Friday, August 5, 2016

The Ten Worst Places to Work in Northeast PA

Northeast PA is rated one of the worst places to live in the nation, and our previous two posts have documented some of the reasons for this. If NEPA is one of the worst places to live, it must also be one of the worst places to work. Therefore, NEPA's worst employers must be the worst of the worst. Here, we examine Glassdoor, Indeed, and Google Reviews as we plunge into the depths of the NEPA employment world.

10. Telerx "Bleak Obscurity"
Glassdoor Rating 2.6
Reviews: 194
Hanover Twp, PA

Complaints of favoritism, micromanagement, no room for advancement, and the company not valuing employees abound in Glassdoor comments concerning the Hanover Twp and Pittston locations.

9. Highmark Blue Cross "Misery Spreading like Cancer"
Glassdoor Rating 2.3
Reviews: 328
Wilkes-Barre, PA

Blue Cross in Wilkes-Barre was reportedly a nice place to work until Highmark took over and started making life hell employees. Discontentment with Highmark is not unique to workers in the Wilkes-Barre office. Highmark, which has offices nationwide, has an abysmally low Glassdoor rating (2.3) for such a large company (10,000+ employees). None of the top ten worst places to work nationwide have as low rating according to the Huffington Post. In short, Highmark has collected a lot of human misery into one organized unit and extended some of it to Wilkes-Barre.

8. Regional Hospital of Scranton "Houseful of Neglect"
Glassdoor Rating 2.1
Reviews: 5
Scranton, PA

Employees and patients allege it is understaffed. Employees also claim management is incompetent. (Only five reviews appear on Glassdoor which by itself seems insufficient to draw conclusions from, but because 35 reviewers on Google gave the hospital an identical rating of 2.1 out of 5, we concluded that there must be some serious problems with this place.)

7. Paper Magic Group "Going in a Downward Spiral"
Glassdoor Rating 2.0
Reviews: 22
Moosic, PA

Complaints of nepotism, management not valuing employees, bad supervisors, and a general sense of decline can be found on the Glassdoor page along with a rating of 2.0 which is low for a company of this size.

6. Romark Logistics "No Hablo Ingles"
Glassdoor Rating 1.9
Reviews: 8
Hazleton, PA

Complaints of low pay, bad management, and a dearth of English-speakers are to be found on its Glassdoor profile.

5. Kane is Able "Dead End Jobs"
Glassdoor Rating: 1.8
Reviews: 12
Taylor, PA

The name is a play on words which refers to the Bible story of Cain and Able, who are the two sons of Adam and Eve. The story goes that Able, a shepherd, sacrifices his best lamb to God while his brother Cain just throws in some crops. God likes Able's sacrifice better, leading Cain to envy Able so much that he kills him and thus commits the first act of murder. This seems to be a fitting reference because according to reviewers on Glass Door, Kane Is Able offers a lot of dead-end jobs:
"They always find a way to give u no room to advance" (October 2015) and "They don't promote from within" (November 2014) and "[they don't give opportunities to] seasoned employees" (January 2016).
Unlike Highmark, which is based elsewhere but extends its misery to NEPA, Kane is Able is based in NEPA but extends its misery throughout the country, much like the next company on our list. 

4. McCarthy Tire and Auto "All in the Family"
Rating 1.7
Reviews: 9
Wilkes Barre, PA

Friends tell us McCarthy Tire gives deals to insiders and price gouges people who are not in their clique. One Yelp review confirms some of this:
We gave these guys a fair shake by taking our small fleet of vehicles (8) here for almost a year. Several times we had to talk to the manager because of blatant price gouging on the bills for our basic maintenance and today we just received the last one we will ever get from them. We dropped a truck off to get a wheel baring replaced and the inspection done about 3 weeks ago. It took them about 10 days to get it done, which in itself is unacceptable, and now today we received a bill for $3,900. These guys are a complete rip off and I would never recommend them. If I could give them negative stars I would.
According to reviews on Glassdoor McCarthy Tire also treats its employees badly. In typical NEPA fashion, top positions are reportedly filled by incompetent family members who rule over minimum wage peons and abused middle managers:
It is a family business and they keep it that way. Family is loyal but not always in touch with what is actually going on. Communication and attitude are terrible among employees.... Bosses will keep piling on work and treat you like you aren't a human being. Management gives the impression that they actually care and work hard, but it is far from the truth. One minute they will tell you about all the things you are doing wrong, and then the next minute they head to the golf course or go on vacation. They have unrealistic expectations and truly believe everyone under them is replaceable...The pay leaves a lot to be desired: it's as if they think they are still operating in the 1970's... HR is pretty much worthless as they are nothing but liars. (Taken from Glassdoor entries ranging from November 2014 to May 2016).
3. Outsourcing USA "Under a Microscope"
Glassdoor Rating 1.4
Reviews: 16
Dallas, PA

