a column too far

I will start by saying that quite honestly, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is not my cup of tea most of the time. But I will be god damned and dead before I as a woman would judge a woman who was a victim of sexual assault and who also had a recent traumatic event trigger a past traumatic event. (See Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she is a sexual assault survivor in The Guardian and other media sources like the New York Times.) It is quite possible. And to essentially read a column written by a regional female writing voice essentially mansplain as a woman in her column just doesn’t sit right.

Of course the local papers collective mansplainers on the editorial board have some ‘splaining to do too, don’t they? I mean what is this saying? Being a bitch about someone else’s sexual assault makes great click bait???

(CLICK FOR ARTICLE: Christine Flowers: Some sex-abuse claims don’t deserve to be heard Feb 4, 2021 Updated Feb 4, 2021 and also featured in Delco Times and Pottstown Mercury.)

I feel strongly enough about this that I screenshot the article above. The Daily Local and most of the papers under the control of whatever hedge fund has eviscerated them has a hair trigger paywall. I also looked online at the digital capture of the physical paper and for the life of me can’t find this article in print so did they publish it online and run another column in print?

I (generally speaking), don’t read most of what this columnist writes. Yes it’s all her First Amendment Right to express herself and all that, but I question local papers giving her a platform when the platform is so truly offensive at times. This is hardly the first time she has written something awful, but it’s definitely one of the most offensive pieces. Why doesn’t she just have her own website platform for things like this? Or there is always Twitter. She loves Twitter….and if you aren’t like her, you are against her, and that can be exhausting in a columnist can’t it just?

People, women especially, are outraged by this recent piece and I think rightfully so. It’s just nasty. Here are a smattering of comments:

Sadly (and again I must point out) I can’t say she doesn’t have the right to her opinion, even if I find it well, horrible. However, the flip side is I have my opinion right here and right now that she is truly despicable for doing this and I will go further to say maybe she wants to be more relevant and is just sounding desperate? See some of her Tweetabulous tweeting recently:

“White suburban mommies read it in print, and clutched many a pearl.” Gosh Christine, maybe you don’t know from pearls? Everyone who owns pearls knows you don’t clutch them because that is how you break them, even if they are individually knotted in between each pearl. Very different from pop beads….

“These are the empathetic ovary brigadiers.” Now, I am not going to say it’s acceptable behavior to send this woman (or any woman) emails saying they wish violence upon her. That accomplishes nothing, suborns violence, and just makes people part of the problem, not solution. But the bitterness of calling women “empathetic ovary brigadiers” also doesn’t escape me. I could never have my own children, as medically it was never possible. But I was never bitter about it or was fixated because I just figured God had another plan and he did. Now don’t get me wrong, I sat through many a comment from women over the years like “You don’t have children, so you couldn’t possibly understand” and I will admit sometimes I had the mental image of smacking the smugness off of someone’s face when they said something like that. Or when I was in Corporate America years ago and I always got last chance to pick on holiday time off because I was single and had no children. I called it the “single tax” (and worse) but whatever, there were bigger things in life to worry about. However, in this scenario not sure what women who have had kids has to do with them not liking an article that kind of mocks victims of sexual assault, so I will stick with bitter and non-related.

“#MirrorMirror” What does that even mean? How did she think women would react or perhaps that was the point? A file under all attention good, bad, or indifferent is good?

What she wrote was her opinion, but in MY opinion she was wrong. It is hideous to presume as a writer that you know exactly when and how a woman who has been a victim of a sexual assault will react or exactly when another traumatic event will trigger a memory of another traumatic event. And coming from a woman just makes this worse. Christine Flowers doesn’t get a fab virtual look here as being strong or witty, she gets a virtual look (in my opinion) of bitter and nasty postmenopausal mean girl.

At almost 57 I can honestly say that I know more women who were sexually assaulted in some form (as in not always rape) than those who have not been. And it isn’t a case of birds of a feather. Yes, I was a victim once upon a time. It didn’t define me, I worked hard to move past it. But did I ever forget it? Oh hell no. It happened in the dark ages when you didn’t tell after because somehow it was always a woman’s fault, like you stood with a sign on a street corner that said “Assault Me, Please.Somehow I thought we had moved past that whole blame the victim and victim shaming, but apparently not.

I can’t as a woman say that another woman doesn’t still have PTSD over her assault. I can’t say that she does definitively have PTSD, either. But as a female writer, I don’t think I would build a column shaming a woman who was a victim of sexual assault and I wouldn’t be able to so assertively say this woman was using it to make herself a center of attention in the midst of a national tragedy (assault on the Capitol.)

I can’t minimize or mock what Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez has revealed or said on this topic, because I believe being in the middle or adjacent to the riots and siege of the US Capitol, or in the same city and even country could indeed trigger victims. Just like the sound of the cannon a local school years ago to start off certain football games used to trigger a Vietnam vet who lived close by. Just like a simple email about celebrating someone retiring triggered women I knew because the person that others wanted to celebrate should be anything but celebrated and with good reason. When I read Flowers’ Op Ed it made me remember again, decades later, why I never told.

We can’t say it isn’t possible for certain traumatic events to trigger past traumatic events, and we shouldn’t mock it. Christine Flowers was not right to do so. But she has to live in her own headspace with it, and judging from what I have seen, again in my opinion, she doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what any of us think and she is reveling in her negative spotlight. So bless her heart, she deserves people’s prayers for basically seeming just super hateful and uncaring.

But I do actually think it was a column too far. I do think the Daily Local was wrong publishing it.

Here is a rebuttal written by a woman in West Chester. I will share a large excerpt. Her name is Grace Nelson. Her words spoke to me:

Image result for thumbtack

Opening my local paper each morning, I am rarely without a sense of gratitude for the critical work news media does in upholding the basis of our democracy. Without exchange of ideals and ideas in this public square, our basis of governance would be rendered inert.

I consider the vulnerability and dedication of journalists and writers in these arenas to be acts of public service. It is in this context and with the above description of the heinous nature of sexual trauma in mind that I find myself so deeply disturbed by the disservice done by Christina. Flowers and the Daily Local News upon survivors of sexual assault and their allies…….Beyond this poorly disguised opportunity for political posturing conducted through a fallacy-laden line of argumentation, Ms. Flowers and those who allowed her words to be printed for mass consumption also finds themselves to be innately incorrect in their understanding of sexual abuse, the very subject matter at hand….survivors of sexual abuse know well that your identity as a survivor as well as the humanity you cling in your most difficult moments don’t only exist with convenience. You are always a survivor, regardless of who is watching and how that weight of trauma manifests itself in your moment to moment existence.

Whether Ms. Flowers finds it expedient that Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’s identity as a survivor manifested more strongly in the wake of the January 6th insurrection, the Congresswoman cannot and never will be able to peel away or compartmentalize her trauma….Neither was I able to shirk my reality as a survivor when I encountered this dangerous and hurtful column reading my morning paper over coffee.

I write to the Editor today not only in disgust of the words….but with an immense feeling of shame. I feel the familiar and occasional crush of shame of I carry in my life as survivor. I feel ashamed of the state of our national discourse surrounding sexual abuse knowing the pain words like Ms. Flower’s will carelessly inflict on a massive constituency of survivors.

I can’t imagine what The Daily Local, Delco Times, and Pottstown Mercury were thinking, and those people can live with their conscience on this. But if they thought they were being edgy and that would gain them additional readership, well I think all they have done is lose more readers, and possibly advertisers. And that in and of itself is a complete and utter disservice to local reporters who, in spite of the state of that paper, do their best to report the news.

When you read pure unadulterated bullshit like this, it just makes all of us no matter what our political or religious or racial persuasions to be better people. Last March she and the Philadelphia Inquirer went their different ways. (See Philadelphia Magazine article.) I didn’t actually know that until this all erupted, but her is her tweet from last year:

What Christine Flowers wrote is offensive but she also draws attention to the fact that sexual assault victims seem to be victim shamed still in 2021. It’s so last century….literally. And again, you just don’t expect the victim shaming of a woman to come from a woman.

Will she keep her job or just eventually go down with the sinking ship that is The Daily Local? Don’t know, and at the end of the day it is low on the scale of things that are important in life. Truthfully I suspect life will go on and Christine Flowers will continue to revel in negative attention.

The First Amendment comes in all shapes and sizes most sadly…..but newspapers don’t print all opinions and I am not sure why they printed this.

rotting in west whiteland…and completely derelict in appearance….

