Opinions need not be feared nor suppressed.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Underwear alert!

I need an electronic show of hands here.

First of all, I’m on vacation. So that means I’m not all alone in the dark, lying prone in a sh*thole of a crawl space, or crawling through the bushes.

In other words, I’m enjoying myself out here in the direct sunlight. So there’s been no need to tune into WILK just to have something, anything to keep me company in my abject solitude.

That said, I am quickly becoming addicted to the early show thanks to the recent addition--John Webster--to the show. And I never, ever miss Sue Henry's show unless the work day demands as much. But after that noon newscast, I’m usually off to Jim Rising’s AOR creation.

Anywho, I’m sitting here just now reading about how the Three Mile Island accident put the kibosh to the construction of nuclear power plants for 30-odd years, when the low-volume background noise upped and snagged my attention.

Yeah, while going on and on about some local court case being closed to the public, Steve “I am a Mexican” Corbett asked, “What if you’re a blogger sitting in your underwear in your mother’s basement?”

Really? Man oh man. Some people just can't accept the fact that you don't need an overrated college degree to type a few words in a coherent fashion. Some people just can't get off of it.

Anyway, in response, man up there, girlies. Fess up.

Gort, Echo boy, KD, Pittston Joe, and everybody else who writes on the local Internet, it’s time for a show of hands.

Are you really hiding in your mother’s basement all alone in your skivvies? Or did she banish you and all of your Zena: Princess Warrior posters to the attic for piling your empty beer cans on top of the washer time and again?

I love this. The demand of unconditional respect, the incessant need for reverance, but the offering of none in return.

This is the same guy who said we should not belittle people based on their appearance, but he has no problem with espousing his prejudices based on long-debunked stereotypes.

You tell me, man.

Gotta go. Mommy wants me to remove all of my cigarette butts from the Radio Flyer. See ya'll at the Star Trek convention.



Elena's Motorcycle Ride through Chernobyl

I linked to this fascinating and spellbinding site many, many years ago. And with the unregulated, unfettered and unethical pursuit of the acquisition of energy all underfoot here in NEPA, I thought some of you might be interested in giving it a look.

Elena's Motorcycle Ride through Chernobyl

At this site, Elena, our host, takes us on a pictorial tour of the abandoned Chernobyl area, the site of the 1986 ultimate in nuclear nightmares.

It’s fairly well-written, and she provides us with glimpses of what the area was like before that fateful night, as well as what it looks like now.

Interestingly enough, as of this very moment, there are more than 30 pending applications for the construction of new nuclear power plants right here in the United States.

Be warned, Elena’s site includes 27 pages, plenty of textual backdrop and too many fascinating pictures to count. So if you take the tour, it’ll take you awhile.

In my opinion, her valiant efforts alone necessitates that you visit.

And before you go, take a look at Miss Chernobyl 2004.


Boy! What if I did that?

My industry is one of the most closely regulated industries. It might be the most heavily regulated, but I’m not in a position to make that claim. Wouldn’t surprise me, though.

For more on all of that, Google FIFRA, the Food Quality Act, the Environmental Protection Agency or the PA Department of Agriculture.

While I rarely get involved in pest control, my specialty, termite work. is fraught with danger. Think of it this way. If you pay an operator to eradicate a nest of stinging insects, he’s going to apply a few ounces of pesticides. If you need my services and your target structure exceeds 200 linear feet, depending upon the construction and possible anomalies, we’re likely talking about the application of a couple of hundred gallons of termiticide.

When correctly and safely applied after redundant, possibly tridundant inspections, after all subterranean utility lines have been identified and steered clear of, and assuming the safety of the operator and the residents have been heeded, the sheer volume of the application is no big deal.

With all of that typed, my outfit has seen to it that no other technician of a similar specialty with any of our competitors is as heavily trained and retrained as I am. And that is their way of setting me up to succeed, rather than to fail. A failure on my part could compromise the safety of people, plants, wildlife and the environment as a whole.

Over the years, I’ve had incidents, but nothing that led to any enforcement, sanctions or punitive damages coming at the hands of the EPA, the DER or the PA DOA. In fact, putting the “Big Wheel incident” aside, my record is superlative.

But I want to revisit that word “fail.” What constitutes a failure on my part?

I could drill or auger through your natural gas line, which could result in a catastrophic explosion.
I could damage sprinkler systems, sever sub-slab communication lines, puncture underground downspout piping and all of that sort of good stuff. And I should point out, if you drill, auger, bore or trench day-in and day-out, odds are that an incident could happen.

But as I am applying products to the soil and trying to project them more than a few feet down, I am trained to be forever mindful of where those products might end up at. Meaning, we don’t want them to find their way to any drilled wells, French drains, sump pumps, tributaries, lakes, ponds, rivers or into the sewer system.

In effect, every single day I am being paid to ensure that nothing I do could ever compromise any minute aspect of our water supply. And to this date, I have never had a reportable incident. I’ve had brushes with disaster, but my training, expertise and experience has always prevented said disasters. With that said, know that those aforementioned disasters do happen. Google “fish kills.”

If the worst were to happen, the products I deal in have a chemical half-life, meaning they would not persist in the environment in perpetuity. Can the gas drillers make that claim, while they claim proprietary privilege over theirs? Or should I say, secrecy?

But if I had had a disaster, my company would be on the hook for the containment, cleanup, restoration, well-replacement and on and on and on. And we would also be staring down the barrel of lawsuits, sanctions and prohibitively brutal fines. We’re talking untold millions here, not chump change.

My former district manager used to make it a habit to arrive unannounced at my job sites. And if he found even a single drop of product misapplied, a single freaking drop, he’d bark “Did you get any in the god damn ground?” and the safety tirade would ensue. Now that’s oversight! That's paying attention to detail. That's safety.

Yet, every single day I sit here reading about all of these gas-drilling incidents that are literally disasters, or incidents fast approaching disasters.

And I sit here reading about how these gas outfits are injecting carcinogenic chemicals by the millions of gallons into your local environment, putting your water supply at serious risk of contamination.

And I read in awe of how these same companies are allowed to be purposely vague about the toxic mixes, the chemical cocktails they are injecting into your environment to the tune of millions upon millions of gallons. And every day, no less.

I just read this story about how some “mineral oil” spill damn near melted a stretch of road in Laceyville. A 440 gallon spill, they say. And I couldn’t help but think about what would happen to my company and myself if a Department of Agriculture field inspector found as little as 4 gallons of termiticide running down the curb line and away from my job site. I shudder to think.

This is where I’m at.

I trip over regulations almost everywhere I step while applying perhaps, maybe 100 gallons, but the gas drilling outfits are basically set to apply billions of gallons of chemical-laced water with little or no oversight. That’s where I’m at. And that prospect, that reality should frighten the hell out of each and every one of us.

And while our politicians trip over themselves to draft belated regulatory legislation, your water supply may have already been compromised. Just you wait and see. It’s just that, I can’t help but thinking “Boy! What if I did that?”

Amazed, I am.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

That was then, this is now and the future looks ominous

"It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today, and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the tax rates…. [A]n economy constrained by high tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance the budget, just as it will never create enough jobs or enough profits."--JFK

That would be JFK of John Fitzgerald Kennedy fame, one of the most revered heroes of the politically left of center.

That was then…

The Timeless Principles of American Prosperity

This is now…

Federal Debt and the Risk of a Financial Crisis

And this might be the future come January 1, 2011...

What Would Happen if the Bush Tax Cuts Expire

So how do we spur the economy on, trim the ballooning deficit’s a tad and restore some fiscal sanity?

Why, you, the Financial-Greenhorn-in-Chief, makes an appearance on “The View” so as to court those white, Jewish, Latino and independently-registered female voters who have deserted you in droves, that’s how.

Strict ideology over sound policy. Partisan politicking rather than leading. Party first, country second.

Philistinism begets more philistinism.

Sez me.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Zappa Plays Zappa

It’s been 17 long, long years since my musical hero--Francis Vincent Zappa--so often gone the way of societal commentary went and passed into that yet-to-be-charted place that still simultaneously escapes, excites and frightens so many of us.

