12-5-2005 Mr. Skrep goes to Harrisburg? So? So what?

How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.--Ronald Reagan


As it turns out, Commissioner Skrep is admittedly considering a run at an even higher office than he has now. And predictably so, there has been some anti-Skrep rumblings on the internet. As for myself, I have no frickin' clue as to what either Skrep or VonderTodd have been up to since taking control of this county. Others have thrown words such as nepotism, cronyism, and corruption around as a way of summarizing their job performances so far. For me, I find their financial decisions to be confounding, if not stupifying. Basically, assuming that any comes into play at all, their logic is totally lost upon me.

Consider this snippet from a recent Times Leader story:

Posted on Tue, Nov. 29, 2005

Fischi, Hyder get raises of 14%, 22%

County prison board praises wardens for taking on more work. Skrepenak says money is being saved.

By TERRIE MORGAN-BESECKER tmorgan@leader.net

WILKES-BARRE – The Luzerne County prison board on Monday increased the pay of Warden Gene Fischi by 14.1 percent and of his deputy, Sam Hyder, by nearly 22 percent.

The increases, approved by a 4-0 vote, bring Fischi’s salary to $82,000, up from $71,843, and Hyder’s salary to $70,000, up from $57,423.

That totals $22,734 more in salary between the two posts, but county board of commissioners Chairman Greg Skrepenak said the increase is more than covered by savings the board gained in September, when it eliminated the position of deputy warden of support, held by Joe Morris.

Whether there is an actual savings is debatable.

Must be funking nice.

Now take a gander at this snippet from yesterday's Sunday Voice:

Now commissioners hope to increase county government's exposure to the public even more by televising meetings.

The $25,000 to $30,000 annual cost to televise 20-plus meetings is the main hurdle to overcome, said Kathy Bozinski, county public information officer. Those costs also could increase if the meetings exceeded two hours or if they are not held at the courthouse, she said.

The entire meeting would need to be televised so commissioners cannot be accused of manipulating the content, Bozinski said.

Lackawanna County commissioners meetings are televised in their entirety, but the situation is different, Bozinski said. A channel owned by a group called Scranton Tomorrow produces and televises the meetings free of charge, she said.

"If an organization in Luzerne County came forward with dollars and a channel, as well as pay for the $25,000 in production costs, it could be easily accomplished," Bozinski said.

So, unless I'm even dumber than that PHD Nancy Kman thinks I am, we can afford $22,734 in raises for two county employees, but we cannot afford the $25,000 necessary to televise the monthly meetings of our far less than financially astute fearless leaders. Did I get it right? Yeah? So, do you feel a "duh" coming on, like, real soon?


Plus, the '06 budget includes no tax increases, but does include a $9 million deficit. Does anyone actually believe they'll be able to trim expenditures enough, or increase revenues enough to make up for that shortfall while they're giving out heretofore unheard of massive raises?

Now try a snippet of this priceless jewel from the Voice:

Commissioners approve $11.5 million 'life transition' plan

By:James Conmy 12/01/2005

HANOVER TOWNSHIP - Approximately $2.35 million in savings justify an $11.5 million loan needed to buy out 185 Luzerne County employees in return for their resignations, officials said Wednesday night.

Commissioners Greg Skrepenak and Todd Vonderheid approved the "life transition plan." Their goal is to save $2.35 million through a reduced work force and lower salaries for new hires.

The $2.35 million is realized after all costs associated with the incentive are paid, including principal and interest on the 15-year loan, Vonderheid said.

Interest rates and a payment schedule will be determined once the loan is secured. Payments will be structured so the county's annual debt service remains constant, Vonderheid said.

A list of employees resigning and positions vacated will be made available at today's 10 a.m. public budget presentation. Each employee will be paid a $20,000 bonus and $1,000 for each year of service. They also will be reimbursed for unused sick and vacation time.

We need an $11.5 million loan to save $2.35 million??? Being that I was "ignored in high school" and all, I have to ask--Is it me?

Using those abhorantly large raises given out at the county lock-up as a guide, if a whole lotta county employees decide to "transition" their white heinies out of there...won't that immediately translate into the folks remaining behind picking up more of the workload and needing gargantuan raises, too? Or, are the gargantuan raises available only to a select few?

