9-22-2005 Stuck on stupid?

You are stuck on stupid!--Lt. General Russell Honore, the military man in charge in of New Orleans, while dealing with the insipid press.

Dare I type it? Screw it. Why not? Them there New York football Giants looked pretty doggone good on Monday night. There! I freakin' said it.

The thing is, the Saints are a physical team with a very solid running game. Plus, they've got rather large offensive and defensive lines. While watchin' that game, you'd have to conclude that the exact opposite was the truth of the matter.

And after last week's 42-19 shelling of the Cardinals, I was really scratching my ass as to all of this promised progress that Eli Manning had made during the off-season. I didn't detect any progress at all. But against the Saints, he was fluid, if not elusive in the pocket. He stepped up to escape the rush. And his passes were crisp and very accurate.

Who knows? What the Atlanta Braves are to Phillies fans, the Jints just might become to Philthydumpia Eagles fans.

Eli's comin'.

Speaking of Phils' fans, I told y'all they should have traded for Bobby Cox. No big thang. There's always next year. And the year after that. And...

Let's not confuse the questions with the answers.--The Lt. General again.

From the e-mail inbox Hey Mark.

I decided to give myself a day of rest. All work and no play makes Harry a stiff, sore, worn out and grouchy boy.

I got up this morning and read the paper. Page two has a story about the `ole man's attempts to create a "Meagan's Law" for drug offenders which he's been working on for years. And as is predictable, Mike McGinley just didn't get it. Personally, I think the guy is as dumb as a box of rocks based on years of his quotes in both papers. Which made me revisit some of the e-mails I've received over the years regarding not just McGinley, but most of Wilkes-Barre's politicians including the `ole man.

As I've shared with you in the past, I get lots of e-mail (mostly angry) concerning Wilkes-Barre City government. And nearly all of the writers ask that I not link their name to the item they just sent to me or that I keep it under my hat. So why do they keep sending me this stuff? I don't know. Maybe I'm just as much a whacker as they are. Maybe more so. This thought sent me to the "Save My City" web site to see if any new comments have been posted. It appears to have been abandoned. And that got me thinking ( dangerous as that might be) that a forum is needed wherein these folks could post their thoughts anonymously rather than sending them to me. So I'm thinking about setting up one of those "blogs" for just that purpose. I could give it a clever name like "Cheap Shots at W-B". Might make some interesting, if not hilarious reading. What do you think?


Jeez. I work all day, make my way home and I get nailed with what do I think of "Jim's Law?" Damn!

Let's retrace our steps just a tad, shall we? From The Times Leader:

Posted on Wed, Sep. 21, 2005

Councilman proposes tracking W-B drug dealers

A plan by Jim McCarthy would be similar to the state’s Megan’s Law and make convicted dealers register.

By BRETT MARCY bmarcy@leader.net

“When a pervert comes into town, has been convicted of child molestation, they have to register.”

Jim McCarthy W-B councilman, on his proposal to have drug dealers register when they move into the city

WILKES-BARRE – Drug dealing has apparently become so rampant in the city that one councilman wants to start tracking convicted drug offenders the same way sexual predators are now tracked, as a way of deterring them from moving here.

Councilman Jim McCarthy said he wants a new law that would act similarly to the state’s Megan’s Law, which requires convicted sexual predators to register with local authorities whenever they move into a new community.

He said the same system should be used to track drug offenders.

“When a pervert comes into town, has been convicted of child molestation, they have to register,” McCarthy said Tuesday during a meeting of City Council. “The neighborhood is notified by the police department or the health department or whatever department it’s called. It’s the same thing with a rapist, and I’m just wondering if we can’t find an avenue to do the same thing for drug use.”

He also noted that many drug arrests in the city tend to involve people from other cities, including New York City, Philadelphia, Harrisburg and York.

The suggestion set off an animated exchange between McCarthy and Councilman Michael McGinley.

“I understand what you’re trying to get at . . . but the fact of the matter that remains is that those people that were arrested were arrested in the city of Wilkes-Barre,” McGinley said. “It doesn’t really matter if they lived here, or if they’re here for a weekend, or if they’re here forever.

“They’re still here, and at any given time, we’re arresting them. And I know, we know, it’s not people from around here, but you also have to understand they wouldn’t be here if there’s not a market for it.”

