Saturday, December 6, 2008
Hughestown Borough Police have cited (not arrested) a Pittston man for disorderly conduct because of a sign on his truck that uses the "F" word. If found guilty the man faces a fine.
The guy who put the sign on his truck is never going to be chosen to bring the macaroni salad to the MENSA picnic. He incorrectly used the word "your" instead of "you're." The sign purports to make a political statement about speaking English in America. There are even some who are defending the use of the "F" word and the American Civil Liberties Union says it will defend the man in court.
At issue, did he violate the law under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code?
Is there anyone who doesn't know the "F" word?
George Carlin included it in the seven words you can't say on TV. Thrity five plus years later, three of those seven words are commonplace. We have invented words to replace the "F" word but mean the same thing."Freakin' or Friggin," anyone?
In one of our most beloved Christmas Holiday movies, Ralphie gets his mouth washed out with soap for dropping an "F" bomb.
In celebrating the Philadelphia Phillies World Series victory, All-American second baseman Chase Utley used the "F" word in front of a stadium full of adoring fans and countless more watching on television. Many cheered. Few booed.
Just because they used the word, doesn't mean you should or he should.
Don't defend this man using the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Our founders had much loftier goals in mind when they adopted it.
This is not an issue of free-speech.
The man who was cited has changed the sign to replace the "F" word with an "F" and characters. If he believes he was not wrong, why did he change the sign? He changed the sign because he knew he was wrong, just as everyone else knows he was WRONG!
Some people who are defending this man cannot and will not say the word aloud in making their case. They would be fired from their jobs if they did. How long do you think the ACLU would retain an attorney who upon leaving Court comments, "I think the Judge made the wrong (insert expletive here) decision?"
Let me help you. Not long.
This is not a First Amendment case. This is a case of breaking the laws of public decency.
Guilty on all counts.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I floated this idea months ago, so it's time to drag the dead horse out of the barn and well, do what we do to dead horses. Senator Barack Obama says he has made his choice of runningmate. All eyes will be on the contenders who must fly to Illinois to join the Presidential nominee for the announcement and campaigning on Saturday. The only person who can hop on that plane without raising suspicion is Caroline Kennedy. She will be in Illinois on Saturday, as Senator Obama's pick for Vice President. If Obama picks Biden, or any other of the rumored candidates, he only magnifies his lack of experience. By choosing Kennedy, he makes a bold stroke; truly new young leadership for America. Women will be satisfied after the initial shock and Hillary Clinton will be out of the picture. The Senator needs to effectively push the Clintons to the sidelines and quickly. That leaves Senator McCain to pick his runningmate and no doubt it will be another mature, white politician. The Democrats offer a ticket that is youthful and historic. The Republicans offer a ticket that looks like every other ticket they have ever offered. If Obama doesn't pick Kennedy, Senator McCain should choose a woman to join him. He needs to attract those women who feel disenfranchised by Hillary Clinton's perceived slight. If the Democratic ticket is Obama/Kennedy, Senator McCain could also choose a woman and really stir the pot. If he picks an older experienced woman (Kay Bailey Hutchison) or a Washington outsider (Carly Fiorina) he could attempt to blunt the Kennedy choice. Whatever happens, here's my prediction; a woman will occupy the Office of Vice President for the first time in our history in 2009. That's my opinion. I could be wrong.
Friday, August 8, 2008
He says, "Is that you Reba or did I forget to bring the cat in?"
She says, "Don't be a wisenheimer Pushy. I have some bad news."
He says, "Bad news Reba?"
She says, "Yes Pushy. That wonderful Terry McNulty died."
He says, "I know Reba. It was all the talk at Naomi's Cafe. Cafe."
She says, "My sister Shirley called to tell me. She heard it from Flossie Guzek."
He says, "Shoo-Shoo Schumacher, Finch and I raised our glasses to Terry."
She says, "Flossie had a vision Pushy."
He says, "I had so much to drink I had double vision."
She says, "Never you mind Pushy. Flossie said she had a vision of Terry standing at the Pearly Gates."
