11-7-2005 Vote (nuthin' else to do)

Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.--Bill Clinton, December 16, 1998

Excuse me for being a pea-brained slug, but would it be a stretch to call that a unilateral military action based on faulty intelligence? Or would that qualify as being a lie, too?

There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years.--Jay Rockefeller, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee, October 10, 2002

Okay. Now I'm gonna do my impression of a hapless myrmidon. Ready? Here goes.


Are we voting tommorrow? I know I am, but I'm wondering if anyone else is going to bother. Near as I can tell, this one is a real snoozer. Does anybody actually believe that Petrilla won't be our next county controller? And can anyone see Carolee winning another term after she annoyed damn near everyone during her first rowdy stint as procthonotary? Plus, it's sort of difficult to vote against a candidate that gets you to undressing them in your tirelessly perverted mind.

It's not real hard to predict the race for Register of Wills being that only one person--the well-entrenched incumbent--bothered to seek that "important" position. I'm not even going to bother to pull that lever. Somebody will vote for her. Some polka fan with a blue wig, I suppose. Register any wills lately?

And then we've got the big school board vote. Like, who really gives a snootful about who sits on the school board? What are they gonna do? Slash expenses? Demand contract concessions from the pampered unionized employees? Are they gonna snub the fedrule govmint, tell them to eat their subsidies with the major strings attached and decide upon a wholesome and useful curriculum of their own? Will they demand that the janitors stay awake during their entire shifts? Or is the zero tolerance policy the absolute apex of their abilities?

And with Hispanics flocking to this city faster than McGroarty's agenda drew waves of flies, expect to see the groundbreaking picture published when they decide to build a new $300 million high school. Don't be fooled by all of this closure and remodeling talk. No school board member worth his own weight in poo doesn't want to see his name on a brass plaque in the brand spanking new school. Or even better yet, their name stamped on the new school. Picture it: The Hoby M. Cour High School & Intermediate Beating Facility!!! Hey, I do like that. Maybe I should run for a school board seat. What? Your kid wants to teach here in the city? Do I know you? What's your last name? How much money you got?

Whatever. I really don't care who sits on the school board so long as all of those barely literate students of theirs learn how to properly fit a condom on a cucumber. On a side note, are parents still, like, parenting these days? Or are they glued to Desperate Housewives and Sex In The City re-runs all week long? I drove past Meyers the other day as another school day was about to begin and it looked like the place was hosting an international slut convention? Is that the fad these days? Is it okay with Mom and Pop iffin' lil' Sis all but invites shouts of "How much, Toots?" I must be an old fuddy duddy or something, but my daughters were never once confused with any of Jerry Springer's female guests. Say it with me: What...ever!


But, the Yes or No vote on whether or not to retain the two state supreme court justices is interesting. After I pull those No levers, I'm gonna scribble an F word right above the two of them. Midnight raises are constitutional? So is voting your dead ass out of office.

Oh, and a local judge--Mark Ciavarella--is up for a retention vote, but I'm not up to speed on his performance. I know Kevin Lynn praises this judge to the high heavens, so he's got one strike against him right from the get-go. I mean to say, if Kevin Lynn suddenly set about praising me, a lengthy period of serious soul-searching would immediately follow probably culminating in a spectacular suicide.

Then again, it's probably not a smart move to publish your intent to vote against a local judge. You never know if you might be dragged before him one day. Hi there, yer honor. 'Member me? I'm that internet stooge that urged all of Luzerne County to vote against you? Feeling lenient today, are we?

No, despite the kiss of death, the Kevin Lynn endorsement, I'm going on the record right now as promising to never, ever vote against any local judge. Ever!Yes, your honor. I did grind that entire Girl Scout troop into tiny sausage patties, but I voted for you. Can I cop a plea?

So, tommorrow is election day and it's a real yawner for sure. But we should still bother to get on out there and vote. I'm not sure why, but I do want to say goodbye to those inexpensive (Hint! Hint!) green monsters that General Custer once might have used to register his vote.

Vote. You'll be glad you did.

I suppose.

I gots me a couple of questions about these state-issued identification cards. Other than where face-lifts are concerned, why is it that they have to be renewed every four years? Unless you've grown eight new chins, or a third eye of late, the renewal thing smacks of a tax to me. How drastically could your appearance change in four short years assuming you normally don't pick fights with nightclub bouncers? If you're a Scanner Land veteran, you know that no one actually has them renewed. Every single time any cop runs those IDs past the folks at 911, they come back as being suspended almost without fail.

