Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Every time I pick up a newspaper or turn on the television, all I hear or read is that the world is coming to an end. It’s all over. Never in our history have things been so bad. Why should we even consider going on? After all it is just a matter of time until it all comes crashing down.

I have a few thoughts on this subject. First, this is definitely a bad time, but it is not the worst time. In our history we experienced many times which would have made this look like a Sunday School picnic. Consider if you will when we decided to declare ourselves independent of Great Britain. They did not take too kindly to that thought. How about when the south and the north became mortal enemies and tried to eliminate each other? It was not a happy time. Then there was the time when the little Corporal from Germany decided he would be emperor of the world and we had to stop him and stop him we did. Of course 9-11 also took its toll. Many thought we would never be safe again. That was a very insecure time.

Financially, how about 1929? Now that was a depression. People jumped out of windows in high rises because they didn’t want to face a life of poverty. Others sold apples in the streets just to get by while still others stood in soup lines for any food at all. What we are seeing today pales by comparison.

So what’s going on? Why all the gloom and doom? Why are the media so intent on dragging out this down turn? Don’t they realize that the fear they are spreading only serves to make it even longer? They say their ad revenues are down. Tell me who would want to advertise their product if it all is going to end anyway? The headline writers are contributing to their own demise.

I figure that our current situation is about fifty percent financial correction and the other fifty percent unwarranted fear. It will run its course and be finished. The fear mongers can only make it worse by their tactics.

Buried near the bottom of a page on a financial site yesterday I found a report that most economists believe that this down turn will likely end in the third quarter and begin its upward climb. They further believe that 2010 will be a year of tremendous recovery. I have not read this in any newspaper nor have I heard about it on television. Apparently this kind of news doesn’t sell newspapers or bring about advertising revenue for television networks. My other thought is that perhaps newspapers and television are today’s buggy whips. It could be that they have used up their usefulness. On the one hand that would be sad for me because I enjoy the newspaper but at the same time I am pretty happy that I don’t have to hitch up horses every time I want to go anywhere. Life goes on.

So where is this all going? When will it end? Will it end?

What I offer you today is optimism, just optimism. I don’t have a bunch of initials after my name but I do have a few years behind me. This is a cycle and it will end. There is a bottom and we soon will reach it. The great companies of America are not all going to suddenly go out of business. Our three hundred plus millions of citizens still will have to be fed, clothed, housed, and transported. Our technology companies will find great new discoveries. Our medical communities will prosper and we will be better for it. New inventions are happening every day, possibly even new and better buggy whips.

It is important for all of us to consider the positive. Ignore the fear mongers. Spring is on the horizon and the fish will soon be biting. In a few short months, we will be laughing about this.

How’s that for optimism???

Ron Scarbro February 25, 2009


The following was published in the Newsleader on February 20, 2009.

I have watched with amusement recent events concerning some people of note. People like former Governors of large mid-western states, former Senators, former Wall Street executives, as well as current Olympic gold medal winners. They all have been caught on tape, on camera, and in print doing very embarrassing and in many cases illegal acts. It is reminiscent of former Presidents and blue dresses.

There is a lesson here for all people of fame, status, or otherwise in the public eye. Somebody is watching, filming, taping, recording, and remembering about everything you do or say. With today’s technology virtually anyone is capable of capturing your every act on some recording device. You cannot hide.

Here then are some of my admonitions.

If you are asked to serve in a Presidential Cabinet, for goodness sake, pay your taxes on time. If you think you can bluff your way past a crime like that you are sorely mistaken. People who are your friends will report such a discretion as that. Never mind what your enemies will do.

If you are a Wall Street executive who has received a huge bailout from the taxpayers, curtail your need to spend extravagantly on furnishings, bonuses, and retreats. Did you really think you could get away with that? Do you really think no one will be watching and noting your activity?