Two simple photos that speak volumes. They came with a message:

📌It is 2021 and this structure is also still standing and now falling into the local fresh water creek. West Whiteland Township shame on you. Route 100 and Township Line Road.📌

My posting of the (IMHO) dangerous and derelict structure in East Whiteland behind Osman’s Pizza on Route 30 in Frazer and adjacent to the Wawa at 30 and Planebrook has sparked an interesting community conversation. Simply put it is why can these municipalities take such care to approve all of the crazy unwanted development communities do NOT want, yet they seemingly ignore situations like this? I don’t have the answer and I know the process of getting derelict buildings down can be complicated, but maybe people have a point?

if mr. costello wants to go to washington, he needs to get out of his nappies first.


A preface: This post is a week old. WordPress has this oddity and flaw in its app of sometimes making you republish things although you already did. Such is the case here.

📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝📝

So former Chester County Commissioner and U.S. Congressman Ryan Costello blocked me on Twitter. I don’t really care but he behaved today in a manner so purely childish that I can’t believe he seriously wants people to take him seriously that he wants to run for Pat Toomey’s seat in the United States Senate.

I used to think he was a nice enough guy. I liked dealing with his congressional staff because he quite frankly inherited a lot of them from Jim Gerlach. I had dealt with them for years.

So today comes this Philadelphia Inquirer article on how he wants to run for U.S Senate. (And so does Lt. Gov. John Fetterman so please for the love of God, who else is running?)

Philadelphia Inquirer: Former Pennsylvania Republican congressman Ryan Costello is taking steps to run for Senate in 2022
by Jonathan Tamari and Andrew Seidman, Posted: January 8, 2021 – 4:50 PM

So that is the article if you want to read it. Anyway the PA and Chesco Twitterverse started discussing this. One because of the shall we say haphazard way he decided not to run for re-election and then bailed on the Chester County GOP. Because truthfully he did. Not that I actually blamed him back then because they were rattlesnake material circa 2016 in my humble opinion. And 2016 was a Republican epiphany back then for many of us, myself included. The day Trump became the nominee was my last day as a Republican.

My initial comment when I saw the article was ummm no, we have already been to this movie.

Then there was the commentary regarding what Costello said this week when he gave a sound byte to local media over the events in Washington:

📌Ryan Costello, a critic of President Trump who held the 6th District House seat before Houlahan, said “watching these protestors invade the Capitol reminded me of the left-wing protestors who would storm in and occupy my congressional office and harass my staff on a weekly basis. Politics has become an invitation for extremist behavior; to be rude, dangerous and disrespectful to our institutions and policy-makers.”📌

Ummm…leftist fringe? Some of these people are my friends.

I did say the following:

So Ryan Costello wants to run for US Senate? Here’s hoping he is out of his diapers before then, because this response out of him is better suited for sucking a binky and living on Parler.

Honestly, I am disappointed because I used to like him. And to color outside the lines in such a manner BEFORE he announces a legit run for office? He’s not exhibiting strength, he’s demonstrating immaturity at a minimum. There already are enough hate spewing windbags like this in Washington D.C.

They didn’t threaten anyone. They are hardworking people and he seemed to forget he worked for the people not the Chesco GOP or whatever. They did not feel they were being heard. And that is the worst feeling and one we as regular people feel all too often at the hands of our elected officials.

Not that Fetterman is a better choice for US Senate….I wouldn’t vote for him either at this point either and I have never liked Political Lurch.

Here is the letter he referred to BY LINK.

Here is the letter by text as I obtained it:

📌The Daily Local News should stop promoting former Congressman Ryan Costello’s false comparisons between our area and dangerous events on national news. The violent, seditious terrorists we witnessed at the nation’s Capitol bear absolutely no resemblance, whatsoever, to the peaceful demonstrators exercising their democratic rights outside his district offices in 2017 and 2018.

The former Representative should consult the Daily Local’s own accounts of what transpired before leveling dangerously false comparisons. Costello claims that protestors “stormed his office and harassed staff weekly,” but most of the constituent rallies took place outdoors and far away from Costello’s office and staff.

The one occasion constituents entered Costello’s district office to stage a sit-in, the Daily Local’s own account describes them as “unobtrusive” to the staffers. When asked to move to another room, they complied. They ate pizza and sang Christmas carols, then left. That was it. No guns, violence, broken windows, Confederate flags, Nazi flags, or threats of any kind.

Ultimately, Costello’s commentary once again proves himself disconnected from reality and from the community he was once elected to serve. There was nothing remotely similar between the peaceful gatherings at/near Costello’s office and the riotous mob in DC. Peaceful assembly and requesting redress are protected rights of our citizenry.

Responsible journalism would not treat Costello’s conflation of the two as fact. Clarity is critical at this moment for our body politic, and readers deserve to be informed about what relevance an opinion has to the truth. The Daily Local does a disservice to its readers by reporting such egregious claims without basis of truth.

Luke Bauerlein, Exton; Phil Dague, Downingtown; Jane Palmer, Wyomissing; Beth Sweet, West Chester and Claire Witzleben, Wayne📌

These folks have a right to be upset. I guess so does Ryan Costello that we were discussing it. And what happened next wasn’t very “senatorial.”

Ryan Costello started addressing me on Twitter. He told me I didn’t know what I was talking about and did I remember when he stuck up for me once upon a time. And I did remember that, and part of the topic was his wife had gotten upset when people startled her on their street. I believe she was a pretty young mom at this point and probably not used to the public eye. Politicians sign up for this life, and their families really have little choice in the matter. And I felt at the time and probably would still today that people could have been nicer to her and more understanding. I took a walloping on social media for my opinion, and he stood up for me and I will always appreciate that.

However, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to speak my truth about how I feel about certain things. And calling people I know some thing akin to domestic terrorists for staging a sit in with pizza it’s not some thing that sits right with me. And it is a gross miss characterization of what I believe happened.

We went back-and-forth a while and then he sent me a private message and basically said that he thought I was talking to him in good faith and then he saw the comment about calling him Baby Ryan. And then he blocked me. I guess he just wanted the last word.

He did however say in one Tweet he didn’t care if screenshots were taken and shown that he stands by what he said. So Ryan? I do think you are acting like a baby or a toddler. I was also however communicating in good faith. I wish you could see how you are hurting yourself. Pennsylvania is a much different political climate than when you pulled your exit with drama, stage right. You need to get to know people all over again and their issues then, and issues now.

Here are the screenshots. Hopefully in some semblance of order. 2021 is certainly quite the year so far:

there is a big difference between peaceful protesting and what happened 1.6.21 in washington d.c.

I love stick people because often they can explain what most people can’t comprehend. It’s very basic and very elementary school, and I think now we need to go back to basics in this country.

We need more stick man explanations as given how politicians former and present wish to define protests. As in comparing peaceful protests to suborning anarchy and domestic terrorism. If you want to increase your relevance (well Ryan Costello it has been a few years, right?), and a reporter gives you a sound byte, maybe this was ummm really coloring outside the lines??? See:

Area political leaders react with shock to attack of U.S. Capitol
Evan Brandt ebrandt@21st-centurymedia.com @PottstownNews on Twitter Jan 7, 2021

📌”Ryan Costello, a critic of President Trump who held the 6th District House seat before Houlahan, said “watching these protestors invade the Capitol reminded me of the left-wing protestors who would storm in and occupy my congressional office and harass my staff on a weekly basis. Politics has become an invitation for extremist behavior; to be rude, dangerous and disrespectful to our institutions and policy-makers.”📌

Say what?

And then a couple of days later you announce to other reporters/news outlets you are exploring becoming Pat Tooomey Jr in the United States Senate? Gee, that whole sound byte post Assault on the Capitol wasn’t too obvious was it now? Even Captain Obvious is shaking his head at that one, right?

(And look, if dude wants to run, he can run. However, if he wants to run as the type of politician he used to kinda sorta criticize ummm????)

Let’s talk about the sit in which occurred in Former Congressman Costello’s former West Chester Office once upon a time, OK? Start with this video [click here]. Below is a photo array that are public photos I found posted on the Internet and social media. Please explain the violent fringe intent?

Sorry not sorry, I do not get it. So does that mean these protests had bad people:

Or the Womens’ Marches? Pink hats are super threatening I suppose?

