3-9-2009 My excuse

"The future of our Republic is the invisible government which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy legs over our cities, states and nation. At the head is a small group of banking houses... This little coterie...run our government for their own selfish ends. It operates under cover of a self-created screen...seizes...our executive officers...legislative bodies...schools...courts...newspapers and every agency created for the public protection.”--N.Y. Mayor, John Hylan

I had every intention of attending the Republicans’ meet the candidates get-together this past Thursday night. And I had even told a local blogger that I’d hang with him at the event. This is my excuse for not showing up.

Unfortunately, just two hours before the soiree was set to begin, I received the news that my brother-in-law was found dead at his home here in Wilkes-Barre. It’s obvious that I do not have his permission to identify him on these pages of mine, so I will not. But after hearing the news and then having some time to reflect on our many times together, this is what I thought.

It’s undeniable that I liked the guy much more after he and my sister divorced than I had while they were married for 16 years, with the latter years being very combative. And I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps he simply assumed I was sympathetic to her side of the still unclear stories of marital discord while they were still busily battling it out. I dunno. After their mutual estrangement, he just seemed more relaxed. More at ease with himself. More at ease in general. More likeable.

Funny thing about that guy. We’d frequently head off to the attic with gaggles of guitars in tow and make about as much noise as we wanted to. Music, you might call it. And no matter what we played, AC/DC, Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Def Leppard or Tommy Conwell…he somehow managed to make it all sound eerily similar to Neil Young on his Les Paul. Not sure how he managed that. Good player, though.

Oddly, he passed away on Thursday, so I figured we’d see the obituary on Saturday telling when we could pay our last respects. A short blurb appeared on Saturday informing us that the funeral arrangements were pending. And at that point, I expected to see the full-blown obituary on Sunday morning with the viewing slated for today, Monday.

So while on the way home from a less than robust bike about on Sunday afternoon, we stopped at Turkey Hill, grabbed a copy of the Times Leader and pedaled the last half mile or so. And after the bikes, the gloves, the helmets and the like were secured, and after we peeled away the single layer of light outer garments, I finally got around to spreading that newspaper open.

And there it was, the obituary. And what I learned was that the viewing at the local funeral parlor was all but over already. So, while he’s off to Sugar Mountain in search of a Cinnamon Girl or some such thing, the Fender guitar pick I was going to jam between his thumb and finger will remain here with me.

I had sent these remarks along to my daughter in Tennessee:

Honestly, I'm kind of saddened by this. He showed up at the block party this past year looking thinner and healthier and happier than I ever remembered him being. With a big old noisy Harley between his legs, a big old bandana on his head, and that same old goofy smile of his. And he said we could count on him coming back for the '09 party. Bummer. One for the you-never-know department.

Anyway, you can read the thoughts of those that did take in the republican soiree here and here.

From the e-mail inbox Your Thoughts on:

Corbett "Shouldering Up" with Limbaugh?

Limbaughs' Speech in front of the CPAC

Paul Harveys passing And will Talk Radio start to fall?

And crumble thee forth to the feet of the unbelieving nation the 1st Amendment lay crumpled, bruised, and torn.

Is this the beginning of the end of our Constitution?

Mark, man.....this is going to be a rollercoaster....

-Twang"Glad Yer' Back"er

Rodham-Corbett is all about Rodham-Corbett. Only he could take a highly-publicized national squabble between Barack Oblahblah and Rush Limblah and insert himself into the middle of it. Only he would need to be the center of attention when the president of the United States and a broadcasting behemoth go toe-to-toe.

Although, I have to say, this sort of dustup should be beneath the dignity of the office of the president. I remember Bill Clinton, he used to take playfully mocking jabs at Limbaugh. He used to chuckle at the mere mention of one of Limbaugh’s scathing critiques of him. And George W. Bush never bothered to directly respond to his critics in the media and elsewhere. But Obama has taken a very different tact and it comes off as seeming very thin-skinned. Which, in itself, should be troubling to us. Never one to be criticized by an adoring media or a faithful following, he has to overreact to his lone critic?

I did not see or hear the CPAC speech, nor would I ever bother to watch such a thing. Unlike most politically aware people, I do not take marching orders from anyone. I may be an erratic lunatic whereas politics is concerned, but I’m a self-made erratic lunatic. Good or bad, there it is.

Personally, I never liked Paul Harvey’s interruptions during my radio day. I used his foreshortened radio segments much like overzealous sports fans would use a television commercial during a publicized scrum.

