11-19-2004 Adventures in slumlording or: We're only in it for the money

People don't realize that by voting Republican, they voted against themselves.

I worry that some people are entertained by the idea of this war. They don't know anything about the Iraqis, but they're angry and frustrated in their own lives. It's like Germany, before Hitler took over. The economy was bad and people felt kicked around. They looked for a scapegoat. Now we've got a new bunch of Hitlers.--Linda Ronstadt in USA Today

A new bunch of Hitlers? Jeez. The frustrated center-lefters are really getting hysterical. Straight up.

I snatched this from WILK's web site. The author was the lovely and gracious Nancy Kman.

I am proud to say that I am concerned about voting irregularities. I am not a whiny Kerry supporter hoping to overturn the results of this November's election. I realize that the odds of that happening are slim to none. BUT....I do believe that we have a real problem that needs to be addressed now. There is no oversight and no paper trail in a large majority of the voting systems used across this nation. This is an outrage. Ralph Nader has ticked off alot of people by inserting himself in this year's election (even though I didn't mind it)...now he is doing what he does best. He is being a good citizen and a great advocate. What he says as he seeks a recount in New Hampshire makes alot of sense:

Several elements make voting machines "probative" for investigation, according to Nader, a consumer affairs lawyer: proprietary ownership, secret code, vested interests, a high-value reward, and lack of any real consequences, or likelihood of getting caught, for vote manipulation. "We are told that shenanigans are just politics," said Nader at a press conference on Nov. 10. "Well, it's not politics. It's taking away people's votes."

I agree!! I will even go so far as to say that those who do not support integrity in our voting system are un-American. Okay, I'm getting a little carried away...or am I?

Here's a site run by a woman who's been trying to get our attention about the voting system for years..


Go visit, and read. Let me know what you think.

First off...let me say that I think voting without a paper trail is well beyond unacceptable. It should not be allowed in any county anywhere. Well, maybe in those redneck red counties. Just foolin' on ya, Uncle Jiggy. You bugga.

Secondly, I took a look at the "evidence" of voting irregularities as told by that babbling dimwit on MSNBC and that lasted all of about twenty minutes. Counties in Florida registered heavily Democratic supported Bush. No! Recount! Recount! The only problem being that the same counties supported Bush during the last "stolen" election. Nice try and all. But instead of trying to figure out how each and every election was supposedly stolen from it's rightful owner, the bitter Democratic Party, it might do the losers a ton of good to focus more of their energies on how one goes about winning these hotly-contested national elections.

As evidenced by the near fistfight/shouting match at one of our local voting precincts, abject perfection should always be strived for to the utmost of our abilities, but rarely, if ever, fully expected. Sorry, Dems, but utopia is but a liberal pipe dream. Don't tell your coalition of single-issue voting groups, though. They were counting on it after the lot of you promised it for so long now. If perfection is what you seek, the only way to attain it is to convert to Lynnism.

I spent some serious time reading the contrived paranoia passing as investigative journalism at the Black Box Voting site and came away thinking, "Where the hell were these people in 1996?" '92? '88? Other than the legendary hotbed of political crookery, Cook County, Illinois, have you ever heard so many people shouting so loudly about voting irregularities and whatnot before one George W. Bush came to town?

Sorry, conspiracy kooks, but I'm not buying into any of this balderdash. Yeah, there's probably some hanky panky going on out there somewhere, but ever since Bush vanquished the prodigal wonk in 2000, our system of voting that was always held up to the rest of the world as the model to be copied has now been reduced to being that of an easily-corruptable Republican-and-pony show. There was nothing wrong with the system until a certain party started disliking the national results. The party in obvious decline, rather than doing a bit of collective soul searching, went and got to the bottom of the problem: The evil Republicans figured out how to steal elections on a national scale. You ought to hear yourselves. I'm embarrassed for you.

Where were these "donate now" Black Box Voting investigators eight years ago? I'd bet my double-headed nickel they were erecting Clinton/Gore yard signs on their front lawns. Wanna know why? Because the folks that only see failure and corruption all across these fruity plains tend to be left-of-center, card-carrying Democrats. The party of pessimism. The "can't do" party. The party that wants to be more like a dying Europe. The party that promotes drugging grade-schoolers. The party that did away with school recess, but put Condom 101 on the curriculum. The party that wants to legalize practically everything except freedom of religion. The party that sees only gray where some black and white actually does exist. The party that called for the abolition of the electoral college. The party of the "living, breathing" constitution. The party that vehemently rejects the obvious American exceptionalism and instead promotes a herky jerky brand of 'America second' internationalism. Only the Democratic party put the entire world on notice that our system of voting was beyond corrupt after they lost a couple of close elections. They could have learned a very important lesson about maintaining national unity if only they had followed the long ago, 1960 example of the dreaded and thoroughly villified Richard Nixon.