And this past summer? The Black Lives Matter marches? Some protests were peaceful. Like around suburban Philadelphia. In the city, not so much. And I found the violence and destruction in major cities including Philadelphia abhorrent, but were those really the people who organized protests? I still don’t think so. And with those protests, yes I wasn’t in favor of them especially after the destruction of center city Philadelphia which did things like terrorize lots of elderly city dwellers like my own parents. You don’t know from fear when you can’t get your parents out of a city because it’s locked down yet crap is still happening. So after that point I was yes, in favor of getting the word out other than by protest. But people continued to protest and along the Main Line it looked like:

Was it a sea of humanity during a global pandemic? Yes. Would I have been in that crowd, even with a mask on? No. But these were neighbors, friends, kids of people I know, and local police to keep them safe. So are they to be mischaracterized by a broad politically motivated brush as well? I did not agree, but these were peaceful and powerful.

So now we come to this past week. A date that will literally live in infamy: 1/6/2021. Not since the British stormed the Capitol in 1814 had such violence been seen. This was an angry mob. And violent. And destructive. Suborning anarchy and domestic terrorism. We all watched it unfold. There was zero peaceful intent. You had a crowd whipped up to a fever pitch by a sore loser malignant narcissist (Donald Trump) and his attorney Rudy Giuliani using an incendiary phrase “trial by combat“.

Embedded are two videos from the U.K. and two from US — Watch them.

I have had people write to me saying how wrong I am to be so disgusted, appalled, terrified by what took place in the US Capitol. They told me it was “no different” than the Black Lives Matter Marches or Women’s Marches. That I was smarter than that and being taken in by political hype.

Ummm oh hell to the no. See these images from Washington from the Internet (random sampling):

That is not peaceful. That is not peaceful intent. That is wrong.

It’s time for all of this to stop. It’s time for us to stop being a country ruled by extremism from either side. The majority of Americans, who are never heard, lie in the middle. They can’t be heard over the din of extremism.

It’s also time for people seeking political relevance and various and assorted politicians to stop trying to compare peaceful demonstrations outside local places like the old West Chester Courthouse and elsewhere to what happened in Washington DC as a direct result of the culmination of years of Donald Trump’s abominable and unPresidential behavior.

Give peace a chance. Now more than ever. Be safe out there and pray for our country.

Image found on Pinterest

yesterday, was not o.k.

Yesterday was not O.K. Yesterday was a study in horror. Yesterday we could have lost democracy and what makes America well….America. Every American regardless of creed, color, political affiliation, and so on should NOT be O.K. with January 6, 2021.

Watch the ITV video. I can’t post it here because of the raw violence it shows. [CLICK HERE ITV VIDEO] Also check out this photo array from Vanity Fair. Here is an excerpt of the article that goes with it:

VANITY FAIR: POLITICS
THE UNBEARABLE WHITENESS OF STORMING THE CAPITOL
If the Trump-incited rioters had been people of color, troops would have been out in force. And yet, there are positive lessons in the events of 1/6/21.

BY JIMMIE BRIGGS

JANUARY 7, 2021

Watching the mob scene on Capitol Hill over the last several hours, I was numbed by the whiteness that blanketed the screen.

As I get older, and possibly wiser, I find myself increasingly thinking about whiteness and of the mind-boggling degree to which my life as a Black American man has been impacted by it lately. Some 400 years since my ancestors were forcibly brought to these shores, and more than 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed them and their immediate descendants from enslavement, whiteness has dominated their (and now my) imagination, dreams of their/my future, and alas, even their/my joy.

To be clear, when I refer to whiteness, I mean the privileges, expectations, and elevated humanity afforded those in American society whose skin happens to be white; who exist daily in varying degrees of proximity to white people; who actively seek the affirmation of and their raison d’être from white people—and/or those whose aspirations for themselves, their families, and their communities are modeled on some kind of reflection of whiteness.

Today, this theme struck me with massive force. Televised scenes showed thousands of Donald Trump–supporting rioters and criminals, largely white and typically mask-less, descending on the nation’s largely Black capital.

I know according to Trump I am just a lowly suburban housewife, but my thoughts?

This is not America. And the last time the Capitol was stormed by invaders? 1814. Yes, sit with that a while. The last time was 1814 during the War of 1812 when British forces set fire to the Capitol. (You know when Dolly Madison was trying to save things in the White House?) These folks muscled by law enforcement and I am fascinated by what I saw on TV including when officers moved barricades to let the marauders in. I don’t know if that was tactical because they were being overwhelmed but it begs the question of why there wasn’t more of a law enforcement presence from jump?

One of those at risk yesterday was my friends’ daughter. She is young, and a Senate Page. I can’t imagine what her parents were feeling as this unfolded. I know I kept wondering how my own Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan was. And friends who just live in Washington D.C.


A special note to the one on Facebook a lot of my friends and I know who thinks we didn’t see her post “1.6.21” as a standalone post on her timeline. We saw. And she can delete what she posted and try to back peddle with people, but it will not change the ugliness she has deliberately been projecting with her posting for quite a long time. I still wonder if her little plastic housing development will secede from the union? And this woman was full of fake indignation and moral outrage at anyone suggesting those who stormed the Capitol were Trump supporters. Yes, seriously. I think she even had her virtual smelling salts out.


And for another woman who posted it must have been Antifa dressed as Trump supporters? Then honey, I must be the tooth fairy, and that must have been a Trump impersonator with Rudy Giuliani.


I will also note I know people that I believe are true patriots and they don’t behave like what you saw yesterday. And it wasn’t just some small percentage who were at fault because they got into the Capitol building. As we saw it unfold live before our eyes on television screens, computers, and smart phones from coast to coast, and around the world, that was the intent of the entire crowd. And was that the actual intent of Trump who really isn’t fit to be president even if he only has what? Two weeks left?


Yesterday was a crap show and that was 100% orchestrated by Trump and he is responsible and knew exactly what he was doing, so I hope you all who have gone unmasked for him at all those events are proud, because that all played a part in events leading up to this. You all have a degree of culpability. I watched everything yesterday unfold I couldn’t believe I was once proud for decades to be a Republican.

Yesterday was not democracy in action. This is not the constitutional right to express yourself and protest. This was ugliness, suborning anarchy, and basically acting like domestic terrorists.

I thought Joe Biden was marvelous when he spoke yesterday. My Congresswoman, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan said in a release to her constituents:

“The attack on our Capitol yesterday was unconscionable, but it was not inevitable,” said Houlahan. “It was a direct product of four years of division and dissent that has emanated from the very highest office in this country and a horrifying culmination of months-long baseless and unsubstantiated attacks on the very heart of our democracy. Those who carried out this attack and those who inspired it, implicitly and explicitly, must be held accountable.

My colleagues and I owe a debt of gratitude to those who worked to secure the Capitol, allowing the business of the people to continue. I was unequivocal last night and remain steadfast today that the work of this body, the work of the American people, cannot nor will not be halted, no matter the attacks levied against it.

We gathered yesterday in the tradition of the joint session of Congress to count the results of the Electoral College and to certify the victory of President elect Joe Biden and Vice President elect Kamala Harris. And despite the efforts of insurrectionists, we carried out our oath-bound duty.

I’ve heard many references recently to the War of 1812 and the attack on the U.S. Capitol but, as a Pennsylvanian, I am reminded of a particular different piece of our community’s history.

Many Americans have visited Philadelphia and the historic sites that are the cradle of our nation. Fewer people make it out to my community, which is home to Valley Forge. Here, General George Washington led the Continental Army to winter quarters. The Revolutionary War had not been going well for our young soldiers, and the winter of 1777-1778 was harder still. It was bitterly cold, there were food shortages and a smallpox outbreak. Many brave patriots died.

We remember what happened there because it was a test of endurance, a demonstration of devotion to mission and to country over self. Coming out of that awful winter and experience, our troops emerged better trained, united and ultimately victorious. In harsh, dark times, they found their common ground and their fortitude. The success was not by chance, General Washington led by putting service above self.

Just like then, it is in these trying moments where we learn who our leaders are. They are the ones who don’t just ‘represent’ or give orders, or ready us for a fight. They are the ones who also educate. Who speak the truth. They inspire confidence and unity rather than sowing division and strife.

There is a striking parallel between what our nascent country endured then in Valley Forge and what we are enduring now. A hard winter of division, with illness running rampant. And an uncertain future after yesterday’s attack.

Our country’s resolve is being tested. I believe we will pass this test together and we will be made stronger.

We owe it to the people of this country to move forward from this election with a focus on healing the divisions that have been created and on ensuring our communities build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. We must be a government that works for all people, a body politic that stands on the side of truth and justice.