If you are a Governor who seems to have a propensity to challenge the law and law enforcement by trying to get rich with various schemes that are illegal, not to mention just ridiculous, consider that everything you do or say is being recorded for posterity by the very law enforcement people that you have tried to trick. Oh, and another thing, when you are in a hole, quit digging.

Finally if you are an Olympic hero with gold medals hanging around your neck and huge endorsement contracts from every shoe manufacturer and cereal maker in America, for Pete’s sake, don’t take a hit from a bong at a party where everybody there is armed with a cell phone camera and could be just a little jealous of your fame and wealth. Is it so hard to understand that the next day pictures will appear all over the world?

Here is my question. Are these people so arrogant that they think the rules that apply to everybody else, the normal people, do not apply to them? Do they park their brains on a shelf and just go about their regular business?

Most, if not all, of these people have sought out the spotlight. They have sought fame. Well guess what, when the spotlight is on you, you just make yourself a better target. That is their reality.

I guess it is too much to ask for people to just exercise good judgment. It also appears to be unreasonable to expect them to obey the law. Therefore they are entitled to the embarrassment and even the prosecution they are facing. I, for one, am happy they have been caught. I am happy they will be called to task for their excesses. Those who have committed crimes should have to pay for those crimes. Those who just face public embarrassment are certainly entitled to that shame.

Most of us will never be famous or people of note. Most of us will just live our lives in relative obscurity. I am sure most of us prefer it that way. We can, however, look with amusement at the characters that publicly shame themselves because of their arrogance. Tsk, tsk, what a pity.

Ron Scarbro February 6, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I am sure that some of my more right wing readers may take some exception to this column but I am offering it anyway. I am a capitalist. I believe in free markets. I believe in profit. I believe in success. But, I also believe in restraint. Today greed is killing the very fabric of the society of America. Let us examine some of the more flagrant examples of this greed.

It is easy enough to pick on Wall Street and they are a clear example of what I am talking about. The idea that they can, with a clear conscience, pay themselves the exorbitant salaries and bonuses that have been reported is ridiculous. It would be bad enough if those payments came from profits but the fact that these bonuses came from taxpayer bailouts is criminal. Every one of them who participated should be rounded up and prosecuted.

The clowns who have been involved in Ponzi schemes, Petters, Madoff and others absolutely must spend their remaining years in jail. Every asset that they have including those hidden in other parts of the world must be recovered for those who were cheated. The government agencies charged with the responsibility of over seeing their activities must be cleansed of their incompetence. How many of these regulators are on the take? More jail time.

Who is watching the watchers? Who is watching the peanut processors? Who is regulating the amount pharmaceutical companies can charge for their products? What is the purpose of meat inspectors if they can be paid off by the meat packers and then look the other way when suspect product come to them for inspection? Wouldn’t you think that somebody’s conscience would get the best of them at some point? How many in the Congress are for sale to the highest bidder? Who really believes campaign contributions are for anything but access and favorable votes on pet issues?

All of these are examples of the greed I have been talking about. Corporations say they have to pay these huge salaries to get talent. If what they have is talent, then I would say that they have been sorely misled. Talented executives wouldn’t need the government bailing out their companies. No, the culture of greed has spread like a virus throughout the upper echelons of big business.

This same greed is permeating the entire fabric of our country. You see it in sports, in small business as well as in real estate prices. I remember when people bid up homes often offering more than the asking price in order to buy them. Their thought was apparently that real estate would continue to climb in value. That has proven to be folly.

Today real estate prices are retreating to saner levels. New home starts are down and empty homes are flooding the marketplace. This is called a correction. It needs to be corrected because it was incorrect before. The government is going to do everything it can to stabilize the market, but the correction will continue to take place. In the final analysis the result will be good for everyone.

Government tax revenues are down dramatically. This is also a correction. Programs which were never ending in up times are facing the reality of this correction. Many will be cut back and many will be eliminated.

