382 GRIPES and Griping Strong!



I had to do it! I had to create a blog so you and I could gripe about all of "The Crap" that we encounter everyday in our lives. Believe me, there is plenty! You can now come to this blog to Gripe because you have the right to do so. Over time, we will Gripe about topics ranging from sports to politics to just about all of the garbage that happens around us. When you Gripe, you can add your name or not. It's your right! You can vent any way you want. Use foul language if you are angry enough to and if you are offended, just Gripe It! Hell, we have been banned from Facebook twice! You can Gripe about people, places and things. The only thing I ask is if you are going to Gripe about someone and you use their name, make sure you have the facts straight or say it's your opinion. Otherwise they will sue your and my ass off! It's your RIGHT TO GRIPE! You can respond to one of our Gripes or you can lay down your own Gripe. It's easy. To post your own Gripe just email it to therighttogripe@hotmail.com and we will get it on. You can also post a Gripe on our Facebook page. Just search The Right To Gripe. If you don't want to write it down, just click on one of the boxes below each Gripe to give your opinion. You can also become an official "Griper". All you need to do is "Sign Up" and create an account. IT'S FREE! So, don't sit back and take it, just GRIPE IT!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Election 2012 - Are We Better Off (Part 2)

The Presidential election is getting ever so close and with less than a week to go many people are still debating on who to vote for.  Last week we examined the unemployment rates to help determine whether we are better off now or 4 years ago?  The answer was we are the same, but the projected trends show improvement in the future under current President Barack Obama.  Today, I would like to take a look at what may be our countries biggest problem, our national debt.  Before we dive head first into our pool of debt, here is a quick history.  The U.S. Department of the Treasury began reporting debt in 1790.  At that time, the U.S. debt was recorded at $71,060,508.50.  A drop in the bucket compared to today's numbers.  Gross Federal Debt is defined as the total debt owed by the United States federal government. It comprises “Debt Held by Public”, including foreign governments, debt held by federal government accounts such as IOUs owed to the Social Security trust fund, and “Debt held by Federal Reserve,” debt bought by the Federal Reserve System as part of the monetary base.  Now that you are scratching your heads, get ready for more. 

Andrew Jackson
In early 1835, the debt of the United States hit its all time low coming in at $33,733.05.  The president at that time was Democrat-Republican Andrew Jackson.  See, both parties did work together!  During this year, Jackson would pay off the entire U.S.debt, the only time in our history this has happened.  Then the depression hit and the debt multiplied 10 fold.  The U.S. national debt began the 20th century at what then was a staggering $2,136,961,091.67.  Year after year the national debt increased until it hit the trillion dollar mark in 1982. In that year, then President Ronald Reagan amassed $1,142,034,000,000.000 in national debt.  Since that time, the U.S. national debt has NEVER gone below the trillion dollar mark.  In 2010 under President Obama, the debt hit a record high coming in at a staggering $13,561,623,030,891.79.   

Now that you are up to speed on the national debt history, are we better off now than we were 4 years ago?  In 2009, when President Obama took office, the national debt was at $10,024,724,896,912.49.  At that time it was an all time high.  In 2001, George W. Bush inherited a national debt of $5,807,463,412,200.06.  All 8 miserable years of the "W" administration saw the nation debt rise by close to $600 billion each year.  When Bush left office, he had doubled the national debt in just 8 years mostly due to 2 wars and borrowing from other countries such as China.  Under current President Obama, the national debt has continued to escalate at an even higher rate.  The national debt has risen on an average of about $2 trillion each year.  A very alarming trend that has led to the U.S. losing its top notch credit rating in the world along with the devaluing of the American dollar. 

So, are we better off now than we were 4 years ago.  The answer is a resounding NO!  We are in deep crap when it comes to the national debt.  We continue to spend money that we either borrow from China or India or just simply don't have.  According to a study done by Brown University, the wars in the Middle East have cost the U.S. between $3.2 and $4.0 trillion.  Now that we are out of Iraq and withdrawing from Afghanistan, this debt burden will end which should help.  Both President Obama and Mitt Romney have plans to stop the bleeding.  Which plan will work?  Who the hell knows.  The national debt is at a crisis level and difficult decisions must be made.  Only you can make the choice when you go to the polls.                                  