We must move forward with a servant heart and a common resolve to preserve this great experiment that is the United States of America.”

These people yesterday are the ones who have listened to Trump since the election. Since he lost the election. They listened to his his repeated lies of election fraud. (Guess they all missed the part where he disemboweled the United States Postal Service so no one could vote successfully by mail?) Trump has undermined this country’s confidence in itself, and ourselves as Americans. It has been unconscionable and yesterday it turned violent. And yesterday they vandalized our Capitol. OUR Capitol. As a lover of history, I just do not get it.

And what else don’t I get is the double standard of treatment. If yesterday had been a women’s march, or a Black Lives Matter march, or anything else than what it was, how would the response have been? Hell they arrested Jane Fonda now a senior citizen again in December, 2020 at a climate change demonstration. The response disparity of yesterday is truly quite remarkable.

I have said it before, and will say it again, protesting is an American right by our very United States Constitution. I have done it. But not like that display of yesterday. But yesterday? That was destruction. That was an attempt to overthrow the government. Elections are won and lost, we don’t need to die over it. If these patriots would kindly remember this is why our forefathers fought so hard for us to have our lives today, it would be helpful.

It’s time for Trump to go away. Is their a straightjacket somewhere in his size? He does not get to destroy this country any longer like he has destroyed his businesses over the years. The true “art of the deal” is knowing when to fold ’em and leave…and please take your lovely family along with you, Donnie.

We have had four years of a nightmare reality TV show come to life. Trump, you’re fired. Now run along.

Thank you Twitter and Facebook for giving him a mute.

America the Beautiful? Let’s get back to that shall we? Thanks for stopping by and oh my oh my how many COVID19 cases will result in yesterday?.

ciao 2020. may you be a year not to be repeated.

I can’t take credit for that funny cartoon above as it is circling the Internet. But it is too perfect to ignore and just sums up this strange year we’ve survived.

Yes I thought about a week ago I had written my last post for 2020 and then things happened. I learned those who claim to be Christian and pious aren’t always pleasant on social media. And while I really appreciate the pastoral leadership at Covenant Presbyterian Church sending me an email to acknowledge my concerns, well, some of us discovered that we got word for word as in yes verbatim the same email. That made me a little disappointed in them, but it also made me realize that they just don’t get it (or don’t want to.) I still hope they abandon the fakakta idea for a 12 foot high LED sign in front of a historically charming church on Lancaster Avenue in Frazer. (And isn’t fakata just the most perfect word to describe so many things in 2020?)

And if we’re going to talk about giant electronics signs that look like movie screens and giant TVs come to life, it is worth remarking that West Whiteland has a planning commission meeting next week where yet another one of these giant digital billboards is being proposed. Yes, January 5th. And I predict much like East Whiteland and their “settlement agreement” which will face East Whiteland with a Sophie’s choice of where to put signs residents don’t want. And then there is Upper Merion Township. They have their own giant digital billboards issues. Same billboard company and same solicitor as East Whiteland. There is still a petition circling for them if you agree with all of the residents who don’t want zoning changed in parks to accommodate billboards. And in West Whiteland what is with the other billboard related LLC very close by to the one being discussed January 5th?

Other things on the hit parade of 2020 include another year of unending issues with the pipelines. Energy Transfer, Sunoco Logistics, pick a name they spent another year making a mess, putting residents at risk. One of my late fall favorites? Was seeing photos on social media of workers’ trucks parked in fire lanes at local shopping centers like they were big important people that couldn’t park in a spot, and what’s up with that FU to the community?

As we head into 2021 there is a story out of Lower Merion that no one’s talking about. It’s about that property adjacent to Stonleigh that Lower Merion School District “acquired” for playing fields after they bought the property on Montgomery Avenue (what once was the Clothier Estate) for the new school. OK so everybody knew that the County Line Road property was going to become playing fields. That’s not news at this point. But what bears pondering is exactly how many hundreds of trees is the Lower Merion School District going to take down in the end for these fields? This is a sizable property and it has heritage trees doesn’t it? It’s over 10 acres isn’t it? So that is a big chunk of property to deforest isn’t it?

Now I’ve heard neighbors over there in both Lower Merion and Radnor Township are very concerned about the trees of it all because this road straddles both municipalities in spots. Lower Merion School District’s Superintendent should give a rat’s fanny about the environment as involves the future of his students, right? One thing I have always wondered about this set of projects both for the school and the playing field is how is this going to affect skinny hilly windy County Line Road and some of the surrounding small streets near these projects? And aren’t first responders a little far away from both of these new education locations? So what does that mean in the future? Once again I reiterate how glad I am no longer on the Main Line and feel for my many friends who are still there.

Other things I won’t miss in 2020 is the conflicting ways people treat each other online in the same communities. Maybe it was because so many people were home and they spent way too much time on social media, but I think people have spent a lot of 2020 being miserable to each other in as much as others also have tried to lift each other up. I can tell you personally I am closing out 2020 feeling completely less patient with people. It is something I am going to work on for 2021, but I’m telling you right now it might be a struggle at times.

So how about the mask of it all? I am not going to get into the argument that has been almost the totality of the year of what stays open and what closes due to COVID-19 (including schools), but I am going to comment about what crap it is I think the people complain they have to wear a mask. I live an immunocompromised life. Elderly relatives live immunocompromised lives. I know so many people at this point personally and indirectly from all over the place (as in just not this area) who have gotten COVID-19 in 2020. And these were all people who were careful and wore masks.

I also think it’s crap with regard to the people who can’t keep their kids at home who then turn into super-spreaders of coronavirus at all ages and stages of life. No one has liked feeling as confined as we all have during the year 2020. No one has liked how it has affected our economy, our personal psychology, our sense of freedom. It has been a difficult year emotionally for everyone. Some people feel so isolated and alone. Even those of us who live with our families can have different times during the year where they could pinpoint feelings of loneliness and isolation.

We close the year with vaccines….finally. That will start up all the anti-vaxxers I’m sure, but I would remind them gently that this is no ordinary virus. And we have already seen in the past few years what an uptick of measles and other childhood diseases has done across the country. All I’m saying is, people please try to keep it together so we can get out of these various stages of quarantine and get back to life. It won’t be life as we once knew it as we are forever changed by 2020, but hopefully we can get there.

Another thing I will be glad to see in the rearview mirror is the ugliness of politics in the United States of America during the calendar year 2020. We have a new president to look forward to and that serial narcissistic sociopath who’s been living in the White House the past few years? I guess he’s going to be Florida’s problem isn’t he? He has continued throughout the holidays (including today) to try to make his case for anarchy and civil war while he discusses his imaginary voter fraud and “rigged elections”. Dude doesn’t get it that he was FIRED by the American people. FIRED. Here’s hoping that America’s political parties get their crap together so we don’t come this close to a dictator ever again, especially the Republican Party because they ALLOWED this to happen.

2020 was also the time of no longer tolerating racial injustice in this country and great sadness and anger as a result from coast to coast. People came together in the midst of a global pandemic over it. We should all offer up a prayer for a peaceful 2021 and meaningful resolution to some of these weighty issues. We the people as in all the people deserve as much.

2020 was a year of personal sadness for me. I said goodbye to people I really didn’t want to say goodbye to. And they didn’t lose their lives to COVID-19, but because of COVID-19 you couldn’t see anyone to say goodbye to those who were dying.

Other friends of mine faced heath crises that had to have been extra stressful every time they had to go in and out of a hospital setting. I know the two skin cancer procedures I dealt with had me holding my breath in and out and through the COVID tests before each procedure.

Now 2020 wasn’t all bad. I got to garden a lot and work on restoring my old quilts and that makes me happy. Fortunately for me I am more of a homebody than not so I have gotten through not seeing a ton of anyone at all but I do miss my friends and my family. FaceTime and Zoom just isn’t the same, but I will say I am grateful for the technology because being able to see someone when you’re catching up is a wonderful thing.

In 2020 we saw extremes all year long. Exhausting extremes at times. But hey, you know what? We are still standing. And that’s a good thing. We can do this. We can survive and get past this. We can see 2021.

For most this year, it will be a quiet New Year’s Eve. For us, pretty normal as we generally stay in. I keep seeing reality TV stars like Sonja Morgan flitting across Twitter and Instagram asking what we’re wearing for New Year’s at home. Not sequins. But I live in Chester County so I don’t think it would be sequins ever…haven’t really seen any live sequins since I moved here.

