Thursday, November 26, 2015

Philadelphia Eagles In Freefall

Video Originally Posted 10/11/2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

News Roundup (11/18/2015)

Today's Students, Tomorrow's Future
The Morning Call: Allentown Teachers Disruptive Students Run the schools
Lehigh Valley Live: DA, Allentown police chief stand by officers following melee with students
WFMZ: Allentown School District superintendent speaks out in wake of recent violence

Texas Doesn't Want Syrian Refugees. They Endanger The Lives Of Texans.
U.S. Uncut: 550 People Have Died in Police Custody This Year — Just in Texas

Johnny Thinks Taxpayer Funded Missionaries A Good Idea
TPM: Ohio Gov. John Kasich Proposes Govt Agency To Espouse Judeo-Christian Values Abroad (VIDEO)

Painted Into A Corner Despite Paying Blackmailers $10 Million... 'West Wing' actor Martin Sheen praises son Charlie's courage

Yesterday's Butter Fingered Dutchmen Weren't Into This Stuff
Lehigh Valley Live: Man aims gun at Allentown cop, pulls trigger, police say

Unlike Today's Youth We Used To Whip Out An Insurance Card Instead Of A Knife
Lehigh Valley Live: Woman jailed after hitting woman's car, assaulting her, police say

A Cold Weather Reminder

Syrian Refugee Videos

Senator Elizabeth Warren on the Syrian Refugee Crisis (11/17/2015)

Syrian Refugee speaks out about call to ban US resettlement (11/17/2015)

The European Refugee Crisis and Syria Explained

Any thoughts?

Christmas Gift Suggestion

From The 50's

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Syrian Refugees: United States Repeating Same Mistake?

"A year later, after the events of Kristallnacht [The Night of Broken Glass], in which more than 15,000 Jews were expelled from Germany to concentration camps by boxcar, a survey conducted by the American Institute of Public Opinion [01/20/1939] found that more than 60% of Americans were opposed to accepting Jewish refugee children, who were the most in need of asylum."

My Comments About The Article Above
ISIS is winning physiologically by a landside because they've succeeded in creating fear and animosity dividing this country up against one another far beyond what they are capable of inflicting militarily.

In 2013 highway accidents accounted for 32,719 deaths in the United States.

More than 30,000 people are killed by firearms each year in this country. More than 30 people are shot and murdered each day.

Allentown in 2013 had 12 murders. 15 in the year before that.

Let's Be Realistic
What happened in Paris was tragic, but seriously anyone's death in Allentown is far more likely to come about as a result of bad driving or at the hands of a fellow citizen already here rather then a dozen or so foreigners who seek to escape violence by relocating here. The problem is we've allowed ISIS to take control of our fears and using them against us to drive ourselves apart to the point of paranoia. There's no doubt Allentown already has enough problems, but I'm not buying into this hysteria.

Let's not repeat the same mistakes in allowing these few assholes to gain victory over us by allowing them the allocation of power to cower fear amongst ourselves.

We might have screwed up when it came to the Jews in 1939. Let us not repeat this same mistake again. The time has come to show the world we are a better and stronger nation who can learn from it's mistakes by not repeating them. A nation brave enough and bold enough to face whatever challenges there may be to set things right.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Muslim Haters Got It Wrong

Muslims Hate ISIS Most of All
Dean Obeidallah | The Daily Beast
"The number one victim of this barbaric terror group is Muslims. That’s undisputed. ISIS has killed thousands of Muslims across the Middle East, including beheading Sunni Muslims in Iraq for failing to pledge loyalty to them, executing Imams for not submitting to them, and even killing an Imam in Iraq for simply denouncing them.

... My emotions soon moved from fear to anger. Anger at ISIS for once again killing people in the name of my religion... what must be clear to all is that we can’t allow ISIS to achieve its goal of framing this as a fight pitting Islam against the West. It’s not. It’s all of us versus ISIS."

My Comments About The Article Above
Ignorance Abounds

Not just from the ignorant mouths of politicians, but those in the media as well. Last night two idiot news readers on CNN went after a Muslim representive insisting he needs to apologize for these wackos who attacked in Paris. His response was much like what you see above saying, "Sir, the Muslim community has nothing to do with these guys, Nothing. We cannot justify ourselves for the actions of someone who claims to be Muslim.".

They in turn insisted "Why not? What is the responsibility within the Muslim community to identify people within their own ranks when it comes to people who are obviously training and preparing to carry out mass murder.".

His response in return... "“Sir, they were not from our ranks!"

I as a white person refuse as well to apologize for the actions other assholes have committed against blacks in which I played no part. Same goes for blacks not having to apologize for every bad actor in the black community. This applies as well for all the good cops not having to apologize for other cops acting like assholes. So too those who blame poverty or happenstance as the reasons for why they act like they do.