And it’s been 17 years since I was all agog over the release of any new CDs.

Weirdly enough, when Frank skipped out on this rat race, I received calls and post cards and correspondences from friends and acquaintances scattered all over this country. Fact is, if Frank Zappa was their very first thought, Mark Cour was their piggy-backed second thought.

Anyway, the email inbox brought me the following…



BALTIMORE – Since last month’s confirmation of the September 19th date for Baltimore City’s dedication of a bust of Frank Zappa, community support has been growing for a concert and festival in tribute to the legendary musician, composer and social icon, whose birthplace is Baltimore. The bust, donated by a Lithuanian fan club, will be placed at the Enoch Pratt Free Library Southeastern Anchor Branch in Highlandtown, and plans now include an outdoor concert featuring Zappa Plays Zappa (fronted by Frank’s son Dweezil), and various events at the library and nearby Patterson Theatre in support of the dedication ceremony.

The date itself is especially significant as September 19th is the anniversary of Zappa’s 1985 testimony on Capitol Hill in favor of free expression by Recording Artists at the Senate hearing instigated by certain congressional wives (members of the PMRC) concerning record labeling. Frank Zappa’s widow Gail commented on the remarkable coincidence, stating, “Frank’s legacy rests in his uncompromising defense of the First Amendment and his uncompromising pursuit of excellence clearly demonstrated in the standards he set in all areas of Music and the arts and sciences associated with it. He was self-taught and self-realized. It is hard to imagine how that is possible except for the 4 cornerstones he had going for him: a talent for music, a hard-core curiosity, a keen sense of humor and access to a library. He was a cheap date for History.”

The broader scope of events, being developed by Clearpath Entertainment in collaboration with the Zappa family, the Southeastern Community Development Corporation, Enoch Pratt Free Library, and the Creative Alliance, are intended to help anchor the new Highlandtown Arts and Entertainment District and plans now include a library exhibit, symposiums, and after party in addition to the dedication and concert. Sean Brescia of Clearpath stated, “Baltimore has a rich entertainment heritage dating back to its iconic theatres and jazz ballrooms, and opportunities like this are a chance to re-capture that spirit. We wanted to build an event that was a truly fitting tribute to the Zappa legacy, but also something that can grow into a signature cornerstone event for the Highlandtown Arts and Entertainment District, and Gail [Zappa] has shared that vision from the beginning.” In the interest of what the events could mean for the community, Brescia reached out to a broad group of community organizations to help plan and raise support for the events.

Echoing that sentiment of community interests, Chris Ryer of the Southeast Community Development Corporation added, “The bust coming to Highlandtown and these events are high-profile, flagship opportunities to position the Highlandtown Arts and Entertainment District as major reasons for visitors to come to Southeast while they’re in Baltimore. We’re excited to work with Clearpath and the Zappas to leverage this year’s events as a catalyst for great things to come.”

Remarking on the concert lineup, Clearpath’s David Christensen said, “Frank Zappa’s musical genius and influence is undeniable and it has always been a must for us that Dweezil headline this show in the ultimate tribute to his father. This is going to be Zappa Plays Zappa, next to Zappa’s statue, on Zappa’s street, on Zappa’s day; it couldn’t be more fitting.”


The Barfies

Yeah, September 19th…my birthday.

The long and short of it is, I want to be there. I want this. I want this to be my first ever birthday present to myself. And I would donate my body on the spot for Lawn Dart target practice if I could somehow meet either Dweezil or Gail.

I actually sent Gail a piece of heartfelt snail mail immediately after Frank had passed away, but I never received the reply that I did not expect.

The problem is, no one in my immediate family likes what Frank Zappa had to offer. And no one from the ranks of my family will man up and volunteer to accompany me to Baltimore.

So my question to you is, is anybody up for the Zappa Plays Zappa gig in Baltimore come September? Anybody interested in seeing and hearing one of Planet Earth’s most talented guitarists paying musical homage to his father?

I really don’t want to go alone. And I really don’t want to force my youngest to attend a concert against her will again.

Twanger? You still on the Internet?

Lemme know

*By the way, for those of you who know her, my youngest was engaged to be married this past Saturday.


A couple of firsts on this 5-mile jaunt.

First of all, this was the first ever trip in which Taylor trailed along behind me on the now-legendary trail bike. Secondly, this was the very first ride wherein any grand kid of mine was peddling along under their own power, as Gage made the trip on a 20-inch Mongoose I had recently borrowed from my boss.

Honestly, they both done good. Real good.

We hit Public Square and basked in the activity that was so sorely lacking just a few years ago. We cycled the entire expanse of Wilkes-Barre's dynamic new riverfront park. We then made our way over the "Eagle Bridge" to Kirby Park and had lunch out of Tony Thomas' snack shack. Burgers, fries and cans of Pepsi. That sort of standard fare.

And then, just when the kids thought that they had tapped all available energy reserves, I led them up the big hill past the tennis courts, over the dike and down into the bucolic adventure that is Omstead Trail.

It was a bit mud-soaked, which only added to the impromptu adventure. But after the initial shock of having their sneakers and bicycles covered in mud, they did just fine. Mush on, boy! Oh, and girls.

At one point, while he was stuck in the muck and beginning to whine just a tad, I told Gage flat-out that we're all capable of more than we could ever imagine. A clear reference to one of my all-time favorite quotes: "The only limit to your ability is your imagination."

While I may not be a cultivator of fertile minds, I am definitely part Marine drill instructor. You can wear me down a tad, but you will never wear me out. And that's pretty much what I expect from those who intrepidly dare to follow me to wherever it is that I think I'm going to.

And that's the beauty of bikeabouts, that never knowing where you'll end up if you bother to go there.

Hoddogs. Playgrounds. Bicycle cops. Water fountains. Ponds. Ducks. Billion-dollar amenities. Rivers. Muddy trails. Smallish airports. It's all out there well within your reach. That is to say, it's all well within your reach and easily accessible without the expenditure of even a single ounce of any fossil fuels.

I think we can all wholeheartedly agree that we look back on our childhoods very fondly. And that we'd all desperately like to recapture, er, revisit some of those carefree days. So what better way is there of going back in time than by doing what came so naturally to you when you were a kid, by getting on your bike and going?

If there's a better way of exploring the continuing wonderment that is this world all around us, I have yet to find it.


At-large voting in Wilkes-Barre: Why?

With no due respect to Ray Arellano, another referendum?

“What we need is a referendum to go back to the City Mgr. type of governance, and get away from the Mayor being the last word on everything?”

Puke on my keyboard, I will.

First it was a referendum to reduce the size of council. Then it was electing council people by districts. And now, the mayoral form of governance needs to be changed, too?

How many times are we going to reinvent the wheel to stroke our latest bout of self-important whimsy?

And how many times are we going to change the rules to meet the newest needs of the perennially losing team, of the political patsies?

Let us not forget that the blind rush to reduce the size of council and the simultaneously push to elect them by districts was not the will of people inasmuch as it was the will of the Greens, Libertarians and Republicans that have yet to capture a single elected or appointed seat in this city.

They told us that this self-serving claptrap would amount to city residents being better represented, which was and is as much balderdash as it was and still is needless.

They, the reforming Katsocks of the world told us we would all be better off if we became their political enablers by joining the Referendum of the Month Club. And last time I checked the Page 1 stories, but days ago, the Katsocks were “unavailable for comment” after hiring the disgraced former school director’s kid.

A city council person is only a phone call or an email away. It matters not whether or not they reside within walking distance of each and every one of their constituents. And don’t try to tell me otherwise. If I chose to do as much tomorrow morning, I could fill the ear of each of our five council types.

As for City Council, perhaps you folks need to refresh your hazy memories as far as the state’s Sunshine Laws are concerned.

And perhaps your attendance should be perfect considering how very few meetings you need to attend so as to collect your yearly $15,000 stipends and the overly generous pensions that await you after as little as 20 years picking and choosing if and when you can make an appearance.