When the Democrats lose, it's because America is a broken, failing and corrupt place. When Republicans lose, everything seems to be operating normally. Tell me I'm wrong. Try.

Chew on this one and try not to choke. When Ross Perot garnered 19% of the vote and knocked George H. W. Bush out of the White House, the system was all-inclusive and working wonderfully. Oh, but...when Ralph Nader is expected to capture anywhere from 1-4% of the total vote, the Democrats just about freaked out from coast to coast and used the courts to deny him access to the ballot in as many states as possible. Republicans are the problem? Methinks not.

I'm certainly not qualified to assess psychological problems, but this all smacks of denial to this less than astute redneck observer. It's not the message of the Democrats that hasn't been resonating with the American people since Billy Bob Clinton, our accidental president, finally retired his sticky cigar. No! The system has been corrupted by the other side. Yeah! That's the ticket. Let's keep repeating that over and over, until we finally win something of note. Besides, a certain percentage of our loyalists will stupidly buy into it.

The Republicans won yet again. Further proof that we've definately passed the apex and on our way down to complete obselecence. That is, unless we fix the voting system and elect a Democrat or two.

Listen to yourselves.

Let's...follow this, shall we? Our state's legislators need a hefty raise, but they can't properly fund mass transit all across the state? They have no qualms about utility companies turning our homes into Ice Station Zebras during the height of the winter, while they jockey for a hefty slice of the slot machine pie. Funding for libraries, and all sorts of social programs are in danger of being further reduced, but the folks that can't balance a budget without casinos need yet another eye-opening raise. Is it just me?

Here's...another one. The powers that be want me to hand in my firearms and in return they'll send me on an all-expenses paid trip to the local Wal-Mart??? Hmmm. I wonder what the good local folks at Boscov's, Gallery of Sound or Main Hardware think about that. If I do turn in one of my step-daddy's rusted shotguns, do I need to show I.D. to get into that predatory loss-leader champion of the free world, the largest importer of inexpensive throw-aways? You know, like an Access Card?

Assuming that somehow you are certain that an enemy is unarmed, perhaps because you have already searched him or disarmed him, is it ever justified to kill him anyway? That question was answered more than half a century ago, when German troops wearing American uniforms and speaking English infiltrated American lines during the Battle of the Bulge.
Those German troops, when captured, were lined up against a wall and shot dead. And nobody wrung his hands about it.

The rules of war, the Geneva Convention, do not protect soldiers who are not wearing their own country's uniforms. To get the protection of rules, you have to play by the rules.

Terrorists are not enemy soldiers covered by the rules of war. Nor should they be. They observe no rules.--Thomas Sowell

BANG!!! Pun intended.

Check...this out. I found this on a popular political blog:

Why do we need health insurance? When I need to see a doctor, I just do what the illegal immigrants do: go to a county hospital, get medical treatment, and then not pay. There you go: government health care. Sure it hurt my credit rating, but who cares? I'm poor; I don't give a crap about my credit rating. If I ever do have money, creditors will be tripping over themselves to extend me credit no matter what my credit score is.

I guess it'a always good to explore all available options. I guess.

According...to the Washington Post, China's energy needs have climbed nearly 40 percent in the first months of 2004. Yowza! So if we do a bit of long-range prognosticating, with the American public clamoring for SUV's that would displace 60,000 tons of water if set afloat; we're likely to end up fighting a real war for oil in the not too distant future. We'll just see once and for all if those Soviet-built, sea-skimming Sunburn missiles can actually sink our carriers. While we close bases at home and abroad, the Chinese are busily building more and more.

Whatever. Who cares? The 2005 Hummers are on sale.

Wow! This is hard to fathom. Someone actually took offense to black Republicans being nailed with nasty bits of overt racism. Go figure. Based solely on their predictable silence, I imagine the usual race warlords, Jesse and Al, are on vacation.

IWF Denounces Racist Depictions of Dr. Condoleezza Rice in Popular Editorial Cartoons


Contact: Louise Filkins
Phone: 202-419-1820

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Independent Women’s Forum today denounced as blatantly racist several editorial cartoons featuring Dr. Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor and President Bush’s nominee for Secretary of State. These cartoons clearly draw upon centuries of deep-rooted, wicked and indefensible portrayals of black women.

