Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Election Day Predictions 11-05-2013

So, it's an off year election across the nation! In thousands of municipalities, voters are selecting candidates most have never even heard of. I've already voted this morning in my home town of Emmaus and was voter #29 at Precinct 1. Here's how I think things will shake out here in Pennsylvania and in some of the more noteworthy races around the Country:

Virginia Governor- Terry McAullife by 6

New Jersey Governor- Christie by 25

Alabama 1st Congressional District GOP Primary Run off- Bradley Byrne wins by a bigger margin than most think. "Tea Party" Dean Young has been a one-note samba on gays being a threat to America. Um...what? I think the bigger threat is out of control Government spending. This will be seen as a rebuke of the Tea Party (as will Virginia). It isn't (neither is Virginia).

Pennsylvania Superior Court- Jack McVay Jr. (D) by 4. I voted for him. Just couldn't bring myself to vote for Vic Stabile.

Lehigh County Executive- Scott Ott (R) by 4, but that's only a guess. Higher than normal D turnout in Lower Macungie Twp and Parkland School District -could- push Muller over the top. If that happens, God help us...

Lehigh County Commissioner District 5- Wes Barrett (D) defeats Mike Schware by 3%. I really hope I'm wrong on this one but Wes has run an excellent campaign.

East Penn School Board- Alan Earnshaw and Rebecca Heid win another term and are joined by Chris Donatelli and Garrett Rhoads. Incumbent Francee Fuller will then be appointed to fill out the remainder of my School Board term (2015).

Emmaus Borough Council- Wes Barrett (D), Roy Anders (D), and Brent Labenberg (R) all win.

Monday, October 28, 2013

For the Children

Tonight, I'm officially tendering my resignation from the East Penn School Board.

For 20 years, the East Penn community has been divided by a conflict between community heritage and progress.

This has been manifested in School Board election after election featuring candidates who stood "for the taxpayers" and candidates who stood "for the Children". Often "for the Children" candidates were/are little more than useful tools for the East Penn Education Association/Teacher's Union.

Those who have stood for the taxpayers, like me, have been relentlessly and maliciously demonized. That's ok. Politics is a bloodsport for nerds.

For now, I'll be bowing out of public life, spending time with my loved ones, and pursuing other endeavors. One day, I may re enter the political arena, but we'll see.

Let me just implore those currently sitting on the board, as well as those who will be seated after next week's election to finally pursue a middle way that will put an end to the war dividing the East Penn Community.

Join the 21st Century and webcast Board Meetings. John Donches has done an admirable community service by putting out videos of the meetings at his own expense but it is time for the East Penn School District to take responsibility and put out their own broadcasts of meetings.

Next year, put a referendum out that would include an adequate tax increase to decrease class sizes across the district to reasonable sizes. Elementary and middle school class sizes in particular are out of control. The entire East Penn School District should have this conversation as a community and ultimately, let the people decide. At any rate, any such tax increase will be far above and beyond what the state index would allow the board to do unilaterally. This has been long been the case and finally giving the public a vote on this contentious issue would remove it as something that could be demagogued in future elections.

Another referendum the community desperately needs is one that would allow the public to vote on increasing tax levels enough to eliminate "half-day" Wednesdays. This practice is hugely inconvenient to East Penn parents. It is a practice that the board could theoretically end by responsibly negotiating the next Union contract up in 2015, but since most of the Board owes the Union their seats, I remain skeptical that it will happen through negotiation.

For the children, for the future, and for the community, take these simple steps that will finally heal the bitter wounds of the past that run so deep through our School District. Continuing the status quo will only serve to further fracture and divide us.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I'm Leaving It As I Found It. Take Over, It's Yours

For the last 6 years, I have fought to bring a taxpayer friendly majority to the East Penn School Board. Regardless of what happens in the election this November, I will have failed in that effort. In the past 20 years, East Penn residents have seen their community and way of life change dramatically. I do not believe it has been for the better. In another few years, long-time citizens of Emmaus will hardly recognize their home town.

Part of this change has come as a result of vehement and venomous elections for School Board and Borough Council during which those who claim to stand for community and justice play the dirtiest politics imaginable.

Since I was first elected to the School Board in 2007, a certain group of citizens have attempted to recall me (recall elections are not allowed in Pennsylvania), lied about my voting record, demanded my resignation, failed to defeat me in my 2011 re-election bid, and accused me of everything short of having sex with farm animals (for the record, I deny that too). I'm a big boy (all 6'1 and 240 lbs of me), I can take it. I can take the heat, slings, and arrows. As an elected official, I am fair game (for even those who play unfairly). That said, I am announcing my resignation as a member of the East Penn School Board of Directors, effective immediately.

It is one thing to attack me, it is quite another to attack those I love. Over the past few days, an online personality identifying herself only as "Anna Karina" has continued her cyber assault not only on me, but also on the woman who happens to be the love of my life.

When we first met five years ago, I made a calculated decision to pursue political goals rather than be with her, because she was a student at Emmaus High School at the time. Doing so was a mistake and it is not a mistake that I will repeat. Some day, I may regret not having those five years together.

Serving on the East Penn School Board has been everything from an honor to pure hell depending on the time. I enjoyed every minute of it.

In closing, let me just say...

Brother, you asked for it!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

10-14-2013 East Penn School Board of Directors Meeting Agenda and Planned Votes

1.) Call to Order; Pledge of Allegiance

2.) Requests to Address the Board- I'm sure there will be a few calls for my resignation or removal. Spoiler alert: I'm staying through the end of my term.

3.) Approval of Minutes- I plan to vote in favor of this item.

4.) Report of the Superintendent
   1.) District Update
   2.) Personnel- I plan to vote in favor of this item.

5.) Other educational entities

6.) Legislative

7.) Business Operations
   1.) Approval of Bill List- I plan to vote in favor of this item
   2.) Treasurer's Report- I plan to vote in favor of this item
   3.)  Investment of Funds- I tentatively plan to vote in favor of this item.
   4.) Facility Rentals- I plan to vote in favor of this item.
   5.) Budget Transfers- I tentatively plan to vote in favor of this item
   6.) Disbursement of Funds- I plan to vote in favor of this item

8.) Announcements

9.) Adjourn!

Men Struggle With Eating Disorders Too

As Firefly's captain Malcolm Reynolds once said, "I'm feeling kinda truthsome". I have thought about writing this post for some time and now that I'm on the verge of becoming a minor local media "sensation" again, I thought I would use the attention I'm going to receive for a positive purpose.

I am an American male who has struggled with bulimia.

I have always been on the chunky side. I'm 6'1 and 240lbs and, at the moment, wear a size 40 pants.

Back when I was in grade school, and eventually high school, I was made fun of for my size "Julian's got fattitude" is one quote that stands out in my mind. Today, my political opponents sometimes use my looks as a way to attack me.

Between the ages of 12 and 17, I would occasionally make myself throw up after eating, but it didn't become ritual until my senior year of high school. While getting ready for school one morning, my step-mother remarked on how fat I was getting (I wore a size 36 back then and they were snug). I'm sure she didn't say it in a mean-spirited manner but even still, it was the catalyst that made it click in my head to start habitually throwing up after I ate in order to lose weight. It worked. It worked a little too well. I walked to and from school every day during the week (2 miles round trip) and I was losing a pound a day. I went from 225 lbs to about 175 before I plateaued. I wanted to be 165 lbs because I had read that was a healthy weight for my age and size.

