Opinions need not be feared nor suppressed.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hazleton's urban myth

I figure every town has one or more of these urban myths, these rumors, i.e., these hoaxes.

In Wilkes-Barre (as the oft-repeated hoax goes), the story is that there are signs posted at the New York Port Authority advising people that if they come to Wilkes-Barre, PA, they’ll be showered with all that welfare has to offer and too many social services to count.

On the Internet as well as talk radio, this bunkum has been repeated to the point of absurdity. Absurdity, when you consider that it’s never once been substantiated.

Oh, and then there’s the one about the Salvation Army flop house here in Wilkes-Barre. According to those who purport to know in lieu of evidence, the Salvation Army recruits losers by the bus loads to Wilkes-Barre, hence, as the sophistry typically flows, we are therefore overrun by murderous criminals.

This one only resurfaces immediately after a heinous crime happens in Wilkes-Barre, and it is usually accompanied with boisterous demands that the politicians order an attack of some sorts on the Salvation Army. Put another way, only hopeless dimwits typically spout off on this one.

And then we have the following, which was posted in response to something I wrote:

Anonymous said...

hasn't hazelton gotten like this under barletta's time in office?
wasn't it lou's first year or two in office when the latino population of ny was enticed to come to hazelton with low cost housing?

the little secrets no one likes to talk about is with in the first years of lou's time in office he actively brought the problem home.

September 26, 2010 7:27 AM
Ah, that one. That one’s funny. That one only comes up when someone dares to suggest that perhaps Lou Barletta is right, that perhaps Hazleton has some real problems as a result of, ahem, as a result of Federally mandated “diversity” by way of a porous border.

When the timing is right, this particular urban myth is a favorite on the Internet and talk radio, but it’s accuracy comes racing into question when you consider that only the anonymous--the phony brave--dare to enter into the record.

So, rather than debate the anonymous nitwits of the world, I thought I’d approach the accused for some enlightenment.

From the email outbox:

Hi, this is Mark Cour from Circumlocution for Dummies, a local blog. Sean and yourself visited our block party here in north Wilkes-Barre back in 2008.

There is this persistent refrain on the Internet and on WILK that either you, or the mayor that preceded you somehow invited or enticed or recruited Hispanics and the like to come and live and work in your city. In other words, the City of Hazleton created it's own problems with illegals and the uptick in crime.

If you respond, I intend to go to print. How would you respond to those sorts of assertions?

By the way, I cannot wait to vote, and I will be voting for you. Remember in November!

Mark Cour

The reply…


It's good to hear from you again. Did we miss the block party? If so, where was our invitation?

I'm happy to address this persistent rumor that dates back to the mid-1990s.

Lou did not recruit anyone to live in Hazleton. It's a free country and people can move wherever they choose. We believe people moved to Hazleton because of its cheap housing, the availability of jobs, and the quality of life. Lou has neither recruited nor discouraged anyone legally in this country from coming to Hazleton.


When I worked as a reporter for the Standard-Speaker in the late 1990s, we heard these rumors all the time. Nothing was ever confirmed. There were some wild accusations, including some about signs posted in the Miami airport saying "Come to Hazleton!" At the time, I wrote a column in the paper about these rumors, and I offered a $100 cash reward if someone provided me with proof that those signs existed. No one ever came forward to claim the prize.

The simple fact is, I believe, that people of all ethnic backgrounds were drawn here by the availability of jobs. Humboldt Industrial Park, for example, is five miles long. Thousands and thousands of people work there. I think you can make a direct correlation to the growth of Humboldt and other local industrial parks with the population growth in Hazleton.

So that's it. If you do write anything, you can use my official statement above. The background is just so you understand that the rumors are nothing new.

Let me know if you need anything else.


Shawn M. Kelly, Communications Coordinator
Lou Barletta for Congress
8 W. Broad St., Suite 1490-M
Hazleton, PA 18201
(o) 570.501.8683 (VOTE)
(f) 570.501.8688

And there it is…Humboldt!

That industrial park needs a zip code of it’s own. Maybe two. I’ve spent a lot of time down there, and I doubt that many of the people who find it so easy to spout off at the mouth have spent any time in plants that encompass one million square feet, if not more.

If any entity can be indirectly blamed for attracting people or entire peoples to Hazleton and it‘s suburbs, it would be those CAN DO folks for facilitating the development of such a massive industrial park.

This place is so big, it has it’s own exit off of I-81, it’s own Turkey Hill, it’s own Sonic, it’s own Burger King, it’s own Subway, as well as the big diesel capable truck stop.

Thanks, Shawn. Thanks for reaffirming for me what I already knew.

