Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Almost a year ago, I started this blog because I was pissed off. It has evolved since then into something more than that...it has become an outlet for all of my emotions, feelings and thoughts.

On this, the eve of the new year 2009, I would like to thank all of those who have helped make my blog the success it has become. In no particular order, I would like to say thanks to:

My wife, Karen, for being my rock...I know you probably will not see this, as you don't normally read my blog, but I love you forever.

BPM and JCS, for being the best friends a man could possibly have. I love you both (no homo).


Bruce Castor, for being the best damned Republican commissioner elected last year...well, for being the only Republican commissioner elected last year. Your resolve has inspired me, and I often quote you: "Do the right thing, for the right reason, every time". You truly are a class act, Bruce and I appreciate and respect who you are and what you stand for.

Bob Kerns, for taking on the monstrous feat of cleaning up the mess that Ken Davis left when he took over as Chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Committee. You have my respect and admiration, Bob.

Kudos to Brittany, E-Beth and Lisa for holding down the fort for Chairman kerns and making the office run as smooth as possible during the past few months. Please try to pay attention, ladies!

Stan Huskey and Lisa Mossie for being the (sane) voice of dissent out of all those who work for the Times Herald.

Alex Charyna, editor and creator of PAWaterCooler.com, the best damn right wing, conservative blog in PA. Thank you for your continues support. You took a chance inviting me to contribute to the 'Cooler, and in the time since, have become one of my newest, greatest friends. Respect.

To the contributors to the 'Cooler, my utmost respect and admiration...we're always in the top 5 in PA, because of you guys.

To my fellow "indy" bloggers who have linked my blog to theirs, read, comment, share ideas, etc., I say: You are the greatest. Period.

My family, for their support of this endeavor, and for the times they wished this blog didn't exist. I love you all.

Scraps. For being you. Lia, for being my Princess.

Joe Hoeffel, for being the catalyst that made one of my favorite subjects what he is today.

I have to thank King James the Turd, El Rey Jaime la Mierda, KJIII, James Rex, "The Turd", King James of Montgomeryshire, and whatever other names he has come to be known by...Jim Matthews. Without you, there would have never been a "Writemarsh!" Keep being you, Jimbo, and I'll keep being me.

Most of all, I thank you, my readers, who have made me the mild success I like being...To quote the liberal, trash-mouthed comedienne(?), Sarah Bernhart, "without you, I'm nothing".

Happy New Year to all of my "Writemarsh" friends.



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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Matthews Coming Around?

Is King James getting soft on Republican Commissioner, Bruce Castor?

Not a chance, although he has (finally!) voted along with Castor to retain the Montgomery County firm,
Maillie Falconiero & Co., to audit the county for the next four years. Of course, Hoeffel was outraged:

Hoeffel, who can usually count on Matthews' support in their unusual power-sharing arrangement, charged both Matthews and Castor with “an abuse of power.”

“This is not the way we should be awarding professional contracts, with a last-minute substitution of commissioner judgment after the row officer has had a competition and selected a professional,” said Hoeffel.

Hoeffel is referring to controller Diane Morgans selection of a Berks County firm, at a cost of over $4 grand per year more than the chosen Montgomery County firm. With our county suffering budgetary restraints, including a hiring freeze, you'd think Hoeffel would have been happy to save money on an outsourced contract.

Oh, right, the Berks County firm is a major contributor to the democratic party, aren't they, Joe?

Back to El Rey Jaime la Mierda, he still is at odds with just about everything Bruce Castor supports as good, fiscally sound, Republican governance. In a recent Times Herald story, KJ3 speaks affectionately of Castor "being freshman" Commissioner:
Matthews chalks up Castor’s caution to his being new to the job, and argues the time to spend on worthy capital projects is now.

“I expect he will express more of his own ideas in his sophomore year,” Matthews wrote in an e-mail message. “Mr. Castor is expressing reticence at the ‘scope’ of some of our policy proposals, such as our pending transportation and economic development initiatives. But there really isn’t time for reticence right now. We have over 20 townships desperately waiting for us to partner with them and improve the flow of traffic in their municipalities.”
I guess he thinks Castor will just "fall in line" after he has a year of this coalition under his belt? Not likely, says Castor.
“I am sticking to my campaign pledges on which I was elected,” Castor said, as is Hoeffel is doing the same except for the “patronage hiring” he claims the Democrat was against, too, until he got elected.

Castor has called Matthews’s actions “a stunning slap in the face to our supporters, our donors, and our voters.”
The Turd goes on to boast taxes are lower now than they were in 2002...which is essentially correct, but he attributes the lower taxes to his "partnership" with Democrat Joe Hoeffel. To quote King James:

"Coalition government works".

What he's saying, is essentially, "Republican Government doesn't work".

How is that so, Jimbo? Weren't our taxes lowered during the Matthews/Ellis administration? Are you essentially giving Joe Hoeffel credit for something your Republican partner, Tom Ellis and you put into effect over 2 years ago?

