

1968...Caroline Street…Derby, CT…Part of 5th grade at Unknown School.

1968...638 N. Washington St….Wilkes-Barre…Finish 5th grade at Courtright School.

1968...6 Alcott St…Ansonia, CT….Summer.

1968-69...9 Clark St….Ansonia, CT….6th grade at Lincoln School.***

1969-70...9 Clark St….Ansonia, CT…Part of 7th grade at Lincoln School.

1970...638 N. Washington St…Wilkes-Barre…Part of 7th grade at St. John’s.

1970...24 Hubbell Ave…Ansonia, CT….Finish 7th grade at Lincoln School.

1970-71...24 Hubbell Avenue…Ansonia, CT….Start 8th grade at Lincoln School.

1971...396 N. Washington St…Wilkes-Barre…Finish 8th grade at Coughlin High.

1972-1976...200 Coal St…Wilkes-Barre…9th through 12th grade at Coughlin High.

The triple asterisks (***) denote that I had spent an entire school year at the same school. And excluding the Coughlin years, that happened only three times. And if you noticed, I spent a few school years split between three separate schools. And they wonder why I don’t have a gaggle of long-time friends.

Anyway, this list demonstrates what nonstop marital problems and what the subsequent separations and repatriations can reduce a kid’s life to…being the shell-shocked equivalent of a military brat.

That’s why the poorer years spent in public housing, what I like to call the Oatmeal, Hot Dog and generic Kool-Aid days, were the closest thing we ever had that resembled stability and normalcy.

And it probably speaks a lot as to why I’ve been married to the same girl for 30 years, and why we’ve only had three addresses throughout our marriage. Needless to say, good father or bad father, I did not do to my three kids what was done to me. Good or bad, what I gave them was some sense of normalcy, and an expectation of what they could and should expect in the future.

As I said, facts is facts. And stating facts sure isn’t whining. But if nothing else, this could give you an insight into what your kid’s future might hold if you’re too lazy and too stupid to make your marriage work.

Spoken like a true marriage counselor, ain’t it?

For what it's worth, there it is.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Emil Minty of American politics

The unemployment that has wrought such devastation in black communities for decades is now being experienced by a much wider swath of the population. We’ve been in deep denial about this. Way back in March 2007, when the official unemployment rate was a wildly deceptive 4.5 percent and the Bush crowd was crowing about the alleged strength of the economy, I wrote:

“People can howl all they want about how well the economy is doing. The simple truth is that millions of ordinary American workers are in an employment bind. Steady jobs with good benefits are going the way of Ozzie and Harriet. Young workers, especially, are hurting, which diminishes the prospects for the American family. And blacks, particularly black males, are in a deep danger zone.”

The official jobless rate is now more than twice as high — 9.4 percent — and even more wildly deceptive. It ticked down by 0.1 percent last month not because more people found jobs, but because 450,000 people withdrew from the labor market. They stopped looking, so they weren’t counted as unemployed.

A truer picture of the employment crisis emerges when you combine the number of people who are officially counted as jobless with those who are working part time because they can’t find full-time work and those in the so-called labor market reserve — people who are not actively looking for work (because they have become discouraged, for example) but would take a job if one became available.

The tally from those three categories is a mind-boggling 30 million Americans — 19 percent of the overall work force.

This is, by far, the nation’s biggest problem and should be its No. 1 priority. --BOB HERBERT, The New York Times, 8-11-2009

Yet, to listen to the Democrats tell it, we either flip our entire health care delivery system upside down by tomorrow night at the very latest, or all is lost. Without this long, long-debated reform being settled by, say, yesterday, America can be no more. Oh, yeah, and “less bad (economic news) is good.”

Jackasses all!

All of which led me to two separate thoughts last night. I’d make the claim that they were epiphanies, but I strongly suspect that my thoughts are not mine alone.

The first one was that Barack Oblahblah is calm, cool, calculated and utterly clueless without a teleprompter blocking out the glare of the increasingly white-hot electorate not hopelessly worshiping his every utterance.

And the second being that his elitist sense of self-assuredness--the result of a misperceived political capital stockpile--is going to get Republicans, Independents, Greens and some Democrats alike openly and loudly clamoring for a return to the disasterous days of Jimmy Carter. Anything but this. Right?