Since I plateaued, I have slowly put weight back on, and then some. Starting early in my senior year in High School, I threw up after most meals. In college, I even had friends who were bulimic and while many students were binging on alcohol, we went on binge/purge food runs. Then, in early 2011, I threw up blood. Not a few streaks. Blood.

One of my biggest fears has always been being committed to a psych ward. As a result, I did not seek medical attention, but it was enough to scare me straight. I have not thrown up intentionally after eating since then, but I still deal with the effects every single day.

Raw vegetables, among other foods, cause me horrible indigestion and acid overproduction. I have ulcers so bad it sometimes feels like I'm having a heart attack. My metabolism is pretty much shot to hell. I hit 255lbs last year and have managed to get back down to 240 with some work and care with regards to my diet.

Fortunately, I'm lucky enough to have a girlfriend who is helping me get my digestion and body back into balance. She comes from a family that eats macrobiotic and has provided me with pickled plum paste or "umeboshi" as well as alkalizing pills. Drinking lots of oolong tea has helped me as well.

I'm relatively lucky. Some people who engage in eating disorders end up much worse off. I'm also lucky I was able to stop. For my part, I do not believe bulimia is a mental disorder, but a result of societal conditioning. Pop culture, television, school, and even parents teach that to be attractive, you need to be skinny. Abercrombie and Fitch has even said they don't want unattractive people wearing their clothing. People will go to extremes to try to feel accepted and fit in.

Frequently, eating disorders are portrayed as female-only problems. While they may predominantly occur in young women, they are on the rise with males.

You can help fight eating disorders in your every day life. Stop judging people for their weight. Remind people they're beautiful, or attractive. Surprisingly many people who are, refuse to accept that they are because they have felt pressure to fit a societal norm.

Last night, my girlfriend sent me this cartoon and said that she wished it would be seen in every school. I agree.

Everything You've Never Wanted to Know About My Personal Life But "Anna" Felt the Need to Talk About Anyway

I attract a special breed of crazy. Since the debacle regarding my comments on Twitter back in March, someone calling herself "Anna Karina" has stalked my every post online, going back more than half a decade. I don't know who the individual is. What I DO know is it is someone I went to High School with. If you think I'm insufferable, pompous, and obnoxious now, you should have seen me back then... She commented on another blog that I was weird enough at age 17 "wander around singing". Sometimes the monsters in our lives are of our own making. "Anna Karina" is certainly one of mine. "Anna" has stalked me at my place of employment, taken my picture, accused me of being a drunk, mentally ill (specifically "bipolar"), and corruption. I have periodically considered retaining an attorney, filing a subpoena (I know someone who knows who "she" really is) and suing her.

A little over a month and a half ago, a former girlfriend, Amanda Hein, made headlines by giving birth to a child in the bathroom of Starters Pub in Saucon Valley and killing him. I did not publicly comment on the incident which "Anna" apparently thought was suspicious enough to warrant going through Amanda's Facebook pictures where she found one of us together at a fundraiser to pay the hospital bills for her step mother. I'll go into my perspective on Amanda Hein another time. I'll say this for now, she is not evil. She needs help. I hope, in her case, the justice system works correctly for once.

Right around the same time, Anna and her online accomplice, Kevin Chang, made contact with another former girlfriend. I will not mention her name here, though she has certainly brought herself into this. Either directly from her or through a google search using her name, they found my old account at Teenspot.com which included a photo of me shirtless. Why I ever thought a shirtless picture was a good idea, I'm not sure (ew!) I had a Teenspot.com account since 2005 or 2006 (I was 17 or 18) and I freely admit the account was "active" as late as last year (I was 24). When I became aware that it was about to be used against me, I went back and deleted the account.

I didn't hit the delete button quite fast enough. "Anna" grabbed a few screenshots. Her own screenshots show the account has not been active in over a year now. I said via another online forum, if she had evidence of criminal activity (there was none), she should report it to the police. That was a month and a half ago. "Anna" hates me with such a burning ferocity that, if I had done anything criminal, I'd be in handcuffs by now.

While it is named "Teenspot.com" there are lots of 20-somethings on the site. I did periodically talk to people under the age of 18, which Anna has dug up as well. The last time I had a relationship of any sort with someone from Teenspot was a date in late 2011 with a girl who was 19 or 20. She was good company but it didn't make seeing the third Twilight movie any more bearable.

The individual who led "Anna" to Teenspot is an ex-girlfriend whom I first began talking to when I was 20 and she was 16. We dated from 2009 through early 2011 when I finally broke up with her. She moved from Texas to the Lehigh Valley to go to College (DeSales University, where I dropped out in 2008). She attended Tea Party meetings with me, went to my school board meetings, and even ran for and won a term on the Republican County Committee. At almost no point in the relationship was I faithful. I loved her very much, but I was not in love with her. I should have ended it long before I did, but I was afraid of hurting her. In the process, I believe I hurt her more than if I had been honest earlier on. Then again, if she had not moved to the Lehigh Valley, she never would have met her fiance. She is still feeling jilted, and I understand that.  Unfortunately, she is sending my former fiancee harassing anonymous text messages. I cannot prove it is her, but I know it is. The timing is too precise. The texts began back in 2011 when I broke up with her. They resurfaced at the same time "Anna" discovered my Teenspot account and again today when she fed "Anna" a conversation that I had with my current girlfriend back in 2009.

I first met my girlfriend, Sahrin Holderman, back in 2008 at an end-of-school-term party held by some mutual friends (the sort of party where there's cake and singing, not alcohol and drunken sex). I remember the moment we met perfectly. I walked into the room and she was curled up on the lap of one of our friends. We made eye contact. If there is such thing as love at first sight, that was it. We became friends on Facebook and, a few days later, met at "True Blue" where I bought her a cup of coffee. We sat, talked, and I walked her home. This was the start of a four month relationship (I was 20). Her mother knew of our relationship, my age, and position and I received her approval. We eventually broke up because, among other things, she was an Emmaus High School student and I, of course, a sitting school board director. I've been regaled with many a tale of teachers bashing me in class in front of students. Now they know that I know. So much for "educating". At any rate, the relationship never became sexual in nature.

I never stopped loving her. In May of this year, I found out the feeling was mutual. I've never been happier. I don't need or want anyone else.

There are other people I met on Teenspot that I still talk to from time to time. All are now in their 20's. I should never have maintained my account there as long as I did, but even my attackers acknowledge it has not been active in over a year and they have no evidence of criminal behavior. For a time, logging on became as much a force of habit as Facebook...and I had a Teenspot account before I had Facebook.

For my opponents, this is not about the fact that I had the account, this is about the election this November. They sat on their "evidence" for a month and a half and waited til now to unveil it. Failed State House candidate and Citizens-for-Strong-Communities front-man Patrick Slattery included "Anna's" hate-blog posts in an email to his supporters today to attack candidates running for School Board. For the dozenth time at least, Patrick, I am NOT part of any campaign for East Penn School Board this year. I'd like to remind you that I supported Slattery-endorsed Rebecca Heid back in 2009. Shouldn't she be forever tarred and feathered with my name as well? No, of course not, she votes with the board majority.

I expect there will be some calling for my resignation at Monday night's board meeting. I'm not going to resign. One of them, a Ms. Jessica Hughes, followed me on Twitter last night. I thanked her for the follow and the resulting conversation is as follows:

Jessica Hughes- I'm following you b/c I think you're disgusting and as a parent of a child in the EPSD I plan on attending the next school board mtg

Jessica Hughes- And fighting for you removal of office

Jessica Hughes-  So your (sic) welcome

Me-  I cannot help but wonder why that merits a follow? At any rate, full "Teenspot" disclosure will be posted on my blog tomorrow evening.