Castor is solidly sticking to his guns, not faltering from his campaign promises. He believes that the patronage hiring and subsequent infrastructure spending is over the top and that we need not adopt such a radical budget:
"[...]this is beside the point, and has characterized Matthews election campaign as pulling a “bait and switch” on voters who supported the two Republicans.
Read Keith Phucas' Times Herald article here.

On a related (budgetary) note, The Montco DUI centers will continue to be operated by the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department, as Sheriff John P. Durante expected it to. Funding will continue to come from DUI arrests, fines, and court costs, as it had been in the past.

The operation by the Sheriff's Department will free up local law enforcement officials to handle more urgent calls, rather than being bogged down with DUI-related paperwork.

Sheriff Durante threatened to file a lawsuit against the county commissioners (Hoeffel and Matthews) if they went through with their plan to suspend the program due to budgetary issues.

Kudo's to Sheriff Durante for fighting to keep this worthy law-enforcement tool.


B.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Enjoying the Afterglow and Reminiscing

It's the day after Christmas and it's pretty quiet here at "Casa de Writemarsh". The kids wound themselves up yesterday, then wound down hard. They had a nice Christmas.

Most importantly, there was no angst on Christmas...no "we gotta go here, we gotta get there"...Just a relaxing day at home. In a word, "peaceful".

No matter what is going on in my life, I always love the Christmas season. I love what the season is really about, not the brash consumerism that the secular left has made it out to be. I don't shop like a maniac, I take my time, find the perfect gifts, and if not, I try not to sweat the small stuff.

I had a bachelor grand-uncle, Uncle Eddie, who made Christmas his day. When people ask if I believe in Santa Claus, I tell them, believe? I'm related to him.

That was Uncle Eddie. He never sweated the small stuff when it came to the holidays, but always spoiled us kids rotten-like we were his own kids. It wasn't Christmas without Uncle Eddie being there.

Uncle Ed stayed with our family every Christmas, for as long as I can remember. He got cancer and died in 1982, 2 weeks before Christmas. Not a year goes by that I don't think of him at Christmas-time. I even try to spoil my kids like he did for us.

It gives me a great feeling of joy to try to be even a little bit like Uncle Ed this time of the year. My kids would have loved him. I do get a bit sad when I reminisce, as my kids will never know him, but I try to put a little bit of him in every Christmas, and my kids have yet to be disappointed. I guess that's my way of honoring his memory and making sure my kids know what he was, if not who he was. He was "Santa Claus", to us.

Anyway, I hope your Christmas was as peaceful as mine.

G-d Bless You All!


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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you, my loyal readers. Be blessed on this holy day.

Bill, Karen, Jesse (Scraps) and Angelia.


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Merry Christmas



Merry Christmas. Please take the time to read the passage below and remember the true meaning of this Christian's favorite winter holiday

Luke 2:1-20

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Amen.

Merry Christmas from my family to your's,


Bill, Karen, Scraps and Lia




And here is the rest of it. Read Full Text/Comments

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Update-Sighting: XIX

Although I did not get a photo, this one was sent to me by an anonymous shopper who happened to be at the mall last evening.

They got this pic of his majesty at the food court:



Merry Christmas!

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Political Pariah of the Year?

Lehigh Valley P.O.V. has picked the worst politico of the year...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

This Years Political Pariah

Time Magazine has their person of the Year. Sports Illustrated has their Sportsperson of the year. In the Lehigh Valley Blogosphere, what do we have? Nothing!

So I have consulted with my staff, consisting of three dogs, a fox, a skunk, a pair of nesting red tailed hawks, and a feral cat living dangerously under my back deck, (For now) and come up with some awards.

As the "Great One" would say, "And awaaaay, we go!"

This Morning we award the first of many trophies, to be for now on known as "The Golden Bloogers!' Yes, I wrote "Bloogers", rhymes with Boogers! The actual trophy is a Bronzed pile of Cow Poop spray painted to the color of Gold.

The category is "Political Pariah" and the Nominees are:

Former COS to Bill DeWeese : Mike Manzo

Former Beaver County Rep: Mike Veon

Political Consultant: Tom Severson

Montgomery County
Commissioner: Jim Matthews

Click here to see who won.




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Sightings: XIX



Or: "Close Encounters Of The Turd Kind"
I happened to be at the Plymouth Meeting Mall tonight, and wha to my wondering eyes did appear?


King James the Turd was spotted by your's truly as I waited in line with my daughter and wife to see Santa Claus.

I wasn't quick enough to snap a photo, but there are witnesses...
At the pace JimTurd was moving, one would assume that he was a bit late getting Barry Miller his Holiday presents.

B.


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Monday, December 22, 2008

From my Friend From Texas...

...in its entirety:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

American naturalization ceremonies conducted in Spanish?

WTF? One of the requirements for American citizenship is "...applicants for naturalization must be able to read, write, speak, and understand words in ordinary usage in the English language." But that didn't deter an activist judge who abused his authority while administering the oath of citizenship to new immigrants.