All facts are recorded at www.usgovernmentspending.com and www.treasurydirect.gov.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Election 2012 - Are We Better Off

 Usually around election day, the R2G turns away from Griping and focuses on important issues concerning it's readers.  In less than two weeks, we will be going out to vote in one of the most important elections in our lifetime.  As we move closer to deciding the fate of our great nation, one of the questions that many of the voters in the U.S. have been asking themselves before they go to the polls on November 6th is, "Are we better off now than we were 4 years ago"?  This is an important question because it seems our country is headed down a path of destruction which many either blame on our current President Barack Obama or former President George W. Bush.  Over the next several days I will be dissecting and analyzing a few topics such as unemployment, deficit and foreign affairs.  I think once this research has been completed, you will have a better handle on who you should really vote for.

The first area I would like to analyze is unemployment with numbers coming directly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Are we better off now than we were 4 years ago when it come to people being out of work?  In 2001 when George W. Bush took office, the unemployment rate was at 4.1%.  As Bush stumbled through his presidency, the rate wavered between 4.5% and 5.7% until his last 4 months in office where it hit a high of 7.3% in December of 2008.  At the beginning of President Obama's term, unemployment hit 7.8% in January 2009 and climbed to a 10 year high of 10% in October of 2009.  Since that time, the number has decreased just about every month to what it is right now, 7.8%.  It appears that the increase in unemployment actually began in the final quarter of Bush's presidency and continued to climb throughout the first two years of the Obama regime.  Many political experts claim that the numbers from a new President do not start to reflect his administration until the 2nd year in office.  If this is the case, then the high jobless rate of 10% can be attributed to the Bush administration.

So, are we better off now than we were 4 years ago?  In January of 2009, when president Obama took office the unemployment rate was 7.8%.  Right now it is 7.8%.  According to the numbers, we are neither worse or better off than we were 4 years ago.  However, President Obama's administration did take the jobless rate from 10% in October 2009 and lowered it to 7.8% in September 2012.  The question you have to ask yourself is will this decline continue if Obama is elected to another term?  The current trends show that it will.  Unemployment in 2012 has never exceeded 8.3% and has dropped just about every month since October 2009.  The other question is will Mitt Romney do any better?  No one can answer these questions for sure.  It appears that the answer to OUR question is neither yes or no.  We are right where we were 4 years ago with the trends leaning toward improvement in 2013 and beyond.              

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A W-B Firefighter Speaks Out

In my last Gripe I spoke about the financial woes of Wilkes-Barre and the published salaries of it's employees.  I also mentioned how the numbers were somewhat skewed and that the pays were still too high for some of these employees.  Now a W-B Firefighter has spoken and has brought to the table some interesting information.

When Leighton became the mayor in '04 he told ALL the city worker that concessions had to be made by ALL or the city would go act47 (distressed). The FD stood up and made concessions of more than $4 million over 8 years (no other union did anything). We then found out that Leighton hid money (McGroarty did first) and fought for that money (about $1 million total), by my math we still gave the city $3 million (the other unions still didn't give squat) and he treats us like a baby treats a diaper.  BTW those figures include overtime, that is overtime LEIGHTON created but not hiring new firefighters as the old retire. We have a certain amount of positions that NEED to be filled every shift and without more FF's that creates overtime.  Leighton is a master at telling people half truths to make others look bad.

First off if this information is true and I have no reason to think it is not, then the firefighters of Wilkes-Barre are getting a bad rap.  It appears that they have stepped up to the plate to help while the mayor shifts money around and pleads poverty.  As I stated in my last Gripe, there are times the media does not give us the entire picture when the paint a story.  At no time do they mention overtime in the story as part of the total wages.  If the correct number of firefighters is not maintained it would only be natural that O.T. must be given.  The question I have is why have the police not stepped up to do their part?  Let me tell you why?  Three letters F.O.P..  I have dealt with these greedy bastards in the past and they are well known for milking a city or town dry with their threats of arbitration and court.  In many of our small towns it is a right of passage for their chief of police to retire on disability because of some small injury.  These injuries always seem to take place within a year or so of contract negotiations.

