Lynch Valley College

Are we about done being stupid yet?

Students at a small Pennsylvania college are demanding that administrators rename a building called “Lynch Memorial Hall” because of the racial overtones of the word “lynch.”

The building is named after Clyde A. Lynch, who was president of Lebanon Valley College from 1932 until his death in 1950.

Students want school officials to either rename the building entirely or add Lynch’s first name and middle initial, saying the word recalls the public executions of black men by white mobs in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

It was included on a list of demands that students presented to the school on Friday. Other demands include a more diverse curriculum, more sensitivity training for staff and regular surveys of the racial climate on campus.

Why would any of these students want a tainted degree from such a racist uninclusive institution? Can they go nowhere else?

December 9, 2015 at 9:27 pm Comments (0)

On Being a Property Tax Scofflaw

A Pennsylvania legislator wants to change the state Constitution to prevent government agencies from seizing homes for unpaid property taxes.

Rep. Thomas Caltagirone (D-Berks) said property taxes in the state have risen to the point where many citizens can no longer afford to stay in their homes. He said the burden of property taxes fall particularly hard on poor, sick and older citizens.

Wooooohooooaaaaa… all of the sudden we need to put in to our tax system a way to actively encourage people to not pay property taxes?

Property taxes have spiraled out of control in Pennsylvania for a variety of reasons, and there is a serious effort afoot in Harrisburg to eliminate them altogether. Governor Wolf thinks that’s a bridge too far, and has offered, “instead let’s give everyone a property tax break” with the total wink-wink of “we’re gonna get you sooner or later, you suckers taxpaying property owners.”

Now comes along this positively insane idea. “We’re gonna keep taxing you, and you’re not going to pay it, we’ll count on those bozos who do pay it to make up the shortfall.”

I can’t believe this is even an idea.

Get rid of them altogether. Make it up somewhere else, ignoring property taxes scofflaws is just going to make property tax scofflaws.

March 20, 2015 at 7:13 pm Comments (0)

$2 Pack Tax Signed

Cigarette retailers in Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Cheltenham and Upper Darby thank you.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed a law on Wednesday imposing a $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes and little cigars sold in Philadelphia to help fund the city’s cash-strapped schools.

This new levy, which takes effect Oct. 1, is anticipated will generate $70 million to $90 million per year of recurring revenue to support the district.

In his and others remarks about the legislation that allows Philadelphia to enact the tax, it was emphasized that it was a bi-partisan effort that got this bill across the finish line that Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia, began pushing for two years and created a lot of legislative drama along the way.

“This was not a partisan issue. It was about the students of Philadelphia,” Corbett said. “House Bill 1177 is another step in our mission to provide great education for every student in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It provides a steady funding source for the School District of Philadelphia and will support a safe and secure learning environment for the students there.”

So next fall, when the cry once again goes out that the Philly school district is broke and needs money, expect the call to be “a statewide cigarette tax” to cover the gap.

September 24, 2014 at 4:34 pm Comment (1)

Excellent ad from Corbett camp

It’s nice to be able to applaud a campaign ad for once.

Kudos to whoever made this ad. The campaign would be wise to give you all their money.

It’s about time our side started pointing out that all the “cuts” to education have resulted in record high funding.

There are so many brilliant aspects to this ad that I don’t want to jinx it by pointing them out.

April 17, 2014 at 8:57 pm Comments (0)

Anti-Gun Idiots

These people are teaching your children.

In a horror story that must have shocked young children into lifelong nightmares, a Philadelphia fifth-grader made a gun out of paper last week and brought it into class. Thanks to the intrepid work of the officials at the school, though, crisis was averted – an administrator at D. Newlin Fell School inspected the little girl, Melody Valentin, in front of the class. This process, unsurprisingly, failed to turn up any heavy military ordinance. Nonetheless, Melody received a stern talking-to.
Philly teachers are no doubt on high alert after one of their substitutes let a child walk out of a school with an unknown women moments after the girl’s mother dropped her off.

January 24, 2013 at 4:43 pm Comments (0)

Abducted 5 Year Old Found

This is a relief.

A missing 5-year-old girl from West Philadelphia has been found alive in Upper Darby, but the search for the person who abducted her from her Cobbs Creek school is still ongoing.

Nailla Robinson was taken to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia after she was found around 4:40 a.m. by a passerby. She was hiding beneath playground equipment just outside the city, near 69th Street Terminal.

Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood told FOX 29 News that the little girl was found “scantily clad,” cold and shivering in the rain.

The 5-year-old was apparently wearing just a T-shirt and had not been fed.