Satan Disguises Itself In Many Forms
No individual, religion or segment of our society owes an explanation nor apology except the bad actors themselves. These are they who should be solely held accountable.

Evil feeds on this kind of hatred. Anyone who promotes such generalities I consider either ignorant or in a willing partnership to promote further hatred and division. They are to be less trusted even then those who commit such atrocities openly because of their deceptiveness no matter their stature.

Each of us need to educate ourselves enabling us to identify and sort out those who'd have us destroy each and other from those who understand each person is to be valued for whatever acts they have or may not have committed individually towards another.

I expect this kind of behavior on the internet. Not major media.

Shame on them 10x's over.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Attacks In Paris Afterthoughts

The brother of a Paris victim is worried France will repeat the same mistakes United States did with it's knee jerk reaction to an attack on the twin towers on 9/11. Rather then think smart the U.S. went into these countries guns blazing. As a result what we ended up with today are the terrorists known as ISIS and a Middle East muddle in where there is no end in sight which cost us over 4,500 soldiers' and 210,000 civilians lives in these nations as well as trillions of dollars.

A Road Previously Traveled
You'd think after losing 58,000 lives in Vietnam only for it to end up a communist nation (and now a trade partner) we'd give a little more thought before we sent troops back into combat. Apparently not. No one can deny people both in the Middle East and the rest of the world are no better off for it. Bombing the crap out of other peoples' countries doesn't exactly win hearts and minds no matter how well intended.

Work Smarter, Not Harder
That's a phrase I grew up with. This certainly should apply here as well. First off let's apply a little perspective here...

I admit I don't have exact figures. However I think similar comparisons could be made between the number of radical nut jobs living in these Middle Eastern countries with those who are not. Going whole hog blasting everything in sight may destroy some of them, but is far from a cure. What has taken place for almost the last 15 years is similar to removing an entire foot in order to remove an ingrown toenail. I agree with this victims brother that striking out in vengeance without a well thought out plan is a horrible idea. One that hasn't worked so far. Indeed made matters only worse for everyone.

What isn't needed is a bunch of loud mouths arguing these animals are in anyway affiliated with religion. Evil sick delusional individuals like these will fly any banner to proclaim justifications for doing the things they do. Throughout history whole populations were wiped out by the bloodthirsty under the guise of religion, the king, emperor, their pirate captain or what have you. We always had and always will be those who evil walks within. As soon as one is struck down, another takes it place as sure as the day is long. These are no different. How we go about defeating these and those come after for once and for all is not possible. Evil will always be with us. How we deal with it has to change for the sake of the innocents caught up in this time after time again.

Eight of the known attackers are dead (including one that was born in France). What's needed now is some really good police work to find everyone else involved. After that going into the future everyone in every country, not just France, need not risk their lives intervening in those foreign nations' problems. People living in those need to resolve these matters for themselves.

Every measure necessary should be taken to contain these atrocities within those nations. This includes prohibiting refuges from leaving. Arm them when they arrive and send them back if that becomes necessary. The United States fought long and hard as well as other Asian and European nations to have what they have. It cost untold amounts of spilled blood and suffering, but they defended their countries. I am asking no less of these people. If they will not do it for themselves I find it extremely disingenuous of them to expect the Western world to spill blood in their place.

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions
No nation or group of nations on this Earth can solve other nations' problems no matter how well intended. Each has cultural, religious and historic background differences none are able to come to full agreement with irregardless of the efforts made. It's important that each respects the others'. If that includes isolating one from the other under certain conditions when necessary so-be-it. These kind of problems always arise when one nation or the other tries to exert it's influence over another.

Simply stated.. sometimes there are boundaries where people need to stay in their own backyards. If they won't, then it may become necessary to keep them there. That goes for them as well as us. Too many noses into somebody else's business is creating far too many problems as far as I'm concerned.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Can You Sue Yourself?

AlterNet posted the following...

'In 2011, Barbara Bagley was involved in a tragic accident that killed her husband.

Driving their Range Rover in Nevada, she struck some sagebrush, flipped the car, and her husband was thrown from the vehicle, later dying of his injuries.

This year, Bagley found a novel way to avoid paying off her husband’s creditors with money that would come from her husband’s estate (which she inherited). She’s suing herself for wrongful death, claiming negligence while driving.

If she wins her suit against herself, and finds herself legally negligent, then her insurance company will pay the creditors, instead of payment coming from the estate. If she wins, in essence, Bagley will collect money from herself for her own negligence."

World Going Bonkers

People sure are becoming aggressive to say the very least.

On A Local Level
In just the first few months of school there have been several high profile fights among ASD students. Many are familiar with the threats towards Emmaus High School several weeks ago. There are other supposed incidents that haven't received the media's attention.

