1-21-2009 The ten people I’d most like to punch

Just the other day, I heard Steve Rodham-Corbett of WILK say that Barack Obama “is in over his head,” which has been one of my biggest fears whereas Obama is concerned, his obvious lack of experience at, well, at anything of note.

And after his inaugural address, I heard Rush Limbaugh mention that Barack Obama’s speech was negative in tone, that is was not uplifting or reaffirming. While it could easily be spun that way, I think the speech was just his way of dealing with the obvious, correctly pointing out that we’ve got some big problems to deal with.

While I’m still concerned about his lack of experience, he comes across to me as both rational and pragmatic. And if all that his presentation offered was a stark admittance that America is not where it wants to be, that’s perfectly fine with me. Fact is, we do have a lot to deal with, so we might as well admit it and get on with it. The shining city on the hill needs some work.

Straight up, the benediction given by Reverend Lowery put me off my lunch. It didn’t offend me as much as it made me angry. Seriously, a presidential inauguration is no place to be chastising those dastardly blue-eyed devils all over again. Sorry, but it’s just not the time or place for another installment of stating the “obvious,” that no matter what, white people still suck.

Is it just me, or was Aretha Franklin surprisingly lame? Seemed like it.

And what in Allah’s name was Elizabeth Alexander’s incoherent poem about? As I was listening to that excruciatingly painful gibberish, I was embarrassed for her. Yikes.

ABC radio’s coverage of what would follow was also embarrassing. The radio hosts came off like two prepubescent girls secretly watching Jon Bon Jovi undress. They were gushing and frothing and, I swear, wetting their undergarments. If the Secret Service becomes distracted for even a moment or two, it’s likely that the new president gets gang-raped by an over-adoring press.

For the sake of the country, I sure hope the rock star treatment fades away, and fast.

As with all inaugurations, I found it to be too long, too boring and rather than stay with the fawning tripe passing as reporting, I made my escape to Sim City.

Lastly, I was very happy to see George W. Bush wave one final time, get on the helicopter and fly away into history. Finally, you folks are going to have to start to blame yourselves, rather than Bush, every time you stub your toe, every time the nightly news is not to your liking, or when your parakeet escapes it’s cage and flies away. From now on, you’re going to have to do significantly better than “Bush did it.” Or in other words, you’re probably not going to be able to cope from here on out.

Anyway, I watched and listened to the proceedings. And as far as I’m concerned, the folks involved matter less to me than what makes this country what it is, the continually peaceful transfer of power.

Wish us luck.

Normally, Paul Golias of the Citizens’ Voice writes about the undeniable need for regionalizing by our local governments. As for myself, I’d take that one step further by demanding that they merge, that they consolidate. But, nobody wants to give up their minute fiefdoms, so we continue to languish financially.

But here’s one that Paul got entirely correct.

Luzerne County on road to home rule showdown

The most important decision will not be approval of a Home Rule study. The crucial vote will be the selection of the men and women who will do the study.

Here’s some advice: Ignore political ward healers and reject anyone who served on a past study commission. Be cautious of academics. Clergy, remain in your pulpit please.

No, we should turn to fresh faces, men and women of all ages, people who pledge not to seek office within the government plan that they will create. We want common-sense folk, people who really believe that good government starts with good actions by good people with good intentions.

BANG!

You’re either a selfless and courageous reformer of government, or you’re a stealthy politician laying in wait. And since I’ve personally been down this road to revolution once before, I’m telling you, beware the reformers.

One…More…Time…

No, we should turn to fresh faces, men and women of all ages, people who pledge not to seek office within the government plan that they will create.

I‘m pleased to see that the Wilkes-Barre City Council has taken issue with the County’s plan to pick and choose which municipalities should pay for the upkeep of the levy system.

From the Times Leader:

W-B rejects planned levee fee

The resolution passed by council does not dispute the need for a fee to maintain the levee system; it states the cost should be shared by all county residents “fairly and equally distributed.”

