Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Some Cops Need To Start Going To Jail

The Raw Story + Video (09/30/2015):
Delaware cops beat mentally ill man when his quadriplegic wife was unable to follow order to stand up
"Lisa Hayes, a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, was unable to use her legs, and the lawsuit claims officers should have seen her wheelchair in the bedroom where her husband bathed her... Ruther Hayes tried to cover his partially nude wife with a sheet, but the lawsuit shows that police shoved him to the ground and repeatedly punched him before shocking the mentally ill man twice with a stun gun."

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trashing the cops. Out of hundreds of good cops there's always these one or two who endanger the lives and tarnish the reputations of countless others. This bullshit has to stop. It's time to crack down on this crap and start sending them to the pokey where they belong.

There's no way any cop can be this stupid. I'm tired of taxpayers being on the hook for this kind of stuff time after time. A message needs to be sent. It's time to start locking these animals up whether they wear a badge or not. I bet a whole lot of good cops putting themselves on the line everyday agree.

Student Walkout Here's ASD's Rules

We're told organizers of the walkout conducted classes at the MLK site. Here's one class I bet they missed going over with the students. The rules.

Here are a few highlights I've read and transcribed best I can. (If there are any inaccuracies or corrections to be made let me know what I got wrong.)

Truancy is defined as failure to report to and remain in school when the parent/guardian is under the impression that you are in school.

Cutting is defined as unexcused or unexplained absence from class(es) or assigned location(s) while being present for the school day. Absence from class is defined as not having been present for the entire class period.

Course credit will be withdrawn if a student’s total number of unexcused/unexplained absences exceeds 6 days during a semester, or during a full year course, without attending credit completion or exceeds 15 days. Any student who exceeds 15 days in any course will have credit removed regardless of the grade earned. For 2.5 credit classes, after 3 absences credit completion will be required and loss of credit will occur after 8 unexcused absences.

In-School Suspension: Sudents will be assigned by the administration for infractions of the school rules. Teachers will send work to the ISS room. A staff member will be available to assist with assigned work. Students are required to complete all work and follow all In-School Suspension rules. If a student is asked to leave ISS, he/she will be suspended out of school.

If the student misbehaves or is found unable to conform to this learning environment, the terms of the suspension will be modified to include a period of out-of-school suspension. However, students who are either suspended out-of-school or are legitimately absent from school will still have to fulfill their in-school suspension assignment before being readmitted to the regular school program.

Students may not attend or participate in extracurricular activities while under in-school suspension.

Before any student decided to walk out they ought to have weighed their decisions carefully Every student should be aware of the handbook rules. If not they shortly will be.

One of the most important lessons (outside of the academics) is how to conform to rules. Colleges have them. Employers also issue handbooks with their rules in them. If someone cannot abide with these in high school it will only get worse for them after graduation. This too is part of what learning is about. The K-12 educator's job is to prepare students for what lies beyond. If they think high school rules are restrictive wait until they get a job and read over an employer's!

If students are quibbling over what's required for the 180 six hour days they attend they are really going to hate their future employer's 40+ hours workweek spread out over the entire year. Some will face 8 hour work days. Others 10 and 12 hour work days.

Buckle down kids.
It only gets worse from here if you intend to make something of yourself.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

News Roundup & Commentary (09/29/2015) (09/29/2015):
Many city businesses report papal weekend losses

Oh boo hoo. It almost borders on blasphemy trying to profit off this particular pope who's dedicated his life to those in poverty. What did they think would happen when every second of his visit received wall-to-wall coverage on TV throughout the world?
~ ~ ~

Daily Mail (09/28/2015):
Asians set to overtake Hispanics to become largest group of immigrants in US

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Looks like Hispanics will remain part of the minority group. Whether this is a good or bad thing I suppose depends on where your coming from.
~ ~ ~

The Daily Beast (09/28/2015):
A Mom’s Fight for Cameras in Classrooms

Now there's an idea I can get onboard with. It keeps the teachers honest and parents can see what their little darlings are up to. Between the teacher unions and privacy advocates it ain't likely gonna happen widespread outside of Texas.
~ ~ ~

New York Post (09/29/2015):
Saudi VIPs use wealth, diplomatic immunity to run amok in US

No kidding! Saudis aren't the only ones. All of them do. No tickets for motor vehicle violations (of any kind) either. Anyone who ever lived in the Washington, D.C. area if they heard it once they heard a thousands times at the checkout, "no tax" while whipping out their diplomatic cards. Thank goodness none of our diplomats ever act this way while in foreign countries, right?
~ ~ ~ (09/28/2015):
Police ID man killed trying to get into wrong car

Oops! Is it any wonder? I've complained for years none of the cars today are distinctive like they once were. Seen one SUV you've seen them all. On the other hand why the hell shoot someone the minute you see them Quick Draw McGraw?
~ ~ ~