And then I was reminded of how completely the media excoriated Sarah Palin after she made her straight-to-the-point but probably ill-advised “death panel” comment.

Yeah, that was after I read today that Sen. Arlen Specter told a raucous crowd at a town hall meeting that he opposes mandatory counseling on end-of-life issues called for in a House of Representatives version of health care legislation.

And today, at yet another town hall meeting, Oblahblah told that crowd, ”I’m not in favor of death panels.”

Gee, how reassuring. He’s not in favor of seating a federal Department of Euthanasia. But what he didn’t do was rule it’s eventual creation out.

For me, all of this coattails on the disturbing, the distressing creation of a single e-mail address…flag@whitehouse.gov.

So this administration has now taken a page right out of Mad Magazine with the Spy vs. Spy bit. Only, what they are seeking is a variation on the basic theme, thereby pitting Americans against Americans. And all in the name of partisan politics.

They claim what we need is a peaceful and respectful “discourse,” while commanding the Idolatry Corps to make like the secret police? Proof that Oblahblah is becoming increasingly intolerant of dissenting opinions.

The marching orders are, when confronted with “angry mobs” of “GOP operatives,” rent a mob of your own and have at it. Do a full frontal.

So, in order to squelch the increasingly loud opposition to an ill-timed and ill-conceived and hastily presented health care coup d’etat, the plan is to launch Operation American vs. American? And, on purpose no less?

And where were the demands for a peaceful and respectful discourse when G.W. Bush was spending like a blood-engorged tick, just like a Vodka-soused Democrat? How was it that the Code Pink crazies always managed to gain access to Republican speaking events, and quite a few of W’s oft-mangled speeches?

"I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you're not patriotic. We should stand up and say we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration."--Hillary Clinton, 2003.

But to hear the latest from Oblahblah and the mentally incontinent majority leaders of both the House and Senate, to protest these days is completely “un-American.” That’s a stretch. That’d be humorous if we weren’t skating on such thin economic ice.

All the while, our deficits are soaring beyond any previously imagined apogee, and our revenues are dropping like a stone-fed starling. But fret not, kiddies. This health care fiasco won’t cost us more than a trillion or two or three over the course of a decade.

As far as the ongoing health care “debate” is concerned, the longer Oblahblah is forced to speak out in defense of his health care boondoggle in the offing, the more he speaks in vaguer and vaguer generalities, further fueling the growing suspicions of average Americans not begging for a cradle-to-death panel entitlement. He is blowing it.

What Americans need most are jobs. And fast. But the president has already warned us not to expect jobs for a year or so, perhaps longer. Meanwhile, the leading economists are warning us that the creation of jobs in any appreciable numbers may still be many years away. But at least the unionized party apparatchiks have construction jobs coming by way of the stimulus package, Oblahblah’s election hangover-fueled gift to party loyalists from sea to non-rising sea.

All of which leads me to a startling conclusion: Despite his supposed oratorical skills, Barack Oblahblah has become the Emil Minty of American politics sans the bladed boomerang.

Sure, his lips keep on moving. But all I’m hearing at this point are grunts, growls and snorts.

Them’s my thoughts on all of that.

And before that forgotten second-tier issue--that wholesale unemployment--leads to disorder, stock up on water, canned goods and ammo.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Thanks for the transmogrification

I am on vacation. The kids and grandkids from Tennessee are here. We had our big 1st annual non-block party party yesterday. Whatever the heck that was. And out of the blue, my trusty sidekick from the public housing project days, my once constant companion made an appearance.

I’ll not use his full name here, but at one time Mike and I were inseparable. And even though we had radically different skin colors, we were much the same in that we both lived in a public housing project, we had no father figures, our families were hamstrung by very limited financial resources and we were both being nudged in the right direction by our relentlessly watchful mothers. More accurately, we were being pushed and shoved in the right direction by those moms of ours.

Now here we are all grown up and whatnot, and he told me of his health issues and his many surgeries and how he thought it was all but over for him a while back. And he said something to the effect that he’s gonna live his life for him from here on out.

So I reminded him of the odds in favor of being killed or imprisoned, being where we started from and all. I pointed out how badly things frequently turn out for so many of us who started out in the subbasement just beneath the bottom rung of society’s ladder, just like we had. And being a retired law enforcement professional, he knows exactly what I was talking about.