He says, "Go on Reba."
She says, "Flossie said St. Peter wouldn't let Terry into heaven until he answered one question."
She says, "St. Peter asked Terry if there were really people in the studio for the Pineapple Feature?"
He says, "Good question. Wait 'til God finds out it was all made up."
She says, Pushy Bosco!"
August 11th marks the two year anniversary of the death of Terry McNulty. He was my colleague, my mentor and my friend.
The funeral mass at Our Lady of Snows Church in Clarks Summit was the greatest gathering of local broadcast talent in one room, with the possible exception of when Terry entered a studio alone.
When we open the local broadcasting Hall of Fame, Terry will be in the first class.
Rest in Peace, dear friend.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Earlier this year, there was a spate of arrests in Luzerne County of Tax Collectors and government employees who were charged with dipping into the public till. Lawyers for all of them tried to have their clients make restitution to mitigate their arrests. District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll, to her credit, said, "no." The accused had violated the public trust and simply paying back what they had stolen was no way out.
Here are the courses of action as I understand them. First, all used county money as income and therefore are liable for paying taxes, even if they made restitution. Two, the issue of public trust. Federal investigators have been placed in a box by D.A. Carroll. If the feds don't make arrests and close the case, they'll look like they've done nothing.
Let's hope this goes down the right way.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
The year was 1980. I was the News Director at WILK-AM Wilkes-Barre. A story broke that while cleaning up a rental car, an employee of a Scranton company found New York Yankee Reggie Jackson's World Series Ring. That's a big story since Jackson's ring was taken in a burglary of his Oakland, California area home a few years earlier.
The News and Sports Departments decided to track down Jackson for comment. The Yankees were in Arlington, Texas playing the Rangers. Using a Media Director furnished by the Yanks, we discovered the name of the hotel where the Yankees were staying and called. The desk clerk, without hesitation or question immediately put us through to Jackson's room.
The phone rang three times before a groggy voice at the other end said, "Hello."
"Reggie Jackson, please."
"He just went to breakfast. Call back in half an hour."
Thirty minutes passed and the second call was made.
"Reggie Jackson, please."
"Is this the same guy who called earlier."
"Hey man that was me who answered the phone. I wasn't at breakfast. Sorry."
Here I was talking to Mr. October.
I proceeded to tell him his World Series ring had been recovered. He gave us a long and gracious interview and apologized again for not identifying himself on the first call. He was as polite and courteous as he could be.
As it turned out, the ring that was recovered was not Reggie's ring but a duplicate used by a salesman for the company that had designed and manufactured the ring.
It was a sample.
I'm sure Jackson hardly remembers the calls or the story.
The player who was reputed to be so surly and difficult could not have been more of a gentleman.
Ever since, I've paid careful attention to Jackson during interviews. He comes off as one of the nicest guys in the world.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
There have been whisperings that it is time to replace our area's premier sports venue, PNC Field. It would be a huge endeavor. For what it's worth, I have found a new site for the new ballpark; the Murray Complex between Pennsylvania Avenue and Wilkes-Barre Boulevard in downtown Wilkes-Barre. You could put a new park with plenty of parking on that site. The complex is dilapidated and needs to be bulldozed. Putting a ballpark in downtown Wilkes-Barre would re-energize the downtown. Play ball
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
The persons of whom I write are John and Peg McKeown of East End (to be noted hereafter as God’s country.)
You may not know them personally. You might be familiar with their work, the Irish Teachers Program at King’s College. I have always referred to John as the Mayor of East End
John and Peg walked through this life together for 65 years. To know them was to be blessed by their friendship, loyalty and love. To know them was to love them and be loved.
Peg departed this world last month and last Sunday East End gathered to celebrate her life and to say good-bye. It was a beautiful Mass celebrated by Rev. Thomas J. O’Hara, C.S.C., the President of King’s College.
