Opinions need not be feared nor suppressed.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Madam Moonbeam: "Bush did it"

I keep hearing all of this incessant noise about how Barack Obama supposedly failed us by not pulling an enormous cork out of his briefcase and personally putting an end to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sorry, but it’s patently absurd to suggest that an elected official be held accountable for something that is obviously beyond his level of expertise. He’s just an ambitious guy from Chicago, not a veteran oil industry troubleshooter.

Despite the drubbing he took at the time, the same could be said for George Bush when Katrina flooded New Orleans. Um, sorry, but it takes a few days to assemble a mile-long caravan of 5-ton amphibious transport vehicles, the oodles and oodles of emergency supplies and then get them to the site of the unfolding disaster. But as we all know, the one thing Bush never received from the left side of the political aisle or the ever-circling and ravenous press was any slack. Far from it.

If a meteorite the size of a stress ball entered the Earth’s atmosphere quite unexpectedly, it was his fault. If some little-known lake was host to algae blooms, it was his inattentiveness that caused it. And if a bicycle tire went flat anywhere above the Rio Grande, it was Bush again. What a bastard!

But this here poppycock, this intellectual flatulence, this continual resistance of all things sanity is just too much.

Pelosi blames Bush administration for BP oil spill

“Many of the people appointed in the Bush administration are still burrowed in the agencies that are supposed to oversee the [oil] industry,” Pelosi said when asked if Democrats could have prevented or mitigated the crisis by keeping a closer watch on the industry.

Added the Speaker, “the cozy relationships between the Bush administration’s agency leadership and the industry is clear…I’ve heard no complaints from my members about the way the president has handled it,” Pelosi stated.

First of all, Obama basically pulled the “the buck stops here” card already by saying that the ultimate responsibility for the many and varied and continuing responses to the oil rig disaster lies with him. Something I personally do not believe. I don’t see how we can blame some politician for a massive industrial accident and it‘s aftermath.

But…Obama has been in office for a year and a half now. And he has majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. And if Nancy Pelosi even thought for a fleeting moment that the oversight of the oil industry was lacking, or that some appointed officials were too cozy in their relationships with oil industry executives, then why didn’t she or her fearless leader do something about it long before the oil rig exploded?

Sorry, Madam Moonbeam, but you can’t blame the previous manager for policies and/or personnel issues that you allowed to persist for a year and a half after the change in management. That will never cut it in the private sector, so I fail to understand why it should cut it in the fouled-up public sector.

If there was an identified problem a year and a half ago, and that very same problem exists today, Moonbeam, you own it. You are now solely responsible for it. The proverbial buck stops with the new management team for allowing those obvious shortcomings to continue.

It was unfortunate when some felt it was necessary to politicize a hurricane, and it’s equally unfortunate and regrettable that some now feel that we have to play politics with an oil rig disaster.

Despite what many believed going in, Obama cannot part the blue sea with a mere flick of his wrist. And he cannot brainstorm for a day or two and put to rest a disaster of epic proportions.
But with all of that typed, it is equally ridiculous and foolhardy to blame George W. Bush for unforeseen events and their unwanted circumstances until the long-overdue Rapture finally comes to bare.

Madam Moonbeam, you got the House, you got the Senate and you got the White House. Use it or loose it. Fix it or what have you. But spare me with the increasingly galling fall-back position that is the never-ending “the buck stopped way back there” abrogation of responsibility. And if you inherited problems from the Bush years, either fix them or take responsibility for allowing them to persist.

While it’s painfully obvious to practically everyone not personally invested in him that Barack Obama is in well over his swelled head, it’s equally obvious that Madam Moonbeam is incapable of providing any semblance of capable leadership.

If all that you’ve got in your threadbare repertoire is “Bush did it,” you need to join Bush in retirement.

Sez me.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mental incontinence

Even though I haven’t exactly been prolific of late, I’ve been writing about local issues on the dreaded Internet for a very long time. In fact, one of my earliest posts attracted the ire of none other than Joseph McCarthy. True story.


Anywho, throughout the years, I’ve pretty much said what I wanted to say about pretty much everyone you could possibly imagine. And being that my incessant scribbling was always very local in nature, I’ve been treated to a few shouting matches, curses you have yet to discover, middle fingers, chest bumps and a couple of thoroughly laughable bicycle chases through the city.

And despite all of the (self) “important” people I’ve annoyed over these many years, and despite all of the regrettable encounters I’ve had as a direct result, only once was I threatened with retribution by a local businessman. A, ahem, “businessman” who sues first and asks questions later. A businessman who’s modus operandi is filing suit against everything and anyone that stands in the way of his, ahem, empire.

So, I would say to my fellow NEPA bloggers, choose your words wisely as the latest chapter of our corruption saga unfolds.

Go easy, man.

I’m going to make a statement here, and I challenge everyone within spitting distance to take serious issue with it.

That, them, there statement…

Our country is hopelessly adrift and totally bereft of capable leadership.

Have at it, myrmidons.

How many years has it been since Ross Perot made reference to “that giant sucking sound,” in which meaningful jobs would be sucked right out of the country?

At this sad point, is there a single person still willing to take issue with that demonstratively stated prediction?

And speaking of private sector jobs (remember them?), if people were actually gainfully employed and making a decent buck, they would have health care and dental care and eye care. There would be no need for the Fedrule Govmint to take on any more teat enhancement surgery. But, as the mealy-mouthed, feel-good leftists would have it, we’d be nothing without those greatly engorged teats, now would we?

We’ve gotten things so completely bass-backwards, I seriously doubt that things can be straightened out. We’re done. The experiment in representative democracy was awesome while it lasted, but all that’s left is the pumped-up teat for far too many of us who are lazily and happily hanging from.

Here’s where we’re at, kiddies: The Fedrule Govmint will supply you with extended unemployment benefits, health care (someday, maybe), tax breaks for a new refrigerator, but no real future.

What’s not to like?

But if you’re a public sector employee, well, enjoy your early, taxpayer-supplied retirement. And if you need anything else, let us know and we'll raise taxes all over again. Oh, and, see you in November.