Jessica Hughes-  How about you referring to public education as "brain rotting" and students such as my son as "crotch fruit"

Jessica Hughes-  Since you believe this isn't really isn't "anything that matters" why don't you do parents that care a favor and make your "fake tweet

Jessica Hughes-  reaignation" (sic) a reality.

Jessica Hughes- You are immature and have no clue how hard being a parent is. I don't want an ignorant selfish twerp like yourself having any influence

Jessica Hughes- over my boys education. You are a disgrace and have a lot of growing up to do before you choose to run for anything that matters

Jessica Hughes- It merits a follow because I was interested in other potential inappropriate tweets/postings you made that I would be able to use to plead

Jessica Hughes-  my case in demanding your immediate removal

Me- I'll have a copy of your comments to read after your statement to the board on Monday. My tweets are open to the public, not just followers. (I will not be reading her comments tomorrow night. Posting them here will suffice)

Jessica Hughes- No worries I will let the entire room know about this conversation myself. Being a member of a school board is a privlage (sic) one you have so

Jessica Hughes- admimantly (sic) proven time after time that you no longer deserve. My son and every other child in the East Pemm (sic) SD deserves better
I'm not posting her words to try to bully or intimidate her or prevent her from speaking, merely using her to show how unhinged my opponents are. Their problem is with my politics. That is all this is about.

Let it be known that this will be my last term as a member of the East Penn School Board. My Raison d'ĂȘtre has been to stay on long enough to become part of a board that would responsibly negotiate a contract with the Teachers and force a contract that would be more friendly to Taxpayers than to the Union. Come 2015 when both the Union contract and my term are up, there will not be a majority on the board with the spine to stand up to the Union, let them strike, and show who's really "For the Children". The results of the election this November are irrelevant. Two terms is enough. It's important to me that I not be sitting on the board when I'm 30.

When I came home from work today, my darling girlfriend wrapped her arms around me, hugged me tight, and said "why can't they just leave you alone?" I replied "because I stand for something, loudly and proudly." I will continue to do so. I will not resign. I'm eccentric, opinionated, a curmudgeonly sonofabitch, and sometimes, just plain weird. That makes people uncomfortable. Good. I like afflicting the comfortable. Especially Unions.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

9-23-2013 East Penn School Board Agenda and Planned Votes

1.) Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance

2.) Requests to Address the Board

3.) Approval of Minutes

4.) Report of the Superintendent of Schools
   1.) District Update
   2.) Personnel- I tentatively plan to vote in favor of this item. I have a few questions.
   3.) Contract for Consultation Services
Resolved that the East Penn School Board of Directors approve the Contract for Consultation Services for Dr. Rebecca Woodland, University of Massachusetts, Amherst for services and activities as indicated in Exhibit 6 for a cost not to exceed $55,440.- I will absolutely oppose this item.

5.) Legislative
PSBA 2014 Slate of Candidates- I will be abstaining on this item. I will maintain my practice of abstaining on all votes involving the Pennsylvania School Board Association as I do not feel they have the best interest of the taxpayers at heart.

6.) Policy- Board Policy 903, Public Participation at Board Meetings: Informational

7.) Business Operations-
   1.) Approval of Bill List- I plan to vote in favor of this item
   2.) Parent/Guardian Transportation Contract- I will vote in favor of this item.

8.) Announcements

9.) Adjourn!

Monday, September 9, 2013

9-9-2013 East Penn School Board Meeting Summary

1.)  Call to Order; Pledge of Allegiance

2.) Oath of Office: Mrs. Kristen Campbell, Assistant Superintendent
The Hon. Judge Doug Reichley administered her Oath of Office. Was good to have Doug with us.

3.)  Requests to Address the Board- East Penn School Board Candidate Chris Donatelli addressed the Board about the Rifle Team's omission from the 2012-2013 East Penn School District Yearbook and demanded to know why and to have it made right for the kids that were a part of the team. His son was a member of the team which had a highly successful year and by every right, should have been recognized in the yearbook. That said, I suspect the omission had to do with sensitivity to school shootings. It shouldn't have been done but I'm highly skeptical that any restitution will take place, unfortunately.

4.) Approval of Minutes- This item was approved unanimously

5.) Report of the Superintendent of Schools-
   1.) District Update- Dr. Seidenberger reported a drop in the number of East Penn Students leaving for Charter Schools. He attributed this to the bad (and in his opinion, deserved) press that Cyber Charter Schools have received of late as a result of a full court press from the Educrat Community in Pennsylvania. He also discussed the possible future expansion of East Penn's own in-house cyber program, of which I am a firm supporter. This may result in the creation of blended brick-and-mortar and cyber educational programs that will be made available district-wide. This is why I am such a firm advocate of School Choice outside of Public Education. It forces us to grow and adapt. Competition is good, even if the established order doesn't like it.
   2.) Personnel- This item was approved unanimously

6.) Other Educational Entities
-Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit
-Lehigh Career and Technical Institute

7.) Policy: Final Adoption Board Policy 206- This item was approved unanimously.

8.) Business Operations
   1.) Approval of Bill List- This item was approved by 7-0 with one abstention (Lynn Donches) Board President Ballard was absent.
   2.) Investment of Funds- This item was approved unanimously
   3.) Facility Rental- This item was approved unanimously
   4.) Disbursement of Funds- This item was approved unanimously

9.) Announcements

10.) Adjourn!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Agenda and Planned Votes for 9-9-2013 East Penn School Board Meeting

1.) Call to Order; Pledge of Allegiance

2.) Oath of Office- Mrs. Kristen Campbell, Assistant Superintendent
Judge Doug Reichley will administer the Oath of Office to Mrs. Campbell

3.) Requests to Address the Board

4.) Approval of Minutes- I plan to vote in favor of this item

5.) Report of the Superintendent of Schools
   1.) District Update
   2.) Personnel- I plan to vote in favor of this item

6.) Other Educational Entities

7.) Policy: Final Adoption Board Policy 206- I plan to vote in favor of this item

8.) Business Operations
   1.) Approval of Bill List- I plan to vote in favor of this item
   2.) Investment of Funds- I tentatively plan to vote in favor of this item
   3.) Facility Rental- I plan to vote in favor of this item
   4.) Disbursement of Funds- I plan to vote in favor of this item

9.) Announcements

10.) Adjourn!

PARANORMAL NIGHT, "Are Bigfoot, UFOs, and the MIB Related" Edition to be Held at King Koffee in Emmaus on Saturday, September 14th!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

American Majority to Hold Candidate Training in Allentown on Saturday, September 14th

Conservative activist group American Majority will be holding a candidate training workshop on Saturday, September 14th, in Allentown at the Public Library. Here are the details:
Running for office? Interested in running for office? Managing a campaign?

American Majority will be holding a special candidate training for folks running for office, interested in running for office or managing a campaign on

September 14, 2013
at the

Allentown Public Library
1210 Hamilton St, Allentown, PA 18102
This intensive training will teach you the ins and outs of running a successful campaign!
Whether it's running for school board or State Rep, American Majority's Candidate Training will give you the tools you need to win and change the shape of our local and state government.

Training will begin at 10am and end at 5pm. Lunch will be provided.
Cost - $20 per person.
Space is limited! RSVP to Cecilia@americanmajority.org

I, myself am scheduled to work and will not be able to attend.