Police said she told the man who found her that she had run away from the people who took her.

How many ways did the system fail her?

Dropped off at school at 8:40, “her mother” wearing a burqa picks her up at 8:50 and no one really bats an eye?

Is there more to this story? I’d bet.

January 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm Comments (0)


The Pennsylvania State Educators’ Association only has enough money to cover the next few weeks of operating expenses.

The largest affiliates of the United States’ largest teachers union are deeply in debt, largely because they have lavish pension and health-care systems, according to the Education Intelligence Agency. These bloated benefits arrangements are the same kind unions pressured states into creating for other state workers, pushing states into further fiscal disarray.

A new Thomas B. Fordham Institute report detailing teachers unions’ strength by state shows some of these union giants are in huge financial trouble.

The Pennsylvania State Education Association ranks fourth most powerful on Fordham’s metrics but it has only enough money to cover 37 days of operation, according to 2010–11 EIA figures, the latest available. The New Jersey Education Association ranks seventh but it owes $38.7 million more than it has on hand.

My heart bleeds. Truly.

November 11, 2012 at 11:34 am Comment (1)

Tip The Scales Against Obesity? Try Shame

                                                        Part 2 of 2 on obesity, bullying, and the lack of shame in America

Several years ago, one of the best-loved theme parks in the world shut down a classic ride so it could make some “large” adjustments.  Why the need? It was something very “deep-seated” — people had become so obese that the boats in which they rode were scraping the bottom.


How would obese patrons feel if, in front of hundreds, they were required to stand in a different queue — one simply marked “Obese Riders Here.” And that instead of meeting just the height requirement, they were also forced to meet a “width” criteria.


Or when boarding an airplane, fat people would be called separately so they could sit in extra-wide seats, for which they pay double?


And what if stadiums had a section of reinforced double-wide seats where obese folks were required to sit?


Unfortunately, our country doesn’t binge on such options, which is truly a shame.




And that’s precisely the problem.  There is no shame.


In genuflecting to political correctness, America shuns shame. It has become a nation so afraid to offend that it turns a blind to its biggest problems, such as obesity.   And that problem is burgeoning. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and a staggering percentage of our children — our future — are growing up (and out) with little regard for how this epidemic will impact them. In this regard, some medical experts have predicted that our children may be the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. For many, they are the product of their environment, where parents (many obese themselves) and society as a whole have sent the message that being fat is no “big” deal.  The stigma once rightly associated with obesity is disappearing as quickly as fat is accumulating.


So how do we get to the bottom of this problem?  For starters, shame.  Because no matter what else is attempted, if shame is not the cornerstone of the solution, the situation will never improve.




Two fantastic and courageous examples of how shame is being effectively utilized are occurring in Georgia and Minnesota.  In Atlanta, an extensive advertising campaign “Stop Sugarcoating It,” sponsored by Children’s Healthcare, targets childhood obesity.  Taglines under obese children include “Warning…It’s hard to be a little girl if you’re not”; “Being fat takes the fun out of being a kid”; and “Big Bones Didn’t Make Me This Way…Big Meals Did.” There was also a YouTube ad with a sad girl saying, “I don’t like going to school, because all the other kids pick on me. It hurts my feelings.”


Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Minnesota has launched a similar campaign, targeting overweight parents whose behavior is often mimicked by their children. One ad shows two chubby boys arguing about whose dad can eat more — a discussion overheard by a father as he approaches their table with a heaping tray of fast food.  Another shows an obese woman filling her shopping cart with junk food, only to notice that her obese daughter is doing the exact same thing with a smaller cart.


Both campaigns use shame correctly. Without being mean-spirited or over-the-top, they prod people to acknowledge, and change, their unhealthy behavior. Not surprisingly, though, both have something else in common: significant criticism from the waistline-challenged community.  Their biggest beef? It’s not education, but shaming, which, of course is “bullying.”


They simply don’t get it.


Shaming isn’t the total panacea, but it must be an integral part of the solution. And there is no better example than how it changed the perception of smoking, once considered cool but now viewed with utter disdain.  Sure, cigarettes are expensive, but that’s not why smoking is down.  It’s because society made a conscious effort to shame smokers.  Try lighting up in a bar with co-workers, and you receive dagger-like stares. Do it outside, and people immediately move away, because smoking is regarded as disgusting, and therefore, the smoker must be, too.


Smoking kills, and we have no problem pointing out that as a deterrent.  But so does obesity, yet we hesitate to mention it.  Just as non-smokers are picking up the tab for the massive medical costs related to smoking, non-overweight people are subsidizing the obese since it is “discriminatory” to charge differently for health care (though a section of the Affordable Care Act would change that).