While he agreed that tough enforcement was important, he said he was concerned that McCarthy’s tracking suggestion could infringe on people’s constitutional rights. Instead, he suggested much of the blame also lies with drug users.

“All types of people are doing drugs,” McGinley said. “They would not be here unless there was a market for it. We need to stop the market for it here. That starts at home. That starts with raising your children the right way. It also starts with people keeping up their neighborhoods and not letting things like that go on and on.”

City Administrator J.J. Murphy also chimed in, saying city police have a responsibility to enforce the drug laws and to uphold the U.S. Constitution, which protects individual freedoms.

“Mr. McCarthy, no matter if they came from New York, Philadelphia, York, we have to follow the U.S. Constitution,” Murphy said. “Ninety-nine percent of the people who come in here are hard-working people, people that we want to come in here.

“We do have a bad element that comes in . . . and we are trying to address that. Our drug arrests have been higher than they’ve been in the history of the city. We’re working hard to do that.”

McCarthy, however, insisted that his tracking proposal was a sound way to stifle the city’s thriving drug trade.

“I just want to make it tougher for them to operate in the city,” he said. “I’m not saying to keep them out, but once they get here, we want to know if they are dangerous drug dealers who have a history of selling drugs.”

Murphy said the city welcomes any legislative help it could get in fighting drug crimes and suggested McCarthy pursue his proposal with the General Assembly in Harrisburg.

“If you can get that law passed in the state assembly, we will gladly enforce it,” Murphy said. “Believe me. We want to make it tough for them.”

And, in a nod to the Megan’s Law model McCarthy used, Murphy dubbed his plan “Jim’s Law.”

“If Jim’s law passes, we’ll be the first one to enforce it,” he said.

First off, Megan's Law is almost as big a joke as laws mandating that children under the age of twelve are required to wear a bike helmet. Without enforcement, they're not worth the non-parchment they've been written on.

We recently had ourselves an incident in the Nord End concerning Megan's Law (or the lack thereof). It seems that we have an un-registered violent sexual predator living amongst us in these parts, and someone took it upon themselves to re-print his photo from the State Police web site and plaster it all over the place. Isn't it interesting that a private citizen had to protect the lot of us unsuspecting folk from what the much-vaunted Megan's Law had failed to protect us from. Plus, we had a 12-year-old Latino girl raped, but the charges against the Jamacian-born rapist never materialized after the rapee and her entire family were deported. Anyway, if we're gonna be basing some new law on Megan's Law, we're probably pissing into a very stiff Category-5 wind.

Then again, if you take the time to visit that state police site listing the "perverts," you'll quickly learn that 99% of them are listed as living in Dallas, Shickshinny, or Wilkes-Barre. In other words, 99% of them are currently living in the county's highest-profile jails and prisons. Or in still other words, that web site doesn't provide us with anything we can use to protect our kids, and for the most part neither does Megan's Law. But the passing of that law did make for some great press and a few smiling politicians claiming credit for something that still remains elusive.

You're saying your Dad has been working on that law of his for years, so I'll take you at your word. But based solely on the miniscule amount of info provided by today's newspaper story, there's no way that I can even attempt to slice and dice whatever it is that he's worked on. There's simply not enough there to chew on. Besides, he's already disappointed with my recent output.

But with all of that said, how in the hell could we reasonable expect drug dealers to register when they move into the city without first snorting copious amounts of illegal substances ourselves? These gun-toting, lawless thugs have absolutely no regard for the laws, or even the folks charged to enforce them. For these folks, laws are seen as an infringement upon their rights to do business as they see fit. They could care less about anybody's laws and their oft-repeated behavior proves as much.

Dude, without being provided with very much detail, I'm thinking that the "ole man's" proposal deserves about as much merit as his idea to ban bicycles. There's good intentions and then there's reality.

And who was it that said, "Where there's demand...there's supply?"

While he agreed that tough enforcement was important, he said he was concerned that McCarthy’s tracking suggestion could infringe on people’s constitutional rights. Instead, he suggested much of the blame also lies with drug users.

“All types of people are doing drugs,” McGinley said. “They would not be here unless there was a market for it. We need to stop the market for it here. That starts at home. That starts with raising your children the right way. It also starts with people keeping up their neighborhoods and not letting things like that go on and on.”

