A headline comes screaming across the sky

You can't say the morning newspaper does not cherish good news. Take a whiff of the headline that screams out from the front page of today's edition:

Wow, that sure is exciting! (People might even be able to buy more newspapers.) But take a look further down the page and read the words, because words, facts, do matter:

Among the highlights, the city's percentage of residents living at or below the poverty level - $23,853 for a family of four - fell from 40.5 percent to 39.6, putting it in seventh place nationally among the 559 cities listed.

Imagine if the city's poverty rate had plunged more than .9 of a percentage point, if Reading were not merely the seventh poorest city in the nation. What if there were 2, 3, even 5 percent less poors.

How gigantic might that headline be?

240 points? 1080 POINTS?? So humongous only one or two characters would fit on each line?

It might be as challenging as the day Kennedy was shot and the paper could not use the word ASSASSINATED because the print shop ran out of S's.

We'll find out next year.

Don't Christians believe Jesus ascended into heaven?

The war on gays, by supposed Christians, continues today in the letters section of the morning newspaper:

I see that Epler's United Church of Christ is going to allow same-sex weddings in its sanctuary ("Epler's UCC votes to allow same-sex rites," Reading Eagle, Aug. 19).

I'll bet Jesus is spinning in his grave.

Is this gentleman suggesting that Jesus is...dead?

SCOOP! Reading Eagle set to unveil "can't miss" plan that will immediately slash poverty levels in city

Poverty fighter Peter D. Barbey

Poverty fighter Peter D. Barbey

The Reading Eagle is gearing up to announce a bold strategy that will strike at the heart of poverty in the city by immediately boosting the average net worth of its citizens, this blog has learned exclusively.

"The results will be dramatic, " a source close to the plan revealed. "There is no doubt experts will be impressed by the raw numbers, once the statistics are evaluated."

Reading currently ranks as the sixth most impoverished city in the land, with an estimated per capita income in 2012 of $12,414.

"The key figure isn't average income," the source insisted, "but average net worth. In that regard, many, many residents are underwater, with a negative net worth."

The Eagle plan, according to sources, involves Reading Eagle CEO Peter D. Barbey building a home within the city limits. Because Barbey is one of the heirs to a family trust currently valued at $5.4 billion, and boasts an annual income well into seven figures, his residency will cast a significant, positive glow on key poverty indicators.

"Reading is home to only a small handful of families with incomes greater than than 100K," the source said, "Mr. Barbey is willing to do his part to help the city rise from the ashes of despair."

Still to be determined are where Barbey's estate will be built, the cute name he will attach to it, what fortifications will be required, the number of armed guard who will be hired, and how many hours Barbey must actually spend within it to qualify as a legal resident.

"Those are mere details," the source insisted. "The plan is a go."

The source would not comment on another plan reportedly floated about in which Barbey would purchase all of the child refugees from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras and use them to staff a new sneaker factory he will build within the city limits.

Reading Eagle owners could sell newspaper, buy twenty Mitt Romneys

Here's a delightful story from today's morning paper, certain to make you want to hurl your breakfast:

While the Business Weekly blowjob article only IDs Peter Barbey as president and CEO of Reading Eagle Company, the Barbey family, in fact, is one of the prime owners of the Berks County media and real-estate empire, which includes WEEU radio and Moselem Springs Gold Club. The Barbeys' exact stake, or its precise value, is unknown because the company is privately held.

But because the Barbeys did tab Peter to leave sunny Arizona to take over the reins of Reading Eagle Company, one must ask the question: What has this ultra-rich family given back to our community? Are they doing anything to fight poverty? Or improve education? Combat crime? Provide job training for those lacking in opportunities?

Unless I am missing something, the answer is a big fat zero.

Never heard Barbey and philanthropy mentioned in the same breath. Not once. Not with the pages of the family's own newspaper describing, every day, how so many people are hurting.

If anything, one must wonder why Peter (known around the Eagle offices as "the Little Prince") would even bother trying to rescue a sinking ship in a flagging industry. Why not sell the dump and use your money to get a big boner running in some Republican primaries? (No, we do not know how the inter-family squabbles are playing out with the Flippins, the Hatfields to the Barbeys' McCoys in this Eagle family feud.)

One thing's for sure: The royal Barbeys will continue to lobby heavily for issues that matter mightily to their fat pocketbook, such as the elimination of the estate tax, because Reading Eagle Company, is, after all,  just a family farm.