We're gonna borrow money to save money? Yeah! And Sharon Stone keeps buggin' me for sex. Yeah! Meanwhile, we're giving out record-setting raises because we reduced the overall workforce? I know I'm one of those low-life "drive by" bloggers, but where I was hatched, you save money by spending less money, not by spending more money to save money.

And people continue to e-mail me and wonder aloud why I rarely, if ever, touch upon the county's confusing business affairs? Alfred E. Neuman!!! We're not talking voodoo economics or fuzzy math here, fellas. We're talking The Hitchhiker's Guide to Your Next Hefty Tax Increase!

From a 12/2/2005 Voice story:

No tax increase or job cuts are needed to balance the $139 million spending plan, Commissioners Greg Skrepenak and Todd Vonderheid said Thursday at the first presentation of the county budget.

Although the property tax rate remains 94.9 mills, up to a $9.4 million loan could be needed by the end of 2006 to rectify an anticipated deficit. It will mark the fourth consecutive year the county operates at a deficit.

Gee whiz! Everything's coming up roses. Oh, but, (in hushed tones) we may need a $9.4 million loan at a later date to make this budget work? No job cuts are needed? Really? So, why are we offering $20,000 bonuses and $1,000 for each year of service iffin' our employees will simply walk away from their jobs? No, no job cuts are needed, but we do need that $11.5 million loan to shave the payroll? This is utter insanity that even Alfred E. Neuman couldn't conjure up on even his best of days.

Skrep can show up here at the adobe and sit on me until my entire putrid life (Right, Nancy?) flashes before my eyes. But the undeniable fact is, nowhere except in the public sector does an effectively thought-out (?) austerity program include 'spensive buy-outs for lower-level employees, massive bonuses, massive loans and massive pay raises. If there's a viable cost-cutting plan in place here, I am failing to see it.

Skrep might seek a higher office? YES!!! BY GOLLY!!! WHOOPEE!!! By all means, please encourage him. Call your well-heeled relatives in the Back Mountain and beg them to vote for Skrep. Pay them if need be. Let him go off to Harrisburg and do the important stuff like writing legislation requiring helmets in the shower, and public floggings of Christians, and those goll derned cigarette smokers, too. Well, that is, when they're not raising their salaries in the middle of the night. Compared to most other states, the crowd under our state's rotunda dome resembles a Million Man March. How much damage could Skrep do after being elected into that mass of self-serving folks who seem to have forgotten the mass of humanity they left behind?

You wanted a football player and you got one. And if you no longer want that football player, why block his most likely escape route out of this county?

Make checks payable to: Skrep for La-La Land

But VonderTodd is a whole other sore subject as far as I'm concerned. Unlike our much-heralded offensive lineman, I voted for Todd. And for the most part, I've been wondering why ever since.

Try this one on for size, Todd.

From year to year, the spending increases cannot be greater than inflation plus population growth.

Why don't I regularly opine away regarding our county's government?

Sorry, but the manure is piling way too deep to even consider wading into it.

Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.--Ronald Reagan

From the e-mail inbox Mark,

If I had a penny for every time someone was treated rudely on WILK's morning Jeff & Mutt show, I'd own that station and Nancy would be one of my many trainee au pairs.

And you're right. They do the same things you do, only, they reach for the switch when they happen to hear anything they don't like.

Bring Fred Williams back. He was cute and cuddly in a mean-spirited way. At least he could make me laugh at his baseless attacks.

Stick with it


Fred was a rush, wasn't he? He was a pisser for sure.

From the e-mail inbox Markie,

Thanks entirely to you, I listened to the Perve & Nancy show this morning and I was cracking up right before I switched back to sports talk. I tuned them out a long time ago but decided to give them a quick listen. KING KONG? How old are these two? They were all besides themselves and wet in the shorts over the umpteenth remake of KING KONG??????????

I couldn't agree more. This is what happens when you have absolutely no competition to speak of. You get King Kong, Bush ate my children, bloggers are cowards and Kevin has the hots for the teen-aged daughter of the local weather chickie. Oh, and, everyone outside of Kevin's immediate family is a knuckle-dragger, a drooler, or a knuckleheaded drooler who believes in something other than themselves.

From the e-mail inbox Mark,

I had no idea what you were talking about until I went to the WILK website and read the psychobabble from Nancy. I was going to send her an email but decided to follow your example and answer on my blog. I just may start recording their program as my schedule doesn't let me hear it.I will look for the burning flags Tuesday or we can agree on a meeting place, let me know.