Peg’s favorite prayer, “Be at Peace,” by St. Frances de Sales asks us to “have no fear…God will either shield you from suffering or give you unfailing strength to bear it.” When I attended daily Mass at The Chapel at King’s, I would always say hello and get some words of encouragement from the McKeowns.
Once in a while, you meet someone extraordinary. Twice in a while, you will have been lucky to meet John and Peg McKeown.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Were you watching NBC's Toady Show today? At the end of the 8:00AM-9:00 AM hour, Matt Lauer and Natalie Morales had just finished an interview and before the microphones were cut, you could hear Lauer scold Morales. "Don't you ever interrupt...." Fade to black. I don't get to watch the Today Show because of job constraints. I have noticed that Morales has an annoying habit of interjecting herself in an interview which either turns the spotlight on her or left turns the attention away from the subject matter.
It reminded me of a time when I worked for WYOU-TV 22 with my photographer and good friend Al Kornak. We were doing a live shot outside the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts in Wilkes-Barre. It was early evening, but very dark. Al and I seemed to be the only people on Public Square at the time. As I wrapped up my story, from seemingly out of nowhere, an elderly woman (forgive me, a bag lady) appeared. Without hesitation, she walked up to me and uttered those now famous words, "Are you on the air?" I said, "No ma'am, WE'RE on the air." She walked away undaunted. Al and I finished the story and thought we had signed off. I was ready to launch into a tirade when I remembered that old broadcasting adage, "the mike is always on and always live." I caught myself and luckily said nothing. Lucky because the mike was hot and had I said something it would have been shared with our audience.
Matt, remember the mike is ALWAYS on.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Years ago, the Pioneers entered afl2. Their first game at the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza was a sellout. I wanted to go and take my son K.C., but he was committed to attending a clinic for his Wyoming Area volleyball team. Maybe we would see the second game in the team’s history.
Suddenly the clinic was cancelled and I engaged in a mad scramble to see if I could get tickets, any tickets, to see this history making game. I called my friend State Representative Kevin Blaum, the Chairman of the Arena Authority to see if he could help. This wasn’t a shot in the dark. I knew Kevin would come through and he did.
K.C. and I met Kevin outside the Arena about three hours before game time. He introduced us to the President of the team (I don’t remember the gentlemen’s name.)
After some brief conversation, Blaum handed me two tickets.
I remember looking at the tickets and thinking, Kevin you could have done better than this. The tickets had high numbers. We were going to be sitting in the Uecker seats. We waited until the gates opened and offered up our tickets to an usher. “Right this way sir,” he said. I thought to myself that the usher was going the extra mile to escort us to seats where oxygen was going to be served with hot dogs and sodas.
My son and I followed the usher to the elevator. I asked the usher where our seats were. “You’re in the owner’s box.”
We couldn’t believe it. We were among the first fans let into the Arena so we looked around before heading to our “box.” We made our way to the owner’s box and I opened the door. Just as quickly I closed it. My mouth fell agape. K.C. was considerably shorter then and he was looking under my arm as I opened the door. He saw what I saw.
“Is that who I think it is,” I said.
K.C. is the consummate sports fan. Baseball mostly. But even as a youngster he knew the history of sports and he knew who he saw.
“Dad. That’s Johnny Unitas.”
The greatest quarterback who ever lived was in the owner’s box. Oh yeah. He was the owner. I opened the door a second time. Unitas was reading the Citizens’ Voice newspaper. He never flinched. I closed the door again.
I opened the door a third time and slowly walked in. Unitas was grinning. He stood up and introduced himself. “Hi. I’m John Unitas.”
Now I have interviewed more than my share of famous people, but the best I could do was, “I know.”
Unitas laughed and invited us in.
It didn’t take fans long to see that a living legend was in the box. They began handing him stuff to autograph. Unitas’s hands were gnarled from his career as an NFL quarterback. He had to position a sharpie marker between two fingers that you and I cannot put together if we tried.
Unitas obliged as many fans as he could, but realized he was quickly a distraction. He exited the balcony off the owner’s box and sat down inside. Not wanting to hurt the fans, he asked my son to bring items to him and then K.C. would take them and give them back to those so hungry for the autograph of the most famous quarterback in NFL history.