Wifey's got herself one of those non-driver identification cards. Turns out, the damn thing expired over four years ago. But, her glossy on the card and her real life face look much the same. Now, if she hands you the card and you're convinced she is who she claims to be, then why in the hell would you deny her anything in a retail environment only because of the expiration date? Because she didn't pay the ID card tax? That's totally bogus. Check this out.

She wandered up there to that big box concern called Target and sought to spend approximately $300 worth of my hard-earned money on the grandkids. After visiting each and every aisle despite knowing exactly what she wanted to purchase before entering the damn store (Chicks!), she arrived at the register with my MAC card and her state-issued ID card in hand. Can you guess where all of this is going? Sure enough. Only because my name was on the MAC card, the check-out gal goes into all of this needless jazz about wifey's ID card being expired. Now, if that MAC card was stolen, how would wifey just happen to know the pin number? You've got the same last name on both cards, a woman who knows the pin number, and an expired ID card that clearly proves she is who she says she is. What is the frickin' problem here?

The check-out gal stuck to her guns. No go! The identification card had expired. Wifey wasn't swiping any MAC card of mine until she could properly identify herself right on the spot. So...she whipped out her voter identification card, which does not happen to include a picture of the card carrier, and that was quickly accepted as proof of ID. Apparently, voter ID cards do not expire at some point. Well, Hell! Why not whip out the library card, or the Sue Henry Fan Club card? Is it just me, or has the entire population of this planet suddenly gone 29 cans short of a friggin' 30-pack?

Is my medical examiner's certificate (CDL) proof of ID? How about my pesticide certification card? No picture on them. Why not my Friendly's or Franklin's business cards? National Rifle Association card? A KISS Army card perhaps? Wait! I got it. My Shur Save gold card ought to do the trick!

Now, you could say that we should simply get wifey's ID renewed and spare ourselves all of this needless grief. No! I think not! We didn't realize it before the Target incident, but that expired card is a sure-fire way to separate the normal folks (wherever they are) from the helpless loon-jobs.

Whatever. That Rapture they promised us seems to be long overdue.

Sez me.

Kayak Dude found the following in The Times-Tribune up there in Scranton.

Dam up dam job


Installation of an inflatable dam on the Susquehanna River, near Wilkes-Barre, is a project whose time has not yet come. Proponents of the $14 million project are awaiting a decision by the Department of Environmental Protection, but the condition of the river in that area and in upstream areas does not recommend its periodic conversion into a lake.

Although the environmental condition of the river has improved, a great deal of work has to be done upstream from Wilkes-Barre before any lake created there would be attractive for recreation. The Scranton Sewer Authority alone, for example, is under a federal order to upgrade the system and prevent raw sewage from entering the Lackawanna River during rainy weather. The Lackawanna flows directly into the Susquehanna.

Moreover, the dam would be below some areas affected by serious pollution from abandoned mines. One of the worst is at the confluence of the Lackawanna and Susquehanna rivers.

Pollution now dumped into the Susquehanna along its 440-mile course from its source at Cooperstown, N.Y., to its mouth a the Chesapeake Bay, poses a huge environmental problem for the Chesapeake. It also poses major problems at several current dam sites along the river, where pollution lies deep within silt that is deposited at the bases of the dams. Why invite those problems with another dam?

Rather than spending money on an inflatable dam, the state, federal and local governments should spend it first on cleaning up the river. Money spent now on environmental remediation naturally will translate later into economic and recreational opportunities. A dam only highlights current environmental problems, rather than eliminating them.

Is there any possible way to talk some serious sense into a stubborn old congressman who mistakenly believes that damming pollutants and sewage could amount to a destination of choice for countless tourists? Probably not. When this guy latches onto a pie-in-the-sky project, he very quickly develops tunnel vision. How's that water-jet project coming along? And where's our escalators to replace those old-fashioned sidewalks? And why shouldn't we build a spaceport in the downtown?

This is sooooooooooo lame! I thought only those limp-wristers from the left field bleachers turned talking points into letters to the editors. Like I need help to write. (?) I'm telling ya, 90% of those letters we read in the newspapers slamming Bush can have their origins traced to some web site. Some already have.


Bush lied. (Insert talking point #1) Furthermore, Bush lied. (insert #2) Bush spilled blood for oil and lied. (insert #3) Not only did Bush lie, but Cheney stole my Beach Boys tour shirt.(insert #4-7). In conclusion, Bush lied.

Pete Swickles
Sugar Notch, PA

From the e-mail inbox Hello FairTax supporter, we have a simple request today:

Write your own letter to the editor! Use your own words!