Thomas and fellow council members Kathy Kane, Mike Merritt, Rick Cronauer and Bill Barrett voted for the resolution.

Thomas said people from throughout the county come to the city to use hospitals, universities, schools and medical offices. “It’s everyone’s responsibility to help pay these costs,” he said.

Absolutely!

Wilkes-Barre is the County’s seat of government. And, as such, it obviously needs to be protected from that oft-threatening Susquehanna River of ours. Wilkes-Barre also plays host to countless entities which are tax-exempt, all of which are utilized by residents of the county from one end to the other. The hospitals, the colleges, the libraries, the YMCA, the county buildings, the federal buildings, the state offices and the lengthy list of social services agencies and so on.

And those multitudinous amounts of tax exemptions do put a strain on our city budget, and, in effect, reduces city services available to city residents. As far as I see it, Wilkes-Barre burdens a disproportionate share of the cost of most of which makes this county a livable, functioning community.

So, if the upkeep of the levy system needs to be doled out by the county, dole it out to all of the 76 municipalities, and not to 9 or 10. Let’s have every community pick up a small part of the overall cost, rather than having Wilkes-Barre burdened with yet another disproportionately assigned share.

And if any community objects, tell them I want them to help with the upkeep of our parking garages and with the construction of the newest one. Because the fact is, it’s not the residents of Wilkes-Barre filling those garages Monday through Friday. It’s the 12,000 county residents flocking to work in Wilkes-Barre, and the countless others that come here to partake of the countless legal, medical, educational, professional, governmental and social services.

Sez me.

More on the fracking of bedrock. Or, more aptly put, the ongoing and fast-growing threat to our water supplies.

From the NBC affiliate out of Binghamton, New York:

Montrose Proves Natural Gas Success May Come with Consequences

“One of the DEP workers from Coudersport came here last Friday and he said Oh drink the water, oh drink the water. I said you know what, you drink the water, because I'm not drinking it. It tastes just like diesel. "

Neat! The barn catches fire, the volunteer firefighters tap into the nearby pond, and then Soviet satellites falsely detect a missile launch when the gas-contaminated water applied to the fire ignites into a fireball and reaches high in to the night sky.

Who knew that the fracking of the local bedrock could lead to an accidental nuclear exchange?

Those folks up there in Dimmock Township had better secure themselves some iodine pills and Geiger counters.

Oh, and import some safe drinking water.

It‘s a dirty job, but someone has got to do it.

The ten people I’d most like to punch:

(I know, very juvenile of me. So what? Kiss off!)

1. The FreeCreditReport.com guy. Gee, he almost makes it look like he’s really playing that acoustic guitar of his. You know, by playing the entire jingle without changing a single chord.

2. Rosie O’Donnell. She is to being repugnant what the universe is to being expansive.

3. Leonardo DiCaprio. He was fine and dandy until he starting playing the tough guy, action hero roles. My 11-year-old paperboy could beat his girlfriend senseless and rape him.

4. The Verizon Network geek. How do I get that job? Just standing there motionless looking like one of the heroes from Revenge of The Nerds II?

5. Dick Cheney. I have nothing against the man. But what quicker way is there to win the love and adulation of 51% of America with a single punch?

6. Angelina Jolie. Why not prove once and for all that anorexic women with fake racks, no matter how much Botox they inject, cannot kill men with their bare hands?

7. Jessica Simpson. Any lying vulture who pitches acne creams that do not work in the least deserves what follows. Besides, she’s dating Tony Romo.

8. Avril Lavigne. I would pop her upside the head, but she scares the hell out of me.

9. Keith Olbermann. His pettiness, vindictiveness, hatefulness and vitriolic partisan swill aside, what quicker way is there to win the love and adulation of 49% of America with a single punch?