The border. Ah, the damned border. The Fedrule Govmint outright refuses to enforce our borders. Namely, our southern (former) border.

I realize that the “southern border” sounds like an expansive thing too completely large to be controlled by any force no matter how motivated, but the border in question, the border that the Feds supposedly can’t handle encompasses all of four states; New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and California.

We can invade Iraq. We can invade Afghanistan. We are probably days away from having to invade North Korea as a reflexive move, but we can’t enforce a border shorter than the Great Wall of China.

You tell me, man. I chase subterranean termites, not illegal invaders that should probably be shot on sight.

Oh, and Tom Corbett versus Casablanca PA?

Sure, Corbett couldn’t have made a bigger and more potentially fatal election year gaffe, but I got absolutely no time, nor any compassion for anonymous pussies.

There, I said it.

I think the NEPA BLOGS site needs new management. I see we’ve got yet another wave of new entries into the NEPA blogosphere. And I also see that those recently added authors aren’t real big on authoring much of anything.

Okay, the Valley Scanner guy has kept busy, but the name of the site alone is enough to steer traffic away from it.

What if I created a site called Dog Grooming 101 and then proceeded to offer in-depth political commentary on that mal-named site? Would anyone see my commentary excepting for the chicks in dire need of an overpriced puppy bath?

Methinks not.

Another thing that struck me while visiting the newest sites sure to be extinct within a fortnight, the “view my complete profile” tab.

Yeah, as effing if.

When your complete profile lists a gender and a county, you might want to do away with the purposeful vagueness that is the useless profile and put a disclaimer on your main page that reads: “I want to be as loud-mouthed as the next clueless bastard, but I’m too timid to do so under my own name.”

You know, I’m yet another anonymous pussy.

That would work quite nicely.

I talked to the Feds yesterday afternoon.

No, seriously, I did. I received an offer of a bribe if I could help some new found local politico curry favor with the current administration of this Democrat-dominated city.

I received an email, and then a follow-up phone call from the 4th Ward committeeman in Nanticoke, and he was offering a satchel full of Mercury dimes if I could arrange a clandestine meeting with the city principles of his choice.

So I told him in no uncertain terms that I’m an ethical and principled kind of strange guy. And nothing, nothing short of some mid-1800s Flying Eagle nickels could get me to risking a stint in prison.

Or, perhaps some three-cent nickels. Or, a set of those long-banned lawn darts. Perhaps a Biff Pocoroba rookie card. A set of Girders & Panels. Some Lost in Space die-cast vehicles. Maybe a Richard Petty tin-friction car. An original Spirograph. Or an all-expense paid trip to Marcia Bradyland.

Ah, forget I typed all of that.

Certainly won’t help my chances of copping a plea.

Hey, I was wondering. You don't suppose that the Philthydumpia Phillies could actually rise up and earn the wild-card slot, do you?


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Train vs. Tornado or: Oblahblah's America

Can a tornado topple a freight train lugged by multiple locomotives?

C'mon, it's only 44 seconds long. Give it a look.

Kind of reminds me of the Oblahblah presidency.


Not quite room temperature

Just in case anyone missed me (doubtful), I'm still here. Go ahead, say it. Do it, I don't mind...


Basically, for the past couple of weeks I've been working the equivalent of two jobs. And very early last week, I suffered a bone bruise to my right hand. No, I never, ever request to fill out an accident report at work when I get dinged up. Fact is, I'm just about always dinged up in some respect.

And I if I go down that official road, if I do the accident report, then I've also got to report to the medical place and most likely be put on light duty as a result. And I don't do light duty. It's a paycheck killer.

Odd thing is, typing hurt far more than the two jobs did. Oh, and shifting the truck was a joy when I wasn't grinding gears.

Check the view...

Drums valley from the Pardeesville perch. You don't want to know what the vertical drop was like at the edge of this property. Gives me vertigo all over again just by thinking about it.

The election? Okay, let's do that.

1. Kanjo's win makes me want to take a flying leap off of the Citizens' Bank building.

2. Corey, thanks for nothing other than getting me all hopeful and the like.

3. Brian Kelley who? Damn!

4. Yuddy crushes Leighton? For me, a resident of Wilkes-Barre, I'm all good with that.

5. And Specter? Re-a-lected.


Anyway, I'll be talkin' at y'all real soon like.



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Oops! I'm a Republican

Right now, both of my biceps feel as if I overdid it with the bench presses. But the real reason for the ache is because today at work I had to take down a 16' X 4' section of cinder block wall with a 25-pound sledgehammer. If you've never tried this, trust me, when the time comes, pay some illegal alien to do it. Trust me.

I hit my polling place at Dan Flood School by 7 a.m., and it looked very much like it looks every election cycle that early in the morning--quiet. Two poll workers arrived there before I did. One was working for Tom Leighton. And the other sheepish-looking guy didn't even approach me with one of the election cards he had in hand. Not really sure why. Do I look that unstable?

While I was gabbing with the Tom Leighton supporter who happens to be my neighbor, the GOP's Renita Fennick arrived with election yard signs in tow. I touched base with her, but she obviously had a long, long day ahead of her, so I headed inside to do my civic duty.

There was no line. One lady was on her way out. Myself at a machine. And when I was leaving, a USPS mailman was getting ready to vote. Normally, even at 7 a.m., there's usually more early birds than this.

I've been a registered Democrat since 2003, when I switched my party affiliation just to vote against my former mayor. But on this overcast morning, I could not vote for either Tom Leighton or John Yudichak. And I could not vote for Corey O'Brien either. There was no way.

And that's because after you complete fools put that unqualified charlatan with his Trojan Horse of an agenda in the White House a while back, I switched my affiliation back to the GOP, and I will never be misaligned in any way with that group ever again. There's only one snag. I simply forgot that I was no longer a registered Democrat.


So anyway, I was forced to vote on the Republican side of the slate. No biggie. My selections are as follows...

