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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A Day In the Life of LV State Legislator Joe Brennan

Before I knocked over his dad's urn
I cornered State Rep. Joe Brennan recently, and convinced him that Monday was "Take Your Blogger to Work Day." In a moment of weakness, he let me shadow him in Harrisburg. I don't think he'll be repeating that mistake anytime soon. Below is my chronicle.

7:45 AM: I arrive at the Brennan compound in Fountain Hill, as Joe stands on the corner with his two grade school sons, all three of them wearing ties and jackets. The boys are waiting for their ride to Holy Infancy, while Joe is going with me. I'm dressed in tattered jeans, old sneakers and driving what has been called the "death wagon." As the boys leave, one of them whispers, "Be careful, Dad."

7:50 AM: Joe takes me on a tour of his estate, as his dog checks me out. It is then that I realize my zipper is open.

7:55 AM: Joe and I hit the road, for the drive to the land of midnight payraises. Abut halfway there, somewhere around Shartlesville, Joe tells me, "They grow mushrooms around here, so it always smells like farts in this area." Actually, I had been farting a good ten minutes.

Once we hit Lebanon, my mushroom machine begins to work again. "Man, I don't remember mushrooms in this area," says Joe. "Must be from all the rain this year," I innocently reply.

Ten minutes after that, Joe's head was hanging out the window the rest of the way to Harrisburg.

9:45 AM: House members, State Senators and Supreme Court judges all park in the same garage. Some bastard had stolen Joe's spot, so I pulled into a spot marked "Supreme Court." I told Joe that if they're anything like the judges in Northampton County, we won't see them until Thursday.

10:00 AM: Joe has a meeting with Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley about Marcellus Shale or something. Before he goes in, he asks me, "Do I call him Lieutenant or Governor?"

"Who the hell do you think I am, Miss Etiquette? I'm a bottom-feeding blogger, and we call Lieutenant Governors assholes."

10:05 AM: While I'm examining four goofy statues in the rotunda, the Lieutenant Governor's office door flies open and he storms out, going about 40 mph. "Good morning, your Excellence," I say, and give him a little bow.  While he keeps on going, Joe comes out, looking a little ashen. He doesn't want to talk about it.

Did I give him the wrong advice?

10:07 AM: Joe's legislative assistant, Maria, calls. Apparently, some Supreme Court Justice is blowin' oil because some idiot is parked in his special spot. The jurist is threatening contempt citations and the death penalty.

"Tell him to move the goddamn car himself. That's why I left the keys in it. Let him figure it out."

"You left the keys in the car?"  

"That way I won't lose them."

10:10 AM: Joe asks Maria to go down, see Hizzoner, and move the car without getting us jailed. Good call. She's prettier than us.

10:15 AM: Joe checks email and correspondence, while I use my iPad to insult my readers, just like when I'm home.

10:30 AM: I go with Joe to a Judiciary Committee hearing, where Megan's law reforms are discussed and adopted. I'll have a report about that later. Joe pretends he does not know me.

I just met a girl named Maria
11:00 AM: Joe has a meeting with House Democrats on some committee. I stay at his office, mostly because its members only. I talk to his legislative assistant, Maria.

"So, you come here often?"

"I work here."

"I'll bet you drive, don't you?"

"Yes. I drive."

"In a car, right?"

"Right."

She quickly leaves for lunch. I do have a way with the ladies.

While waiting there, some dudes come in to talk about solar energy, and I tell them I'm a lobbyist with Big Oil. Then I pop on Joe's phone and start prank calling Governor Corbett and The Morning Call's John Micek.

May he rest in peace.
12:30 PM: Joe comes back and I slam the phone down too hard, knocking over the urn in which he keeps his dad's ashes. I offer to break out the vacuum cleaner, while he keeps saying "Serenity now, serenity now."

12:45 PM: Joe and I are on the way to the House floor, when we bump into a bunch of union guys sporting yellow T-shirts. What is with union guys and T-shirts? I remember the good ol' days, when they carried tire irons. Joe, who opposes privatization of liquor stores, poses with them. They'll be here every day, handing out T-shirts. I got three of them from three different guys until they get wise to me. Then one of them breaks out a tire iron.