Oh, and, the Thompson Street Block Party came to an abrupt halt after 22 interrupted years.

And I’m still pissed about all of that.


DEP vs Cabot or: Spy vs Spy?

From the email inbox:


Remember "this is gonna get ugly"?

By MICHAEL RUBINKAM (AP) – 13 minutes ago

DIMOCK, Pa. — Pennsylvania's top environmental regulator says the state will sue a Houston-based drilling company unless it agrees to pay nearly $12 million to extend a public water line to at least 18 residents whose water wells have been contaminated with methane gas.

John Hanger held a news conference Thursday in the small northeastern Pennsylvania town of Dimock, where tainted water wells are raising concerns about the consequences of gas drilling in the gas-rich Marcellus Shale.

Hanger blamed the methane contamination on faulty natural gas wells drilled by Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. Cabot vigorously denies it is responsible for the pollution. Cabot's CEO issued a scathing public rebuke of Hanger this week, accusing him of "political pandering."

Tensions between Cabot and Dimock residents are escalating. A resident was charged with disorderly conduct last week for an incident with a gun. In response, Cabot has hired armed guards to accompany employees onto residential properties. Hanger pleaded for calm Thursday, saying, "Put the guns away."

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Dude, I suspect that the damage is already well on it's way to being done. And it'll be at it's utmost ugliest once their work here is done.

Whatever. The clarion call did go out. The claxon did sound. The problem being, nobody seemed to hear any of it until it was fashionable.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Now it's the FBI

The things that make you go...Hmmm.

If it walks like a trend and it talks like a tread and it then filters down from the Feds to the state level....

Watchdog Faults FBI for ‘Factually Weak’ Basis for Investigating Activists

The FBI in recent years opened investigations into some U.S. activists with little basis, unjustifiably extended the duration of the probes, improperly retained information about activist groups in its files, and classified its investigations of “nonviolent civil disobedience” as investigations into “acts of terrorism,” according to a report released today [1] (PDF) by the Justice Department’s Inspector General.

The FBI activities reviewed by the Justice Department took place from 2001 to 2006, and involved groups including the Thomas Merton Center (a Pittsburgh social justice center), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Greenpeace, The Catholic Worker (communities of religious pacifists) and a Quaker peace activist.

Scroll back up to that link and read the entire story. Chilling stuff, kiddies.

Terrorists? Whatever. That's old Bush era news. But American-borne activists defiantly flying the free speech flag? A frightening bunch, for sure.

So what's worse?

Bush and the much-maligned Patriot Act? Or Barack Oblahblah and the obvious unleashing of our multitudinous amounts of intelligence agencies on average, energized Americans?

We're either America, or we're not. And if we still are the land of the free and the home of the Atlanta Braves, this abject nonsense, this governmental excess and largess of power has got to cease.


Rutro! The Marcellus Liberation Army

Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security? You folks out there? You dialed in?

This one’s for you…

The following is a communiqué from the Marcellus Liberation Army.

If a natural gas drilling moratorium is not declared by the powers that be in Northeastern Pennsylvania by Saturday, October 2, 2010, our ragtag band of freedom fighters will assault all known hydro-fracturing sites armed with Ping Pong ball guns, very, very large rubber bands and chocolate cream pies.

As a result of the impending guerrilla war, the MLA is currently accepting donations of pre-cooked pie shells, bulk lots of chocolate pudding mix, canned whipped cream, frozen 6% dairy mix and wet wipes.

No one found working at these aforementioned sites will be spared our fierce and unforgiving retribution, and collateral damage will certainly not be frowned upon. And if our dedicated freedom fighters are somehow beaten back by the imperial invaders, we will regroup and counterattack armed with thousands of gallons of strawberry glaze. You have been warned. This will be our last communication before the attacks commence.

The modern day MLA pie chucker refuses to die!

Signed, General Henny D.B. Boon.

Over and out

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What Wilkes-Barre needs is more razor blades

We’ve got a couple of local blogs making noise about the “rash” of recent car break-ins in Wilkes-Barre, specifically in the downtown. And a companion rant takes issue with the effectiveness of the surveillance system that has been recently installed in selected parts of the city.

I’ve heard from members of the WBPD that there have been many, many technical glitches associated with that camera system. I’ve actually been told that it’s completely operational only some of the time. Hopefully, the kinks are being worked out, and we can expect some enhanced security here and there.

I read somewhere on the local Internet that those monitors connected to the system are not being manned by police officers. But since officers on light duty have been regularly assigned to them, that claim is debunked to some degree.

Personally, I see the surveillance system as another useful tool for law enforcement, so I’m kind of perplexed about the constant carping about it. Would we prefer to not have that system in place?