The Times Leader, which also has a low Glassdoor rating, did a puff piece on USA Outsourcing, interviewing CEO Lynn Banta who cited having a law degree from the Delaware Law school, the old name for Widener, which is currently ranked 153 out of 205 accredited law schools in the nation.

Multiple Glassdoor entries claim this allegedly family-run business has low pay, no opportunity for advancement, mandatory overtime, high turnover rates, incompetent managers, and, as one former employee relates, extreme micro-management:
Logging every second of your day was the worst. In most places it's pretty standard to clock in and out for lunches and to tell supervisors when you'd like to take a 15 min break, etc. However here, every minute of your day was tracked. Went to the bathroom for 7 minutes, better be logged as 7 minutes. Had to talk to a supplier for 3 minutes about an ad? Log that 3 minutes. Imagine cataloging every minute of your day for 8+ hours.
2. Jack Williams Tire and Auto "Good Old Fashioned Slavery"
Glassdoor Rating: 1.4
Reviews: 10
Avoca, PA

Complaints of poor communication, lack of planning, low employee morale, high turnover "with most warehouse employees leaving in the first 90 days", micromanagement, having to use "1982 DOS" computer software, charging workers "for everything", poor benefits, no room for advancement, no raises, mandatory overtime, and no set schedule can be found on Glassdoor comments ranging from November 2015 to June 2016.

1. Mid-Atlantic Youth Services "Reign of terror"
Glassdoor Rating 1.3
Reviews: 9
Pittston Township, PA

This for-profit juvenile detention center has an incredibly low average Glassdoor rating. A reign of terror allegedly prevails in the Pittston location that consists of favoritism, mandatory overtime, high turnover, and back-stabbing:
You constantly need to watch everything you say and do because people get fired left and right. You can't trust most of your fellow staff to back you up regarding anything unless you're the "clique" type and all of you regularly hang out outside of work. The rumor mill is awful. The place is a revolving door of staff. Pay is not worth the risk of what can happen to you in this type of place [because many youths are dangerous]. Upper management treats supervisors like kids. Staff are always told to give their opinions about helpful changes but are punished for giving them. You WILL be mandated to stay past your scheduled shift. Staff constantly call off. Staff are not cared about whatsoever unless they have been deemed a favorite. Sups talk crap about staff in front of other staff. No opportunity for advancement. Employee morale is always terrible. You are expected to have no life outside the place. You may need to work doubles on holidays. Backstabbing co-workers are common. And if you try to be fair to the Christian kids, the Muslim kids will get offended and try to get you fired. (Glassdoor Comments range from May 2014 to March 2015.)
Indeed.com also has some additional horror stories concerning Mid Atlantic Youth.


***
Addendum
There is no doubt that many small NEPA busineses are just as bad or worse than the ones presented here, but they fly under the radar because they are small enough that they do not generate enough former employees to substantiate a large number of Glassdoor reviews. For example, TABcom in Hazle Township and LT Verastro in Scranton have low Glassdoor ratings of 1.8 and 2.1 respectively, but each has only five reviews, which do not constitute a high enough number from which to predict that additional reviews would make for a similarly low rating. It could be that those companies were unlucky enough to suffer only bad reviews from disgruntled employees and no good reviews from satisfied ones even though theoretically there may be many satisfied employees. However, once a company starts to receive 9 or 10 reviews and they're all low, something must be amiss. Admittedly, some companies in this list have only a four or five reviews from local locations but corresponding low ratings from other areas solidify the notion that the company has systemic problems wherever it goes. If any of these companies have had serious restructuring since 2015 then we apologize for any reviews made based on past circumstances.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Ten (More) Reasons to Leave NEPA

Eight months ago we published an article called Ten Reasons to Leave NEPA. It was comprehensive, but this list will give the reader a more intimate understanding of the dark social underworld that is Northeast Pennsylvania (NEPA).