Oath ceremonies Conducted in a Foreign Language

In one district with a large Spanish-speaking population, the judge administered the oath ceremony (introductions, directions, speech, artistic presentations, etc.) entirely in Spanish, with the exception of administering the oath itself in English and Spanish. A USCIS official polled the audience, by show of hands, to determine if every applicant present understood Spanish; despite the fact that several persons raised their hands indicating they did not speak Spanish, the presiding judge proceeded in Spanish. While certain waivers exist, no person is naturalized who cannot demonstrate an understanding of the English language.
Granting citizenship to non-English speaking individuals makes about as much sense as waiving the vision exam and driving test requirements for a drivers license.

The Center for Immigration Studies is trying to find the name of the judge in question, and recommends impeachment for such flagrant disregard for United States nationality law.



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My Daughter at The Phantom's Game

My daughter, Princess Lia, sang the National Anthem at the December 5th Phantom's home game, with her 3rd grade choir. She attends Ridge Park Elementary in the Colonial School District.

I missed it, as I was out of town on my annual hunting trip, but was lucky enough to have been given this video by a friend.

Lia is in the back row at the extreme left. I'm so proud of her!

video
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

100 List Meme

I threatened this a month ago...and challenged my fellow bloggers to do the same.

Well, here it is. Where's yours?

100 things I'd admit to:

1) I'm the second born of 5 and the first of 4 born in the house my parents still live in.

2) I love to cook.

3) I will not eat brussel sprouts....ever.

4) I really don't mind having gray hair...I don't really mind having no hair.

5) I really, truly, deeply love my wife.

6) I favor one of my three children, although I'd never admit which one I favor.

7) I've survived 2 motorcycle accidents with only minor injuries.

8) I hate cars-I'd rather have a truck or a motorcycle.

9) I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was a kid.

10) I almost flunked 12th grade and still graduated in the top third of my class.

11) Right now I weigh more than I ever have in my entire life...and I graduated at 275 lbs.

12) I haven't found a red meat that i do not like.

13) I will never willfully live anywhere other than Pennsylvania.

14) I'd rather go hunting than participate in any other activity.

15) I drink Fresca.

16) I've actually tried "Chocolate Rain" Dr. Pepper. It sucks.

17) I used to walk the halls of my high school, between classes, playing the harmonica.

18) My dad is my hero.

19) I could care less about most sports, unless we're in the playoffs.

20) But, (caveat to #19) I love boxing.

21) I make "to-do" lists but rarely complete them.

22) I believe I may have adult A.D.D.

23) I have a very good memory for trivial things.

24) I took printing as an elective in 12th grade and made it my career.

25) I have 2 piercings in my left ear. One I did myself after a birthday bender.

26) I still haven't gotten my first tattoo.

27) I'm an amateur woodworker...I built my sons cradle, my daughter's bed and the moldings and casements on my first and second floor, among other things.

28) I started playing electric bass in high school because I was huge and a Les Paul looked like a ukelele on me.

29) I still play my guitar at least once a day.

30) Although we've all played an instrument, I'm the only one of my siblings who has performed with a band on stage.

31) I've been a democrat, a libertarian an finally, a Republican since I first registered to vote.

32) I almost died in 1998.

33) I've never cheated on my wife (or wanted to).

34) I can listen to some songs over and over and over without getting sick of them.

35) I'm a closet "trekkie" but, only ever liked the original series and TNG.

36) I really do not care for gratuitous nudity or cursing in movies.

37) I have smoked cigars since I was 12 years old.

38) I've only been really drunk three or four times in my life.

39) I've only suffered one hangover in my life.

40) I can sleep standing up.

41) I really dislike summer...it's too hot.

42) I've been as far west as Wyoming, as far south as Georgia and I've visited all of the 13 original colonies at one time or another.

42) I hate going into Philadelphia, but love visiting the historical landmarks, which conflicts me greatly.

43) I'm a history buff.

44) I read historical biographies and suspense novels.

45) I try to read every book my 12 year old son reads.

46) I've read the entire Harry Potter series.

47) I like techno-pop

48) I've never owned a working PC-only Macintosh computers.

49) I cry at sad movies

50) I'm a metalhead.

51) I like John Denver and The Carpenters.

52) I grew up listening to country music and rock & roll.

53) I was 30 years old before I "got" jazz.

54) I eat Oreo's intact.

55) I have 3 cigar humidors in my living room. All 3 are mostly full.

56) I actually like my mother in law. Alot.

57) I have no desire to ever visit California.

58) I will hunt moose with my son in 2 years.

59) I'd like to someday meet President Bush.

60) I really wanted my last child to be a boy, until she was born-right then I couldn't imagine not having my "princess".

61) My favorite all time performer is my son, Jesse.

62) I hate when men wear open toed sandals or flip-flops.

63) I cried when Charton Heston passed away.

64) I still watch cartoons.

65) I've been a huge fan of Kiss for 33+ years

66) I like the Bee Gees

67) I can butcher a deer...usually in less than 2 hours!

