Random Thoughts

THE GREATER DEPRESSION CHRONICLES: Quote of the Week

Not a happy camper...
Not a happy camper...

"...Yesterday, after it was reported that AIG lost $62 billion last quarter, an estimated $460,000 per minute, the federal government offered AIG yet another check. Small businesses across the country, who played by the rules, paid their bills on time, can't get a line of credit, while AIG seems to have an open spigot for taxpayer money." - Senator Ron Wyden (D) Oregon, grilling Federal Reserve Chairman Ben "Moneybags" Bernanke on March 3, 2009

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In Memory....

Mary and Courtney

There is a headstone in an Irish cemetery with the following inscription: Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.

When my mother-in-law, Mary, passed away this past week I took these words to heart. They are simple words, but infinitely wise. They acknowledge that the pain of loss stays with us all of our lives. But these words also remind us that we are all…each of us…a gift to those who love us, and they, likewise are God's gift to us. Though we will pass, each of us, from this earth, we will live on in the memories of those we loved, as they shall in those they loved, and so their children shall, and their grandchildren shall, for as long as people walk this Earth. Those we lose are not truly gone…they will dwell in our hearts forever all the days of our lives.

Someone once said: "…There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go."

Why does it have to be that way? Why is it that the people we love are taken away from us? Why must we experience such deep pain and loss in our lives? Is God being cruel when he takes those we love? Is He punishing us for some sin, real or imagined, when he takes away from us those we cherish the most?

I don't claim any special insight into the Almighty, but I just don't think God works that way.

Perhaps there is another answer. Perhaps death is God's way of telling us that we need to cherish those we love, to take no one for granted, to take joy in every moment our loved ones are here with us, and we are here with them, because tomorrow…tomorrow is a possibility, but not a promise.

...And Still I Say: SHUT IT DOWN!

Shut it Down!!!
Shut it Down!!!

Several weeks ago I wrote a post about the Luzerne County Courthouse, which I consider the most dangerous court in America. My feelings at the time were summed up in one phrase: Shut it Down.

In the weeks since I posted that my feelings haven't changed, despite what I consider to be the honorable efforts of current President Judge Chester Muroski to clean house. I am heartened that Judge Muroski began immediately taking steps to restore public confidence in the Luzerne County Courts. And, so, a tip of the hat to Judge Muroski.

With literally each passing day, however, the story gets worse. It is evident that corruption spread like an insidious cancer, a web of deceit that hopelessly entangled anyone it touched. Recent stories in two local papers paint a clear and unpleasant picture:

In Juvenile Court, Justice was Silent (The Citizens Voice)

Newspaper's Lawyers Allege Reputed Mobster Linked to One or Both of Disgraced Judges. (The Times Leader)

GREETINGS FROM LAKE JIMBO....

My sink runneth over...

My sink runneth over...

For the most part I handle this going deaf thing pretty well.

For the most part.

True, I make too many jokes about it, poke a little too much fun at myself, and I can see where that causes an uncomfortable silence in people...a silence that even I can hear.

But I deal with it. I remain functional. I seem to get my job done, and people who know me and work with me get around it. They jot me notes. They talk slow on the off-chance I'll read their lips correctly. If I'm in the warehouse at work, the folks driving the pallet jacks know I sometimes don't hear them coming and they follow along slowly behind me until I see them and get out of their way.

So, again, I work around it. The people around me work around it. We make allowances, together. I forget sometimes that the deafness isn't just about me, but everyone who must interact with me. It must be an extremely frustrating thing at times for everyone else, but God bless them they put up with it...and with me.

But sometimes going deaf frustrates the hell out of me, and tonight was a night that got to me.

THE GREATER DEPRESSION CHRONICLES: Small Potatoes and Wings on Mars...

Small Potatoes...

Small Potatoes...

As I write this, I believe the President is on TV pleading with Americans to support the stimulus package. The House approved $819 billion. The Senate is wrangling over $780 billion. Let's just call it $800 billion. It's a nice, fat, easy to remember number.

And it's small potatoes.

You read that right...SMALL POTATOES.

Between the TARP program, a mess of tax cuts and the money the Democrats and Republicans in Congress are fighting over right now...all of which were subject to their votes...we're looking at about $1.7 trillion dollars.

And it's still SMALL POTATOES. Just like our elected representatives.

You see, the most powerful entities in America right now are not our duly elected members of Congress or our recently inaugurated President. These are small potato folks arm-wrestling over a plate of likewise small potatoes.

Real power lies in the purse, and if you're looking for the real power in America right now you've got to turn your head away from the President and Congress and give the nod to the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the FDIC. These are the folks grilling steaks (or cooking our gooses, if you'd rather) while our elected representative fight over the scrawny little tubers.

I'm NOT Lollygagging...

LOLLYGAG (as per the definition at Yourdictionary.com): "...to waste time in trifling or aimless activity; fool around."

