12-31-2005 2006? Bring it on!

"For beer and ale, that never fail,
to win the first prize ribbons,
join the crowd that shouts aloud,
gimme gimme gimme gimme Gibbons!

G-I-B-B-O-N-S takes the first place ribbons,
if it's Gibbons it's good,
so the next time you should,
say gimme gimme gimme gimme Gibbons!!

Pure the bright, light Gibbons!
If it's Gibbon's, It's Good.
So every time you should say "Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie Gibbon's!"

Happy New Year!!!

Look what some deranged lunatic sent my way via snail mail:


Are you frickin' deranged and drunk? Or are you merely mentally ill? Give me some credit, will you? Gibbons? Didn't Gibbons go flat around the same time that the Knox Mine disaster killed the culm industry in these parts? Trust me, I ain't never needed to wash any coal dust away down my throat.

Whom amongst the lunatic fringe would take the time to send me such a frightening glimpse into their current altered state? Who's brains cells are mis-firing so completely? Who might "You know who" be, and how can we get them on the 829-1341 blower before they devolve any closer to total insanity?

Hold on thar! I got me an idea. How 'bout if I took that note and the envelope it came in down to city hall, and, or police headquarters and see if I can match that printing to any of the numerous documents stored within that happen to be a matter of public record? I'll betcha I could find me a match that even a handwriting expert would certify as a match that would stand up in court. I'll betcha. Yepper. With a couple more samples, I'll betcha we could make the case that a stalker is lurking out there somewhere with one hand on his copy of Catcher in The Rye, and the other one on his horribly-abused dick. Self-abuse in itself is a silent cry for help, is it not?

I'm a gonna contact someone in our police department and see if we can't intervene before it's too late. Someone needs help, and I think we ought not turn our backs on them.

Gimme gimme gimme gimme Gibbons!!

How sad.

When I yanked the ink-stained rubber band off of the Citizens' Voice on Wednesday morning, I was confronted by that picture of 1st Lt. Michael Cleary's family reacting to the delivery of his remains at a Back Mountain funeral home. I'm not sure how long I stared at that pic, but when I finally glanced up at the clock it became obvious that I needed to get things in gear already.

In common parlance I thought to myself, "What a freaking bummer, man." Here was one of those 'best & brightest' kids we wish every parents kid could become. Here was a kid purported to be a hard charger and a leader of men beyond repute. And most disturbing to me, here was a kid getting real short on his tour of duty, and but a few weeks away from marrying his high school sweatheart. But instead of getting on with what looked to be a good life in waiting, tragically, his road had come to an abrupt end.

As a family unit, I can't even imagine how you get on with things after such a devastating turn of events. And as for the thousand or so people that attended his viewing at College Misericordia, I have no idea what you could possibly say to his family that would actually provide any comfort at all. They are probably feeling about as numb as numb can feel, and it'll probably be a while before they feel much of anything again. They should be beaming proud of their lost loved one, but the pride thing probably goes only so far when the sense of loss is so utterly intense.

I knew the kid's funeral mass was set to begin at 11 AM this morning, and right around that time I got to thinking about what a freaking bummer all of this was once again. Still, that line of folks waiting patiently outside of Misericordia's gym to pay their last respects to our fallen local soldier kept popping into my head. And as stupid as it might sound, I thought about how few people would bother to attend my viewing when my time comes. And if someone barely 25-years-old needed to have their viewing moved to a much larger venue than would normally be expected for even someone many decades older, I'm thinking they had done something totally worthwhile with their short life only because that short life touched the hearts of so many others.

It's sad, but true. While we fret and fuss about the most trivial of problems we may face in our truly blessed lives, other, less selfish Americans are paying dearly for our freedoms. That's the way it is, and that's the way it has always been. We bitch about the traffic, meanwhile, the Michael Clearys of this country are being driven from Dover to their final resting places. It hardly seems fair to him. And it hardly seems fair to his family. There's nothing we can do to ease their pain. And there's not much we can do to repay his sacrifice other than to remember it.

Remember 1st Lt. Michael Cleary. The way I see it, that's the least we could do.

I dunno.

The Citizens' Voice published a letter from Mayor Tom Leighton titled 2005 has been a year of progress for the city of Wilkes-Barre today, and I dare anyone to take issue with any part of what he had to convey. If you've got a bone to pick with anything he had to say, I've got a few cases of Gibbons you might want to inhale right before heading off to the big bingo cover-all.