As for the recent wave of cars being broken into, what? Is that a new phenomenon?

After I was transferred to our downtown store circa 1983 or so, my trusty AMC Hornet station wagon was violated twice while parked in the central parking garage on S. Main Street. The first incident cost me a Panasonic cassette deck and a new side window. And the second go-round cost me another side window, but not a new deck since I had glued razor blades to the backside of the new deck. The trail of blood certified my budding genius.

Finally, I got smart and had my company transfer my parking pass from the parking garage to the ground lot behind the restaurant. The ground lot provided no such privacy to the lawless bastards of the world as the parking garages obviously do, so my car suffered nary a scratch after that.

My point is as follows. Car break-ins are nothing new, so why all of the accusatory tones? Is it not beyond patently obvious that if you leave valuables of any sort in your parked vehicles, you are inviting a police report?

Is it the fault of the administration of any city if you park in the most secluded spot in a given downtown--a concrete parking garage, and then compound that original lack of thought by leaving goodies in the vehicle? People steal stuff, they’ve been doing so since the Big Bang, so I’m not really sure what all of the fuss is about.

And to make the claim that crime is the fault of the mayor strongly suggests that you have no confidence in your 90-strong police department. If he’s viewed as less than stellar in these policing respects, what of the boys and girls in blue? They are amazing despite him? Doesn’t wash.

Societal decay is not the fault of any one person, any one municipal government or any well-run police department. And to mistakenly believe that it could be that simple is to set yourself up for disappointment after disappointment.

The economy has been strangled by the fast-strengthening hands of uncertainty as policy, half of our populace seems to be happily addicted to some sort of drug, people seem to have less and less and less respect for each other and a few smashed car windows is somehow a shock?

It must be me.

With that, I will now retreat to my world of Fantasy football, thank you very much.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

A tale of Hazleton

The thing I have always found most annoying about listening to WILK during my work day is the usual litany of callers, talk show hosts included, waxing poetic about stuff they have absolutely no clue about. It's sad, it's obviously clueless, and it pervades most topics, if not, entire shows.

That is to say, we all have deeply-ingrained opinions which can be debated to the point of absurdity, unless, of course, you’re debating Steve Corbett. If you’re foolish enough to debate the minutiae of our fast-devolving modern life with that self-appointed know-it-all, you’ll be chastised, barked at and unceremoniously dumped long before you finish the preliminaries of your argument.

One of my favorites is the oft-repeated nonsense about how prison detainees have it far too cushy, when what they should have is next to nothing, except for the hangman’s noose.

Thanks to my chosen second and third careers, I have visited just about every prison this side of State College. And, unfortunately, I’ve spent entire days in a few of them. And to the clueless wonders who claim the incarcerated have it far too easy, I’d say with absolute certainty to them that the incarcerated have it worse than most of their many victims.

Not to single her out, but WILK host Nancy Kman is the most frequent offender whereas prophesying ad nauseum about that which does not come within a hundred miles of her day-to-day existence is concerned. She lives in the sticks and talks at us as if we're the hicks.

She knows the policing issues, she knows what cities small and large need to do, she knows which roads need to be paved, but she knows not about liquid fuel taxes, and how, when returned to the taxpayers from which they were taken from, they can only be spent/applied in low to moderate income neighborhoods.

Getting back the all-knowing wonder, Steve Corbett, he keeps going on and on and on and on about how Lou Barletta’s position on illegal (that’s illegal) immigration has resulted in a discernible loss of population and boarded up businesses for the City of Hazleton.

This ridiculously baseless poppycock on his part is an absurdity borne of abject ignorance, but why argue with someone who visits Hazleton about as often as Nancy walks the length of a cell block?

During my former life (career), Hazleton was a regular destination of mine. But unlike making deliveries in the Bronx, the Jamaica section of Queens, or parts of downtown Bridgeport, CT., never once did I ever consider what Plan A or Plan B might be in the event that I had to defend myself in Hazleton. None of that ever occurred to me while perusing the-then quiet streets of NEPA and it’s immediate environs.

While in the big city or the fast failing big cities, I was known at the time to have carried a boot knife, a stiletto and a collapsible baton. All of which were legal, depending on who you talked to, or by the length of the blades.

In Hazleton in those days, in those Italian-dominated neighborhoods, the worst I’d face was some well-seasoned Italian guy bitching about the discrepancy between the prices the salesman quoted him, and the prices printed on the invoice. Suddenly, the proprietor of Angelo’s Italian House comes to mind.

“You tell that effing salesman…!”

Let us fast-forward to Hazleton as those us of us who spend any appreciable amount of time there now know it.

Less than two years ago, a coworker of mine and I came out from a basement and found that a middle-aged Latino had opened one of the rear doors of my truck and was busily rummaging through my tools.

