Fat Tommy Has Some ‘Splaining’ To Do, Lucy

Let me start by saying that I believe Graham Spanier, Gary Schulz and Tim Curley – and maybe even Joe Paterno – screwed up. When they learned of Jerry Sandusky’s alleged sexual assault on a young boy, they should have immediately moved ahead with an official investigation or turned the information over to the Centre County district attorney.

Crying Nittany Lion

‘Nuff said.

They didn’t. But I do not believe they acted out of any self-interest or a desire to protect what over the past year has become labeled as the “football culture” at Penn State, Instead, I think they looked at the source of the information, then-graduate assistant coach Mike McQueary, and the fact that Sandusky had already been cleared on similar charges in 1998, and failed to take the allegation seriously.

Like I said, they screwed up.

But their actions pale in comparison to the bald-faced hypocrisy and callousness of Gov. Tom Corbett and his hand-picked puppets, Acting Attorney General Linda Kelly and Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan. Continue reading

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It’s Getting Deep In Allentown

The following is a letter I sent today to the Allentown City Council.

I am writing as a Salisbury Township resident who benefits from the Allentown water system. I know that you will be voting tonight on whether or not to authorize RFPs for the lease of the municipal water and sewer facilities. I understand that this is not an easy decision and the impact of your vote could be felt for decades – not just in Allentown, but in a large cross-section of Lehigh County.

Let’s turn off the hype and drink in some common sense.

That is why I am urging you to approve this initial step in the process. I know there are many reasons and many concerns about the Mayor’s proposal but I do believe there is an enormous ultimate benefit in leasing the systems to a responsible operator. If I understand correctly, your vote tonight does not signal final approval for the process, only to permit the administration to proceed with an RFP that could validate claims that such a lease could generate enough up-front money to help the city pay a significant portion of its retirement MMO and avoid potential bankruptcy in the near future.

But I believe there is an additional benefit to the entire Lehigh Valley – if this process is handled correctly, if a responsible operator is found, and if the lease goes through – and that is that this could provide a critical step toward a true regionalization of services for Lehigh County and provide a positive template for similar actions in Northampton County. Continue reading

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Remember how we felt when we learned about the tragedies 11 years ago today? Remember how we felt when we all came together in the aftermath of those awful attacks and swore that we’d be different, that we had gained a hard perspective, that we realized life was more than the shallow, petty differences that separated us before that day?

We could be so much more.

Unfortunately, remembering will have to do, because those days of togetherness, mutual support and promise lasted no longer than the time it took the dust to settle. Continue reading

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They Want Me To Do A Transvaginal WHAT?

ann romney

Really, there are some things you just can’t resist.

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Watery-Loo For The Grand Old Party?

Today’s the day the elephants start their picnic, to borrow from an old children’s song. Or it would have been, anyway, if God hadn’t sent a hurricane named for an old Jewish prophet storming up the Gulf of Mexico to piss all over their parade.

Elephants and woozles

Elephants and Woozles, and we’re strictly bamboozled …

Even fat Chris Christie will be hard-pressed to match Isaac’s wrath – and we all know what a blowhard he can be when he builds a head of steam and a good tailwind. I dunno, if God sends a hurricane as his delegate to your national political convention, it seems that you might want to re-think your message. God’s not subtle, but the Republicans are a pretty thick bunch. Remember, it took a statewide forest fire before voters got the hint to send Rick Perry scurrying back to Texas earlier this year. Continue reading

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Pony Up, Boys, The Posse Is Riding

The blogging bug has bitten again. Many people have asked why I don’t elaborate on my Facebook posts in a blog and the honest answer has been personal laziness. It’s much easier to post a short burst of outrage on Facebook and let ‘er rip than to think it through and create an organized essay worthy of publication in another medium.

That whirring noise you hear from the center of the state is Paterno spinning in his grave at the way his beloved university has caved to the bullying tactics of the NCAA, governor and others who have controlled this story since its outset.

But as an act of self-discipline and to retain the creative writing skills that don’t get as much of a workout in either my professional writing or on Facebook, I am going to try to become more serious about this blog. I can’t and won’t promise to post every day, but I will try to post several times a week.

That said, let’s start by returning to a favorite whipping post: Penn State and the action or inaction of its alleged leadership. The Board of Trustees held a phone meeting on Sunday to discuss whether to ratify the NCAA sanctions against the university, which removed 112 wins from Joe Paterno’s career record, reduced the scholarships available to football players and fined the university $60 million, among other things, for its alleged cover-up of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Continue reading

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Political Courage Needed To Save Allentown — And Its Suburbs

Fifty years ago a group of far-sighted businessmen (and yes, they were mostly men at that time) led by Walter Dealtrey created a concept that ultimately transformed the economic, demographic and geographic face of the Lehigh Valley. They called it the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park, and it started as a small development near what is now called Lehigh Valley International Airport.

Today Lehigh Valley Industrial Park boasts seven campuses across the region that are home to 470 businesses that employ 22,000 people. By 2015, that number is expected to reach 25,000, according to LVIP’s 2010 annual report.

The Valley owes a debt of gratitude to those pioneers. Because of their leadership in suburban and rural development, the region evolved from its heavy industry base to a diverse economy that, for the most part, has allowed it to survive the collapse of the rust belt, the loss of major employers such as Mack Trucks and Bethlehem Steel, and develop a more tech-oriented base that has attracted a once unimaginable variety of employers.

Update: The suits have been resolved and the arena is moving ahead.

But silver linings always have dark clouds behind them. Continue reading

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