4-13-2005 Mark: 19:58


I notice quite a few news stories lately about all of the wonderful politicians out there who want to dedicate their efforts to "reducing the widening gap between the rich and the poor." Spare me. Most of the politicians want to address this problem by taking from the rich and giving to the poor. Well, since there are more people who consider themselves poor than rich, that would sure work at the ballot box. The answer here is to address the gap between "will work hard" and "won't work hard"; the gap between achievement and non-achievement; the gap between "paid attention in school" and "didn't pay attention in school"; the gap between good choices and bad choices. Poverty is a behavioral disorder .. a mental disease. You don't cure poverty by punishing the sane.--Neal Boortz

Is it just me, or are we all getting tired of parking meters being the lead story of nearly every media outlet in the area? Jeez. At this point, Tom Clark and his seven-day computer models are even playing second fiddle to a news story. That's assuming that the latest on the parking meters is even news anymore. But alas, I'm sure it'll be front page news again in the morning iffin' no one ups and starts shootin' their noisey, bootleggin' neighbors.

Then again, it's not much of a stretch to call this good news for Wilkes-Barre. Compared to not being able to pay off tax anticipation notes, this debacle is most preferable. When compared to the governor of the state sending an acerbic letter to our former mayor calling him "inept," a couple hundred parking meters being uncertified ain't so bad. And when stacked-up against spending $5 million to dig a big hole, this brouhaha doesn't even rank.

We don't need to be at loggerheads over this unexpected and annoying bump in the road to progress. If this is as bad as it gets under this new administration of ours, I'm thinking we're gonna be okay in the long run.

The Times Leader reported yesterday that our new streetlights and streetscapes will be unveiled soon enough. The 14-screen theater complex should be open for business somewhere around Thanksgiving. The Labor & Industry building with it's couple hundred employees is going to be open for business even sooner. And the initial phase of the massive riverfront remodeling project is about set to get underway. Oh, and the interest in our downtown properties has never been higher.

In the grand scheme of things, the parking meters are nothing more than a pimple on the ass of Wilkes-Barre.


I could not pass up this screed published in today's Voice:

Religion belongs in the heart, the home and church - not in politics

By Mike McGlynn 04/13/2005

"Render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and render unto God the things that are God's." Jesus, Matthew: 22:21

At the legendary Boris' Bar in South Wilkes-Barre, there was an unwritten rule forbidding the discussion of religion or politics at the rail.

This prohibition tended to make the flavor of the conversation somewhat blander than what you would experience in a saloon where religion and politics were the frequent, if not constant, objects of discussion.

In a strange twist, the discussion of sports also was discouraged, possibly because Al Boris did not relish the idea of clearing his floor of the badly beaten bodies of dead Yankee fans. The bar did not acquire a television set until relatively late in its life, about the time the Phillies started winning more than 60 games a year on a semi-regular basis.

And, of course, until the last 20 years or so of its existence, Al refused to serve women at his bar - that changed after a group of angry feminists successfully challenged the "No Ladies Served at Bar" sign on the back bar. You have to wonder if the local Historical Society possessed the presence of mind to get its hands on that little collector's item.

The absence of political arguments, religious proselytizing, sports chatter - and women - ensured that Boris' Bar maintained a staid, eerily tranquil ambiance, one in which the typical topics of barroom discussion were which neighborhood girls were knocked up this month and who would be this year's chairman of the annual rubber-ham and plastic-eggs Father and Son Dinner down at St. Therese Church on Old River Road.

The atmosphere at Al's often seemed artificially laid back because of the colorless conversations which took place there; however, in retrospect, it may have been wise to dampen any inclination to talk politics or religion - or, worse, to mix both topics.

Unfortunately, in the America of today, you can't get a respite from politics and you can't talk politics without getting a dose of religion. A while back, some national pundit suggested that the Democrats haven't been winning elections because they don't play the religious hysteria card - so they'd better start doing so.

Ever since somebody (was it Jimmy Carter or maybe even Ronald Reagan?) let the Bible thumpers off the reservation, the rest of us have had to listen to their preachy, whiny plaints about everything they see as morally abhorrent in the world, like sex, booze, drugs and reading books which don't have pictures. Then, we had the eight years of their growling that Bill Clinton actually was the antichrist.