Well, that's not what I'm doing folks. I'm on a bit of a demanding schedule lately (...and hey...that's NOT a complaint...I'm thankful to be working this hard when so many Americans are getting pink slips).

I am deep into writing the next segment of NCD, and I've had to do a lot of interesting research for this segment. I think it will pay off.

There are blog posts to come, and (eventually) the next segment of NCD....just hang in there!

My parting thought...I heard on one of the Cable News channels that President Obama is "...growing frustrated with Congress."

What popped into my mind immediately was a priceless quote from the epic comedy Airplane: "...now the hand's on the other foot."

Welcome to Washington, Mr. President.

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SHUT IT DOWN! The Most Dangerous Court in America....

Shut it Down!!!
Shut it Down!!!

This is a post about justice, not politics.

It is important to note the distinction, because I try to avoid inflicting my own political beliefs upon anyone who visits this site.

This is a post about a direct attack upon personal liberty by the Luzerne County Courts. It is an unfolding tale of greed, unparalleled corruption and the willful violation of the civil rights of American citizens for personal gain by a dysfunctional and dangerous court.

I am not overstating anything here. This story is news worldwide. You can read about this in Taiwan, Australia and Great Britain. It is a story that Hank Grezlak, Editor-in-Chief of The Legal Intelligencer, has been told by lawyers is "...the worst thing they've ever heard regarding a judge."

American citizens, juveniles from Luzerne County, were allegedly put in a detention center for money. To line the pockets of a judge. It is also alleged this happened in many cases without legal representation for these juveniles. It is also alleged juveniles were incarcerated against the recommendations of the Parole Board.

Beyond these horrors, there are rumors of alleged case-fixing being investigated in Luzerne County.

WE'RE ALL TIED UP, GANG!!!

BULLSEYE!!!
BULLSEYE!!!

The score is tied in the 2009 Luzerne County Tournament of Impalement, a fascinating and painful local war between the sexes.

As you may recall, the women's team took a 1-0 lead when a lady in Wyoming skewered her boyfriend with a meat thermometer.

The men's team responded in Nanticoke Wednesday night when a fellow used his wife for a dartboard after an argument over loud music.

So there you have it folks...the 2009 tournament is all tied up in what looks to be a very competitive year. In the case of a tie at year-end, the victor will be chosen based on creativity and style points. So far this season, the meat thermometer gets the edge there.

We'll keep you posted...and sorry, folks...conventional knife wounds are not considered eligible for the Tournament, so put down those Ginsu knives! (Yup, we're making the rules up as we go along!)

Watch the local papers for the next match ...
Watch the local papers for the next match ...


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THE GREATER DEPRESSION CHRONICLES: A bad cup of coffee...

Not your average brew...
Not your average cup of Joe...

First, let me start on an optimistic note. Yes, these are difficult times. They're going to get a lot tougher before they get better. But I agree with Warren Buffet. While he believes we are facing an "economic Pearl Harbor" he also says, "...it's never paid to bet against America."

Folks, I'll say it again...God Bless Warren Buffet. We've been blessed for many decades. We've had recessions, some ugly. What we're in the early stages of is something far more serious. Saying that, however, I think the long view has to be that we will get through this...just not as quickly as some would have us believe. We keep hearing about "second-half" recoveries. There will be...but in the second half of the next decade.

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I believe the government is lying to us.

Not, perhaps, intentionally, but lying through omission. The bank bailouts and TARP programs were created and rammed through in an atmosphere of fear. The Gubbermint simply didn't tell us they were clueless on how to deal with this mess. They figured the best way to avert Apocalypse was to throw as much of our tax money as possible down a bottomless rathole and pray it somehow stopped the hemorrhaging.

You will read one day that there was an atmosphere of raw fear...panic, if you will...in Washington last fall. That big sack of fear was used as a weapon to extract bailout funds from our wallets for this generation and the next...and possibly beyond.

How bad was the fear-mongering?

Coffee and Static Cling...

I just read an article that claims seven cups of coffee a day may lead to hallucinations.

Baloney. I drink about 30 cups, and as best as I can tell there are no side effects side effects side effects side effects side effects side effects side effects.

I am the Kaiser. Bow before me.

...there's a nun wearing spandex hiding under my bed. I hear her chanting. No wait, it's not chanting. She's singing the Barney theme.

And...hey...when did the sky turn orange?

Be back soon...coffee cup's empty. I need a java refill...


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I seem to have a lot of wardrobe issues. At least once a month I leave the house with something out of kilter. Unmatched socks. Somehow missing a belt loop when feeding the belt around my waist. Skipping a button putting on a shirt. Any given day there's about a 1-in-5 chance I've botched the basic human skill of just getting myself dressed in the morning.

I once walked around the office for several hours wearing a V-neck sweater backwards. Not inside out. Backwards. The V-neck was centered between my shoulder blades and pointing straight down at my butt (where, apparently, my brain resides in the morning). A friend pulled me in her office and let me know, or I'd have walked around like that all day.

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