A 3-0 vote? Really? Why were two council members curiously absent when the emergency agenda included changing how we elect our representatives? In my swirling mind, if you cannot or will not show up a meager 24 days per year, you ought not collect your insidiously generous salaries. This is bunkum already.

And why even go down this road? And why now? Why give the Referendum of the Month Club crazies a reason to start their clueless nonsense all over again? Excuse my missive, but in a word preceded by a quasi vulgarity serving as a synergistic pre-exclamation, I am effing miffed.

I am no better or no more poorly served by having a neighborhood council person. I would be no better served by switching back to the “at-large” voting system. And I would be no better served by having the knee-jerk referendum crazies getting their phlegm up all over again.

Why now, council? With the Greens, Libertarians, Republicans and whatever other political stripe suit’s the would-be reformers completely shut out of power in this city, why stir up all of this needless rancor all over again?

You need to attend 24 meetings a year, half of which you are unavailable for. You are compensated well above and beyond what would be considered fair compensation for the mere pittance that is your workload. But when a few of you do bother to show up, it’s to further benefit yourselves.

I have never run for or served on city council.

But if I did so, I would not try to pass off a yoke-stained scowl as a straight face.

And on a brief but terse aside, I would be totally remiss if I did not make at least a passing mention of the possible consolidation of our three high schools. Effing miffed again, I am.

Let me get this imbecilic sophistry of thought straight.

We would close all three of our aging high schools, build a new super duper, high-tech high school sure to be plagued by enormous cost overruns despite the unquestioned prowess (?) of the usual politically-connected engineering and construction firms, but the new Wilkes-Barre Area High School would not even be built within the city limits?

You’re serious?

Hold on a second. I'm gonna go punch another dent into the side of the refrigerator. Be right back.

Okay, I'm much better now.

Dump the bundles of ill begotten cash out of your brown paper bags, hold those bags over your noses and mouths and breathe. Breathe!

And then think!!!

Ah, screw it. If assh*les could punch and kick, this place that time obviously forgot would be the dojo du jour. Screw it! For starters, Plains Township or Wilkes-Barre Township could probably use all of those wage taxes more than the City of Wilkes-Barre can.

Wilkes-Barre Area High School...at Plains?

It must be me.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010


VACA, baby!

A solid week of R&R--Rest and Relaxation.

Cour-styled rest and relaxation, that is.
Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Water in a can

I know that the Great Flood of '72 destroyed lives, uprooted entire families and actually took a few lives. But for me, as a 13-year-old scratching out a meager existence on public assistance, it was a godsend of sorts.

Now, this is not whining on my part, so spare me the accusatory emails.

Before the normally sedate Susquehanna River rose up and changed the face of this valley forever, I was dirt poor. That's the best way to avoid excess verbiage. I was freaking poor. And that was back in the days when being on public assistance meant you got by on hoddogs, Kool-Aid and oatmeal, not by way of an unholy and confiscatory and restrictive addiction to Rent-A-Center.

But after the Susquehanna River laid waste to all that was deemed to be important, I was hired at two and a half times the minimum wage to remove what she had left in her devastating wake. And within two weeks minus the waiting week, monetarily speaking, my famine went feast in a fortnight. If there was a happier 13-year-old during the Summer of '72, I would love to meet that person out of sheer disbelief.

I'm absolutely certain that I could easily type 20,000, perhaps even 40,000 words about that surrealistic summer, that coming of age amongst the muck, the rubble and the, for far too many, the abject despair. I could wax not-so-poetically about that surrealistic gone sublime experience until y'all got fed up, drove down here and pounded a stake through one of my four eyes. And so as to protect all of my four eyes, I will spare you the circumlocutory exercise. You lucked out.

But I will share what, strangely enough, is one of my most enduring memories of working in what was left of downtown Wilkes-Barre immediately after the flood waters had receded.

Working in that mix was hot, smelly and at times, almost insufferable. And taking a break or a lunch meant getting outside and sitting at the edge of the curb not still piled with refuse that had yet to be trucked of to the local landfill. Remember those? Local landfills?

Anyway, years pass as if they were nanoseconds and memories get fogged over to some extent, but I can't remember going outside, plopping down on the curb and not being visited by one of those Red Cross or Salvation Army step-vans brimming with all sorts of foodstuffs. Packaged sandwiches, fresh fruit, and most importantly...canned water. Nope, that was not a typo...canned water.

But wait, there's more.

These cans of water were donated by the good people at the Budweiser brewing outfit. So, I was 13-years-old and near as any onlooker could tell, I was enjoying myself a frosty 16-ounce Budweiser. If you put your well-worn immaturity cap on for even a fleeting instant, you'll surely understand why a 13-year-old boy thought this was the coolest thing since the advent of perfection personified...Marcia Brady.

Putting my sophomoric tendencies and my fast-fading memories aside, think about what I am alluding to in a not so concise manner.

Back in the black-and-white day, back when things went horribly, horribly wrong for us, we were totally dependent on the philanthropic types and the tireless do-gooders for safe drinking water.

Looking backwards, 'water in a can' now amounts to little more than a surrealistic, but fond memory of mine. Looking forward, water in a can is, for me, as completely unacceptable as it is remotely possible.

Oddly enough, I recently found myself taking issue with one of the tye-died folks (I'm kidding!)who happened to survive Woodstock. Or he took issue with me...screw that! It doesn't matter.

The thing is, while I steadfastly detest Woodstock and all that it was supposed to stand for, there was this one haunting song that I could never, ever get out of my head.

It went as follows, or somewhere thereabouts...

Gimme an F!
Gimme a R!
Gimme an A!
Gimme a C!
Gimme a K!

What’s that spell?
What’s that spell?
What’s that spell?
What’s that spell?
What’s that spell?

Yeah, c’mon on all you big strong sheep
Ed Rendell needs your help again
He’s got himself in a terrible jam
Way down yonder in RedInk-stan
So put upon your mouse and Google radon
We’re gonna have a whole lot of fun

And it’s 1, 2, 3, what’re we fighting for?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn
Next stop is water in a can
And it’s 5, 6, 7, bring on the water buffalo
Well there ain’t no time to wonder why
Whoopee! We’re all gonna cry

Well c’mon CEOs, let’s move fast
Your big chance has come at last
Gotta go out and bribe those Feds
The only good Tree Hugger is one who’s dead
And you know that profits can only be won
When we’ve blown the aquifers all to kingdom come

And it’s 1, 2, 3, what’re we fighting for?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn.
Next stop is water in a can
And it’s 5, 6, 7, bring on the water buffalo
Well there ain’t no time to wonder why
Whoopee! We’re all gonna cry

Well c’mon on Wall Street
Don’t be slow
Why this is war a-go-go
There’s plenty good money to be made
By buying the drillers the legislation they crave
Just hope and pray when we drop the Benzene bomb
They drop it on-the Enviro-cong

Well c’mon mothers throughout this land
Pack your kids some of that water in a can
C’mon pops, don’t hesitate
Send ‘em to the doc before it’s too late
Be the first one on your block
To have your H2O delivered in a box

And it’s 1, 2, 3, what’re we fighting for?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn.
Next stop is water in a can
And it’s 5, 6, 7, bring on the water buffalo
Well there ain’t no time to wonder why
Whoopee! We’re all gonna cry


As it went back in the much more heady days of peace, love and beads, "I'd love to change the world. But I don't know what to do."

Now you know.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Paycheck Fairness (for the few remaining employed)

Is this really the Summer of Recovery?

Or as the increasingly disturbing data clearly suggests, is this hottest of the hot summers just the beginning of the Great Depression II?

White House Backs Bill to Collect Employee Pay Information from Businesses

The Excerpt: (CNSNews.com) – The Obama administration is backing legislation that includes regulations requiring U.S. businesses to provide to the government data about employee pay as it relates to the sex, race and national origin of employees.