Has Mike McGinley been reading this site lately?

I'll tell you what, all too often, when people envision drug addicts, they see the faces of the black people, the poorest of the white people, or whatever other persuasion that happens to frighten them the most. But, the folks using the majority of the illegal drugs happen to be mostly white, including the white, professional types. If we could convince the Luzerne County Green Party stalwarts (white boys) to go cold turkey, we'd have a few less drug dealers roaming the streets as a result.

The way I see it, what Big Jim is calling for is nothing more than a crack-down on black people, much like his call for drug-sniffing dogs being deployed to the Martz bus terminal. Who rides those buses into Wilkes-Barre for the most part? You know who, and so do I. It does come across that his call to action is very limited in scope. Tell me I'm wrong. Is there suddenly a seriously shortage of lilly white politicians tough-talking on the dealers they perceive to be almost entire made up of blacks, or what they perceive to be the 'white trash?'

Did any local politico ever bother to introduce any serious, workable legislation designed to deliver justice to the buyers of said drugs? You know, the white folks. Yeah...that's what I thought. Not!

In this area, the call to action is always designed to get those dealers from those far-away places. We'll get 'them,' while excusing what we do. And I'm not blind. I know the illegal drugs are being imported to this area. But why would some black teenager from, say, The Bronx, feel the need to come here and peddle drugs if the local demand wasn't already firmly established?

You can imprison 100 black drug dealers tommorrow, another 100 the next day, another 100 the day after that, and so it goes forever and ever. For every 100 you lock away, capable replacements will be begging for the chance to replace them that same day. Why? Because it's a highly profitable enterprise, and further, because those white folks have got themselves a voracious appetite for just about any illegal drug currently on the market.

Sorry, but it makes absolutely no sense to me to keep lashing out at the hordes of suppliers, while completely ignoring the basic fact that's it's the lot of us begging to be supplied. And if we're so willing to excuse the actions of the whites, then I'm very suspect of the motivation whereas coming down on the blacks is concerned. And make no mistake about it, that's exactly what your 'ole man is calling for. He wants them blacks brought under control without ever even considering the root cause of the vexing problem which currently occupies so much of our attention and resources.

While we snort our little snort, and blow our little blow, the prison over-crowding situation grows by leaps and bounds every, single day. And yet, the white folks don't want to pay for even bigger prisons. It's no wonder they freakin' hate us.

Where there's demand...there's supply.

And Mike McGinley?


Wasn't he elected once, or something?


The college kiddies are back in town and that means that the student newspapers, The Beacon at Wilkes, and The Crown at Kings, will be churning it out on a regular basis again. The following are some articles I snagged from The Beacon that should be of some interest to city residents.

While some of us locals continue to bemoan the fact that city properties continue to be gobbled up by the two colleges and hence, are then afforded tax-exempt status, I prefer to see these two institutions as good neighbors.

Former Blasi property becomes part of campus

Wilkes will use space for parking, storage and greenway

By Dana Zlotucha

Published: Monday, September 19, 2005

Wilkes became the new owner of the former Blasi Print Center property on August 31.

The parcel borders the rear of the Henry Student Center parking lot and includes two buildings. According to Wilkes officials, this addition to the school had been sought for some time, but only recently became available.

The acquisition is a part of the University's master plan that utilizes existing anc congruent space to both enlarge the central campus area and keep the property out of the hands of those with adverse interests to the university.

The recently acquired parcel will serve a new function, initially with the older one of the buildings scheduled to be transformed into additional parking spaces, and the other temporarily used for storage this year. Construction for the new parking area is expected to begin in approximately 60 days. John Pesta, Director of Capital Planning and Projects, commented that once work begins "it should take less than a week to have [the demolition] done."

Concerning the parking lot that will replace the building, Pesta said, "Within a week or two weeks once the project starts most of it should be completed."

The additional parking spots will immediately add options for students and faculty on campus, although the construction may slow traffic going in and out of the existing lot. "For that period of time, we may have to close [the lot] down, especially when they're demolishing the building...and make arrangements for those individuals to park somewhere else...only so there isn't damage to someone's vehicle accidentally," Pesta remarked.