10. Demographic Asymmetries
NEPA is place where people go to die -- not live. In other words, if you're young and want to experience life, then go to an area with good-paying jobs and other energetic young people like yourself. But if you're old, have made your money, and want to live in a place with a cheap cost of living where your retirement dollars won't be sapped away to rapidly, then NEPA is ideal.

If you're young but incapable of earning much money because you have low intelligence or a disagreeable personality, then NEPA has plenty of low-paying jobs for you. It also has drug users in need of drugs in case you want to sell drugs to them.

The scarcity of good jobs in NEPA has resulted in several demographic trends. For one, there are very few Asians in NEPA because Asians tend to gravitate to high-paying areas like Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C. In NEPA, a few people from India live in Mountain Top but that's about it.

Secondly, blacks and Hispanics have been flocking to NEPA since the late nineties. Many blacks go on welfare and many Hispanics do the cheap warehousing jobs which "Americans won't do" (well, at lease not for NEPA wages of $9-$10/hr).

The typical black or Hispanic family which moves to NEPA for the cheap cost of living doesn't produce quality white collar employees, so employers often recruit high IQ blacks and Hispanics from outside the area to comply with racial quotas. The majority of these talented minority recruits eventually leave the area for the same reasons most of NEPA's whites do: there is more opportunity elsewhere. NEPA is sort of a proving ground for them until they can get to greener pastures, so they are transient figures for the most part. Most of the minorities who come to stay, however, are usually of a low socioeconomic status and are either here for cheap labor or welfare.

Also, a few white trash also move to NEPA. They serve as clients for the black and Hispanic drug dealers of Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, and Hazleton. However, there are very few of them compared with the masses of blacks and Hispanics.

The end result of these migrations is that there are four times more white baby boomers in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton/ Hazleton (W-B/S) metro area than white millennials as compared to the national average and five times more white baby boomers than white children under ten years of age. In short, the data suggest that NEPA is a terrible place for a white millennial to look for a future spouse and an even worse place to start a family. W-B/S is ranked 374 out of 381 Metro areas with respect to the percentage of white children under the age of five versus the overall population. Only places in Hawaii or southern Texas that are essentially populated by Polynesians and mestizos, respectively, exhibit lower proportions of white kids. 1

Below some graphs illustrate aforesaid data.

In figure 1 we see that in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton/Hazleton (W-B/S) metro area nonwhite males and females far outnumber whites in the 20-29 age bracket aka millennials. In figure 2 we see the reverse: white males and females far outnumber nonwhites in the 65-74 age bracket, aka baby boomers. Figure 3 shows the raw data used in the pie charts and uses a color scale of red being low, yellow being average and green high.. Figure 4 shows the age breakdown of white females in the W-B/S metro area versus the national average using the same color scheme. About 43% of females are white in W-B/S and 70% versus 43% for the rest of the nation. The bottom row shows how W-B/S has only about a third of the number of white females as compared with national average in the millennial age bracket (age 20-29 or the 7th and 8th columns above) but how they are actually over-represented in the baby boomer bracket (age 65-74) to the tune of 118% or 18% higher than the national average. The bottom row is also color coordinated with yellow being at the national average, red below it, and green above it.

A valid critique of looking at only at the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton / Hazleton metro area is that outlying heavily wooded suburbs such as Dallas, Clark's Summit, Mountain Top, etc, are a high percentage white. However, in these places live the sort of snobby, detached elites who own the slave-driving warehouses and dysfunctional family-run businesses that torment the NEPA masses. You're probably not in their clique.

Rural areas around NEPA, which lay farther still outside the suburbs, contain some friendly, albeit simple-minded folks. Lehman and Sweet Valley are most representative of such areas. If you don't mind country living, that is, mounting a quad for a woodland romp on occasion or cutting enormous amounts of grass on your giant lawn or comparing the rack of this year's slaughtered deer to your buddy's, then it's not a bad life. However, if such activities offer you no pleasure then you'll find yourself in bad company.

