Pilot to co-pilot

The way we live in peace in a family, in a marriage, in the world, is not by threatening people, is not by showing off your muscles. It's by listening, by giving a hand sometimes, by being intelligent, by being open and by setting high standards.--Teresa Heinz Kerry

Yeah! That approach will go a long way towards stamping out international terrorism.


Check this e-mail:

*******Since you know EVERYTHING please explain why democracy will work in Iraq while it fails to work anywhere else. The Soviet Union fell apart but I don't see democracy or capitalism breaking out all over the place. Our cowboy president sticks to his guns and our kids are dying for an idea that will never work. He's shooting blanks on this democracy dream of his. And you support him?*******

That I do. The WMD were spirited off to Syria so as to splat egg all over his face. So be it. So what's he supposed to do now? Pull out and create a power vacuum certain to result in a civil war if not a horrifying genocide?

We can continue to go round in circles debating whether we should have invaded that country in the first place, but we've got the lives of 25 million people hanging in the balance right now. Some call Bush's steadfastness in the face of our current difficulties stubbornness. But I fail to realize how trying to deliver freedom to peoples of any stripe can be determined to be the wrong course of action. Isn't that what the left-leaning folks are always yammering on and on about? Justice for all? Equality? Civil rights? Freedom?

Whereas democracy and capitalism are concerned, there is an undeniable reason why it has failed to take root throughout the world after despots were displaced from power. The author Hernando de Soto sums it up as following:

80% of the world's people don't have title to their property, meaning they might be able to continue using it, but they cannot sell it, insure it, use it as collateral, or raise equity capital. Consequently, trllions of dollars of assets are frozen and cannot be redeployed to promote economic growth.

Democracy would most likely take root more often than not if people were free to chase what we commonly refer to as The American Dream. But they are not free to, because they don't have the vehicles necessary to drive it. Namely, property rights.

In Iraq, the people do enjoy property rights. And if the whole of the country were to ever be stabilized, property rights coupled with the foreign investment sure to follow could make democracy an easy pill to swallow while the average incomes of the common rabble rose to previously unforeseen heights.

And if unimagined prosperity were to become the norm for the average Iraqi, you'd most likely see a more secularized society take shape. The Mullahs would still have their say, but the fatwas they issue would mean less and less to people who were thriving financially only because they were completely free to persue whatever it is that they may want to.

In other words, Bush's vision of a free and democratic Iraq could actually come to pass. That is, if the scaremongering Democrats would stop trying to convince all of us that it is virtually impossible to achieve.

But I will add this. Donald Rumsfeld's comments that the national elections slated for January will go forward even if some sections of the country are too destabilized to participate scares the hell out of me.

In this country, some vocal black folks claim they are being disenfranchised by Republican attempts to prevent them from voting. I say that's unmitigated hogwash, but that's neither here, nor there for the purposes of this circumlocution. The point is, those folks are working peacefully to ensure that their votes count. Great. More power to them. Stay on it.

Now, back to Iraq. Do we want any percentage of an already agitated population that owns extra clips for their AK-47s feeling disenfranchised come February, 2005? I think not. That's a clear invite for even more senseless violence.

If we can't restore some semblence of order to the few remaining insurgent strongholds by election day, I feel that everyone involved, including us, would be better served by delaying the much ballyhooed elections.

But by delivering a severe military smackdown to those insurgent strongholds, we are certain to suffer even more casualties. Do we have the intestinal fortitude necessary to see this thing through to it's proper and rightful conclusion? Or are we indeed the "paper tiger" that Osama claims we are?

Only time will tell.

Oh, and a few million votes on November 2nd.

From today's Voice:

With the prospects of yet another tropical storm heading up the East Coast, some South Franklin Street residents are anxious about the debris piling up along the bridge over Solomon Creek in Wilkes-Barre.

Much of that debris is leftover from Hurricane Ivan and the resultant flooding that portion of South Wilkes-Barre received.

"I haven't seen anybody with any equipment up there," said Charlene Wade, who lives near the now-closed bridge. "I think they should cancel that movie theater thing and start fixing these.

"I think they should cancel that movie theater thing and start fixing these."

"I think they should cancel that movie theater thing and start fixing these."

"I think they should cancel that movie theater thing and start fixing these."

Holy fug! Stop the world. Hit the brakes. I live near a creek that floods every time God cries to any great degree. Why should I rethink my decision to live here, while so many dollars are available to much more important projects? Bail me out. Bail me out. Provide for me. That's what the govmint is supposed to do. Provide for me.

And where's my free health care plan? Provide! Provide!

Why should I be held accountable for my decisions?

What is the govmint gonna do for me?

Drive to Scranton to see your silly movies.

I mucked up by moving next to the always flooding creek and I demand satisfaction.

Provide, dammit!

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know...