U.S. Senate: Pat Toomey

PA Governor: Sam Rohrer

PA Lt. Governor: Russ Diamond

PA 14th Senatorial: Since Steve Urban was running unopposed, I wrote in a vote for Frank Zappa. Sure, I realize he's been deceased since 1993. But if he pulls this out, I'll volunteer to be his paid assistant by way of a Ouigi board.

Sorry Dr. No, but I was not in the mood to be holding my nose.

PA 121st House: Jim O'Meara

US 11th House: Lou Barletta

And for that state committee stuff that got me so many Facebook friend requests (all rejected), I picked Harry Haas, David Baloga and Renita Fennick, and that's it.

At this very moment, my imported desktop radio is reading 8:09 p.m., so I'm off to WILK radio (despite Corbett) to follow the results as they become available.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Home Rule III: No way, no how

I’m sitting here listening to the police scanner. Some knucklehead is running loose here in the Nord End, and the search is on. I’ve got both the 75,000 candlepower Streamlight Ultra Stinger and the axe handle ready to roll.

Anywho, I found the new-and-improved version of the home rule charter for Luzerne County to be, um, disconcerting.

Or should I say, not even remotely worthy of my vote.

From the Citizens’ Voice: Panel ready to take charter to the public

From the Times Leader: Proposed county charter has rocky unveiling

The excerpt that most resonated with me: Wilkes University Political Science Professor Tom Baldino – a member of the government study commission that drew up a home rule charter rejected by voters in 2003 – was skeptical about the hired manager proposal, rather than having an elected executive.

“I’m still not convinced this is going to work the way you all envision,” Baldino said, warning that, because the manager would be hired by the council, he would be “beholden to the council” and thus not always act independently.

Haggerty countered that, if the manager does poorly, voters would take it out on council members, giving them strong incentive to pick someone qualified.

A “strong incentive?”


If the manager does poorly, those 11 council folks will quickly distance themselves from said manager, as well as make the argument that said manager was a good choice going in.

In other words, they will tell the voters in their respective districts not to “take it out” on them. And you know how it works, while the performance of the council as a whole may leave the voters wanting, those very same voters will likely approve of their council person’s performance.
Isn’t that why we have a U.S. Congress receiving a collective vote of ‘no confidence,’ while individually, those congressman are reelected over and over and over again?

And another thing: The system, whatever system, is only as good as the people comprising it.
If you have a do-nothing county controller (Maryanne, you getting this?), Little Red Wagon LLC drains a million dollars out of the system. If you have a controller committed to protecting our investment--our money--LRW never happens.

As for the current players under the rotunda dome, is it not blatantly obvious that, like Steve Flood before them, nothing unethical or illegal or fattening will go down on either Walter’s or Carolee’s watch?

We didn’t reinvent the political wheel when we elected those two, we rejected the status quo that is the Democrat stranglehold over this county. Proof that if we vote just a tad smarter, transparency in government is still possible.

And this “hired manager” proposal is not going to cut it as far as I’m concerned.

The Democrats in this county will spend whatever it takes to secure the majority of those council seats. And then they will appoint a county manager who’s name seems somewhat familiar, some recycled party apparatchik from within their ranks.

And any system, no matter how cleverly crafted, can be compromised from within if the people controlling that system have unstated goals that vastly differ from ours.

While I absolutely hate the current county code, which is little more than a gray area the expansiveness of which has no boundaries, I will not “vote” for an appointed county manager.

No way, no how.


Friday, May 14, 2010

The Humpster endorses Doherty

WILK's Steve Corbett is on the air and saying with much certainty that Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty's hoped-for ascendancy to the state senate is all but assured because former president Bill Clinton has come out and endorsed Doherty.

Doherty Gets Clinton Endorsement

While I take no issue with the prognostication, I wonder about what I consider to be a mostly regrettable and mostly unholy alliance.

Seriously, Bill Clinton toiled away and frolicked away in the White House for 8 long years, and the only question not answered in his elusive memoirs is whether she swallowed or not.

Doherty? Clinton?

Man, that Volpe dude is starting look like a viable option.

Whatever. I got no horse in that race. But if I did have a horse in that race, I'm quite certain that Bill Clinton would try to hump it.

Congrats to Camp Doherty.


I guess.


Random thoughts

Today marked the second installment of Webster & Nancy's Friday Beer Buzz on WILK.

To be painfully honest, when first they announced this new addition to WILK’s morning show, I blurted out “What? Is this Talk 107 now? And that’s because Webster did a similar beer-tasting bit over at that classic rock station he walked away from to do talk radio.

Long story short, the Friday Beer Buzz with Nancy, John And Joe is a freaking hoot. And if you’ve got nothing better to tune into on Friday mornings, give it a listen.

A little known fact about myself is that I am a home-brewer, and I have been so for many years. So I’m thinking about sending some samples of my signature recipe to Webster in hopes of being included in the beer buzzing one of these Friday mornings sometime soon.

I’m going to forward a six-pack of my trademarked Sauerberry Ale, a pale ale dominated by the taste of blueberry, but with this not-so-subtle hint of sauerkraut mixed in there somewhere. And this ale is not hops-driven. Oh, no, this pale ale is ultimately powered by rutabaga, as well as by dandelion root and fungi scraped from the bottom of landscaping timbers.

It’s loaded with antioxidants, and it’s a natural laxative to boot.

I’ll give y’all a heads up when it is featured on the Buzz.

I don’t ask for much around here, but I’m pleading for your help today.

Please visit and join my new Facebook page, Betty White to replace WILK’s Steve Corbett.

Although, this guy might have been a better choice, so as to not mess with the continuity of the show during the long-overdue changeover.


As far as Facebook is concerned, if you’ve got something to say to me, something to share with me, or some political thing you think we should collate on, drop me an email.

I’ve already rejected close to 2,000 friend requests on Facebook, and I will continue to do so until my father‘s name suddenly appears out of the thickening mist. As of today, I have 23 “friends,” almost all of which are related to me. And I strongly suspect that I have reached my apogee in these silly networking respects.