Daily Mail (09/28/2015)
Audi says 2.1million of its diesel cars worldwide are fitted with emissions cheat devices

I wonder how the United States is going to deal with the problem if any of these manufacturers declare bankruptcy. I can hardly believe they'd force owners to park them or assume the cost to bring them into compliance. I tend to think the United States may need to grant exemptions to present owners in some way. Is this another case of "too big to fail" and governments (taxpayers) will once again be forced to step in with some sort of bailout? I HOPE NOT!
~ ~ ~

Raw Story (09/28/2015):
Black off duty cop says he and his son were beaten by racist colleagues who mistook him for fleeing suspect

"The off-duty officer said he repeatedly identified himself as a Providence police officer, but his claims were ignored and he was placed in the back of a patrol car — where he watched as officers then attacked and beat his son.."

Another case of he said... they said. One thing I do know, There's an awful lot of people making assumptions and acting on their impulses before reasoning things out.
~ ~ ~

Alternet (09/24/2015):
Astounding Drug Prices Show How U.S. Government Is in Cahoots with Big Pharma

Alternet has a chart showing the drug prices here in the United States compared to elsewhere. Whether one favors universal healthcare or keeping it private nothing is ever going to be solved with either one till we get all aspects of medical care and these drug costs under control. If government can't or won't do it, who will?
~ ~ ~

Two Ways To Look At Things

So Which Way Is It Really Going?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Morning Call LIVE Event Coverage Of Student Walkout

Photo Courtesy "The Morning Call"

TMC's LIVE Coverage Of The Student Walkout

The Morning Call has reporters in various locations following alongside them. They are also posting photos.

The walkout began at 9:15 AM

The Morning Call turned off their live feed at 11:45 am

(1) Judging by what was said a large number of kids left already before 11:00 am. If this was the case this movement may have more dropouts then they accused ASD of having :-)

(2) I doubt as many will show for the second day. Rain is predicted to start Wednesday morning. I think it would be kind of a bust after that.

(3) This may not be the last we hear from organizers or protestors in the future, but as far as this or future walkout actions go I tend to think this and possibly any future ones will pretty much be a bust if this is any indicator.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Who's Behind ASD Student Walkout? (Reposted & Reedited With Additional Info)

I came across this post @ Democratic Underground by JPZenger-- "Is there is a concentrated effort by a charter school to disrupt a public school district and make it look bad, so that more public school students will switch to a charter school????... Another leader of the protest, who has a rather colorful history with the police.."

I have no idea who this person is, but if what this person says and the links he posted prove true, JPZenger has gotten way ahead on the details of this story. He/she ask and answers who's behind the movement and what's their backgrounds?

Two things the local media should have investigated but failed to do as of this writing was to report on ALL of those involved and their backgrounds. So far their reporting has not queried those two most basic questions that should have been asked and reported alongside the story. I'm curious to see just how many days will past before these media organizations try and play catch up with social media and the blogs they are so quick to criticize by marginalizing their importance.

What is ironic the links point to their own archives. If media would have done it's job better (by connecting the dots) just maybe these kids would reconsider the type of pied pipers they are being led by. Perhaps even averting further outrage and attacks on the Allentown School District's reputation.

The Morning Call (05/18/2014)
Developer Abe Atiyeh helps charter schools open, reaps profits in return
"The Medical Academy Charter School, at 330 Howertown Road in Catasauqua, paid Atiyeh $235,692 in its first year and $353,000 this year. The rent will rise to $363,590 next year"

If these kids are being played this is a new low even for these guys we've been recently reading about. The students need to be made aware of all the information. I think the local commercial press bears responsibility in seeing that students do before this gets too far out of hand, if it's not too late already. Let us hope the local media gets on the stick and checks it out.

I absolutely did not write the "Democratic Underground' piece nor know who this person is. I'm simply reporting on what I came across. Take it for what it's worth. You be the judge.

JPZenger is a pseudonym no doubt for John Peter Zenger
A German American printer and journalist in the late 1600 & early 1700 hundreds

Saturday, September 26, 2015

National Penn Branch Closings

"The combined company anticipates closing 25 BB&T and Penn National Bank branches to eliminate overlapping service areas."

My Comments About The Article Above
Before the merger as far as customers were concerned these weren't "overlapping service areas". I fail to see how this benefits either employees or previous neighborhood customers who may or may not have to drive or walk to other locations.

As a stakeholder in the former "Keystone Bank" I voted against the National Penn bank absorption. Fat lot of good that did. Now predictably this has happened.

Less jobs, less branches, less competition.

Updating iPhone To iOS 9 Could Be A Risk

Huffington Post: Your iPhone Is Vulnerable To A Major Hack If You Updated To iOS 9
"Thankfully, there's an easy fix."