Monday, September 2, 2013

If We Can Bust the Unions, Everything's Gonna Start Going Our Way

A week or so ago, I re-watched the Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts "Let's-Strip-Ronald-Reagan-of-Credit-For-Winning-the-Cold-War" agenda film "Charlie Wilson's War". Despite the dubious motives for the film's creation, I rather enjoy it and it has some fantastic one-liners. Among my favorites is:
"If we can help them shoot down the goddamn helicopters, everything's gonna start going our way."
As today was Labor Day, it occurred to me that Scott Walker and Wisconsin have shown a similar line of plain, obvious, and effective reform to help restart the economic machine of America: If we can bust the Unions, everything's gonna start going our way.

For decades, public sector Unions have crushed the taxpayers by demanding ever higher taxes to pay their way-out-of-line salary and benefits. Governor Walker all but made public sector Unions illegal and his state is seeing unprecedented economic growth.

As a reward for his courage in pushing this landmark legislation, Governor Walker was re-elected during last year's recall effort despite national Union groups throwing everything they had at him. The taxpayers of Wisconsin, the birthplace of modern Progressivism, know that Scott Walker did right by them. He looks well poised to win re-election next year.

Across the country, including in my native Pennsylvania, "moderate" Republican Governors and legislators have cowered in fear of "Union power" and, with few exceptions, they have failed to follow Wisconsin's lead. PA Governor Tom Corbett is paying the price for his do-nothing term in office and he looks likely to lose re-election next year in landslide fashion.

While we know what public sector Unions have done to taxes and debt, many are more timorous about taking on private sector Unions. After all, they do have a Constitutional right to freedom of association. Indeed they do, as do those of us who have no wish to belong to a Union and be part of their Collectivist agenda. That's where Right to Work laws come in.

Private sector Unions have a right to exist. We have a right to examine what they have done to America. They have destroyed the American auto industry and driven millions of working-class jobs overseas. Corporations have the right to turn a profit and Unions have paralyzed private industry with unsustainable wages for low-skill jobs. As a result, they have caused their own demise. A record low of 7% of the American workforce currently belongs to a Union and frankly, that number is more than WANT to belong to a Union.

In many states, like my home of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, we have "closed shop" laws where, if you work in a company that has a Union, you must pay dues to the Union regardless of whether or not you wish to join. If you do not want full Union membership, you are required to pay your "fair share" (usually about 80-90% of the full membership cost). There is nothing fair about forcing workers to pay membership to any political organization and that is exactly what Unions are.

Right to Work laws, as have been passed in Indiana and Michigan, allow workers to take jobs in Union shops and choose whether they wish to belong or not. This is true freedom of association and choice. The reason Unions oppose this and call it "Union Busting" is because they know that if people are given the right to choose, even less than the current 7% of the US population will opt to be Union members. An additional benefit of Right to Work status for a state is they become magnets for business looking to flee high-regulation, closed shop states.

Unions have damaged the great country that America once was (and can be again). As a result, they are facing extinction. They still have a stranglehold on most American taxpayers and many large companies in the private sector. If Republicans will lead the way to freedom of association and economic prosperity and pass laws to break the Unions, everything will start going America's way.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

8-26-2013 East Penn School Board Meeting Summary

Last night's meeting was relatively uncontentious and civil. Here's a rundown of the agenda and how the votes went.

1.) Call to Order; Pledge of Allegiance

2.) Requests to Address the Board- Willow Lane Parent Jonathan Berger of Macungie spoke about how the first day of school went with the new busing situation. As can be expected, there were a few hiccups and Lower Macungie Township has yet to put up school zone signage, but things seemed to go relatively well.

3.) Approval of Minutes- This item was approved unanimously

4.) Report of the Superintendent-
   1.) Presentation: Educational Effectiveness Model and School Performance Profile- This item was merely informational but I would request that next time, the administration provide handouts to go along with the presentation. This has been common practice in the past and I'm not sure why it was not the case last night.
   2.) District Update- Superintendent Seidenberger has done some digging on a policy change submitted by Ms. Donches earlier this year and pushed by me in the past referable to allowing for more public comment. This item will be discussed in further detail at the September 23rd Board meeting.
   3.) Personnel- We hired a new assistant principal for Emmaus High School to fill a vacancy. The entire agenda item was approved unanimously.
   4.) Revision to the EHS Discipline Code- This item was approved unanimously
   5.) American Red Cross Authorized Provider Agreement- This item was approved unanimously
   6.) Contract for In School Nursing Services- This item was approved unanimously
   7.) Contract with the Borough of Emmaus (for the EHS Rifle Team)- This item was approved unanimously

5.) Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit: Special Eduction Services Agreement- This item was approved unanimously.

6.) Policy
   1.) Final adoption Board Policy 116.1 Exceptions to Academic Sequence- This item was approved unanimously.
   2.) Second Reading Board Policy 206, Assignment Within District- This item will be voted on at the September 9th meeting.

7.) Business Operations
   1.) Approval of Bill List- This item was approved 8-0 with Ms. Donches abstaining. Though I had heretofore abstained with her as she requests to find out more information such as account codes, I decided that I have made my point and will, except in case of extraordinary circumstances, vote in favor of this item from here on out.
   2.) SunGard K-12 Education Master Software License, Maintenance, and Services Agreement- After myriad questions from Ms. Donches, this item was approved unanimously.
   3.) Retirement Plan Compliance and Administration Services Agreement- This item was approved unanimously.
   4.) Disbursement of Funds- This item was approved unanimously.

8. Announcements

9. Adjourn- This item was approved unanimously

Monday, August 26, 2013

Agenda and Planned Votes for 8-26-2013 East Penn School Board Meeting

1.) Call to Order; Pledge of Allegiance

2.) Requests to Address the Board

3.) Approval of Minutes- I plan to vote in favor of this item.

4.) Report of the Superintendent of Schools
   1.) Presentation: Educational Effectiveness Model and School Performance Profile
   2.) District Update
   3.) Personnel- I plan to vote in favor of this item.
   4.) Revision to the Emmaus HS Discipline Code- While I truly feel that some of the discipline code is too strict and strident (and have done since I was a member of the Emmaus High School Jefferson Committee which was partially responsible for writing the code) I plan to vote in favor of this item at this time. In the future, I may have proposed amendments.
   5.) American Red Cross Authorized Provider Agreement- I plan to vote in favor of this item
   6.) Contract for In School Nursing Services- I plan to vote in favor of this item
   7.) Contract with the Borough of Emmaus (for the Rifle Team)- I plan to vote in favor of this item

5.) Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit: Special Education Services Agreement- I plan to vote in favor of this item.

6.) Policy
   1.) Final Adoption of Board Policy 116.1: Exceptions to the Academic Sequence- I plan to vote in favor of this item.
   2.) Second Reading- Board Policy 206

7.) Business Operations
   1.) Approval of Bill List- While I have, for the past several months, abstained on voting on this item in solidarity with Ms. Donches as she attempts to acquire more information, tonight I will start voting in favor of this item, barring extraordinary circumstances. I believe I have made my point but I continue to support Ms. Donches' efforts to obtain whatever information she feels she needs.
   2.) SunGard K-12 Education Master Software License, Maintenance, and Service Agreement- I plan to vote in favor of this item.
   3.) Retirement Plan Compliance and Administration Services Agreement- I tentatively plan to vote in favor of this item but I retain the right to abstain, based upon how the conversation goes.
    4.) Disbursement of Funds- I plan to vote in favor of this item

8.) Announcements

9.) Adjourn!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

"You're Next" is "The Strangers" for Libertarians **SPOILER ALERT**

After doing a fair bit of Sunday housekeeping, I decided that, instead of doing the responsible thing and going to do my laundry at that Purgatory-of-the-Proletariat, the Laundromat, I'd treat myself to a matinee (cheap!) showing of "You're Next".
I'm a big fan of horror movies. Not so much overly-bloody slasher flicks, but there's often enough overlap that I see them, regardless.