Thing is, I’m about as interested in social networking as I am in having a high-velocity round pass through my swirling brain. If that’s ignorant on my part, then there it is…I’m ignorant.

But if you really want to talk to me, do it the old-fashioned way.

Hit the email inbox.

While this may be anecdotal, it is what it is.

Are any of the many candidates for political office going door-to-door?

As of this late date, I have yet to have a candidate knock on my front door. I’ve found a total of two smallish post card-sized cards laying on my porch. And for that matter, I’ve received only a smattering of mailers. And not a single robo-call.

I keep reading all of these blog posts detailing all of this money that went into various and sundry campaign war chests, but it’s been kind of quiet on my tiny side street. All of which forces me to surmise that almost all of that ill-begotten campaign money went to the local television stations and WILK.

Anyway, I have yet to shake a grubby hand. And I'm fast tiring of this necessary gibberish and ready to vote.

This one caught my jaded eye...

The link: W-B chapter to host Guardian Angels conference

The explanatory excerpt: A host of angels are coming to Wilkes-Barre on Saturday - the Guardian Angels, that is.

Wilkes-Barre will play host to the annual Pennsylvania Regional Conference for the Guardian Angels, a volunteer anti-crime patrol group that has a chapter in the city.

Members from chapters across the state and other chapters from the Northeast part of the country will gather Saturday for the conference and then a widespread patrol across Wilkes-Barre.

Curtis Sliwa, who founded the group decades ago in New York City, will be in town to meet one-on-one with chapter leaders to discuss ongoing issues within the organization.

The excerpt that got my mind to spinning: Visiting members will start the conference at noon, get acquainted with local members and go out to patrol around the city. Later, around 6 p.m., Sliwa will begin one-on-one meetings with group leaders before an overall address to members. After that, members will go out and patrol again.

So, if you're planning on knocking off a Turkey Hill, this particular night might not be the best night to do so. I'm just saying.

A couple of years ago, Scott Koppenhofer, the guy who formed and trained the W-B chapter of Angels, sat with me over a few beers. Okay, a few dozen beers.

Anyway, my initial bad reaction to the news of Guardian Angels setting up shop in Wilkes-Barre was far, far, far less than receptive. In fact, it was excitedly anticipatory whereas possible confrontations between patrolling Angels and myself were concerned.

And to his credit, rather than permanently writing me off as some sort of local yokel talking all sorts of smack in bereft of all of the facts, Scott sought out a dialogue with me. Something I can respect no matter what the message.

In the grand scheme of things, he's one of the good guys.

If you're interested, give it a look.

3-25-2008: An Angel meets the Internet Devil


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Corbett's "fairness"

A few observations.

I really don't care for political consultant extraordinaire Ed Mitchell's tactics. Never did, never will. His campaign tactics are downright slimy. Icky, if you will. He commands big bucks for his services, but he rarely delivers more than some sewage-laced October surprise.

So, being that he's in Tom Leighton's camp during this election go-round, I was just waiting for the slime to drop. And drop it did in the form of the Tigue/Yudichak email that is purported to tie Yudichak to the Bonusgate fiasco. I read the thing. And it doesn't fare well for Yudichak.

That being typed, in my opinion, John Yudichak has been heaving the slime like a champion, also. So who's to say he doesn't deserve some return fire from the opposite camp?

It's just that, I thought all along that Tom Leighton could win this race without the overpriced services of the Ick Master. And if Yudichak's record is so effing sterling, why did he have to go and act like a horribly frightened Girl Scout after a simple handshake?

This is all so unfortunate.

Now, on to WILK's screamer--Steve "I am a Mexican" Corbett.

I choked on my pasta this afternoon when he feighned fairness by stating that he invited both Tom Leighton and John Yudichak on the show to have their say. And, of course, he quickly pointed out that while Yudichak called in, "...Leighton was nowhere to be found."

I would ask Corbett, why in the hell would Tom Leighton ever bother to call in to your show? What, after you've unfairly sullied his personal and professional reputation for years on end?

Think it through, champ. I promise, it won't hurt.

Ever since the shouting know-it-all limped on home from the banana Republic of Caulifornia, he's treated Tom Leighton to a nonstop parade of borderline slander and defamation of character. Yes, since he left that flailing Mexican client state, he's called Leighton every name still allowed by the Federal Communication Commission.

He's mocked the hairstyle, the demeanor, the public speaking, the performance and the honesty of the mayor. He's gone as far to call him "the worst mayor in the history of Pennsylvania," which is patently absurd when you consider that Leighton succeeded the mayor that was called the worst mayor in the state by Politics PA some years back. And all of this bashing went on unchecked by the management of Entercom despite the fact that Wilkes-Barre has noticeably improved both physically and financially under Leighton's tutelege.

So after five years of slandering the guy, and after five years of being given free reign by the management of the radio station, Corbett knows damn well that Leighton would rather adopt Corbett's girlie man wheat germ diet than call into his show. In essence, Corbett knows he has a public punching bag that would never lower himself by punching back over the airwaves.

What was it Big Dan said? The me/us mob mentality? Wherein, it is cleverly woven by Corbett: Tom Leighton is disrespecting me, The Great Corbett, therefore, by Corbett's purposefully crafted extension, disrespecting WILK's audience.

Me & Us = Fu>k Tom Leighton!

If I were Tom Leighton, I would tape Corbett's blustery show for a period of time, and then sue him, WILK, Entercom and all of the management types involved for slander. Slam dunk!

Remember, this is the very same guy who recently said Leighton has a cloud hanging over his head because of an ancient he said/she said incident that was deemed to be unfounded. But, in Corbett's oft-hazy world, unfounded accusations stand as proof of guilt. He's the judge, he's the jury, but the fool then goes on and on and on complaining about corrupt judges.

But who put Corbett on the bench? Who gave Mr. 'Do-as-I-say-not-as-I-did' a black robe?

And who is he to be judging anyone anyway? He's already admitted--on the -air--to carrying a concealed weapon while drinking heavily. Yeah, that's the ultimate beacon of civility and ethics and humanity telling it. He's used to get plastered, get rowdy in bars and all while carrying a loaded firearm.