9. Apathetic and/or Needy Friends
If you're lucky enough to find friends in NEPA, they usually come in two varieties.

"I know that feel bro"
1. The first is the kid you grew up with who's smart but too lazy to embark on a career. He settles for demeaning job in a call center or a retail outlet where he is ruled over by hostile emotional women having IQs one to two standard deviations below his. He lives with his parents and still hangs out with his old high school buddies, playing magic cards and video games while staying in a constant state of failure to launch.
2. The other type of friend is one who tries at life but fails. He's smart -- but not smart enough. He can't keep a job for more than a year. He complains endlessly about his situation but seldom endeavors to improve his employability by acquiring marketable skills. He holds out for the one good job he'll never get. His life is a viscous cycle of disappointments, and he broadcasts his repeat loop of burdens to you endlessly. He uses your shoulder to cry on so often that sooner or later you have to cut ties with him, lest you drown in his tears.

8. Social Anxiety as the Social Norm
Go to any normal location in the United States, and you'll find that many strangers are polite and friendly.

This is not the case in NEPA, where store clerks gruffly scan your items without acknowledging your presence. If you try to introduce yourself to a stranger at a bar, coffee shop, or anywhere else, the person usually will not look you in the eyes or even in the direction of your face and will mumble one-syllable replies. One has to devise a strategy for breaking down this proverbial wall. Thus, even brief social interaction is a chess game to get the other person to start conversing.

In other areas of the US, however, you can simply say hello and the person will respond with like enthusiasm. Social dysfunction is the exception in most places but in NEPA it is the norm.

7. Fear of Social Interaction While Sober
If a friend invites you to his house and you try to strike up a conversation, he'll shove a beer in your hand. If you keep trying to talk, he will keep handing you beers until you're drunk and quiet. Indeed, the inhabitants of NEPA are most gracious with giving out beers. But they will not, and perhaps cannot, give you a moment of sober conversation, which perhaps costs them more on a psychological level.

6. Scarcity of Jobs
One reason why nepotism is so rampant in NEPA is that people's family members often have immediate income needs, so many businesses become family affairs. Perhaps this is a self-reinforcing spiral, with fewer jobs provoking more nepotism resulting in more workplace inefficiency, lower profits, and eventually, even fewer jobs, more nepotism, etc.

As evidence of the scarcity of jobs, if one goes to Indeed.com and searches for jobs within a 25 mile radius of Allentown (which isn't in NEPA but the Lehigh Valley) over twice the number of jobs appear in the search results. One might attempt to chalk this up to differences in population density. However, this is not entirely the cause. There are 608,763 estimated people within a 25 mile radius of Allentown and 320,557 of Wilkes-Barre. As of writing this there are 10,111 jobs on Indeed within a 25 mile radius of Allentown and 5,078 within 25 miles of Wilkes Barre.

For 25 mi of Allentown: 608,763/10,111= 1.66% of the population needed for work.
For 25 mi of Wilkes-Barre 320,557/5,078=1.58% of the population needed for work.
1.66% / 1.58% = 5.1% more jobs for hire in Allentown than NEPA per capita. This is above the 5% margin of error typically used is statistical surveys. Measuring the overall population rather than the working population may seem misleading, since before we stated that NEPA has a high per capita of baby boomers, many of whom are retired. But consider the distribution of these jobs from the following graph:

There are more jobs within the $20k-35k in Allentown but more in the $35-45k in Wilkes-Barre. This probably reflects truck driving jobs so common in NEPA, which pay around 37k per year. Notice also that jobs paying above $45k are more common in Allentown. In sum, the Lehigh Valley overall has more jobs per capita available on Indeed.com and more that pay high wages (above $45k/year).

In any case, NEPA employers often complain that they cannot fill blue collar positions with people who will show up to work, yet they reject most applications of college graduates since most jobs are blue collar. These days it is not uncommon for a college graduate to need any job, including blue collar work, and since backward NEPA employers still think college degrees as rare as they were in the 70s and as such refuse to hire college grads, they will continue to suffer poor workplace performance.