Don't Need No Stinkin' Updates
I've dutifully updated every Windows operating system I've had for years. I've stopped doing this about three months ago. Here's why. In the past with every update it took longer and longer to reboot. It also screwed up several features in my various software. You'd think I'd learned my lesson over the years when I first installed this one last November 2014. After eight months of updates this system has become sluggish as the ones before whereas it was lightening fast. In addition about seven other pieces of software keep nagging me every month. What for?

If it ain't broke don't fix it!
I tend to think these programmers are more interested in harvesting my user information from their software then improving security.

I have a very good Norton Security program which has caught everything I needed it to protect. Never once in tens of years have I've ever been infected with a virus, malware or a rootkit. If anything these updates are more effective at slowing things down then if I did. So what's the point?

If I had the ambition to take the exhaustive task of wiping everything out and starting all over again without any of the updates I would. However I don't have a mindset to reinstall my dozens of software programs and 10,000's of files because it would take me well over forty hours. Not to mention all the settings I'd have to redo. If I ever again have to start out from scratch it will be without these updates. The only updates I would do are to the ones that stopped working.

To critics who may call me a fool my reply is..
If ever the day comes that a rootkit, malware or virus gets past Norton, that will be the day of my conversion. Until then I'm now stuck with many of the features, settings and reduced speed all taken away I once had. Thus I won't be so inclined to reduce them any further with more of these, what I consider, useless updates. Sometimes there are even updates to the updates because they were faulty as such seems to be in the case of the one mentioned above.

Your mileage may vary.
What's been your experience?

Banks Use To Give Free Toasters

This Is Even Better!

Anyone who has been around long enough can remember when banks gave away free stuff to customers opening new accounts.

From the 'what's old is new again' department is reporting a bank in Virginia is taking advantage of a new law that allows banks to give away cash instead."Each month, the bank has a drawing with one $200 winner and four $50 winners. At the end of the year, it will give away a jackpot of $5,000. Customers get one drawing entry for every $25 increase in their account balance. To encourage savings, the bank allows only one withdrawal from a jackpot savings account per month, or else depositors pay a $5 withdrawal fee."
Sounds like a great idea to me. It's like playing the lottery except in this case you get all your money back.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Speaker John Boehner Resigns From Congress

This is a case of separating the man from his politics. Yeah sure I disagreed with his positions, but I never once doubted his character. Here was a man who wore his heart on his sleeve. How much of what he believed and what he said should be separated by what he felt was his responsibility as the speaker for his party. I absolutely believe he didn't want any part of yet another threatened government shutdown.

Say what you will he was a person of character.

Reid Says 'He Never, Ever Misled Me'

Thursday, September 24, 2015

News Roundup & Commentary (09/24/2015)

WFMZ (09/24/2015):
Reading School Board addresses student brawl-- "The fight, which began as a small scuffle at City Park on Tuesday afternoon launched into a massive brawl involving up to 400 students, police said."

A special video message to students from Superintendent Dr. Khalid Mumin can be found HERE

I'm not sure what's going on with today's youth. Between this incident and the planned school walkout in Allentown this school year is shaping up to become one hell of a bumpy ride.
~ ~ ~

WFMZ (09/24/2015)
Allentown police chief accepts position in Fort Worth

It sure would be nice if we could select his replacement from within the ranks. Someone who's been around here for more then a few years and more experienced with policing Allentown. Speaking of Texas...
~ ~ ~

Raw Story (09/23/2015):
Texas cops raise money for slain deputy by raffling off guns similar to the one that killed him

What can I say. This kind of logic must be a Texas thing.
~ ~ ~

CTV News (09/05/2015):
The XL Pipeline- Where do the major parties stand on the proposed projects? "The U.S. State Department found that the pipeline would support 42,100 jobs during the one- to two-year construction period, only 35 permanent and temporary jobs will remain in place once Keystone XL is complete and fully operational."

According to Oil Change International, "...Coastal refineries in Texas and Louisiana produced about 6 million bpd of refined product, of which they exported 3.1 million bpd last month [Oct. 2014]... based on industry statements, refineries interested in heavy tar sands from Keystone XL are very likely to be exporting an even larger share of their product."

Considering the risks and the number permanent number of jobs I'm not partially enthralled.
~ ~ ~

Rad Infinitum (09/23/2015):
The Valley Has 7 Top 100 Companies! Huzzah! Valley Wages are Down! Huzzzwhat?

