4-19-2005 You can't judge a book by it's cover


"To show you how radical I am, I want carjackers dead. I want rapists dead. I want burglars dead. I want child molesters dead. I want the bad guys dead. No court case. No parole. No early release. I want 'em dead. Get a gun and when they attack you, shoot 'em."--Ted Nugent

Nah. Too old-fashioned. Couldn't we reach out to them? Couldn't we try to understand what it was we did that made them spiral out of control?

I gotta tell ya 'bout my bikebouts this past weekend.

This past Sunday marked the very first time that I wandered away from the adobe with anyone other than Gage Andrew in tow. Gage Andrew is a bicycling veteran and he's not even four years-old yet. He started riding weekends with me just before his second birthday. I average approximately 3,000 miles a year on the bike, so try to imagine how many miles the little guy himself has racked up at this point. But while we were attaching the brace for Gage's trail bike on Saturday, Taylor Kate stood there staring directly at me and repeating "I wan go wiff ya," over and over and over again. So on Sunday, she enjoyed her first ever bikeabout. But let's backtrack a bit here.

When I got damn near run over a few months back, I weighed 175 pounds. When I healed quite a bit, finished all of that rehab stuff, and finally returned to work in earnest, I weighed 193 pounds. And when March finally arrived, I had gone six months without doing any pedaling. I was out of shape. The guy who is never out of shape was suddenly and annoyingly out of shape. I'm slowly getting back what was taken away from me and I'm now down to 183 pounds. I'm easing back into my former lifestyle, and chomping at the bit for more to some degree. All in good time. So when we rolled away from Nord End on Saturday afternoon, the goal was a modest bikeabout, not the much longer rides the little guy and I are generally accustomed to.

We rolled through quite a bit of South Wilkes-Barre, did a quick sprint on top of the dike and turned towards fire headquarters to visit Gage's favorite firefighter. And after Gage and Ladder 1 were fully introduced, the plan was to grab some munchies and a couple of Sunkist sodas from Frank's News and plop ourselves in the middle of Public Square, which we so frequently do while on the final legs of our weekend journeys. And when it came over the scanner that the cops were requesting the paddy wagon at Northampton and South Main, the time to roll on had arrived. We sprinted up the road just a ways and watched some cretin get his ass busted. And then we were off to the news stand.

When we arrived at Frank's News, we were surrounded by some of the regulars from the soup kitchen. Much like myself, very many of these folks shun automobiles for bicylcles, but for very different reasons. The biggest one being their obvious lack of ambition. Or lack of self respect. Or lack of an alarm clock. Or a calendar. Or an apartment. Or a boss. Or a job. Or a brain. In so far as I tolerate these folks colating with me as if we were somehow members of the same mutated sub-species, I certainly do not respect them in the least. Does it show? Now get this. One of the folks riding a rusted Murray (retail: $79.00 at Sprawl-Mart) wanted to know where he could get himself one of those nifty trail bikes Gage was dragging along behind me on for his son. My first thought was, "You have a son? God forbid!" So once again, I bit my lip and told him where I bought it at. So if some guy shows up at Main Bike World trying to trade 700 pounds of crushed aluminum cans for a trail bike, that would be my fault.

Any-freaking-way, Gage and I settled at a bench next to our dormant water fountain and yanked the goodies out of my bike bags. 2 Sunkist sodas, a bag of Cheezits and a bag of Combos. Yummie. There were the usual folks congregated at the tables on the Ramada side of the park, but at that point, every single bench in the middle of the Square, other than ours, was spared being sat upon by the usual dregs, druggies, mumblers, droolers, and the grossly overweight white girls sporting garishly offensive tattoos.

Now, there are those completely naive folks that will always jump at the politically correct chance to tell you that "you can't judge a book by it's cover," or "looks can be deceiving," but I'm here to tell you that the youngish crowd carrying on like drunken fools at those tables would make the Who's Who list in Drug Dealers Digest. The fact of the matter is, you can't judge a book by it's cover every once in a while. But nine out of ten times it's fairly easy to do so.

