Opinions need not be feared nor suppressed.

Monday, November 29, 2010

We need jobs, not entitlements

Remember that third party presidential candidate that warned of that “giant sucking sound,” the guy who warned us that those long ago entitlements, those American manufacturing jobs of ours were going to be being sacrificed for the greater good that would be an interconnected “world economy” that is now poised for a titanic collapse?

Remember that he was mocked at nearly every turn and publicly belittled by the politically entrenched only because he rose from the ranks of the third party folks that were not invited to the malfeasance and mismanagement that is Washington D.C.?

Let them eat cake, imported or otherwise.

From Propublica.org:

With Federal Benefits Set to Expire, Unemployed Workers Face Shrinking Safety Net

Unless Congress acts to extend programs for those who have exhausted regular state unemployment benefits, millions of jobless workers may soon be phased out of emergency unemployment benefits [1].

Unemployment benefits from states typically last for 26 weeks, but since 2008, Congress has on four occasions [2] passed emergency provisions that use federal funds to extend benefits for jobless workers by up to 73 weeks [3], depending on the state’s laws and unemployment rate. These benefits are set to expire tomorrow unless lawmakers intervene.

The way I see it, we wouldn’t need to be goofing around with our health care delivery system if people had meaningful, family-sustaining jobs. And we wouldn’t need extended, extended again, and then extended--still-some-more unemployment benefits if people had meaningful, family-sustaining jobs. And we wouldn’t need newly created, but ill-timed and prohibitively expensive safety nets if people had meaningful, family-sustaining jobs.

But what we got was what the career politicians told us we needed. What we got were ill-thought out trade agreements the likes of N.A.F.T.A. and G.A.T.T. And now, we have the scant remnants, the last vestiges of the long-shrinking manufacturing base that cannot be replaced by the once highly-touted service industry jobs, despite what we were told.

We do not need ill-conceived government-provided health care programs, nor do we need profligate government-supplied artificial income. What we need is a growing manufacturing base. What we need is an abundance of well-paying jobs that provide not only benefits but retirement plans as well. And we’ll never receive what we need until the fools that misguide, misuse and misinterpret the powers of the Fedrule Govmint finally realize that outright tyranny severely restricts economic output every time it‘s tried.

Surprising as it may seem to most; a long, long time ago, Ross Perot was the smartest guy in the room.

We need jobs, not entitlements.

Sez me.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Credit card by day, Kevlar vest by night

What was that old Warren Zevon classic, Lawyers, Guns & Money?

Yeah, well, mixing guns and alcohol all but guarantees the need for a lawyer and heaping gobs of money. Probably taxpayer-provided lawyers and money, but that’s a whole other topic.

From the Times Leader:

Cops: Man fired at vehicles in parkade

WILKES-BARRE – Police arrested a man early Saturday morning after he allegedly fired a gun at two occupied vehicles inside a downtown parking garage.

From the Citizens’ Voice:

Man charged with firing gun in intermodal center

An Edwardsville man faces numerous felony charges after firing a stolen semi-automatic handgun at people he had been arguing with in the James F. Conahan Intermodal Transportation Center parking deck in Wilkes-Barre early Saturday morning.

My grandson (rodent) Zach and I were downtown yesterday afternoon. We needed to hit the Rite Aid for some children’s cough syrup as his brother is ill. We then explored the annual Christmas extravaganza in Boscov’s basement, at which I plunked down a quick 50 bucks for a nifty battery-powered Santa train.

And then, then we got down to some important business at my personal version of Heaven--Gallery of Sound. And we perused the used Xbox games at the video wonder world just next door. After much hand wringing, Zach settled on Aliens vs. Predators. Great, more blood splatter as entertainment.

And on the way home, we walked through the entirety of the intermodel center just to take it all in, the new amenity and all. The people, the sounds, the exhaust.

What this latest incident hints at is the duality that our suddenly hustling and bustling downtown has to offer.

You can lazily and mindlessly shop by day, and then literally risk life and limb after the bars get good and rocking. Credit card by day, Kevlar vest by night.

I say again …nuisance bar.

*Follow that link. Very telling photos from inside the bar.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wilkes-Barre's "Fight Club"

In what seems like an eon ago, Wifey threatened our eldest two toddlers with physical violence (spanking) for seriously acting out on an LCTA bus.