Unbeknownst to him, I stealthily approached and kicked the door shut that he had opened and stuck his head through. He dropped to the pavement in a lump, but the other Latinos lazing around on front porches and such had a big problem with it.

Basically, they stuck their necks out to defend one of their own who was well on his way to committing a theft. But not a one of them wanted to take up his cause in a physical sense, even though I exhorted them to do as much.

Three weeks ago, I was working within spitting distance of Angelo’s Italian House. Although, these days, with Altar Street taking on all of the debilitating reverse-gentrification aspects of a Barrio, one might want to revisit the days when the worst one might face would be the F-bombs emanating from some crusty, old Italian dude.

I was there for hours on end, but it didn’t take very long before it became obvious to me that the youngish Latino guys popping in and out of the adjoining rental property were dealing to the various and sundry visitors who came and went all day long.

Not that I was overly worried about it. The way I look at it, do your little drugs, do your little deals, and maybe someday Nancy and those of her Donna Reed ilk will walk the length of your cell block.

When the tasks at hand were completed, as I was packing up my gear, three of those Latinos confronted me. That is to say, they confronted me in a way which was meant to be intimidating. Way too close and personal to be called normal. One just off of my left shoulder. One just off of my right shoulder. And the other one right in my face.

In very broken English, the one in my face was asking if I had change for a twenty, to which I replied in the negative. At that point, he laughed out loud and said something to the kid flanking me on the left, and the three of them had themselves a giggle (I’m assuming) at my expense.

And then he repeated his request, which no longer sounded or felt like a request, while his demeanor became more tense. Again, I told him I had no change, no money, and there was no way I was going to do what they obviously wanted me to do--pull out my wallet.

When he went on again about the change, but only louder, I pulled my right thumb out of my back pocket, reached for the belt loop near the back of my Dickies and produced a claw hammer with a noticeably threatening flair. If the Boy Scouts taught me anything, they taught me to be prepared. Especially when surrounded by those who personify criminal intent.

The rest would be fairly easy to follow. Sure, it was 3-on-1, but the 1st one of my choosing would drop to the asphalt after taking a claw hammer shot to the temple with maximum velocity being the ultimate selling point.

Simple math: three minus one equals two. And 2-on-1 means less sweating, rolling around, or any of that unwanted bullspit. In almost all cases, taking the first punch combined with some over-the-top theatrics wins the day. Well, that is, in most cases.

What happened from that point forward, well, what doesn‘t kill them only makes you stronger. Something like that.

My point is this, Lou Barletta is not a racist, nor is he a one-issue wonder.

What he is is the current mayor of his hometown, his hometown that is in danger of losing control of it’s streets if it doesn’t act. And it, the City of Hazleton, has to act simply because the Fedrule Govmint refuses to act, it steadfastly and defiantly refuses to fulfill that which it is constitutionally charged to do--provide for our general welfare, provide for our safety, and maintain our sovereignty as a nation.

Y’all want to talk about Hazleton?

Yeah, then talk to someone who actually spends some time there.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pick your poison

There is no better friend to the many providers of Web site hosting outfits than a soon-to-be concluded election cycle, when new political blog sites appear like rainbows at a gay pride parade.

The Unvarnished Truth on Tom Marino

Dump Chris Carney

Pick your poison, kiddies.


Still crazy after all these days

I just saw a headline on the Times Leader site that read “Unemployment up in 27 states.”

Boy, this so-called ‘summer of recovery’ rocks! As in, the folks calling this a recovery have freaking rocks in their heads.

It’s been a crazy fantasy football week, this past week. Thus, the well-deserved and thoroughly enjoyed hiatus from the political (far, far) side of the local Internet.

When we draft our fantasy teams, we all have varying strategies going in. Some go heavy on running backs right from the get-go. Others are all agog over stud wide receivers. And some, like me, go hunter/killer quarterback with the first pick.

Whatever your preferred strategy, if you go decidedly with one position, logic dictates you’ll end up lacking at some other position. The trick is to draft so wisely that you’ll have one position loaded, and the others not horribly foreshortened because of it. And when the draft is concluded, we all look lovingly upon our rosters, the products of our having known better than everyone else.

But when the first NFL fantasy weekend is in the history books and those players thought to be superstars go and seriously under perform, well, then what happened this past week is what happens. People panic and the trade talks do get hot and heavy. And after this particular first week of action, people in record numbers were scrambling to improve their fast-flailing lots in fantasy life.

I’ll not bore you any further, but suffice it to say this past week has been a freaking hoot.

Supposedly, we have dueling liars in the 10th congressional district.