The movie is billed as a family fighting back while under attack in a cabin-in-the-woods by a bunch of random weirdos in animal masks. Reminds me of the last truly scary slasher movie I saw: "The Strangers". Sure, I'm game! (get it?!).

If you hate spoilers, STOP READING RIGHT NOW!
....still with me? Ok, here we go.

In one of the opening scenes, Crispian (A.J Bowen) talks to his girlfriend Erin (Sharni Vinson) about his parents who are former Defense contractors and says "are you sure you're ok having dinner with fascists?"

Fantastic. Another movie where those who don't support suicidal foreign policy are portrayed as heartless dictators...right? Wrong.

Crispian and Erin arrive at his parents "retirement project" cabin deep in the woods just as his mother, Aubrey, is crying in the driveway because she's convinced she heard someone upstairs. Crispian startles his father, Paul, as he's poking around upstairs with a walking stick.

Horror movies would have nothing to work with if the protagonists all owned guns and knew how to properly use them. Just something to think about. Also, why is it that Hollywood invariably only shows cops and bad guys in possession of anything more powerful than knives? Their vision for America truly is a horror show.

That night, Crispian and his girlfriend are cuddled up in bed together as he laments how his rich father is paying people to fix up the old house rather than taking his "retirement project" into his own hands.

The next day, the rest of the Davison clan comes to the cabin for the parents wedding anniversary. It's clear that there are some...stresses between the siblings. Golden boy brother Drake and his wife Amy have the looks and are the favorites of father Paul. Behind the scenes, they're having some issues of their own and are apparently pill poppers as Amy inexplicably has Vicodin in her purse. Drake pops a couple after his wife turns down his sexual advances.

Younger brother Felix shows up with his smoking (literally) girlfriend "Zee". Audrey clearly takes a distaste to the young lady but she dotes on her youngest son so, all is well.

Daugher/sister Aimee Davison comes to the cabin with her "underground filmmaker" boyfriend, Tariq.

The family sits down together at dinner and says grace (which Zee rolls her eyes at). In order to preserve his position as favorite son, Drake starts to inquisitorially pick apart, Tariq, Crispian, and Erin (a former student of Crispian's...he is a fairly unsuccessful, albeit published, academic/professor). In the middle of the tumult, an arrow flies through the window and kills Tariq.

As the family scuttles and scatters for cover, Drake takes an arrow in the shoulder.

At this point, Erin mysteriously exhibits a take charge attitude and starts boarding up the windows and showing a surprising amount of calm and levelheadedness.

She slowly but methodically kills the animal-masked attackers. They slowly but surely kill family members one by one.

It is revealed that Felix has hired these assailants to kill his family and secure their millions for his own. His girlfriend "Zee" is in on the plot and even seems to have a more pathological zest for it than he does (might it have been her idea?) She entreats him to have sex with her next to his dead mother's corpse. He demurs.

Erin has some revelations of her own.

She was raised by a prepper/survivalist father in the Australian Outback. Apparently her mother left him and brought her to the states when she was a teen, but the training evidently stuck. She kills all 3 (or is it 4?) masked assailants (by herself), learns of Felix's plot, and kills him and Zee. Though she is injured in the fight, she survives.

Crispian, who had earlier "escaped" under the auspices of going for help, returns. He was, in fact, in on the plot to have his family murdered, he just couldn't be there because he's "a pacifist who just can't handle the violence stuff". When Erin learns of this, she kills him too.

No sooner does Crispian's body hit the floor than a blundering policeman shoots the already seriously wounded young woman in the shoulder. She falls to the floor but still tries to prevent the cop from being killed by the booby-trap she set at the door. She fails and the movie rolls to credits (where it is implied Erin survived when a picture of her labeled "suspect?" flashes on screen).

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing "You're Next". There were twists from the usual too-much-blood soaked summer horror flicks, not a ton of unnecessary and gratuitous nudity, and a surprising number of limited government themes.

The "survivalist" saves the day (sort of...she survives, anyway), the anti-war, "anti-greed" academic gets the ax...erm...knife, and even the Libertarian "The Police Are Not Your Friends" theme makes an appearance.

It was refreshing, different, and worth seeing (if you have the stomach for this kind of thing).

Property Tax Elimination Rally to be Held/Broadcast in Laureldale, PA

Received notice of this via email and thought I'd share it with the rest of y'all. I'll be working and thus, unable to attend.
"Mike Faust Radio Show – WEEU 830AM --LISTEN LIVE or Streaming On-line

HB76/ SB76 School Property Tax Elimination
Time: 9AM- Noon
Date: Thursday, August 29th, 2013
Place: Boyer’s Floor Covering, 3020 Kutztown Rd., Laureldale, PA 19605
Special Guests: You the People, Supporting Legislators, Grassroots Initiators of this movement
Join the voices of PA taxpayers"

Lower Macungie Township Commissioner-Elect Ron Beitler Pledges to Blog Votes!

It's no secret that I wasn't a big fan of Patrick Slattery/Citizens for Strong(arm) Communities/EPIC candidate Ron Beitler in his bid for LMT Commissioner. Regardless, the voters of Lower Mac. have spoken and he will appear on both Republican and Democrat ballots in November making him all but certain to be elected.

Personally, I like Ron, it's just his connections to Mr. Slanderous Slattery that I question. I wonder if the Slattery/Jane Fretz crew will regret their decision to support him when he starts casting votes. We'll see. I plan to attend a few LMT meetings just to see how things go.

Ron emailed me to let me know that he's "stealing" my "agenda posts" but he gave me credit. I emailed him back and let him know that I first got the idea from Michigan Congressman Justin Amash who explains every vote via Facebook and Twitter. Mr. Beitler amended his blog appropriately.

Anyway, good on Ron and may he serve the citizens of Lower Macungie Township and give them the Government they deserve!

Anyone See this in the Sky on Saturday?

After my shift was over at work on Saturday evening, I went, as I often do, for a little drive around the LV just to clear my head. As I was heading roughly North in Lynn Township, this bright spot in the sky caught my notice.
It was absolutely a fixed point in the sky and didn't move that I saw so, UFO is out of the question. Planet? Star? Space station? NSA Spy satellite? What say you?

Email me @ StolzReport@gmail..com with your thoughts!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Congressman Charlie Dent to Hold Town Hall on Wednesday 8-21-2013

Lehigh Valley Congressman Charlie Dent is holding a Legislative Town hall meeting on Wednesday, August 21st a the Jewish Community Center in Allentown.
This public meeting will begin at 5:30 PM and will last until 6:30 PM.
The JCC is located at 702 N 22nd Street in Allentown, PA.
 The Congressman's website says you can call (610) 770-3490 if you have any questions.

I wonder if the local "Organizing for Amerika" crowd will employ the "why do you want to deport my daddy?" strategy?

I will be unable to attend as I'm working that night. Too bad, it should be interesting.