5. Disappointing Dating Scene
In number five of our previous top ten reasons we documented how there is a high ratio of males to females in Luzerne County among millennials, being as high as it is in China, where there is a national crisis of men not being able to find wives. We also alluded to the physical detriments of NEPA women overall, such as a tendency toward poorly developed secondary sexual characteristics. In ten of this list, we proved that the number of millennial white females is very low on a per capita basis in W-B/Scran/Haz, being at only about a third as high as the national average. For every one white female milennial in NEPA there are three in a typical place in the US.

In spite of women being picked over, few and far between, and less attractive on average there are still some eye catching young ladies in NEPA. However, if you're able to get one, they will usually fall into either of the two following categories:

1. Semi-retarded Disney Cartoon-Watching Girlfriend - This girl is by no means literally retarded. She performs her job at at call center or retail outlet with the utmost robotic efficiency. The problem is that arrested development has manifested itself in her leisure activities, which include watching Disney cartoons that she saw as a little girl. She often has pets, which, together with movie trivia, occupy the farthest reaches of her consciousness. She is always a white girl and usually is light-complected. She has a beautiful face and usually has large breasts and narrow hips but some have wide hips and small breasts instead. Communicating with her is a test of self-control as one must avoid using long sentences or referring to abstract concepts which might cause her eyes to glaze over. She typically shows interest in you at first but quickly becomes bored with you unless you can put on an act of being a normie chad.

2. Hypergamizing Latina Girlfriend - Hypergamy refers to mating up, or choosing a mate who is better looking, wealthier, or more popular than yourself. It is the subject fairy tales about a lowly peasant girl marrying a prince charming. Whereas men tend to be more sensitive to the physical aspects of hypergamy, ie, they want someone who's better looking than they are, women are more sensitive to the social manifestation of hypergamy, ie, they want a man with higher social standing than they have. Social status isn't just related to wealth however. It also manifests itself along racial lines. In countries whence Hispanic girls come, lighter skinned elites rule over dark-skinned mestizos and/or mulattoes. After many centuries of native Amerindian and black women gaining status by marrying white Spaniard men, an attraction to white skin is practically embedded in the DNA of Hispanic women. Thus, they will settle for white men who are less attractive relative to the white race than they are to their mestizo or mulatto racial cohort. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see an ordinary-looking white guy in NEPA with a knockout beauty of a Latina. The white guy gets morphical hypergamy by getting a thin curvy woman with a pretty face and the Latina gets the white skin status she craves out of her mate. If you're a white guy who wants a woman who's the same race as you but not significantly less attractive, the deck is stacked against you in NEPA. However, you can get a beautiful Latina girlfriend quite easily because of hypergamy.

In short, we can expect that the few pretty white girls available in NEPA have arrested development due to having lower intelligence since NEPA, as expressed in the last list, is in the bottom quintile in educational attainment and education levels are correlated with intelligence. Moreover, we can expect an abundance of young Latina women to be available because many millennial women are Hispanic, so the fact that these are the only two (defacto) options is not surprising.

4. Behind the Times
Northeast PA is said to be between twenty to forty years behind the rest of the country. Casual observations verify this. It is not uncommon to see women in small credit unions using carbon paper and fax machines rather than modern printers or the Internet. They would never hire a young person who would pester them to stop living in a 70s movie set.

Coelacanth Fish: Fossil (Above) Living (Below)

Also, much as the coelacanth fish was thought to be extinct but later found as a living specimen, old cars you'd never think are still driven are common in NEPA. They're not classic cars either, just old, beat up, living fossils that have stood the test of time.

As a final example, throughout America smoking was more common in decades past, but in NEPA it remains quite popular. Wilkes-Barre / Scranton exhibits the second highest cigarette consumption per capita in the nation. NEPA also has the highest number of chain smokers in the nation. The effect of this is that young women age faster and their voices become deep and raspy, as their grovelized vocal chords deliver a decidedly masculine tone.

Whether it be workplace procedures, transportation means, or lifestyle habits, NEPA is out of the loop.

3. No Entry Level Jobs
An old saying goes "if you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere". This is not true with respect to NEPA. One fellow we knew who had a degree in English could not find a job in NEPA that paid more than $8/hr. He moved to NYC and now works as an editor and earns a decent salary. It's tough to make it in NEPA -- not because of competition as it would be in the Big Apple -- but because employers are lazy and only want people with tons of experience who require no training. Any job market is better than NEPA.