From the Carney camp: My opponent is a liar.

And from the Marino camp: My opponent is a liar.

Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.

And in the 11th congressional district, the Kanjo machine has gone back to it’s old dirty tricks stalwart…scare the senior citizens with, my opponent is going to take your social security away.

Really? Again?


Obviously, we don’t need the Barletta camp to point out that Kanjorski is lying all over again.

Since everyone involved is accused of being a liar to some degree, I guess we’ll have to remind the voters which two of these tone deaf hucksters voted for the Fedrule Govmint’s ill-timed health care takeover, that boondoggle of boondoggles in the making.

I did some work in the Woodcrest development last week. For those of you not in the know, Woodcrest borders Muckegan Sun City, our fastest growing casino/city throughout all of NEPA. Here comes the curious part.

The Luzerne County Transportation Authority public busses were rolling in and out of there with such great frequency, I couldn’t believe it. And if that’s not stupefying enough, the busses were damn near packed. And as a result, my mind did wander.

If you are not currently in possession of an operable automobile, why would you be visiting a casino? So you can hit the record jackpot and proceed directly to Obama Motors with riches in hand?

And what of all of these good paying jobs that supposedly came with the casino? If you ride the bus to your casino job, I find it hard to believe that your job pays enough.

Anyway, busses rolling in force to the nearby Sprawl Mart or the local Family Dollar I can get my grossly denuded mind around. But a nonstop caravan of public transportation to a casino?

Something doesn’t add up.

As far as Blogfest is concerned, unlike very many of you, I will not drink and drive. And since I neglected to find a designated driver for the evening, that was that.

Then again, partying with Paul Kanjorski? Seriously? Some of you are asking far, far, far too much of me.

I will say this though, seems like Gort and Joe Valenti put together a kick-ass event. Kudos to both of them. Now all we need is Cheap Trick.

And to Michele, jeez. You’re not getting older, you’re getting better looking.

I see that all (and that means all) of the folks on the left side of the political aisle feel the need to belittle the Tea Party at every available opportunity. And that’s fine, especially when you consider that the cacophony of the easily led voices is clearly telegraphing it’s collective uneasiness bordering on fear.

While I do not belong to the Tea uprising, nor can I name any of it’s higher profile candidates off the top of my fat head, I fail to understand how or why people rising up and “throwing the bums out” is somehow a problem?

If we impeached everybody, if we through out all the bums from both of the two dominant political parties, then we’d be left with a bunch of novices fast reduced to problem solving. And with the United States of Amerika jostling with the Scrubbing Bubbles for a good seat in the toilet bowl before the flush, what’s not to like?

The problem with both the Republicans and the Democrats is that they look not for good legislation, rather they look for shoddy legislation that will ensure their place at the top of the thiefdom.

I mean, what were sub-prime mortgages other than one party’s ill-advised attempt to curry favor with a growing constituency group, the group that needs a teat from which to hang?

Why won’t we enforce our borders other than the fact that we have two polar opposite political parties working in collusion to a attract a new and fast-growing constituency group?

The thing is, those mostly useless fu>ks in Washington are no longer there to serve us. No, they are there to serve themselves. And as a result, they make misstep after misstep, then tell us it’s the other side that keeps tripping things up. Dupes, they take us for.

Getting back to those boisterous Tea Party types, I find it beyond amusing to see career politicians having the fear of god being instilled in them, even though they pray to a different god than that of the electorate.

I say send ‘em all to the political graveyard.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Kanjo: Last minute pork for votes

This is freaking rich.

From http://www.wilkes.edu/:

Congressman Kanjorski Announces Creation of Energy Institute With Wilkes University and Partners and $1 Million for Marcellus Shale Research

An excerpt: Today, Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski (PA-11) announced $1 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory for the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research of Northeast Pennsylvania, a local energy institute that Wilkes University, King’s College, and Earth Conservancy will jointly operate to initially focus on all issues related to natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale. The funding will be used for research and development at the institute. Specifically, the institute will provide research about natural gas drilling’s impact on the local community and environment, help with problem solving for issues that arise, and enhance public outreach efforts in order to promote safe and environmentally responsible drilling in the Marcellus Shale that could aid in significant local economic development.

Congressman Kanjorski first brought the idea of the energy institute to Vice President Joe Biden at a meeting at the White House this past spring. On April 19, Congressman Kanjorski met with Vice President Biden and Energy Secretary Steven Chu, as well as representatives from Wilkes University, King’s College, and Earth Conservancy, to discuss the formation of the institute, how it could positively impact Northeastern Pennsylvania, and how the federal government could aid in the development.

