2-3-2004 Teat-free post

In general, I think the FCC does have a role in promoting some reasonable standard of decency. However, considering what's on television these days, I think the FCC is being pretty silly about investigating this.--Howard Dean

Yawn. Another reason not to vote for Mr. Scream. Okay. Let's give everyone involved in the Great Tittie Caper a pass. No biggie. Standards? Who needs standards? And then what's next? The Grammys? That'll be pretty neat when some aging and rapidly fading hip hop crud decides to whip out his horribly disfigured wang for all to see. What the hell? Maybe they'll erect a glory hole booth at one end of the stage. Madonna might even head south of the border the next time she sticks her tongue into Britney. We're talking quality programming here. Make sure you tape the show just in case grandma misses it.

I'll make a distinction between someone getting nekkid during a Super Bowl and what's on television these days. As my kids were growing up, we never shielded them from anything on the boob tube, or any of the videos we rented. We watched the images together, and I explained to them the parts that they had questions about. Regrettably, every now and again, they were exposed to a boobie or two. Sometimes they were treated to Aliens shredding human beings. Cool. But they understood at an early age that what they saw on the tv screen was make believe. It was just a movie or a tv show. They understood the program. In the movies you can send folks that you don't agree with through mulchers, and one can get naked and frisky anytime, anyplace, anywhere. But in the real world only the idiots among us would do such things.

Basically, when my kids weren't even tall enough to gain access to the Super Duper Looper at Hershey Park, they understood that it would be wrong to get nekkid in public. Based solely upon current events, that seems to be a lesson that Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Howard Dean, and the purveyors of predatory sexual images at MTV never learned.

I think it's high time that the FCC starts to enforce it's own laws that have gone mostly unenforced for way too long now. Wanna get nekkid? Wanna use all sorts of salty language? Do it on your own time and not on my prime time.

Let's do an e-mail:

*******Hi Mark. Glad you enjoyed the joke.

On a serious note, eluding to the supposed pay increase for the mayor and his colleagues, a co-worker called it right last night. He could come out smelling like a rose if he(the mayor) declined his self imposed pay increase in exchange for the employees paying for their health care.

Now, I personally would do whatever it takes to help the city, pay for a part of our healthcare, so be it. Now, I came from the private sector and I paid for my portion for healthcare. That's no big deal. Please don't tell me that there will be a pay freeze included. I know that I receieved increases proportionally to the rise of cost of living and healthcare increases.

I know Mayor Leighton is very capable of turning things around in the city. I also know that we have some tough pills to swallow. Please don't have us swallow them dry. The employees didn't drive the city in the direction it went. But we, as well as taxpayers( as taxpayers ourselves), have to dig it out.

There is going to be alot of complaining and grumbling from alot of people for the next couple of years. I just hope the light isn't that far at the end of the tunnel.********

As today's Times Leader story already explained, the proposed raises for everyone wearing a suit and tie were mandated by the city's charter. They had to be budgeted. To be perfectly frank, I think the charter needs to be amended where those automatic pay raises are concerned. What a system that is. Even if your performance as an elected official sucked beyond all belief, sadly, you are forced by law to give yourself a raise. Nothing else matters. Budget deficits, a crumbling infrastructure, whatever it may be. Sorry, but if the cops are getting a raise, so must I. Cut us a major break.

As Leighton pointed out, if the employees are expected to make concessions, then so should the elected folks and their underlings. It's a mostly symbolic move, but it's the right thing to do under the circumstances we presently find ourselves with. I've already heard the argument that the mayor earns in excess of thirty or forty thousand dollars more than most of the employees he expects to shoulder 30% of their health-care costs, so his financial hit would pale in comparison to theirs. That's true, but what's he supposed to do other than doing himself what he's asking his troops to do?

The nervous employees of this city keep repeating that they are not the reason the city is in financial trouble. They point out that our elected folks, past and present, led us down this troubled road and only a fool would argue with that. But...what has happened to Wilkes-Barre is not unprecedented. The management of some private sector companies goof now and again. They borrow massive amounts of money and then much to their surprise, see interest rates rise. They perform incomplete feasibility studies and then enter markets that grossly under-perform. They invest in losers. They aggressively expand, or acquire other companies only to find that they bit off more than they can chew and then seek to liquidate assets. The CEOs of those companies, while directly responsible for the short-sighted planning and whatnot, never come close to paying for their mistakes as much as their employees do. That's inherently unfair, but it's a fact of life.

This might go down like a lead balloon, but the employees of this city need to re-evaluate their current positions and their immediate futures. They need to decide whether they want to work for a company that is being forced to embrace an austerity program, or whether they'd rather not participate and move on. On a personal note, I've been put in this position twice and on both occasions I chose to stay. I certainly didn't get rich during the process and in retrospect, maybe I would have been better served if I had given my two-week notice. No matter how we slice and dice where we currently find ourselves, the employees of the City of Wilkes-Barre feel as if they are being asked to pay for the mistakes of others. While I honestly feel for them and wish that things were much more cheery as they currently stand, I have to point out to them that many of us out here in the private sector are somewhat used to what they're going through.