...I'm f**king rude. So drive your freakin' car over my bike already. What the funk? I can't even imagine being so blatantly self-centered.

Yeah. The entire creek needs to be reconfigured. And the last time I checked, that overdue project is soon to go forward. But the confused mindset of this person infuriates me. Forget revitalizing our long dormant downtown. Forget providing this flailing city with the massive booster shot it so desperately needs to finally get over the hump.

I lost my friggin' water heater and two dozen brand spanking new softballs!!! Do without that theater jobber. That theater thingie. Provide for me!


Downtown party fails to attract college crowd

That's the way the Voice chose to title it's story about the first ever "Party on the Square" held on Saturday night. Sounds kind of defeatist to me, but what do I know?

You want my opinion? Tough! You're gonna get it anyway.

Gage Andrew and I were both down there as this event was just getting underway. It seemed sparsely attended to me, but it was very early yet. Gage took his very first ride on his new "Co-Pilot" trail bike. A trail bike is a tiny bike that attaches to a larger bike and then trails along behind. Basically, the Rock Stomper doubled it's length. I'd love to provide a pic for all ya'll at this time, but hang in there. I'll be taking receipt of my new 'puter gizmo next week.

You gotta see this thing to believe it. I never, ever envisioned people rubber-necking because of a stupid bicycle, but that's exactly what we encountered while being out and about. I guess I should communicate future bikeabouts to the copper dudes so that they can schedule an extra patrol unit to handle the resulting fender benders. Who knew?

So the party intended to draw area college kids was lightly attended. So what? So figure out why and work to make the 2nd annual event even bigger and better than the inaugural event. If General J.J. isn't busy making any more documentaries, have him figure out how to draw even more folks from an age group that he is not very far removed from. He did us proud with the Healing Field, so I'm sure he can convince lots of younger folks that downtown Wilkes-Barre is a place where they can frolic in on occasion.

The light attendance should not be seen as a set-back. The reasons for it should be analyzed and the plan for next year should be improved upon. We absolutely need to keep giving people good reasons to visit our city. And any dollar spent to convince the youngest among us that Wilkes-Barre proper is a hospitable place should be considered an investment in our future and not an expense to be paid for.

Keep pluggin' away.

There is no denying the fact that Gage Andrew is a chatterbox. Sometimes I actually feel sorry for the folks he interrogates.

While at the party, I stopped directly in front of one of our horse patrols so that Gage could get a close-up look at the horse. He immediately started his next interrogation of a copper dude struggling to hear him over the engine of an LCTA bus idling nearby.

Gage: What's your name?

Horse Dude: His name is Sierra.

Gage: No! What's your name?

Horse Dude: My name is Duane Price.

(Then it starts in earnest)

Gage: How come you're riding a horse? I watch COPS with Grandma and all the cops ride in cars on tv. How come....

(On and on he went from there.)

The horse dude pointed out to me that he was having trouble hearing Gage over the bus, so I told Gage to say goodbye and he promptly did so.

Trust me on this one. You don't wanna get grilled by this three-year old. He'll talk your pointy ears off.


...you bet!

With a week remaining in the season, all five Major League Baseball teams that call California home are wthin one game of the playoffs. Has that ever happened before? That's wild, if you happen to live there and charish the American pasttime.

The last time we had an all California World Series, a devastating earthquake interupted not only the fall classic, but life in general in that state. And for safety's sake, I think we need the Atlanta Braves in the next World Series so as to stave off any potential repeat of recent history.

Call Kanjorski.


No Dodgers.

No Padres.

No Giants

I recieved a couple of e-mails...

...noting the Jints sudden and surprising (?) rise back towards respectibility.

I'm not surprised. Tom Coughlin. That's why. This guy is a good football coach. He's already proven as much. And the Jints have too many talented players at the skill positions to keep stumbling along like they did last year.

They played very poorly during their first outing against the dreaded Eagles, but a couple of things they did right in that game are quickly becoming trends.

1.) Kurt Warner has been rock solid and he is yet to make a glaring error.

2.) The offensive line, once a source of frustration, if not outright embarrassment, is so vastly improved, it's almost hard to fathom.

3.) Tiki Barber is not putting the ball on the ground.

The defense looked completely confused against the Eagles, but since that game, it's apparent that the rebuilt "D" has solidified under the tutelege of it's new coordinator.

Are we going to the Super Bowl anytime soon? Logic suggests otherwise. But then again, we are loaded with plenty of more than capable players at those skill positions. Players that are eager to prove that last year was not indicitive of what they are ultimately capable of.

At the very least, it's sure gonna be fun watching the dreaded Eagles fall on their f**k-faces again.

And I quote Tom Chapin:

"If you were a giant, you could be a New York Giant. Which would be a very powerful giant indeed."

If you want it, you can get it. But to get it, you got to want it. Anything you want to try. Just let go, fly high.

And make a wish.

Here! Here!

We're back!