"The depiction of Dr. Condoleezza Rice by Jeff Danziger, Pat Oliphant and Garry Trudeau as an ebonics speaking, big-lipped, black mammy who just loves her 'massa' is a disturbing trend in editorial cartoons," said Michelle D. Bernard, senior vice president of the Independent Women's Forum. "These cartoons take the racism of the liberals who profess respect and adoration for black Americans to a new level. It is revolting."

Danziger, Oliphant and Trudeau, whose editorial cartoons are very popular in the United States, are also renowned all over the world.

"The most powerful woman in the United States is young, gifted and black. Given our nation's history of race-based slavery, the ensuing civil rights movement and our continual battle against race- and sex- based discrimination, every citizen in our nation should take pride in Dr. Rice's accomplishments," said Bernard. "She is a representation of America's past and future all at once. One must ask where is the outrage of the nation's civil rights leadership, feminist organizations, and the so-called liberals who only seem to embrace black America in election years?"

"Condoleezza Rice was the first woman ever appointed as National Security Advisor. After Secretary of State Colin Powell, Dr. Rice will be the second African American to hold both posts," said Bernard. "These cartoons are decidedly unfunny."

If only Condi were a Democrat. If she was a Dem, she would be touted as being young, energetic, intelligent, well-rounded and a credit to her race. But alas, she's a Republican puppet.

Yezzum, boss.

Here...we f**king go again. The city went and yanked the towing contract from the clutches of Bobby K. and now he's gone and lodged a complaint with the state's auditor general's office about full-time benefits, i.e., health care benefits, being enjoyed by part-time elected officials. Apparently, the time has arrived for a bit of revenge. Gosh dang. This issue has become so utterly tiresome, I just wanna go and beat the puppy. It cheers me up on most days.

I doubt that anyone in Wilkes-Barre would accuse me of being a good little boy this year, but I'm gonna share my Christmas wish list with ya regardless.

I want to see our current council folks grandfather their own perks and then tweak things so that no future council folks receive health care benefits short of free Band-Aids from the city nurse. All I want for Christmas is the charter tweaked. The charter tweaked. The charter tweaked. Wouldn't that be neat?

Assuming that I got what I wanted for Christmas, what in the heck would the usual self-serving publicity whores bitch about then? What? What would they then latch onto so as to keep their names in the newspapers and build some name recognition for the elections that lie ahead of us? What?

City Council enjoys free T-shirts and ball caps with "Wilkes-Barre City Council" emblazened on them? Say it ain't so, bubba! Somebody is going to the pokey when this sh*t goes public. How about those nifty hat pins they distribute to their lackeys with the city logo on them? Who is paying for that obvious excess? That shameful waste of taxpayer dollars. That abuse of power, if you will. Walter, get Efrem Zimbalist Jr. on the blower right now! This just isn't going to wash.

I wonder if I could be implicated when this budding scandal breaks. I have three of those nifty hat pins. You don't suppose they captured me on video when I happily accepted that obvious graft, do ya? Maybe I should try jammin' them through that pain-in-the-ass paper shredder of mine. I grow increasingly concerned.

Seriously, if the health care benefits that a few of our council folks currently enjoy went the way of the breaker boys, what in the muck would these activist ninnies glom onto next in order to get themselves elected to something or other? I'd love to hear it. I'd love to see council defang the rabid miniature poodles that percieve themselves to be the ultimate timber wolves. And I'd love to hear some criticism of our elected folks that actually made sense, or could make a difference for the better of the city.

What are we gonna do if two, or three council folks lose their health care benefits? Build a spaceport next to Banana Joes? Dismantle the Sears Tower, ship it to Wilkes-Barre by rail and then reassemble it right next to the Army Navy store? How about a subway system? We could build an intricate subway system by utilizing those existing steam heat pipes. Wouldn't that be cool? Then we'd vault towards the top of the terrorist's lists of places to poison. How about a fleet of those armored SUVs the secret service guys use for our cops? Neeto! And all of this could be possible if those damned greedy bastards at city hall would just stop raiding the petty cash fund by cover of darkness. (???)

I had better take my pill.

I...was disappointed to learn that Ambrose Meletsky angrily spoke out against the soon to be implemented rental ordinance, or whatever they call it. Where once I admired this guy for standing up to the then hopelessly adrift elected types, now I wonder about his priorities, if not, his motivations.

If anyone has a problem with improving the below standards rental properties in this city, I say we hand them a one-way ticket to whatever podunk they wish and kick them in the ass as they climb onto the bus.