Capitalism will survive this change. America will survive this correction and will be better for it. Greed will be with us forever, but it will be tempered by the lessons of today.

What we need now is patience. The pain is going to continue for a time but it will come to an end. The crooks and thieves will be rounded up and become footnotes in our history. Our markets will stabilize and better times are ahead. My hope is that in the future we will not forget these times. We absolutely must demand and expect from our elected officials and our regulators a level of excellence not seen before. Those who would practice greed without restraint must face the reality of the law.

Ron Scarbro February 18, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


(The following was published Jan 16,2009 in the Newsleader)

You’ve seen them. They mostly are visible in the summertime. They are there year round but you really see them in summer. What am I talking about? I’m talking about older men in shorts with black socks on.

I can remember my thoughts when first viewing this phenomenon. What a terrible fashion faux pas I thought. Everybody knows that with shorts you wear white socks. Don’t these guys know what they look like? I never ridiculed them out loud but I sure had my thoughts even though I kept them to myself. I excused the act by just figuring that these old guys just don’t care what they look like. They have much more important things to deal with.

Well judgment day has arrived for me as it always seems to do. It began innocently enough. I started having some mild swelling in my left foot and in my lower leg. It occurred mostly during high humidity. When weather moderated, the problem usually went away. Then I began experiencing mild pain in my leg. Finally, after much nagging from my wife, I went to the doctor.

Superficial phlebitis was the diagnosis. What? Isn’t that what old people get? It is basically an inflammation of the blood vessels. Left untreated, it could get much worse and eventually it could be fatal if clots occur and travel through my system and lodge in my lungs. This is what sometimes happens to long distance flyers who sit for long periods without moving. Blood settles in their lower extremities and when disturbed can travel through the system and cause deadly results.

Believe me I was sufficiently frightened into taking care of the problem. So, I ask, what is the treatment? How do I deal with this? The doctor looked straight at me and replied, black socks. Black socks? You’ve got to be kidding. Oh they were serious all right. Actually they are compression stockings which put pressure on my legs and restrain the runaway flow of blood. They just happened to be black. I suppose one could find these stockings in a different color but at over fifty dollars a pair I will just stay with what I have.

I call them my dork socks. On my dork scale I figure these socks rate a ninety three on the one hundred scale. When asked what would it take for the scale to register higher I replied wearing them with shorts and dress shoes. I draw the line there. I have my standards.

So what is the message here? What have I learned? In a nutshell it is a lesson I should have learned years ago. Don’t judge too harshly situations you don’t have enough information about. In other words, don’t judge a book by its cover. I also learned there are some things that are worse than someone thinking you look like a dork. Besides, you might be a dork. You may not have to look too far to find someone who has a much worse situation than merely black socks.

If you see me or one of the many others so afflicted this summer, don’t snicker out loud. Be patient with us and we promise not to act as dorky as we look.

Ron Scarbro September 17, 2008

Sunday, February 8, 2009


(The following was published December 2008 in the Newsleader.)

Grandpa, Grandpa, Tommy told me there wasn’t any Santa Claus. He said it was just your Mommy and Daddy. Well, I asked, what do you think? No Grandpa, I want you to tell me.

Okay jump up here and sit on my lap and let’s talk about this.

Santa is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For me He is real and always been real and I’ll tell you why I think that way. One day many years ago I asked Santa for a special person to spend my life with. Then, as if by magic, your Grandma appeared. I looked into her beautiful face and into her bright eyes and saw love, hope, and joy. I knew then for sure that Santa was real and that He would bring gifts if you just asked right.

Some time later I asked Santa for a special little person to share my life with. I told Him it didn’t matter whether it was a boy or a girl, just a special person to come into my life and bring more joy. Then again as if by magic, I looked into the gorgeous face of your mother. She was tiny and as I held her in my arms, she looked up at me and I saw Santa. I saw love, hope, and joy. I knew all over again that there was indeed a Santa and that He did indeed bring gifts to us if we just asked right.

