Thursday, September 01, 2011

The LuLac Edition #1738, September 1st, 2011



The aftermath of the big storm last weekend has unleashed an ugly side of living in this area. You can’t call it a coal miner’s mentality because the sweat and hard work of those people built this area. But I’ve always felt we walked a fine line between charity and hate. And that manifests itself usually after a tough time or tragic event. This past week as homeowners struggled to rid their properties of debris, I heard the same old song from some about how people should have been prepared and how the government nor the utility companies were responsible for fixing the problem. I got news for them: THEY WERE. For those right wing ideologues that carry the Constitution around in their vests read the first freaking sentence: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. The important phrases there are “domestic tranquility” and “promote the general welfare”. It is the responsibility of both government and an enterprise that a citizen contracts with on a business relationship to make the damaged party whole. During this past week the tenor of some of the calls to talk radio were horrible examples of this pit we call home. In what I think was a huge lapse of judgement the airing of some imbeciles harping about losing their Butterfinger candy bars on the WILK Comment Line was the wrong call. I more than anyone understand the need for gallows humor and satire but to give these smug clowns a platform was not the right way to go. Some of the FaceBook postings I read were also idiotic. But if vehicles like social media and talk radio are a mirror we hold up to our collective souls, then maybe we aren’t the valley with the heart or the good people we say we are all the time. Maybe we have done a PR job on ourselves that have allowed ourselves to be raped economically over the years. Buzzwords like “work ethic”, “salt of the earth”, “hard working” and yes even “coal miner mentality” have made us easy marks for the rest of the world. And rather than admit it, we resort to the most silent but deadly of the 7 sins: envy.
When I was a kid, my dad took me to one of those Father & Son Communion breakfasts in the basement of my most recently assassinated church St. John the Baptist. I was maybe 7 at the time. The deal with my old man was that after I ate the breakfast I would listen to the speaker. The breakfast speaker was Francis Burns of Pittston. He later became a School Board member of the Pittston Area School District and I’m told one of the best legal research minds in this county. But back on that Father’s Day in 1962 he spoke as the son of one of the Knox Mine Disaster victims. It was a poignant speech and even though I was just a kid it made an impression. He talked about his father going out to work and never seeing him again. He talked about chance, he talked about odds running out and he talked about a natural disaster that was beyond his family’s control. After the breakfast we waited for a cab to take us home. (We didn’t own a car then). The cabbie came and my father and he engaged in banter about their mutual team the St. Louis Cardinals. My father mentioned the breakfast and the speaker, The driver then says, “Wow, I bet his family got a pretty penny after he died in that disaster”. I was confused and after we got home asked my father what he meant. I was told that even though the man died in a disaster and the proper thing was to speak of his death as a tragedy, there would always be some who would take that tragedy and envy or scorn the helplessness of the victims. It was cruel, it was ignorant but it was part of life here in this area we lived in. Then my father handed down one of the phrases that has stayed with me to this day. “Remember Mack (his nickname for me when I was a boy) there are people who live in this area that would rather see a hearse in your driveway instead of a Cadillac”. To this day that sums up our region.
During the 1972 Flood I rode the streets of West Pittston with my uncle Andy Dziak. We surveyed the damage and when we stopped at a hardware store some of the workers told my uncle (a very good carpenter) that he was going to get rich by fixing people’s homes that were damaged in the Garden Village. They were desperate he was told, charge through the roof they told him because after all they were stupid enough to build near the river. I was away for much of 1972 living in Washington D.C. but every time I came home I’d hear about how the flood victims were making out real good and were going to have bigger and better homes than they did before. I saw people living cheek to jowl in trailers packed like sardines at Frances Slocum State park. I saw beautiful homes leveled to the ground. How in the hell were they going to be better off than before? But the ignorant envious told me so in no uncertain terms. A few years later working at WVIA TV, I shared an office with one of those flood victims. She had rebuilt and she was alive but Agnes had put a hole in her heart that never healed. What bothers me about this week is that all of these memories started to come back to me. To hear the smug finger wagging at people with no running water,, trees on their property, their roads washed out and no place to go to the bathroom in a sanitary manner was just disgusting. Juxtapose that with the tireless efforts of volunteer organizations and neighbors and you get the impression that we are not as kind and as generous as those Chamber of Commerce brochures (that’s one good thing those half asses at least can do right) portray us. There is a real ugly side to the people of this region. No one will talk about it, no one will admit it and no one will ever take responsibility for it. It’s there. Is there a cure? Most likely not but there is a remedy. It’s a simple reminder from not only my mother but most likely yours too. I’ve amended it to this situation: “If you can’t say something nice about someone (even when they are on their asses with no power, food or water) shut the **** up”.