I've made it quite apparent that I believe he's got us headed in the right direction in many numbers of ways. I'll not re-hash all of that here today.

Rather than turning this into the latest Why-I-support-Tom-Leighton exercise, I'd much prefer to explore why, despite having so much to look forward to for the first time in a generation, Wilkes-Barre's reputation still lags far behind the paid-for progress that seems to be popping up all around us. If you've visited my madness for any length of time you already know what's currently afoot, and what's in store for 2006. Can you name me a single small town in Pennsylvania that has nearly as much progress on it's plate? You cannot, and you know as much.

The other day, Rob Neyhard was filling in for Sue Henry at WILK and in response to that ridiculous shooting on S. River, he asked of his listening audience just what the hell is going on in Wilkes-Barre. And he also wondered aloud as to why our elected leaders can't seem to get a handle on totally random crimes such as that which went down at that S. River Street property, which was supposed to be vacant by order of the city's building inspectors. I think he was asking for a simple solution to some rather complex problems, and by doing so he invited those who know not of which they speak to grab a soapbox and pontificate away. So be it. Talk radio is a less than precise science.

The other night we had a stabbing, then a mini-brawl break out at the Mickey Ds in the downtown. The lawlessness was the direct result of a just concluded intramural basketball game at the nearby CYC. The way I remember it, if your kids were involved in sports, they wouldn't have enough idle time in which to get themselves in trouble. Worked for me. But, as fate would have it, these two basketball teams obviously come up lacking in the self-control department. Whatever, chalk another disturbing incident up to sh*t happens. But I would have to ask our fill-in talk show host what could have been done by our elected officials to nip that near riot in the bud. Where did they fail us, Rob?

The thing is, no elected official and no law enforcement official can predict when and where random acts of violence might occur. If I wanna beat the last remaining snot out of my wife, she's gonna get beat until the cops arrive on scene and pin my ugly mug to the tarmac. No city ordinance would have saved her said beating. And if I happen to snuff out her life before the cops can get here, that shouldn't be portrayed as anything more than the senseless and random act of violence that it is. Now you might argue that the majority of the most disturbing random acts of violence seem to go down in Wilkes-Barre, but that's more a product of demographics and property values than it is anything else. Currently, our elected leaders are working towards changing those demographics, and hoping to increase those sagging property values. And while shocking incidents continue to happen, those incidents should not be offered up as proof that nothing is being done to make this city safer.

One of Rob's callers, a certain "Bob from Wilkes-Barre" made the dubious claim that the Wilkes-Barre cops are "reactionary." Forget the fact that a member of our narcotic's division was recently named this county's top cop for 2005. And excuse Bob's lack of expertise in these matters. For the most part, policing is a "reactionary" endeavor, and to suggest that our cops should be doing much, much more than patrolling our streets smacks of not understanding how modern-day municipalities have to weigh priorities against budgetary constraints.

And this oft-repeated nonsense about our needing beat cops in every neighborhood is just that--oft-repeated nonsense. If we want to maintain the patrol division, the narcotics division, the detective division and the public outreach programs, plus, add a new beat cop division...then call the mayor and tell him how he should pay for that new division. We need some beat cops in the downtown, and we need the patrol divisons in our neighborhoods. When a violent crime happens and the perp is running away from the scene of the crime on foot, there's no way a perimeter can be set-up by beat cops. To catch the idiots motoring away on foot in the dark, patrol cars are clearly called for iffin' we want any hope of an arrest taking place. If you absolutely demand that the administration put beat cops in every neighborhood in this city, then call the fledgling technology department at city hall and see if they've got that time machine up and running yet.

More on Rob Neyhard's invite to bash Wilkes-Barre for two-plus hours.

The biggest hurdle Wilkes-Barre has to clear before it's reputation rebounds is the totally inept, and totally clueless Republican Party in this county. No matter what good things develop for Wilkes-Barre, we've got the same 5, or 6 frustrated republicans pretending to be taxpayer watchdogs ripping the city to shreds every single time they spout off to the media, who are always eager to stir up controversy.

Pick one, any one. Be it Walter, Christine, Linda, Steve Jr., or the newest additions to the phoney activist ranks, when they flap their tired gums the message is always loud and clear...Wilkes-Barre sucks. Case in point: "Linda from Wilkes-Barre," a well below-the-radar by design republican attack-dog called Rob and let loose with all sorts of well-worn, tired gibberish. And how did Rob react to her misrepresentations and outright bullspit? He freaking agreed with her!