But unlike the “good old days,” shaming is now taboo. No one is ever at fault or accountable for his actions. Consider:


-It used to be, when a student received a detention, they weren’t just shamed in front of their classmates.  They knew they had to tell their parents, which would invariably trigger another punishment.


Contrast that to the reaction this week of a New Jersey principal’s letter to parents about pictures of their underage children on Facebook holding alcohol bottles. Instead of thanking the principal for bringing that situation to their attention, a number of parents ripped him.


-Airlines have attempted to charge double for obese passengers whose girth extends beyond the armrests. While this is clearly commonsense, since not doing so penalizes paying passengers of normal weight, such policies are met with scorn and even lawsuits by those lobbying for obesity-without-consequence.


-And since it would be considered “discriminatory” to have an obese-only section in stadiums, seats are being made wider to accommodate overly plump posteriors.  And when seats are wider, there are fewer of them.  Who pays?  You do.  The same way that the non-obese eat the cost of new toilets that must be installed with ground supports, as the standard wall-mounted commodes can no longer bear the weight of America’s fat brigade.


We have coddled ourselves so much that we have shamed using shame.  As a result, people have become clueless to their appearance.  Sure, what’s under the skin matters, and no one should feel that obese people are bad, but what’s on the outside counts, too. Or at least it should.  But go to any beach, and count how many linebacker-sized women are showcasing themselves in bikinis.  Ditto for men whose guts reach the next block.  Since they all have mirrors, one can only assume that shame is simply not a part of their lives.


Should we have scarlet letters for the obese? Of course not, since there is no problem identifying them. But we should employ shame to shed light on an issue that affects us all, in the same way that some judges order drunk drivers to place “Convicted DUI” bumper stickers on their cars.


And speaking of cars, how shameful is it that overweight people are not just guzzling food, but fuel?  A recent report calculated that 1 billion gallons of gasoline are wasted every year (one percent of the nation’s total) just to haul Americans’ extra pounds. And given that the average American weighs 24 more pounds than in 1960, airlines are using roughly 175 million more gallons of jet fuel per year just to accommodate the overweight.  That’s downright shameful.


And if not shame, then what? Do we tax fast food? Soda? Candy?  Do we regulate portion size? No to all. Not only are such ideas preposterous and unenforceable, but they are tactics, not strategy.  It’s time to tip the scales against obesity and solve the problem.


Otherwise, we will soon find out that the “elephant in the room” isn’t a pachyderm at all.


It’s an average American.



As published in Delaware County Daily Times:

Part 1, as published in Philadelphia Magazine’s Philly Post:



Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau,  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at


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October 16, 2012 at 9:47 am Comments (0)

Obese News Anchor Sinks Over A Weighty Issue

Part 1 of 2 on obesity, bullying and the lack of shame in America


Think just because there’s a presidential election there aren’t other “big” issues? Believe that, and pigs can fly.


In fact, there is a large — huge, even — discussion eating at many Americans, the girth of which we are still trying to get our arms around.


What is this weighty issue that once again has been feasted upon by both sides?


The massive rate of obesity in America, and whether publicly calling attention to it, as well as obese individuals themselves, should be on the table.


The obesity issue got cooking again after overweight news anchor Jennifer Livingston of WKBT in La Crosse, Wisconsin, received a private email from a viewer.  Kenneth Krause called her weight into question, asking whether she considered herself “a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular,” and adding, “Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain.” He ended by hoping that she would, “reconsider (her) responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.”


Since Livingston’s skin was surprisingly thin for someone in the public eye, she responded with a four-minute on-air editorial rebuking Krause.


But rather than giving viewers food for thought regarding her perspective on obesity, she left everyone wondering “Where’s the beef?” by barely weighing in on the issue at all. Instead she had a cow, ranting incessantly about bullying.  Yes— bullying. To the point where she even blubbered about how those struggling with sexual preference, skin color and even acne needed to stand up to bullying.


Bravo!  And since anchors often sink, that classic bait-and-switch tactic ensures Ms. Livingston a long political career should her day job not pan out.




While many other media outlets are fawning over Livingston’s diatribe, Freindly Fire won’t serve up Grade A compliments so freely.  This is far too much at steak — stake, sorry — to allow her to duck the meat of the issue.




First item on the menu are the facts:


1) Livingston received a private email, and chose to go public with it. Krause didn’t “bully” her, but offered his opinion to a public figure —which Livingston certainly is. She could have responded privately or simply ignored it. Getting nasty emails is part of the job.  Hell, Yours Truly gets pummeled so often — including occasional death threats — that a “bullying” email like Krause’s would be a dream. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the…kitchen.