Let me sum this up for all of you.  Our city and it's surrounding towns are in deep financial distress.  Over the years the powers to be rubber stamped contracts with police, fire and public works which provided a very good wage and fantastic benefits with no vision toward the future.  Now this has jumped up and bit them on the budget buttocks.  It is time for the people to know exactly what is going on and what is going to be done to fix it.  It's time to curtail spending in our towns and cities so they can catch up to the real world of no raises and higher premium payments for health care.  It's time to stop looking toward the people with higher taxes to fix the problems.  The employees of Wilkes-Barre need to step up and do what is right for the city and it's residence.  It's time to join the "REAL WORLD"!     

Saturday, October 20, 2012

How Much Are They Making?

Yesterday morning I opened the front door to fetch the newspaper and as I bent down I saw the headline, "Leighton not W-B's top earner".  I thought Oh Boy, here we go.  I am going to have a field day with this one on the R2G.  As I quickly glanced over the top 10 salaries all I could see were money amounts over $100,000 and the word Fire.  What, does this mean the firefighters in cash strapped Wilkes-Barre make over $100,000 per year?  It just can't be.  At a quick glance it would appear to be true.  That's how many people read the newspaper now-a-day's, they quick glance at headlines and they read first paragraphs.  Experts say a good journalist should sum up their story in the first paragraph and then get into the nuts and bolts further on.  So of course I had to read further.  Right off the top I couldn't believe that dozens of city employees were making more than $80,000 a year with several making over $100,000 per year.  It just could not be true and if it was no wonder the city was in financial trouble.  The thought of this started to make my blood boil.  Would I quickly be blinded by range?  Would I need to be sedated?  The lure of the Gripe made me go on.

As I read further, the story claimed that almost 300 W-B city employees earned more than $80,000 and 7 earned over $100K.  It's true I thought.  I can't believe it!  No wonder W-B is in the crapper.  Firefighters and police made up the majority of top wage earners in the city which is pretty standard for most cities.  They put their lives on the line and they should be compensated correctly for it.  Notice I used the word correctly in that last sentence.  The firefighters of W-B are being compensated correctly because the numbers produced by the local newspapers are skewed.  Back in 2010, the Commonwealth Court ruled that the city had to pay 85 current and former firefighters salary increases dating back to 2002.  Most firefighters received about $14,339 while Assistant Chiefs were awarded between $40,248 and $49,152.  Now it is becoming clearer.  I remember this case because the firefighters raped the city for the money because of a clause in their contract that stated if the cops got a raise, they should get one too.  The police filed a grievance against the city because W-B hired civilian employees to collect and enforce the parking meters.  The top 5 firefighters on the list received these huge awards which inflated their yearly income from the city.  In reality they are making about $90,000 to $95,000 per year.  Ohhhhh, that's different!  NOT!

The unions have been pulling down the pants of the city for many years now and the results of their greed are taking their toll.  The city of W-B along with many of it's surrounding municipalities are flat broke because of high salaries, top of the line benefits and constant arbitration hearings.  Do I think police and firefighters should be compensated well?  Yes, but not at these numbers and not with raises every year and the Cadillac of health care for them and their families on the house.  Right now, workers in the private sector are dealing with wage freezes and increased payments for health care due to economic issues.  Along with this comes tax increases which in some cases are being used to pay for these city and town employees raises and health care.  It has to stop!  Mayor Leighton has asked union workers to forgo pay increases for 2013.  So far, no union givebacks have been offered and time is running out.  Let's see if the unions step up to the plate to help or will they just throw another shovel full of dirt on the cities grave.  In my opinion they have already decided and the body of W-B has been buried.         

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mitt Romney - Champion Of The Rich?

The Presidential election is right around the corner and I felt it was time to start looking at the two candidates, President Barack Obama and Mitt "Nit Wit" Romney.  I'm not jaded here, am I?  Anyway, I was very interested on the take that Romney is a rich guy who wants to help the other rich guys.  After some research, I have finally come up with the answer to the question, "Is Mitt "Nit Wit" Romney going to help the rich with big tax breaks if he gets elected?  The answer is YES!  Of course he is and here is the proof.  Romney claims, for now that he will lower the tax rates for the wealthy which will increase company profits resulting in additional jobs.  I say for now because "nit wit" has changed his position on several topics like I change my underwear.  