“But make sure it’s OK with your Dad first,” he said.
Here was Johnny Unitas deferring to me. He wanted me to look good in my son’s eyes. Of course I said, “Yes.” I quickly understood why this man was revered by so many.
After the game started, Unitas made his way back onto the balcony. My son and I were seated on the balcony pretending to watch the game, which is pretty hard to do when Johnny Unitas is a few feet away. I walked into the box to grab something to eat. K.C followed.
My son walked past Unitas, excusing himself. As he did, Unitas wound up. With one motion he quickly cracked K.C. in the rear like a teammate congratulating the running back who just scored. K.C. was lifted in the air and landed in front of me. The smile couldn’t have been bigger. He looked at Unitas and looked at me.
“Dad, I may never wash my ass again.” I laughed. Unitas roared.
The year was 1980. Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy was running for President of the United States. I was a young News Director at WILK-AM radio in Wilkes-Barre, PA.
From a young age, I was schooled in the adoration of any politician named “Kennedy.”
The office in which I compose this has two large campaign posters on the wall. One is of John Kennedy. The other is Bobby Kennedy. Both are framed originals. There is no poster of Teddy.
After weeks of trying I landed a one-on-one interview with Ted Kennedy. The arrangements were made that I would interview the Senator at The Genetti Hotel as part of his campaign stop in Wilkes-Barre. Landing an interview with a Kennedy was a big deal. The Kennedy’s were immortalized around these parts. You didn’t have to be an Irish Catholic to love the Kennedys.
Now a one-on-one interview is a little misleading. As I was waiting for Kennedy to arrive, the door swung open and in walked three men wearing sunglasses and earpieces. They were the Secret Service agents assigned to protect the candidate. They were followed by a handful of the Senator’s staff. Then the pool reporters entered. In those days there were not as many reporters assigned to the campaign. Still, one wire service reporter, one newspaper reporter and one radio-television newsman served as the pool. Suddenly my one-on-one interview included almost a dozen people other than the man I was to question. My journalistic intestinal fortitude quickly turned to intestinal discomfort.
Finally Kennedy entered the room. I was struck by his size. He was a tall, handsome, well-built man with jet black hair. I had seen him a thousand times on television and in the newspapers, but being face to face made me nervous. He smiled broadly and shook my hand with what felt like a death grip.
I had pondered the questions I would ask him. There was one question I knew would not be well received but I decided to ask it anyway, and ask it first.
Kennedy had not been in Wilkes-Barre since 1969. Then, it was for a court case involving the death of Mary Jo Kopechne who died when Kennedy’s car ran off a bridge in Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts. Miss Kopechne’s parents buried her in a small Catholic Cemetery only a few miles from where I sat with the man who would be the next President. I had to ask the question.
“Senator, Mary Jo Kopechne is buried a few miles from here. Do you think that circumstance will affect voters here in Northeastern Pennsylvania?”
The broad smile quickly turned into a steel stare. Kennedy had not expected that question. I can remember the question word for word. I can’t remember the answer. I knew it was something about, “no,” and a quick left turn to change the subject.
The answer was short.
So was every answer to every other question I asked. I was being punished for asking “the” question.
I ran out of questions quickly and Kennedy was off to the next room for his next interview. I extended my hand but he didn’t look at me. I thanked him. Interview over.
My flop sweat could be measured in liters not drops.
I remember vividly that the last man to leave the room was NBC-TV reporter Bob Kur who looked at me, shook his head and said, “Great questions.”
I saw that look one more time when Kennedy walked off the stage at the Democratic National Convention, refusing to shake President Jimmy Carter’s hand after Kennedy ended his quest for the Presidency. I thought to myself, “Mr. President, I know how you feel.”
Since then I’ve collected a great deal of Kennedy memorabilia. None of it is about Ted Kennedy.
For whom will you vote for President of the United States? Are you actually voting for a particular candidate or against one? It may come down to this. You’re a racist, a sexist or an ageist.