The three amigos
1:00 PM: The House Floor. Before the session starts, Joe gets Steve Samuelson and Bob Freeman, who agree to pose for a picture with Joe. Then they all go back onto the floor. I have to go up on the fourth floor, and go in via the peanut gallery.

1:05 PM: I make it to the 4th floor, where security guards search me with a smile. ... A very long time. I don't want to jump to any conclusions, but one of the name tags says Sandusky.

1:20 PM: After that very careful search, I make it onto the peanut gallery. No sooner do I sit down than the damn Speaker gavels the session adjourned until 5 PM, so Democrats and Republicans can caucus in their star chambers.

1:30 PM: Joe meets me. "So sorry you have to leave, Bern. Don't let the door hit you on the way out."

Well, that's my report on Bring Your Blogger to Work Day. I'll finish with a pic of the guys from 1776. I actually agree with them on this one. So there. Besides, I have three T-shirts.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Although your ass leakings may be to blame for other ozone alerts. It is a pig farm that causes that stench, and it is closer to Strausstown. They feed the pigs stale ho ho cakes from the bakery. The owners are not the most honored residents . I have co workers that hail from that area.

Bernie O'Hare said...

So it's not mushrooms, eh?

Julian Stolz said...

Jim Cawley, not Scott Conklin, is Lt. Gov.

Anonymous said...

7:45 AM: I arrive at the Brennan compound in Fountain Hill, as Joe stands on the corner with his two grade school sons, all three of them wearing ties and jackets. The boys are waiting for their ride to Holy Infancy, while Joe is going with me. I'm dressed in tattered jeans, old sneakers and driving what has been called the "death wagon." As the boys leave, one of them whispers, "Be careful, Dad."

Well, at least you weren't wearing flip flops!

Anonymous said...

Are you saying Joe doesn't drive? Was that part of his agreement?

Anonymous said...

Some might call this a fluff piece.

Anonymous said...

You left out the part where he got hammered, drove on a sidewalk and nearly maimed a bunch of kids.

I get your sympathy for a fellow struggling drunk. I don't get your sympathy for a disgraceful example of public service - for whatever reason.

Anonymous said...

Dear 7:35,

Joe Brennan is dealing with that issue..he is one of the nicest, kindest, and thoughtful legislators around and happens to do a great job in Harrisburg..If you want to slam him for policies you disagree with, go right ahead and make your case..However, to take a cheap shot as you did, is pathetic..

Anonymous said...

Were the t-shirts union made? Hopefully a fellow union would be handing out American made shirts.
Joe

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yes, the T-shirts I have are all American-made. Would you like to guy one?

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Joe Brennan is dealing with that issue..he is one of the nicest, kindest, and thoughtful legislators around and happens to do a great job in Harrisburg.''

And then he spent a day with me.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Jim Cawley, not Scott Conklin, is Lt. Gov."

Details, details. I'll fix it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Some might call this a fluff piece"

But a well-written fluff piece.

Anonymous said...

"Jim Cawley, not Scott Conklin, is Lt. Gov."

"Details, details. I'll fix it."

Maybe that's why the LT Gov went running out of his office and Joe was admonished so... At least he didn't call him Catherine Baker Knoll.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yeah, good point.

Tom Foolery said...

So you are saying that he proved he must be one of the nicest guys around since he even spent the day with you or that after spending the day with you, he's taken to the dark side and is no longer one of the nicest guys around? Just wondering...

Bernie O'Hare said...

Tom Foolery, A day with me could be trying for anyone, but Joe is a kind soul who really cares about people. So I think he can shake off my evil influence.

Tom Foolery said...

Not that I don't believe you Bernie but if you don't mind we'll be sending him for a full MH checkup..

Anonymous said...

I don't care about his poljtical views. I'm appalled at the assistance in his public rehabilitation. The "first time" incident wasn' t and many of us don' t believe he has been held fully accountable. Drunks are often enabled in their disease. Letting him skate around consequences that the less well connected must endure is furthering the enabling. I want him to get well for his family. I also want him out of office and facing the full consequences of a notorious repeat offender. He hasnt been permitted to hit bottom and is still dangerous, in my opinion.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's because you don't know what you're talking about, as proved by your unwillingness to sign your name. I'd much prefer a man who openly admits to what is, after all, a disease to someone who takes cheap shots behind a veil of anonymity.