Staring into the NEPA Abyss
2. Jealousy
When crabs who are stuck in a bucket notice one of their fellow crabs succeeding at efforts to climb out, they often pull him back in. This analogy is applied to humans who hate to see others succeed and who similarly pull them down. Because all negative behaviors are more common in NEPA due to brain drain and sanity drain, we can expect jealously to be common, all things being equal. Add to this the fact that NEPA is a proverbial bucket in which most individuals are unwillingly stuck, and you have a recipe for especially high levels of jealousy.

1. Arrogant Normies
Some people deserve to be a little aloof. For example, Nikola Tesla spent most of his time alone, and justifiably so. If he were alive today, we would not expect him to put aside discovering the next scientific breakthrough to meet with normies and discuss TV sitcoms, the score of last night's game, the best place to get chicken wings or sub-1100 SAT Score music. Generally, he would not like to skip from subject to subject without ever getting into depth about anything like what happens in so many normie conversations. Since he was a kind man, he probably would have done so if he had had unlimited time, but he was mortal and condemned to live only so many days on this earth, so he limited himself to communicating with people through other ways, such as through lighting their homes with AC electricity, something no normie could ever hope to accomplish.

But imagine the pure evil of normies who shun others for not having adequate knowledge of movie trivia or the cheapest local discount stores or craft beer. Do said normies deserve to be aloof?

Because the zenith of shared knowledge does not surpass normie levels in NEPA, their attitudes are considered high brow and set the tone for the culture. Need we say more?

***

During the early part of the 20th century it was said that the coal miners of NEPA were birds of passage, ie guest workers who tentatively lived in northeast PA until they could find better work elsewhere. In other words they never had a sense of permanence. They were Europe's poorest who roamed the world in search of work that could physically sustain them. They had to buy their stuff at the company store, which did everything it could to tie them to area by getting them in debt and thus make them a captive population.

Being an early coal miner was horrible work. They died in their forties of black lung, ie their lungs becoming nonfunctional from the accumulation of coal dust. They lived shorter lives than wildmen hunter gatherers and the South's former black slaves. The backbreaking work left them eager for spirits which they drank to ease their aches and pains in corner bars. Despite their daily eclipse in the mines they played football and baseball on the weekends, exchanging coal dust for soil dust in raucous physical contests. Their spirits could not be trapped in the mines even if their livelihoods were.

Granted, NEPA still has beautiful green landscapes, charming reminders old ethnic traditions, and stylized architecture from bygone eras. Many people have fond memories of growing up in NEPA. But today the beauty of its land and former inhabitants serve as reminders of potentialities unlived, such as a kiss never made, a battle never fought, and a song never sung.

Today NEPA's inhabitants no longer physically go into the mines, but their world is a subterranean Hades of stupidity, insanity, spitefulness, and old age.

A phoenix cannot rise from its ashes if it remains in them. Nor can it appreciate its ashen struggle unless it is freed. It's time for the remnant of worthy souls in NEPA to be the last birds of passage to leave.

The way to fondly think of NEPA is through the lens of nostalgia. One should strive to be the beleaguered traveler who returns to NEPA to see the ghosts of his past and pay respects to a land and former inhabitants that time has forgotten and which posterity may fail to remember.

Notes
1. SEX BY AGE 2014 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates US Census Factfinder

Monday, November 9, 2015

Ten Reasons to Leave NEPA

The subject of how bad it is to live in Northeast Pennsylvania or NEPA has been addressed by the Weekender in a column entitled "Nine Reasons why NEPA Sucks" but we thought we'd come up with some new content because our critiques will be a little more comprehensive since we don't rely on advertisers whose profits come from the region.

To start with, six of the top ten worst rated towns in Pennsylvania are located in NEPA.They are in bold.
  1. New Castle
  2. Nanticoke
  3. Johnstown
  4. Wilkes-Barre
  5. Shenandoah
  6. Corry
  7. Hazleton
  8. Dickson City
  9. Tamaqua
  10. Chester
Let's look at specifics as to why NEPA towns ranked so high.