David Siegel
The Huffington Post reported that David Siegel, the founder and CEO of giant timeshare company Westgate resorts, sent an opus-like email to his employees railing against one-percent bashing and arguing that the president’s reelection would “threaten your job.” In the email, obtained by Gawker, Siegel wrote:

"If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company."
Siegel isn’t the first and only CEO to push his political preferences on his employees. Bob Murray, CEO of coal company Murray Energy, allegedly pressured his employees to donate money to the Romney campaign. Murray energy workers have also accused the company of forcing them to participate in a pro-Romney rally, give up a day’s worth of pay and face the possibility of getting fired if they didn’t.  And Richard Lacks, CEO of car parts manufacturer Lacks Enterprises, urged his employees to vote for Romney on the basis of the claim that four more years of Obama would mean a boost in taxes and a decrease in pay.

There it is, the proof is in the pudding.  Rich CEO's around the nation are threatening their employees if they do not vote for Mitt "Nit Wit" Romney.  The rich guys club is spreading the word that their wallets will fill with more dollars if Romney gets elected while the middle class will bend over and take it in the back pocket.  By weakening the middle class, these rich pricks can keep us under control at work because they know we all need the jobs.  In my opinion, all these employees should go into the voting booth and pull the Obama lever.  No pin brained, egotistical rich SOB is going to tell me how to vote.  I have to tell you that this kind of stuff makes my pressure go up.  Right now all I can think is F#@* You David Siegel!  Drop muck Bob Murray and lick my you know what Richard Lacks. 

Over the next several weeks, the R2G will be answering many questions concerning the 2012 Presidential Election.  Make sure you vote, it's never been more important!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bullying - A Griper Punches In

One of our top notch Gripers, Tim "Pa Juggalo" sent me over this story and I had to put it up.  It seems that the hot topic around the country is Bullying and this story will make you want to punch somebody.  Here is what Tim sent over.

This morning I sat own on my computer to catch up on sports stories from across the country. I'm a sucker for the Prep Rally sports blog on Yahoo! because you can usually find a bunch of great stories about kids doing amazing feats or catch up on the next big prospect coming your way. But this morning I was drinking my tea and nearly choked on it when I came across this!

Coach Tom Mihalovich of Lincoln High School in Des Moines Iowa has been accused of violating school bullying and corporal punishment policies at the school he coaches. Well, that's a serious offense! What did he do to the kid? Tie him to the goal posts and have the quarterbacks throw the football at his nuts? Have him stand still while all the starving linemen took their best shot at him while he was wearing no pads? Be forced to practice with no helmet? NO! Its much much worse than that! He made him run wind sprints and laps!

WAIT WHAT? That's it? THAT'S WHY HE IS BEING ACCUSED OF BULLYING AND CORPORAL PUNISHMENT? Well hold on here there must be some back story. Maybe the coach just didn't like the kid and was doing it as a hate crime or something. Nope! The kid was being a jackass and talking, while at practice with coach talking no less, about how much his varsity football team sucked. Way to show team spirit there kid! Hell when I was in MINI football if some one made negative comments about our team guess who was the next runner in running back drills with everyone gunning to show that player how much they "sucked". And did anything ever happen to the coach? HELL NO! The parents of the kid who talked out would say "Good for you you deserved it! Show some team spirit"

This is ridiculous anymore. The wussification of our children sickens me any more. Parents every where throw a fit and file lawsuits against everything if their little babies aren't given everything on a silver platter. THE KID IS IN HIGH SCHOOL! That means he is at the VERY least 14 years old. Detach him from your nipple already. ITS FOOTBALL. Stop making our children weaker and weaker by coddling them every step of the way because once they get in the real world the first time they complain something isn't fair no one is going to hold their hands and say "It's OK." They are going to laugh at him and say get a life and get back to work slacker.

I know this is going to piss you off just as much if not more than it did myself so I had to share it. Hopefully you can put it up on the R2G so we can all collectively vomit together at how some day children won't even be allowed to play sports any more because people will fear lawsuits against them for making their kids run.


Tim, I just dumped my entire breakfast all over the kitchen table.  You are so correct when you say that we are making our kids into a bunch of pansies.  I also remember playing football and having the coach grab my face-mask, twist my head and scream in my face while spitting angry saliva all over me for missing a tackle.  I also remember doing sprints because some pin head would screw up over and over and over again.  It's time people wake the hell up and stop blowing things way out of proportion.  This is in NO WAY a case of bullying.  If this ever gets to court that judge should climb down from his chair, rip off his robe and kick the crap out of these parents.    

