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.