Despite the devastation caused by Hurricane Irene this weekend, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) today stood by his call that no more money be allocated for disaster relief unless it is offset by spending cuts elsewhere. The Washington Post reported the other day that FEMA will need more money than it currently has to deal with the storm’s aftermath and is already diverting funds from other recent disasters to deal with the hurricane, but Cantor’s comments suggest Republicans won’t authorize more funds without a fight.
Cantor took the position following the tornadoes that devastated Joplin, Missouri and elsewhere in the spring and summer, and after last week’s earthquake, the epicenter for which was in his district, but the hurricane’s level of destruction is far beyond that of those disasters. Still, Cantor told Fox News that while “we’re going to find the money,” “we’re just going to need to make sure that there are savings elsewhere to do so.”
Can you imagine Dan Flood saying something like that? “Oh Forty Fort, we’ll get to you after we find the money some place else!” This is the Republican mantra. When a person is drowning, tell them you’ll get them a rope real fast but you want to make sure you replace it before you throw it into the water. Where was this little weasel when we were spending billions on two wars? Cantor wants the money replaced, take away this little creep’s salary. Or cut one of this little freak’s staff members salaries. Yeah, find the money but get it from this “public servant’s” and I use the word loosely own office. The thing that kills me about guys like Cantor is that he wraps his bullshit under the guise of “patriot”. That is the true insult.


Did you hear about the latest study that showed Up To $60 Billion In Iraq, Afghanistan War Funds Lost To Poor Planning, Oversight, Fraud? 60 BILLION. The next time fools (and I’m being so kind here) like Rand Paul, Eric Cantor, and other national Republicans talk about cutting Medicare and slashing the budget on the poor folks, remember that figure. 60 BILLION IN WASTE. MONEY LOST TO POOR PLANNING (“Hey, Bin Laden is hiding not hiding in Iraq but let’s take a stroll through there anyway”) OVERSIGHT “Another 10 billion for Haliburton, here take 15, they’ll never miss it!”) and FRAUD) “(Are those staples really $1500 a box???) throw that up as an argument. They weren’t worried about the crushing debt of their precious grandchildren when they were pissing away that 60 billion were they?


Tonight is a big event for the Young Democrats of Luzerne County. They’ll unveil their new website tonight. The meeting takes place from 7 to 10pm at Rodano’s on Public Square in Wilkes Barre. That’s tonight!!!


Former Pennsylvania House Speaker John Perzel has plead to corruption charges. No trial, no big circus like event like State Senator Vince Fumo had or former Senator Ray Musto wants. This guy had his hand in every deal in the last four Governor’s administration. Look for him to take more people down with him, both Republicans and Democrats. The dealer maker supreme is sharpening up those vocal chords and is soon going to starting his aria. To the fat lady: take a seat, you have competition for your songs.


Joe Snedecker says that summer is over. I guess so. I always hated August because of the humidity and the fact that summer was closing in. We leave this summer behind anticipating an NFL season, fresh apples in the orchards and beautiful leaves in this region. All in preparation for the hell we call winter in NEPA.




This week Shadoe Steele’s “Saturday Night At the Oldies” on WILK AM & FM features Bryan Hyland. What a way to end the summer! Saturday Night Live at the Oldies can be heard from 7pm to midnight with ABC News on the top of the hour.