And I told him that, as far as I’m concerned, coming from there to here, being relatively happy and content with our current lives as well as our lives since we made our escape from poverty, I’m good. For me, after that threadbare existence and the debilitating effects it can have on one‘s overall demeanor and one’s sense of self-worth, it’s been all gravy since then.

And with that, we shared a hug and promises to keep in touch.

Long may he run.

Nationwide, Cuba is about to run out of toilet paper in its state-run stores, but WILK’s Kevin Lynn still maintains that Cuba’s universal health care system is the model that we should copy.

Consider this proof that illicit, illegal drugs do in fact cripple the mind with long-lasting effects for decades on end.

The Democrats, progressives and mental incompetents can twist things any which way they like and still believe it to have an iota of truth attached to any of it.

But the fact that needs to be faced is that America does not want the health care reform package that Barack Oblahblah is pitching. The trillion, possibly jillion, gazillion dollar health care entitlement program that his congressmen are trying but failing to jam straight up our asses sans any scant trace of lubricant is basically dead on arrival for the folks that actually produce and provide for themselves.

What it all shakes down to is, the folks in favor of this surefire boondoggle want an entitlement. And they are playing politics in that, they are fighting vociferously in favor of a thoroughly flawed misstep. They are fighting for the team, and not the policy.

But, hey. What’s another misstep? Right? Bush did it. The Republicans did it. So now it’s our turn to make another huge misstep.

That’s seriously flawed, kiddies.

After I fired off the following peppering to P.J. Best, while it took a while, he did respond.

Why is it the GSC members seem so reluctant to include the general public en masse?

Why the resistance to transparency?

Is this how you envisioned this group going forward?

Without further adieu, from the e-mail inbox:

Sorry Mark, I was in court for the past two days and haven't been able to respond. I would respond to your questions as follows:

My general impression is that a majority of the GSC is scared of the public. There has been a lot of corruption in Luzerne County, especially in the past several months. The public is now keenly aware of government action which means the commission will be under a microscope at all times. My only guess is that if they make a decision that is unpopular, they don't want people to see it.

When I started this movement a year ago, I really anticipated a clean slate. I envisioned the GSC as the government body that could truly develop public trust. When I initially volunteered my services as web consultant, I told the public that we would establish a model of transparency. I never thought for a second that the GSC would attempt to prevent me from doing that. I have many ideas I'd like to implement that would involve the public and engage the demographics that are not typically involved in government affairs. But without the support of the commission, these ideas will simply remain ideas.

People asked me throughout the entire campaign why I didn't run for the GSC. At the time, I was primarily concerned with campaigning for the approval of the commission. I didn't want to be distracted with my own election. This movement was and still is way bigger than any one individual. I thought the voters would elect a commission that felt as strongly as I did about the issues concerning Luzerne County. However, I now regret my decision. It is abundantly clear that the commission needs the public to become involved more than ever.

I still believe the commission is capable of completing an effective Home Rule Charter. We must, however, remain vigilant and provide the same pressure that we would for any other elected office. Luzerne County needs a Home Rule Charter and Luzerne Home Rule will still work toward this goal. We won't allow the GSC to fail. We will always monitor their actions and inform the public.

Thanks for your support,

PJ BestChairman,

Luzerne Home Rule

Editor’s note: Since this e-mail was sent my way, the GSC did relent and allow the Web casts to go forward.

Thanks to David Yonki of The Snap Lac Political Letter fame for the shout out on the marriage anniversary and the now defunct block party. Thank goodness you didn’t use Wifey’s name on your site. As I previously alluded to, she’s tougher than she looks.

By the way, there were these rumblings last night. These newer, younger residents of the street were saying that the block party will be resumed come next year.

Stay tuned on that.

Anywho, I snagged the following rant from the reader’s comments at Dave site:

Anonymous said...

I heard someone, a lady, on Sue Henry today who was traveling and saying that everything the government touches gets screwed up. Does she have a safe highway to travel? Government. Did she have to worry about whether her drinking water was safe? Government. Did she have to worry about bacteria in her kid's happy meal as she stopped for a rest break? Government. Did she have to fret about mail service and packages being delivered to her home? Government. Ignorant people who spout off that government in this country stinks should move the hell out and go to another country. These loudmouths would last half a minute anywhere else.