So I was trying to teach Gage why the pigeons were heading south every time he tried to feed them a Cheezit. I think it was the way he charged at them and launched the trinkits at them as if he was Roger Clemens on a head-hunting mission. And while Gage was taking years off of the lives of the local pigeon population, those loud and obnoxious narco-terrorists decided to split into two groups with half of them claiming squatter's rights to the other end of our temporary home. And when some girls arrived that looked as if they had fallen from the top of the ugly tree and smashed through every branch on their way down arrived, the noise level, and the obnoxious factor increased tenfold. To say the least, I was more than mildly annoyed. Okay, I was boiling inside and picturing myself pulling a Penguins jersey over someone's head and smashing him with a steel baton until he cheered up in the afterlife. The baton was well within reach, but this maturity bullsh*t always goes and gets in the way. I hate that sh*t!

And then one of the NWA wannabes went and cranked up a ghetto blaster the likes of which I have never seen, except at the local "interest free" (as if) Rent-A-Center. And as if preplanned, the 'kill the cops/kill whitey/kill the hos after raping them raw' rap/metal gibberish got louder...and louder...and even louder. And the ugly white girls squealed away while their "friends" from whatever big city war zone carried on in some language taught in only the school districts run by the ultra-leftist bed wetters that ought to be deported to Kazakhstan and used as filler in some sort of ancient Yak food gruel. And with the last of the pigeons finally freaked-out by Gage and heading for some safer confines, Gage ended up sitting right next to me again and trying to shout over this years version of Cop Killer. And I could not hear a thing he was shouting.

And I was walking through this dilemma in search of a solution. Without warning, I'd skull the first one into submission, sweep the legs out from under the second, and poke the third creep's eyes somewhere south of his sternum. Not a bad start, eh? Three down, two left to brandish firearms within arms length of my amazing grandson. Darn! That was doable, but completely out of the question. So I packed up our edible junk and told the boy to don his helmet and climb aboard the Co-Pilot-the official name of his trail bike. And as soon as I was ready and able to kick-off and pedal away from this collection of abortions that got away, when no one was looking, I grabbed ahold of the head numbskull's 'spensive-looking CD carrying case and rode away. And when we were a safe distance away, we stopped and waited until the assembled crowd of future convicts and mental patients noticed that the CD collection had suddenly gone missing. And what was a collection of hootin' and hollarin' degenerates just a few minutes before suddenly looked like the participants of an Easter egg hunt on Public Square. And I giggled to myself all the way back to the adobe.

You can't judge a book by it's cover.

I guess.

Anyway, Taylor Kate was finally introduced to the wonderful world of cycling, and I'm pretty sure she'll be asking to tag along again.

No problemo.


I was ordered to publish the following press release, or else the Neighborhood Impact Team would be taking a battering ram to the front door. Then again, my cheezy cell phone was breaking up while I was discussing said press release. I don't know. It's entirely possible that a batting cage is on it's way to the adobe in the back of a Dodge Ram. Who knows?

CITY OF WILKES-BARRE TO HOST INFORMATION SESSION ON CITY-WIDE LITTER PICK UP

For Release on Sunday, April 18, 2004

For More Information Contact Tom Ruskey at (570) 817-5184

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The City of Wilkes-Barre, in conjunction with the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry will host an information session for all volunteers interested in participating in the Wilkes-Barre litter pick up as part of the Great Pennsylvania Cleanup effort on Saturday, April 23. The information session will be held at the Department of Public Works on N. Pennsylvania Ave. and Conyngham Ave on Wednesday April 20th at 6:30-8:30.

In order to coordinate volunteer efforts, Wednesday’s session will provide specific information on the citywide clean up, garbage pick up schedules and safety issues. Although volunteers are asked to provide their own cleaning equipment on April 23, garbage bags, vests and gloves will be distributed at the event along with limited supplies of rakes and brooms.