This week on WYLN TV 35 Tiffany’s Cloud’s“Storm Politics” an encore presentation can be seen on WYLN TV 35 THURS @ 9:30 PM • SAT @ 5 PM SUN @ 11 AM, MON @ 9:00 PM • TUES @ 4:30 PM •, New season begins on September 7th.


This Weekend on Sunday Magazine Magic 93's Frankie in the Morning speaks with Dolly Woody and Ann Casey about the upcoming Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure coming up on Saturday Sept 10th in downtown Scranton. Frankie also speaks with Christine Zavoscas from the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, marking its 20th anniversary with a big event on September 15th at the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Plains Township. And Brian Hughes speaks with Jeffrey Box and Michael Horvath from the Northeast Pa Alliance about their upcoming dinner at Bringing The World To Northeast Pa event in September
Sunday Magazine, Sunday morning at 5:30am on JR 93.7 & 97BHT, 6am on 97.9X, 6:30am on Magic 93, and 9:30am on WARM 590 AM.


Here's an update for ECTV Live next week! Gary Duncan, an expert on the life of Labor Leader John Mitchell will join the team to talk about Mitchell's strong and continued impact on our area's labor scene. ECTV Live airs at Noon and Midnight on Comcast Ch19.


Bobby Fischer defeats Boris Spassky in a chess match at Reykjavík, Iceland, becoming the first American to be world chess champion.... The first episode of The Price Is Right is hosted on CBS by Bob Barker. Gambit and The Joker's Wild also premiere. On September 6th, the Munich Massacre occurs. Eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich are murdered after 8 members of the Arab terrorist group Black September invade the Olympic Village; 5 guerrillas and 1 policeman are also killed in failed rescue attempt..

In Pennsylvania Governor Milton Shapp tells an audience of B'nai Birth members in Pittsburgh that the massacre in Munich was just an extension of anti Israeli feelings and the harbinger of more terrorism to come to not only the world but America……in Lackawanna County the first Democrats for Nixon group springs up with volunteers passing out cards at Idle Hours Lanes. In Luzerne County, party politics plays second fiddle to flood recovery efforts and thirty nine years ago the number 1 song in LuLac land and America was “Hold Your Head Up” by Argent, a group founded by by keyboardist Rod Argent, formerly of The Zombies.


At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Born and raised here, I have lived in several other parts of the country. You are on target with your comments regarding "the valley with a heart" moniker. Its bullshit and I have never heard it summed up better than your fathers remark about the hearse or the Cadillac!

At 10:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your comments regarding relief for people suffering the after effects of a disaster are right on point.It amazes me how people can be so callous when it is the other guy who has the problem. Providing help to a fellow citizen to help that person or family recover after a natural disaster is not a liberalism, it is simply being human.

At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few things, love Argent. Can't believe that song is nearly 40 years old. Second, the way people react to other's fortune or misfortune is very telling. There are great people here but there is also a hard edged element that think they will be stolen from or ripped off. I see it as an extension of the mine industry here. And last but not least, Eric Cantor. What a pantload. Let's find the money while we wasted billions of dollars on a war in Iraq that was pointless. Good job.

At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article, good photos. I always look forward to the LuLac Thursdays.