And thanks to a nosy neighbor who was also riding that bus that day, the Children & Youth incompetents showed up at our house wielding threats of kiddie foreclosure. Luckily for them, I was right where I always was…at work.

Having lived with a physically-abusive step-father for far too many years, I feel I can easily differentiate between idle threats and real child abuse. To be a bit more insightful, know that my step-dad knew no bounds when he blew yet another fuse. In fact, the guy was all-too-frequently flat-out mean.

Anyway, if you threaten your kids in public you could lose them to Foster Hell. And Allah forbid, if you momentarily lose your temper and backhand a deserving child gone temporarily rogue, you do stand the chance of losing custody of said child for years on end, if not, forever.

Yet, it is apparently not considered inattentive or abusive to allow one’s children to wait for the school bus in bone-chilling cold without hats, gloves or coats.

Must be me.

Very recently, my son and his wingman announced that they were headed down to an uber popular downtown watering hole to play some pool.

Hearing that, I asked my son to go elsewhere. I told him he’d be better off playing pool at a corner bar than at downtown Wilkes-Barre’s official version of Fight Club. I warned him of the pitfalls that await those to partake of Fight Club. I reminded him that the police scanner doesn’t lie.

Undaunted, my concerns borne of Scanner Land provided him with a chuckle. Still though, he did listen as I told him what to expect if the fists got to flying at him and his.

Needless to say, the fists did get to flying at him and his. And as I had foretold, the staff of said establishment pushed those who would dare fight onto the sidewalks out front to be, ahem, dealt with by the Wilkes-Barre police department.

In other words, even though the trouble always starts in the establishment, it gets shoved outside and it usually culminates in mini-brawls and blood-strewn donnybrooks on the nearby sidewalks and streets, or in or adjacent to Central Lock, but always within shouting distance of a residential high-rise. And then it's our problem.

Luckily for my son, he did listen when I told him to hit fast and furious if necessary, but to get the hell out of there lickety split as the police typically respond to Fight Club as quickly as can be expected. And he now knows not to frequent that obvious nuisance bar anymore.

So, no more Hardware Bar for my kid.

I promise, I solemnly swear that the next time I see DPW workers scatter garage all over the street, giggle and then drive away from the mess they alone created, I will take down the vehicle number, make note of the time and place and report them to City Hall.

Count on it.

Which makes me ask all over again, why haven’t we privatized our curbside collections? Why? Because those highly efficient private haulers would not hire our then deservingly displaced unionized DPW workers.

Enough already.

A question about Black Friday is as follows…

Are you people freaking serious?

How’s that Haggerty Rule looking to you so far?

The folks promising transparency in government have avoided transparency while anointing a Haggerty Rule transition team.

Not to worry, though. If Initiative and Referendum doesn’t fix it, there’s always moving vans to be had.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ill as all get-out

Despite the rumors circulating during my richly deserved Internet hiatus, I ain’t been trying to have Michael Vick’s baby. I’ll leave that one to you…NEPA.

I have had the mother of all respiratory disturbances for the past three weeks. No matter how much cough syrup and the like I poured down my heaving gullet, nothing. No relief in sight. I think I drank enough NyQuil to affect the stock's price. And, of course, during this annoying stretch, I’ve been working later, and working six-day weeks to boot.

Finally, I’m starting to get back to normal which means I’m still slightly demented but breathing much, much better. Anyway, I figured I ought not write when ill so as to tamp down the contagion. (?)

During my break from all of this electronic tomfoolery you deem to be so important, I’ve been following all of the outrage generated over the airports pat-downs. Molestations, to be a bit more descriptive. Forget free food and free drinks in first class, how about some complimentary baby oil packets?

They way I see it, this is simple. And Allah only knows, I like simplicity.

Pick one: You can be groped, stroked and probed at the airport screener aisle. Or, you can plunge screaming from 20,000 feet, still strapped to your seat, but covered in burning aviation fuel.

Simple, really.

It was amazing that immediately after the electoral dust settled on November 3rd, to a man, the hard, hard-core lefties started making incessant noise about holding the surging Republicans accountable, about holding them to their word, if you will.

Firstly, where was all of this keen interest in accountability as Baroke Oblahblah and his now discredited and departed “experts” from academia were making misstep after misstep?