Currently, registered locations for the citywide clean up include high-visibility spots such as Kirby Park, Coal Street Park, the River Commons and neighborhood park areas. “We are expecting numbers in excess of 1,000 participants,” explains Mayor Tom Leighton. “Volunteers are urged to register their preferred clean-up sites with the City at the information session on Wednesday, April 20 as to avoid over-saturation of the city’s more popular places.”

“With advance notice,” he continues, ”we can assure that garbage and debris will be collected in an efficient and timely manner. Those volunteers without specific clean-up areas in mind are encouraged to go to sites that need the most help. We will also provide that information at Wednesday night’s meeting.”

Tagged as the “most significant and ambitious one-day cleanup program in Pennsylvania history” by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Great Pennsylvania Cleanup is a statewide cleanup campaign involving local and state government, businesses, waste haulers, and environmental and civic groups. The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of Transportation (Penn DOT), in cooperation with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, Inc., are sponsoring the Great Pennsylvania Cleanup.

“Litter and illegal dumping have severely affected the quality of life for all residents of Wilkes-Barre,” explains Mayor Tom Leighton. “There is already an overwhelming number of private citizens, civic and business groups interested and willing to participate in this statewide effort and its going to take their cooperation in order to make The Great Pennsylvania Cleanup 2005 a success in this city, and to make the City of Wilkes-Barre as beautiful as we know it once was, and can be again.”

Join your neighbors, the City of Wilkes-Barre and theGreater Wilkes-Barre Chamber in helping to make a difference in our community. Please contact Bridget Guinta at City of Wilkes-Barre at (570) 208-4141 or via email at bgiunta@wilkes-barre.pa.us or Greg Barrouk at (570) 208-4140 or via email at gbarrouk@wilkes-barre.pa.us.

For the latest information on Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and the Great Pennsylvania Cleanup, please visit the DEP's website at www.dep.state.pa.us and click on the Great Pennsylvania Cleanup logo.

The Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry is an organization that bridges business and community – building an environment for growth pride and success in Greater Wilkes-Barre – today and tomorrow.

# # #

The folks that pray to the computer models and the dopplar radars are talking about rain showers on Saturday, but I'm good to go.

So who's with me?


...there is a movement among "reputable scholars" in the American Psychological Association to change the status of pedophilia so that it is no longer considered to be a mental illness. Calling it "inter-generational love," they want it to be considered normal.--Mike Adams

Freedom of speech? You can all but kiss that sh*t goodbye if the democrats keep losing elections.

From Neal Boortz earlier today:

AIR AMERICA LOSING ALTITUDE

Just when it seemed things were turning around at the much-ballyhooed liberal talk radio network, Air America has hit the skids again. Even though it seems like it's been longer, Al Franken and company have only been on the air a little over a year. In that time, we've had tales of stations being paid to run network programming, checks bouncing and people not getting paid. So what's new?

The ratings are terrible. Even their flagship radio station in New York, WLIB (really, those are the call letters...that's not made up) is in 24th place. San Francisco? Terrible. Los Angeles? Not so good there either. So why isn't the network doing any better than it is?

The radio business is just like any other. You have to be able to attract and hold an audience day after day, in order to sell commercials and make money (capitalism never was the left's strong suit.) The problem with the whole concept of 'liberal talk radio' is they think they have to be the counterweight to conservative talk radio. They think it's all about politics and ideology. It's not. When people turn on the radio, they have to be entertained with compelling content. If the show is not entertaining, people are not going to listen. It doesn't matter what the politics are....it has to be presented in an entertaining way.

Perhaps things will turn around for Air America...perhaps not. They sure haven't done much with all that free advertising they got in the media when they first went on the air. For my part, I hope they turn it around. I earnestly want Air America to succeed. Two reasons: First, they draw new listeners to the talk radio genre. Second, they keep the government off our backs. Mark my words; if Air America fails the leftists in Washington will immediately start beating the drums for more control on conservative talk radio. Fairness doctrine, here we come.