I've noticed on Facebook postings of someone claiming a bottle was thrown narrowly missing a crossing guard in Allentown. Another which claimed there was a incident at Whitehall H.S. which involved a police presence on Friday (11/13/2015).

On A National & International level
College students throughout the country are staging protests against what they claim are ethnic attacks. This while some of these same groups shut down invited guests including shouting down an Asian woman who tried to explain discrimination can come from any ethnic group outside their own. Black students drove her off the podium arguing it doesn't have to do with their cause.

Then there were those horrible attacks in Paris.

What each and everyone of them have in common is they all are itching for a fight. I don't know if it's the water, radio waves or Earth traveling through some cosmic force. One thing is for sure, things are picking up. Kind of makes me wonder if human nature is predisposed every so many years to fight world wars.

If so, the next world war will be nothing like we've ever experienced before. In the past each and every one consisted of a nation peoples or government who fought against one another. What we're seeing today has no such defined borders. Alarmingly the next world war will be fought within each nation's borders. It's groups of people unmercifully identifying themselves with race, social or religious ideologies against another's both within and without of the lands where they live.

As far as the United States goes, it can be argued other then for 9/11 we've never ever suffered an attack on American soil. This because of our location left other nations unable to send bombers far enough or able to get ships close enough. With today's weapon technology that's no longer an obstacle.

Today now more then ever people need to unite under the flags of the nation's wherein they reside. What we're seeing these days is a fracturing creating increased threats within each and every nation. It may very well be the future may hold a anarchy filled 'free for all' unlike any other seen before.

I really truly hope I'm wrong, but what I'm seeing with kids in our schools, these racists underpinnings, strong political divisions, cops against civilians/civilians against police, money greed and religious differences none of this bodes well. If these continue to the extreme in the direction we appear to be headed the enemy we should be looking out for may very well reside within ourselves.

There's no amount of physical force police nor the military can use to solve these problems. These serve only to escalate the bad situation we find ourselves in. The way I see it, the universe doesn't give a rats ass whether humans continue to exist or not. One need no other then to look towards the stars as evidence. That alone should be reason enough for humankind to change it's ways. You'd think with so much at stake and having such scientific evidence we'd all wise the hell up. The universe will go on with or without us. I for one prefer it not being the latter. Some may call me a wingnut, alarmist or philosophical wacko for saying this stuff. Believe when I say I'd find it much more preferable then to be eventually proven right.

The Simple Solution
Each and every one needs to kick it down a notch. We're all living in this fishbowl together. Each and everyone of us is along for the ride whether we like it or not. The old adage of either someone contributes to the problems or refuses lies within each person's prerogative is now more applicable then ever. Be it said of true honor, if someone so perishes they had no hand in these evil deeds what-so-ever.

The debate whether there is a life beyond this one matters little. What should concern us is the things we know of that are of immediate concern. The safety and well being of each other enabling each to live out whatever allotment of time they've been given in this life. Those who'd do otherwise are the enemies of all mankind.

Simply stated, no one should further contribute to the evil created via some sort of imaginary justification for what other atrocities someone else committed by becoming as they.

Which Would You Rather More Weapons Or Education?

"$1.45 trillion is a lot of money. That’s the estimated total cost of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which can’t even fire its own gun until 2019 due to software issues. It’s also the estimated cost of providing tuition-free public higher education for every student in the US until 2039. Which one would you choose?

... Along with weapons issues, the F-35 can’t even fly — its fleet was grounded for month in June of 2014 after engine malfunctions resulting in the jet catching fire before takeoff. Since 2007, the F-35 has been grounded 13 times due to takeoff issues. In 2008, the RAND corporation tested the F-35 in a simulated air battle with China, and graded the F-35’s performance as “double-inferior,” warning in its report that the F-35 “can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run."

My Comments About The Article Above

I'm not certain I would rather spend it on "free" education.

What I am certain of is we already have more weapons then we need to kill each and other several times over again.

As far as the free education angle... Nobody appreciates what they supposedly get "free" w/o having to work for it. One need look no further then all the stuff going on in this nation's high schools. Students acting up in the k-12 public schools who then go on to college carrying with them the same baggage. Garbage in, garbage out.

There's no divine decree that requires $1.5 trillion be spent on either one. I'd rather the money go towards paying down our nation's debts for money already spent before figuring out new ways to piss money away.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Sandusky Gets His Pension Restored

Emily Babay @ reports courts have ordered Sandusky's Penn State pension be restored.

Although I believe this hateful jerk's Penn State pension is wildly excessive this shouldn't be the focus. When it comes to pensions they are supposedly based on what someone earned and on the agreed amounts they are entitled to collect one day.

This money should be eligible irregardless of what someone has or has not done as far as I'm concerned.