The other building will eventually be transformed into additional dormitory space. Chris Bailey, Director of Campus Support Services, said he expects the parking lot to be used for about three years and then turned into additional green space. By that time, Wilkes expects parking challenges to mostly be resolved as full use of the parking garage on Main Street will be implemented.

"A residential backyard to the campus, long term, and short term to provide additional parking for the campus community," Bailey said of the plans for the newly acquired space.

Wilkes University move to Main St. one more step in master plan

By Victoria White

Published: Monday, September 19, 2005

The former Call Center on the corner of Main and South streets became the new Wilkes University UCOM (University Center On Main) late in July.

The seemingly quick purchase of the building caught many community members off guard and introduced a new building to students returning to campus this fall. With the rumor of a possible purchase arising in March and the approval from the Board of Trustees coming in April, the closing of the property on July 27 made for a seemingly hasty series of events.

The University will spend $7.9 million on the complex, and it affords Wilkes to begin completing key elements of the facilities master plan.

Scott Byers, Vice President of Finance and Support Operations explained exactly what the complex provides for Wilkes. "To provide us with what we call world class support, we felt that we needed to consolidate our [administrative] offices and services into one location so that students didn't have to get sent all around campus. Two, we needed additional space for athletics, especially the spring sports. It provides an auxiliary gym or open space. Three was the parking."

Although it sounds easy, Wilkes still faces many challenges in the full transition to UCOM. The move to UCOM is set to occur in three phases, with the first as the completion of the parking garage, which should be completed this month. The second move will be of the athletic/recreation area, and according to Byers, that should be completed by the beginning of winter semester, January 15. The final phase of transition will be of the administrative offices around May of 2006.

Aside from the many opportunities that UCOM offers Wilkes, there are also benefits to be shared by the City of Wilkes-Barre. According to President Joseph E. (Tim) Gilmour, "We essentially took a million dollar a year bill off of their plate. We have essentially occupied the center and will have a lot of activity around that corner, which will by nature improve the safety of the area."

There is the hope that by next year there will be some form of a draw for students to the building other than the administrative offices, such as a possible coffee shop or café to occupy the front corner of the building. It is with an eye on the future of Wilkes University and the city of Wilkes-Barre that UCOM is such a strategic building for the university.

Wilkes alumni stay in W-B to make a difference

By Jamie Babbitt

Published: Monday, September 19, 2005

Living at a university for four years, a student becomes acquainted and often grows attached to the community in which they studied.

Some students even stick around after they have graduated to raise a family, start a career, and find ways to improve on the place they now call home.

Gabrielle Lamb, '04 Wilkes graduate, and Bridget Giunta, '05 Wilkes graduate, have both done just that. They became so invested in the city of Wilkes-Barre during their time at the University that they sought local jobs to use their skills and make a difference in the community.

Lamb began working for the Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce this past May as an Economic Development Specialist. "What my job entails is selling the area to people who are interested in it and [ensuring] the businesses that are here, stay here," said Lamb.

She believes that the local colleges are the best resources to make Wilkes-Barre a successful city and hopes that "we really truly become the college town that we are."

Lamb stayed in the area after graduation for many reasons. She has family and friends here, and wanted to stay close to them. But she also saw many opportunities in the area, and with the revitalization of downtown Wilkes-Barre, she believes that even more opportunities will open up in the future.

"I think it's a very common misconception and I think it's the easy answer to say that there isn't [opportunity here]," she said.

Giunta began working for Mayor Thomas Leighton as an intern while she was a student at Wilkes, and now holds a full-time position as an Administrative Coordinator. She works with the coordination of special events and juggles a variety of responsibilities in public, media, and community relations for the city of Wilkes-Barre.

Her enthusiasm for the potential of the area began her junior year when she saw an announcement in The Beacon's Student Government notes requesting two student volunteers for the Downtown Collegetown Initiative. She signed up and spent a great deal of her time brainstorming ways to improve the city using the area colleges and students.

This group led her to her present career, which focuses on taking that potential and using it to improve the city.

"I hope Wilkes-Barre becomes a place where the people that are from here and live here take pride in it and are not in any way ashamed to say that they are from here.... I hope it becomes a place that values the young adults in the area and incorporates them into the city," Giunta said.