From the Los Angeles Times:

April 18, 2005

Why the Liberals Can't Keep Air America From Spiraling In

By Brian C. Anderson

The liberal Air America Radio, just past its first birthday, has probably enjoyed more free publicity than any enterprise in recent history. But don't believe the hype: Air America's left-wing answer to conservative talk radio is failing, just as previous efforts to find liberal Rush Limbaughs have failed.

Wait a second, you say, didn't I read that Air America has expanded to more than 50 markets? That's true, but let's put things in perspective: Conservative pundit and former Reagan official William J. Bennett's morning talk show, launched at the same time as Air America, reaches nearly 124 markets, including 18 of the top 20, joining the growing ranks of successful right-of-center talk programs (Limbaugh is still the ratings leader, drawing more than 15 million listeners a week).

And look at Air America's ratings: They're pitifully weak, even in places where you would think they'd be strong. WLIB, its flagship in New York City, has sunk to 24th in the metro area Arbitron ratings — worse than the all-Caribbean format it replaced, notes the Radio Blogger. In the liberal meccas of San Francisco and Los Angeles, Air America is doing lousier still.

So why do liberals fare so poorly on air? Some on the left say it's because liberals are, well, smarter and can't convey their sophisticated ideas to the rubes who listen to talk radio. Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, whose own stint as a talk-show host was a ratings disaster, gave canonical expression to this self-serving view. Conservatives "write their messages with crayons," he maintained. "We use fine-point quills."

Yet even if we were to grant the premise that conservative talk radio can sometimes be crudely simplistic — a tough charge to make stick against, say, one-time philosophy professor Bennett or Clarence Thomas' former law clerk Laura Ingraham — how can anyone plausibly believe the right has a monopoly on misleading argument? Moreover, talk-show fans aren't dummies. Industry surveys show that talk-radio fans vote in greater percentages than the general public, tend to be college-educated and read more magazines and newspapers than the average American.

Successful talk radio is conservative for three reasons:

• Entertainment value. The top conservative hosts put on snazzy, frequently humorous shows. Kathleen Hall Jamieson, dean of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication, observes: "The parody, the asides, the self-effacing humor, the bluster are all part of the packaging that makes the political message palatable." Besides, the triumph of political correctness on the left makes it hard for on-air liberals to lighten things up without offending anyone.

• Fragmentation of the potential audience. Political consultant Dick Morris explains: "Large percentages of liberals are black and Hispanic, and they now have their own specialized entertainment radio outlets, which they aren't likely to leave for liberal talk radio." The potential audience for Air America or similar ventures is thus pretty small — white liberals, basically. And they've already got NPR.

• Liberal bias in the old media. That's what birthed talk radio in the first place. People turn to it to help right the imbalance. Political scientist William Mayer, writing in the Public Interest, recently observed that liberals don't need talk radio because they've got the big three networks, most national and local daily newspapers and NPR.

Unable to prosper in the medium, liberals have taken to denouncing talk radio as a threat to democracy. Liberal political columnist Hendrik Hertzberg, writing in the New Yorker, is typically venomous. Conservative talk radio represents "vicious, untreated political sewage" and "niche entertainment for the spiritually unattractive," Hertzberg sneers.

If some liberals had their way, Congress would regulate political talk radio out of existence. Their logic is that scrapping Air America would be no loss if it also meant getting Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and Bennett off the air.

To accomplish this, New York Democratic Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey has proposed reviving the Fairness Doctrine to protect "diversity of view," and John Kerry recently sent out some signals that he too thought that might be a good idea.

Under the old Fairness Doctrine, phased out by Ronald Reagan's FCC in the late '80s, any station that broadcast a political opinion had to give equal time to opposing views. A station running, say, Hannity's show, would also have to broadcast a left-wing competitor, even if it had no listeners.