10. Any Geico Caveman. Self-explanatory.

Honorable Mention: Most of the regular callers to WILK‘s Kevin Lynn, most all of the mainstays at the local soup kitchen, mouthy soccer fans, people who relentlessly claim to know karate, anonymous assassins posting comments on other people‘s blogs, Green Party freaks, Move On.org geeks, Goth losers, Wiccans, tattoo “artists“, skateboard slackers, Eagles fans or any old man sporting a ponytail.

Just about everybody, I suppose. Go figure.

If you weren’t nominated, better luck next time.

The following italicized post appeared on the The Lu Lac Political Letter about a week ago.

TESTING! TESTING!

Like a lot of people in this nation, I have a job. I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit. In order to get that paycheck, I am required to pass a random urine test with which I have no problem. What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test. Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for them? Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sitting on their rear ends , doing drugs, while I work. . . . Can you imagine how much money the nation would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check?

And then this appeared via the e-mail inbox:

From the e-mail inbox Whoever wrote this one deserves a HUGE pat on the back!)

I HAVE TO PASS A URINE TEST FOR MY JOB... SO I AGREE 100%

Like a lot of folks in this state, I have a job. I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit. In order to get that paycheck, I am required to pass a random urine test with which I have no problem. What I have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test.

Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for them? Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sitting on their ASS, doing drugs, while I work. . . . Can you imagine how much money the state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check?

I guess we could title that program, 'Urine or You're Out'. Just a thought.

Dave, you have the made the big time at last! Forget the candidates forum. Enough with the WYOU interactive show that nobody watches. Your stuff is now being forwarded all over the internet. And Allah only knows, we just love all of that gunk that is forwarded to us day-in and day-out.

Just as soon as Dave posted what he did, his readers turned it into an argument of whether mandatory drug testing is a violation of our civil rights or not.

And I think you’ll find that most of the people that see drug testing as a violation of their rights work in environments in which the spilling of a bottle of liquid paper constitutes a workplace accident. These would be the people that miss time due to injury after inadvertently driving the end of a somewhat mangled paper clip up under a fingernail. The people who strain their wrists while typing and then go on permanent disability. The people who violently wince at the thought of a really, really bad paper cut.

Or, they are likely the frequent users of illegal substances.

If you’ve ever toiled away in a high-volume food distribution warehouse, you’d understand the necessity not only of mandatory drug testing, but of spot checks as well. These are workplaces where forklifts, reach trucks and high-lifts are speeding all about. And all of those aforementioned heavy vehicles sport 2,000-pound batteries alone. With these jobs, speed is of the essence, followed very closely by accuracy. These are places containing humungous blast freezers, where the constant noise of the blowing fans is deafening. This is a place where incessant blinking can get one crushed or much worse. In these environments, workplace accidents can and do lead to fatalities. And we haven’t even touched upon the drivers of the tractor trailers, or the yard trackers, and the inherent safety concerns involved with all of that.

So, putting those welfare queens aside, there is an undeniable need for mandatory drug testing in workplaces that involve much more than the correct operation of a fax machine, a desk top computer or a two-spout water cooler.

And let’s not kid ourselves. Illegal drug use is a pandemic that permeates all economic and social strata.

And with all of that said, is it okay with you if your coworker busying himself just nearby is under the influence of anything? Answer me that.

I guess your answer depends on just how much danger may or may not be inherent in your workplace. And speaking from experience, the louder they object to workplace drug testing, the more likely they would be to fail one of those tests. Those of us who are not hazy dopers see drug testing as an inconvenience, and not the threat to one’s continued or future employment as some others do.

So, if the welfare queens should not have their rights violated, and if the producers of smallish stacks of printed reports should not have their rights violated, then why should the operators of 3,000-pound forklifts or the 53-foot-long tractor trailers have their precious rights trampled underfoot?

Why?

Because in this doped-up society of ours, it’s necessary, that’s why.

Them’s my thoughts.

Coming soon: The Kayak Dude interview. Submit your questions on all things Susquehanna River and the hydraulic fracturing of bedrock.

Later

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