The company I worked for also gave itself the right to terminate my pension if I should be fired for whatever reason before becoming eligible for retirement. Although this is a common legal practice I don't believe one should have anything to do with the other,

Sandusky, other then paying for lawyers, isn't going to enjoy spending the money anyway. Although some question what his family knew or didn't know shouldn't be financially punished since they weren't charged nor convicted of having knowledge of his atrocities.

Imagine if one day a worker's Social Security benefits were denied because they committed a crime. Either someone earned the benefits they were promised or they did not no matter how hateful the SOB they may be.

A Couple Of Show Tunes

The first comes from 'Ellen's Stardust Diner' at 51st & Broadway, New York City. This is the place many high schools take their students for lunch before attending a theatre performance. Although I don't consider the food any great shakes, the wait staff are first class performers.

This second video features Nick Petera singing a medley from 'Into To Woods'.

Wikipedia: "Nicholas Joseph Pitera (born March 7, 1986) is an American vocal artist who gained his popularity by the release of his YouTube videos, several of which have gone viral. As of May 2011, Pitera also works as an animator at Pixar Studios."

What makes Nick special is his vocal abilities. He doesn't just sing within a male's vocal range but also the female's as well. In this video he sings all the harmony background vocals as well as the solos.

Nick Pitera's One-Man Tribute to Aladdin on Broadway
Published June 11, 2014

Nick can be found on iTunes, Twitter, Facebook and five others

Italian Altar Boy's Confession (Humor)

'Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I have been with a loose girl'..

The priest asks, 'Is that you, little Joey Pagano ?'

'Yes, Father, it is.'

'And who was the girl you were with?'

'I can't tell you, Father. I don't want to ruin her reputation'.

"Well, Joey, I'm sure to find out her name sooner or later so you may aswell tell me now. Was it Tina Minetti?'

'I cannot say.'

'Was it Teresa Mazzarelli?'

'I'll never tell.'

'Was it Nina Capelli?'

'I'm sorry, but I cannot name her.'

'Was it Cathy Piriano?'

'My lips are sealed.'

'Was it Rosa DiAngelo, then?'

'Please, Father, I cannot tell you.'

The priest sighs in frustration. 'You're very tight lipped, and I admire that. But you've sinned and have to atone. You cannot be an altar boy now for 4 months. Now you go and behave yourself.'

Joey walks back to his pew,and his friend Franco slides over and whispers, 'What'd you get?'

'Four months vacation and five good leads.'

Speaking of confessions..

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

News Roundup & Commentary (11/11/2015)

Look No Stretch Marks
It's being bantered about that some female celebrities who post their magnificent flat muscular stomachs shortly after pregnancy may be faking it. Rumor has it some of them are using surrogates allowing themselves to be photographed wearing a fake pregnancy prosthetic. Should anyone be surprised if this were true? After all they are actors.

Sticks & Stones May Break My Bones....
Over the last few days we've seen university students going bonkers over what they interpret as being disrespected on campus. Today's students are forcing the resignations of educational leaders by acting up. I've seen several videos where high school and college administrators along with their invited guests tried talking calmly with them got shouted down and physically threatened. A few things to keep in mind. (1) These administrators didn't disrespect them. Their fellow students did. (2) Students who want respect need to give respect in return. (3) Because students ramped up the war over words exchanged it has now escalated beyond that to become physical. Not exactly a well thought out strategy.

Marketing 101
Create faux outrage. (1) Market a plain red cup for Christmas (Starbucks). (2) Have your marketing people rage against them on social sites. Thusly feeding the gullible news media hungry to fill their publications and air-time anyway they can. (3) Sell lots more coffee. No wonder the press is hurting for money. They're giving it away for free. I may not be the brightest bulb, but I didn't just fall off the turnip truck either.

Speaking Of Not Just 'Falling off The Turnip Truck'...
Anyone see the video of the guy supposedly sexually assaulted by the two women at a gas station? It's obvious these two were not just some horny girls groping the dude. Am I the only one who sees these two pick pocket's failure. Watch their hands Duh! I suspect the prosecutor is looking to get more mileage out of sexual assault charges then otherwise would for charging them with simple theft.

Morals Clause Doesn't Apply To Some
If someone plays sports very well, chances of getting fired or kicked out of college isn't likely. Same seems to apply to some in law enforcement as well. Kick your spouse's ass... get charged and see how long your job lasts.

Quick Take On Last Debate (11/10/2015)
Trump says he wouldn't raise the minim wage. His reason, Americans already are paid too much if we want to compete globally with other workers. Ben Carson complains he's being far too scrutinized by the press over the last three weeks. Yeah well join the club with Hillary and Obama who've had to endure this far longer and with lots more vigor not only by the press but from congress as well. Huckabee wants to eliminate the IRS and replace it with a national sales tax. Heads up: Rich people couldn't possibly spend all their money. They divert it by investing instead. They also receive all kinds of perks like housing, travel, clothes, food expenses and all kinds of other things far beyond their salaries which wouldn't be taxed to them. The average smuck has to buy these things for themselves. Gee, I wonder who'd get soaked there.