Dueling East Penn Events to Take Place on Tuesday 8-20-2013

Apparently, community education cannot even take place in the East Penn School District without rancorous partisan divide. Tomorrow night, the East Penn Invested Citizens (or EPIC) will be holding an event as will the Concerned East Penn Taxpayers Association (CEPTA). Here are the details on both:

Dear Community Members, 
EPIC is pleased to annouce the formation of the EPIC Education Council..  The EPIC Education Council will be presenting monthly forums on topics related to education in EPSD starting in October 2013.  These forums will be open to the public but the council itself will be comprised of an executive board and 2 parent/guardian representatives from each school in the district. The responsibilities of the school representatives will be to bring information from the forums back to their school community either via the parent organizations, email, or newsletters. Council members will also elect future executive boards and plan the calendar of forums in coming years.  

You are invited to attend an organizational meeting on Tuesday, August 20th, at 7pm in the EPSD board room (Conference Rooms A & B in the Administration Building).  At this meeting we will introduce the EPIC Education Council's founding executive board and bylaws.  We will also review our tentative schedule of forums for the 2013-14 school year. This will be an opportunity for you to find out more about the council and how you can participate. 

Please RSVP to EPICEducationCouncil@gmail.com so we know to expect you.  Feel free to share this invitation with friends and neighbors in the East Penn School District that you think would be interested in this effort. 
We look forward to seeing you on the 20th. 

EPIC is a continuation of the Jane Fretz Union front group "Citizens for Children" (they would properly be called "Citizens for Higher Taxes") from the pitched election battles of the early 90's. Of course, they're none too happy with me for saying so. I find it interesting that they're holding their political events on taxpayer property with representation from the administration. 

At last Monday's meeting, Director Michael Policano and I introduced a resolution recommending (not requiring) that the administration also send a representative to CEPTA's Tuesday meeting on Common Core. The resolution was voted down 6-3 with Director Lynn Donches (wife of CEPTA President John Donches) joining Mike and I in support. Since there is no financial gain for the Donches' from CEPTA, it was not a conflict of interest for Lynn to vote in favor, but in a similar situation, I might have abstained. I said as much to Ms. Donches after Monday's meeting was over. Still, no harm, no foul.

CEPTA's meeting announcement:
Date- Tuesday, August 20th, 2013
Location- Fire Company #1, 6th & Broad St., Emmaus
Time- 7:30-9:30 PM
- Mrs. Peg Luksik
- Honorable Ryan Mackenzie, PA House of Representatives
Former Gubernatorial candidate and graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania, in Special Education and Elementary Education Mrs. Peg Luksik will be presenting information on Common Core. Common Core is a U.S. education initiative that seeks to bring diverse State curricula into alignment with each other by following the principles of standards-based education reform. The initiative is sponsored by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
Mrs. Luksik’s will present information on the next federally mandated education system (Common Core) which will take the place of the failed “No Child Left Behind” program. Find out if this new system will be any better or if you think it could be even worse? Mrs. Luksik uses the federal filings submitted by Pennsylvania to present her argument of why she thinks it will be even worse.
Following Mrs. Luksik’s presentation State Representative Ryan Mackenzie will provide us with an update on the status of Common Core and how the State Legislator is responding to citizen's concerns.

Visit our website for more information, including a flyer for the event.

If I attend either meeting, it will be the CEPTA event. I have not yet decided whether or not I'll be there, but I encourage members of the public to attend one meeting or the other, based upon their preferred political persuasion.

It's Official, the Seasons are Changing (8-19-2013)

Anyone else notice people are off over the past week or so? People have been a little more irritable, rude, and vapid. I've noticed it in the twittersphere, out in public, and even with myself.

The seasons are changing and our balance is a little off. As I was mulling this over, it inspired a little attempt at poetry, so here it is.

In the Summer
Everything's easy
It's warm and comfortable and perfect
Then the Fall comes
And the seasons change
And we become restless and uncertain
But then Winter sets in
We settle in and get comfy
Soon Summer will return
And everything is easy again

Normally I have a seasonal preference for Summer and Winter. As those of you who know me are aware, I'm a very black-and-white guy. I don't like dealing in shades of gray. This year, I'm glad to see the Fall approaching and all that it entails, even if it means I'm a bit crazier than usual.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

8-12-2013 East Penn School Board Meeting Agenda and Planned Votes

1.) Call to Order; Pledge of Allegiance

2.) Requests to Address the Board

3.) Report of the Superintendent-
   1.) District Update
   2.) Personnel- I plan to vote in favor of this item
   3.) Performace Objectives for Central Office Team- I plan to vote in favor of this item
   4.) Approval of Naviance Contract- I tentatively plan to vote in favor of this item

4.) Legislative-
   1.) Voting Delegates for Delegate Assembly (to the Pennsylvania School Board Assocation)- I will abstain from voting on this item as I do not support the continued involvement of the EPSD as part of the PSBA. I believe that money could be better spent...anywhere else or better still, not spent at all!

5.) Policy
   1.) Second Reading: Board Policy 116.1 Exceptions to Academic Sequence
   2.) First Reading: Board Policy 206- Assignment Within District
I wonder, where are the drafts of the proposed policy changes Ms. Donches submitted to the administration several months ago? I will inquire about this at the meeting.

6.) Business Operations
   1.) Approval of Bill List- I will continue to abstain on this item.
   2.) Interim Real Estate Tax Bills:
RESOLVED, That the East Penn Board of School Directors not issue interim real estate tax bills if the additional tax revenue to be generated would be less than $50.
I tentatively plan to vote against this measure UNLESS it would result in significant cost savings to the district.
   3.) Record of Investments- I tentatively plan to vote in favor of this item.
   4.) Food Services Management Contract- I'm not certain of how I will vote on this item. It will depend on how the discussion goes during the meeting. As of now, I am leaning towards abstaining on this item to be consistent with my prior abstention on the "Lunch Ladies" contract at a prior meeting.
   5.) Disbursement of Funds- I plan to vote in favor of this item.

7.) Announcements

8.) Adjourn!

The agenda is missing an "Approval of Minutes" which is fairly boiler plate and appears on every other agenda. I have been provided with a copy of the minutes from the last meeting. I emailed my fellow Board Members and the administration to alert them to what was, I suspect an oversight. I plan to vote in favor of approving the minutes.

Dear City of Allentown, You're kidding, right?

The change of seasons is upon us and it has given me the desire to clean out my closets and get rid of clothes that I either can no longer wear because they don't fit, or just clothes that I know full well I'll never wear again.

I stopped by the Salvation Army in Allentown to donate my clothes to those who need them. This is what I was met with:

Parking meters? Really? Not a hardship for me, certainly. I can spare the quarter and a dime my visit required, but those in need of the Salvation Army's services or wishing to donate their time to a good cause should not have to pay to park.

I realize the privilege of parking there may be abused by visitors to the taxpayer-funded hockey arena currently being contructed a few blocks away, but the city should not levy a fee against those wanting to help or in need of help.

"We Are George Zimmerman"

I've been perplexed by the existence of Ebony magazine before. Somehow, I do not believe Dr. King would be too pleased that his crusade to bring equality has resulted in a magazine that is dedicated to focusing on skin color.
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Now the folks at Ebony have evidently decided race relations have not deteriorated quite enough in the wake of the Trayvon Martin verdict. Maybe their editorial staff thinks we need more riots. They have come out with a series of special edition magazine covers for September to "combat gun violence" (*try to curb second amendment rights) while lionizing a juvenile delinquent, thug-wannabe who was shot and killed by a Hispanic American defending his life against a "ground and pound" style assault.
Is this REALLY the role model African American families want their children looking up to? More importantly, is this the view their community wants the rest of America to have?