I understand that this was a cousin of Sue's which proves the old adage that you can pick your friends but not your family.
1:15 PM

My unsolicited response is as follows:

Safe highways? In PA? Ever crossed the border into another state and noticed the stark difference? Ever noticed the crumbling bridge decks necessitating the almost daily emergency repairs? Ever consider what would happen to you and your vehicle if you happened across one of these bridges immediately after both the top and bottom fell out?

Ever seen a highway closely monitored by the state police from one end to the other, a police unit not overwhelmed by having to police grossly mismanaged and scarcely populated Podunks that had to delete their police departments for lack of funds?

Safe water? Natural gas drilling contaminating wells and causes explosions? Ever heard of that? Ever heard of fracking and the voluminous amounts of water it requires?

The “safe” Happy Meal? A safe food supply? Ever hear of the little kid that died after eating at Jack in the Box? Salmonella, E-coli and god knows only what else being imported from Mexico?

The USPS? You’re effing serious? If the USPS was efficient and reliable, FEDEX and UPS would be acronyms for activist groups funded by George Soros! If the USPS was profitable…

Sure, you’ll get your letters, and perhaps your postcard sent from Belize by Uncle Jiggy in a timely manner (whatever that means). But if you honestly believe that the USPS is timely and trustworthy, it’s patently obvious that you have never managed a successful and profitable business. All I can say is, try it, you won’t like it.

"Government. Ignorant people who spout off that government in this country stinks should move the hell out and go to another country. These loudmouths would last half a minute anywhere else."

Spoken like a true unionized government employee, the well-compensated folks that wholeheartedly believe in big government the most fervent. An expanded and ever-expanding government, I might add, that we can suddenly ill-afford.

To D.B. Echo…Dude, I was not singling you out with that ‘busting their asses mowing the lawn’ comment. Do not take away the mistaken impression from any of that that I was trying to stand on your flesh-covered stones. I know you frequently write about your gardening skills and your lawn-mowing prowess and the like, but that term just flew off of the top of my pointy little head. No offense was intended.

It’s just that, “busting my ass” has to be the most overused phrase in this country, hands down. And an undeniable truth is, it’s almost always used by those who have done nothing of the sort. Trust me, taking, typing, filing, or answering a telephone does not qualify as busting one’s ass.

To those folks I would ask, have you ever trenched 1,500 linear feet when it was 109 degrees in the shade? Have you ever had to work outside all day long, even though the high temperature never once approached 0 degrees? Ever had to hang on to a hammer drill for 7 uninterrupted hours while being forced to drill through the world’s thickest and most insanely, ridiculously poured concrete slab? If so, we’ll share notes.

As far as looking backward at the G.W. Bush years is concerned, when does that come to an end? When the Democrats get thumped within an inch of their misspent and misbegotten lives come the mid-term elections next year? After they get spanked by the increasingly horrified electorate?
From the Saturday Times Leader:

WILKES-BARRE – One man was stabbed and another man was shot within a half hour in two sections of the city Friday night.

Police first responded around 8:45 p.m. to a home at 470 N. Pennsylvania Ave., where a man was stabbed with a kitchen knife by his girlfriend during an argument, according to Wilkes-Barre police Lt. Paul Middleton.

The stabbing victim, whose name was not released, suffered a wound to his arm and was taken to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, Plains Township.

Hospital staff reported the victim was alert and conscious, Middleton said.

The victim’s girlfriend, Charlotte Pritchard, 40, of Wilkes-Barre, was later arrested on assault charges, Middleton said.

So, for a while there, it seemed as if we had replaced the block party with an F.O.P. convention. And after things quieted down and the police peeled off, Charlotte returned to the scene of her crime, the police rolled back in here in force and she was subsequently apprehended.

Time for the fun part.

She is a former resident of Ruth‘s Place, the homeless shelter that very recently relocated to my back yard and over my “dead body.”

And less than two hours later, over the police scanner came a dispatching for the police and medics for “a female threatening 10-43 over the theft of a purse” at 425 N. Penn Avenue, none other than Ruth’s Place. Yeah, a 10-43...a suicide.