In an orchestrated effort that included a statement by President Barack Obama and an event at the White House featuring Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, the president and his cabinet endorsed the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Hey, giving credit where credit is obviously due, Obama is following through on his pledge to have a "laser-like focus" on jobs. Unfortunately, his out-of-focus focus has absolutely nothing to do with job creation, or the generation of economic activity.

Yepper, the Paycheck Fairness Act. Frightening as it may be, these hapless people are completely serious.

The problem with this ill-timed and misplaced bit of illogic is...you need a job in the first place before you can get to grumbling about perceived inequities in the workplace.

Ah, whatever.

You wanted community organizers, the most pompous that academia had to offer, left-leaning lobbyists and left-leaning attorneys with negligible private sector experience and you got 'em. You wanted the Neoprogs (neo-progressives) and you got 'em.

With rigid ideology comes missteps. Know that, I do.

Do you want the ultimate in paycheck fairness? Really?

Then sign up for unemployment benefits.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

What's the ugliest part of your body?

“This is gonna get ugly.”--Kayak Dude, 2008

When I was a sprat of 6, 7, maybe 8 back when channel surfing meant adjusting the tin foil appendages on the rabbit ears connected to the smallish black and white television, I resided in the Derby/Ansonia Valley in Connecticut. A valley much like this Wyoming Valley of ours.

And while I was unwillingly playing the part of a punching bag, which step-children so often did and still do, I desperately wanted to move to Wilkes-Barre and live out my many remaining days with my grandparents, and the other now deceased folks that constitute my incomplete family tree.

When I was in Wilkes-Barre, nobody hit me. Nobody chastised me for being what I obviously was--a cantankerous, forgetful and inquisitive little boy. My grandparents were, at least for me, that proverbial lighthouse on the hill that guided wayward vessels to safety. And I loved them for what they brought to what, without them, was a life lacking any semblance of domestic tranquility. They brought a modicum of stability to what was an otherwise scattered and shell-shocked existence.

But, just as soon as my mom went and filed for a divorce from the abusive step-dad, and just as soon as we had happily settled into their home--638 N. Washington Street--the agita that was my next few years in a strange, coal-scarred landscape was cemented into my consciousness by my yarn-spinning grandfather.

Many times, I sat on their front porch with two, count em’, two long, long, long-time congressman while they talked politics with my grandfather. And as a kid bored with such unimportant things, I’d pepper them with questions about the burning mountain in full view for all to see from our vantage point.

And in response, they’d usually give me the short version of the history of this fast-failing area that once fueled this country’s industrial revolution.

As in, men used to mine coal. Nobody mined coal anymore. The mountain was burning because the coal beneath it was set ablaze. And, then they got into the subsidence stories, stories that my grandfather could expound upon, expound upon and then expound upon to the point of hilarity.

The ground opened and swallowed a donkey. The ground opened and swallowed a car on Kidder Street. The ground opened and took down a section of the sewing factory that once overlooked Guthrie Field. The ground opened and swallowed some guy east of somewhere over there.

Needless to say, by the time they put me in charge of maintaining the very first coal furnace I had ever laid eyes on, I was more afraid of the musty-smelling dirt floor in that spooky, poorly-lit, half-crawl of a basement than I was that ages-old iron behemoth, that shuttering, that belching and that steam-venting nightmare that no unsuspecting refugee of a kid who had spent what should have been his formative years in another state should ever have to endure.

The ground would open and swallow you. If the subsidence’s didn’t get you, the furnace would surely go and explode before you could scurry away from it and up the steps to well-lit safety. The mountain was on fire. Just some ten years prior, as it was told to me, the ground opened and swallowed the entire Susquehanna River.

What’s not to like for a relocated sprat of 10-years-old?

My point is as follows.

I realize I was not the only kid that once relocated from an otherwise sane world to a backwards, coal-scarred landscape that just might shake loose one day and eat me.

I understand that, while no other town I know of once had it‘s river upped and swallowed by it‘s industrial past, it still could happen again being that the fracturing of bedrock beneath a severely mined-out region does not appear to be a concern to the elected, the appointed and those who would grease them to look the other way.

And I know that to suggest that the current goings-on remind me of the ugliest of my boyhood memories not brought on by a fist or a zircon-encrusted leather belt could and would sound foolhardy, if not, alarmist to most.

But when my mind wanders back to those black and white days when dairy products were waiting for us at the back door when we finally climbed from beneath our quilts in the morning and warmed our hands over the coal stove in the kitchen, never once did my grandfather, or anyone else for that matter tell me that the mines would open and swallow our water supply.

No, I figure that would have been an enduring environmental disaster brought on by the unchecked industrialism and the rampant greed that pockmarked this area and our collective mindset that even he could not imagine.

What I used to think was the ultimate in environmental ugliness and industrial degradation--the Anthracite Region-- now pales in comparison to the ugliness that might currently be afoot in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

When the rush to the thousands-of-feet deep natural gas pockets compromises (swallows) the supply of potable water, the ugliness that once was will seem nostalgic, even preferable to the ugliness that may soon be.

And to those who would take an apathetic approach to this most pressing of issues, I would ask the following, which Francis Vincent Zappa asked some forty-five years ago: “What’s the ugliest part of your body?”

Your nose?

Your toes?

Or your mind?


Monday, July 19, 2010

The new Centralia?

Chesapeake Energy, one of the major players in this gas drilling invasion, has been running an ad on WILK in which they beckon you to "ask Chesapeake."

In that ad, they make this claim: "A community armed with the truth is a powerful ally."

The truth? The truth according to whom?

Yeah! And a corporation, any corporation armed with an exception to the Clean Water Act is a powerful foe.

Anywho, they are there for you. So pepper them with probing questions. Let 'em have it. Go ahead. Ask Chesapeake.

Ask Chesapeake.com

Ask them what happens if the fracturing process ignites some methane gas trapped in our abandoned coal mines and ignites a coal vein?

Will Plains Township become the new Centralia?

For those of you interested in making an appearance, the amazing grand kids, Gage Andrew and Taylor Kate, will be arriving here in Wilkes-Barre direct from Knoxville sometime this coming Saturday afternoon. And the way I hear it, they are bringing their parents with them.

Their arrival coincides with Zachary Bryce, aka River Rodent's, big 7th birthday blowout on Saturday. This is going to be a good one. The grilling, the buffet line, the cold stuffs, the keg(s), the live guitars, the pool and all of what makes for a good noise complaint to 911. Can't wait.

Saturday is also the first day of my vacation. Or, a stay-cation as we now call them in our newly progressive third world country. A trip to Knoebel's Grove is penciled in. Oh, and a trip north would not be complete for my daughter Peace without a side trip to Abe's Hoddogs down there on Barney Street.

After the hangovers fade, I'm looking forward to bicycling with all five of my grand kids--all together---for the very first time. And another first, Gage, that original pint-sized bicycling trailblazer, is scheduled to go bicycling with Pop Pop but under his own power for the first time. Growing like weeds they are.

And don't tell the WBPD, but I was thinking about moseying on down to the river with a couple of air rifles. Keep that one to yourself.

I'm a little confused as to the details and the process, but I was advised this morning that I have been nominated to become my company's Termite Technician of the year for 2010. And I was told that if I were to actually land that tremendous honor, I would then be entered into Pest Control Technology's nationwide competition representing North American Pest Control, of which my company is the driving force.

Trust me, I am amazed and honored just by the nomination.

But just as soon as it all registered in my scattered brain, my very first thought was of my insane fear of flying. If I were to win anything, there's no way I'm flying anywhere to accept anything.

So keep your fingers crossed.

Here's to hoping I never really had a chance.


Sunday, July 18, 2010


This is in response to the following email blurb I received just minutes ago:

"Muckus---Dont get too excited. Your Braves will finish behind the division winner Phils and the runner up Mets. Maybe even below the Marlins. Must suck to be a Braves fan without Maddux and Galvine hheh?"

As for the Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz era, they won, what, 15 consecutive division titles?

And then as they grew older and dropped by the wayside one-by-one, this created a talent vacuum into which the Phillies stumbled and temporarily filled. But now the rot has set in for that marginally talented team.

