12-10-2006 I spy

Well, I nailed this one. I called it. I predicted it. I knew it. And, as per usual, I was spot-on correct.

Unfortunately, the only person I shared this prediction with is the one watching the Lifetime Network in the next room. You see, to have made this prediction in public would have only served to pre-empt the worthless event in the first place. So, I said nothing and laid wait. I watched the slow to change hit counter at the Web site owned by this city’s newest subversive. And before very long at all, VOILA! We have us yet another self-aggrandizing circus stunt! Another cry for attention. A useless, self-serving publicity stunt. A plague upon the ignorance of others, the subversive hopes.

Did I tell you I knew it?

I made my way through the newspapers this morning and when I came across the following article, I dashed into the middle room with an introductory laugh announcing my arrival and barking, “I told you. I frickin’ told you!”

Always someone watching

From the Citizens’ Voice:

Many people say the cameras make them feel safer and deter crime downtown, while civil liberty advocates argue they are an invasion of privacy.

The cameras on Public Square were installed as a test system at a minimal cost to the city to increase security downtown, said City Administrator J.J. Murphy. The city only paid for the shipping costs for these cameras, he said.

Elsewhere in the city, nine surveillance cameras were installed in city hall and nine in the Department of Public Works Garage. The city purchased the cameras earlier this year from Interlogic Technologies for $9,850.

Oh no. Big Brother caught you scratching at your horribly sticky family jewels in public.

The horror.

Also from that Voice story:

Wilkes-Barre resident Tim Grier recently attended a city council meeting and submitted written requests asking for the locations of surveillance cameras. He also asked who can view images captured by the cameras, how long the images are stored and what measures are being taken to ensure the images are not “misused.”

City officials were “evasive” in their answers, said Grier, who created the Web site www.unamericanluzernecounty.org.

“While bringing new business to the city is important for revitalization, ignoring the civil liberties of the average citizens, who make up the bulk of the tax base, most likely repels as many individuals as these pro-business policies attract,” Grier said.

Larry Frankel, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union, argues there is…

Rutro! Stop right there. The American Civil Liberties Union??? These are the folks who make sophistry of reason by wrapping every argument in question as an alleged violation of basic civil rights. And despite what Kevin Lynn might tell you in between insults, many of the arguments presented by these people are easily shot down. The problem being, too often, the judges deciding these ridiculous cases seem to base their decisions on case law they acquired from a box of Cracker Jacks.

The American Civil Liberties Union??? Opal, get me a goll danged beer, this is gonna be a hoot. And make me a cole slaw melt, why dontcha? Ugly bitch.

Let’s do this, shall we?

Would it be discriminatory to deny me the right to supervise the activities in the girl’s locker room at Coughlin High School? Would it be discriminatory to deny me the right to serve as the scoutmaster to a group of barely nubile Girl Scouts? To share rest room facilities with them? To share a tent with them? To shower with them? Damn it! I want to be put in charge of a group of young girls whether that denies them their sexual privacy or not. What say you?

What do you mean, no? Why not? I’m not a sexual predator, I just want to supervise young girls even if that compromises their rights to privacy. As I said, it’s not a predatory thing. I just like being around young girls, and I know my rights. Somebody get the ACLU on the blower. I’m not taking this one lying down.

Pedophile? How dare you! The intimate contact would mean nothing to me. And as a proud heterosexual, I will not accept this blatant discrimination. Trust me, having the predator and the prey in close proximity will not matter if someone loses their towel. I demand my rights!

Okay. So, what do you suppose my chances would be of getting hired as the shower monitor in the girl’s locker room at Coughlin High? Or to be trusted overnight with a gaggle of girls sporting braces and imported training bras?

Ain’t happening, you say?

Why then, would the ACLU endlessly argue that gay men should be put in charge of a group of Boy Scouts? What’s the difference?

Larry Frankel, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union, argues there is no clear evidence that surveillance cameras improve security. When cameras are in public places, that limits people’s rights to privacy, he said. He asked who decides where the cameras should be.

The inconsistency is painfully apparent. A surveillance camera trained on a park bench allegedly “limits people’s rights to privacy.” But that very same outfit also argues that young boys have no right to privacy even though those who would be charged to keep them under close surveillance might have a sexual interest in them. On one hand, the argument is couched in civil rights so as to not discriminate against gays. On the other hand, to this date, heterosexuals have no such rights: to supervise those they might get to taking a sexual interest in. Sophistry.

As far as surveillance cameras under the control of government are concerned, it might help if the “activists” didn’t pass everything through their overly-paranoid Orwellian filters. If it’s acceptable to identify and arrest the constant parade of bank robbers by way of surveillance cameras, then why no fuss about our rights being violated when we step up to the bank teller, or the ATM? Why not boycott the Turkey Hill chain? Oh, I see. If you’re on the line at the bank when the robber pulls a gun within a few feet of your kids, then, traumatized and babbling on cue for WNEP‘s cameras, you want the tapes reviewed and that no good SOB captured, right?

Give these deranged thoughts a look:

People Against Wilkes-Barre Security Cameras

In one article Leighton is quoted as saying "If you’re not doing anything wrong, you shouldn't be worried about being watched." Well I am worried about being watched, Mr. Leighton, I don’t want big brother in Wilkes-Barre, I don't want a total surveillance police state.

A total surveillance police state? How utterly dramatic. How utterly vacant of reasonable thought processes. We’re worried about being watched? And why might that be? Because some mayor will order you to be arrested and flogged until you cheer up all for wearing his political opponent’s hat pin? Sophistry all.