And would someone please explain how a non-vulgar, non-threatening email can be even remotely considered bullying?


2) Every single aspect of the obesity epidemic needs to be discussed in an open, straightforward and respectful manner, regardless of whether feelings are hurt. That’s not bullying. It’s constructive dialogue, something quickly disappearing from the American scene.


3) The vast, vast majority of obesity cases — which includes nearly 40 percent of the

American adult population — are due to lifestyle choices, namely, immense overeating and a lack of physical activity. Only an extremely small percentage is related to medical conditions.


4) Let’s put a fork in the myth — perpetuated by so many obese people — that thyroid conditions are more prevalent than the common cold. Not only are they rare, but there are numerous medications which treat that condition, combating weight gain. Interestingly, Livingston never mentioned during her editorial that she had a thyroid condition. That morsel only came out after the story — and Livingston herself — became an international headline.





In fairness to Livingston, it would seem that Krause formulated his opinion not knowing if she had a medical condition that contributed to her obesity.  While the odds were certainly in his favor that she did not, it would have been prudent to have addressed that question in his correspondence.


That said, as big as Livingston has become, given her appearances on national television shows, she is not the issue. Nor is Krause.


But before we get to the skinny on obesity, it is equally important to understand what this issue isn’t about — namely bullying.  Does it exist? Of course. Always has and always will. And reasonable efforts should be made to fight it. But “bullying” has become the catch-all phrase we use whenever someone feels jilted, offended, or bad about themselves.  The truly tragic part is that combating real bullying has taken a backseat to an all-appeasing political correctness running rampant throughout America.


From social media to the schoolyard, we’ve reached the point where children are no longer permitted to fight their own battles, instead seeing the authorities swoop in at the first sign of conflict.  Sounds nice, and sometimes intervention is necessary, but for the most part, that paternalism leaves children woefully unprepared for that pesky thing called The Real World.  And now we are seeing the results of crib-to-college coddling: our businesses are sanitized risk-averse petri-dish experiments for social engineering, wars are fought so as to not offend the enemy, and scoreboards are often turned off in youth sports so a team down by 5 goals doesn’t cry and quit.  But no worries! Everyone gets a trophy so all can feel good about themselves.


Maybe if America prioritized growing up and not out, we’d be a whole lot better off.


The real issue is how to gnaw away at the exploding obesity rate, an epidemic that is all-consuming.  Obesity-related medical costs are soaring (over twenty percent of all health care spending) as cases of diabetes, heart disease and stroke meteorically rise.  Health insurance premiums for everyone increase in order to subsidize the obese. Worker productivity is down. Even energy costs are up.


But perhaps most alarming, America’s young people are being de-sensitized to obesity and all its negative effects.  In what is fast becoming a “do-whatever-makes-you-feel-good” society, that makes for an extremely dangerous recipe.


And the best way — maybe the only way — to change that fatitude is shame, a value in thin supply.  Part Two will chew that fat on how shame, correctly utilized, can lighten the load on America’s youth.


As published in Delaware County Daily Times:


Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television/radio commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau,  His self-syndicated model has earned him the largest cumulative media voice in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at






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October 11, 2012 at 12:27 pm Comments (0)

RomneyShirts: Banned by High School Brownshirts

Brown loafers, maybe.

Samantha Pawlucy, a sophomore at Carroll High, said her geometry teacher publicly humiliated her by asking why she was wearing a Romney/Ryan T-shirt and going into the hallway to urge other teachers and students to mock her.

“I was really embarassed and shocked. I didn’t think she’d go in the hallway and scream to everyone,” Pawlucy said. “It wasn’t scary, but it felt weird.”

Pawlucy said she decided to wear the shirt after researching the candidate and President Obama and concluding that she’s a Romney supporter. Her father, Richard Pawlucy, said she was especially interested in Romney’s opposition to partial-birth abortion.

He said he recently registered to vote as an independent but was not involved in the Romney campaign.

Samantha Pawlucy The teacher then allegedly called a non-teaching assistant into the room who tried to write on the t-shirt with a marker. She allegedly told to remove her shirt and she would be given another one.

During the incident, Samantha Pawlucy said the teacher told her that Carroll High is a “Democratic school” and wearing a Republican shirt is akin to the teacher, who is black, wearing a KKK shirt.

It’s a pretty far leap from Romney to KKK, but is that his defense? That’s not very logical for a math teacher.

These guys are going to shit the bed when they wake up on November 7th.

October 4, 2012 at 12:13 am Comments (0)

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