Ah, whatever.

As my Irish grandma used to say, "Consider the source."


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

PA GOVT: Anything for a buck

To hell with the water table, the many ponds, the various smallish lakes and the too-many-to-count tributaries. Pennsylvania has been financially mismanaged and now it'll literally sell it's soul for a buck.

The Times Leader link: Rendell OKs leasing 32,896 acres of state forest for gas drilling

The Times Leader excerpt: HARRISBURG - As a bill calling for a moratorium on leasing state forest land for natural gas exploration languishes in the Senate, Gov. Ed Rendell announced today that the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources finalized a lease agreement with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. for 32,896 acres of forest land in Centre, Wyoming and Bradford counties.

In a press release, Rendell said the "responsible natural gas lease agreement" will allow Pennsylvania to meet its need for revenue while fulfilling its obligation to protect Pennsylvania's natural resources.

Under the agreement, Anadarko has paid the commonwealth $120 million to access 32,896 acres...

I guess Philadelphia needs the money. Er, you know the score...Pennsylvania needs the money.

And on a somewhat related note...

Worker killed in Dimock gas drilling incident

Up to this point, all that the gas drilling caused the death of was a few wells, and a healthy swath of forestation.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Worthless prognosticating

I was forced to use a sick day today. Or as I usually call them--Icy Hot days. The lumbar region has revolted and has to be put down.

Some days ago, the following arrived in the email inbox:

I'm doing an article on NEPA bloggers' predictions for the May primary in the following races: Democratic PA US Senate, Democratic PA Governor, Republican PA Governor, Democratic 11th Congressional, Republican 10th Congressional, Democratic PA 14th Senate, and Democratic 22nd Senate. If you would like to participate, email your picks by 5:00pm on May 11th. Thank you.

As has always been my practice in the past, I rarely, if ever, get too invested in the races I cannot cast a vote in. Although, here locally, all of the races for state positions seem pretty lively, and much more interesting than the usual humdrum norm.

And I rarely get too excited about statewide races, simply because I’m a strict proponent of taking care of political business right here at home. The simple logic is as follows: If we elect only quality people at the local level, then only quality people can gravitate upwards. It’s simple. And I like simplicity.

Anyway, I’ll take a stab at these here predictions.

D PA US Senate: The most recent polling data shows Arlen Specter dropping like a MOAB from the skies over Tora Bora. And in my opinion, deservedly so. And Joe Sestak’s latest television spot about Specter saving “his own” job is not going to reverse the downward trend for Specter. So I’m thinking the end of the political road is in sight for Arlen.

Thank goodness (politically correct version of the dreaded...Thank God).

D PA Governor: This Dan Onorato reminds me of the bullet trains whistling their way past a then-boyish Markie while on their way from Connecticut to NYC. As in, here it comes, ain’t nothing stopping it, put your coins on the track and stay well out of it’s way.

R PA Governor: Tom Corbett seems to be the presumptive nominee. Kind of an uninspiring race, if you ask me. Results in plenty of drug busts, though.

R 10th Congressional: Tom Marino seems to have some momentum and the like. But he’s also got plenty of, ahem, baggage, too.

D 22nd Senate: Chris Doherty seems to be a shoo-in to me, but I can’t figure out why. Here’s my likely exchange with Doherty…

Markie: With the entire financial world on the brink of collapse, do you think we should pass a pay-as-you-go statute?

Hizzoner: Pay-as-you-what? I’m sorry, I’m don’t speak Greek.

D 14th Senate: As I have previously stated, I never paid much attention to John Yudichak until recently. First, the ‘bullying and intimidating’ nonsense at the conclusion of the first debate really, really put me off. And his scripted “I’ll fight for you” and “I’ll work for you” platitudes at the second debate were old hat, if not totally uninspiring.

Tom Leighton has proven that he is committed to financial responsibility. Meanwhile, John Yudichak is part of one the largest, most pork-engorged, most per diem-stuffed legislatures in the country.

Secretly, I was kind of hoping against it until the debates, but I’m thinking Tom Leighton pulls this one out by the hairs on his, uh, his chinny, chin, chin.

And saving the best for last…

D 11th Congressional: Unlike a lot of basement bloggers, I really get around this county as well as a few others. And because I get around as frequently as I do, I can identify bullspit just as fast as I hear it.

For example: This oft-repeated talk radio malarkey about Hazleton becoming a ghost town because of Lou Barletta’s stance on illegal immigration. Let us dispense with that laughable and wildly inaccurate bit of partisan fiction. Never happened. No boarded up stores. No mass exodus. Did not happen.

Another example: This much-revisited pothole “problem” in Wilkes-Barre. Drive the broken and battered streets of both Hazleton and Nanticoke, and you’ll be thrilled to be back and driving the streets of this city.

Now, the conventional wisdom is that Corey O’Brien wins the hometown vote up Scranton way, meaning Kanjo loses the area which drove him to victory during his last reelection dust-up.

Kanjo cannot count on widespread support coming from his hometown of Nanticoke, because the people in Nanticoke that were born after the advent of electricity just flat-out do not like the man. And quite a few of the older voters still can’t get the bitter aftertaste of Cornerstone Technologies out of their mouths.

So if Kanjo cannot carry the Scranton area, and if he cannot even count on wholesale support in his own back yard, how does he win this race?

To me, it sounds a tad far-fetched to say that some baby-faced newcomer with less than two years experience as a county commissioner can upset a longtime, long-entrenched U.S. congressman, but there is a decidedly anti-incumbent smell in the air.

Throw in Kanjo’s predictable rubber stamp of everything Obama, Reid and Pelosi, and I’m thinking the kid knocks off the dinosaur. Or is it, I’m hoping?

Anyway, I ain’t once voted for Paul Kanjorski, and I’m certainly not going to start now.

Personally, Corey O’Brien won my vote when he uttered the words “pay-as-you-go.”