Collapsed catch basins? Is there still a couple that have not been replaced in the past year or so? The brand spanking new firehouse of ours is being built directly on top of an abondoned mine shaft? Yeah, Linda! If that was true, she would have been at a council meeting with the engineering reports in hand. Try again. And try to cool it with the hateful invective that has become your voice.

Oh, and the Hollenback pool was mothballed, and that was such a sad day for Wilkes-Barre. I guess that somehow reflects poorly upon Tom Leighton's performance as mayor. Forget the fact that when that pool was closed forever, Tom Leighton was probably a kid predisposed to mutilating his G.I Joes and not much else. Do you want to see that pool we so completely enjoyed as children reopened sometime soon? Yeah? Vote Republican. (???????) More aften that not, when the activists/republicans get to spouting off in public, I'm usually left feeling embarrassed for them. They are a clueless and negative bunch, aren't they? And what of their version of Wilkes-Barre's future? They have none to speak of. All they offer us is how bad Wilkes-Barre sucks.

I've always thought kindly of Rob Neyhard, but his recent invite to the malcontents of this city to highlight whats wrong with Wilkes-Barre without once challenging their ridiculous assertions had me fuming even worse than that abject loser, Kevin Lynn, could get me to fuming. Wifey wanted me to call in and interupt the unfair bashing that Wilkes-Barre was taking, but I declined while knowing full well that I was close to blowing an F-bomb gasket. And trust me on this, if you could get Wifey angered to the point of encouraging me to get further involved in Wilkes-Barre's on-going struggles...you are way, way off-base, if not totally moronic. Annoying me is fairly easy to do. But annoying Wifey whereas Wilkes-Barre current predicament is concerned is a historic first.

Y'all pissed Wifey off? Yowza! 'Nuf said. Follow me here, you don't want none of these Polish tom-boys getting angered to the point of defending what's good about their constantly derided city. You stealth repblicans, I mean, you "citizen activists" have had it easy up 'til now, but you ought to get yourselves somewhat unfu>ked before Wifezilla gets a hankerin' for attending city council meetings.

And for the Rob Neyhards--the folks that ran way--I offer this. You had better hope that gentrification never comes to Wilkes-Barre in any meaningful sense, because if it does, those folks you ran away from will be looking for another local community to work their lack of magic in. As our cops bring even more pressure to bare on the drug dealers from those meaner streets, they'll be looking to invade a local community with much less police resources than we have at our disposal. When we finally reclaim our streets to a large degree, they'll be looking to rent a half-double on your streets. So yuk it up, and have some fun at our expense. But be careful what you wish for. If Wilkes-Barre becomes a peaceful and prosperous city, that'll mean that the miscreants moved your way.

I'm just sayin'.

Can someone help this nice lady? I tried, but I'm no crafter dude. If so, lemme know.

From the e-mail inbox Hello Blogfather -

Question for you. I am interested in becoming self employed doing crafts. I know it can be a feast or famine type of business but I was wondering if you could help me.

Do you know how I could get hooked up with any of our local craft fairs? I know you know a lot about your town and have also met a lot of people due to your website. I know you mentioned your wife is big into doing crafts - though she may only do them as a hobby. But the main reason I am asking you is I know you like to keep yourself well informed on the area. I thought maybe you could point me in someone's direction if possible. Or that you may even know where I could begin researching such a project. I don't know if you ever came across any of this sort of thing. However, I figured it would not hurt asking you since word of mouth sometimes pays off. No big deal if you don't know - just thought I would ask - I have to start researching somewhere! Let me know - I'd appreciate it.

Thanks - LM

Um...can someone send this along to Kevin Lynn so that he might finally understand how completely wrong he's been on this subject for years now?

Editorial: Rogue Nation Has Become Consensus Builder

Written By: James M. Taylor
Published In: Environment News
Publication Date: January 1, 2006
Publisher: The Heartland Institute

The year was 2001, and George Bush, reflecting a 95-0 U.S. Senate vote against the Kyoto Protocol during former president Bill Clinton's last term in office, definitively rejected U.S. participation in the Kyoto Protocol. As a result, global warming alarmists in the United States and Europe called Bush and the United States an "outlaw" and a "rogue nation."

Now, just four years later, an amazing thing has happened. The United States has not changed its position, yet it has become the consensus builder for a more forward-looking approach to climate change.

Senate, Bush Sought Alternative

The resolution that unanimously passed the Senate in 1997 stated the United States would oppose any treaty that would impose serious economic harm on the U.S. economy and would place binding limits on industrial nations but would not apply to developing nations such as China and India.