XXX (Gort)

You coined it perfectly..."the psychobabble from Nancy..." God (sorry) only knows where all of that useless muckity muck rose forth from. It sounds to me like she has a few insights into how cruel the high school years can be.

Awesome. In return, I'll go easy on the Eagles. Well, for a day or two perhaps.

Here's another reaction to Nancy's hilarious Blog This! hissy fit.

And I snagged the following reader's comments from Gort's site:

Pope George Ringo said...

These sites give people who have a shared interest the opportunity to discuss, rant, insult, etc. all in good fun, may I add. Blogging is essentially American, the right to say what you feel, whether it ticks offf someone or not. Bless all the Bloggers, both Conservative and LIberal.

10:03 AM

Sorry Nance, but even The Pope recognizes the errors of your ways. Now, give me twenty Our Fathers, and twenty push-ups. Oops. Chick Alert! Okay, forget that. Give me three push-ups and we'll get you some Ben-Gay right quick.

Here's one more I lifted from Gort's comments section:

Doctor Rick said...

I have been on Sue Henry as a featured guest and she dialogued with me about my web site, she was very supportive.

I have called in to WILK and debated Kevin a few times, and every time he calls me crazy and dismisses me.

5:50 PM


I listened to that YCOP dominated show and Sue Henry was as gracious and engaging as she always is. And even if she was entertaining a mis-guided YLOP blogger in the WILK studio, she would have extended just as much respect as she had received from the guest. She's a class act.

And then there's that other local talk show. Kevin once became so completely enraged after I easily blew his argument out of the water, he demanded that I recite my web site's address "live" on the radio. I did as much without any hesitation. Further annoyed, he accused me of being one of those anonymous internet assassins and demanded to know my last name "live" on the radio. He was clearly out of line, being embarrassed and all, but, again, I did not hesitate and blurted out my last name. Then, not knowing when to admit defeat, he demanded that I spell it. I get that a lot. So I barked the following into the poorly-constructed telephone: C--O--U--R!!!

He immediately hung up on me and moved on to the next subject on his Fantasy Disco list.

And what was it that motivated me to call in the first place?

He was suggesting that then councilman Tom Leighton was somehow behind Politic's PA.com's decision to nominate Tom McGroarty as one of the top five worst mayors in this entire state.

Kevin was dead-wrong, I pointed that fact out and he went berserk on me. But he couldn't shout me down, he couldn't fluster me and he couldn't frighten me. These days, he no longer takes any chances. If you sound intelligent, well-read, or mucho spirited; you're cut off and then told how your knuckles dragging along behind you are somehow damaging the expensive tarmac.

Simply stated, he's a vindictive cretin not worthy of employment in the media field in any meaningful sense. (WILK has toilets. Give him a toilet brush and a cart) And somehow, Nancy condones his piss-poor antics. Then again, judging by her ill-advised "Blog This!" tirade, she's obviously taken a few pages out of his Trolls R Us handbook.

Like Fred Williams and Steve Corbett before him, I once embarrassed the 'mighty' and oft-repugnant Kevin Lynn. And if need be, I'll do it all over again. Bring it on, boy.

Bloggers are "meek & mild" in person?

If it's supremely important for you two to believe that, please, run with it. But at the same time, try not to freak out so completely when we point out the abject lameness of your bullsh*t arguments against free speech no matter how it's delivered.

...the psychobabble from Nancy...


From the e-mail inbox To all:

The official public comment period for the proposed Wyoming Valley Inflatable Dam project expires in less than a week. If you haven't already done so, please take a few moments to send your comments via e-mail to Project Manager Amy Elliott.

The public notice, project information and Amy's e-mail address can be found at:

Public Notices

Scroll down a little, the notice is dated October 10th.

A river has no voice. Please speak on behalf of the Susquehanna. Together, we can stop this dam from being built.


Kayak Dude

The NFL is better than sex. Well, sort of. I mean, sex is awesome and all, but since it's so hard to come by, the NFL will have to do. And that's perfectly fine with me.

I spent my Sunday morning blogging. I know, I know...if those top-heavy Strutters way back when hadn't shunned me in the high school cafeteria for all to see and hear, I'd be doing something really, really, really, really important like working at a backwoods talk radio station. If only.