At 4:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Look man, if people didn't fill their tubs with water for toilet flushing, put some drinking water aside in bottles and make certain they had a jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread on hand, then they did nothing to help themselves. Sure some people got cut off from the rest of civilization with bridges and roads out or closed, some got major damage to their homes and many were inconvenienced. Its a disaster storm. But if you are "burdened" by using a pale to flush the toilet and have to eat peanut butter for a few days don't go on the radio and scream that the utility companies are inept, that they were unprepared or that its corporate rip off garbage. Thats just entitlement mentality and hate for those who DARE charge you for services rendered, when of course the government should give you everything for nothing. This is a HUGE job and they are out there working hard to get everybody back up and running. I am certain some people...very few...might have been ligitimately slighted...but companies cannot keep a bunch of technicians sitting around playing pool and eating pizza in a union shop collecting salary and benefits on the chance some day they might be needed to react to a storm. That's more like GM. So people need to ask for the help and believe the people out there, their own neighbors (God forbid they make more than you), are doing all they can to help and get you back on-line SO THEY CAN START CHARGING YOU FOR POWER AGAIN, if you can't find it in your heart to believe they might care about you. I'm tired of all this outrage that there are not 5000 people swarming all over NEPA to get rural NEPA back up and online in 4 hours. We didn't need the liars suggesting PPL shipped their techs out of the area either. Its a perfect example of what some would LOVE to believe is true as the never ending hatred for people who make more than they do continues, fostered by local talk radio socialists. Man up people. Fill the tub on the storm's approach. Eat peanut butter for a day or two. It won't kill you and its NOT an outrage."

At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a friend whose house has been without power for five days now, with no sign of it being turned back on anytime soon. She's in a family of four - two adults, two children. Assuming that they are not constipated, how many bathtubs full of water would they have to have set aside to have continued to flush the toilet for the duration of the power outage - which is of indefinite duration?"

At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its both. You have to take responsibilty for the things you have control over and then hope for the best and be patient. Unfortunately, many just want to hang people because they resent having an electric bill not paid by the government....or as they're calling it now, the Federal Family. Hey, Obama DOES end in a vowel."

At 4:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'll consider your question once you've answered mine. You seem to be changing your tune from "you've gotta be prepared for any unknown contingency, and if you're not it's your own fault" to "you've gotta be patient.""

At 4:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you talk about people taking responsibility for something they never experienced before in some instances. Ok they should have been more prepared. But then you trash people saying they resent paying their bills and want the govt. to pay them. They don't deserve that bullshit.

At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder why people like you and ****wad corbett are always looking for the government. You have a large group of regular readers and he has a few thousand readers; so why don't you two get together and organize a drive to get supplies together for folks and deliver them. Why don't liberals ever show self reliance even when it comes to helping. Always looking to the government to do the job we the people are much better at doing anyway.

At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HEY 4:12

At 5:45 PM, Anonymous JUNCTION said...

Oh my friend of many many years, you are on the money with your article on the Valley inhabitants.
Also so true on the politicans reaction to the devastation from Irene.
Keep up the "in your face" commentary.

At 6:48 PM, Anonymous Ray D. Davies said...

Is there an answer or explanation for the behavior you describe?
If your father felt obligated to "teach" you at the time, his father felt the obligation felt by his father, felt by his father, etc. Think it may be an engrained character flaw that must be addressed every generation?
Could it be that these folks feel less independent?
Having been let down or outright lied to by politicians, corporations, neighbors, spouses, heroes, etc. to the point that they just reach their limit?
How about the guy that lives a simple life, saving his money, going to work every day, sacrificing, only to find his bank paying a quarter percent interest, not even covering the rate of inflation because of something he only knows as QE2 - he's thinking "how about QE me too"? (sounds like a Kinks song, huh?)
Maybe its good that they blow off some steam on the radio rather than climb the tower with a rifle and pack of smokes.
I don't pretend to know.

At 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on with your comments. I'm more afraid that there are people who are buying into this Cantor thing. It's almost as if he wants to make a social quid pro quo type of deal. I'll save you from the river man but get me a few fish on your way to the rescue boat!

At 6:53 AM, Anonymous Pope George Ringo said...

Oh how I long for Republicans like Hugh Scott,John Heinz, Ev Dirksen and on and on.
It seems we are going backwards to the late nineteenth century.
Lack of Presidential leadership is partly responsible....he's a good man but naive in believing he can deal with those who despise him.
Where will we end up?
Will the divisiveness end?
Who knows.
Good post, Yonk.

At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This area is more like "The Valley waiting for a handout." I wonder how these ****ing whiners would have handled a real disaster like what happened in Japan. Bunch of ****ing *******.

At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the classic songs of all time, September in the Rain by Dinah Washington!


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