12-23-2007 Shut up and pay your taxes

I have not posted in over a week, being very busy with family, Christmas, work and all. Mostly work. Whatever.

Who cares?

Despite the fact that the local blogosphere has become a mostly threadbare happening, a place where meaningful content pops up about as often as head lice are sought after, the rumblings of mass discontent associated with the flailing Luzerne County government have forced the call screeners at WILK to earn their paltry paychecks and then some. I’ve seen the local populace mad before, but not this completely mad. And it’s made for some interesting talk radio lately, if not, a bit redundant.

Let’s see here. During the past 2 weeks alone, I have visited hundreds of homes in West Pittston, Exeter, Wyoming, West Wyoming, Swoyersville, Plymouth, Larksville, Kingston, Pringle, Courtdale, Glen Lyon, Hazelton, West Hazleton, Harwood Mines, Jeansville, Junedale, Pardeesville, Hollywood and in a lonely patch town called Haddock where traffic lights are the subject of Google searches. And all of those homes I inspected have had one thing in common: an owner who is totally disgusted with Greg Skrepenak. As of this very moment, Skrepenak’s fast-sinking “popularity” approaches that of swimming naked with scores of teeming leeches.

Our local political historian, David Yonki, posted a plan by which the republicans in Luzerne County could eventually rise up and transform this county into a place where election results would be up in the air until after the votes were actually counted. Yes, a place where 2 parties would vie for power. I know it sounds like science fiction, but it’s worth a read. Well done, Yonkman. (sounds like a super hero, don’t it?)

Yet, on WILK’s Sue Henry Show yesterday, Linda Stets said, “The Republican party in Luzerne County is alive and well.”

Yeah! And the Yonkmobile runs on liquid nitrogen and beet meal!

Sorry, but boundless optimism minus at least a smidgeon of painful reality smacks of clueless leadership. The inept republicans in this county will make significant electoral inroads just about as soon as our text-phone worshipping youth frown upon incomplete socialization, ignorance and poor spelling. With their current stars leading them into political battle, the republicans will lose that minority status of theirs right before the visiting Martian president accepts a warm welcome from President Avery B. Cour. Yeah. That’ll happen right around the same time that Britney Spears accepts her second Nobel Peace Prize. Right after Tyra Banks falls out of an Ugly Tree and hits every branch on the way down. No, The Machine, The Good Ole Boy Network will not be brought to it’s stained knees by the likes of this howling bunch of charlatans, clueless do-gooders, well-meaning folks short on homework and those who constantly clamor for attention from the local press.

The thing is, if you want those “straight party ticket” voters to forego their usual election night habits, you’ll need attractive candidates armed with less attacks and more viable ideas of their own, solutions rather than accusations, a strong support network and maybe even some money. And in this regard, as of this very moment, the republicans in this county are oh-for-four. And to argue against that assertion would be the equivalent of citing the watching of hundreds of hours of sit-coms as proof of one’s intelligence.

What? Due to the enduring credit card debacle, and Tim Grier’s budget challenge, the well-entrenched Democrats are suddenly on the ropes?

Think again.

Despite Steve Corbett’s insistence, The Secret Service are not going to be taking anyone away in chains. The stonewalling is underway and it is working. Tim Grier’s budget challenge may have put the kibosh to the TAN in the short term, but in the end, Skrep and the boys will likely spend whatever they want on whatever they want. And even the shameless tanking of Angelo‘s Pizza will be forgotten about. In short, Skrep was just elected to another four-year term, he’s hunkered down, and the political storm of this century will eventually blow over.

Walter and his pals had their miniscule protest at the courthouse. WILK followed along and provided us with blow-by-blow accounts of how icy the courthouse steps were. Timmy bought a dog license once. Some guy from Wilkes-Barre Township is going to file criminal charges of some sort, charges that will be filed someplace likely to never be visited again. Caller after caller after caller to WILK has said that the IRS needs to engage, ala, Al Capone. The few remaining bloggers are all riled up. And the resurrection Home Rule has been bandied about more often than Kevin Lynn bashes Christians only because his Daddy told him to. The DA has been contacted. The State Attorney General has been contacted, as well as the Auditor General. All to no discernable avail. And if that’s not completely fun enough, our democrat-loyalist of a Governor gets to pick the new county controller from a long list of card-carrying political hacks.

If this is how revolutions are brought about, I just don’t see it.

As far as I’m concerned, when you use the company card to lavish goodies upon yourself, but 21 months drone on without any repayment of said monies coming about, that’s out-and-out theft. With that said, if the boss condones theft, then theft will go unpunished. So, when both the majority commissioner and the controller say those expenditures where allowable under the county’s current un-enforced policies, what they are admitting to is lax management, but nothing more. Nobody had any intention of repaying anything, but…that’s apparently not an offense worthy of terminations. In Luzerne County, outright theft is acceptable.

And the investigating agencies will likely concur with that assessment. Hearty slaps on the wrists will surely come about, maybe an apology or two. Policies and procedures will be updated. And the republicans will be right where they always were: looking up from under the heels of the democrats.

Like I said, it’s been fun and made for some interesting talk radio. Steve Corbett can keep patting himself on his back. Kevin Lynn can go on protecting his golfing buddies at the courthouse. Sue Henry can press on with even more righteous indignation. Walter Griffith will grab himself another headline or two, as will Tim Grier. Linda Stets can quote the founding fathers and demand remonstrance. Steve Urban can still wallow in his much-preferred minority status, constantly telling us that while he wants to change the world, he is still powerless to do so and it’s not his fault. Above all, remember that it’s not his fault.