Like Lamb, Giunta also believes that there is so much opportunity here to take advantage of. "I'm a firm believer that students can find a way to invest themselves in the area and take a piece of it and put their name on it. Then they will be that much more willing to stay here and see it through," she said.

Both alumni hope that if Wilkes students don't stay in the area after graduation, that they at least care about the future of the city.

"The last thing in the world anybody wants is to think that you're alma mater isn't doing well because of the city it's in... This isn't just about your four years. When you graduate from Wilkes, that is your tie forever," said Lamb.

Giunta added, "I would hope that students take enough pride in Wilkes to know thaty the future of Wilkes and the future of the city depend on each other very much. As cliché as it sounds, you can make a difference if you care to, and I would hope that everyone would care to."

Campus expansion underway

Wilkes to grow greener with changes

By Nora Jurasits

Published: Monday, September 19, 2005

Wilkes University has recently lightened its wallet and expanded its boundaries, spending over $8.5 million dollars on the purchase of two new properties and the leasing of another two buildings.

The University Center on Main (UCOM) includes an office building, a parking lot and a parking garage. The new property will be home to many offices that are currently spread across campus, including financial aid and management, as well as public safety and university service offices.

Director of Campus Support Services, Christopher Bailey explained that the fact that all offices would be located in the UCOM building would be a more effective and efficient way to provide services to students, creating a sort of "one-stop shop."

Bailey also noted that the data center will be moved from Stark Learning Center into the UCOM building, which was designed to be highly technological.

"UCOM will also allow additional athletic space for both varsity and intramural sports," said Scott Byers, Vice President for Finance and Support Operations.

Once renovated, the parking lot and garage included in the UCOM property will add almost 600 parking spots for Wilkes students and faculty. Currently, about 290 spots are in use. By the end of November, Public Safety and University Services will be moved into the offices located in the parking garage.

The former Blasi Printing building on River Street has also been purchased, and the building will serve as storage space, while the lot features another 70 parking spaces.

Buildings on Northampton Street and Ross Street have been acquired under a one-year lease. The buildings have been renovated, and are currently housing approximately 40 students each.

Bailey explained that the UCOM building has required the most work, since the two dorms were renovated by the owners, and the Blasi Printing property is being used as storage. The locks have been changed to fit with university settings, and the buildings are now patrolled by Wilkes Public Safety. "Overall, the building is in very good shape: the air conditioning is functioning, and the roof is good. The athletic areas just need to be set up, and offices need to be reconfigured."

Byers said the properties were purchased as part of the university's Master Plan, which was unveiled in November 2004. The plan was the result of collaboration with many faculty members, staff members, students, and local government officials.

He explained that the acquisition of additional parking spaces on the UCOM and Blasi Printing properties will allow Wilkes to turn currently existing lots into recreational areas, which follows the plan's concept of creating a greener campus with more open space.

"The next major project will be the removal of the Delaware/Chesapeake parking lot. It was supposed to start in the summer, but it will get underway sometime this fall," Bailey said. "It'll improve the campus community in terms of beautification. It's in an urban setting but we want it to be green and friendly campus, while still adequately handling parking needs."

The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.--Francis Vincent Zappa

Okay. Back to that e-mail from the illustrious Harry:

From the e-mail inbox As I've shared with you in the past, I get lots of e-mail (mostly angry) concerning Wilkes-Barre City government. And nearly all of the writers ask that I not link their name to the item they just sent to me or that I keep it under my hat. So why do they keep sending me this stuff? I don't know. Maybe I'm just as much a whacker as they are. Maybe more so. This thought sent me to the "Save My City" web site to see if any new comments have been posted. It appears to have been abandoned. And that got me thinking ( dangerous as that might be) that a forum is needed wherein these folks could post their thoughts anonymously rather than sending them to me. So I'm thinking about setting up one of those "blogs" for just that purpose. I could give it a clever name like "Cheap Shots at W-B". Might make some interesting, if not hilarious reading. What do you think?


I would tell you that providing an outlet for public discourse on a very local level should always be strongly encouraged. But, if you're going to put in place another anonymous free-for-all, ala, The Times Leader SAYSO column, in my mind, you're wasting your time.