Changes At The Grocery Store
Campbell's soup removed 10 additives (were 20) from it's Chicken Noodle soup. Amongst them were onions, celery, corn starch and vegetable oil. Did they do this for consumers or for creating a cost savings for themselves? Will prices reflect this change to the recipe?

Speaking of changes at the grocery store. Even though the tissues I buy come in the same box at the same price, I noticed the number of them went down from 184 to 170. Baby wipes also went from 80 to 70 count. This too at the same price with the same size packaging just as it has for snack products. Then there's the incredible shrinking ice cream containers coinciding as well.

I grocery shop based on unit pricing. They outsmarted me there too. In some instances they've discontinued the original product in favor of the new and improved products making it impossible to buy the older ones.

The Homeless In NYC
According to a series running all this week on WPIX-TV 20% of the homeless living in NYC work full time jobs. Another 10% work part time. Anyone against raising the minim wage need to reevaluate their objections. I'm not saying entirely everyone in the country needs or should get $15 an hour. However there should be a federal standard applied broken down area by area what it cost someone to survive economically where they live. We can do this either by zip codes or by some other means, but something should be done.

There's no excuse why someone who sweats by their brow for a living should be discounted as being a lesser contributor to this economy then someone(s) who exploited these sincere work efforts thereby unfairly profiting off of them.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Jails: The Practice Of Pay To Stay

The US inmates charged per night in jail
By Jessica Lussenhop, BBC News Magazine (11/9/2015)
"The fees affect mostly rural and suburban counties, and some charge as little as $1 or as much as $66 a day. The ACLU found former inmates with debts ranging from several hundred dollars up to $35,000."

My Comments About The Article Above
The $50 a day may not mean much to some, but others it might as well be $500. Especially coming out from prison having had no income during their incarceration.

Many prisons are privatized leading to once again taking money out the pockets of the poorest (who are most likely to be locked up) and giving it to investors who stand to profit from such things. It can also lead to things like the Kids for cash scandal which occurred in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Two judges were convicted of taking money from two for-profit youth centers for juvenile detainees. Not to even mention the vulture like bill collectors who will haunt their lives for years after.

If these ex-offenders (especially the poor ones) are kicked while they're already down it would be a determent to the goal of reducing recidivism to my way of reasoning. It seems to me taking away hope or an opportunity to turn one's self around can't be a good thing. If there's some sort of statistical evidence otherwise I haven't found it.

I can understand the rational behind taxpayers not wanting to be forced paying for jails. On the other hand I question whether there's a true economic savings. Especially in the case of those who are released returning to their wife and children unable to support them because of the said debt owed. No doubt in more then a few cases their children would qualify for government sponsored benefits due to the family's forced financial situation Perhaps even housing assistance as well.

I realize not all of these people are looking to turn themselves around but for those who do this adds one more hurdle. Face reality the really bad guys are never going to pay. What should we do lock those who do not pay back up again?

We already took away their freedom for whatever amount of time. Should we strip them further of their money after paying lawyers, court fees and loss of income? Make it financially harder on them to survive even if they'd be fortunate enough to find a job with their record? How much is enough punishment and how long before they should be able to move forward from their past?

I'm not advocating for softer sentencing nor forgiveness of crimes committed. What I am in favor of is allowing someone to move on with their life if they sincerely make the effort. Obligating someone to a possible lifetime of debt neither benefits they nor taxpayers. Only bill collectors and for-profit jailhouse investors who have no interest in seeing ex-cons succeed.

Then There This..

Yeah there's nothing like making a buck off somebody's misery !

Secret U.S. Prisons

What A Country !

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Temple University: Oh, Say, Can You Pay? reports, "Unionville High School's chorale. About 50 members of the Kennett Square group will belt out "Oh, say, can you see" at the Nov. 21 game against Memphis at Lincoln Financial Field. Price tag? 100 tickets at $15 a pop.... "It's about creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience to come down on a field and sing the national anthem in front of thousands of fans,"

Hey if they're stupid enough, what can I say?

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Nightmare

I've been railing against these trade deals for years.
No matter my worse fears, they were nothing compared to this TPP deal.

"4 Major Expansion of the Race to Lower Wages through Expanded Immigration" ...Chapters 10 and 12 expand the number of L1 worker visas and the number of tourist visas permitted for business purposes, placing no limits foreign skilled workers. Under Chapter 10, foreign corporations coming to the United States to compete with US companies who bring their employees with them do not have to pay US wages... If the US does not allow foreign corporations entry into the US, it can be sued in the corporate trade tribunals and be forced to do so. On top of this there is no enforcement of labor standards unless the US government decides to sue in a trade tribunal.