As Kyoto contained both of the shortcomings feared by the Senate, Bush held firm and outlined a different U.S. approach to addressing climate change. Among global warming alarmists on both sides of the Atlantic, the reaction was vitriolic.

Alarmists Incensed

Time magazine, for example, called the U.S. a "rogue" nation whose "dangerous unilateralism" would end our role as world leader in international affairs.

Alarmists in Europe became downright ugly. The London Guardian called the U.S. rejection of Kyoto a "Taliban-style act of wanton destruction."

Conveniently forgetting that other nations, including Australia, also opted out of Kyoto, and that nations such as Russia signed on only after publicly challenging the scientific and economic justifications for it, activists portrayed the United States as an outlaw nation that, like a disgraced gunfighter in the Wild West, would be forced to "go it alone."

U.S. Finding Redemption

But, much as an unjustly maligned cowboy on the silver screen inevitably returns with a large posse and truth on his side, our "rogue" nation has slowly but inexorably become the world's leading consensus builder on climate change.

In July 2005, the United States led Australia, China, India, Japan, and South Korea in forming an international partnership to address climate change in a scientifically based and economically sustainable manner.

The transformation in U.S. global leadership was punctuated in November 2005, when British Prime Minister Tony Blair declared Kyoto and any other treaty demanding mandatory emissions cuts dead. According to Blair, mandatory emissions cuts are implausible unless technology is developed to make emissions reductions economically sustainable and until mandatory cuts apply to such nations as China and India.

Shortcomings Evident

Why did this dramatic transformation occur? There are many reasons. Despite the self-righteous statements of European Union leaders, the EU is failing miserably in its attempt to cut greenhouse gas emissions and is far short of its Kyoto goals. At the same time, through public- and private-sector cooperation exemplified by a $100 million grant from ExxonMobil to the Stanford University-led Global Climate and Energy Project, the United States has cut its greenhouse gas emissions every year since its 2001 rejection of the Kyoto Protocol.

Over the past three years, EU carbon dioxide emissions have risen (despite a tumbling economy), while U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have fallen (during a period of steady economic growth).

While the EU scores public relations points by vowing carbon dioxide cuts that never reach fruition, the U.S. has invested in and reaped the benefits of new technologies that, for example, dramatically reduce emissions of methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

As the European economy stumbles under its Kyoto burden, energy-intensive industry is relocating to China, where the government refuses to cut greenhouse gas emissions and where the economy sizzles. As Blair and others have come to realize, all the promised cuts in European greenhouse gas emissions will fail to make any dent in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels if cuts in Western emissions are outweighed by corresponding increases in Chinese emissions.

EU Economy Endangered

The final blow to Europe's Kyoto delusions may have been the November 7 release of an international study predicting substantial harm to European economies that abide by their Kyoto promises. Putting still more pressure on the already-reeling European economy, Kyoto would spark an approximately 25 percent jump in electricity prices and a roughly 2 percent reduction in gross domestic product if Europe were to meet its reduction targets, which it has yet to do. Any additional cuts required after Kyoto expires in 2012 would be even more punitive economically.

Tony Blair and other world leaders have come to realize that if you love "That 70s Show," wait until you see a rerun of "That 70s Economy" throughout Europe if the EU fails to follow Bush's lead on global warming.

James M. Taylor (taylor@heartland.org) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

For more information ...

A four-page summary of the Kyoto impact report issued by the International Council for Capital Formation, "The Cost of the Kyoto Protocol: Moving Forward on Climate Change Policy While Preserving Economic Growth," is available through PolicyBot™, The Heartland Institute's free online research database. Point your Web browser to http://www.heartland.org, click on the PolicyBot™ button, and search for document #18189.

It must really suck to be so utterly clueless on nearly every issue. Partisanship will do that to you. Next up: Kevin Lynn's oft-repeated assurances that Iraq will no doubt become a bloody civil war in the very near future. Don't hold your baited breathe for too long, Kev. If you happen to go the way of those slackers at Kent State, the resulting party is gonna cost me a couple of wheelbarrels full of bucks.

Willie Wonka? Nah. Just Wifey

It's snowing like all hell. The cops are sliding all over the place, while trying to shut a multitute of streets down. And I'm not going anywhere. I've got some Cheap Trick, and then later on, some New York Giants football on the agenda. I know it's amateur night, but please think twice before becoming a statistic.

Happy New Year!

I guess.