Now, they are deliriously admiring of a president who professes to be moral, caring and, above all, deeply religious - but who shows no more signs of spirituality than a parking meter, certified or not. Some people who admit they don't really like Bush insist they voted for him on "moral" grounds. These people don't know it, but they need help.

We all should long for the days when religion was strictly personal and went no farther than the confines of the nuclear family and the family's church. Religious tolerance means exactly that: allowing the next guy to practice (or not practice) religion in his way - not trying to ram your own religion down his throat.
I miss Boris' Bar.

Mike McGlynn writes about politics and the scene generally on Wednesdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 821-2069 or at mmcglynn@citizensvoice.com

I don't know, Mikey. We can't all be secularists that look down upon anyone who dares to suggest that moral absolutes are a good idea. We'll leave the thorough bashing of the faithful to you and your supposedly "all-inclusive" band of "tolerant" brothers. Tolerant? Hmmm...tolerance?

At Boris' Bar?

And, of course, until the last 20 years or so of its existence, Al refused to serve women at his bar - that changed after a group of angry feminists successfully challenged the "No Ladies Served at Bar" sign on the back bar. You have to wonder if the local Historical Society possessed the presence of mind to get its hands on that little collector's item.

He refused to serve women? Mikey? I'm shocked that you, the righteous protector of all things deviant and beyond, would hang out at a place that discriminated against anyone. He refused to serve women? What good is a freakin' bar without chicks bouncing all about? How are we supposed to perfect our pick-up lines? (Hey, Baby. You play piano? No? You must f**k a lot.) I'm dickin' around. Don't send me any e-mails about how small my mutated member must be. I've heard that sort of gibberish from insane feminists before. I was just goofin' on ya. Chill.

Anyways, It seems that Mikey's memory is very selective these days. The way I heard it, he also refused to serve gay people. (formerly known as homosexuals) He was even publicly labeled as being a "homophobe" at a city council meeting a while back. And the way I heard it, he also refused to serve most blacks. And lord rest his soul, the Hispanic population has still miniscule back in that bar's heyday. Imagine his reaction if a couple of Hispanics took up stools and ordered a Steg in very broken English.

It wasn't so much that there was "an unwritten rule forbidding the discussion of religion or politics at the rail." The majority of the unwritten rules seemed to cover who was and who wasn't allowed to drool on in that bar. Mikey used to hang out with sexists, homophobes and racists, but now he lectures us about "not trying to ram your own religion down his throat." Your religion? As compared to what? His leanings which could easily earn him an all expenses paid trip to the Klu Klux Klan's world headquarters as a guest lecturer?

No women. No same-sex types. And no non-whites. It's no wonder he can't tolerate the "Bible thumpers." According to their teachings, Mikey and his former brew crew lot were the worst sorts of vile and pernicious creatures out there.

Ever since somebody (was it Jimmy Carter or maybe even Ronald Reagan?) let the Bible thumpers off the reservation, the rest of us have had to listen to their preachy, whiny plaints about everything they see as morally abhorrent in the world, like sex, booze, drugs and reading books which don't have pictures.

Was he trying to be clever there? Books that don't have pictures? You mean...like, the Bible?

Some people who admit they don't really like Bush insist they voted for him on "moral" grounds. These people don't know it, but they need help.

Ah, and there it is. We wouldn't expect to suffer through another McGlynn column without the auto-reflex attacks on Dubya, would we? If the subject of today's screed was ping-pong, McGlynn would find a way to blame the games dwindling popularity on Bush. No more Oldsmobiles? Bush did it. Barbies with red hair and freckles? Bush' fault. Plastic Slinkies? Bush' neocon underlings at work. Registered democrats too completely stupid to vote correctly? That's that fuggin' Bush again. If this guy lost his favorite zircon-encrusted toe-nail clippers, he'd blame it on you-know-who.

We all should long for the days when religion was strictly personal and went no farther than the confines of the nuclear family and the family's church. Religious tolerance means exactly that: allowing the next guy to practice (or not practice) religion in his way - not trying to ram your own religion down his throat.
I miss Boris' Bar.