Some people really, really need to get a life already. I told a city official very high on the food chain that if he got to watching those cameras very closely, he’d catch me tossing him off every time I access Public Square. And I do. I’m mental like that. Too much government cheese, I suppose. And still, I have yet to be arrested, flogged repeatedly or have any powerful electrodes attached to my aged testicles. Although, a car just screeched to a halt out front. Hold on a second…

Nah, it’s just the neighbor’s kid who passes as a girl on most days. Whew!

As for myself, I say put the cameras all over the freaking place. And when some goof grabs a purse, watch the tape and arrest the goof. And when some other goof decides to do something of a similar, knuckleheaded manner, watch the tapes, find said goof and fire up the electrodes.

I noticed something a long, long time ago. It may shock some of you activist types, but it’s absolutely true. First, not all politicians are out-of-control monsters. I know that flies in the face of the nonstop gibberish they teach at MoveOn University and other such myopic deliverers of unrelenting quackery to the unwashed masses, but it’s purported to be true. I know that smacks of heresy to those who prefer to cling to their unhappiness with what they‘ve made of their lives, but if George Soros is your mentor, you may need to have a very large zircon-encrusted melon baller taken to the top of your skull. Brain salad, anyone?

And secondly, if you don’t give them a reason to take an interest in you, most police officers will not take an interest in you. So, assuming you don’t usually draw attention to yourself by committing crimes while out and about, you need not fear that which is there to augment your personal safety.

And while we’re at it, let’s try a scenario, shall we?

Say you’re sitting on the square one fine Sunday afternoon when some soup kitchen regular grabs your backpack and sprints out of sight in a flash. At that point, would you prefer it if the cops had a tape from which they could identify the perpetrator that, more often than not, might be well-known to them? Or would you simply prefer to grumble out loud, blame the no good powers that be for your unfortunate encounter and then head on over to Boscov’s to purchase a new backpack? You tell me.

Worse yet, a bank robbery goes horribly wrong and your mother gets shot in the process. Not killed, just treated to a lengthy visit at the nearby intensive care unit. Now, tell me, would you rather have that shooter’s ugly mug on video, or not?

Pull the tapes, man. What? Your company doesn’t believe in denying it’s valued customers their rights? No cameras? I will sue your company for everything it’s worth, man. You did not provide for my mother’s safety!

Again, these are the folks who make sophistry of reason by wrapping every argument in question as an alleged violation of basic civil rights.

Me? I‘ll just keep flashing J.J. the bird, totally content in the knowledge that if anyone wrongs me, it‘ll be caught on tape. You get the picture, me clubbing them with a baton until the cops arrive and save their sorry ass.

12 broken ribs, officer? Um, you sure got me. He must be one of those snowboarders, or something. I dunno.

While no one affiliated with the Boy Scouts ever taught me how to drop the soap, they did imbed within me the Boy Scout motto, the need to be prepared. And as such, to this very day, I’m trustworthy, I’m loyal, I’m helpful, I’m courteous, I’m brave, I’m packing and I’m fu>king reverent.

But what I ain’t is fearful of a Radio Shack camera.

Must be me.

From the e-mail inbox Hey, man! I just saw your "Heroes" video on YouTube. Great job! I was born there, used to live in Mountaintop and worked in WB (down in Easton now). My husband used to work at the TL and I remember vividly the day to day nutball antics of the politicos up there. (Drove him crazy!) I actually miss it sometimes so I read your site like I did when I was there. Every time I see the official City of Wilkes-Barre seal, you know, bee hive, I think about what it used to mean: "busy as a bee, bee hive of activity," whatever. Now it's just: "City of Wilkes-barre: We Got Bees."

Keep on keepin' on, man. Love to read your observations and opinions. You're right on target.

Take care. Keep the EpiPen handy.


Thanks. I fired up a bunch of stuff on YouTube, mostly for my own amusement and borne completely out of a lack of anything better to do. Personally, I liked the “All the Madmen” thingy only because I’ve never seen that exact tact taken before: screen captures in lieu of pictures. I dunno. Seemed like a plan at the time.

Yeah, that “busy as a bee” thing sure seemed to go dormant for a while there, but the bees seem to have over-wintered somehow, and are currently building a brand new hive. And from what city officials and some Chamber folks are saying, they will get to swarming again early next year.

After such a long, troubling downward slide, what this city truly needs and maybe even deserves is a quick dose of anaphylaxis shock. The stifling business-as-usual approach has been replaced by responsible management, and despite our highly-publicized and often gut-wrenching travails, we have stepped back from the edge of the abyss, been treated to some noticeable progress and given a glimpse of much more to come.

Are things perfect here? No. Does our county government need to get the spending in check? Oh, yeah! Are our current city officials the best elected officials in the history of the city? Maybe, maybe not. All I can say is, I’ve been living in this city full-time since late August ‘71, and I have never seen so many positive things come about in such a short spate of time. Never.

As far as I’m concerned, this oft-depressed city has turned the corner and we need to get the next election right. This upcoming election will be a pivotal moment in this city’s history and the voters need to evaluate where we are, and where we were just a few short months ago. And to that end, I believe they will vote responsibly.

Stay in touch. But “off the record,” tell me more of your husband’s derring-do at the Times Leader.

Y’ger needs to know.

Well, it’s official. Gage Andrew and Taylor Kate are now residents of Tennessee.

I'm coping.

Gage: April ‘05