68) I read everything...including cereal boxes and shampoo bottles

69) I prefer Hershey's chocolate over Godiva

69) Although I drink Jack Daniel's, the smell of Jim Beam gets me sick

70) Two of my favorite colors are olive green (army green) and purple

71) I wore orange "Chucks" for most of my teenage years

72) I was 19 years old when I got my driver's license

73) My brother lives an "alternate lifestyle" and that's fine with me, although I don't agree that it should be a political issue

74) Every one of my mother's children, except for my brother (who never married),
has been divorced at least once. My parents just celebrated their 47th anniversary.

75) I was grounded for most of my senior year in high school

76) I've been working, in some form or another, since I was 14 years old.

77) I've never eaten snails, although I'd like to, someday

78) I prefer my steak with a light sear on the outside and a very red middle

79) I miss my mothers "comfort foods"...her home made mac and cheese, spaghetti with bacon, etc.

80) I sleep less than 5-6 hours a day

81) I went to college for most of a semester when I was 42 yrs old and had to quit when I changed jobs.

82) The four greatest days in my life were: my wedding day (to Karen) and the birth of each of my three children

83) I have no children born out of wedlock

84) I have had hip surgery

85) My son, Jesse, was born on Elvis' birthday. My daughter, had she "waited" one day, would have been born on the day Elvis died

86) I've seen 2 bands 3 or more times in concert...Van Halen and Metallica

87) I 've taken both of my sons to their first concert...Slipknot (Ryan) and Nine Inch Nails (Jesse)

88) My very first concert was KISS, in 1979

89) I rarely watch "network" tv...I'm addicted to The Food Network and Discovery Channel

90) I like turnips...really, I do

91) I am a Freemason

92) I believe that the Boy Scouts do more for a boy's character than they are given credit for.

93) I was 43 years old before I finally visited Washington D.C.

94) I was 42 years old before I visited our state capitol.

95) I drove 2 hours (each way) to spend 15 minutes with my first "best friend" when his father passed away

96) 21 years ago, my hair was down to the middle of my back

97) Although I have a full head of thick hair, I prefer to shave my head

98) I make homemade sausage, jerky and "slim jims"

99) I once sold a vintage Fender Bass for $175.00 to get rent money (that bass is worth $4000.00 now)

100) This was the hardest list I've ever attempted to make



B.



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The Inquirer Chimes In On Montco's $105 Million Dollar Commissioner

Montco leaders announce $105 million spending program

By Jeff Gammage

Inquirer Staff Writer
Montgomery County officials plan to spend $105 million over the next seven years to lure business and development to local communities, particularly to struggling towns such as Norristown, as part of a sweeping economic program.

Government leaders hope the package of grants, loans and capital will position the county to get money that may soon flow from Washington as part of President-elect Barack Obama's stimulus plan.

"If you want companies to relocate into the boroughs, if you want the companies that are there to stay, they have to see that kind of investment by the county government - that we are placing our bets on the future of the boroughs," said Commissioners Chairman James R. Matthews Jr.

The largest chunk, $40 million, will help bring major redevelopment projects to the most distressed towns.

The program was supported by a 2-1 vote, with Matthews and Commissioner Joseph Hoeffel III in favor, and Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. opposed.

That tally reflects the frequent outcome of commission votes since Matthews, a Republican, forged a power-sharing agreement with Hoeffel, a Democrat, freezing out Castor, who is also a Republican.

Yesterday, Castor said it was foolish for the county to take on the debt associated with a $105 million program during a recession.

"It's stunning," he said. "If you ran your house the way we ran the county government, you'd be in bankruptcy."

Montgomery County is often portrayed as a land of rich and poor, as it is home to wealthy suburbs, big pharmaceutical firms, shopping destinations like the King of Prussia mall - and also to long-suffering communities such as Norristown and Pottstown.

The Strategic Economic Development Policy Task Force, which included government officials, business people, labor leaders, planners and others, began work in April. It sought to come up with a means to frame decisions about how and where to spend in order to spur growth.

"The county wanted to have a more integrated strategy," said county Director of Policy Steven L. Nelson, "and also have more influence in some of the economic-development decisions. That means demonstrating we've got the commitment, the resources, the funding, to help projects."

For instance, he said, the county contributes $5 million a year toward the revitalization of 20 towns. But that money, split 20 ways, isn't enough to sway the settlement of a project that may be worth $50 million.

County officials are watching as Obama and congressional leaders work on a plan to pump $650 billion or more into the economy through government spending.

"If and when the stimulus package is done, we've got our strategy in place," Nelson said. "We're really well-positioned to take advantage of what's coming down the pike."

The program's eligibility requirements, application guidelines and criteria for selection are yet to be established. For instance, it was not immediately clear what would constitute an economically challenged community, though Norristown and Pottstown have suffered for decades following the decline of major manufacturing industries.

Specific plans include:

$12.5 million in matching grants and low-interest loans to expand revitalization programs for older communities.

$15 million in matching grants and low-interest loans to improve parking and rehabilitate buildings in the downtowns of communities such as Jenkintown, Abington and Lansdale.

$40 million in matching grants and low-interest loans to assist in the construction of big commercial, industrial and residential developments in the neediest towns.