Allowing the next guy to practice (or not practice) religion in his way??? That sounds vaguely familiar. Oh, yeah. That would be like that much sought after "living, breathing" constitution Mikey and his ilk are all worked up in a lather over. What are we talking about here, Mikey? A living, breathing Bible? No absolutes? No boundaries? No rules? And under no circumstances? Everyone should just run totally amok as they see fit inventing bigger and better STD's provided that they stay out of Al's 'member's only' sanctuary?

Apparently, Mikey is to hypocrisy what Al's was to homophobia, sexism and racism.

And God said unto the scribes, blessed are they whose readers have very, very short memories.--Mark: 19:58


This is a goodie. A letter to the editors at the Voice:

Cities should return all money collected from parking fines

04/12/2005

Editor:

It has come to light that there is a problem with parking meters not being certified in many local communities. Act 155 was passed in 1996. Luzerne County had its own weights and measures officer at that time who should have been notified of the contents of that law. Mayors of the various local towns and cities said they were not aware of the law. But, as any law enforcement officer will tell you, ignorance of the law is no excuse. Therefore, all cities and towns with meters should suspend using the meters and collecting parking fees from the meters. Also, all money collected from parking fines should be returned. If average citizens were involved in something like this, we would be made to pay back the money with interest.

Charles Kohl
Lake Township

All money collected from parking fines should be returned???

Gee whiz! That's groovy and all, but what's his next missive going to cover? The pothole (Yiddish slang for potwhole) that destroyed the front end of his AMC Gremlin? Not to single this fellow out. There's certainly no shortage of armchair political pundits in this oversized culm field that would sh*t Blue Ribbon-winning cantaloupes if they were ever handed the keys to the city. He comes off like an habitual illegal parker to moi.

Lemme do this. So the cities aren't doing enough to cut expenses. But in the very next predictable breath, the cities should also refund millions of dollars to people that can't manage to park a car legally for an hour or so. And the potholes should be filled with candle wax donated by some kind-hearted Amish people. Is it me?

An AMC Gremlin? I have no idea where that escaped from? Did you ever own an AMC Gremlin? (Gasp!) If so, say or do anything, but do not admit to it. How 'bout a Pacer? We don't have anyone that completely lame hiding among us, do we? Didn't Woody Allen drive one of those in Sleeper? You don't have anything in common with Woody Allen, do you? Say it ain't so, Jasper. Say it ain't so.

A Matador, perhaps?

But, as any law enforcement officer will tell you, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Yeah! Sure! Tell that to the cheatin' folks parked just beyond the legal side of those "No parking here to corner" signs.

Goober!


I think Ed Rendell's a bit worried right about now. I've read all that there is to read about his slots program and the Act 72 stuff, and I don't understand what the muck he's going on about. Which is not to say that it won't work. What I'm alluding to is if us average folks don't know what the heck the revolutionary deal really is, we're very, very unlikely to support it. And I think he's beginning to understand that the vast majority of us out here in the wastelands don't know which end is up at this point.

And no incumbent governor in this state has ever been shown the door after his first term.

From the e-mail inbox April 12, 2005

Special Edition of the Governor's Newsletter

Over the past few months, this newsletter has frequently focused on the issue of Act 72 and local property tax relief. You know that I am very concerned about the onerous burdens that high local property taxes inflict on Pennsylvanians - particularly our senior citizens. For the first time, our residents have the chance to win significant reductions in their property tax bills, but they only will qualify if their local school district signs up for property-tax relief by May 30.

Since you are a person who is interested in issues important to the future of Pennsylvania, I wanted to give you a "heads up" about our latest effort to bring this issue before our citizens. In the next few days, we will be sending a public service announcement to television stations across the state. It urges people to reach out to their local school boards and encourages them to take action so that taxpayers can receive the property tax relief that they deserve. If you click on one of the links below, you can see the PSA with its important message. I hope you will answer our call for action if you live in a school district that hasn't voted to give you the opportunity for property tax relief.

I didn't post those links here because the ads will be here on our local television stations soon enough. Besides, if you can't find the guv's web page all by your lonesome, you probably shouldn't be trusted with the right to vote in the first place. Actually, in that case, you probably shouldn't be involved in any vote more important than where to order lunch from, or which nobody should be booted off of American Idol. Whatever.

I think the Big Cheese may be in a bit of political trouble. Up 'til now, he has clearly failed to make the complex easy to understand.

Watch for those public service announcements.

This really is a big, big deal.

Nite


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