It seems "best" means different things to different people. I suppose if wage$ don't matter there are lots of great jobs. You know like blogging.
~ ~ ~

ebizMBA (09/2015) :
Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites

Personally I just prefer the bar down the street.
~ ~ ~

Aljazeera (09/23/2015):
Volkswagen's chief executive resigns over emissions scandal

So I guess this means after he got the big buck$ screwing things up he gets to walk away? Wonder what kind of severance package he will receive?
~ ~ ~

New York Daily News (09/23/2015):
'You figure it out!': Frustrated dad writes check to son's elementary school using controversial Common Core
Fox News Video HERE

He just doesn't get it. Common Core was designed so parents couldn't help their kids with their homework. Yea gads whatever happened to "11+11111='7" ?
~ ~ ~

Daily Mail (09/23/2015):
Stunned Oregon couple are handed a $2MILLION bill from Verizon over phone plan they canceled after just one month

Gone are the days Bell Telephone once held a monopoly up until 1982. Now that we have competition in the marketplace how's that working out for ya?
~ ~ ~

New York Times (09/22/2015):
What Happened to South African Democracy?
"Almost four in 10 people are unemployed. Barely one-third have piped water in their dwellings; a quarter have no flush toilets; about one in five has no access to electricity. Many of these figures are worse than they were under apartheid; others are little changed."

While this may be bad it's nothing compared to any of the other nations in that continent above it. What's with that?
~ ~ ~

YouTube: See Progress Video (09/23/2015):
What the Pope’s Fight against Poverty Looks Like in North Philly

Check out the video. There but for the grace of God go I
~ ~ ~

CAUTION: I know it's early yet but snow season is not far off.
Here's something to think about when driving this winter.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

News Roundup & Commentary (09/23/2015)

Bloomberg (09/22/2015):
FBI Said to Recover Personal E-Mails From Hillary Clinton Server

I'll repeat what I said back in April, "If the Democrats are intending to win the Whitehouse they can't put all their chips on Hillary Clinton.. PERIOD!... It seems the Clintons have so much baggage it would give king kong a hernia."
~ ~ ~ (09/23/2015):
Montco ends DUI court due to high volume--
"In 2014 alone, DUI Court Judge Cheryl Lynne Austin presided over 1,250 trials and 1,087 cases.."

And these were only the ones that got caught !
~ ~ ~ (09/23/2015):
Volkswagen admits much wider scope to emissions scandal--
"...admits that 11 million of its diesel vehicles contain software that evades emissions.."

I find it somewhat unbelievable VW wasn't aware of this for the past 7 years. They're in for a whole world of hurt. Not only because of the financial impacts for repairs, the fines and stock losses. This could be only the tip of the iceberg. The New York Times is reporting, " Seattle-based law firm said it had already filed a class-action suit on behalf of car owners..". Imagine if owners in other countries file lawsuits.
~ ~ ~

Money Talks:(09/22/2015):
The 10 Most Expensive NFL Teams to Watch in Person

The Philadelphia Eagles are listed as one of them. This could change quickly if come this Sunday the Eagles lose to the Jets making them a 0 in 3 team. If that happens I predict a management shakeup will follow.
~ ~ ~

Money Talks (09/21/2015):
Coca-Cola Owes $3.3 Billion in Back Taxes, IRS Claims

Of course Coca-Cola disputes this, but imagine what would happen if a individual was accused of shortchanging the IRS from 2007-2009. Then again how many individuals have access to dozens of tax lawyers who can tie up the IRS's resources and budget trying to get their hands on the money. I tend to think who wins is a matter of costing either side more then it's worth pursuing.
~ ~ ~

Pennsylvania Independent (09/23/2015):
Study: Pennsylvania hides $53 billion in debt

Well obviously it can't be that well hidden since PI is reporting on it. Let's just say it's was well buried. What is at issue here is the unfunded pension liabilities. For decades lawmakers came up with all kinds of creative accounting methods leaving it for the next bunch to deal with. Sooner, rather then later this game of musical chairs is going to hit the fan.

The government(s) is/are the only ones that can make it's own accounting rules. See how far it would get any one of us if we tried paying our debts with IOU's or sent our bills to the state government to pay for us. Yet this exactly what our representatives have done in our name.
~ ~ ~

YouTube: Pa. House Video (09/22/2015):
Should WIC/SNAP Pay For Baby & Senior's Diapers?

On the surface this sounds like a good idea. However the justification for them as being a "necessity" could apply to a great deal of other things as well. What about free tampons, water, toilet paper and soap too? I'm not sure how far we should go with this. (SEE: 10 Things You Can't Buy With Food Stamps OR SNAP at the USDA's website)
~ ~ ~

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

News Roundup (09/22/2015)

Police in Hayward, California, are charging defendants $3,000 for footage taken from police body cameras (Video)

The Pope About to Canonize a Priest Who Helped Enslave and Murder Native Americans?

Talking Points Memo:
Puppy Shoots Florida Man In Self-Defense. Shot while trying to kill seven puppies

New York Post:
Hundreds of full-time city workers are homeless in NYC

Voice Of America:
Here’s How Much Each State Contributes to US Economy

One very pissed off Eagles fan after Sunday's game (Video)

Man Sings To 93 Year Old Dying Wife (Video)

Erin Solari Published on Saturday, September 20, 2015..,
"My grandparents Laura and Howard have been married 73 years. In this video Howard is 92 and Laura is 93. Laura (Grandma) is at a hospice facility making peace with her final days. I was lucky enough to capture this precious, heart-melting moment between the two of them. Howard (Grandpa) is singing to her their love song, the song that comforted her when he went away to fight in World War II.