In my final reflection of 2020, I will freely admit that if we are honest with ourselves, 2020 taught us all things about ourselves and others. Some good things, some unflattering things. It’s all about human nature.

As we bid adieu to 2020 for sure it won’t be a fond, lingering goodbye. It will be an enough already move along nothing more to see here kind of goodbye.

Pope Francis said something this afternoon which has stayed with me: “We thank Good for the good things that have taken place during the pandemic, for the many people who, without making noise, have tried to make the weight of this trial more bearable.”

And for something else fun, click HERE for a lovely rendition of Auld Lang Syne from my lovely friend, Mindy Rhodes.

Wishing all of you a peaceful and happy New Year’s Eve as my 8th year writing this blog draws to a close. Cheers to 2021 and new and healthier beginnings for this country and around the world.

fire and brimstone

Well it turns out I have another post in me for 2020. And it’s about a 12 foot high sign for a church that contains LED. The church keeps saying the entire sign is not LED, so I will add that slight clarification although to me a 12 foot high sign with LED is a 12 foot high LED sign and the rest is a game of captain semantic.

A while back, Covenant Presbyterian Church on Lancaster Avenue or Route 30 in Frazer decided they wanted a new sign. They filed an application with East Whiteland Township:

I knew about this application because I had seen it somewhere on the East Whiteland Township website. I don’t recall exactly what it was but I think it was a meeting agenda or something. Digital billboards and electronic signs are a hot button topic in East Whiteland, and the township is currently in some settlement agreement with a shall remain nameless billboard company that will involve a true Sophie’s Choice of where do the ugly signs go to make this issue go away. Whatever happens it won’t truly be a win for the residents.Maybe the township solicitor will think it’s a win because it’s easier to push settlement conferences than to fight? Yes that is an actual question in my mind because I think the solicitor is just tired.

Regarding that find entire saga on the East Whiteland website HERE and see:

But back to Covenant Presbyterian. They want this sign. But it requires a zoning variance. So a hearing notice went out to a small amount of folks within the legal zoning notice defined area, and one local businesswoman posted about it in community Facebook groups. Word spread like wildfire. Some, like myself, had told the township prior to the hearing (which occurred last evening) how we felt about the proposed sign Covenant Presbyterian wants, and did so again, both by email and public comment before the zoning meeting was continued to January 25th at 7:15 PM (another zoom meeting.)

In the spirit of full disclosure I let the church elders/pastors know how I felt along with the township and community members.

What I said was:

Covenant Presbyterian Church does not NEED a 12’ high LED sign, they WANT one. Why is it a church of all things wishes to have a sign more appropriate for something on the Las Vegas strip or NYC’s Times Square?


Not to be irreverent, but God already knows they are there, as do all residents of East Whiteland. We can read their existing signage just fine and it is size and style appropriate for a church.


Let’s not forget the small LED sign of ridiculous brightness at Lincoln Court that no one controls and the numerous complaints to the township. Or the Gerhard’s sign that is also garish and too bright.


Also to be considered are the electronic billboard issues that the township is already embroiled in, which no one wants. If you approve this monstrosity of a sign at a church how does it affect other sign issues?


Other factors to be considered are light pollution and that is a very real worry. That is a proven environmental concern, just like it is indeed a distraction to drivers. And some drivers are blinded by these signs and I know people with medically documented neurological and health issues who can’t drive into the front of Lincoln Court because that sign which is lit 24/7/365.


Also shouldn’t we remember East Whiteland’s overpriced Route 30 corridor plan? Do you all really think people are going to want to live adjacent, next to, across, or down the road from this sign or any other electronic billboard? How is a sign like that in keeping with revitalization plans?


Does anyone care how this will affect existing residents who live close by?


This church wants to what amounts to an electronic billboard. It is out of character for a sweet looking church. It is an ugly and unnecessary concept.


The community deserves better.

Needless to say, my thoughts on the sign were not well received by the congregants. It became a full fledged digital online Salem Witch Hunt meets the Scarlet Letter. God help you quite literally if you dared said you were opposed to the sign. Most of the knitting needle-like prods were done by church ladies, and wow, right? Nothing like that cozy feeling of community fellowship, right?

All day these folks went at it in various community groups. Anyone who opposed the sign was anti-church and anti-christian. And then there were the ones who specifically did not like me because of what I said. I needed to be “reined” in. They said I did not understand what I was saying when I said “bless your heart.” That just made me laugh out loud when I read that. I actually do understand and I had actual southern ladies explain proper usage to me, bless their hearts. Yes I was deliberately sarcastic with some of them because their ridiculousness and fake piety deserved it. It was a day of God wants us to love our neighbors unless they are against a 12′ LED sign in front of the church.

We are all bad people if we don’t want this sign because their church wants this sign. Want being the operative term here. They don’t understand the difference between want and need, which is a somewhat important concept when it comes to zoning matters and proving hardship if denied or to avoid denial.

So then there was the meeting. 30 square feet overall to 49.8 square feet overall is what they want as per the Zoning Hearing Board that we heard on the meeting. That is not an insignificant difference is it?

And a want at the end of the day is not a hardship. The man presenting the church plan also essentially said they want a bigger sign because others have big signs. Not churches, businesses. And then there was that question they raised of a different zoning classification and to that a resident asked the simple question if they wish to reclassify, will they also pay taxes since non-profits generally escape them on real estate? (That was met like the proverbial fart in church as a comment.)

Throughout, East Whiteland’s Zoning Hearing Board lawyer gave both helpful and unhelpful commentary. This attorney’s law firm also does some work for Easttown I am told? Like East Whiteland’s solicitor is also the solicitor of Upper Merion? So many municipalities are related by these relationships and don’t even realize it, do they? (But I digress.)

My comment shortly after they determined party status and before they continued the meeting until January 25th at 7:15 PM (and I keep reminding you because East Whiteland’s Zoning Hearing Board attorney kept reminding people there would be no other notice and heck they didn’t even post last night’s meeting notice until this morning) was simple:

I am struggling after listening to the church’s presentation and what amounts to me as a sort of straw man argument on the part of the church. And I mean the church no disrespect saying that, because the good work and good deeds of the church have never been in question, and truly and sadly can’t really be justification for a sign change like this. No hardship has been proven, and again need vs. want are two very different conversations.

I also remarked as a breast cancer survivor of several years still on cancer meds, one of the side effects is the fact the meds affect my vision. I am growing cataracts. Not huge ones at this point, not at a medical point to be removed, but it means that super bright lights have a very negative effect and some of those LED signs (like the one at Lincoln Court) almost have a temporary blinding effect or I see lots and lots of spots. I also remarked how people with know neurological defects that are medically documented go out of their way to avoid these signs, including in our own community.

Why is it that these signs seem to be more important than how the residents feel about them and how they affect residents?

Here is a summation from someone who was on the call. Their words, not mine:

Last evening’s meeting was instructive and illustrates, yet again, how Zoning Hearing Board’s are not staying true to their mandate.


The Covenant Presbyterian Church applied for a variance in regards to a new sign they wish to erect on Church Road and Route 30 where the currently have a 30 square foot, old fashioned sign. The regulation in East Whiteland states that signs should be no more than 20 square feet in that zoning district and 8 feet tall. I presume the applicant was grandfathered in under older rules.

Fine.


The applicant wishes to erect a 50 square sign that is 12 feet high. They provided no real hardship but one of the individuals did recite all the good work they do in the community. I am certain that is true and people I know, who are against the placement of the sign, tell me that is case. That has ZERO bearing on this matter. The fact is that the applicant needs to illustrate a true hardship.


This is a “dimensional” variance which carries less of a standard than a “use” variance. Still, this is the benchmark the applicant must meet – “the standard approval for a dimensional variance is “practical difficulty”, which courts have defined to mean that strict compliance is “unnecessarily burdensome” and granting the variance would “do substantial justice to the owner”.


The applicant came nowhere near this in their presentation. Frankly, I was embarrassed for them. The reason they want to do this is because they want the sign. Even one of the Board members (I believe it was the Chair) said, “I am having a hard time finding a hardship here”.

Precisely.


This should have been a clear denial. Many residents spoke on this matter, the majority in opposition. This includes at least 2 members of this group. They were spot on with their remarks. Additionally, a business owner across the street who opposed the sign stated, “if you make this exception, I will be back for mine next”.

Exactly.