At this point, you should be wondering how any woman, no matter how down on her luck, would consider suicide over the loss of her purse. What could be so dammed important to her that disappeared along with said purse?

Well, what experience has taught me is, every addict will predictably freak out when wither their fix or their money for a fix is taken from them. So my educated guess is that the purse contained either heroin, or money for heroin.

And I want to personally thank two members of the Wilkes-Barre Zoning Board (they fu>king know who they are) for thoughtlessly and mistakenly allowing this idiot magnet to drop roots just out back…in my neighborhood. These two guys were not elected to their positions, making them completely unaccountable.

Good move, guys! Appease the do-gooders and thereby enable the further spread of reverse-gentrification.

And I also wish to acknowledge the Oblahblah administration for making $25,000 in stimulus dollars available for the stimulation (?) of my local economy. Yes, $25,000 for the propping up of yet another idiot magnet really has this economy humming.

Er, the police scanner is starting to hum, that is.

Anyway, thanks for the transmogrification.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Flat Earth Society health care plan

To listen to the democrats and their willing attack dogs in the media and blogosphere tell it, average Americans are not raising their voices against Barack Oblahblah’s expedited health care fiasco in the making.

To hear them spin it, the noisy opposition is nothing more than a coordinated smear campaign orchestrated by coalitions with something to loose if and when the federal government becomes your health care provider. To argue to the contrary is proof of being a GOP operative or some such evil thing. You know, Nazis. Scumbags.

Such tawdry nonsense suddenly passes as “discourse?”

I heard “Duke from Dallas,” a far, far-left blowhard, calling those opposed to the rushed-through health care “reform” “flat-earthers” on WILK yesterday morning. He went on to say that the people most satisfied with their health insurance are:

1. The people that actually have it.

2. The people that don’t use it.

And morning host Nancy Kman essentially agreed by saying the people satisfied with their health care “are the people that don’t go through it (the health care system)".

First of all, I resent being mocked or vilified or deemed to be lucky simply because I do not have a gripe. Imagine that. I’m quiet. I’m content. But in the mind of the far, far-left radical, I’m a target, a “flat-earther” because unlike him, I’m not continually outraged by damn near everything, especially outraged by that that I may lack and want provided to me by someone else.

While I certainly understand where Nancy is coming from, having recently been “through it” about as much as anyone could be put through it, I disagree with her assertion that once you and I go through it, we too will join the ranks of those that have added Big Health Care to the growing list of capitalist villains, cretins and scoundrels to be hobbled by the constitutionally-challenged and rapidly expanding federal government.

And I also reject the implied notion that those of us that haven’t gone through it are somehow lucky. Some of us come home from work, lounge in front of the video advertising box and consume enough food to feed all of Somalia for a day. And some of us do this on a daily basis. Yes, some of us mow the lawn and then claim we’ve busted their asses. Some of us are to nutritionally-minded menu planning and an exercise regimen what the president is to honoring his campaign pledges.

Let’s see here. Those bad people, those worthless pricks who actually have health insurance and don’t use it? Hey! Duke was talking about people like me. People like me! Duke was belittling and chastising me. I’m more fortunate than some others and I do not deserve any of it. That’s pretty much what he was spewing for public consumption. I…am part of the problem?

People like me.

Yeah, people like me. The people who know the caloric content of what they eat before they eat it. The people who bicycle thousands of miles every year. The people who kayak miles on end whenever possible. The people who own and actually employ a digital scale more than twice yearly. The people who purposefully work a physically-demanding job all day long, and then go home and work the dumbbells. The people who work hard, play harder and never, ever let on that maybe any of it causes even a single ache or pain. People like me.

I do my level best to stay in shape. I plan for it. And I make certain that I always seem invulnerable to aches, pains and what have you. If I ache, if I hurt, if I venture under the basket and take an elbow to the ribs and lose my breath, you’ll never know about it. I’ve had health insurance since 1979, I do my best not to need to use it, and now I’ve become a target for the abuse of the clamoring hordes of wimps who can’t or won’t do for themselves? And this comes from those suddenly demanding a respectful discourse?

What ever happened to practicing what one preaches?

People, I can only judge the health care system by what I’ve seen of it. My opinion of it is based entirely on my many interactions with it throughout the entirety of my life. And so far, I have no gripes.