Pre-Reagan, talk radio in today's sense simply didn't exist. What station could risk it? But people listen to conservative talk because they want to, not because the post-Fairness Doctrine regulatory regime forces them to. To claim that "diversity of view" is lacking in the era of blogs and cable news, moreover, is downright silly. Complaints about fairness are really about driving out conservative viewpoints.

Sure, talk radio is partisan, sometimes overheated. But it's also a source of argument and information. Together with Fox News and the blogosphere, it has given the right a chance to break through the liberal monoculture and be heard. For that, anyone who supports spirited public debate should be grateful.

Brian C. Anderson is senior editor of City Journal and author of "South Park Conservatives: The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias," newly released from Regnery.

And finally, from WorldNetDaily.com:

Democrats long for 'Fairness Doctrine'

Congresswoman seeks to lessen impact of talk radio by resurrecting law

Posted: April 19, 2005

By Ron Strom

© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com

In an attempt to lessen the impact of so-called conservative talk radio, a New York congresswoman is leading an effort to re-establish the "Fairness Doctrine" for radio and television broadcasters in the United States.

It's been nearly 20 years since the Fairness Doctrine – which said broadcasters had to provide "equal time" to opponents of political views expressed on the public airwaves – ruled the radio and TV industries.

Imposed originally by the Federal Communications Commission in 1949, the Fairness Doctrine was ruled unconstitutional by a U.S. Court of Appeals in 1986. The court found the rule was not a law but only a regulation, so it could be rescinded by the FCC – which it was. President Reagan vetoed a 1987 attempt by Congress to make the policy law.

In 1993, Congress unsuccessfully attempted to re-institute the rule. At the time, talk-radio giant Rush Limbaugh rallied his supporters to help defeat the effort, which he dubbed the "Hush Rush" bill.

Despite the failed campaign in '93, Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., is confident she can shepherd the Fairness Doctrine through Congress this year, once again requiring broadcasters to provide "equal time."

A website dedicated to resurrecting the Fairness Doctrine is collecting signatures from Americans who support Slaughter's bill, H.R. 501, or the Fairness and Accountability in Broadcasting Act, which was introduced Feb. 1 and has 12 co-sponsors.

"Since [1987], the country has experienced a proliferation of highly partisan news outlets that disseminate unbalanced news coverage," says a statement on the site. "Democracy is built on the idea that the views, beliefs and values of an informed citizenry provide the best basis for political decision-making."

Complains the petition: "News consumers, particularly those of talk radio, are overwhelmingly exposed to a single point of view. A survey conducted by Democracy Radio this year revealed that 90 percent of all broadcast hours on talk radio are fairly characterized as conservative."

That preponderance of right-wing voices has motivated Slaughter and others to call for the Fairness Doctrine to be put into place again, hoping it will give government-mandated time to more left-wing broadcasters.

Even so, the website claims it is not an ideological fight, but a process "by which the public is returned to the table of media policymaking."

States the site: "The Fairness Doctrine is fundamentally about making sure broadcasters uphold the social contract they have made in exchange for the free use of billions of dollars worth of the public airwaves. The first provision in the doctrine requires broadcasters to cover important issues. The second provision calls for balance. It's hard to argue against the people's right to be informed about important debates and to hear all points of view. …

"It's not a pre-emptive tool for censorship. It's not a tool that favors one political perspective over another. Historically, it was applied sparingly – not to punish broadcasters, but to promote better public service media."

Slaughter's bill requires broadcast licensees to hold two "public hearings" every year to "ascertain the needs and interests of the communities they are licensed to serve."

Also, the bill states, "All broadcast licensees must document and report in writing on a biannual basis to the FCC how they have covered the ascertained issues of public importance, and how their coverage reflects the diverse interests and viewpoints in their community."

A station that fails to live up to the regulation is subject to sanctions and fines by the FCC, including possible revocation of the broadcaster's license.