Think for a moment what would happen on the flip side of the coin. What if white Americans held a "We are George Zimmerman Rally"? What if Tea Party groups across the nation got together and took group photos with their conceal carry permits and guns. We would be called Klan members! Oh, wait, we don't even have to do that. All we have to do is be angered by this bit of demagoguery.
Somehow, the conversation about race in America has shifted from "we are all equal" to "we all need to embrace what's unique about our race". Whites are told to feel bad about the "privilege" of being born with white skin and that dare not be proud of it.
That tweet drew the following reply from a young, African American woman.

Are we all equal or are we different? This is apparently a conversation we still need to have as a society if we are truly to bring an end to tensions over race in America.

As for my view, this monologue from Gettysburg/The Killer Angels perfectly sums up my feelings.

"Well, if you mean the race, I don't really know. This is not a thing to be ashamed of. The thing is, you cannot judge a race. Any man who judges by the group is a pea-wit. You take men one at a time."
Skin color is not a privilege or obstacle. It just is part of nature. Everyone has their own reflexive biases and prejudices, I admit it freely for it is part of the human condition to fear that which is different but I never base the way I treat an individual upon their race, gender, religion, sexual preference, or social status. I start everyone with a clean slate and let them earn my respect or contempt. If Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman took that approach, both men would likely still be alive.

Cross posted at WatchDogWire

Monday, August 5, 2013

Gun Review: Winchester M70 Alaskan Stainless Laminate Part 1

"One loves to possess arms, though they hope to never have occasion for them."- Thomas Jefferson
 ...except, of course, for punching holes in paper, bowling pins, phone books, and water jugs.

I recently finished paying off a brand new Winchester Model 70 Stainless/Laminate Alaskan rifle in 300 Win. Mag.

First, a little background on how I arrived on owning this beautiful American classic.

Last year, I purchased a Vepr in 7.62 X 54r from Mississippi Auto Arms. I ordered the model with the 23 inch barrel and payed about $1100 after the FFL transfer and shipping. It was a lovely rifle with fantastic fit and finish for being an AK action. Molot is doing a great job producing this rifle and I hope there will be a steady stream of them coming into this country because...well, I have a few more on the wish list!

Unfortunately, they sent me the wrong one. They sent me the 20 inch barrel model. To my regret, I didn't notice until I compared it, side by side, to my Tula SKS. By then, it was too late for them to make it right. I don't necessarily hold it against them. They were very nice to work with and responsive to my emails and questions. I would (and probably will) buy from them in the future. Flukes happen.

A 20 inch barrel just isn't enough to burn off all the powder in the 7.62 rimmed Russian cartridge (though I still want an M38 carbine to go with my Izhevsk Mosin Nagant rifle) and I purchased a Super Vepr in 308 with my tax rebate so, I decided to trade it in. I took a loss, but still got $700 in trade in value from BudsGunShop.com. This was after the height of the recent gun buying panic...too bad I didn't decide to trade it a few months earlier!

Buds is the only shop still carrying the M70 Alaskan Stainless in 300 Win. Mag. They are no longer being produced. If you want one, move now! Buds will make the experience as painless as paying over a grand can be.

Fast forward 90 days and I finally paid off the remaining $527 of the $1227 (including insurance) bill and they sent it to my preferred FFL, the Handgunner in Topton, PA.

Earlier this year, I picked up a Beretta PX4 Subcompact 9mm from the Handgunner and they were just a pleasure to buy from and sold it to me at a very fair price. The attitude compared to the guys at the Army Navy Store in Allentown is the difference of night and day.

I drove down last Friday and picked up the rifle. Experience has now taught me to thoroughly check the purchase over before accepting the transfer. It was flawless.

I still had a box of 9mm Makarov from when I owned a CZ 82 (I traded it in to help finance the purchase of the Beretta). The gentleman who owns the Handgunner knocked a few bucks off the transfer fee in exchange. More than fair, in my opinion.

And now, because unless there are pictures, it didn't happen.

I prefer iron sights on my rifles. Scopes can break and with a hard hitting cartridge like the 300 Winchester Magnum, scope error/breakage is entirely possible. It's a matter of preference, of course and YMMV.

The rifle comes with a perfectly serviceable set of open sights consisting of a flip up rear sight and a bright hooded bead front sight. Sight picture picks up nicely on a dark background or a light one.

The bolt action is the smoothest I've had the pleasure of owning and it outmatches my excellent condition VZ 24 by a good bit. I look forward to seeing if it out shoots it as well.

Unlike my milsurps, the Winchester comes with a nice, soft, Pachmyr decelerator pad which with 300WM, I'm sure to need.

Now, my complaints (and these are completely subjective). The Monte Carlo comb isn't as high as I'd wish it would be and I get the distinct impression that I'm going to need to work on keeping the rifle from smacking me in the cheek with recoil. Should be fun. No teacher quite like experience.

Also, I'm used to shooting milsurps, revolvers, and AK action rifles. This trigger is CRISP and breaks with no take-up and squish. On the one hand, it will help me avoid developing a flinch. On the other, a little warning before she goes BOOM might be nice.

Those are my first impressions. I'm going to pick up some ammo soon and take it to the range to see if  it shoots as good as it looks and as good as I expect the "rifleman's rifle" will. When I get out to the range, pictures will follow. Might even bring the girlfriend along!

Just because, a "family photo" of my entire collection.

Top to bottom: 1942 Mosin Nagant, Turkish VZ 22 , the Win. M70, a Romanian contract VZ. 24, 308 Super Vepr, Tula SKS, Rossi Circuit Judge, and the Beretta PX4

Cross Posted at Grassroot Journal.

Restaurant Review: La Placita

I'm a big fan of Mexican food. Heck, at 6'1 and 245lbs, I'm a big fan of food, period. For most of my life, my favorite Mexican fix in the Lehigh Valley had been Amigo Mio on Cleveland and 6th in Allentown. When they closed last year, it was quite literally the end of an era. I had been going there since before I was even born (my late mother had been going there for years before I was even a thought).
Image courtesy of the Morning Call online
Thankfully, I was well prepared for their closing. The proprietors of the establishment had warned me some time before that they were considering closing their doors after more than 3 decades in business.

About 3 years ago, I stumbled upon a nice, quaint, hole-in-the-wall (albeit a very clean hole-in-the-wall) on 12th street in Allentown called La Placita. In truth, they had better quality, more authentic food than Amigo Mio, but nostalgia kept me coming back to my old standby. Still, I made it a point to stop by the family run La Placita as often as I could afford it.

This past Friday, before heading to my job at the Lehigh Valley Mall, I left a little early and made a stop for a late lunch/early dinner. As I always am, I was glad I stopped in.

La Placita is a Mexican deli/grocery store that happens to have about a half dozen small tables in back. Want lard? Fresh limes? Ginger? Cilantro? You got it!

The menu features everything from relatively pedestrian double wrapped soft shell tacos to more adventurous fare such as tripe soup, spicy pork with cactus, and goat. My tastes on this particular visit were less than exotic.

I started with my personal favorite, an order of three spicy pork tostadas. Sometimes I opt for a steak tostada as part of the mix but their spicy pork is truly exquisite. I wish I knew what blend of herbs and spices they used to flavor it, but I'm content to leave it a mystery. If you're not into "spicy" food, you would still be safe with this choice. It's well seasoned, but hardly any heat.