The slippery slope. Did I mention that half of the sign will be a bright, LED with changing messages? Yes, the same type of nonsense we see at the Giant with the light that is blinding.


A denial did NOT happen. Instead, the Zoning Hearing Board decided to enter into public negotiations with the applicant. It was like an episode of “Pawn Stars”. How about 40 feet? Well, we need it a bit lower. Oh gosh, maybe a little bit but we are not sure how much lower we can go. Yes, that is a paraphrase but it is what happened.


The role of the Zoning Hearing Board is to adjudicate on the matter at hand. They were to rule on whether or not there was sufficient hardship for the applicant to receive relief on a 50 square foot, 12 foot tall sign. That is it. Yes or no. It is NOT their role to negotiate. That should happen with Planning Commission. Then, the PC can provide a positive or negative recommendation to the ZHB who should still apply the same hardship standard for a dimensional variance as detailed above. What occurred last night was a complete joke. The applicant needs to meet that standard as long as they are proposing to erect a statue that is not within the zoning regulations. I could see relief for a 30 square foot sign since that is what they have currently. If there is no hardship at 50 feet, there is still no hardship at 40 or 35 feet. Essentially the ZHB is shifting the burden off of the applicant which goes against the Municipal Planning Code of PA. But hey, does that really matter anymore?


Contrary to the opinion of some, the burden is NOT on the public to first prove harm in this case. The first hurdle is for the applicant to show a true hardship. Incredibly one of the applicants stated that a smaller sign would not be a hardship and a member of the board basically agreed.


Yet, the matter was continued until January 25th so the applicant could make another proposal. This relief should have been denied. Then, the applicant could reapply with a smaller sign if they chose to go that route. The way Zoning Hearing Boards are acting now (and we have seen this in Easttown and Tredyffrin) is NOT in the interest of the community at large.


Regrettably, it is extremely difficult to remove members of a Zoning Hearing Board before their terms are up even if there is justification. I won’t go as far as to say that is necessary here but I know in another township a board member should have been removed already but is still serving due to the reluctance of the township to do what is necessary.


It is up to US to be a check on the Zoning Hearing Boards. We need to hold elected politicians (and those running) accountable for their appointments. Automatic renewals (like those that occur in Easttown for example) for members of Planning Commissions and Zoning Hearing Board must end!

This Zoning Hearing Board meeting last night made me remember the first one I ever attended as a then brand new resident. I went because of a proposed land subdivision that would directly affect our next door neighbors and us via potential stormwater management and I wanted to make sure I knew where the septic was going (which incidentally didn’t end up exactly where it was supposed to for whatever reason.)

At this very first Zoning Hearing Board meeting now years ago, I literally knew no one except the neighbors and them barely. Ironically I knew who the then Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor was because they were politically active with the Radnor Township Republicans way back when or something along those lines. A lot of the Zoning Hearing Board Members back then were elderly and I swear one gentleman in particular kept nodding off. He looked like central casting for the cute grandfather and in fairness, zoning meetings are not always exciting.

At this meeting I met some General Warren Villagers for the first time. They were there because of the then Cube Smart proposal (which is now built.) I remember feeling like they weren’t treated very well as residents which to me was surprising because Lower Merion Township Zoning Hearing Board was always decent to residents even if they had to reprimand them during a meeting.

The way meetings were run where I was from versus moving out to Chester County were and are vastly different. We had a literal timer on public comment (3 minutes individuals, 5 minutes groups), but at Lower Merion Commissioners meetings, public comment wasn’t always the last thing. And the zoning and planning were vastly different and so were the lawyers representing the municipalities. Zoning decisions were never instantaneous and the lawyers on the zoning hearing board in Lower Merion ran a tight ship and treated it like court proceedings. Everyone understood the boundaries and the procedure. Out here I am still trying to figure it out at times, and we’ll leave it at that.

I personally feel that the LED sign issue with Covenant Presbyterian should not have proceeded last night. I kind of think it should have been pulled from their agenda. I do not believe I will change my mind between now and the Zoning Hearing Board continuation meeting on January 25th at 7:15 PM.

However at the end of the day what I find the most troubling about the issue is the way residents who are supporting the church and are even members of the church or are possibly even related to people in the church are behaving and how can you blame anyone for having concerns? And this doesn’t just happen with these particular people over this issue. It’s the behavior patterns that some groups or even communities of people are seemingly oblivious to.

Yesterday in addition to the flame wars on community Facebook groups, there were the private messages people received. Some annoying, some borderline threatening, all inappropriate. They are just as bad as what happens if you dare criticize a school board or school district out here. And the messages and comments on the sign issue resumed after the meeting had concluded.

If you are against the sign, you are an enemy of the church community as far as these people are concerned. One guy also complained about those of us who protested the sign and participated in the meeting because there were very few people who showed up to the meeting in support of the sign and spoke. I mean HUH??? That is such a head scratcher because how are we responsible for the church supporters not showing up and publicly stating they support what their church is doing? Then there were the people who said all people online do is whine to the people who actually tuned into the virtual meeting if not participated with public or written comment. Again …..HUH?????

I actually had a very nice email from Rev. Dr. Moyer of Covenant Presbyterian today. He is a nice and thoughtful man by my estimation, but sadly that is not enough to mean they will get oe should get their variance on a sign they want but don’t really need. It’s great they want to get their message out, but the world is their oyster and an LED sign 12′ tall is not the only avenue of communication in this big wide world in which we live. I did write back to him my thoughts. I am happy to share them here:

Dear Rev. Dr. Moyer,

I truly thank you most kindly for taking the time to respond to me. It speaks volumes as to your personal character.

I will be honest that I still am against a sign that is LED and whether it is all LED or partially LED is somewhat of a conversation of semantics. I would like to think you can get your word out most effectively without having to do it with LED at all. And that is really what the community wants.

However, a bigger (and hopefully short term problem) there are many of us in the community, now myself included, who don’t know that they will ever truly feel comfortable or welcome for at least a while in the presence of anyone from your church community given the way people who are against the sign were treated by church members on social media.

Perhaps you and your fellow pastors do not feel responsible for how your flock behaves on social media and outside the four walls of the church itself, but it certainly bears reminding to all that they are the larger face of your church. After all, that is often what draws us as human beings to houses of worship: the people we know or have met who are already there.

I was not happy to have to deal with these people from Covenant yesterday and I was disturbed at the woman who suggested local businesses who were concerned about the sign should be boycotted. I don’t find that to be particularly Christian.

And the suggestion to not patronize any local businesses in a year where so many have gone wanting made it just wrong. Maybe I see this a little more personally than others because I have friends in other areas who are out of work, have lost family members to COVID-19, and or have had to make the sad decision to close a small business because COVID-19 made it impossible for them to stay open.

I realize because some of the people defending the church sign are literally family, and also because a lot of your membership feels like family they feel more strongly even than us on the outside over this issue. But to verbally barrage fellow community members like that gives me pause. Not wanting the sign is most certainly NOT an attack on your church or being Christian, it’s simply NOT wanting the sign for whatever reason.

In the past, I am one of those people that used my position in the community as well as my social media abilities to get the word out when your church needed donations for things like the food bank. There are times when God didn’t necessarily give me the bank account to write hefty checks, but he gave me a voice for a reason. And I always try to use it for good.

After yesterday, I’m going to have to hit the pause button before I’m supportive again, and that actually is a crisis of conscience for me because you’re a church. But community people who belong to your church need to act like it. And I say that as someone who was raised Catholic and knew wonderful priests and nuns growing up, and have also had friends for years who are among the truest Christians that I have ever met, as well as those who are Protestant ministers and pastors elsewhere.

But to throw verbal stones at people because they are not mirror images of who you are and what you believe is something that always troubles me – and I’m not just saying this is a fault of the members of your church because it’s most certainly not. It’s a negative aspect of human nature that I sometimes ponder. It’s also sort of like a community-wide disease around here sometimes. And as a man of God, I think you can understand that. Except because you have been a pastor for so many years, you can look past this more easily than a lot of us regular folk.

Again, I am happy that you took the time to respond to me. You seem like such a nice person and I wish we could be on the same side of this sign issue. But sadly this is an issue greater than your church and one which weighs heavily on the community at large.

I am sure I will see you virtually at the next meeting, and maybe sometime when COVID-19 is behind us we could have coffee or tea and meet in person.

Thank you also kindly for the blessings, after 2020 we all can use them no doubt.