Paper: The Times Leader
Email: jlacoe@leader.net
Fax: 5708295537
City: Wilkes Barre

The paper above ran articles re: the FairTax and the President's tax panel. Please send them a letter of 150 words or less on the merits of the FairTax. It will take ten minutes of your time! You may refer to www.fairtax.org and the following points below. Here is an example of two of the stories they may have run:

These days, the letter editors Google the text to see if they can find identical letters, too similar letters, and phrases directly lifted from letters. This irritates them and the letters do not get published. Write your own letter! Use your own words! Here are some helpful facts:

* FairTax.org is a 600 thousand plus membership organization.

* The FairTax has more than seven million supporters/adherents if you look at the membership of allied/similarly-minded organizations, e.g., American Farm Bureau Federation, other state farm bureaus, National Taxpayers Union, etc.

* "I get the sense - I've picked this up since the first meetings we've had - that this is an area the panel does not want to pursue," said Senator Connie Mack, a Florida Republican speaking in regard to the FairTax or a consumption tax. You might be troubled by this statement from Senator Mack suggesting that the panel's conclusion was reached before their study began. His observation that the FairTax was never viewed as a viable option at the outset of the panel's deliberations calls into question the credibility and objectivity of the entire panel's deliberations. Moreover, it mocks the efforts of those who presented to the panel (a decade's work, millions of dollars in fundamental economic research, and marketing studies of the American public) believing them to be honest deliberators.

* We're shocked at your (Connie Mack's) admission regarding your comments at the panel's October 11, 2005 hearing. The members of FairTax and I cannot adequately articulate our disappointment regarding the panel's dismissal of a national retail sales tax from consideration as it concludes deliberations on the panel's report.

* Not only did the panel admit to prejudging such a tax, but the purported analysis conducted by the panel was full of errors.

* Before the analysis began, James Poterba, Ph.D. (MIT) warned his fellow panel members that the limited, static scoring provided by the Treasury Department would inaccurately (unfairly?) score any consumption tax. Clearly, they ignored this - along with a letter from the nation's leading tax reform organizations to President Bush asking that the panel be required to use more sophisticated dynamic scoring.

* FairTax.org has conducted more empirical research on the FairTax than proponents of any other tax reform proposal. These studies addressed concerns about rate and the impact on the poor. The data provided to the panel by FairTax.org demonstrates that, given its broadest base, the FairTax plan has a rate of 23 percent and through its prebate, is the only plan to entirely untax the poor. The panel's staff found the rate to be 25 percent with a 15-percent noncompliance rate. Both fair assessments.

* Past critics, when confronted with the wealth of independent studies on the FairTax, have resorted to the scare tactic of shrinking the base to drive up the rate. The most practiced and artful proponent of this deceitful practice is Bill Gale and his employer, The Brookings Institution. That the panel might be misled by such tactics might have been expected. However, the decision to adopt such tactics as its own is difficult to comprehend in light of the analysis provided by the panel's own staff.

* Put more plainly, the plan as discussed and rejected was not even the FairTax - it was a different plan altogether, and a plan formed by the faulty assumption that the Congress would never resist the temptation to narrow the base.

* A single, visible rate and a system where everyone is a taxpayer is the best assurance against narrowing the base.

* True tax reform can only be accomplished through a system that is fair, simple, and transparent, where taxpayers control the taxes they pay by simple purchasing behavior.

* Tax reform proposals that “hide” taxes and the true cost of government and which are prone to manipulation through legislative loopholes become unfair, complex, opaque playgrounds for special interests.

* Government should never pick economic winners and losers.

* The panel's own members seem to be in conflict about the operation of the FairTax. Senator Breaux stated his concerns about the impact of consumption taxes upon the poor. Clearly he never understood the impact of the termination of embedded taxes in combination with the FairTax prebate. By contrast, Dr. Lazear observed that the plan is too generous to the poor. We hope that Senator Breaux understands that, unlike Dr. Lazear, we do not feel that it is too beneficial to the poor to allow them to meet their own sustenance in life before the government becomes their partner.

* The panel staff's own measurement of distribution - who pays how much tax - showed the plan nearly approximating the distribution of current law. The FairTax was specifically designed to ensure that no American pays any tax up to poverty level spending - a benefit to all, but of significant benefit to poor, lower-income, and fixed-income Americans.

* The chairman made it clear the panel was biased against the FairTax from the beginning. This admission of unfairness is proof of an arrogant “verdict now, trial later” attitude which disqualifies the panel and its findings from any serious consideration by the American public.

* The panel made it clear it will be proposing only tinkering around the edges of the current system to eliminate past reforms like the alternative minimum tax (AMT). The American people will not welcome this common Washington tinkering, because the current system is beyond repair, not merely in need of a little tweaking.