The tostadas come with lettuce, sour cream, cilantro, onions, a smattering of queso fresco, re fried beans and a generous helping of whatever meat you decide to order on them. You get three for the princely sum of $7.50.

For those who prefer tacos (I did not order any on this particular outing), they are priced similarly and consist of 2 soft tortillas on each taco (double wrapped), onions, cilantro, and the meat of choice.

All of their entrees come with a side of their freshly made tomatillo salsa verde. It varies in spiciness according to the season and I've even had it vary from week to week. Suffice it to say, it isn't for those shy about embracing the fire. I think it's delicious.

My second (and last) course was Enchiladas Verdes con Queso. For the uninitiated, cheese enchiladas in the aforementioned spicy green tomatillo sauce.

The enchiladas, like most of their entrees, come with a side of re fried pinto beans and nicely seasoned rice. On top of the green sauce, was lettuce, sour cream, a sprinkling of queso fresco, and 3 slices of avocado. If you don't do spicy, try the enchiladas with red sauce. I finished about 2/3rds of it before I realize my eyes had been somewhat bigger than my rather sizable stomach and decided to call it a day.

The bill, including tax, was just over $17. With tip, $20.

If you're a Lehigh Valley native and you decide you're ready to step up your game from the usual Taco Bell or some of our other less-than-authentic chains, I highly recommend a visit to La Placita. If you're one of the many New York and New Jersey imports to the LV, you'll be glad to find something truly different from the meat-and-potatoes standards in the area. They're open every day except Tuesday. The ingredients are as fresh as you'll find anywhere and they're prepared by a family that knows what they're doing. In this era of NIZ funded stimulus in Mayor Ed's Allentown, visit a place run by folks who are making their life in America without government money.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Finally, I Agree With Charlie Dent

It is well known that while I personally like Lehigh Valley Congressman Charlie Dent, I think he's about as much of a Conservative as, well, Chris Christie.

He's finally got one right and oh-my does he have the anti-gun crowd up in a lather.

Congressman Dent is taking a (surprisingly) firm stance against gun control. God bless him.

I'd hope that anyone who is not convicted of a crime can retain their Constitutional right to own a firearm. Hell, the Obama White House considers Tea Party members to be terror suspects!

The Wit and Wisdom of My Opponents

My opponents have put together an adorable little hate blog and twitter account to, I suppose, attempt to bully me into silence. Yeah, not happening any time soon. They've done a fine job of accusing me of everything from being a drunk and having a learning disability to calling for violent revolution (I'm not calling for it but it's only a matter of time...)

They've attacked and slandered my loved ones, ex girlfriend(s), and even stalked me at my place of employment. Let me share some of their genius with you here:

In which they suggest that I intend to commit violence against others.
...and again here.
...and again here (complete with insinuations about me being lacking in my manhood. I can at least be sure it's not a jilted ex-girlfriend!)

Insinuating that I'm a drunk while also talking about my family. My personal favorite, stalking me while I'm at work.

That's not all! On their adorable little twitter account, a "gentleman" calling himself "Kevin Chang" (there is no Kevin Chang that lives in the East Penn School District) promotes their blog to his 13 followers. Here are a few gems of his tweets.

(Oh, I don't know, Emancipation proclaimation? Pass the Civil Rights Act?)

One of "Kevin Chang's" biggest fans? Why our very own local Organizing for Amerika Aktivist, Hillary Smith who was being TOTALLY impartial and outraged without any ideological reason when she called for my resignation. Treats from her recently unprivated twitter account, @MacungieDems

Well, Ms. Smith. I'm an unapologetic Conservative. Get over it. Also, you're not a liberal. You're a Progressive. John Locke was a Liberal. What you want to do is destroy the Constitution and system that this Nation was founded upon. For the last century or so, your side has been winning. I hope you like where you're leading America.

I suppose the point of these blogs and twitter accounts is that I should be ashamed of who I am, what I say, who I love, or what I believe. Well, I'm not and to prove it, a link to their twitter accounts and blog has been added to my links at the sidebar of this website.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"We've Done the Impossible, and That Makes Us Mighty!"

"The Alliance said they were gonna waltz through Serenity Valley. And we choked 'em with those words. We've done the impossible, and that makes us mighty! Just a little while longer. Our angels are gonna be soaring overhead, raining fire on those arrogant Khags. So you hold."- Sergeant Malcolm Reynolds "Firefly"
So went one of the opening lines of the pilot to the short-run TV show, Firefly. Of course, the rebel "brown coat" Independents' leadership never sent in the "angels" (starships) because the fight was "too hot" and their foot soldiers were ordered to "lay down arms".

Shortly thereafter, the Independents' revolt against the dictatorial "Alliance" was defeated.
Not a bad metaphor for the fight we now face on the government shutdown/defunding Obamacare.

After Obama won his second term, the Progressives thought that Obamacare implementation was assured and they could move on and pass their agenda including "gun control" (confiscation), immigration reform (amnesty), Cap and Trade, etc.

The Tea Party choked 'em with those words. We brought up the Benghazi, IRS, NSA wiretapping, drones, and other scandals and bogged down the Obama Administration to the point where none of their other legislation could pass. They were immobilized by having to defend one scandal after another.

We did the same from 2009 through the 2010 midterm elections. At town halls around the nation we made the voice of "We the People" heard. We provided the volunteer hours, the neighbor contact, and the candidates to take back the House of Representatives and break the Democrats filibuster proof majority in the Senate. The Tea Party, not the Republican Party, did all of that. We worked in concert with the GOP and even as their foot soldiers on the electoral battlefield.
In 2012, we didn't get our candidate, but most of us still stood with the GOP nominee that we did not really like, but we understood the stakes.

Now, people like Karl Rove and Mitch McConnell are working to fight and defeat the Tea Party. They want us to lay down arms.

Playing the part of Sergeant Reynolds and his squad in this drama is Kentucky Senator Rand Paul along with his colleagues in the Senate such as Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah. They've cobbled together about two dozen GOP Senators who are refusing to vote in favor of another continuing resolution to fund the Federal Government past September 30th if it contains funding for Obamacare.

Over in the House of Representatives, Congressman Mark Meadows of North Carolina is leading a similar effort.

Make no mistake, this is the last possible opportunity to stop the implementation of ObamaCare. If we fail here, if we lose this fight, if we lay down arms, it becomes law and our health care will be controlled by the IRS. The same IRS that targeted Tea Party groups. Really think they won't find doctors to diagnose gun owners as mentally ill and pass state sanctioned gun confiscation that way?

Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is encouraging Republican Senators NOT to join the fight with Senators Paul and Lee. His willing lapdog Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, once a leading Conservative voice, has become a quisling against the movement. Republican leadership actually fears this fight and believes things could get too hot.

The American people, by a margin of nearly 2-1, oppose the implementation ofObamaCare. In 2014, if we stand firm on principle, we will be rewarded.

From 2009 to today, the Obama Administration thought they were just gonna waltz through with their agenda. And we choked 'em with those words! We've done the impossible, and that makes us mighty! Just a little while longer, and the American people will go to the polls and rain electoral death on those arrogant Progressives. So you hold.

Will McConnell and Co. stand with us or are they going to lay down arms and give up the fight?
Probably. As my Twitter compatriot GaltsGirl is fond of saying, "No one ever listens to the Libertarians".