At family gatherings, it was not uncommon for the two of them to sing this song together, each taking a verse and serenading the other. In fact, after fifty years of marriage, they renewed their vows and performed this song as a duet for the entire family at the reception. Sadly, Grandma is now too weak to sing, but that doesn't stop her from saying the words to him (see at 1:00). Howard then takes over for her and sings the rest of the song to her while stroking her face.

Moments before this video began, when Grandma heard that Grandpa was in the room, she asked if she could hold him. Grandpa cannot stand on his own, but he immediately pulled his wheelchair close to her bed ready to make it happen. My cousin, Serena, who is a physical therapist, helped him to his feet and held him up throughout the entire song.

You might notice above her bed there is a sign that says, “Patient Blind.” That is because she has macular degeneration, so she cannot see much of anything but shadows and light. That doesn’t stop her from looking deep into her love’s eyes. Grandpa, on the other hand, has lost most of his hearing, so you’ll notice us repeating things for him since Grandma is to weak to raise her voice.

The song used in the video is “You’ll Never Know” performed by Rosemary Clooney with Harry James. Our family prefers this version because everyone always said Grandma had a voice just like Rosemary Clooney.

After posting this video to Facebook it began to go viral and all the outpouring of love lifted everyone's spirits... including Grandma's! They originally gave her just a week to live, but hospice eventually deemed her well enough to go back home to live out her remaining few days. As of this posting my beautiful Grandma Laura Virginia is still with us resting peacefully at home. Our family along with the wonderful people from hospice are taking care of her and making sure she remains as pain-free and comfortable as possible while she prepares for her nearing departure. We all thank you so much for the love and kind words."

Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys

Video Courtesy Ronnie Buss

Monday, September 21, 2015

Allentown Students Planning A Walkout

"Students in the Allentown School District are planning to walk out next week if Superintendent Russell Mayo doesn't resign and students aren't given a voting voice on the school board and a summer employment program, a group said in an email.

Explaining that Allen High School students walked out three times last year in protest, charter school teacher Michael Frassetto, one of the organizers, said the new effort would begin after second period on Sept. 28."

My Comments About The Article Above
Another example of how the inmates are running the asylum. I wouldn't blame Superintendent Russell Mayo if he did resign. No one for any amount of money should have to put up with this crap. This goes for teachers as well.

For the life of me I can't understand why it's the school's responsibility to care for unwed mothers kids, provide free meals, summer jobs, police patrols for their bad behavior, be somehow responsible for the dropout rate or to provide counseling & after school programs for those who come from broken homes

This school district has gone way above and beyond their basic mission to educate kids. I'm outraged as a taxpayer that now these ungrateful punks attack the very system which has given them so much. If they go out.. stay out. Let the rest of the good kids get on with their education,

Until they start working and start having to pay for all this nonsense they need to sit down and shut up.. ungrateful little buggers!

Another Reason Why American Healthcare Sucks

"A former hedge fund manager turned pharmaceutical businessman has purchased the rights to a 62-year-old drug used for treating life-threatening parasitic infections and raised the price overnight from $13.50 per tablet to $750."

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Who Provided Iran With Nukes In 1st Place?

We Did!

"The U.S. provided Iran with its first research reactor — a nuclear reactor, a 5-megawatt nuclear reactor that is still functioning and still operational in Tehran.... The U.S. built that nuclear reactor on the campus of Tehran University. It also provided Iran with fuel for that reactor — weapons-grade enriched uranium...

The beneficiaries included Israel, India, Pakistan...

Iran provided the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a $20 million endowment in the 1970s to train Iranian nuclear scientists..."

Iran's Nuclear History

Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies

My Comments About The Article Above
Geesh, talk about shooting yourself in the foot !

The more we mess with things in the middle east the worse things get. Between Russia, and the U.S. sticking their noses into everyone's business I'm not sure who's worse. When one or both get involved it's never their own turf that gets wrecked.

Every time something goes awry ever notice the Saudis always seem to be right there in the thick of it too?
Put simply I don't trust them.

How about this instead?
Instead of squandering billions of dollars trying to change the world we spend those same dollars almost entirely on strengthening our own defense and other programs at home. At the present time we have some 800 military bases overseas. We and Russia have spent billions upon billions more screwing around with foreign governments. It seems to me concentrating our efforts and dollars on building a super strong defense program and strengthening our own economy and social needs would be a more worthwhile endeavor.

Simply put, we are spreading ourselves too thin. Let Russia weaken themselves economically if they want to. I see no good reason for us to get into a pissing contest to see who runs out of money first. If either Russia or the United States thinks for one minute Syria or anyone in the middle east will be a military advantage to them, both are sadly mistaken.