I think you know what came next. I asked Santa for yet another special person to come into my life and share it with me. This was a few years after your mother had arrived. Well Santa didn’t disappoint me. One day I got to once again look into the beautiful face of baby girl. In that face I saw Santa. I saw love, hope, and joy in eyes that sparkled and shone. I was looking into your eyes. In fact, every time I see you, I am reminded of Santa.

You see, Santa Claus is love. He is hope and He is joy. He is the vision I see when I look at Grandma. He is as real as your Mommy. He is everywhere at the same time. He’s not just around at Christmas. Some day when you are older, you may ask Santa for a special person to share your life with. I believe if you ask right Santa will bring such a person to you as He has to me. So don’t ever let anyone tell you that Santa isn’t real. As long as there is love, hope, and joy in the world, Santa Claus will be there.

Grandpa, Christmas 2008
I have been asked to post some of my regular newspaper columns to the blog site. From time to time such columns will be posted. Each will be identified as having previously been published.

Ron Scarbro

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Today we are beginning a new feature for this blog. It is to be called the “Moron of the Month”. It is my opinion that I will have many candidates to choose from each month but I would welcome any suggestions from you. If you do offer a particular moron for this feature, just let me know and give me a few good reasons why they should be so honored. I will be happy to do the research and report to you their qualifications for this blog.

Today however, I select Mayor Bloomberg of New York City. You may remember that recently he was at the forefront in an attempt to legislate the type of cooking oil a private citizen/chef could use in the preparation of foods in his own restaurant. This essay chooses not to debate the value or the harm caused by any cooking oil. It chooses instead to report the usurpation of the freedom of choice. Bloomberg’s latest fiasco? He has now declared war on salt. You heard me, salt. It apparently is his opinion that salt is detrimental to your health so therefore government must intrude and take care of you. You, the private free citizens of the great city of New York, are not capable of deciding for yourself what you should or should not eat or in what amount you should consume it. What the Mayor has decided is that he should be the arbiter of all things healthy and unhealthy.

So what you are telling us, Mr. Mayor, is that of all the problems facing your city, too much salt is what you wish to concentrate on. Never mind that you have run away crime and illegal aliens feeding at the public trough. Never mind that traffic movement in New York City is a joke. Never mind that you have the highest taxes of any city of any size in the country. No, it is much better that you put your energy into controlling the intake of salt in the diets of the free citizens of your city.

Bloomberg was originally elected as a Republican but has since converted to become an Independent. It would appear to me that a more appropriate affiliation might be Socialist.

I have a few questions for the Mayor and those who think like him. Number one, what part of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, do you not understand? Do you really believe that being elected Mayor is license to become the Mommy and Daddy of the residents of New York City? Once again I am not debating the health benefits or the problems with salt. No, this is much more important than diet choices. This is about the very basic freedom of American citizens to be left alone and protected from the intrusion of government into their lives.

As for me, I would never consider living in New York or even visiting for that matter. So the question is why would anyone else care what happens in that particular cesspool? Why do I? The reason is simple. If Bloomberg pulls off the legislative control of salt in the diets of New Yorkers, it will just be a short time until it will be tried in other parts of the country. We are losing our basic freedoms at an alarming rate in the name of what’s good for us. Listen up Mayor Bloomberg, neither you nor anyone of your ilk is in any position to decide what is best for me. I will make those choices for myself. If I choose to eat salt by the bucketfuls, that is my choice. If I choose to drink cooking oils by the gallon, that is also my decision. Butt out.

I have reported but a couple of reasons I chose Mayor Bloomberg as this blog’s first Moron of the Month. As we go forward, I will be on the look out for the next qualified candidate, and believe me there are many. Consider if you will the Wall Street executives who paid themselves huge bonuses from the bail-out money. No this will be an easy task. Please offer your suggestions as you have them and stay tuned.

Ron Scarbro February 3, 2009