So you’re for Barack Obama. You’re impressed with his youth. You see his relative inexperience as a plus. He hasn’t been in Washington long enough to be tainted by cronyism or the “beltway” mentality. You especially like the idea of electing a black man to the Presidency without having to think about the fact that he is black. But vote against him and no matter how many times you deny it, someone will suspect you’re not voting for him because he’s an African-American. He’s black. You’re a racist.
So you’re for Hillary Rodham Clinton. You think her eight years in the White House as First Lady and her two term tenure as a United States Senator from New York make her uniquely qualified to answer the dreaded “red phone” at 3:00AM. You especially like the idea of electing the first woman to the Presidency. She is the first female candidate to make a serious run at the nation’s highest office. But vote against her and you’re a chauvinist. You’re a sexist.
What about John McCain? You’re voting for him because he’s a bona fide war hero and a Republican Senator who isn’t afraid to challenge his own party and reach across the aisle to Democrats. You like his tough stand and “straight talk” about terrorists. You believe he’s the candidate that will most protect America in the war on terror. But cast your vote for anyone else and there will be those who say you were just too uncomfortable voting for a man who will be 72 when he takes the oath of office, the oldest ever. You’ll disqualify him simply on that basis. Therefore, you’re an ageist.
Pick your poison. Welcome to the age of “ism.”
Monday, April 28, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
It is about a milestone.
I know a man who turns twenty-one years old on April 2.
He has a heart of gold.
I know, it's a little cliche. But it's true.
He is loyal and true.
He is everything I once hoped to be.
He is mature beyond his years.
While I have almost certainly disappointed him, he has never disappointed me.
If you are lucky in life, you may meet him someday.
I suspect you may read him first.
He is an aspiring journalist. He is a very good writer.
By now, you may have guessed I know him well.
You are right. I do.
He is Kevin Christopher Jordan. K.C. for short.
He is my son. I love him more than he knows.
Happy Birthday buddy.
You're the best!
Monday, March 24, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I had the opportunity to listen to Senator Barack Obama's speech on racism. Mr. Obama was introduced by former Senator Harris Wofford of Pennsylvania. I later watched the same speech on television later. The televised speech seemed more inspiring. It must be the same effect of listening to the Kennedy/Nixon denate on radio and watching it on TV. It was a good speech. It was not great. It was not Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. I would have been more impressed if the Senator had delivered the speech without the swirl of controversy surrounding him and his former Pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright. I was left with the impression that the Obama capaign was engaged in damage control, full throttle CYA, not a debate on the issue of race in America. Follow the speech with a major faux pas. After throwing his grandmother under the bus as a racist, he later described her as a "typical white person." Excuse me Senator I am not typical. That's stereotyping and, dare I say it, "racist."
Thursday, February 28, 2008
“We should add here that in today's world there are many other forms of poverty. For are there not certain privations or deprivations which deserve this name? The denial or the limitation of human rights - as for example the right to religious freedom, the right to share in the building of society, the freedom to organize and to form unions, or to take initiatives in economic matters - do these not impoverish the human person as much as, if not more than, the deprivation of material goods? And is development which does not take into account the full affirmation of these rights really development on the human level?”
The above author: Ioannes Paulus PP. II
Pope John Paul II
Here’s the link to the Vatican’s website so you can read it yourself:
My hope is that the Bishop will step back. He should not spend money on consultants. He should recognize SDACT
My fear is that the Bishop will act unilaterally and not recognize SDACT. The teachers only have the months from September to June to try and reverse the Bishop’s decision to deal with teachers through an employee council at individual schools.
Catholic School teachers make extraordinary sacrifices to teach our kids. At the very least they deserve to choose their own leaders and to bargain collectively. Parents make equally significant sacrifices to send their daughters and sons to our Catholic schools. Their stake in this issue should not be diminished.
As a product of Catholic education, let me say, “Thank you,” to the religious and lay teachers who provided me with my education and my parents who sacrificed to send me to a Catholic school.
I stand with the teachers.