12-2-2004 Some folks are pitiable without ever knowing it

Customs, traditions, moral values and rules of etiquette, not laws and government regulations, are what make for a civilized society. These behavioral norms, mostly transmitted by example, word of mouth, and religious teachings, represent a body of wisdom distilled through ages of experience, trial and error, and looking at what works and what doesn't.

Customs, traditions and moral values have been discarded without an appreciation for the role they played in creating a civilized society, and now, we're paying the price. What's worse is that instead of a return to what worked, many of us fail to make the connection and insist "there ought to be a law." As such, it points to another failure of the so-called "great generation" -- the failure to transmit to their children what their parents transmitted to them.--Walter E. Williams

So I bopped into a Turkey Hill for a 24 ounce coffee. This is a very, very rare event which proves that the advance stages of winter are surely settling in. Drat! I so loathe the winter. If we were all smart folks, we'd be livin' in a much more temperate zone where bulky winter coats are only ever employed on the silver screen or on that annoying little video box most folks pray to.

Dear Lord, hear my prayers. Oh, Lord, please giveth me some low angle fur shots on Desperate Housewives tonight. Or maybe some T&A not yet affected by gravity on Monday Night Football. Amen.

Desperate Housewives? Monday Night Football? Same difference.

Anyway, I'm standing on line at the Turkey Hill and some brainiac Charlie Weiss clone up and buys $180 worth of PA Lottery scratch-off tickets. He paid up, wandered away and the girlie behind the counter realized that I was absolutely flabbergasted by the complete lunacy that I had just been privy to. As I gathered my wits and handed her a couple of bucks, she smiled and said, "That's nuthin'. He usually gets about $300 bucks worth."

At the risk of coming off as too judgemental, who the hell let him out of the Clarks Summit State Hospital without first stitchin' his skull shut? Holy friggin' failed candidates turned super hero!!!

Now allow me to guess. I'm gonna go way out on a limb here. I'll bet this guy is already bitching about the $42 increase in the right-to-toil-away tax? Heyna? Yet another taxpaying primate swinging from vine to vine?

By the way, on Monday night, Ashley borough voted to max out their right-to-slave-tax, so I'm a gonna be eating nothing but leftover form boards and concrete from the Holeplex site from here on out. Ya know, maybe if I stop showering all together, I would probably be welcomed with open arms at the soup kitchen. The biggest holiday of all is zooming in on us, and suddenly, fruitcake never sounded so good. Strange, but I've developed a taste for it after reading the newspaper's accounts of the most recent council meetings.

Big time...zinger delivered on WILK this morning. Sue Henry had some padre on her show who she described as an "anti-death penalty activist." He spewed the usual worn arguments against putting sickos out of their misery. If we execute them, we are murderers ourselves. Blah blah blah and f**king weinie-spined blah. Obviously, no one in his family ever got shot through the eye over a future pawn shop trinket, or strangled to death so someone could get their rocks off.

How did Fred put it whilst tearing our inept, federally-manipulated educators a new one? Oh, yeah:

One may issue a diploma to a log. The recipient remains a log.

Put that one in your useless diploma and smoke it, why dontcha?

To make a long convoluted story shorter than Danny Devito, it was mentioned that folks convicted to death could possibly escape from prison one day and set about killing innocent types again. The padre claimed that he couldn't remember hearing of anyone convicted of murder having had escaped from prison. I'm paraphrasing here, but Sue immediately let loose with:

"Ever hear of Hugo Selenski?"

BANG!!! Yo, padre! Bad, bad juju!

I just luvved this line from the padre, the ultimate protector of the criminally repugnant:

"We have confused justice with vengeance."

Nah. I'm not buying into that oft-repeated and clueless bullspit. What we have done is tolerated the musings of the intellectually bedraggled for well too long now. If your mission in life is to save those who brutalize others to death, I'm here to tell you that your invertebracy should also meet it's demise.

From the highest rope.

One of our...taxpayer activist super heroes also spent a dime to join in on the Sue Henry talkfest. Yepper. Walter Griffith himself picked up the bat phone and weighed in on the right-to-slack tax debate. Some folks obfuscate, while still others mislead. Some tell less than the entire story, and some others take things totally out of context. I'm not entirely sure what Walter did today. He either doesn't know what the muck he's talking about. Or he deliberately lied to the listeners of WILK.

Mayor Leighton claims that the increase in the right-to-whatever tax will generate approximately $1,000,000. And he also stated he would use that money to bolster our police force. Since getting the keys to city hall a ways back, he's made frequent noise about hiring more cops ever since. And based on what he has said and done since first declaring his intention to grab the city's top spot, no one can accuse him of lying to us about anything. So, a right-minded person would have to believe that he intends to hire more cops with that money.

Not so fast, cries our pitiable super hero. He insinuated that Leighton might not spend the new income on police officers. And he further pointed out that Leighton will add 10 new members to his personal staff in 2005.

10 new mayoral staff members, you say? Why, sure. One to turn the pages of the mayor's morning paper. One to stir his morning coffee. One to hang his coat and that goofy looking cap of his. One to polish his cufflinks. One to...

The plain fact is, Walter either has his facts wrong again, or he's just making it up as he goes. Either way, he's neither electable, nor is he the leader of brave taxpayer activists anywhere. Odds are he managed to escape from his gnome cave on some hitherto undiscovered isle in the swamp due south of Harveys Lake.