As far as China goes they seem to sit back and wait for Russia & the U.S. to have a go at each other then move in and develop trade deals with Afghanistan, Africa and other countries in the middle east both spent money and shed blood in. They are making fools of us both.

It's time to wake up. Nobody is going to win hearts and minds by interfering with the internal workings or bombing other countries into submission. I feel the best policy for us is to stay out of their affairs and set the best example possible unto the rest of the world in the hopes they'd want to emulate what we have. If history has taught us anything shouldn't it be sticking our noses into where we don't belong is not going to get us anywhere?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Volkswagen Hacks It's Own Software

"The Environmental Protection Agency issued the company a notice of violation and accused the company of breaking the law by installing software known as a “defeat device” in 4-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi vehicles from model years 2009-15. The device is programmed to detect when the car is undergoing official emissions testing, and to only turn on full emissions control systems during that testing. Those controls are turned off during normal driving situations..."

My Comments About The Article Above
If I were to report on all the scams I run across everyday I could fill this blog from top to bottom. Kind of makes me wonder if there's even one iota of honesty left.

They range from increasing water bills by 50% or more. So called auto rebates which means nothing on the sticker price is real. Profiting from the Pope's visit. Medical bills and medical insurance bills no one can ever hope to understand along with prescription prices. Investment fees brokers charge. It's endless and impossible to list them all here.

Apparently everyone's looking to screw the next guy.

Did anybody ever stop and think?

Yeah.. It's Just Like That!

Allentown Street Singer In Trouble Again

Allentown street singer accused of hitting SUV with cane
By Sarah Cassi | For
"Police said James Ochse hit a passing SUV with his cane..."
My Comments About The Article Above
This time he was caught on a street cam. Although I'd like to be empathic with this guy, he can't go around continually making a pain in the ass of himself acting like he's the only tin can in the dump.

Who's Watching Who?

I've come across several stories today which reminded me of experiences my wife had working in retail.

A major retailer where she once worked had a theft of several thousands of dollars worth of diamonds. The store itself after hours was alarmed well. In addition the jewelry cases themselves had several laser beams to protect them after the store was closed.

So how did they pull it off?
One of the members of the store' security team shared this information with their significant other. While this person was entirely honest apparently their mate wasn't. Several months later the stolen jewelry turned up in New York City which led to an arrest. Thereafter the store would strip the inventory from the cases and lock them up in a vault every night. Then inventory them once again the next day before displaying them in the glass cases.

The only other time they were robbed was when a couple of perps occupied the sales clerk while the other scraped sealant from the top of the glass display case. A few hours later they returned and while one distracted the clerk the other lifted the glass and used a coat hanger to scoop the gold necklaces from the "T stands" unbeknownst to her until closing time hours later..

Anyone else have similar stories they are willing to share?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Can Allentown Mayor Use Taxpayer Money Defending Himself?

Yes... up to a point.

August 13, 2015 NewsWorks (online home of WHYY News)
Crooked politicians getting help with their legal bills -- from you

Unless local officials are treated differently what I take away from the report a public official indeed may use public money to defend him or herself. However if they were to be officially "indicted" or "charged" public taxpayers money would cease going forward from that point on. If found guilty they could be forced to repay taxpayers those former costs here in Pennsylvania.

Maybe Why Allentown's Mayor Is No Hurry To Resign
According to 'The Reading Eagle' (08/27/2015), "Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer so far has racked up about $900,000 in legal bills from the city-paid lawyers defending him against city charter and ethics complaints."

Remaining Questions Are:
Under Allentown's charter who approves this kind of spending? Council, the mayor himself, or who?
Is council powerless? They can't simply remove someone from office who hasn't been found guilty of anything.
If the council takes him before the ethics committee wouldn't we have to pay for his legal representation?
Where will Allentown come up with nearly a million dollars as is the case in Reading?
Is it likely taxpayers will be reimbursed if found guilty?
Will someone even pursue reimbursement? If so who?

Is there a damn thing any of us can do about this except bitch and moan?

     I tend to think not.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Allentown Meetings Now Online

For many moons I bemoaned the fact Allentown city council and other meetings weren't video recorded and put online. I am truly appreciative the City Of Allentown has finally come around As of September 2015 the city is now making these available. Hallelujah!


Allentown City Council's September 16, 2015 Meeting

It should be noted @ the city's website these play well with 'Chrome' browsers
(My IE browser seemed to have had issues)

My Observations Of This Meeting
* It was one of the most productive.
* Citizens spoke well & council interacted with them in a good way.
* What interested me the most is what citizens had to say.
* Council approved the ordinances I hoped they would.
* Blighted properties: I feel without the mayors financial support via his 2016 budget requests there's little council can do.

Speaking of blighted properties, I was pleased hearing the complimentary remarks made 21:17 minutes into the meeting coming from Jeanette Eichenwald regarding former redevelopment authority director Karen Beck Pooley and the fine work she once did.