8 End of Buy America: The TPP prevents the Federal Government from giving preference to US-manufactured products in their purchases, known as “Buy America.” Foreign bidders must be treated as equal to US bidders. This means the federal government cannot stimulate the economy by creating jobs within its own borders... The TPP requires negotiations within three years on applying these rules to state and local governments to ban “Buy America” or buy local preferences at those levels as well"

The Most Brazen Corporate Power Grab in American History
By Chris Hedges / Truthdig (11/6/2015)
"The TPP removes legislative authority from Congress and the White House on a range of issues. Judicial power is often surrendered to three-person trade tribunals in which only corporations are permitted to sue. Workers, environmental and advocacy groups and labor unions are blocked from seeking redress in the proposed tribunals..

Congress cannot raise concerns about the effects of the TPP on the environment. It can only vote yes or no. It is powerless to modify or change one word.

Fifty-one percent of working Americans now make less than $30,000 a year, a new study by the Social Security Administration reported. Forty percent are making less than $20,000 a year."

My Comments About The Articles Above
As if this international agreement weren't bad enough I find it appalling it forces within 3 years state and local governments to comply and "ban “Buy America” or buy local preferences" as well.

This Sucks Worse Then You May Think
Suppose Pennsylvania were to have set up Allentown's NIZ zone three years from now instead of when it did. At that time it would be illegal for the ANIZDA or developers to reject foreign manufactured building materials. So too rejecting foreign held corporations competing on American soil. Thus forcing ANIZDA to consider them for the project along with their right to bring in an unlimited number of "skilled workers" holding H1-B VISAs.

This agreement also means whichever President we choose in the next election will have his or her hands completely tied no matter how America votes.

Folks we heard about the day the world's wealthy would one day take over the world and it's governments (federal, state & local). With this one great big and final push it looks like that day is just around the corner.

Texts Of The Agreement

The Blockbuster Disaster of the TPP (11/6/2015)

Bernie Sanders- TPP: A Raw Deal for America (April 2015)

Friday, November 6, 2015

Another Incident In The Allentown School District

"There will be an increased police presence on Friday near Allentown's Trexler Middle School after fights on Thursday led to a lockdown and a pair of arrests, officials said."

My Comments About The Article Above
Apparently there were multiple incidents throughout the school day. I as a 1966 graduate of the Allentown School District can attest some of this stuff which happened is not entirely new. When I attended William Allen about once or twice a year there was the occasional fist fight at West Park. As I grew older my stepson experienced problems on his bus up to voc-tech in Schnecksville as well as a stabbing in the leg of someone in the then famous 'cancer court' area of WAHS.

What's happening today is far different. None of these kids would dare pull this stuff off inside the high school itself. They had a certain fear of teachers who's time has long since passed. Not one time in either my, the step son's or daughter's years in high school would anyone dream of challenging authority. Nor was security required via police presence.

So What's Changed?
The majority of students come from homes far different from those I and others grew up in. The harsh reality is schools are asked to bear responsibilities far reaching from what they are legally able to accomplish. These are unreasonable expectations. Reality is legislation has tied the hands of teachers taking appropriate disciplinarity measures even if it were at risk to their own physical safety in doing so.

It started out early in the elementary grades when teachers & gym teachers physically made contact with some of these little shits behaving badly. Nobody's talking about beating kids, but sometimes kids are better handled by physical means early on when they are yet incompatible of understanding reasoning within their brains. Those days are long gone. As a result we have what we are seeing today. Guess what.. we all survived including I.

In many instances the parents complaining about the schools' lack of control are the first to complain taking away the tools necessary to do anything about early intervention. As result this is what we're seeing today. Either they or the schools need to step in early when these kids act up. If the parents won't don't expect schools to be a solution to what they refuse to do for themselves. This may seem harsh, but this is the reality of the situation we now find ourselves in.

Nobody's kid is perfect including me when I was their age.

Presumption Of Innocence Is A Joke

AlterNet gives us just one example why... "Eighty-five percent of inmates in the city's jail have not been convicted of a crime.... Nationally, around 60 percent of people in jail are awaiting trial."

Eventually this woman's charges were dropped, but not before being incarcerated ending up $15,000 in debt. If anyone watches "The Good Wife" this season writers are giving us a horrible example of how bonding out works in this nation's courts.

With few exceptions no one should be forced to spend time in jail before found to be of guilt. Spin it anyway you want this is the presumption of guilt before innocence. Making matters worse a so-called right to a speedy trial can take months.