Next is how this post got the title it did. It is because of these people who want the sign and belong to or support the church being so unpleasant that I titled this post fire and brimstone. It’s the way it made me feel. That whole Salem Witch Trial Scarlet Letter effect.

Something however I read that gave me hope was a nice way a local women said her “no” to the LED sign:

Please reconsider. Mary and Joseph didn’t need anything but a star to guide them. The Lord himself knows you don’t need a lit up sign to gain parishioners or to share messages

Next up is the January meeting. In between I am sure lots of community discussion. Or what I hope will be actual discussion versus social media flame wards and gang mentality.

Here is hoping in 2021 people learn to behave a little differently towards different opinions.

Here’s hoping in 2021 people more locally can actually learn to appreciate the differences in other human beings for whatever reason. People talk a good game about inclusion and understanding but it’s time to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Peace out.

No photo description available.
Flat Hal the plot plan man is 5′ 8″ tall. Him next to the sign is an idea of human scale.

darkness before the dawn continues? please remember it’s the christmas season.

I just read an article in New York Magazine I found very disturbing. It’s about Trump not leaving White House on January 20th, 2021. Then there are the articles about January 6th, 2021, including a fascinating history lesson via the National Constitution Center.

Electors from all 50 states just met on December 14 to place their states’ official votes. On January 6, that vote count is finalized and election results are certified in Congress. First day of the new Congress is January 3, 2021. Congress then reads the election results out loud at like 1 PM on January 6, 2021.

Then the President of the Senate, still Vice President Mike Pence, will announce the results. But what everyone is wondering at this point is will Trump-supporting Congress members try to disrupt this process one more time? Is Trump going to attempt a coup one last time as The New Yorker is pondering?

And I see people posting on places like Facebook what they think are little things no one reads about 1/6/2021 and well are they supporting anarchy, martial law, tyranny, and domestic terrorism then?

The people I see posting this are among the biggest hypocrites I have ever met. I guess it’s OK to use things like abortion as birth control as a teenager (among other things), and then become a fake born-again southerner super conservative pro-life refined lady? Bless your heart honey, I have got your number and the way your brain works now. I am saving the stamp and not sending a Christmas card. I just can’t.

I guess at the end of the day what I don’t understand is that for time immemorial in this country, one candidate has won, while another candidate has lost. And it hasn’t evolved into nonsensical conversations about certain southern states once again seceding from the union and everything else that has gone on in 2020.

I said a while back this year that it was almost like this country was on the verge of another Civil War and what is that going to gain any of us? Are people so afraid of other people that don’t look like them and act like them and vote like them that them can’t even live in the same communities with them anymore? Will Parler go from app to living zones?

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. We’ve known each other since we were young because our parents were friends. We now sit on the opposite side from each other at the political table, yet we still share so many similarities in philosophy, even politically. We had this total conversation and it wasn’t angry, it wasn’t nasty…. we talked. It was awesome. We spoke about how we were so in the middle on so many things, yet all you see in this country is extremism in politics from both sides of the aisle ruining this country.

It’s the week before Christmas. We have all had a trying year including but not limited to a global pandemic. For the love of all that is holy can you people stop pretending a crazy man who tweets from the toilet had the election stolen from him? He didn’t. And y’all won’t turn to pillars of salt with Joe Biden as President. And while we’re on this conversation can people of a similar band also stop talking about how Joe Biden is not healthy and Kamala Harris is awful?

Just stop. Give peace a chance, quite literally.

Please. There is one week before Christmas. Can we act like it’s Christmas? Do something nice in your community. Pay it forward.

Or at least just think about it. Thanks for stopping by.

guess what? politicians can’t block constituents on social media. just ask joe gale.

Oh Joe Gale. Once I thought he showed promise. But it sadly has become apparent over time that he is nuttier than a fruitcake and so divisive. He seems hell bent on his personal agenda, which also seems as clear as mud some days, doesn’t it? And I find it fascinating that he does all this while living with his mommy, and what happens when he brings a girl home? For those wondering why I write about a Montgomery County Commissioner, it’s because I spent most of my life living in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County and when he was first running people I know and respect told me how wonderful he was blah, blah, blah and how he would be terrific for Montgomery County.

Wrong.

In Italy they call men like Joe Gale a mammone which literally translates to “mommy’s boy”. There have been a lot of articles written about mammoni (plural of mammone) and I find it all fascinating. Some of the articles ruminate about these guys having Peter Pan complexes. And CBS 60 Minutes even did a piece on mammoni years ago and maybe we should suggest Joe Gale for an updated piece?

Now I am not saying I have a problem with Joe because he’s young. One of our Chester County Commissioners, Josh Maxwell, is not much older than Joe Gale and somehow he manages to live on his own and is married and is an adult (and a heck of a nice guy too.) Josh became Mayor of Downingtown at 26. Sadly, Joe Gale is no Josh Maxwell.

Joe Gale doesn’t have emotional maturity, he seems instead somewhat stunted, and isn’t that sad?

Now I am not saying that the other two Montgomery County Commissioners are prizes, because oh hell to the no they are not. Montgomery County is a political swamp in need of a good draining and cleaning. And Montgomery County has surpassed the dysfunctional prizes once held by Delaware County ( see the chronicles of Delco Tom Paine before they disappear. Peter Porcupine is still a genius.)

Now if Joe Gale actually did anything for Montgomery County residents, well I probably would shut my mouth. But all he does is push his own somewhat clear as mud agenda from the comfort of mommy and daddy’s house. In June he released a very offensive statement concerning rioting, looting, and Black Lives Matter by any standards conservative or liberal in my humble opinion:

If you objected to his words, you were blocked on social media. He blocked me, which I realized on June 2, 2020 but I can’t say definitively it occured in June or before because I don’t follow him THAT closely. He’s not the first politician who has blocked me. I found myself blocked (for example) by our PA Lieutenant Governor, the Lurch-Like John Fetterman in July, 2019. Amusingly enough, I am still blocked. I just took this screenshot:

Now I don’t really care if John Fetterman blocks me. Or Joe Gale for that matter. But it is damn amusing that hater of everything non-Trumpian, Joe Gale would want to be like John Fetterman.

Anyway, constituents and others including my pal Caroline from Savvy Main Line took baby Joe to Federal Court and I applaud them:

It made for some interesting media and the Montgomery County Solicitor declined to defend Joe. Here are some of the articles I have read in the past few months:

WHYY/NPR: Hundreds rally in Montco to demand Commissioner Joe Gale’s resignation
By Zachariah Hughes June 4, 2020

Inquirer: A Montco Republican commissioner called Black Lives Matter a ‘hate group.’ Now he’s more isolated than ever.
by Allison Steele and Vinny Vella, Updated: June 18, 2020

Inquirer: Courts said President Trump can’t block constituents on Twitter. What about Montgomery County Commissioner Gale?
by Anna Orso, Posted: July 2, 2020

Pottstown Mercury: Montgomery County solicitor moves to not represent Commissioner Joe Gale in federal lawsuit
By Carl Hessler Jr. chessler@21st-centurymedia.com @MontcoCourtNews on Twitter Aug 19, 2020

Glenside Local: Opinion | Joe Gale finally gets the attention he deserved June 3rd, 2020 | By Kevin Tierney

More Than The Curve: Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale accuses fellow commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh of only social distancing for the camera May 20th, 2020 | By Kevin Tierney

More than the Curve: Opinion | Joe Gale finally gets the attention he deserved June 2nd, 2020 | By Kevin Tierney

North Penn Now: Local Elected Officials Sign Statement Condemning ‘Racist Remarks’ Made By Commissioner Joe Gale Keith Heffintrayer•Tue, Jun 09, 2020, 9:01 AM

WHYY/NPR: Montco commissioner faces federal lawsuit for blocking constituents on social media
By Zachariah Hughes June 30, 2020

Inquirer: In federal court settlement, Montgomery County commissioner agrees to unblock constituents on social media
by Vinny Vella, Posted: September 1, 2020

Oh one thing from 2019:

This Is Lower Merion And Narberth: Joe Gale Is Given 72 Hours To Retract And Apologize
October 13, 2019 by Gerry

Here is the court order (renamed by moi for brevity and wit):

Yes I got into PACER. First Amendment victories thrill me.

So hey this is what Joe Gale thinks of all of us:

My gosh Joe Gale, isn’t the First Amendment marvelous? I mean I know you think it should be subjective and all that but it gives you the right to literally call a divine Main Line lady, Caroline O’Halloran and the rest of us who simply do not agree with you the “Marxist Mob”. My gosh my golly I have not been referred to as anything so delightful since a white sneaker wearing tea partier spat in my face and called me a Socialist years ago (while I was a card carrying Republican, no less.)