And my personal experiences are varied. As a kid, my grandmother marched me down to Dr. Harris’ office on Ross Street whenever such a visit with the doctor seemed necessary. And I remember him charging her ten bucks for such an unscheduled appearance.

By the age of 12, I was on the taxpayer-provided public assistance plan. And I’ve got many cool scars to prove it. And other than suffering the indignity of admitting within earshot of anyone that I was a lowly welfare recipient, I had no complaints about any of it.

At 19-years-old, it was announced to me that I was “with child.” And the very next day I sat with my employer and joined the company’s health care plan. And even though the employers may have changed over these many years, never did I ever even consider applying for any job unless it offered outstanding benefits. The hourly wage or salary needed to be more than adequate, but I’m not like the great majority of the struggling masses. No, I understand the importance of having my ass covered by benefits I hope I never need.

Getting back to Nancy’s comment, I did go “through it” as recently as 2004 when I was T-boned by an inattentive driver who ran a red light. Cuts, sutures, bruises, 3 broken ribs, a bruised kidney and a partially collapsed lung as I recall it. I was out of work for a mere 7 weeks, a testament to my stamina, my overall condition at the time and a healthy dose of stupidity.

I did the hospital visits, the doctor visits and the rehabilitation. And I also had too many dealings to recall with two car insurance companies, as well as my health insurance provider. And throughout the entire unwanted affair, I had no complaints. All of the participants took care of what they would normally be expected to take care of. I had no gripes. And no out-of-pocket expenses. None. In fact, when it was all said and done, I made a tidy profit.

Since I’m suddenly a flat-earther subject to abuse from those who want a “free” ride, I suppose I’ll hear about how much worse it could be. How lucky and fortunate I truly was. Sure, I suppose it’d be worse when I come down with brain cancer, or some rare foot disease that makes it impossible to walk, stand or pee. As Bill Cosby used to say, things can always get worse.

The thing is, I should not be expected to apologize for what hasn’t happened to me.

Because I’m content, because I do not want Dr. Oblahblah dictating anything to me, I’m fair game? I’m your whipping boy, since you can’t seem to provide for yourself, or because you are completely dissatisfied with some aspect of your life? That’s out of line. Your life leaves you seriously wanting, so mine is offered up as the model of what is wrong with this country? That’s ideologically-driven and abusive nonsense that is going to get someone to visiting the emergency room after I rearrange their eye sockets.

My mom spent the majority of her adulthood on the public dole and never wanted for anything in the area of health care.

And my brother…my brother had no health care to speak of when he was diagnosed with serious, life-threatening cardiac problems. None. Nada. Zippo. It was stupid of him to end up like that, but there he found himself.

Yet, there he was admitted to General Hospital and run through a battery of tests. He was spared nothing. Nothing. But the common theme that ran through everything he was told by doctors, specialists, home-visiting nurses and nutritionalists alike was that he needed to make life-altering, life-saving changes and fast. Sadly, changes he did not seriously embrace until it was far too late.

So, the welfare system worked for us. My employer-provided health care has always worked perfectly fine for me and mine. And even with no health care plan or health insurance to speak of, the good, good folks affiliated with General Hospital and all of it’s satellites spared no expense to save my brother. And after he passed away, nary a bill made it to his young widow.

Based on my personal experiences, I have yet to see a lack of access to health care at any socioeconomic level. As a welfare brat, I had access. As an adult, I’ve always had access. And I’ve watched both my mother and my brother be provided with extensive health care services that they arguably had no right to expect.

Still though, the typically apoplectic democrats have taken it upon themselves to not only insult my intelligence, they have also added me to the swelling ranks of the “more fortunate,” proving that no one above reproach when you dare to disagree with those that continually have their open mouths ready to be filled by the federal government’s enormously engorged teat.

That’s where the “discourse” is at. First it was about providing health care for those that supposedly lack it. Now it’s about attacking those that do have it, those that are too lucky, too fortunate or too completely stupid to know what’s good for them. Apparently, only the members of the Flat Earth Society are satisfied with their health care.

And the saddest part of all of this is, all that I’m asking for is to be left alone.

Them’s my thoughts from this far-flung corner of the Earth.


PS--Remember, "less bad is not good. Less bad is better than more bad. But less bad is good."