Consider why that 'Save My City' site has gone silent. Much of what the unknown author posted was dubious, if not totally laughable. And, then, when the cause for which the site was first created was all but crushed, the anonymous blowhard was capable of just walking away from it. There was no need to fight on, or go into greater detail, or to further explore the issues. There was no need to save face, because there was never a face or a name attached to that vaccuous site.

Without any accountability whatsoever, I think you'd eventually be disappointed with the monster you bothered to create. I post some people's comments without providing their names on occasion, but I know them to be totally credible people. I will vouch for their credibility. It's the anonymous cowards posting bilge like 'our cops are chicken-sh*ts' on that idiocy site known as Doughnuts R Us, and I honestly doubt that you'd like to be responsible for nonsense such as that.

I would suggest you set up a blog where you have the power to delete any post you deem to be complete garbage with one keystroke. I happen to see the anonymity approach to ranting and raving as proof of one's reprehensible cowardice, but, hell, Allison Walzer published it in a freakin' newspaper. Just goes to show how little I know.

I say go for it. But make sure you can edit the content at any time.

Harry.com's subhead? What's the ugliest part of your body?

Oh yeah. Thank your Dad for me for an ugly incident that went down today. I was headed north on the Hummer today on S. Main and rapidly approaching the Gallery of Sound store which serves as the model of my version of Heaven. The traffic also headed north was friggin' bumper-to-bumper, so rather than get on the car driver's nerves, I jumped onto the sidewalk in front of the Thomas' deli. Now get this. From the deli all the way to the Square there was not a single sped...sorry, pedestrian on the entire sidewalk, which is wider than S. Main itself at that juncture.

As I got closer and closer to Heaven, some guy crossed the street on foot at a high rate of speed, and in my opinion, was deliberately trying to intersect with my, now, changing trajectory as if on purpose. The farther I steered to the right, the faster his fat belly lurched up and down, until he stopped dead in his tracks and let loose with the following: "Get on the f**king street wear you belong!" I squeezed those brake levers so hard, the bike skidded to an abrupt stop and the rear tire came up high off of the ground. I told him to mind his own business. He repeated his bullspit again. I told him to try reading the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code just once. He kept rambling on and on like the fat slob, stupid f**k bastard that his exterior seriously hinted that he was. Enuf! I said, "Suck off you f**kin' piece of sh*t cocksmoker!!!" His lips started to flap again, so I depressed the button on my nasty loud electronic horn, drowned him out and pedaled away, all the while thinking "Thank you for that, Jim."

In this case, the ridiculous bike ban nonsense uttered in public served no purpose other than to get some lump of flab inviting me to turn around and deliver to him something of which he was cleary not prepared to receive. Twenty years ago, this loudmouth flabmaster would have been in need of an ambulance within the blink of an eye. See that. I am making progress.

Anyway, thanks entirely to Gentlemen Jim, a lone asshole living and spewing amongst us is no longer willing the share even the widest sidewalk in the entire County with a single, responsible bicyclist. Nope. Rather than sharing that completely deserted sidewalk, he sought out a confrontation. Funny, the PA Vehicle Code book tells the operators of motor vehicles and bicyclists to learn how to share the roadways. But The Book According to Big Jim tells us that some folks are second class citizens deserving of being singled out for abuse. In some minor respects, it kind of reminds me of his proposed 'Jim's Law.'

Remember, as far as illegal drugs are concerned, generally speaking, the brown folks grow em', the black folks sell em', and the white folks buy em'. Turns out, his foray into battling illegal drugs comes up far short of being comprehensive or all-inclusive. Why is that?

Oh, and dig this. Where was that lump of hanging flab yelling at me headed anyway? Well, it seems he was headed into that Go-Ped a Go-Go store where every vehicle sold immediately turns into a motor vehicle being operated illegally. As a matter of fact, when kids are allowed to take them for a test drive on that very same sidewalk, laws are being broken. And this waddling mass of cellulite wants to yell at me?

Thanks, Jim. I needed that. You just about incited a one-man, three-second-long riot. Next time I'll twist his fat neck until he starts barfing up half-chewed Twinkies, doughnuts and Almond Joys and carve a huge "J.M. was here" into his monsterous ass.

Maybe we should start tracking violent bicycle riders, too.

L to R: Uncle Marque, Cuzzin Mason, Zach and Gage

The strictest law often causes the most serious wrong.--Cicero