And if he could actually read English, he'd surely have caught the fact that the money generated by this new-and-improved tax must be spent, by law, on the hiring of new municipal employees such as cops and firefighters. Not on mayoral assistants. Not on a mayoral cufflink caddie. And not on a mayoral taste-tester.

If memory serves, it's not possible to respect the contemptable. Therefore, no one, and I mean no one, should pay any further attention to the gnome turned super hero. His ham-handedness is matched only by his propensity for being completely wrong on every given issue.

In my party-hardy mind, he's earning demerits, not votes. And one ah-sh*t wipes out all atta-boys.

Incidentally, ask Wonder Walt about the $170 bucks he totally wasted by ordering the wrong documents from City Hall. Uh-huh! He's sure got his act together. And if that's not Sad Sack enough, he threatened to stop payment on his check to pay for the wrong documents that he alone ordered.

And he tells us he's fighting for the taxpayers?

Yeah! And I've got half a grilled cheese sandwich with Deborah Harry's indisputable likeness on it.

Going once!

From the e-mail inbox:

Between the lines of Employment Ads:

Advancement Opportunity
-Shit job

Entry Level
-Really a shit job

No Experience Necessary
-The mother of all shit jobs

Administrative Assistant
-Shit job with a title

Ground Floor Opportunity
-Shit job with a company that will file bankruptsy within a year

Progressive Company
-Employees get to wear jeans every other Friday

Team Player
-Must deal with dangerously territorial co-workers with rabid personalities

Upbeat Personalities
-Must neither threaten us with any kind of lawsuit nor use the drug/alcohol rehab benefit within the first year

Word Processing Skills Essential
-There is a crippling case of carpal tunnel syndrome in your future

Public Relations Receptionist, Professional Appearance Important
-$20K a year job that requires a $100K a year wardrobe

Pleasant Telephone Manner
-Be the voice of 1-900-SEX-SUCK

Earn Up To $300/Hour
-Be 1-900-SEX-SUCK

Salary Range $24K to $32K
-The Salary is $24K

BA Required, MA Preferred
-Must be a MA willing to work for a BA salary

Civil Service
-The job was filled from the inside 6 months ago

Women/Minorities Encouraged
-White males need not waste a stamp

Outstanding Benefits Package
-Health Insurance

Tons of Variety
-We took all the heinous tasks no one else would do and rolled them into one job

Top Notch Communication Skills

Beautiful Offices in Attractive Locale
-Brand new tacky windowless office where picture frames match the carpet

-Women only job with the responsibilities of management and the wages of a migrant worker

Executive Secretary
-The most powerful person in any company

-You're looking at a minimum of 80 hours per week until we force you into early retirement

Salary Commensurate
-We'll pay you whatever the Hell we feel like

Salary Negotiable
-We'll take the lowest bidder

Competitive Salary
-We'll pay you up to 10% more than your last job... Period!

Competitive Starting Salary
-Ten cents above minimum wage

Pleasant Atmosphere
-A staff of pod people

Professional Atmosphere
-Zombie pod people

Fun, Creative Atmosphere
-Pod people from Hell

Dynamic Atmosphere
-Zombie pod people from Hell

Gal Friday
-Anyone who actually applies for this job deserves it

Self Starter
-Open to broad interpretation, since no one really knows what this means

This...just came over the wire:

Skrepenak and Vonderheid Reduce Taxes in their 2005 Budget

Wilkes-Barre (12/2/04) :: The Luzerne County Commissioners today adopted a tentative budget for 2005, which reduces taxes to residents by 4 mills, and does not include a deficit. The balanced $131.7-million dollar spending plan was accomplished as part of Luzerne County’s initiative to balance its’ budget, reduce taxes, freeze spending, and right-size county government.

“Bringing fiscal responsibility to county government, and reducing the tax burden on our residents was priority-one when we entered office in January,” said Luzerne County Commission Chairman Gregory A. Skrepenak. “This just proves that bringing professional finance managers to the county team, and applying effective budget practices does work.”

The 2005 budget process, under the direction of Luzerne County Chief of Budget and Finance Sam Diaz, included budget-request hearings with all offices, departments and agencies in the county, that left Luzerne County’s 2005 spending plan with an estimated 20 million dollar deficit as of November 20, 2004. Through additional discussions, strategies and reductions, Diaz was able to bring the deficit to zero, while reducing taxes in Luzerne County from 98.9 mills to 94.9 mills.

The 2005 Budget Initiative will enhance revenue through more aggressive collection of delinquent taxes, additional tax collections through the Treasurer’s Office, and a

1-million dollar contribution from the Court System. A number of expense reductions are included, among them, 3-million dollars by the Court System for juvenile probation, a hiring freeze, further reductions at the Valley Crest Nursing Home, zero growth in court-related spending, and a reduction in prison staffing requests.

County Commissioner Todd A. Vonderheid said, “We really took the team approach in achieving this budget. We met with Row Officers, agency directors and department heads, and worked toward costs that would help them meet the needs of our residents, while not increasing the burden on our taxpayers. As a result, we have a proposed Luzerne County budget that, for the first time that anyone in county government can remember, is truly balanced.”

While most of the 2005 budget calls for cuts in spending, the Commissioners have included in this budget an increase of 1 mill to be dedicated to the Luzerne County Public Library System.

The Luzerne County 2005 Budget will be formally adopted at a special meeting on December 23rd, 2004.


I gotta go.