And secondly, while you’re screaming out against austerity measures, you’re promising to trash Republicans if they do not deliver them? Huh? Have I been concussed whilst I slept?

I really hate to rub her nose in it, but WILK’s Nancy Kman had this to say on 11/12/2010: “I don’t want the Republicans dithering with health care with the economy in ruins.”

Sure. Different party, different standards. In fact, a whole new measuring stick.

Uh, didn’t the Democrats dither with health care for nine months while the economy was in ruins? Sure they did. And now, now that they know they screwed the pooch with that one, now they are offering exclusions to the Utopian health care plan at a dizzying rate. 131 exclusions, last time I checked.

Can you say...repeal?

Anyway, now that checks and balance have been restored to the system, now that a few Republicans have been elected into the dysfunctional mix, now the sleepers on the left have awakened. Now they want to know that campaign trail promises made become promises kept. Much unlike what they did after the Hope & Change snake oil caravan came to town.

Hypocrites on parade, sez me.

I always found my way back to the imbecility only because I truly love talk radio, my trusty daytime companion.

As for the usual imbecility, I’d tell myself I was done with the condescension. And I’d tell myself I could no longer tolerate the not-so-veiled air of superiority gone full-blown insult. And I'd marvel at all of the unearned arrogance. And I’d seethe every time I heard that you “believe what you think you believe.”

But when a radio talk show host piggybacks on the death of a local soldier for three days on end in an attempt to generate calls and ratings, after he again tries to inject himself into the story, I am officially done with it.

So, at 3 pm each weekday, I have been reduced to listening to Sean Hannity on 94.3 The Talker.

And if you know just how much I cannot stand Sean Hannity for too, too long, that tells you how much I loathe the imbecility run all but amok. Imbecility such as…Congressman-elect Lou Barletta’s wardrobe is an issue all of a sudden?

You see? Imbecility begets more imbecility.

Talk is cheap. Especially after 3 pm, it is.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wait! Don't jump!

The midterm election is almost behind us, and the spin is flowing like so many methane bubbles into our water supplies. And the apoplectic folks on the slaughtered side seem to be despondent.

Here’s the talking point that seems to have been received by damn near all of the hysterical folks leaning noticeably to the left: now that the Republicans have seized control of the House of Representatives, the onus is on them to cooperate with the Democrats.


Rather, it is now time for our my-Marxist-way-or-the-highway president to come down off of his lofty perch built of arrogance and embrace the concept of duality in government. It’s time for him to include his “enemies.”

Economically speaking, it’s time for him to deliver certainty rather than his usual contribution -- uncertainty. And it’s time that he realize that humility on his part might help to repair some of the bridges over the widened political divide that he had no qualms about torching.

Don’t hold your breath.

Once the winners of the various local, state and national races were being determined late last night, once it became obvious that things were breaking very one-sided, the mood of the folks on WILK radio began to darken.

Nancy: “Sometimes you get what you pay for.”

Corbett (on Marino): “…and now we have a flawed congressman.”

Corbett (this morning): “It’s mourning time in America.”

Good sports, heyna?

The morning show guest, David Yonki, accidentally nailed the crux of the obvious voter discontent when he said, “There are good things and bad things in the health care plan.”

Exactly, Dave. You nailed it.

So the question still begs, why would the Democrats pass a piece of sweeping legislation--an eventual government takeover of health care--a sweeping reform the opposition party was powerless to stop, with bad things included in it?

Do we mistakenly think that sort of nonsense passes the smell test out here in the real world?

Will my employer be pleased with my performance if I deliver good things as well as bad things? Will that less than satisfactory effort on my part keep me employed for very long? Remember, one ah-sh*t wipes out all accrued atta-boys. That's how it works out here in the productive sector.

No prospective politician promises bad things whilst they court our votes. So why should we be willing to accept bad things after they hoodwink us into electing them?

Face it, the health care plan is a fatally flawed plan. And when we dared to suggest as much, we were quickly shooed away and openly mocked by a political party that seriously overestimated it’s threadbare political capital.

And that’s exactly why the worst local candidate I have ever run across--Tom Marino--just knocked off a superior candidate in Chris Carney. Bad things came to the guy who did as he was told and voted for bad things.

Bad things? Nah. The way I’m remembering it, none of us voted for any of that.