$9 million in low-interest loans as incentives to draw businesses to struggling communities.

$5 million in matching grants to support the planning of specific projects.

$10 million in low-interest loans to encourage reuse of existing commercial space.

$6 million in matching grants and low-interest loans to help municipalities better market themselves.

$7.5 million in matching grants to train and place workers.

The first $20 million, to be spent next year, would come from county coffers.

"We're not going to do anything that could compromise us getting our share of federal dollars," Matthews said. "It can only help us that we've demonstrated we're ready to do something. All eyes are going to be on Washington. The kind of money they're printing down there, everyone wants a bucket of it."
__________

Even better than the article are the comments made on the Inky's web site:

Posted by stank 09:45 AM, 12/20/2008
Montco, your liberal idiots poloyicians are running you county are NUTS. We are in a recession. Next thing they will do is raise your taxes to pay for this hair brain scheme. Track every penny of this rip-off.


Posted by Suburban Reader 09:57 AM, 12/20/2008
How can the Montco Commissioners justify going into debt for $105 million for redevelopment (a.k.a developer bailout) while at the same time closing their assisted living center because they say it is too costly? These two decisions are incongruous. Exactly, what is the business of county government? I do not want my tax dollars going to jumpstart businesses in a real estate downturn while at the same time putting the elderly out of the place they have come to call home. I do not want my tax dollars helping to meet the payroll of the developers while at the same time putting an excellent group of nurses, aides, dining room workers and custodians in the unemployment line.


Posted by tdoc 03:12 PM, 12/20/2008
One thing they should have done is spent some more money on "Stank's" education.


Posted by remucho 04:12 PM, 12/20/2008
how long can the pbulic bend over for the likes of politicians who milk the system to take care of their cronies and contributors??? When are we going to throw the bums out? The office of commissioner is mot a license to steal,,,,someone should remind these pompous "political hacks!!!!! And here is the rest of it. Read Full Text/Comments

A Star Is Born: 2008

This is my kid.



This is my kid on Black Sabbath.



Any questions?
(I'm very proud of him)



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Thursday, December 18, 2008

An Anniversary, of Sorts

It happened one year ago today. A death, of sorts, the end of an era, for sure.

Who died? Not who, but what.

Good solid Republican governance, that fuzzy, warm, fiscally responsible type of government, the kind that kept a check on taxes to the point that they were reduced for 2008.

Today, Thursday, December 18, 2008 is "Betrayal Day" in Montgomery County.

One year ago, as predicted, Jim Matthews handed control of county government over to Joe Hoeffel at a press conference effectively overturning the will of the voters. That day may mark the end of 150 years of fiscal restraint and usher in a new era of Philadelphia style government into what was once the richest and best run county in the country.

All citizens should curse Matthews on December 18th of each year. And, lest we forget, I will, on December 18th of every year that King James is still a county commissioner, post this video:



B.


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While I Wasn't Looking...

...Writemarsh had it's 20,000th visit.

Thank you all for your support. I'm lucky to have the readership I have and 20,000 visits is a big deal for someone who started a blog just to bitch and moan about this and that.

Thanks again.

B.

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The Tree, Cookies and Christmas Shopping

Today, I put the tree up. My job in our household is to do the outdoor decorating and to assemble our pre-lit, 7 foot artificial tree, make room for it in the living room and then wrap the tree with the ribbon we use as garland.

Well, this year, I had light troubles. I fought the problem for an hour, at the very least. You see, a section of the tree, 3 branches in all, didn't light.

I took a break from the tree to try out a new cookie recipe (an old fashioned cookie, just new to me). A friend was lamenting the fact that you couldn't find old fashioned raspberry jelly shortbread cookies, so I took it upon myself to make them. I got a shortbread cookie recipe off of the internet (where I usually find everything), and found that the recipe was a bit off. I tweaked it a bit and hit paydirt...I was able to come close to the real deal, complete with the jelly centers being "chewy", but not soft.

Back to the tree.

With the cookie deal done, I went back to working on the tree. I decided that the little baby Jesus wouldn't care a fig if a section of the tree wasn't lit, so I decided to turn the unlit part towards the wall.

I put the next section on the tree, plugged it in (I always work with the tree lit) and what to my wondering eyes did appear? The unlit section lit up. It seems that the plug wasn't pushed in all the way for the unlit section. When I moved things around to acommodate the next section, the recalcitrant section just lit up like a...well, like a Christmas tree!

I finished the tree by about 5:30 pm, had dinner, and went out Christmas shopping with the friend I'm making the cookies for. Scraps went with us.

The shopping trip was a bit fruitless, but the camaraderie was worth the trip. I came home to find that my wife had decorated the tree and it looked fantastic.

Spending time with family and friends is what this time of the year is all about. My situation (unemployment) notwithstanding, the love of friends and family makes me rich beyond compare...which is something money can't buy.

So, my wish for you for the holiday season is to forget about how much you need to spend on those special someones...the best thing you can do is to spend time–a precious commodity nowadays–with those that you really care about. Let them know just how special you think they are.