Give me whatever progressive-minded social policies you want, but give me fiscal conservatives. Give me what we need the most at this critical juncture, fiscal responsibility.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Flashback: Video Flapdoodle

Okay, I readily admit that Video Flapdoodle was nothing without Ray Lyman videos to post.

But, what the hey? Why not?

The end of the world is just about upon us, no?


Friday, May 7, 2010

Vote for me or: Tom Leighton scares me

I never paid much attention to John Yudichak, because, quite frankly, he never represented me. But now he wants to. So now I am paying attention.

Secondly, paying attention to anyone, that’s anyone representing Nanticoke and it’s immediate environs always made me wonder why those voters never realized they were being clearly under-represented.

Been to Nanticoke lately? The missing street signs aren’t nearly annoying as the abyss-like potholes that have literally thrown my truck out of gear. Sorry, but Nanticoke is to progress what George W. Bush is to being adored.

Being that he’s obviously not up on the latest in the ongoing Luzerne County corruption scandal, I’m going to list the Wilkes-Barre City employees that have been implicated in that saga for John “Per Diem Shack” Yudichak.

Here’s the entire list:


Got it, John. Not a one. Zilch, Zero. Not a one.

So if you’re going to be reduced to throwing watery mud for the next two weeks, try mixing some shtick that will stick.

And, Tom Leighton raised taxes?

Yep, you got that one right. For one, he raised the occupational privilege tax and immediately hired a sorely-needed platoon of new police officers.

Gee, it’s not like our legislators teamed with the governor never raised our taxes and fees. They--you--brought in gambling as a panacea for everything, promised property tax relief but did not deliver, all the while gobbling up tax-exempt per diems like welfare queens at a surplus food giveaway.

Leighton raised taxes? Talk about chutzpah!

And this is rich, albeit, somewhat embarrassing coming from a grown man and a state legislator.

From the Times Leader:

Immediately after the debate, the two shook hands and exchanged words. Yudichak turned to an awaiting press corps and said Leighton had just tried to “bully me and intimidate me.”

John, John, John! Are you for real?

If you expect me to believe that, I’ve got 5,000 wooded acres with a river running through them in Nevada that you can snap up with some leftover per diem monies.

John, we need a leader, not some whiner demanding victim status at each and every candidate’s debate.

Where I come from, you came off sounding like a big pussy. And a prevaricating one, at that.

Tom Leighton bullied me! Tom Leighton bullied me!

Sorry, but I don’t vote for pussies.

I’ve been torn ever since Tom Leighton announced that he was going after Ray Musto’s seat. If it were up to me, I’d prefer that he stay right here in Wilkes-Barre and put some finishing touches on all that he’s started here.

But if this is the way Yudichak mishandles himself when presented with his first-ever serious challenge, I have to say, I’m going to take an interest in seeing his political career done away with.

Times Leader: Leighton, Yudichak clash during forum
Citizens’ Voice: Leighton promises surprise at tonight's debate

Although, there was that time when I called City Hall to complain about the recycling schedule, and Tom Leighton called right back and threatened to kick my ass from here to Eynon and back if I dared call there again.

Does anybody believe me?


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

All dummied up and...

As of today, I have been soiling the electronic pages belonging to this here Blogger.com outfit for one full year.

5-4-2009: New location, same old madness
A whole year? Already?

Man, time sure flies when you’re busily pissing people off.

Let’s see, I was originally at Tripod, with an inception date of December 2, 2000.

And then, three days after the World Trade Towers collapsed I wrote, “If they hate us, let’s hate ‘em right back.” To which a local girl responded to by complaining to Tripod about alleged “hate speech” on my part, and Tripod immediately pulled the plug.

I came home from work that day to learn that a reporter from the Times Leader had left a message with Wifey saying it was urgent that I return that call as early as possible. So I called, and the reporter asked what my reaction was to the deletion of my Web site. My reaction?

My reaction to his question was, “My web site was deleted? Why?”

That reporter did some amazing work by contacting Tripod, acquiring that girl’s name, and then contacting her before she made it to Page 3 as the intolerant one who wanted speech she did not agree with stricken from the public domain. Awesome.

And then next day, there was this Page 3 story about free speech rights and the Internet. Oh, but the night before, I had a new version of Wilkes-Barre Online up and published at Angelfire inside of 45 minutes after that phone call.

Take that, bitch!

I fought and fought and fought with the publishing tools at Angelfire, which was hard to fathom when you consider that each post was written in HTML and JavaScript, by me, from beginning to end. I’d do all that work only to have the damn thing not want to publish when I’d click on the publish button.

So, in early 2004, I went back to Tripod where I published my usual swill until May 2009, when I jumped over here on May 4, 2009.

Hell, this Blogger stuff, this Blogging-for-Dummies haunt is so damn easy, even the likes of you people could do it. Well, actually, you do do it, don’t you?

It seems as if there are four distinctly different styles of blogging here.

You’ve got the cut, copy, paste types. Cut, copy, paste, add a paragraph or two of your own and Voila! A post.

You’ve got the lamest of the lame, the people that offer a link to some other piece, because they think that piece is so profound. The Portal People, as I like to call them.

Then we’ve got the plagiarists, who sandwich commentary around their slices of brilliance captured from somewhere else. I guess it never occurred to any of them that by punching some of “their” phrasings, even entire sentences into a search engine, we’d see them for what they are.

And then you’ve got the people that just flat-out write.

Anyway, this place works for me. And I’ve grown accustomed to being just another dummy among the multitudes of dummies.


Monday, May 3, 2010

3 years (And I'm still bummed)

Unfortunately, today marks the 3rd anniversary of my brother Ray’s untimely passing.

I’m good. I’m good with it. I’m about as good as I’m ever going to get with it.

I talked to his widow but a few minutes ago, she’s in good spirits, and she was all prepared to watch Mason--Ray’s son--engage in his fourth ever Little League game. Still more proof that life does indeed go on.

I really have to say, though, that this one stings. Or, it continues to sting.

I lost one of my two parents--my grandmother--when I was barely 21. And I was shocked…absolutely shocked by that loss. It never occurred to me that my world could change practically overnight.