Tarah Toohil’s upset of that Lex Luthor impersonator down south of here a ways was nothing less than remarkable. What a difference two years can make.

Two years ago, Kanjo fought off Barletta’s challenge by riding Obama’s coattails. This time around, could it be that Barletta’s coattails helped to propel Toohil to an upset victory?

Wild stuff.

And lastly, here comes Home Rule to Luzerne County.

The unofficial numbers have 49,000 voting for it, with 40,000 voting against it.

I know it isn’t possible, but I’d love to see a breakdown of the numbers against it. As in, who voted to save their jobs. Who voted to save a friend or a relative’s job. Who voted in the negative as a way of ensuring a future job, or some lucrative contract or what have you. I’m willing to bet that at least half of the nay votes had some sort of self-serving aspects to them.

Anyway, believe it or not, when next we vote, we’ve got to start figuring out who will serve as the 11 county council folks.

If you’re given to praying, you might want to start now.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My finger did the talkin'

Screw this election day malarkey! Randy Moss was waived by the Minnesota Vikings.

I’m not sure what’s up with this guy, who has just played and talked himself off of two NFL rosters inside of a month. Is it just that his now legendary mood swings combined with a massive dose of immaturity have totally clouded his less than accurate vision? Or is the fact that he can no longer fight his way out of a jam at the line of scrimmage making him nuttier than usual?

Actually, there are parallels here with Obama’s meteoric rise from relative obscurity and his rapid decent into insignificance. Knew it all, then blew it all.
Can we waive Obama, our charlatan-in-chief?

Perhaps not. But we can waive his under performing teammates.

Thanks entirely to the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts, I slept in this morning. Just a little bit, mind you.

As a result, I didn’t make it to my polling place until 7:22 am. It was still pitch black outside, and there were no poll workers in sight. Which, in all honesty, was unfortunate. I so love mucking about with those useless, mindless, easily-led partisan dolts. You know, union members.

Even at that late hour, I was voter #22. Not bad for a midterm election. 22 voters in 22 minutes.
Proving once again that I am not some hopelessly partisan prevaricator, my voting choices went like this: 2 Republicans, 2 Democrats and 1 Libertarian.

I voted for Lou Barletta rather than the condescending grump. I went with Dan Onorato rather than Frackles. I went with Pat Toomey over Joe Sestak, but only because Sestak’s relentless attack ads were about as unfair as anything I’ve seen to date. Over and over and over again, “Greed is good.” Cut me a fu>king break already!

I voted for Ed Pashinski, a generally good and decent man. And I voted for Betsy Summers over both John Yudichak and Steven A. Urban. Yudichak pretends to be a reformer, while being nothing of the sort. And Urban knew nothing, saw nothing and heard nothing while our county coffers were being made insolvent by hordes of less-than-covert criminals.

As for that Home Rule question, surprisingly, I found my finger to be hovering over than screen while my mind raced.

I know better. I really do know better. I’m almost certain that I’ll live to regret it, but I depressed that Yes button. And with that, I endorsed a switch to Haggerty Rule.

Based on the easily-manipulated gray area form of governance bordering on malfeasance that we currently have, I figured a change is all but necessary. But the new system, if enacted, is very, very far from perfect. I see it as a beginning, but not the end-all. And I can honestly say that this is the very first time that any of my votes immediately filled me with trepidation.

Anyway, not to belabor all of this bullspit, I voted, I bought a brand new kerosene heater, I got some trendy agricultural amusement aides in hand, I’ve got tomorrow off; so all that’s left to do is stay up all night and wait for the U.S.S. Marxism--the Democrat Party--to hit that proverbial iceberg amidships.

Or should I say, all that’s left to do is to enjoy myself.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween is a waning

A New York Giants-styled pumpkin.

Not only is my daughter smart, attractive and a jock extraordinaire, she's loyal 'til the very end.

We bought 15 pounds worth of Tootsie rolls and Fruities, but by the end of Halloween night only 40 kids came a callin' for any of it. I'm not sure why that was, but it seems as if yet another snippet of Americana is fast-disappearing.

Then again, judging from the recent Halloween party I attended, adults will spare no effort or expense when alcohol and a hot buffet are thrown into the ghoulish mix.

As for the kids, well, it's too much like work for the adults to play chaperone one night a year.