And, if you feel the need to give a gift, bake them cookies. I've found that trying to make a friend happy by giving him something that takes effort usually makes them happy, and that makes me happy. I'm no baker...I usually leave that to my wife, Karen, who is a tremendously good baker. I prefer to be a cook. But the trial and error was fun, the research rewarding, and I must say, the cookies are quite good...even Karen thinks so.

Hopefully, my friend will feel the same.

So, the tree's up, cookies baked and I had time to spend with friends and family...life is indeed, good.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and have a fantastic new year. Be blessed with family, friends and the hope that better times will come. I know I am.

G-d Bless You All.

B.


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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Jim Matthews a Republican?

I'll repeat it...Jim Matthews a Republican? Drumroll, please, let the pigeons loose, and have the trumpeteers let out a resounding "da da da daaaaaaaaaa"!

It finally happened...after over 11 months of voting exclusively with democrat Joe Hoeffel, King James III finally puts on a Republican hat and votes the party line?

Say is isn't so, Ethel...say it isn't so!

Well, sources close to the courthouse have bent my ear and, guess what, folks? James Rex relented, but only after a solid tongue lashing by president judge Richard Hodgson.

Initially, King James said "No" to Republican District Attorney Risa Ferman's request when the salary board vote came up, speaking out against her for not cooperating with the county imposed hiring freeze (Ferman wanted to hire a clerk to replace one that left her office during the past year). The vote was postponed for 2 weeks. Hodgson convinced Matthews, (who was best man at his wedding) that he needed to support Ferman's request, to "keep cases moving through the criminal justice system in a timely fashion."

Initially, Matthews, Hoeffel and Controller Diane Morgan had suggested that the D.A. use confiscatory funds (of which Ferman has sole discretion) and ARD fees to fund hiring employees in her office. Ferman said she would instead be using these discretionary funds to purchase materials for the County Detectives office, such as guns, leased automobiles and equipment for the office.

But, back to the vote...King James' record remains intact, folks. He didn't vote with Republican Commissioner Bruce L. Castor, Jr. as a Republican commissioner...he voted as a member of the salary board (and only after getting squeezed by Hodgson to do so)! El Rey la Mierda has, in fact, an unblemished record when voting as a commissioner and has still voted with Hoeffel 100% of the time.

As for Hoeffel's claim that District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman was "playing politics" when she asked Judge Hodgkins to intervene? State law provided that the county commissioners are required to fund all "necessary expenses" of the D.A.'s office with general fund money.

Ferman, who accused the two Democrats on the salary board (Hoeffel and Controller Diane Morgan) with “playing politics” when it came to her personnel requests, had this to say in a post-meeting interview:

“The legislators, in their wisdom, understood that you can't play with public safety".
Margaret Gibbons, now reporting for The Intelligencer, reports here.

As for the reports on another blog that this was a "party line vote"? Changing one's mind, after an admonishment by the president judge doesn't seem like a "party" to me folks!

B.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

King James Lied During Campaign

He readily admitted to it at Thursdays's Commissioner's meeting. Margaret Gibbons (The Intellegencer) reported it, and I got it via the "Commissioner Castor Reports" sent to me yesterday.

Republican Commissioner Bruce L. Castor, Jr. released his second to last "Commissioner Castor Reports" of this year yesterday. In it, he points out that while he has tried (and succeeded, to some level) to g
et along with his colleagues, commissioner King James (the turd) still has some problems remembering that he was (at one time) a Republican commissioner. Castor writes:

"Last year Jim Matthews and I campaigned against Joe Hoeffel and Ruth Damsker’s plan for a $50 million economic development program as budget busting and unnecessary given that our county has a Redevelopment Authority, a Revitalization Authority and a countyEconomic Development department complete with staff and a department head.

From 2000 to 2007 under Republican leadership our county had spent over $40 million dollars on economic development and revitalization. Jim and I offered a “pay as you go” plan continuing to spend $5 million each year and to look at committing additional resources, if they were available. Damsker and Hoeffel offered a Democrat “borrow and spend” plan ballooning our debt.

Yesterday, in a 2 to 1 vote with Jim reversing his position and voting along with Joe Hoeffel, the county adopted a $105 million economic development plan [...]."
James Rex III was quoted in Friday's Intellegencer apparently admitting that he lied during his 2007 campaign for county commissioner. Margaret Gibbons apparently had a rather heated repartee with Matthews during the press portion of last Thursday's Commissioner's meeting. King James basically said this:
"Ironically, Matthews last year during the commissioners’ election campaign was opposed to the county funding a $50 million economic development proposed by Hoeffel and his Democratic running mate. Matthews on Thursday explained that his nay-saying last year was campaign rhetoric “in a sound bite environment.” (Margaret Gibbons, The Intellegencer-12/12/08)
Campaign rhetoric? Sound bite environment? He lied, pure and simple. And this, after campaigning on what Republican Commissioner, Bruce L. Castor, Jr. describes as "fiscally conservative, pay as you go" governance, rather that "borrow and spend" democratic style governance:
We presented the voters with two clear choices last year: Fiscally conservative, pay as you go Republican government or “borrow and spend”, grow the government in size and scope Democrat government. The voters chose Republican government. The policies getting implemented at the county level are Democrat “borrow and spend” policies. Joe Hoeffel is being true to his campaign promises and I am being true to mine. As long as I am a Commissioner I will continue to stand for the things I said I’d be for in the campaign. I will also oppose those things I said I was against.