3 years later, the only father figure I ever had--my grandfather--went off to wherever it is that people go to when they drop out of this here existence we have going on.

And 4 years later, the only true parent I ever had--my lovely mom--succumbed to the cancer that she had kept so well hidden from us all. So, at 29, much to my surprise, I was without parents as well as without grandparents.

And at that time, I thought that was about as bad as it would ever get. And for almost two years, I was well off my rocker. In retrospect, I don’t how I wasn’t divorced, arrested, killed, or all of the above during that frightfully deranged period.

But through it all, I had to feign strength and confidence, not only for my immediate family, but for my deeply-wounded brother as well. In all honesty, when Mom passed, when I told him that she was no more, his pronounced reaction suggested to me that he would self-destruct sooner rather than later.
As it turned out, unlike me, he was completely lost without the only parent he had ever known, had ever grown to love. Without Mom, he spent the rest of his shortened life looking backwards rather than forward. He just couldn't blow it off like I could.

Throughout the entirety of my mostly misspent life, I had no better and no more loyal friend than Ray. Truth be told, we were step-brothers. But never once, not even once, did that step-brother thing pass through either of our lips.

He was a kid abandoned by his father, as was I many years before he was born. And I think that abandonment issue indelibly bonded the two of us together forever, despite his being 12 years my junior.

If you wanted to fight with me, that meant you had to prepare for the major load he was going to bring to the temporary scuffle. And if you wanted to trade punches and the likes with him, you also had to deal with the likes of me fighting dirty alongside him.

We had different, long-gone fathers, a caring, shell-shocked and oft-screwed over mother doing the level best she knew how to, but we were never, not even for a fleeting instant, step-brothers.
Me and Ray, we were brothers.

And in his memory, I quote Tom Chapin

“If you were a giant, you could be a New York Giant, which would be a very powerful giant indeed.”


Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Mountain's Rising

I got me a copy of Jim Rising’s book “But Then Again I Could Be Wrong: The Book of Rants.”

I could tell you how this book came to be in my possession, but you probably wouldn’t believe it.

While I knew the name--Jim Rising--I had to do a slight bit of research before going, “Oh, that dude.”

According to the credits attached to his book, he is the Program Director of 102.3 The Mountain, which I found to be interesting for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I was raised on Rock 107. Going all the way back to when I made my much-deserved escape from high school, I was listening to Rock 107. If guitars plugged into arrays of distortion pedals was your thing, that was the FM place for you. And for me, it remained that way for thirty years.

But somewhere along the way, during my trucking days I suppose, I happened to get myself addicted to talk radio thanks almost entirely to that AM blowtorch station in NYC--WABC, and locally, thanks to Fred Williams, formerly of WILK.

There were those times when talk radio was all but insufferable for me. For instance, when Kevin Lynn, or Sean Hannity were droning on and on with banality after painful banality. Or when Steve Corbett does his level best to swallow his zircon-encrusted microphone. And, it goes without saying that WILK’s weekend programming needs to be avoided at all costs. And when the talk format did not work for me, I’d switch over to Rock 107.

The only thing is, Rock 107 had become as stale and predictable as Rush Limbaugh has. Please, Radar Love? Are you people kidding me? Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Tom Petty and that’s it? That’s it? Over and over and over again, that’s it?

C’mon. I love ole "Fumble Fingers" as much as the next aging and fading diehard rock fan. But if I hear Whole Lotta Love again any time soon, I'm gonna peel and eat my Strat.

But when WILK started using this fill-in host, this rock jock turned talk, albeit sporadically, I started following her home. And this wild and meandering temporary host, Cathy Donnelly, somehow led me to The Mountain.

And since happening upon The Mountain, I have found myself listening to less and less and less of my former musical haunt, Rock 107.

For one thing, 102.3 is more of an AOR (album oriented rock) station, and it’s programming is far less predictable and far less formulaic than Rock 107’s is.

But what really put the hook into me was when I kept saying to Wifey, “Wow! I haven’t heard that song in ages.” That realization, that The Mountain would play practically anything at any given hour was what got me to changing the pre-sets on my FM radio dial.

So, if Jim Rising is really the driving force behind this sometimes off-the-wall play list, then it’s become obvious to me that he and I are kindred souls to some degree.

And when the Flaming Groovies finally meet Flo & Eddie, we’re going to have to get together and rant over some Blues Magoos.

I have a paperback to read.


Cinco de Nord End

I was paid a visit by the Frack Fairy yesterday afternoon. Well, it wasn't really a fairy that appeared here at the modest adobe. It was none other than Kayak Dude, the tireless protector of the watershed. And I commend him for all of his many efforts.

I'm not sure why that pink effect happens every now and again, but it only comes about on the sunniest of the sunny days. Although, it should be noted that this is the very same rogue camera that upped and decided to take a dip in the Susquehanna at the tail end of RiverFest 2008, and all without my expressed permission. Frickin' thing.

If I may, I would say to you that Kayak Dude is smart, well-read, dedicated and burning the candles at both ends only because he believes that without action, inaction will rule the day and allow those who care not for the future of our communities to run roughshod over everything they can in the name of securing enormous profits.

Still though, as smart as he may seem to be, he has that Philthy-dumpia Phillies decal affixed to his vehicle, which suggests that he's still got a ways to go.

Anyway, funk the fargin' frackin'!

Last night I called police headquarters once, and 911 three times.

I called HQ at 6:45, and was told to call 911. And then, as the evening proceeded, I called 911 at 6:55, at 7:55, as well as at 8:29.

This was not a "noise complaint," per se. And this was not a "nuisance call." No, this was a call from one of the indigenous objecting to the constant thumbing-of-the-noses at the indigenous by the recent arrivals.

Rather, what was going on cried out for the assistance of Mountain Productions.

Original Video - More videos at TinyPic

Cinco de Nord End

Whenever anyone gets to complaining about our newest neighbors from south of the damaged border fences and walls, somebody like WILK's Steve "I am a Mexican" Corbett steps forward to deflect the arguments. The very same guy who said just last week that many illegal immigrants are better citizens than are many naturally-born Americans.

