Monday, March 2, 2015

Operation Black Fly

The state today begins its annual spraying to suppress black flies.

Operation Black Fly

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Don't go near the water, coach, today's the day the state starts spraying for black flies along the Delaware River.

BE: Gnats, you mean.

JB: That's right, chief. Forget about that bin Laden raid, this is the real deal. Aerial attack on 33 counties, 1,600 miles of state streams and rivers, cast of thousands, cost of millions.

BE: Wait. Cost of millions?

JB: Well, the official announcement doesn't say how much but in past years it's been around $7 million.

BE: For gnats?

JB: To keep our outdoor activities safe from nusiance, yes. And to keep the pesticide industry humming.

BE: If not the gnats.

JB: Good one, boss.

BE: And where exactly will this spraying be?

JB: Aha! You're on to them. Well, it won't be in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or Montgomery County.

BE: The three most Democratic counties in the state.

JB: You know your voter registration stats.

BE: You're not suggesting....

JB: Well, you tell me. Of the 33 counties to be saved from nusiance 19 are Republican.

BE: Oh, brother. Could it be that more rural areas have more streams and rivers?

JB: You've been compromised, haven't you. It's a plot. No money for human services. Money for gnats. GOP. Gnats Over People!

BE: You really have lost it.

JB: Oh? What about bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, a.k.a., Bti?

BE: What about it?

JB: That's what they're spraying; a presticide described as "essentially non-toxic." Who do you think the biggest recipient of Bti PAC funds is?

BE: Stop it. Just stop it.

JB: Grrrr.





John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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