I do not believe you say one thing during the campaign to get elected and then do the opposite once you’re in office. You lose the voters trust when you engage in such behavior. (Bruce L. Castor, Jr., Commissioner Castor Reports-12/12/2008)
Funny thing is, Hoeffel is calling his alliance with Matthews a "Montgomery Miracle", to which Castor responds:
The real miracle is that the will of the voters can be ignored and the results of the election can be reversed by the actions of a single individual. Fiscally conservative Republican government is out, “borrow and spend” Democrat government is in. That is a miracle no one welcomes.
To see the entire Commissioner Castor Reports" click here. It's worth the read for Montgomery County residents/voters, as well as those of us who really care about who we put into office. Remember, Jim Matthews could have literally been a heartbeat away from being Governor of PA.

Somehow, I have mixed feelings about th
at now...if Swann had won, Matthews would be out of our hair...and out of Montco politics for 4 years. Since Swann lost, we're stuck with the Turd for at least 3 more years. Kind of a bitter pill, isn't it?

He sure isn't the man we voted for. I still often wonder if Hoeffel has incriminating photographs of King James in compromising positions?


(not an actual photograph-Photoshopped image never happened)

B.



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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's Official

I'm old. Officially.

I thought that when my oldest became an adult, I'd feel old, but didn't.

I thought that when I got my first couple of gray hairs, I'd feel old, but didn't.

I've held out as long as I could, but when it's stubbornness vs. time, time usually wins.


For the past 3 years, I've had to remove my eyeglasses (I'm nearsighted with a severe astigmatism) to read anything less than 12 pt. type. Today, I went to the eye doctor. She did a very thorough exam and came to the conclusion that I need bi-focals.

*sigh*...I guess it could be worse, I could've needed tri-focals. And, at least the glaucoma test was negative. But bi-focals?

Mark this day on the calendar...I admit it and acquiesce to it...I'm officially old.

Now, someone pass the Geritol.


B.


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Monday, December 8, 2008

Was THis Kept Secret During The Election?

If not, then why is this the first we're hearing of a $6 million dollar shortfall by Senator Vincent Hughes (D-07)?

I submit (from the Inky):

Landmark going back to the city

With City Council approval expected this week, the city will quietly repossess the old Provident Mutual Life Insurance Co. building after a nonprofit couldn't pay the mortgage on the West Philadelphia landmark.

With backing from the Nutter administration, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. is essentially taking back the 82-year-old limestone-and-steel building, now called the Center for Human Achievement, and the 15 acres it sits on. The building is owned by the Urban Education Development Research and Retreat Center, headed by State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Phila). Hughes's district office is a tenant in the building. Hughes could not be reached to comment. (ed.-emphasis mine)

Provident Mutual donated the 325,000-square-foot building to the Urban Education Foundation, a nonprofit partnership between Lincoln and Cheyney Universities, in the 1980s. The cost of operating and maintaining the building proved too high for the group and in 1993 a deal was worked out to sell the building to Hughes' group. The center, bounded by 46th, 48th and Market Streets and Haverford Avenue, was envisioned as a resource for community groups and a spur to further development in its West Philadelphia neighborhood, with its owner serving mainly as a landlord.

Deputy Commerce Director Duane Bumb said Hughes' group owed the industrial development corporation and the Philadelphia Commercial Development Corp. just under $6 million for the building. The city will use two acres for parking at the new Youth Study Center, to be built on five adjoining acres, and will evaluate the property over the next year and seek to consolidate city services at the building or sell it, Bumb said.

- Carolyn Davis and Jeff Shield




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Freindly Fire: Post-Election Interview With Montgomery County Commissioner, Bruce Castor

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Back from Deer Camp...

...and skunked again.

Now, I did see a buck yesterday. It was the only deer I saw over three days of hunting.

Why didn't I shoot? Well, there's a story that needs to be told:

A few years back, the PA Game Commission, in it's infinite wisdom, decided to change the rules and impose antler restrictions on us. What this means is that in certain areas of the state, I can only shoot a buck if it has three or more points (tines) on one antler that measure a minimum of 1" long.

3 or more points means that a deer must be at least 2 or 3 years old, as most yearling bucks sport "spike" antlers, which is one longish antler, sort of like a goat's horns. If you're a junior hunter, you still can shoot a spike buck statewide, if you live in the suburbs of Philly, anybody can shoot a spike.

Well, yesterday, at about 9 am, I saw my first and only deer in 3 days. The deer had a really big main beam (the main part of the antler, from which all other "tines" grow from). Trouble is, I couldn't see any points from the angle I was viewing this particular deer.