Ah, what better time to start throwing more millions around with that “could” word attached than seven weeks before an election? There's an election coming due, so, as per usual, Kanjo comes offering yet another one of his oft-highly-illusive gifts.

First of all, will this be an inflatable research center? Research Center West? A gas-jet technology center? Secondly, how many of his nephews will it employ? And thirdly, why research something after it’s been completely enabled without any discernable restraints?

Perhaps they should call it the Environmental Damage Control Institute of NEPA.

On a related note, a snippet of an email I received today:

In the original annoouncement [sic] a few months back there was some mention of development of "best practices." I think that's a grand idea. Let's have a moratorium until those "best practices" are developed.Of course, those "best practices" may involve opening fissures in the Susquehanna and contaminating everything around. Hey, if there were methane bubbling up in the middle of the forest, how would anyone notice it? How do we know it isn't happening already?Will Kanjo be at the get-together on Friday? Maybe we can gang-lobby him on this. I also want to ask where the version of this for solar development is.

Kanjo at the blogger get-together? Dude, I highly doubt it. One of us lowlifes might point a video camera at him and ask him some of those irritating questions. As in, any questions at all.

And we all know by now that he hates that, um, that You’se-Tube.

I heard about this one on The Sue Henry Show today:

Crime Free Wilkes-Barre

It was created by Charlotte Raup of Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch fame to be a place where anyone can share info on crime and such what in Wilkes-Barre. In this day and age, probably not a bad idea.

Since it is Wilkes-Barre specific, I will link to it.

I forever have people asking me if I caught Sean Hannity last night, or Glenn Beck’s show, Bill O-Reilly’s latest rant or if I took in the latest segment of (insert inane cable politics show).

One more time, I watch none of that. In fact, I do not have either cable or a satellite dish connected to my sorry-assed 1980-era television. I watch the New York Football Giants, and I watch the occasional television show with Wifey via her dish thingy.

For the record, I listen to WILK from 5 am to 3 pm. I used to listen to WILK until 7 pm, but I have recently divorced Steve Corbett since his show has fast devolved into him berating, belittling and insulting callers and little else. "The Oracle," he is not.

But for those of you who do need to be told what to think…from the email inbox…

Ashley Fuoco September 13, 2010 at 4:42pm

Subject: Guest on "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" tonight!
Mayor Lou Barletta will be a guest on "On the Record with Greta van Susteren" on Fox News tonight (Monday) between 10 and 11 p.m. Eastern. Lou is currently scheduled to appear at about 10:30 p.m., but that is subject to change. Be sure to tune in!

One more thing. As to this Friday night hobnob event, I need a lift.

I have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and I am not risking drinking anything and then driving with that .04 thing hanging over my head.

Anybody up for a hitchhiker?


Friday, September 10, 2010

Breaking all over PA: "Fomenting dissent"

This one is breaking right now...4:38 PM.

An email obtained by City Paper suggests collaboration between the state Department of Homeland Security and gas drilling interests.

The email, authored by Pennsylvania Homeland Security chief James Powers, was written in apparent error: addressed to a participant in anti-drilling forums, the letter indicates that Powers mistakenly mistook its recipient for someone associated with pro-drilling interests.

In the email (full text below), Powers warns against distributing information gathered by the Pa. DHS on anti-drilling activities, saying that: "We want to continue providing this support to the Marcellus Shale Formation natural gas stakeholders while not feeding those groups fomenting dissent against those same companies."

The "support" he speaks of consists at least partly of confidential updates on anti-drilling activists and activities. A report yesterday evening by nonprofit investigative journalism outfit Pro Publica broke the news that the Pennsylvania Dept. of Homeland Security included in its regular newsletter, the Pennsylvania Intelligence Bulletin, descriptions of various activities and gatherings of activists opposed to gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale.

Full story: In private email, Pa.’s Homeland Security chief pledges “support” to gas drillers, warns against groups “fomenting dissent.”

So, are you, or is anyone you know Public Enemy #1?

KD, notice anyone following you lately? Any black helicopters buzzing all about?

Stay tuned, this one is gonna explode without any methane creep.


Original Pro Publica story: Do ‘Environmental Extremists’ Pose Criminal Threat to Gas Drilling?

EPA to Frackers: Frack off!

Proprietary information?

We shall see.

EPA’s Letters to Fracking Companies Request Information, With a Legal Threat

Via Gene Stilp.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Opening Day

Been busy this week.

I've been too busy for politics. Too busy for writing. And too busy for methane bubbles. For the past week, I've been studying up on the NATIONAL...FOOTBALL...LEAGUE! which, gloriously, kicks off in a couple of hours from now.