Here's a couple of numbers for you.

On April 28, the Braves were 13-18. It took them 31 games to register 18 losses.

At the all-star break, the Braves came in at 53-36. In other words, it took them 58 games (40-18) to suffer another 18 losses. That's 40 and 18, winning at a .690 clip! Over that 58-game stretch, they are the hottest team in baseball.

And over the break, they traded away the lone knucklehead from among the starters, and replaced him with a slick-fielding, hot-hitting veteran shortstop.

And the hot rumor is that Chipper Jones' impending retirement will create enormous salary cap room. Meaning, the Braves are currently looking to trade for a big, big stick.

The Phils win the division? You really think?

Good luck with that.

And please, do not bet the house on it.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

203 Zosh Road

Since I am occasionally in this precise area, I have been scouting this location for a few months and have had absolutely nothing to report. As we know, this location in Lake Township is probably next up on the growing list of properties to be hacked, jacked and fracked.

But as the pictures show, we now have some activity on Zosh Road.

This is interesting. The heavy equipment has not been widening this narrow road, nor is it there as part of a paving project. Rather, they dug across the road in a few places just a few feet north of the drilling site, ran 12' plastic drainage lines under the road, and then smoothed things back over. Huh?

What? After the drilling begins, are they anticipating irrigation issues? Or is this more about creating waste water runoff opportunities? Who'd know if a few gallons of Allah only knows what drained away into the forested land?

Call me skeptical, but I found that to be damn curious.

This following picture is 203 Zosh Road. As we can see, the utility lines are being located and marked by the respective utilities.

This next picture is of the cutout through the forest that is an existing high-pressure gas line. This spot is directly across the road from the utility markings and surveyor stakes in the tall grass and all of that pre-construction stuff.

Or should I say, pre-destruction?

I read a few newspapers stories about how some of the Back Mountain folks were objecting to having gas lines running through or near their properties for the purposes of exporting the extracted natural gas. Somehow, I was envisioning above ground pipelines. Not subterranean pipelines.

So which is it? Is this a perfect scenario, a lucky break were the sub-slab line just happens to be sitting next to a favored extraction point? Or was this planned?

I think we need some clarification on this one, being that explosions and fires seem to be a regular part of the fracking program. There's a residence at 190 Zosh Road, pretty darn close to the site of the future drilling. And pretty darn close to the high-pressure gas line. And do we want to be mowing that lawn when a wellhead blows out?

I mentioned it some weeks ago, but as a training vehicle I was treated to numerous photos of the destructive and fatal aftermath of a high-pressure gas line that was augured through. And the blast radius was bigger than Wilkes-Barre's downtown. High-pressure gas lines, explosions, fires, ah, what's not to like?

That reminds me, how's that moratorium on drilling coming?

Somebody call this region's preeminent expert on Marcellus Shale issues--Steve "I am whatever annoys my audience!" Corbett on the phone and see what he has to mispronounce about it?

Doesn't matter anyway. Even a precursory glance towards Washington D.C. suggests we'll all be broke, ruined and suicidal long before Zosh Road makes like a firestorm.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Peace, Love & Gas?

Man, I don't know about this one.

The link: Drilling opponents plan environmental awareness concert, festival

The excerpt: The organizer of a Marcellus Shale and environmental awareness concert and rally hopes the event will be a gas.

"Gas Stock," to be held Aug. 21 at the Luzerne County Fairgrounds in Lehman Township, will feature live bands, speakers and vendors. Roxanne Pauline of Taylor, who is putting the event together with the group Northeastern Pennsylvania Citizens In Action, anticipates a crowd of 500 to 800 people. Interest, she said, is growing day by day.

"The response has been non-stop," she said.

Just in case you missed this somewhere along the way, my kids' names are as follows: Marque, Ebon and Peace. Now do the math...Peace...Cour (pronounced Corps)?

Anyway, since Peace was old enough to range about on her own, people would say one of two things to here after learning her full name. Ready?

What? Were your parents hippies?


Were you conceived at Woodstock?

Ah, yeah, Woodstock. That's the ticket. You nailed it.

Although, I was a mere 10-years-old when Woodstock displayed the immorality and the lackadaisical nature of an entire generation of drug-addled slackers.

Anyway, after Peace, Love & Music becomes Peace, Love & Gas, does that mean when the attendees look back fondly on their having attended "Gas-stock" they'll be widely known as Gassies? The Gas Generation?

Sounds like it and y'all could easily be confused with a Campbell's Corporation sponsored pork 'n' beans cook off. Frackin' A!

I dunno.


Radio Free Kayak Dude

From a Citiziens' Voice exclusive:

Drilling discussion to be streamed live online

Wilkes-Barre native Don Williams will be one of the bloggers featured on a panel discussion about natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale on Penn State Radio's "Sustainability Now" program, which will be broadcast at 5 p.m. today. The show will also be streamed live at thelion.fm. Participants include Williams, creator of "Susquehanna River Sentinel," and Laurie Spaeth of the Chenango Delaware Otsego Gas Drilling Opposition Group, who blogs at un-naturalgas.org.

I don't know a Don Williams, but I do know that Kayak Dude is supposed to be a part of this show.

The Lion-90.7 FM

I'm hoping that WILK's Nancy Kman catches this show and hires KD to replace Steve "I am a henpecked Mexican!" Corbett.

We'll get more informative radio, a talk jockey who can actually pronounce words, and Corbett can go back to punking drunks in seedy bars.

A win/win for everyone.


*For more on the Marcellus Shale issue on Internet radio, visit Sustainability Now

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

'White people suck' redux or: blah, blah, blah, blah effing blah

I’m still trying to wrap my denuded mind around this infuriating law suit filed by Ba-roke Oblahblah’s Justice Department against the State of Arizona. This is absurdity on steroids.

The Fedrule Govmint outright refuses to enforce what used to be our borders, but that very same out-of-control Fedrule Govmint reserves the right to attack any state that does want to protect the sovereignty of this country. Must be me.

The surreal becomes the sublime. Oh, and then some.

The dirty little secret is that by allowing our country to be overrun by millions upon millions of poverty-stricken migrant workers that basically piss on every law and ordinance they come in contact with, Democrat constituencies and Democrat causes-du-jour benefit greatly.

Who can argue against the health care reform push while illegal invaders are literally swamping our health care systems?

And who can make the case that we don’t need more self-serving union brothers of the educational variety while very many of our local school districts are being overwhelmed by the mass influx of the children of the illegal?

And who can make the argument with a straight face that the providers of fake I.D.s do not constitute this fast-fading country’s fasting growing, under-the-table cottage industry?

The pitifully predictable arguments against the fortification of our borders defy what used to be known as logic. I am aghast at the short-sightedness of those who would be willingly overrun in the name of their twisted ideology. And I am aghast at those who would chortle at those of us who are infuriated with the self-imposed and purposeful demise of our sovereignty.


It’s proof of racism to demonstratively demand that the Fedrule Govmint do what it was Constitutionally bound to do--to defend our borders? That’s racism? You're doped-up, right? That's all you've got?

Brown? Black? White? It does not matter. All that matters is that hard-working, tax-paying and increasingly shell-shocked Americans are being told to shut up and pay the heavy freight of the people that should have never been allowed here in the first place.


We’re racists to be alarmed when all that we once held near and dear is seemingly collapsing all around us? And we’re called racists while the Democrats are brow-beating us for daring to take issue with what any other country’s populace would call a deliberate and sustained invasion?

Meanwhile, I have yet to hear anyone cry racism over the fact that white people, and white people alone, are facing tax increases if and when they seek out the services of the local tanning salon.

The white folks have been targeted for discriminate confiscation of their financial resources, again and again and again, where no other race or ethnicity or future Democrat recipient of freebies need be concerned.

Racial profiling?

Uh, yeah. Keep trying to sell that phony bill of lading to the light-skinned who are, and who always have been the steadfast backbone of this flailing country. See where that gets you. See what that amounts to in November.

Did I say “light-skinned,” as in, white people?