Will talk radio fall off? Perhaps. The Reids and Pelosis of the world are clamoring for “fairness” in radio. Which translates into meaning that they are growing increasingly intolerant of outlets fomenting political dissent. If they manage to resurrect the fairness doctrine, that should disturb you no matter what your political persuasion.

Whatever. I’ve got me a kick-ass MP3 player that could probably store more music than Time/Life Music itself. So, if talk radio suddenly turns into legally mandated incoherent mush a la The Fairness to Elected Democrats Doctrine, you’ll find me wearing expensive headphones most of the time. No biggie.

The 1st Amendment? You’re kidding, right? Dude, they did away with that thing years ago. Ever been to a sensitivity training seminar conducted by your employer? Dude, the officially approved list of things, of words, or phrases you can say is far shorter than the posts of your everyday bloggers. And that’s short!

The Democrats are to the 1st Amendment what stone tablets were to mass communication. And completely by design. Today, Rush Limbaugh and his imitators. Tomorrow, uninteresting and uninspired radio by the Fairness Committee.

Our Constitution? It’s fast becoming irrelevant isn’t it? On one hand, they say George W. Bush unilaterally suspended it. I still can’t tell how or where or whom it affects, but that’s another rant for another day. Still, they howl that the founding document needs to be strictly adhered to and in totality. But then, they start adding parts to it that never existed in the first place.

Wasn’t it Bill Clinton that first said it was a “living, breathing” document? In other words, it’s open to interpretation by whichever lobbying group it is that ponies up the most campaign contributions? That’s a recipe for a massive failure in waiting, isn’t it?

The Constitution? It depends on whichever political party happens to be shredding it at any given moment in time.

A roller coaster? That it is and will continue to be for some time. While the building of a fragile confidence is clearly called for, Obama’s budget and ill-timed reform agenda add nothing but more and more economic uncertainty.

I am not an economist, nor do I play one on WYOU. But, dude, it’s like this: When the economic tire goes completely flat, you need to re-inflate it before you go about reinventing it.

Again, whatever. They wanted the trainee with the threadbare resume and they got him. Unfortunately, so did we.

Hunker down. Avoid taking on any new debts like the plague. And if the economy worsens to any significant degree, stock up on ammo well before people start taking to the streets. And make certain you’ve got enough to last you until martial law is declared.

Stay in touch.

This is equal parts fun and unnerving.

According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 34% of Americans believe that they can't earn a living without government help. Among Democrat and Republican voters there were no surprises.

More than half of the Democrats polled agreed that they couldn't earn a living without being empowered by the government. Republicans disagreed by a 3-1 margin.

So, according to this, more than 50% of Democrats are really nothing more than card-carrying, registered nincompoops. No more ‘Nanny State.’ No, more succinctly, we’re fast becoming a Safety Net State.

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess of the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship."--Sir Alex Fraser Tytler

The beginning of the end may well be afoot.

You may have seen this one in the news lately.

From the Times Leader:

Banas gas station/store shuts down after 52 years

WILKES-BARRE – After 52 years of business, a North End Wilkes-Barre convenience store has closed its doors.

Dark windows, empty shelves and a small amount of gasoline left in the pumps are all that remain of Banas Food Mart on the corner of Butler Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

The decision to close up shop after half a century of service was an easy one for 82-year-old George Banas. A heart condition caused him to cut back on his hours at the station. He said he could not keep up with the larger gas and convenience stores such as Sheetz and Turkey Hill.

That would be the gas station located directly across the intersection from this modest adobe. At one time that was a fully-stocked mini market, as well as a gas station. But over time it became harder and harder for the operators to make a profitable go of it due to their lack of sales volume, and the lack of purchasing power that the lack of sales volume provided them with.

So, as the little guys so likely do these days, they eventually go under.

The new owner is some guy from India who owns a string of full-service mini markets. And he can buy at a much higher volume and much lower price. He plans to remodel the store, replace the antiquated pumps, and then under price the nearby Turkey Hill stores.

And that’s good for me. If we need a spot of milk, or a loaf of bread, it’ll be waiting for us right across the street.

But this is not the usual story, where the big box outlet blows into town and suffocates the profits out of the little local guys. Lately, with the economy edging closer and closer to the abyss, it’s been the national concerns, the big box chains that have been reporting record quarterly losses, and with many closing up shop at heretofore unforeseen dizzying rates.