Rather than pointing fingers, or clinging to what once was, they would be better served to consider all of their employment options. The reality of the situation is that their company, Wilkes-Barre, is broke and is now asking them to get by with less for the good of the company. If that's an untenable situation, it might be time to move on. I'm not busting balls, and I'm hoping to not get nailed by a blowgun. I'm just offering an opinion from someone who has twice suffered for the gross mistakes of others.

Austerity sucks. And when it's imposed, it doesn't matter how or why it was necessary in the first place. All that matters is whether you choose to participate or not.

Another e-mail:

*******Mark, With all the recent talk about what Tom Leighton is doing so far in his first term as Mayor, I feel I should point out one great thing he has done. He came into office and saw the problems in the Wilkes-Barre Fire Department and made changes quickly by bringing back Chief Jacob Lisman. I was on duty when the South Main Street fire occurred and I was one of the first on scene. There was lots of Fire in that structure on the third and fourth floors. Myself and my colleages made an initial attack as more units were arriving. Chief Lisman arrived on scene and took command. Also immediately we could tell the difference as how the attitude on the "Fire Ground" had changed from the former "Chief", Chief Lisman was cool, calm and collected. We were allowed to do our job and not have to worry about being scrutinized for petty problems while we come out to put on our second or third air bottle to continue the attack. Tom Leighton did good by bring a highly respected, experienced and likable person to run the fire dept. I know this may sound crazy but if we had this fire with the other person in charge, by no stretch of the imagination we would have evacuated south main street and this fire would have been a cluster. But thank God we do not have to deal with that unprepared,inexperienced, totally excitable person that loved to talk on the radio. Mark if you listened to the fire you know what I mean. Chief Lisman doesn't have to validate himself by constantly yelling ineffective and unwarranted orders to people that have been doing this for a long time.

God Bless Tom Leighton for making the right move.

Your Friend
Tom Burke

P.S. if you want you can print my name*******

Here! Here! Who better to consult with than a veteran firefighter who has dealt with the tragedy that structure fires can quickly become on both a professional and a personal basis? Yes, I am addicted to my scanner and it is obvious that the usual call of retreat, 'Surround & Drown,' has been replaced with the battle cry of 'Tora! Tora! Tora!' I don't know how to extinguish any fire bigger then one that may occur in my ashtray, but I have come to learn that the quickest way to extinguish any fire is to attack that fire.

I'm reminded of a call to Fred Williams on WILK a couple of years ago. Resident after resident called his show bitching about the high costs associated with staffing a full-time, paid fire department. At the time, I could really care less as I was still one of those apathetic types. The complaints covered every possible angle, but the consensus was that we didn't need all of these expensive firefighters because we rarely, if ever had any big, big fires in this city. Then someone, I would have to assume that they were a firefighter, called and said "The reason that Wilkes-Barre rarely suffers any out-of-control fires is the very fact that the city has a full-time, paid, and professional fire department." While I didn't know anything about firefighting, or Wilkes-Barre's fire department at that time, I recognized a f**king "BANG!" when I heard one.

I consider myself lucky to have been able to not only meet Chief Lisman, but to have been given a chance to converse with him and catch an insight as to what he's all about. He's somewhat soft-spoken, unpretencious and quietly confident in not only his ability, but those who serve under him as well. He strikes me as someone who would prefer to have the men and women serving under known as the heroes while he goes about his business, which stands in direct contrast to the approach of his predecessor. In my worthless opinion, you are correct. Tom Leighton made a good move by appointing him as our new fire chief. And thanks for your capable service.

Ricin? Freaking ricin? No fooling? And what are those insipid Democrat hopefuls selling us? The War on Terror should take a back seat to Medicare and funneling more tax dollars to the national unions that support them? Lemme guess? The Republican National Committee mailed that ricin because they are stupified as to which country to invade for oil next?

Is it just me, or does John Kerry look way too much like Michael Rennie? Gort! Klaatu barada nikto. Bush lied! Bush lied! Bush lied!

Hacking on the Philthydumpia Eagles is always acceptable in my deranged special place. From the e-mail inbox:


Q: What do you call 47 millionaires around a TV watching the Super Bowl?
A: The Philadelphia Eagles.

Q: What do the Philadelphia Eagles and Billy Graham have in common?
A: They both can make 70,000 people stand up and yell "Jesus Christ".

Q: How do you keep a Philadelphia Eagle out of your yard?
A: Put up goal posts.

Q: Where do you go in Philadelphia in case of a tornado?
A: To The Linc - they never get a touchdown there!

Q: What do you call a Philadelphia Eagle with a Super Bowl ring?
A: a thief.

Q: Why doesn't Camden have a professional football team?
A: Because then Philadelphia would want one.

Q: Why was Andy Reid upset when the Philadelphia Eagles play book was stolen?
A: Because he hadn't finished coloring it.

Q: What's the difference between the Philadelphia Eagles and a dollar bill?
A: You can still get four quarters out of a dollar bill.

Q: How many Philadelphia Eagles does it take to win a Super Bowl?
A: Nobody knows and we may never find out.

Q: What do the Philadelphia Eagles and possums have in common?
A: Both play dead at home and get killed on the road!


Me must go. The Tom Clark Emergency Network has been activated. In other words, it's probably not going to snow tonight.