And with the NFL comes fantasy football, which, for me, also gets underway in a couple of hours from now. And how's this for starters, I've got Drew Brees firing away at an undermanned Vikings' secondary tonight. At least for a few hours, better than group sex.

If you've never done fantasy football before, trust me, you've got to fight the urge to allow it to completely consume your life. Kind of like how I've allowed it to consume my life during this past week. But, but...it's fantasy man!

As a way of making light of that obsessive compulsion that is fantasy, my son produced a video (not a slide show) that allows those of you who are still sane a brief look inside the lives of die hard fantasy footballers.

While I did have some creative input, I must warn you in advance that this video contains plenty of foul language as well as the clear suggestion that drinking beer for breakfast is somehow acceptable so long as it's game day. Well, for that matter, that drinking beer from dawn to dusk is acceptable so long as it's game day. Personally, I think the beer distributors should be forced to deliver on game day, but that's a legislative battle yet to have been won.

Anyway, foul language, excessive drinking and all...welcome to the league.

Opening Day (7:35)

Repeat after me...Jabar Gaffney.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Tim Mullen HQ

Grand Opening of Tim Mullen's Headquarters

KINGSTON – Mike Anderson, Campaign Manager for Tim Mullen is announcing that the Mullen Campaign has now opened their campaign office at 220 Wyoming Ave. in Kingston. The office will be used for all activities, including a phone bank staffed with volunteers, literature and sign distribution to precinct captains , along with campaign meetings and fundraisers. We will be open daily, the public is welcome, and the coffee will always be on!

Lou Jasikoff, Chair for the Northeast Pennsylvania Libertarian Party, added that “this will help coordinate all our campaigns in Luzerne County. Strategically located at Kingston Corners. Our goal is to make this Mullen’s State Representative office. If all three Luzerne candidates (Betsy Summers, candidate for State Senate District 14, and Brian Bergman, candidate for State Rep District 119) were elected we might propose combining their offices into one, especially where the districts overlap, to save the already over taxed, and over burdened citizens of Pennsylvania and Luzerne County some of their hard earned tax money.

Like this guy, Tim Mullen, I do. Met him, I did. Talked his ear off at Gas Stock, I did.

People like Tim Mullen make me want to go third party from here on out, excepting for the fact that the Democrats and the Republicans, the loathsome self-perpetuating screw-ups that they are, will not allow third party candidates a level playing field in this bass-ackwards state.

Up north a ways in the 1oth congressional farm district, they elected a self-aggrandizing joystick warrior. Down here in these parts, we have the real deal--the three-time boots-on-the-ground guy--who knows firsthand what war looks, sounds, smells and feels like.

Anyway, give it a look at www.VoteMullen.com.

Or, if an alternative does not appeal to you, do what you always do...vote for the status quo.


Kanjorski flashback: Inflatable dam equals economic investment

Tom, I would have left a comment on your site regarding the following absurdity posted by none other than you, but as it turns out, it'd be easier to acquire nuclear launch codes than it would be trying to add feedback on your site.

You wrote:

For those concerned about Marcellus Shale drilling, which all of us should be given the methane welling up in the Susquehanna, the poisoned well-water of families in Susquehanna, and on and on, then Paul Kanjorski is the man to vote for.

The League of Conservation Voters gave Kanjorski a perfect score last year. That means he voted for the environment 100% of the time.

If elected, Kanjorski would continue that trend and protect our region’s environment, something it sorely needs from elected officials. It’s an easy choice for November, I’d say.

That is offensive in so many ways, it boggles the limited minds such as mine.

Paul Kanjorski's most famous pet project was the now-forgotten inflatable dam project at Wilkes-Barre. A misguided and short-sighted pork-funded idea that would have put a dam in the way of Acid Mine Drainage, unchecked Combined Sewage Outflows blowing untold millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Susquehanna River every time it gets to raining for any length of time, algae blooms, fecal deltas, floaters, as well as the infamous Butler Mine Tunnel's toxic runoff that is home to a permanent, emergency-only, rapidly-deployable coffer dam.

Endangered, free-flowing rivers can regenerate themselves if the pollutants are systematically removed from the damaging mix. But to fight to dam an endangered river is to promote it's eventual demise as a destination point, it's viability as a nurturer of fish, fowl and the like, and it's promised life-sustaining sustenance if and when we work to protect it.

Paul Kanjorski voted for the environment 100% of the time?

Paul Kanjorski wouldn't recognize the environment if we dragged him down there and forced him to take his first-ever good look at it.

And as this pertains to the Marcellus Shale debacle-in-the-making, the lack of a moratorium on further drilling proves that Uncle Paul is as ineffective and unconcerned as are the rest of our locally elected do-nothings.