Yikes! Now I’ve gone and done it.

I’ve finally gone over the not-so-free speech edge.

I’ve finally gone and said to the intellectually incontinent race-baiters, take your fu>king laughably threadbare charges of racism and ram ‘em up your fu>king snout. Quit being so intellectually vacant. And quit doing so as if you have some sort of self-percieved license, some sort of unearned idealogical birthright by which the guilty can so easily affix their centuries-old baggage to everyone else around them.

Congressman Robert Byrd---Klu Klux Klan.

Moreover, just quit.

As always...


Monday, July 12, 2010

All the Madmen

This is by, uh, by request.

Against my better, uh, judgement...yes, we do have a track record around here. I'll not explain. You can figure it out on your own.

20 bucks and a case. There it is. You owe me. Memberin' history back, Captain Walker.

You've got the knowin' of a lot of things, history back.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

A tributary ran through it

They (whoever they are) say a picture is worth a thousand words.

And when you consider what a picture of a giggling mayor holding a gun to another man's head can mean to his electoral future, sometimes pictures can be innately synergistic.

I've been doing this--blogging--a long, long time. Too long, in fact. And I learned a long time ago that my timely use of a cheap Kodak digital camera could tell the tale far, far better than any scattershot collection of words I could cobble together.

With that said, This Fracking Water Withdrawal Site on Bowmans Creek has been shut down for TWO WEEKS!

Unlike our politicians and the willing dupes that serve them, pictures do not lie. And neither do committed citizens armed only with the facts. Oh, and armed with that camera.


*And on a post post aside, Darth Cheney?

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Corbett: "I am a (belated) tree-hugger!"

Not too long ago, I chastised WILK's Steve Corbett for finally coming around to the Marcellus Shale drilling issue way, way, way too late to make a discernible difference. And I was undeniably correct in daring to mock his long overdue arrival to NEPA's most pressing issue.

And as was noted here, he angrily reacted to my criticisms of him. And I repeat, Dude, while you were taunting us coal crackers by telling us, "I am a Mexican," and "I am a feminist," the gas drilling outfits snuck in under the cover of purposeful indifferent darkness at the hands of our elected and appointed officials.

You went on and on and on about your perceived intellectual superiority to that of your Culm-covered audience, while some from within that very audience were desperately trying to get the word out about this mine-scarred area's soon-to-be second go-round with an environmental disaster in the making.

Still, you belittled the clarion calls coming from the Internet while telling us at length about the systematic rejection of your upbringing. And you wasted your time as well as ours by droning on and on about the inconsequential, the meaningless Friendly Sons get-togethers, something you had to do so as to promote domestic tranquility after you shed the headphones.

But, just as I had said previously, you found the issue of natural gas drilling way too late to make a discernible difference. While you were going on and on about Michael Jackson, tofu hoddogs, martial arts and your Irish heritage, the gas drillers were spidering their way into our various and sundry neighborhoods.

And you know the issue is well beyond our control as concerned citizens, you know our eventual fate is sealed when you read the following...

Excerpted from Forced into drilling

"I can't put a chicken coop in my backyard but people can put heavy industry all around the township. I don't understand that," the retired Dallas school teacher said. "It doesn't make sense. It doesn't seem fair."

Way to go, Steve. I think you missed that one, the most pressing issue to force itself upon our slow-to-resonate and collective mindsets throughout our entire lives.

It's here. We can no longer hope to stop it. Our elected officials, far and wide, are turning a blind eye in the name of future tax opportunities.

We can't erect a chicken coop out back, but we can have our properties drilled out, literally, from underneath us. Apparently, we cannot protect our drinking water supplies. We cannot stop our favorite fishing holes from being drained dry. And we cannot stop the eminent domain abuse that is currently percolating in the short-sighted minds of the elected and appointed.

Oh, but, we can hear about how tofu, Buddism and self-emasculation is proof of a brilliant and still developing mind. As if.

Admit it, Kung Fu Boy.

While all of NEPA needed your help, you were too busy happily taunting your audience to have even a single finger on the surging pulse of the area. I told you you were too late to the issue. And I was correct in that assessment.

So open your microphone on Monday afternoon and tell me even more about what you missed after you spent the last couple pf years basking in your self-perceived intellectual superiority.

It's a good thing you won't eat chicken, ain't it?


WBFD goes electronic

Once upon a time, long, long ago, I, me, my Web site was the conduit by which the Wilkes-Barre Fire Department voiced it's concerns about the-then scant attention paid to pubic safety.

Yes, there was a time when I considered very many of the "Hose Dudes" and I to be thick as thieves. But after we both got what we wanted--new leadership--the WBFD quickly separated from me when it became patently obvious that we did not see the financial end of things eye-to-eye. So be it.

And in my opinion, that's perfectly fine. You can disagree with me, you can despise me, you can outrightly detest my very being, just don't fu>k with me. And except for a couple of very insignificant scrapes, no one from the ranks of the fire department has ever done as much.

Anyway, times change, issues have a fluidity about them and where once folks shied away from political confrontations, now people are feeling more emboldened. A good thing, for sure. And some recognize the Internet as the electronic enabler of change that it is, or, that it can be when applied correctly.

With that said, the link: WB Fire Fighters Thoughts

Give it a look.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Obamanomics: I'll see y'all at the Salvation Army thrift store

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." - Thomas Jefferson

Kiddies, the 234-year-long party is just about over.

Obama threatens to follow in FDR's economic missteps

Excerpt time: What about the third factor, the entrepreneurial environment? The Obama administration places a premium on action. When it comes to spending, the idea seems to be that any spending is better than none. Big new laws -- financial reform -- are put forward to inspire confidence.

But change that is too arbitrary and too frequent petrifies firms, especially before their rules have been tested in the courts. As Verizon Communications chief executive Ivan Seidenberg noted recently in a Business Roundtable speech: "By reaching into virtually every sector of economic life, government is injecting uncertainty into the marketplace and making it harder to raise capital and create new businesses."

This analysis echoes those of Depression-era entrepreneurs. In 1938 Lammot du Pont, head of the eponymous chemical concern, spoke of a "fog of uncertainty" slowing business and noted in the company's annual report that arbitrary government always slowed business down: "by land and sea the universal practice under conditions of fog is to slacken speed."

Uncertainty? No sh*t! No kidding!

And where have we heard that U-word mentioned before?

The full text: "We see a host of laws, regulations and other policies being enacted that impose a government prescription of how individual industries ought to be structured, rather than produce an environment in which the private sector can innovate, invest and create jobs in this modern global economy.

In our judgment, we have reached a point where the negative effects of these policies are simply too significant to ignore. In the search for short-term revenue fixes, we're doing long-term damage to growth. By reaching into virtually every sector of economic life, government is injecting uncertainty into the marketplace and making it harder to raise capital and create new businesses." - Verizon CEO and Business Roundtable Chairman Ivan Seidenberg speaking at the Economic Club of Washington, June 22, 2010

And get ready for the latest from Community Organizer Central, prepare to Google search the “Financial Transaction Tax.”


And then we have the latest, distressing news such as…

*California is $19.1 billion in the red and the legislature has gone home without passing a budget. Governor Schwarzenegger has said he will cut the wages of state employees to the federal minimum of $7.25/hour, at least for those employees whose unions are not willing to negotiate new contracts.

*In Illinois the Comptroller has stopped paying bills because the state is $12 billion in deficit. The cash balance for the state is minus $5 billion and it is taking nearly 250 days to pay bills that are due.- In Oregon they tried raising taxes on "the rich." The state passed a referendum in January to substantially raise taxes on those making over $125,000 per year and on corporations, but the hoped-for revenues never materialized, so Governor Kulongoski is calling for a 9 percent across-the-board cut in state spending.

*Indiana has balanced its budget by not relying on federal funds. Governor Mitch Daniels said, "It would have never entered our mind to put funny money like that into the budget."

*In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie managed to cut spending by 8.8 percent from last year and refused demands to raise taxes on "millionaires." Now he has called for a special session of the legislature to limit property tax hikes to no more than 2.5 percent per year.