Any "interested party" can file a request for the revocation of a specific license on the grounds that the broadcaster failed to "afford reasonable opportunities for presentation of opposing points of view on issues of public importance in its overall programming. …"

Fairness Doctrine proponents are decidedly anti-broadcaster, saying the media have betrayed the public trust.

"When broadcasters are left to their own devices, the public loses," says a statement on the pro-Fairness Doctrine website. "Although media outlets have proliferated with the growth of cable and the Internet, the fact is that most are owned by the same handful of media giants that also own most of the mainstream radio and television stations. This massive consolidation within media over the past two decades has severely damaged the quality of news coverage in this country."

The bill cites a study done by a group that is joining the effort to bring back the regulation, Democracy Radio:

"[A] 2004 survey, done by Democracy Radio, found that there were 2,349 hours of local conservative programs broadcast every week versus 555 hours of local progressive programs, and 39,382 hours of national conservative programs broadcast every week versus 2,487 hours of national progressive programs."

Christian broadcasters are concerned about the possibility of the Fairness Doctrine again going into effect.

National Religious Broadcasters President Frank Wright told a convention of the organization last month that if equal time had to be given to opponents of Christianity, "it could be the end of Christian broadcasting as we know it," CBN News reported.

When the House of Representatives debated and passed the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act in February, Slaughter and some other Democrats took the opportunity to push for the Fairness Doctrine.

Said Slaughter on the House floor: "When newspeople present political opinion as hard news with no accountability or fact for truth, I call that indecent. When it becomes common practice to pay members of the media to deceptively advocate a political agenda on public airwaves without disclosure to the public, I call that indecent."

Slaughter's staff failed to return multiple calls seeking comment.

So, if ya can't beat 'em...deny 'em their constitutional rights???


I snagged this letter to the mystical editors of the Voice, albeit, for a reason other than the author penned it:

Page one photo of ticket-dodger showed poor news judgment

04/19/2005

Editor:

The Citizens' Voice chose to use the April 15 front page to display a photo of a person whose only claim to fame was getting out of paying for five parking tickets. Even though the story surrounding the non-certified parking meters is noteworthy, I think that glorifying someone getting out of a ticket by placing her picture on the front page showed poor judgement.

On the same day that this young lady was exploiting a legal loophole, I am confident that there were scores of individuals who took actions that had more impact on the community. More importantly, I believe that dozens of people cared enough to take actions that selflessly helped the community.

If you must glorify individuals in connection with minor news events on slow news days, I would rather see you choose those who use their energy in a positive way.

Darwin Gregory
Wilkes-Barre Township

Here! Here! The thing that I found so repulsive about that Page 1 story was the accompanying Page 1 picture of the ultra-giddy scofflaw flanked by her parents. That'd be the day when I'd pose for a picture with my daughter only to announce to the entire world that she's an irresponsible goofball willing to cheat whenever necessary.

Hee, hee, hee! I park illegally all the time and I got away with it! I'm so happy. I think I'll buy myself another Britney Spears CD and not change a single thing that I do. And my parents were so, so...oh, so supportive I can't believe it. I guess they love me afterall.

F**k you, mayor! Suck on this, Wilkes-Barre!

Rules? Responsibility for one's actions? My parents aren't into that sort of facism and neither am I. I think.

Whatever, man. The Woodstock generation strikes again.

Me tired.

Later

i get violent when i'm fu*ked up
i get silent when i'm drugged up
want excitement, don't get none, i go wild

i don't know what can be done about it
if you play the game you get nothing out of it
find out for yourself try bein' a goody goody

you better cheat cheat
no reason to play fair
cheat cheat or don't get anywhere
cheat cheat if you can't win

nobody knows what they are doing
it's beyond your control, an' friday night's a ruin
if you wanna survive you better learn how to lie

don't use the rules
they're not for you, they're for the fools
and you're a fool if you don't know that
so use the rule you stupid fool

Strummer/Jones


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