I'm not against forcing bail on those accused of major crimes that threaten the well being of other members of society. However for minor thefts, drug and a whole host of other charges which don't threaten other people this is wholly unnecessary for so many reasons. Among those being...(1) A matter of economics: (a) It cost taxpayers a lot of money to house them. (b) The poorest who walk among us are most forced to spend time in jail. (c) The bond industry is getting rich off of what turns out to be innocent people in many cases.

(2) Justice: (a) No one can take back the time one should have not spent in jail for minor offenses only then later to be found innocent (b) We lock people up in jail to protect society. Society needs no such protections from those who've committed no offences which threaten the safety of others well being. (c) Overzealous bails rob some of the ability to mount a proper defense against a well funded prosecution office.

(3) General welfare and well being: (a) A non violent shoplifter or drug user exposed to other prisoners threatens their well being unnecessarily exposing them to physical danger. (b) No good can come from exposing weak minded minor offenders to the influential persuasions of those further up the criminal food chain worse then they. (c) Incarceration is not rehabilitation. Jail time is not going to make anyone turn out to be a better person. The less time spent in jail (if innocent) the better off we and they shall be.
No I'm not soft on crime advocating for lighter sentencing. Nor excusing people for minor offenses they commit. What I am in favor of is measuring the amount of bail set for minor offenses and how we are dealing with these presently.

In some if not all too many cases judges seem to be using the bail bonding system as a means of punishment before the fact. That needs to be looked at.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Nearly $238 Million More Approved By NIZ Board

"The Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority on Wednesday approved nearly $238 million of new development with the majority of it belonging to Reilly, the owner of City Center Investment Corp...

The board’s final approval was for Alvin H. Butz’s nearly $18 million eight-story phase two office building to be located behind its corporate center location at Ninth and Hamilton streets."

My Comments About The Article Above
That's almost a quarter billion dollar$ more !
How many taxpayers alive today will live long enough to benefit even if it's successful?

How much will state & local taxes rise to pay for all these pretty buildings?

Is the owner/developer of the 'Americus Hotel' ever going to get any approved for his (or anyone else for that matter) other then these chosen few?

There's no end in sight. Is there anyone who will stand up and say when enough is enough?

Can anyone explain to me if or how they will directly benefit from them personally?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Discussion On Democratic Socialism

In light of Bernie Sanders running for President I came across a discussion about "Democratic Socialism" @ CNN.

One of the contributors, Peter Dreier (professor of politics at Occidental College) wrote some of the following,..

"In the early 1900s, socialists led the movements for women's suffrage, child labor laws, consumer protection laws and the progressive income tax. In 1916, Victor Berger, a socialist congressman from Milwaukee, sponsored the first bill to create "old age pensions." The bill didn't get very far, but two decades later, in the midst of the Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt persuaded Congress to enact Social Security..

In the 1890s, a socialist Baptist minister, Francis Bellamy, wrote "The Pledge of Allegiance" and a socialist poet, Katherine Lee Bates, penned "America the Beautiful."..

During the Cold War, many Americans confused democratic socialism with communism. In fact, democratic socialists opposed the totalitarian governments of the Soviet Union, China and their satellites..."

I think of "socialism" as a philosophy or method of dealing with the best needs of people in our society. Not some politically driven form of government that robs successful people in an attempt to equalize those who refuse to contribute in some way. My idea of socialism is to allow those who work the hardest to benefit the most while still limiting those from accumulating all the marbles and political clout unfairly.

Everyone gets sick at some point. Everyone gets too old to work or may run into hard times. Society as a whole should support (and needs to support for it's own survival) anyone having to going through a rough patch in their lives for a limited time. Where it goes off the rails is when one side takes advantage of such generosity or those who would deny all together others an opportunity to recover or better themselves..

There comes a breaking point where a nation can't afford to have some making millions upon millions. Others working their tails off unable to support themselves or get needed medical care. There needs to be mechanisms whereby reasonable regulations are put in place to prevent such extreme inequities. A nation can't leave capitalism unchecked in place anymore then it can afford to allow unwilling slackers bleeding each or the other dry.

It's been said by some, in nature only the strong animals survive. I'd like to think the human race (who claim to be at the top of intelligence and capable of reason) would be ashamed if they behaved no better then the animals who inherited no such gift forced to live on instinct alone.

"Socialism" is not a dirty word. Rather a system of thought that not only bonds us to one another, but makes us stronger both as humans and as nations forced to live together on this planet. All of us can readily see what is happening in the middle east for thousands of years and continues to this very day Nations of peoples who slaughter and kill because they refuse to "socialize". Rejecting their commonality with one another.

That's what "democratic socialism" means to me

After Thought
Question to anyone familiar with the what's going on with Allentown's NIZ...
     Example of "democratic socialism" OR something worse?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Allentown Set To Increase Taxes in 2016

By now most living in Allentown already heard about a planned tax increase for 2016. If someone's not familiar with the proposal they can read about it HERE at Live Valley or for a short report HERE at WMFZ's site.