Anyway, I thought I'd throw a quick post on the internet, watch the pre-game shows and then take in the New York Football Giants snuffing the life out of those dreaded Dallas Cowpokes. These guys are almost as bad as the Philthydumpia Eagles, only, they don't late-hit nearly as much. Mr. Dawkins! We're eagerly awaiting that day when the cart takes you to the locker room. What comes around goes around. Yo?

Sorry. Anyway, I subjected myself to all of Terri Bradshaw's bullspit and right before the network was set to take us to Giants Stadium (not Jets) the phone rang. Excuse my French, but F>ckin' A! Who the hell would be stupid enough to call me at a one hour past high noon on a Sunday during football season? Who? My sister would. Typical chick. Right?

And what could be so goll danged important while Eli was raring to go at them there Cowpokes?

I don't even remember watching the first quarter even though I had my Giants chair perched but two feet in front of the video advertising box. And I couldn't tell you what went on in the second quarter, for that matter. The third quarter? Um, I watched it, but I missed that, too. Were we winning? Yup. So far. Good. Real good. I suppose.

No, my usual routine of screaming at the television screen was all but a memory when my sister gave me the latest update on my little brother's rapidly declining health situation. What she had to tell me sounded less like reality than it did like some sort of horror movie I'd be more than happy to sit through at some un-Godly hour.

He has ulcers turning his legs into painful craters. He has painful lesions developing all over the place. Some of his fingernails fell off. He's in constant pain. He can barely breathe. And he can barely walk without assistance. I'm a busy guy and I forgot all about his birthday. Shoot me. But my sister didn't forget about his birthday and she was treated to his saying that he'd prefer death to what he's currently going through. I knew things were kind of bad, but I had no idea things had gotten this bad.

I wasted plenty of tissues while Eli & Co. were doing battle. And I have not wasted a single tissue since 1988 when they closed that casket's lid on my Mom's life. Wifey and Peace knew something was seriously amiss, but I refused to speak to them at that point. And I'm not entirely sure why. I don't think I was afraid to ball like a baby in front of them as much as said balling coming from me would have reduced them to much the same state, only worse.

I'm SO pissed at my brother. Heredity only counts for so much. Some of this ultra nasty health stuff you bring on yourself. But at the same time, 35 years is way, way too short of a run in this life thingie we get only one shot at. If only he would have heeded some really sound and oft-forwarded advice. Whatever. What's done is done and there's no going back now.

The thing is, I think he's getting the "welfare case" send-off into the hereafter, much like my mom did before him. He has no health insurance to speak of, he's at the apogee of a congestive heart failure roller coaster to hell, yet, the best they seem to be able to offer him is some rather expensive prescriptions that he really can't afford. If he had some sort of solid health insurance backing him, or if he had tons of scratch tucked away in the Cayman Islands, the doctors would probably doing an invasive procedure and prolonging his life for years on end. Such is not the case. The guy is dirt poor, his health is failing him fast, or, in other words--he f>cked. I wish I could change all of that, but I am powerless to do so. So...I cry instead.

But after the Jints put one in the win column and I sucked it up to a very great degree, I called a family meeting and put everyone on notice that this Christmas may very well be Ray's last Christmas, so we're gonna make it a Christmas he'll remember whether his heart is still beating or not. Yup. We're going to spend what we've got left to spend on him, and we're going to spin that recently declassified Super 8 film of his fifth birthday party. I had no idea that tape even existed until a distant relative brought it to me a couple of years back. It's a hoot, but this will amount to only it's second showing.

It was filmed by someone or other (got me) on December 2, 1975 in our apartment at Interfaith Heights, and caught on film were all of our, now, favorite deceased relatives. Ray was five-years-old. I was 16-years-old. Sis was 12-years-old. Wifey was 15-years-old. And Mom and her parents were there cutting that homemade cake and presenting Ray with those eagerly-awaited presents that are surely part of a closed landfill these days.

My point? You sure got me by the short, twisty ones.

I don't know. But I like to think that if I drop over dead, when I pass into wherever it is that I'm supposed to pass into, my smiling Mom will be waiting there for me with open arms. And I'm pretty sure my little brother shares much the same vision of his passing.

I'm looking forward to Christmas 2005, albeit, with a suddenly very, very heavy heart. I'm having a serious problem with simultaneously featuring sad and happy in one momentous family event, but that's where I'm headed in a big hurry. It's f>cked-up.

And here, those Jints went and beat those dreaded Cowpokes and I just about missed it.

Better than sex.