Pooley was one of those seemingly driven out by Mayor Ed Pawlowski four years ago.

'The Morning Call'
City shakeup: Head of Allentown authority resigns
"During her tenure, the agency helped keep 73 properties off the blighted list and acquired 54 properties through eminent domain, according to statistics provided by the authority....

"I am disappointed and I've been let down," Beck Pooley said. Councilwoman Jeanette Eichenwald said at a council meeting last week that she remains "confused and perplexed" as to why the administration decided to target such a successful authority...

In January, the authority rejected the administration's contract offer, saying it amounted to a "total loss of independence." With no agreement, the authority has essentially been starved of money and cooperation with city staff, halting its work in the community."

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Broadway Musicals Alive As Ever!

"Chicago" is now going into it's 19th year on Broadway (over 7,821 performances)!

Recently "First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed Aladdin stars Adam Jacobs (Aladdin), James Monroe Iglehart (Genie), Courtney Reed (Jasmine) and several members of the ensemble to perform a selection of highlights from the hit musical at The White House Kids' State Dinner in Washington D.C." in July 2015.

James Monroe Iglehart. In His Starring Role On Broadway @ The 2014 Tonys

Why Would Someone Buy A Franchise?

'Bloomberg' published a interesting article entitled "The Frustrating Life of the McDonald’s Franchisee"

After reading this it reinforced my questioning why anyone in their right mind would ever buy into a franchise.

Nearly all require very large upfront costs (sometimes profiting from the loans themselves). They get to tell owners what they must sell, how much they can charge after buying ingredients and supplies from whomever they franchise with. What hours they must operate. A untold number of other gotchas like constant upgrades in equipment, buildings, display requirements, surprise inspections, where a franchise can be located and just about anything else that tickles their fancy.

A few years ago a relative of ours tried to sell us on a coffee cart. The cart would cost us around $8,000. Another $1,000 in equipment. The coffee itself at $3 a pound. Plus we'd have to pay someone wherever we set up the cart in a mall or in the case of the city permits/licenses in limited locations. We'd have to sell one hellva lot of coffee!

A relative of ours bought into a sticky bun shop inside a mall in Bucks County. He and his wife put in over 98 hours a week each (profits margins were too slim to hire additional help). Indeed the buns were fantastic and business was good but they ended up taking home less then $1,000 a week after taxes, rent and other expenses between the two of them. He & her sold it and he went back into working at QVC where he made the same amount of money on his salary alone w/o any of the risks or customers bullshit. His kid on the other hand set up a car washing business on his own which later turned into a full fledged auto detailing operation making twice as much.

Seems to me the franchise owners make all the money without taking any of the risks. Why would anyone wishing to become a independent business owner succumb to the slavery of working for a large corporation who can dictate every aspect of their business?

Those who lease out franchises are more concerned about their own bottom line then those who paid exorbitant amounts to slap a name on their door. Look how these started out in the first place. Each and everyone began with someone who had a better idea of what people were willing to pay for. Check out the history of McDonalds, Wendy's, Subway or countless others. Each started out with one single guy who wasn't a franchise owner. These became wealthy after suckers others gave them money so they could hang these guy's signs on their own front doors.

I have no doubt some made out well. Those are the ones we hear about. For far few others I doubt they met the same success.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Secret Agreement With Iran?

Greta Van Susteren on the Iranian agreement

Think about It!
     Ayatollah Khomeini knows all the details of the plan.
     Iranian President Hassan Rouhani knows all the details.
     100's of negotiators from both countries know all the details.

Yet according to the 'The New York Times' (09/09/2015), "Conservative lawmakers claimed that the White House had not disclosed secret side agreements on the deal... The Republicans led by Mr. Roskam and Mr. Pompeo asserted that there had been secret side agreements between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, which will help enforce the nuclear agreement, and that the text of those agreements had not been disclosed to Congress.".

Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma posted what he claimed was "The Entire Agreement". However suspicions remain neither we nor Congress may know what kind of side deals might have been made.

What this all boils down to is a matter of trust. Who can we trust?
     The Whitehouse that it didn't make side deals?
     Iran that it will live up to whatever it is they claimed to have agreed to?
Graphic Courtesy Money
"What the Iran Nuclear Deal's
"Secret Agreement" Means for Oil Prices"

Seems to me there's a lot of reasons why most people aren't willing to accept anyone at their word. Far too many times these agreements like previous trade agreements end up biting us in the butt.

Perhaps this agreement might be more about money then we are led to believe?

Either way I feel once the lid is opened on Pandora's box it can't be shut. Iran will develop nuclear bombs either way. The best we can hope for is by talking to them and they to us it's offering at least a glimmer of hope. It's better then letting China and Russia be the only ones speaking to them. They both have been working backdoors with them for a few years.