So Joe Gale started out like a true Alex P. Keaton at 20 running for Plymouth Township Council I think it was. He lost. Ran for something again there in 2013 and withdrew. He ran for Montgomery County Commissioner in 2015. He has more political experience if you want to call it that, than actual work and life experience. He worked for about a year at a clerk position at Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds. He then had job for three years at some developer. Briefly in 2018 he ran for Lieutenant Governor. So the job he has held the longest is Montgomery County Commissioner, but what has he actually done?

Back when he first wanted to be a Montgomery County Commissioner I found his Alex P. Keaton-ish self meh but palatable. After all considering the legions of skunks who had been Montgomery County Commissioners how bad he could be?

Well….

Let’s look at how he has approached COVID-19? Is it just me or does he act like it’s not real? And look at all the photos he poses for, including with old people which makes you wonder is he doing contact tracing? Or is anyone doing contact tracing on him?

Joe Gale’s website is a marvel of spin and oh the giggles. However, he marches all over social media angrier than Trump and that is saying something. Do they tweet to each other from the potty? Oh and his Twitter account @VoteJoeGalePA says “Joe Gale’s Personal Twitter Account. This is Not a Public Platform or Official Government Page.” Oh alrighty Joe and I have a bridge you can buy in Brooklyn….but I digress….

A First Amendment victory against petty political tyrants like Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale is to be celebrated. However, I have zero sympathy for anyone in Montgomery County if you let this mammone get re-elected.

This post is brought to you by my First Amendment rights. If you live in Montgomery County, do yourself a favor and DON’T vote Joe Gale whenever he’s up again or for whatever he tries to run for next. Mail him some new binkies and call it a day. Or demand he gets recalled. There has to be a process for that somewhere right?

And all you loverly politicians out there who like to block constituents in Chester County? This ruling against Joe Gale is a very much more local not so distant legal precedent.

Peace out.

meanwhile this morning at shoen road in west whiteland and leftover thoughts about emails to democratic committee people.

My photo still taken from a live video feed.

Last night I wrote about this guy who does whatever for State Rep. Kristine Howard and all these nice residents whom he calls “radicals”?

These are just people. These are just people who live in Chester County. These are just people whose well water has been fouled and property values decreased. These are the people that get sinkholes on their property now because of pipeline work. These are the people who travel busy public roads that get sinkholes from pipeline work. These are just people with reasonable expectations of quiet enjoyment. A reasonable expectation of quiet enjoyment is actually legal term isn’t it?

And when they look outside, they see sites like I captured in the still images from a live video feed a few minutes ago. And it’s just not the savaged landscapes it’s the sounds. Everywhere you go you hear the sounds of the pipeline equipment. And there was this thump thump thump that will echo in your brain for days if you even just drive through an area with work going on. That is noise pollution. Sometimes where I live I can hear the rhythmic thump, thump, thump from neighboring townships dealing with Sunoco/Energy Transfer/Sunoco Logistics.

This was on Facebook in May with this : 📌2am Exton train station work AGAIN?
This is ridiculous. Yes we live close to the Exton train station and realized that when we purchased our house in Valley View, but why must this work be done starting at 1am every night? There clearly is not as many trains running during the day right now. Any idea who to call or find out how long this will go on for? It’s constantly backup beeping alarms, jackhammers and loud banging NON STOP. Arghhh 😡📌

And don’t forget the light pollution from the night work, right? Even if the temperatures cool down, how can affected residents open their windows for a beautiful night sky and maybe even a breeze? The night work lights make that impossible right? So take away that aspect of a reasonable expectation of quiet enjoyment for that too, yes?

Facebook photo similar to what I took off of live video feed

As I was listening to this live video feed this morning I was very sad to hear this gentleman say they’ve been (meaning the pipeline company) here over two years, they were supposed to be here three months. I don’t know if I got what he said word for word but I think that’s pretty darn close.

Photo still I captured from live video feed of Shoen Road area this morning

So State Rep. Kristine Howard, your pool boy (or whatever he is other than from Pittsburgh) is calling these poor people RADICALS? They are just people. They are just residents. They are also your constituents in some cases. Your pool boy is calling people quislings??? Do you even get the historical reference and how offensive and wrong this is? Especially to those of Jewish heritage?

Quisling as a word word originates from the surname of the Norwegian war-time leader Vidkun Quisling, who headed a domestic Nazi collaborationist regime during World War II. Quisling was put on trial for war crimes in Norway after World War II. “He was found guilty of charges including embezzlement, murder and high treason against the Norwegian state, and was sentenced to death. He was executed by firing squad at Akershus Fortress, Oslo, on 24 October 1945.”

People I love are of Norwegian heritage, and so are other friends and relatives.This use of this word is beyond offensive to us and to my friends who are Jewish. How does something like that even come out of this guy’s mouth or keyboard? And WHY? Even if he doesn’t like them he can’t use other word choices?

And it doesn’t stop there. Then there is this:

So what is the lesson here? Other than if you think pipelines are bad, or think pipeline permits should be pulled and pipeline work stopped completely until a real and actual and thorough inspection is done according to pool boys from Pittsburgh and leadership in the Chester County Democrat Committee we are all bad and radical people?

And the other lesson is what? If you are a Democrat you can’t talk to Republicans? If you are a Democrat you will be drummed out of the part for speaking to anyone who is not a Democrat or someone they approve of? HOW IS THAT EVEN LEGAL TO PROPOSE OR EVEN MORAL? I did not sign up for this crap when I moved to Chester County as a (then) lifelong Republican. I did not sign up for this crap when I changed from being an Independent to a registered Democrat for the fakakta primary. You know, I would switch back to Independent right now except I am going to enjoy being a ticket splitter and casting my vote for Wendy Graham Leland. As Chester County Democratic Committee leadership seems easily swayed and confused, please not I am not telling anyone how to vote. I am telling you how I will be choosing to vote. BIG DIFFERENCE.

The Chester County Democratic Committee claims on their website that “.. the Chester County Democratic Committee in standing for Freedom, Fairness, and Opportunity — regardless of who people are, what they believe, and where they come from. Together, we can make Chester County and Pennsylvania better places for all!”

So how does the above jive with:

And do we realize what the transgression was? Ginny Kerslake and Wendy Graham Leland (AKA State Rep. Kristine Howard’s opponent) commenting on a public thread about pipeline issues on Facebook. Not some Democratic party controlled message board, and even then, what is the big freaking deal? We aren’t supposed to speak to anyone who isn’t our political persuasion ever? So the takeaway is we are only supposed to live and breed in Stepford and be bobbleheads? Talk about taking a page out of Trump’s book of Suburban Housewife Rules, right?

Are we quite literally all Pravda on this bus? Am I a bad person because I have friends from different political parties like Ginny Kerslake and Wendy Graham Leland? Is the chair of the Chester County Democratic Committee Dick Bingham going to act on the attacks on Chester County residents who are Democrats? Or is his position personally pipelines over people?

Newsflash to pool boys from Pittsburgh, invisible state representatives seeking re-election, and the apparently malleable and spineless “leadership” of the Chester County Democratic Committee: Pipelines are a non-partisan issue. They affect everyone. To say we are radicals or traitors or whatever the verbiage is because we don’t like pipelines is deeply troubling as well as wrong. To tell registered Democrats or even registered Republicans we may not talk to our friends and neighbors because they are of a different political party is just a big bag of political pathetic tossed into a big box of wrong. It goes against every tenet of just being an American. It’s downright anti-American. Dick Bingham, MayAnn Piccioni, and Charlotte Valyo should be removed from their leadership roles. Somehow I do not think Joe Biden who has many, many friends across the political aisle would approve of these current events in Chester County, do you?

Oh and the lovely US Constitution allows my opinion.

We cannot allow outsiders to control our political parties. It’s anti-democracy.

Today boys and girls we learned once again on so many levels, how bad pipelines are for our communities. Vote your conscience in November and no matter what, do not think for one single moment that your friends, neighbors, relatives and more are bad radical people because they think the pipelines need to go. Energy Transfer/Sunoco Logistics/Sunoco are not nice people and they don’t operate for anyone other than themselves. They are pure profits over people, and well it’s time for #peopleoverpipelines. #DefendWhatYouLove #MamaBearBrigadeRocks

Facebook photo