* The panel failed to actually evaluate the FairTax plan, but instead made decisions based on their own manufactured alterations made up of loopholes that bore no meaningful relationship to the FairTax. This intellectually dishonest analysis renders any evaluations made by the panel irrelevant, since they studied plans of their own making, not plans actually proposed, researched, and supported by the American people.

* That the panel is not going to produce a credible, effective, innovative, and honest report comes as no surprise. Washington is the seat of politics and lobbying, whose bread and butter is manipulating or gaming an unfair, complex, opaque tax code. Bold, innovative, and taxpayer-friendly ideas will, as always, have to bubble up from the people.

* The FairTax is backed by one of the largest and most vocal grassroots movements in U.S. history. It is the fairest, simplest, most transparent, and most growth-oriented tax system possible. Its progress will continue in spite of the panel's attempts to derail it.

* Panel recommendation #1: Junior tinkering On October 11th, the tax panel admitted to not liking the FairTax before they studied it. After rejecting the FairTax's multi-million-dollar, independent economic studies and decade of growing support from taxpayers, they relied on quick work from the Joint Committee on Taxation, well known for its inability to accurately model consumption taxes. The JCT provided a score of the panel's version of the FairTax - rather than the FairTax as written - which the panel rejected. The panel's alternative was income tax tinkering that makes it harder to buy homes and health insurance.

* Panel recommendation #2: Jumbo tinkering The reforms of 1986 seemed like a good idea at the time but included no protection from the special interests, leading to the lobbyist wonderland we have today. In the panel's second proposal, presented by a former IRS commissioner, the dispassionate observer might not be able to tell if it is 1986 or 2005. And the proposal certainly leaves generous room for K Street lobbyists to ply their trade.

* Panel recommendation #3: Colossal tinkering into the unknown A pig-in-a-poke, never-before-tried, so-called “progressive consumption tax” that fully uses the existing income tax infrastructure in a hybrid of both consumption and income taxation. Are we in America or are we in France? And why should a consumption tax still require civil-liberty-infringing, income tax filings from every worker?

Here is a good article to reference in composing your letter: http://www.townhall.com/opinion/columns/alanreynolds/2005/10/27/173057.html

Thank you,

FairTax Grassroots team

Use your own words?

Yeah. And fractional circumlocutory divisions thereof.

Sez me.

I think.

From the e-mail inbox Hey Mark,

Hope all is well back in the W-B. I just wanted to update you (if you already haven't heard) on the final plan for the new Giants Stadium. Big Blue and the Jets will be sharing the new digs in East Rutherford. Yep, the Jets didn't get the West Side stadium deal in Manhattan, nor did they get the stadium deal out in Kew Gardens, Queens, so both teams will be bunking up with one another for quite some time.

The deal is as follows.

1. The Jets and Giants have both signed 99 year leases to stay in Jersey.

2. The new stadium will not be named Giants Stadium, but rather, some corporate name.

3. Both teams will be sharing The Meadowlands with the new Xanadu project which will include a huge shopping mall (like 7 malls within 20 miles isn't enough), a new casino, and entertainment complex (movie theatres and live stage shows).

4. This is the best one of all. There is actually talk of a referendum in regards to renaming one of the teams after Jersey. The New Jersey Giants? The New Jersey Jets? I can live with that since I lean closer to being a Jets fan.

So there you have it. The new stadium will be built right next to the old one. That is all from this overpriced, property tax raped wasteland known as New Jersey.

Be good.

Jersey Dude.

Dude, all is well here. Any freaking day now I will have a new addition to the brood--a fourth grandchild. The medical professionals tell us it's most likely going to be another boy. If things keep going like this, I'll be able to field my own wiffleball team. I'm excited, but it would have been cool if these kids had themselves a sane Pop Pop.

It figures that the Jets couldn't swing a new home of their own. Who'd want 'em? If it wasn't for the NFL's version of The Black Sox series, the Jets would have no claim to fame. I don't know what's worse, the Jets using our stadium, or religious goofballs forming into prayer circles on third and fourteen. Whatever. No big thang, I suppose. It could be worse. I could be an Eagles fan.

I don't really care for that corporate naming of stadiums thing, but I imagine that this new stadium ought to be one helluva facility. Giants stadium is an awesome place to take in a football game as it is, so I can only imagine how good the replacement will be. And who knows? Maybe when they start swinging that wrecking ball around Jimmy Hoffa will pop up.

I know. Why not name 'em the Joisey Packers. You know, like garbage packers. No? Ah, forget it. I'll try to behave myself.

Stay cool, keep your head down and stay in touch.

As of today, Terrell Owens is unemployed. Go figure.

Gotta go get myself ready for some more NFL football. Checklist: Smokes...Beer...good to go.