It seems to me turning a deaf ear or one's back to a possible enemy government thus ignoring them isn't a very good choice either.

Final Thoughts
Let's not confuse the Iranian people themselves with the government they're stuck with. Most of the world's problems are created by religious and government leaders. Not the everyday people who just want to be left alone to go about their daily lives. I'm most certain all of us have that in common. We see an example of that with the mass exodus of the Syrian people trying to flee not wanting anything to do with all the killing and slaughtering. The world is not black and white. Average Iranians are not our enemy anymore then we should be theirs.

This was true back in the days of Vietnam just as it is today. Farmers, laborers and families who get drawn in and fall victim to those who walk among us who seek only bloodshed and unending wars. What a terrible shame so many peaceful people become labeled as enemies of one another because they just so happen to be born in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Such are the illusions that plagued mankind throughout history.
You'd think by now....

Speaking Of "Urban Sprawl".. (REPOST)

(Original Post March, 28, 2013)

Some theorists would have you believe this is a new phenomena. One that has just been around for the last few decades. Not true!

The Truth About "Urban Sprawl"
Let's begin right in our own backyard with Allentown. William Allen way back in the early 1700's was credited with the development of Allentown. You might even say he was the town's first outside developer.

William Allen was both the former mayor of Philadelphia and a one of the powerful & richest men from Philadelphia. To make a long story short, Allentown's very existence came about as a result of Philadelphia's urban sprawl.

Now let's take a look at the nation as a whole. From the very beginning of the United States people began leaving Eastern cities heading West. Cities started being born everywhere to the West. Small towns grew into ever expanding cities. As railroads began connecting Eastern cities together in the early 1800's. They too then began to expand ever Westward. By 1869 the first transcontinental links were made. Talk about urban sprawl!

Railroads were the modern means of transportation at the time. Railroads allowed people living in the outskirts to receive supplies and transportation to and from the bigger cities. You might even say they were forerunners to what this nation's modern high speed highways are to us today.

As some urban theorists get all bent out of shape complaining about today's ever expanding highway network and the cars on them, the railroads had their own nimby's detractors. I'm sure the Wells Fargo Stagecoach aficionados were just as nimby with the encroaching railroads as today's mass transit enthusiasts are with the cars and highways of today. Therefore, those who opine for urban density and mass transit have been losing the battle for over 300 years.

Hess's isn't coming back. The railroads aren't coming back and neither are the urban economic centers the way they once were. I may be accused of being old fashioned and stubborn, but even I can see the nose in front of my face. No one can change historical facts.

Proponents who argue for urban density and mass transit should reevaluate their positions given the history of the United States. Americans love urban sprawl since the early 1700's. No amount of subsidies or grants are ever going to change the historically based behavior of Americans.

These philosophers tell us that we've been wrongly subsidizing the suburban areas. Could it just be the other way around?

If you took every one of the surrounding townships and small municipalities. Added up every dime of state and federal grants and subsidies. Combine them all together, they still wouldn't equal what just any one of the three major cities alone received in Lehigh County last year.

We've built taxpayer subsidized arts centers, offices, gambling casinos, sports complexes, transit systems, restaurants and dozens of other ventures in attempt to lure suburbanites back into town. When is it time to review the outcome of these many failed attempts over the last decade?

Like it or not, cities everywhere in the U.S. are withering on the vine. If it were not for the heavy burden of tax supported subsides, would cities even exist?

I used the term wither on the vine" as a metaphor for what I'm about to say. Had cities been left on their own, they would have withered. No matter how much fertilizer or water is applied, once a plant has come to the end of it's cycle they're usefulness has come to an end. Much the same with large cities no matter how disagreeable that may sound to some. Crumbling pipes, buildings and infrastructure should be heeded as a sure sign that they too have come to the end of their useful life.

Not All Is Doom & Gloom
We see examples all around us of vacated properties where manufacturing and empty homes now stand. Had the land been cleared, planted with grass, trees and left empty, we'd not only have a greener environment, but one less dense. The very thing that draws more affluent suburban dwellers throughout America's history. Instead we heavily subsidize these to re-urbanize them once again. This is the very thing that caused problems in the first place. Had we instead exercised patience through time to allow the natural order of things, these urban areas would eventually become suburbanized much like the sought after areas by the middle and wealthy.

We can continue to channel mass amounts of taxpayers' money into bus and train transportation. Funnel unspeakable amounts of taxpayers' money chasing after some social urban idealistic venture. Or we can acknowledge historically Americans always had preferences that run counter to this.

Allentown's citizens, who lived here all their lives, lament subsidized housing has led to this city's woes. How much more so the problem has now been compounded when we do the very same thing yet again. This time with millions taxpayer dollars used to subsidize wealthy commercial developers instead. Have we learned nothing from history?

Everyone needs to step back and take a deep breath. The time is long overdue to revaluate what works and what doesn't?