So, while I thank you all for the past few weeks of uninterrupted political intrigue, you had better consign yourself to the reality of living through four more years of contempt for the wishes of the constituents. Because when the powers that be remain doggedly defiant after being caught red-handed sneaking goodies from the chit-filled taxpayer-provided cookie jar--when malfeasance is staunchly defended--all bets are off and the public’s trust is all but lost.

You ranted, you raved, you demanded that heads be lopped off, you carried signs and called for investigations as well as charges being filed. And in the end, all that you’ve got and all that you’ve got to look forward to is four more years of this. Four more years, thanks to that straight party ticket. You called them names. You stormed the castle. You accused them of things that cannot be substantiated. You raised some serous hell.

And it amounted to little more than a pile of rubber dogsh*t.

So, as always, shut up and pay your taxes.

Sez me.

We‘ve got an interesting happening coming up in January. It seems that a certain Scranton area blogger, David Foglietta, has been harassing the employees of WILK via the voice mail inbox. Well, in particular, he’s been harassing Kevin Lynn, Sue Henry, a call screener and a station executive. Kevin actually made a mention of it during one of his shows, ostensibly trying to warn him off one last time over the airwaves.

Things escalated to the point where a local cop approached said blogger and threatened him with legal repercussions if said blogger did not cease and resist. Said blogger did not cease and resist. In fact, he escalated his attacks--his slanderous nonsense--by way of his Web site, which has now been completely sanitized as his date with a Plains Township magistrate, January 21, grows closer.

Gone are the accusations of marital philandering. Gone are his proclamations on who at WILK happens to be of an alternative lifestyle. Gone are his assertions that illegal drug use is the ’norm for the early morning host. And gone is the rest of his vile slander.

One week ago, the blogger in question was promising to put WILK in it’s place in front of the local magistrate. And now, nary a mention of his self-made problems exist on his site. Sounds like somebody advised him to delete all of that, but it’s easily retrievable on this thingie we call the internet. Easily.

So, in conclusion, if you want to call someone a slut, call someone a drug-crazed loser, or call someone a “homo,” as was done in this case, you ought not do it on the internet.

You’re welcome.

We also had this other completely anonymous blogger The Scranton Wilkes-Barre Watcher, who devoted his efforts to bashing the hosts at WILK, albeit, minus the slander, libel and suchlike.

But, near as I can tell, after the accidental “outing” of himself--exposing his true identity--he quickly pulled the plug and deleted the entire blog.

Or, as is being done in the case of David Foglietta, did WILK warn this anonymous blogger off? Did they scare him off? I doubt it, and I hope not. Because it would set a frightening precedent to have the ultimate purveyors of free speech working against free speech they might object to.

Would anyone at WILK care to fill us in?

V’ger wants to know.

This one is a good read. It seems that some budding journalists from The Beacon, the student-run newspaper at Wilkes University, wandered into local retail shops to see if kids of varying colors are treated differently by the employees and management of those shops. Or in other words, are we here in NEPA just a bunch of racists.

Give it a whirl.

A black and white issue in shades of gray

What my years worth of retail management taught me is that shoplifters, those who think nothing of the theft of services, those who think nothing of damaging the physical plant for kicks--assholes--come in all shapes, stripes, sizes and colors.

And as the manager of any retail concern, if your “asshole detector” goes off only when you spot a person of color, but not when you encounter whites, you are not doing your job and are most likely being ripped off in a big way.

Sorry, but it’s all too convenient to blame all that ills our society on blacks, Hispanics or what have you. Let it be known, white people suck, too. And since whites outnumber the other groups…well, you do the math.

I‘m not sure what the aforementioned David Yonki encountered, being that he claims to have been in downtown Wilkes-Barre very, very recently and counted only 33 others.


Wifey and I were down there the other night and both the sidewalks and parking areas were packed to the rafters. The foot traffic to the theater was very heavy. And that new Thai Thai restaurant was filled to capacity.

So, while it’s effortless to take anecdotal evidence and proceed to mock the “I Believe” slogan, as so many have chosen to, I’m seeing the resurgent downtown in a completely different light.

And rather than add more anecdotal evidence to the non-fire, and according to the Mayor’s office, Boscov’s in downtown Wilkes-Barre is reporting near record sales this Christmas season.

Facts is facts.

City Administrator J.J. Murphy has agreed to be interviewed by the editorial board of this Web site. Well, that is, he agreed to respond to a series of questions I am soon to submit to him. I’m thinking ten.

Anyway, the queries will deal with the future of the city, and the status of some upcoming high-profile projects.

No politics, or anything like that.

Djibouti, perhaps.

Anyway, I’m just about ready to do Christmas. We need some foodstuffs and little more. On Monday night we’re going to use the Web camera to link up the three grandrodents here in Wilkes-Barre with the two other grandrodents down there in Knoxville.

Our fantasy football Super Bowl is set for later on today. No, my team did not make it to the big game, but I had a blast nonetheless. As Arnold would likely say, “I’ll be back.”

And you guys (you know who you are) had better admit that it took a huge pair of brass ones to trade Peyton Manning away and press on with Cleveland’s Derek Anderson as my quarterback. Absolutely fearless, baby.

Can’t wait ‘til next year.

So, have a very Merry Christmas, or whatever it is that the Church of Political Correctness commands you to call it.

Merry Christmas?

Happy Holidays?

What’s the fu>king difference?

Why bitch when somebody is basically saying, “Have a good one” to you?

Work on that.

Lighten up.

Merry Christmas.

‘Til next time.