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Video Poker Machine Raids (The Joker's On Us)

Town Tavern in Nanticoke
This past Wednesday evening, troopers and enforcement officers with the state police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement raided numerous area bars and taverns seizing scores of video gambling machines.  Raids on bars seemed to be focused in Nanticoke which include the Town Tavern on Front Street, Ruby’s Inn on Espy Street, The Witch on South Market Street and American Legion Post 350 on West Broad Street, all in Nanticoke.  At the Town Tavern, John Bushko, the husband of bar owner Barbara Bushko, stood on the sidewalk watching an LCE officer wheel out four poker machines from the bar.  Bushko, the former mayor of Nanticoke, said the machines are owned by a vending company with whom his wife splits revenues generated from the machines. He couldn’t recall the name of the vending company.  “The machines just make about $30 a week. The casino takes all the business,” Bushko said, referring to The Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Plains Township. “Twenty years ago, they used to do really good. Now they don’t.”  Currently, casinos in Pennsylvania are the only establishments allowed to have permits to operate slot machines. They paid $50 million for gaming licenses that guarantee their exclusive rights until 2016.  Asked why his wife’s bar pays out money to gamblers on winning spins if he knows it’s illegal, Bushko said, “Everybody who owns these machines does it. It’s been that way for the past 40 years.”  Bushko said he doesn’t intend to have any more gambling machines put in the bar and noted that the city will lose revenue.  “In Nanticoke, you pay $100 for each machine” in amusement tax, he said.  Bushko said business has been poor lately, and now the small customer draw that the machines had is gone.  “Kids go to The Woodlands (Inn & Resort in Plains Township) and pay $4 a drink. Here, they would pay $1.50 and they don’t come in,” Bushko said. “It’s time to retire anyway.”

I just don't get it?  You can go to the casino and dump hundreds of dollars in the slots, but you can't go to your local tavern, drink a few beers and get paid out if you hit on the video poker machine.  What the hell is wrong here?  Let me tell you what's wrong here.  The greedy bastards in Harrisburg can't find a way to get a cut of the local video poker money so they ban them.  Currently, casinos in Pennsylvania are the only establishments allowed to have permits to operate slot machines. They paid $50 million for gaming licenses that guarantee their exclusive rights until 2016.  In 2009, then Gov. Ed Rendell announced a proposal to legalize video poker machines and use the revenues they generate to offer tuition relief for students attending the state’s community colleges or public universities.  Under the proposal, bars, taverns, restaurants and private clubs, establishments that have liquor licenses, would be eligible to have up to five video poker machines.  But the bill never came up for a vote.  Now it's becoming much clearer!  Casino owners weren’t buying Rendell’s argument that the machines would be “video lottery terminals,” not slot machines. They would have demanded the state reimburse them for the $50 million gaming license fees they each paid.

In other words, the greedy casino's put the screws to the State and in turn the State puts the hammer down on the local bar owners.  This is a typical case of the big dog beating up the little pooch.  I hate this kind of stuff.  In my opinion the casino's would not have lost one red cent if the State passed that bill of Ed Rendell's.  However, I think there is another underlying factor here.  The State of Pennsylvania is the biggest gambling organization in the state.  The Pa. Lottery ranks in millions and millions of dollars a year all under the disguise that it benefits senior citizens.  HOGWASH!  The State has milked its own naive people for years.  At first it was with the Daily Number.  Now, you have 2 Daily Numbers, 2 Big 4's, The Cash 5, Match 6 Lotto, Mega Millions, Millionaire Raffle, Powerball, Quinto, Treasure Hunt and of course the Scratch Offs.  ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME!  This is a sick joke!  You can't pay out on a video poker game in a corner bar but the State pays out on all of these games every freakin' day.  Some of these local bar's depend on this mere pittance of shekels from these machines to stay in business.  Hell, the LCB has done just about everything they can to close our local taverns.  The rules and regulations that are put in place really handcuff the owners into actually turning a blind eye to the law now and then.  I know a person who operated a local pub and believe me, it was tough to play by the LCB rules.  If you noticed I used the past tense of operate here because she closed the place after a year or two.  To sum it all up, the State along with their cash cow the casino's are doing everything they can to funnel gambling their way.  God forbid if you have a video poker machine or operate a bingo with a license.  Don't get me going on bingo!!!!!!