Really, Steve? Watch the video. It's short, so even somebody like you can handle it.

He's like one of those shameless hucksters pitching non-approved supplements as part of a paid program, an infomercial.

Steve, I used the product and I developed eyeball cancer.

Steve: Well, I don't know about that, but I used the product and I lost two pounds a week.

Steve, my sister used the product, and something resembling a mutated Great White shark grew out of her lower back.

Steve: Well, I don't know about that, but I used the product and I lost two pounds a week.

Steve, my second cousin happily-twice removed used the product, and her feet bloated to be 100 times their original size.

Steve: Well, I don't know about that, but...

Yes, according to the all-knowing Latino wannabe, illegal aliens and Latinos in general are all hard-working, God-fearing, church-going, salt-of-the-Earth types who love baseball, apple pie, Chevrolet's and Marcia Brady.

And while I really don't hate raining on his limp-wristed, jingoistic and populist parade, nothing could be further from the absolute truth. At least, in this neighborhood, that is. Watch the video, Steve. Watch the video.

Yeah, I know, you used the product and you lost two pounds a week. So you say.

As if.

The part of this Latino-styled Don Kirschner's Rock Concert event that annoyed me the most was how completely fast some of my neighbors redirected their ire from the recent arrivals to the WBPD.

I told them that Zone 5 encompasses all of the Nord End, the East End, Parsons as well as Miners Mills. My point was, perhaps the sole patrol unit had yet to happen across this 500 watts event in the making.

But after we finally had a patrol unit report in that he "told them to turn it down," it started right back up just as soon as his patrol car was well out of sight--only louder. And then some of residents of Wyoming Street called 911, and so did I all over again. Cinco de Nord End, temporarily interrupted as it was, was back on and then some. Another clockwise twist of the volume dial, as it was.

Now, what part of this does not smack of the middle finger being pointed directly back at us, the legal, rightful residents of this community?

In my opinion, not all of these recent arrivals are of the legal variety. And I'm not buying this usual political claptrap wherein they are the model citizens who provide the new template by which the remainder of us should shut our mouths and live out what little remains of our wasted, racist, bigoted lives.

All I know is, when the Corona gets to flowing, and when the barking at the moon starts in reverence to some ancient Incan Sun God, the newest of my many new neighbors prove over and over again that they care not about being good neighbors, city ordinances, or displaying some semblance of respect for the law.

This is getting old. It's well-past being annoying. And I left my mayor a voice mail about the entire whitewashing of reality in the name of multiculturalism, as well as the oft-debilitating political expediency.

If what they want is merely to get along and enjoy a better life, they had better start respecting the wishes of those of us that think likewise--the silly-assed Gringos.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

The ultimate compliment

For the purposes of this needless circumlocution, I return you to my previous life…The Restaurant Wars. Before going there, usher the kiddies and the grandparents out of the room.

This one, from the Citizens’ Voice, caught all four of my eyes:

Expert says Banks delusional despite flashes of competence

Delusions and rational thoughts swirl in mass murderer George Banks' mind like the balls in a bingo wheel or a lottery machine, according to a psychiatrist who has examined him prior to each of his three competency hearings.

One-by-one they reveal themselves, popping up in jailhouse conversations and mental health evaluations as symptoms of one his two competing brands of thought, Dr. John O'Brien said.

Delusional despite flashes of competence? Isn’t that how the on-the-march pseudo-Marxists describe us hated traditionalists? Sophists all!

How much do they pay somebody to come up with conflicted 'ambient domain-speak' such as that? I could do that. What say you Dr. Markie?

Why, I find the subject to be dumb like a test tube full of parasitic protozoans, but brilliant nonetheless.

Make sure you spell my name correctly. Now, who has my cashier’s check?

On a much more personal note, that’s how many of the people that have come to know me have described me. So, should I be whisked away to Death Row to await my execution?

Don’t answer that.

I think George Banks is right where he needs to be, wallowing away in his own perfectly crafted version of Hell.

As for his mindset right before he set off on his murderous rampage, I offer the following.

If I remember correctly, his carnage occurred in the wee hours of a Saturday morning, not that it really matters. Anyway, he visited our restaurant a mere 12 hours or so before he went Full Metal Jacket on his own family. Er, his families.

He and his entourage were in for lunch, and they did nothing to draw attention to themselves. But in the days after Banks put Wilkes-Barre on the map, while the press and law enforcement were in hot pursuit of everything George Banks, our tireless auditing department did what it always did--it audited all of our bundled and submitted guest checks for the prior sales week.

These audits were meant to focus in on 3 things: Comments from customers, pricing errors by waitresses (pre-Point-of-Sale years) and missing checks which could indicate that theft may be afoot.

Among the checks with customer comments on them was a check that George Banks used to comment on. And as a result, our auditing people called the authorities, who then alerted the district attorney’s office. And as a result, as part of the pre-trial investigation, any and all of our employees who had even the slightest of contacts with Banks and his family that day were interviewed by an assistant district attorney, as well as a county detective.

Over the years, I had pretty much seen and heard it all as far as comments from customers were concerned. The lady who claimed to have fished a two-by-four out of her salad, and then demanded a free meal. (Did not happen.) The black, southern trucker who gushed appreciatively because I allowed him to be seated and eat in the store. (It must be tough to be black in the deep south.) The disheveled guy who claimed to know I was a CIA agent right before he swung one of his crutches at my head. (He was rushed to the ER for this bit of spirited commentary.)

But Banks, George Banks delivered what I considered to the ultimate positive comment ever offered by a customer.

When you consider that he wrote this comment on one of our checks just hours before he engaged in mass murder, and when you recall all of the racial tumult that was contained within that troubled brain of his, it was remarkable that he bothered to comment as he did.

He wrote, ”It’s nice to go into a restaurant and not be treated like a ni**er.”

Considering who wrote that and what his altered state of mind was at the time, in my less than valuable opinion, that was the ultimate in customer commentary. At least for me, that was the ultimate compliment.

And that’s my delusional flash for today.