I had ample opportunity to shoot this large bodied deer. I'm sure it was a well seasoned buck, as the main beams were thick, which means maturity in deer. So why didn't I shoot? My hunting partners asked me the same question. They all got the same answer...Ethics.

A great friend of mine has on several occasions spoken these words, "do the right thing, for the right reason, every time". I find that I think about these words when confronted with a decision and the little guys on my shoulders get to speaking in my ears...it's sort of like having my own "Jiminy Cricket".

I didn't shoot, because it was wrong to do so, even if I do not agree with antler restrictions. I'm raising a son who will become my "hunting buddy", just like I became my father's "hunting buddy". I am teaching him to be an ethical hunter. In order to do that , I have to lead by example. If Jesse was with me, how could I justify taking that shot? I couldn't.

PA Game Commission laws, rules and regulations may have the best of intentions, but aren't always agreeable to us hunters. Sunday hunting, repeal of antler restrictions, and seasons and bag limits are just three such things that I think need to be changed.

It's up to us, as voters and hunters to contact our PGC headquarters and the head of the Fish and Game Commission to get these rules looked at and possibly changed.

Until then, I don't shoot first and ask questions later. It's wrong, it's unethical, and I cannot possibly set a good example for my son, if I break the rules myself.

Yeah, I'm bummed that I let that buck go...somebody else later shot that deer and I found out it was a massive 8-pointer. But, I can sleep at night knowing that I did the right thing, for the right reason. This time and every time.

And, the season isn't over...there's always tomorrow. I'll fill my freezer...I always manage to.

B.



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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Re: On a Personal Note

Lisa Mossie (Bluftooni, and Times Herald columnist)commented on my last post, and reminded me (thanks, Lisa!) of one of my favorite songs, which really cheered me up.

Lisa Wrote:

Bill, sorry to hear about your layoff. That certainly does suck--especially at this time of year. Not that it wouldn't suck at any time of the year, but being laid off at Christmas bites the big one. And the post election doldrums are everywhere.

Tough times now, but tough times, like good times, don't last forever. This too shall pass.
Well, her post reminded me of George Harrison's"All Things Must Pass"... the lyrics are poignant to my situation right now and are posted below. I must say, I played the song just a few minutes ago and I feel much better now.

"All Things Must Pass"

Sunrise doesn't last all morning
A cloudburst doesn't last all day
Seems my love is up and has left you with no warning
Its not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away

Sunset doesn't last all evening
A mind can blow those clouds away
After all this, my love is up and must be leaving
Its not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away
All things must pass
None of life's strings can last
So, I must be on my way
And face another day

Now the darkness only stays the night-time
In the morning it will fade away
Daylight is good at arriving at the right time
Its not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away
All things must pass
All things must pass away

H/T to my Dad, who turned me on to this music when I was a wee lad of about 6 or 7 years old...It's been with me and a major part of my life ever since.

Here's my favorite rendition of the song, sung by Sir Paul McCartney in 2002, from the DVD, "Concert For George":





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On a Personal Note

I've been in kind of a rut lately. My posting has been lackluster, to say the least.

Maybe it's due to the post-election doldrums, maybe it's due to my recent lay-off from work. Nonetheless, I'd ask that you bear with me, the tough times will go away and I'll be back in the swing of things in no time.

After all, President-elect Obama will take care of me. He'll pay my bills, he'll pay my mortgage, he'll buy my gas...heh. And I've got this bridge in Brooklyn I'd like you to take a look at...I'll sell it to you cheap.

B.

P.S.: I got to ride for a bit today...things just may be looking up!



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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

3:02 Of Your Time...

..which explains an awful lot!

H/T to my mom, who used just about every one of these lines during the 22 years I lived at home!


The Mom Song from Northland Video on Vimeo.







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Monday, December 1, 2008

More Obama Gaffes, This Time It's the Constitution, Stupid!

H/T to my buddy from the great Republic of Texas, Reverse_Vampyr!

Hillary! voted for raising the Sec/State's salary, among other things.

From Reverse_Vampyr:

Why does this matter? January 7, 2008, President Bush signed an executive order implementing the federal employee pay raise for 2008 that was included in the Congressionally-approved Omnibus Spending Bill for 2008 (HR 2764). Therefore, Hillary is constitutionally barred from service in the cabinet of the Executive branch.
Click here for the entire post.

B.


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Another Spin on Matthews 2010

From a moderate blog called "Donklephant.com":

Preliminary poll numbers don’t look so hot for Matthews, but that could all change if Chris gets serious and starts using his show to push the platform he’d run on.

One other issue that should send a shiver up Matthews’ leg, getting the Democratic nomination won’t be a cake walk. Washington Monthly points out that three separate Dems (Reps. Allyson Schwartz and Joe Sestak, and state Rep. Josh Shapiro) are interested in the seat and the field may grow.

However, let’s say Matthews gets the nomination…doesn’t this introduce an odd problem for the Republican challenger? Because how much will Matthews use Hardball to push his message before, during and after his announcement to run?[...]


Read the entire post: Chris Matthews Running For Senate? HA!


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Obama Countdown