You know, despite what Ba-roke Oblahblah says, this ain’t fu*king rocket science. At least, not for anyone born and raised in America. Here’s the tried-and-true fix:

1. Downsize government.

2. Reduce the deficit.

3. Decrease the level of taxation.

4. Regulate, don't suffocate.

5. Tell the partisan union brotherhoods to deal with reality.

And don’t give me any Keynesian nonsense.

A dollar drained by force from the private sector does not produce a return and then some, as the Harvard shut-ins might have you believe. A dollar confiscated from the private sector is a dollar that returns no real dividend back to the private sector. That lost dollar goes to pay for the bureaucracy, it pays for those wanting a government handout and it pays for votes. Done.


I’ll see y’all at the Salvation Army thrift store.

Oh, and by the way, Afghanistan is all but lost in any practical sense. Pull the ground troops back, get the boots off of the mountainsides and allow the CIA to turn that 4th-century country into it's private, high-tech playground. No more blood spilled by America's kids.

Drone, baby, drone.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Only in Kingston

The following is a perfect example of why anonymous posting should be banned from the Internet, never to return.

This is a comment that was posted at Gort’s site, which was a limp-wristed, laughable and completely uninformed response to something that I had previously posted.

Anonymous said...

Mark, I am a resident of Kingston and street sweeping is not a rotating schedule, it is the same day every week. Here's an idea, don't park where you are not supposed to on street sweeping day and you won't get a ticket. Otherwise, you get the ticket you deserve. Obviously you are always the "victim" and never responsible for your own actions.

9:56 AM

This is abject stupidity on so many levels, it’s frightening in it’s abjectly clueless perfection.

Did that even make sense?

Tom, feel free to grade that one.

Before we go on, here’s what I had posted, the comments that drew the ire of the stupid fu*k on the hot seat

I would like to ask Mr. Mayor Haggerty why folks working, quite obviously working in Kingston, need to be ticketed over and over and over again on street sweeping days by that Navy Seals wannabe of a Parking Enforcement goof?

I'm 200 feet away, behind the structure, with motors whirling, electrical cords all over the place, pumps spinning and with ear-protecting headphones on, but I'm ticketed every time. Um, why should I have to pay those ill-begotten tickets?

Mayor? Better government? Better governing?

This from the executive who has no problem with working stiffs being fleeced while toiling away in his town?

Now, we know Haggerty saw this comment, simply because he was sure to be following the reader’s comments left in response to his Home Rule tome on Gort’s site. And of course, as the consummate politician that he is, he ignored them, as if he had never laid eyes on them.

No biggie. I expected as much from the man who personally sank the latest Home Rule uprising. Quote me on that.

As for the next-door neighbor of Donna Reed who felt the need to go after me, perhaps he/she/it should stick to the Shade Tree Commission meetings, or the Bridge Club or the Neighborhood Protection Association.

Here’s the scoop on parking illegally, something I had not been ticketed for since I was 17-years-old. Something, by the way, that I never do. Something that never occurs to me. See, I’m not fat and lazy like most people. I can pump a quarter into a parking meter and walk a block and a half. A rarity, for sure.

When I arrive at a job site, I should not be expected to know all of the varying schedules and all of the ancient ordinances of any of the 70-plus communities in this ass-backwards county. In addition, when I arrive at a job site to find the customer’s driveway already spoken for, I am left with strategically parking the rig on the street.

At the curb. On the street. The street. Do you get it, anonymous dunce?

And once at the job site, the industrial work begins, which means an array of tools, half-inch hammer drills, cordless drills, 5/16 hammer drills, 24 horsepower shop-vacs, 100 or so feet of 12-gauge extension cords, warning signs, my cooler, and up to 300 feet of hose need to be positioned and utilized.

And then, just for effect, throw in the constant whirling of the electric motors, the deafening gas-powered motors and the droning of the pumps.

And then consider that while all of that is going on, at any given moment I may be 300-plus feet away from the truck and at the very rear of the job site, in the basement with noise-suppression headphones on, or lying prone in a crawl space.

And, whether or not I have the street sweeping schedule of the borough I may be working in on that particular day memorized, I have absolutely no warning when the overzealous Kingston parking enforcement ass-wipe arrives on the scene with his trusty pencil in hand. Fact is, with a real job to do, I usually find his pussy-whipped handiwork well after the fact.

You see, unbeknownst to the people that reside there, the rest of the world does not wait on bent knees in anticipation of the updated Kingston street sweeping schedule. Shocking, I know. But in the grand scheme of things, Kingston is about as important as is Lindsey Lohan's new potty schedule.

And it is for that exact reason that contractors being paid by residents of Kingston to apply their skills within the borders of Kingston should not be punished for doing so. We’re not punished in Wilkes-Barre. We’re not getting ripped-off in Swoyersville. We’re not getting screwed over in Hazleton, Scranton, Pittston or Nanticoke. Oh, but in Kingston, the powers that be will attempt to balance the smallish budget on the backs of contractors and sub-contractors?

And when the parking ticket creep decides to go all Parking God on us, he is endeavoring to extort monies from vendors and contractors who were invited into his neighborhoods. And from what I can gather, the real Mayor of Kingston, Paul Keating, has absolutely no problem with borough employees extorting hard-earned money from working stiffs.

Always the victim?

Nope. Not always. In fact, I’m only the victim when I have to toil away in Kingston. Yup. The only time I get fleeced is when I am contracted to work in Kingston. Only in Kingston are hard working folks smugly fu*ked over by the municipality. Only in Kingston does Parking Enforcement ignore common courtesies that every other municipality in this county adheres to.

Only in Kingston.

And to the anonymous pussy that spoke from a position of obvious ignorance, commingled pickup is tomorrow. Hurry up, run like hell to the curb and pray at your chosen altar.

Now you know. If only you had known before you went and made an anonymous ass of yourself.

And with that, I’m off to change the settings by which people can comment on this site.

I’m thrilled to have added to your woefully foreshortened and long overdue continuing education.

Bye, dunce

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Rationed Care: Who knew?

Ah, it just gets better and better and better, depending on your perspective.

And they said Sarah Palin was flat-out crazy for coining the phrase, “Death Panels?”

In actuality, whenever strong-minded women get close to being in a position of some great political and policy-making importance, those emasculated men on the left come out in force to call them crazy and what have you.

Let’s see here. Condi Rice. Hillary Clinton. Sarah Palin. Does anyone see a pattern here? I sure do.

Anyway, Ba-roke Oblahblah has gone and done it again. He’s gone and added yet another pointy-headed, anti-American radical to the Fedrule Czarist mix.

The link: Critical Condition: Obama Appoints His Rationer-in-Chief

The excerpt: Berwick will have authority over an agency with the largest single budget in the entire U.S. government and over implementation of the most sweeping legislative overhaul of our health sector ever — without so much as a congressional hearing!

The link: Political Punch: President Obama to Make Recess Appointment of CMS Administrator Republicans Attacking as 'Expert on Rationing'

The excerpt: In an interview last year with Biotechnology Healthcare, Berwick said society makes decisions about rationing all the time, and that the "decision is not whether or not we will ration care -- the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open. And right now, we are doing it blindly."

A couple of video snippets…

Redistribution of Wealth (2:15)

Opposes Free Markets (:48)

Miles to go before I sleep…


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

To 'deem' the Fedrule budget

I hate to say it, but 2012 can't get here fast enough.

The link: Obama's fiscal fantasyland

The excerpt: For thousands of years, businesses, organizations, governments and even individuals have relied on a basic tool to make sure they do not spend or borrow more than they can service - it is called a budget. Yet, for the first time since 1974, when the current rules were put into effect, the U.S. House of Representatives does not intend to pass a budget resolution. The main purpose of the budget resolution is to set discretionary spending caps for the coming fiscal year.

Another snippet: And do government workers on average work harder, and are they more productive than workers you observe in the private sector?

Whoa there! Let's not get frickin' crazy!