I work in the pest control industry, and if you could see what I regularly see in too many rental properties, you'd have recurring nightmares for years on end. I've been in rental properties where the walls were literally covered with cock roaches. I've been in 1,500 square foot kitty litter pans. I've seen the homes completely overrun with rodents, and others totally infested with fleas. I was in a rental property where the basement apartment had carpeting covering soil. No actual flooring. Just carpeting covering the dirt. I've been in basements filled with loose garbage, and I've seen small children gleefully playing amongst thousands upon thousands of roaches. If you're dead set against this rental ordinance of ours, you are definately sucking wind, and not fully understanding the public health implications in all of this. For instance, did you know that droppings and caste skins from cock roaches will cause asthma in small children? Should those typically poorer children be exposed to that only because the property owner refuses to properly maintain his substandard properties? I think not.

Try this on for size. My son is independant, much like I was, but at his age, his income is not what he'd like it to be. It'll come in time. Anyway, he went and rented his first apartment without first consulting me and he was proud of that accomplishment. He didn't live there very long at all. His landlord refused to replace the window pane that was slipping out of it's frame. He was not concerned in the least that the stove did not work at all. And the fact that no heat found it's way into this apartment did not concern him in the least. I contacted him directly and he reminded me that my son had signed a twelve month lease, and he blew off my list of complaints.

I quickly advised him that I had taken numerous pictures throughout the entire building and that he should shove that lease through his sphincter. I never heard from him again after we moved the boy out of that rat trap.

So the kid gets another hallf-decent place in Edwardsville. Turns out, the building next door was a roach farm and the owner hired some pest control yahoos to take care of the problem. They did exactly the opposite of what needed to be done, and roaches were soon invading all of the neighboring properties. When my son contacted his landlord about the roaches, he was told to handle it all by his lonesome. He was also told what to do with his lease. Try as he might to find a decent rental adobe and a responsible landlord, the boy was now 0 for 2.

Again, he goes and finds another place while I was out working. It was a cute little single home. He was already moved in when I got to see it, but it seemed okay to me. Well, every time it rained, the basement flooded, and we're talking inches deep here. The mad dash to evacuate all of his expensive weightlifting equipment from the flooded basement began. So much for the advertised "full basement." The next thing I knew, the boy was on the phone freaking out about the hordes of mice running through the place at will. I told him I'd take a look at the place.

I went up there with my Maglite and a mechanics mirror and inspected the place. I'm no rodent P.H.D., I do termites, but it was painfully obvious to me that this dwelling was to mice what Shea Stadium is to humans on Bobble-Head giveaway days. Even though I was not there in any official capacity, we approached the property owner, advised them of my pest control credentials, and made them aware that the building needed immediate attention from a professional pest control company. We told them of the health risks involved and I even told them I was not trying to build the sales of my company. I told them to feel free to call any of our competitors, but to please do something. Anybody care to venture a guess as to what happened next?

That's right, kiddies. Nothing happened other than the property owner accusing my son of keeping a dirty house. Nothing could be further from the truth, but you'll have to take my word for that.

Nope. The landlord did what too many are apt to do. He told the kid to pay his rent on time, scrub more, and shut the f**k up. And he also informed my son that he would nail him to the cross in front of Marty Kane because the baby had spilled some Kool-Aid on the parlor rug, and also because the boy had put miniscule holes in the walls while hanging pictures and whatnot. The boy then treated him to a few choice words and he was given a whole twenty days to vacate the premises, or else. He did. And we're still waiting to learn if he's going to be invited to Marty Kane's office anytime soon.

That's the long and short of it.

Ambrose Meletsky can call the mayor and the council whatever the heck he wishes, but based on what I see all too often, holding the owners of rental properties in this city accountable is long, long overdue.

And the mayor nailed it when he said "..residents of the city want their neighborhood back." We do. And we're never going to revisit those thriving neighborhoods we all remember as kids if the slumlords aren't held accountable for the condition of their properties. If they want their $400 for their two-bedroom apartments, they need to make sure those apartments are safe, clean and disease free. Then, and only then, will we attract good people that enjoy small city living.

It's kind of ironic that a rental property owner would refer to our elected folks as a "bunch of dictators," when the slumlords are more often than not exactly that. A bunch of uncaring, greedy dictators that play with people's well-being for profit.

While we obviously need more cops, and more firefighters per shift, and only Allah knows what; I'm here to tell you we need to hire more code enforcement officers and soon.

And please don't be silly enough to e-mail me about problem tenants being part of the overall problem. All too often, problem tenants are tolerated as long as they pay their rent on time. That's why the drug dealers flock here in droves. Too many damned slumlords are willing to take their wads of cash and then look the other way.

I say inspect 'em all and let the chips fall where they may.

I'll see ya'll at Marty Kane's office.