I'm not going into all the details. Anyone interested can read them for themselves. Instead I will point out a few concerns.(1) When the city leased out the water department to the Lehigh County Water Authority the city got a sum of money. At the time the city considered the extra $5 million left over a "windfall". Really a "windfall"? Instead of hanging onto that money the city blew through it. Coincidently the city now finds itself $5 million short. I'm sure most people (these decision makers included) understand a city can't hold the tax line forever. So why would you blow through that money!

(2) One thing politicians and departments heads all have in common is to make sure they spend every last dime in fear of having their budgets cut. This so they can whine and bemoan how tough things are and how hard they're working for us the taxpayers. This is just the case in this matter as far as I'm concerned.. We didn't absolutely need to spent the "windfall" in the first place.

(3) All the city is doing is rearranging the deck chairs when it comes to sticking it to taxpayers. Something politicians are notorious for. This is nothing more then kicking the can down to road which will come back to haunt us The budget is calling for robbing Peter to pay Paul via a loan from the solid waste fund with the intention of paying it back in increments in the years ahead. Common sense dictates if the city can't afford today's bills how the heck is it going to come up with even more money to pay that back?

(4) Then there's the water lease itself... a hidden tax. Instead of the mayor taking responsibility for increasing taxes he unloads Allentown's obligations via a water contract with the county. Inevitably they will be made out to be the bad guy instead of he when the county water authority raises water rates next year. The end results of which will be borne by every resident living in Lehigh County in order to cover Allentown's economic shortfalls.

(5) Finally there is this. Shortly there will be over one billion dollars of taxpayers' money poured into development for Allentown. How on God's green earth can anyone justify spending such a huge amount of taxpayers' money and still be seeing negative returns?

Monday, November 2, 2015

'Flipping Tax' Good Or Bad Thing?

Alan J. Heavens a Inquirer Real Estate Columnist is reporting although not likely to pass there is a "anti-speculation tax," envisioned by the Philadelphia Coalition for Affordable Communities, [which] would raise the real estate transfer tax by 1.5 percent on houses resold less than two years after purchase."

Although I'm not in favor of those who do this because it drives up prices, the question remains is it a good thing they be punished?


Here's why
(1) Anyone else could have bought the property in question just as well as these speculators.
(2) Those who 'flip' upgrade the properties for resale instead of renting them out.

So what's the problem?
If Philadelphia imposes an additional 1.5 percent they're not doing future purchasers any favors. They're only making matters worse for future buyers of these properties by increasing the prices on them. The end result is there will be fewer speculators improving properties. I don't see how that's a good thing to improve the housing stock in Philadelphia or anywhere else for that matter.

Each home that is upgraded by those 'flipping' will result in larger property tax revenues to a city year after year.

This as opposed to someone perhaps just buying these properties and not doing anything with them. More likely then not speculators will accomplish far more with these properties.

Instead of Philadelphia's taxpayers being required to shell out for property improvement programs why not let private capital do what otherwise would become a burden to taxpayers?

Besides, this sure beats the hell out of speculators renting them out
because of being forced to wait more then two years to turn them over.

I brought up this situation in Philadelphia because like everything else... 'monkey see, monkey do'. One city does it the next one seems to follow the same idiocy as the other.

How long before the local government in your area comes up with this same tax scheme is only a matter of time.

Trust me !

PPL Plaza Owners Want Taxpayers To Make Them Whole

PPL Plaza owners looking for state, local help
By Scott Kraus Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call
"Our feeling is we were an unintended consequence of their [NIZ] legislation," said Bruce Federman, a member of the owner's property management team at The Realta Group in Garden City, N.Y...

If they can't get the help they need, Federman and property management colleague Barry Pincus said the owners are "more than contemplating" a lawsuit "

My Comments About The Article Above
Yeah well there were a lot of "unintended consequences" weren't there?

Here's the problem as I see it. If the courts or Pennsylvania agree to help them it will open a can of worms. What about all the rest of the business rental owners who also got zapped?

If we do this for one why wouldn't it open the door to dozens of others who'd then have a legal basis to pursue the same?

Let me put it on a more personal level. Suppose I buy a half of twin at full market value. Then someone buys the identical property next door with government help. Should I or would I expect to be compensated. Absolutely not. Even if I were, why wouldn't then every other homeowner who suffered the same fate be entitled to the same?

To my way of thinking it's not government's (taxpayers) responsibility to underwrite investment loses. If so I want all that money back I lost in my 401k !

The inequities is what I and other bloggers complained about since the beginning.

That and what's turning out to be true, the lack of returns to taxpayers on their investment.

It can be further argued government shouldn't be in the investment business in the first place.