If you answered that one in the affirmative, pour a gallon of water over your head, depress both buttons and insert your tongue into the toaster.


Report Card

Go ahead, do it.

Go ahead and grade the clueless wonder's abysmal performance at CBS.com, that bastion of far-right nincompoops.

Grade Obama's First Year in Office

The best part is that none of you can go whining that I'm--me--being mean to your newist leftist hero. No cheap shots here, girls. No picking one sentence out of a couple hundred and making like I am somehow off base. No need to agree to disagree. No need to tangle with that one dissenter.

Do it. I know you're afraid, but the brave go in spite of their fears.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Dem Straight

This is fun.

The latest from Dem Straight, "Money for Nothing," featuring Joe BFD Biden on the drums, Barack Obama on keyboard, Harry Reid on guitar, Nancy Pelosi on bass and Mark Knockoffler on vocals.

Money for Nothing (4:49)

*Courtesy of PolitiZoid


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Flashback: "I repeat: not one single dime."

It’s 11:00 p.m., Kirby Park is slowly, that’s slowly emptying out, and I want to be the first to call for this to be the last year that the City of Wilkes-Barre sponsors an Independence Day fireworks display.

Both the police and fire departments have been pushed to the brink for hours now. With the dry conditions, we’ve had brush fires and structure fires for most of the day. And now that the drunks are at it with reckless abandon, the calls are now flowing in to 911 for domestics, drunken idiocy and assaults and all of that good aggravated assault type stuff.

With municipal budgets already strained to the point of breaking into the Sargasso Sea of red ink, this public safety madness bordering on chaos needs to stop this year. Why spend ungodly amounts of overtime on an hours-long display of idiocy? No more.

Sez me.

From NPR.org:Tanning Salons Burned By New Health Law

The excerpt:
It's the first controversial element of the new health law to take effect: Starting Thursday, people who partake of indoor tanning services will pay a 10 percent tax to help underwrite the costs of the rest of the new law.

Tanning salon owners are outraged. They say the new tax is the last thing they need in a struggling economy. But dermatologists hope the new tax will deter indoor tanning — which they say is every bit as dangerous as baking in the sun — the same way tobacco taxes have helped cut down on smoking.

"The tax could hit an estimated 18,000 small businesses nationwide, jeopardizing thousands of jobs and unfairly hitting working women and college students, who comprise the majority of indoor tanning customers," said a joint statement from the Indoor Tanning Association, the International Franchise Association and the National Federation of Independent Business.

So Ba-roke Oblahblah has broken his oft-repeated campaign promise – a “firm pledge” that Americans earning less than $250,000 would not see “any form of tax increase.” He first broke this pledge sixteen days into his presidency when he signed a 156% increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco.

And dig this…this so-called Obamacare contains 21 certifiable, undeniable tax increases.

Our minds drift back to…

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”--Candidate Barack Obama, Sept. 12, 2008

“If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.”--President Barack Obama, Feb. 24, 2009

“The statement didn’t come with caveats.”--Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs, April 15, 2009, when asked if the pledge applies to healthcare

In 2001 and 2003, the ‘evil’ GOP Congress enacted several tax cuts for investors, small business owners, and families. All of which expire on January 1, 2011.

What was it? The economy created 36,000 jobs in June, a measly average of 260 jobs per state? So much for that promised “laser-like focus.”

Uncertainty, baby. No smart entrepreneur of either the large or small variety invests in anything of any great importance when uncertainty rules the day, as well as rules the immediate future and beyond.

Read his lips: No new taxes.


Will cameras be allowed at the FINRA event?

Is FINRA, the embattled Financial Industry Regulatory Organization really a self-regulatory organization? Investor protection? Market integrity?

Yeah, right? It's more like a self-regulatory group of financial plunderers. The people that are allowed to schmooze with our camera-shy congressman, Paul "Cornerstone" Kanjorski.

Read on...

From Wickipedia:

In March 2010, Project on Government Oversight, a non-profit organization that works to make the government more open and accountable, wrote a letter to Congress criticizing FINRA and other self-regulatory organizations for what POGO described as a failure to adequately regulate the financial sector. POGO claimed that FINRA and other SROs are unable to regulate effectively due to their close ties with the securities industry that they are supposed to regulate; for example, Bernard Madoff was vice-chairman of NASD, FINRA's predecessor, while he was running his ponzi scheme, his son was on the National Adjudicatory Council whose job it was to review FINRA's disciplinary decisions, and his niece was a member of a compliance advisory committee of FINRA. POGO also attacked FINRA's multi-million dollar executive compensation packages, failure to warn other investors about the imminent collapse of the auction rate securities market despite having liquidated its own investment in the market, spending of large amounts of money and resources on advertising and campaigning in an attempt to gain more power, and the higher transaction costs to investors that are created when an industry regulates itself.

Before going on, know that Ba-roke Oblahblah nominated a former FINRA honcho to head the Security & Exchange Commission (SEC). In common parlance, a former member of the corrupt is now leading the incompetent and corrupt.

Divest, people. Divest. Withdraw your investments and store them in a Charles Chip can.

From Phil’s Favorites: The FINRA Fiasco

FINRA may have potential massive conflicts of interests in its dealing with its internal investment portfolio. A clear example is FINRA’s behavior with its Auction Rate Securities. Evidence suggests FINRA sold its Auction Rate Securities months before the market collapsed. Insider information or really good luck?

From Larry Doyle: FINRA Owes America Answers on These Proposals

There you go. In light of everything our country has experienced, who in America could possibly have a problem with the transparency and integrity encompassed in these proposals? America deserves answers to these proposals. FINRA must remove the incestuous blanket it has wrapped itself in over the years. No longer can FINRA be allowed to operate as an entity described by Harry Markopolos as ‘in bed with the industry.’ These proposals will go a long way in pulling that cover back.

I call on President Obama, Treasury Secretary Geithner, Fed Chair Bernanke, SEC Chair Schapiro, Congressmen Issa, Frank, Kanjorski, Senators Dodd, Schumer, et al to compel FINRA to embrace these proposals.

America deserves nothing less than total transparency and will learn a lot in this process.

From the Baltimore Chronicle: Paul Kanjorski and the $550 Billion that "Disappeared" on September 15

I was also struck by Rep. Kanjorski's idiodic statement during the interview that "somebody" threw us into the (financial) ocean, and now he is trying to find the shore. He says this as if it is ineffable who is the "somebody." And, of course, when the going gets a little rough, he takes one leg off of his high horse and says, "I'm not an expert on these matters, I'm just a little ole representative of the people."

From FINRA: FINRA Investor Forum at Wilkes-Barre, PA; featuring special guest Congressman Paul Kanjorski: What Every Investor Needs to Know: Smart Investing in Today’s Environment

More from Larry Doyle (teaser from a very recent appearance on The Sue Henry Show):

We will be talking about our favorite financial regulator, FINRA.

Representative Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) is scheduled for a dog and pony show with FINRA in early July (details here). The fact is, Kanjorski is a member of two Congressional subcommittees which received a letter from the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) questioning the very validity of the self-regulatory model on Wall Street. Those questions are embodied in my commentary from February 23rd, Is FINRA’s Future in Doubt?.

Kanjorski should forget the dog and pony show and call FINRA on the carpet to answer for the massive shortcomings and transgressions within its purview over the last few years.

But will they allow video cameras at the investor forum? That’s what Kanjo and his handlers really need to know.

Anyway, there you have it. Paul Kanjorski refuses to meet face-to-face with his worried and angered constituents, but he will rub elbows with the very people that regularly put our investments at needless risk, while they use inside information to insulate themselves from risk.

A clear lack of oversight led to our continuing financial quagmire. Oversight that Kanjo was all but put in charge of. And now Kanjo wants to pose as our financial knight in shining armor? Spare me.

Those are the sorts of people that Paul Kanjorski is willing and eager to meet with in person.

As for yourself, you're merely an annoying constituent of some sort. The minorities, the defective. The nuts. And the rest of you coal crackers carrying video-capable camera phones.