Just this past week I read that Block buster may be heading for bankruptcy status. Which is kind of interesting when you recall that we used to have a small video store on nearly every corner, until Blockbuster suddenly appeared and forced them all into financial submission. Remember those joints? Full Moon Video on South Main Street? Holloway Video over in East End? How about Video World at Kingston Corners? Thanks to Blockbuster, they all went the way of the Dodo bird one-by-one.

What I was wondering was, if the giant retail concerns such as Circuit City, Blockbuster, Office Depot and Home Depot disappear from the landscape never to return, what does that mean to us little guys? What does that portend for Main Street, USA?

Will the little guys be able to, or have to step up and fill that sudden retail void? Now that many of the big names have over-leveraged themselves to financial death, will we see the corner stores start to reappear? A year from now, will a DVD/video game rental store open somewhere in Wilkes-Barre? Could be.

Rather than expanding the many KOZ zones, offering millions upon millions upon tens of millions in taxpayer-provided incentives to faraway corporations promising forklift opportunities for all, is now not the right time to offer some greatly enhanced legislative incentives for average folks to go the way of the small businessman…the entrepreneur?

I’m kind of thinking out loud here, but if all of the big boys are reduced to begging for Federal bailouts, why not spend a minute portion of the bailout funds on the little guys who will likely never come a calling on any entity for any bailouts? You know, the smallish proprietors who return a sizable portion of their profits to the communities from which they came, and not to some corporate headquarters some 3,000 miles from here?

Then again, the little guys probably won’t be able to contribute significant sums to the various and sundry and seemingly bottomless campaign war chests of the politicians, so they’ll never see any legislation or tax credits or any incentives of any sort come their way.

Forget I said anything.

Still no definitive answer on what controller hopeful Nanda Palissary had to say about whether or not he thinks the Luzerne County Controller should be a fulltime position.

I keep reading the varied, oft-conflicting accounts from people who claim to have been there when first he announced his intention to run for the position. But still, no answer.

What’s the scoop?

From the e-mail inbox Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists and Obama supporters, et al:

We have stuck together since the late 1950's, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationship has run its course. Our two ideological sides of America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right so let's just end it on friendly terms. We can smile and chalk it up to irreconcilable differences and go our own way.

Here is a model separation agreement:

Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by landmass each taking a portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that, it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes.

We don't like redistributive taxes so you can keep them. You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU. Since you hate guns and war, we'll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA and the military. You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore and Rosie O'Donnell (You are, however, responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move all three of them).

We'll keep the capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart and Wall Street. You can have your beloved homeless, homeboys, hippies and illegal aliens. We'll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, greedy CEO's and rednecks. We'll keep the Bibles and give you NBC and Hollywood .

You can make nice with Iran and Palestine and we'll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us. You can have the peaceniks and war protesters. When our allies or our way of life are under assault, we'll help provide them security.

We'll keep our Judeo-Christian values... You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism and Shirley McClain. You can also have the U.N.. but we will no longer be paying the bill.

We'll keep the SUVs, pickup trucks and oversized luxury cars. You can take every Subaru station wagon you can find.

You can give everyone healthcare if you can find any practicing doctors. We'll continue to believe healthcare is a luxury and not a right. We'll keep The Battle Hymn of the Republic and the National Anthem. I'm sure you'll be happy to substitute Imagine, I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing, Kum Ba Ya or We Are the World.

We'll practice trickle down economics and you can give trickle up poverty your best shot. Since it often so offends you, we'll keep our history, our name and our flag.

Would you agree to this? If so, please pass it along to other like minded liberal and conservative patriots and if you do not agree, just hit delete. In the spirit of friendly parting, I'll bet you ANWAR which one of us will need whose help in 15 years..

Sincerely,

John J. Wall

Law Student and an American

P.S. Also, please take Barbara Streisand & Jane Fonda with you.

Oh, and take the world’s game, take soccer with you, too.

A couple of interesting rule changes from the P.I.A.A. for girls high school softball.

First, the home team can opt to install a “second first base” so that the runners and first basemen (women?) will never be at risk of colliding.

Risk-averse nonsense that has no place in sports, other than in the Challenger Division of Little League.

And second, girls from other faiths will be allowed to wear their traditional religious garb over their team uniforms. Burkhas and what have you? In high school sports?

Yet, my daughter was ejected from a college volleyball meet after the officials realized she was sporting a single post earring through her earlobe?

Know what? Take that sh*t with you to your half of Amerika, too!

Want to see some nasty pictures? Better yet, do you want to impress upon your kids the deadly serious consequences of driving under the influence?

Take the tour…

DUIPictures.com

Seatbelts?

Don’t need no stinking seatbelts!

Later






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