You talk about accountability? How about your own? You're unwilling to do that.

Joe received no special treatment or favor. In fact, because of his public position, he has endured much more humiliation and embarrassment from anonymous slugs like you than any person in private life would ever endure. And whether you know it or not,

I know no family that is immune to this disease. Peple who suffer from it, like Joe, must be accountable for their actions. But they are still human beings and should be treated like human beings. That's not enabling. That's common decency, something about which you seem to know nothing.

Anonymous said...

Put well Bernie..

gruntled said...

I'd be more inclined to be tougher on Brennan if Boscola and employees would think about resigning because of their DUI's.
Should it be one strike and you're out? Two?

Anonymous said...

Bernie picks and chooses the drunks he puffs up and the ones he attacks.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Ahh, the "blog mentor." You are not supposed to be commenting here.

Anonymous said...

Go ahead and be outraged at criticism of your coddling a known avoider of consequences.

I just hope when he finally kills someone, it's your loved one and not mine.

It's great you kicked your disease. You all seem to hang together, though, when it comes to getting another crack at killing or maiming one of us.

I lost a tea-totaling brother to a Joe-like drunk and don't want to break that news to my mother again. Nobody should have to.

John Micek said...

So that was you who called? Thanks, O'Hare ... There were children in the room. :)

Bill said...

"That's because you don't know what you're talking about, as proved by your unwillingness to sign your name. I'd much prefer a man who openly admits to what is, after all, a disease to someone who takes cheap shots behind a veil of anonymity.

You talk about accountability? How about your own? You're unwilling to do that.

Joe received no special treatment or favor. In fact, because of his public position, he has endured much more humiliation and embarrassment from anonymous slugs like you than any person in private life would ever endure. And whether you know it or not,

I know no family that is immune to this disease. Peple who suffer from it, like Joe, must be accountable for their actions. But they are still human beings and should be treated like human beings. That's not enabling. That's common decency, something about which you seem to know nothing." well said

Sober 25 years and know Joe. He is a good man coming to terms with a difficult disease.

Anonymous said...

And he knows enough to jump quickly into a nearby bar to grab a beer to obfuscate after crashing yet another car. He was never held accountable because of who he is. The average unconnected Joe doesn't get the same enabling. I hope Joe gets better. But I'm not hopeful with so many enabler blowing smoke up his ass and endangering the rest of us. Those who have lost loved ones aren't heartless. We're just very leery of Joe's type of connected politician/drunk. It's because we've had to buy caskets and arrange caterers and call the priest and tell our moms about their sons' deaths. I guess we're overly sensitive. Joe Brennan received special treatment over a number of years and has not been held fully accountable. His is a story as old as politics and alcohol and dead brothers.

Anonymous said...

"But they are still human beings and should be treated like human beings. That's not enabling. That's common decency, something about which you seem to know nothing."

I don't have a opinion about Mr. Brennan one way or another. However this comment you made, did you bother to read it after you wrote it? And if you did , do you as the author understand what it means? I would think you are not selecting certain groups of humans that should be afforded this treatment. Does everyone fall into your version of being treated in a humane manner?
You might want to take your own advice.

Anonymous said...

After the southside accident and the last very serious offense, Joe should have resigned.

He has a problem and went through the program but that doesn't erase the responsiblilty of an elected official.

There is a difference.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:43, You are out of your mind. Joe Brennan received no special treatment. In fact, his position as a public official exposes him to slugs like you, who preach accountability but hypocritically refuse to identify yourself. Also, I doubt you've been forced to bury anyone, but you are looking to bury Joe Brennan.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:44, I do take my own advice. If I did not, I would be much harsher with morons.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:47,

Joe is a first-time offender. That's t. Should he have been arrested before? I know few alcoholics, myself included, who did not deserve to be arrested before it actually happened. He is no different from any other alkie in that regard.

If you want to scream about accountability, then you ought to be accountable yourself and identify yourself.

W. J. Cogan said...

what time did the bar open?

Anonymous said...

very funny piece Bernie

Anonymous said...

Anyone who wants to speak directly to Representative Brennan can feel free to call him. Simply google him and give him a call. He has always returned my calls. All you need to do is identify yourself.

Anonymous said...

Vee Vant your name and address for zee files.