While he can make the claim that he's secured the Fedrule funding to reclaim parts of our lands previously destroyed by our Anthracite past, he can make no such claim as to protecting our natural resources, current or future.

All things considered, the rubber dam man is no friend to our environment, nor to our still free-flowing river.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fireballs on the river?

According to Kayak Dude and some from within his extensive network of river watchers, we’ve now got natural gas bubbling up from the bottom of the Susquehanna River. And, yes, you guessed it, there’s an operational drilling rig located nearby. KD said the DEP is conducting tests.

I’m wondering if we’ll need to post “no smoking” signs on the banks of the 444-mile river? I mean, if you’re out there bass fishing and decide to light up a Marlboro, will we be marveled by the enormity of the blast radius the next day?

When those unfortunate souls paddling kayaks or canoes end up good and drowned, it’s usually because they were not wearing personal floatation vests. Personally, I have absolutely no fear when I venture on out on the river. High water events, as well as very low, my personal safety never registers with me except for when that watery entrance to the Knox Mine is in close proximity. But now, now I could be blown to pieces?

Dude, I think we’ll need a fire extinguisher for future trips. Maybe some flame-retardant paddling gear. Perhaps a “this is a non-smoking kayak” placard would be advisable. And we’ll need those Germania Rescue guys to rig up a firefighting boat, just in case. And at RiverFest, we might want to have a medical helicopter on standby if and when we need to transport paddlers to a burn unit.

WILKES-BARRE--After performing autopsies on the deceased, the coroner said the victims were burned over 80% of their bodies, and the deaths were ruled to be 'death by kayak.'

Paddling, anyone?

I’m no militant environmentalist, but there are those days when I wish I was. I’m not an eco-terrorist, but I can see why some would choose to be. When your elected representatives fail to properly represent you, what's left?

Obviously, the lessons of the Anthracite era have been temporarily lost on our legislators as their collective blind leap into the future continues unabated, a leap that takes us along kicking and screaming. And that’s why we need to impeach damn near everybody.

You see, it’s simple. And I do like simplicity: No moratorium, no vote. Tiny bubbles, no vote.

It’s time to ramp up the pressure on the non-committal politicians.

We’ll be voting before you know it, and I’m still going back and forth with this Home Rule question.

I flat-out detest the idea of an appointed county manager. Appointed by whom, I recently asked of Sue Henry? The Democrats in this county outnumber the Republicans by 2 to 1. And if we pull the rug out from under the long-entrenched Democrat machine, they’ll have to react by securing the majority of the 11 council seats so as to be able to pick that appointed county manager.

After I talked to Sue on WILK, somebody affiliated with the charter group called and dismissed that notion. Oh, that could never happen, he said. No, the way it’s set up, they’ll have to recruit the next Donald Trump, or some equally brilliant business mind. Yeah, right!

As I said on WILK, if the Democrats have a huge majority of those seats, they defecate on the Sunshine Laws, and then announce in public that after an exhaustive but unfruitful search, they have been forced to appoint someone from within our ranks.

Enter party apparatchik as chief executive. Pick a name, any recognizable name. And the executive (or whatever the hell they are calling it) does the hiring, right? Enter loyal second cousins with a different surname.

Skeptical? Oh, yeah.

Still though, I opened the newspaper this morning to find the county controller and the county commissioner taking public shots at each other, and I got to thinking that Home Rule in Luzerne County couldn’t possibly be worst than this.


I can’t vote in this race, but here goes.

I see Chris Carney as little more than Nancy Pelosi’s shiny new hand puppet. With that said, I cannot understand how or why Tom Marino could gain any appreciable traction with the voting public. I guess I don’t get it.

As for the Barletta/Kanjorski scrum, hell, I’d walk 14 miles to vote against Paul Kanjorski. Barefoot and backwards!

I got the biggest kick out of his decision to make Hazleton the focus of this race. I spend a lot of time working in Hazleton and it’s suburbs. And if I had to pick, I’d easily choose to reside there rather than in that shanty town the congressman calls home.

I’ve never been able to get my mind around that one. 26 years and all of this supposed seniority of his, yet Kanjorski has clearly failed to bring the pork home to Nanticoke. In Nanticoke, a new CVS is what passes as progress. In Nanticoke, there are potholes that actually knock my truck out of gear while I’m looking for the street signs that are not there. In Nanticoke, there are no high-paying water-jet technology jobs, despite the millions that were entrusted to the congressman‘s family to create.

No, in Nanticoke, all that I see is Kanjorski’s broken and disheveled throne.

But remember, this is a cleverly crafted referendum on Hazleton.

What a joke.

It’s actually cool outside this morning, and the grand kids are clamoring for some bicycling. So bicycling it is.