10. Crime
Usually the most crime ridden areas in the United States are places where large numbers of poor blacks live. For example, the top 5 in 2013 were East St. Louis, IL; Camden, NJ; Gary, IN; Chester, PA; and Saginaw, MI which are 97%, 48%, 85%, 75%, 46% black, respectively.  Even though Wilkes-Barre is only 11% black, its crime rate was still incredibly high. It was the 18th most dangerous city in the entire country in 2013. The setting for much of the crime is Sherman Hills, a series of run-down section eight apartments allegedly run by neglectful orthodox Jews from New York. Murder is largely relegated to the warring factions of gangs who infest these projects and nearby areas of the city, but should you be an over-active critic of crime, you may find yourself dead like Donald Bachman or Michael Onley. In Scranton the situation is a little better, but you may want to refrain from participating in Uber in certain areas.

9. Beggars
Wilkes-Barre may not have the charms of big cities, such as sky-scrapers, cultural events, etc, but it has big city levels of beggars. One cannot avoid being asked for money if one walks through Wilkes-Barre's Public Square on a summer day. In all directions various vagabonds lay about on benches. Bathrooms in the vicinity are tightly monitored because bums attempt to wipe themselves down in them. For this reason the Barnes & Noble on the square often has its bathroom closed.

Normally pan handlers ask for a dollar or a quarter, but if someone claims to have suffered an auto accident and to be in urgent need a large sum of money for their car, try asking them to call the police for help. If they immediately dismiss the idea and become reluctant to speak, then you've got a scam artist in your midst.

8. Prevailing Misery
According to a study in 2014, Northeast Pennsylvania was rated first out of 177 metro areas in unhappiness. Few people below retirement age live in the region because they want to. Usually some health problem keeps them around, be it theirs or that of a sick relative who needs their care.

7. Drinking
It used to be said that "there's a church and a bar on every block" in Northeast PA. However, corner bars are becoming less common and have been replaced by cliche ones that blast music that makes conversation difficult and drinking easier. According to one survey, the area was ranked 4 out of 105 metro areas for alcohol and cigarette consumption. Alternatives to the smoky bar scene exist, such as vaping lounges and coffee shops, but they are few and far between and are mostly frequented by cliques of aloof college students.

6. Nepotism
If you end up working for a family-owned business in NEPA, you'll end up doing all the work while the owner's better-paid family members boss you around. These people are often incompetent and seldom held liable for their actions.

Just to get a job you have to know someone, but unless you're related to them then you'll be stuck at the bottom. The feudal system is alive and well in NEPA, and if you're not of royal blood, you'll be relegated to subsistence wages as a peasant.

5. A High Boy-Girl Ratio
According to the 2010 census, the ratio of men to women among 25-29 somethings in Luzerne County is the same as it is in China, 100 boys for every 93 girls. This situation in China has been recognized as a crisis by major news outlets, but Luzerne County's situation remains unrecognized.

Moreover, in NEPA women aren't just disappointing numerically. Qualitatively speaking, their secondary sexual characteristics seem more often like an inarticulate afterthought than well articulated feature.

4. Brain Drain 
Poor students do well in climbing the achievement ladder in NEPA, but they don't stay. Only 27% of area college students plan to seek employment in the region following graduation. The result of this is that the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton/Hazleton area ranks in the bottom quintile in educational attainment, specifically, 124 out of 150 regions in the country. Most people in their mid to late twenties do not have a college degree.

3. Bad Job Selection
Let's look at the top ten occupation categories in NEPA:

Rank/ Job / Salary
1 Retail Salespersons $21,630
2 Cashiers $18,530
3 Combined Food Preparation and Fast Food $17,990
4 Office Clerks, General $26,480
5 Waiters and Waitresses $18,060
6 Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers $37,540
7 Secretaries and Administrative Assistants $29,780
8 Registered Nurses $64,380
9 Stock Clerks $20,200
10 Freight, Stock, and Material Movers $28,780


Only one of these categories requires a college degree.

Furthermore, the average yearly salary in NEPA is $30,890, which is considerably lower than the Pennsylvania state average of $35,640.

2. Apathy
One friend relates that he tried to start a band but had trouble holding band practice because other members couldn't get transportation. The band dissolved.

Ambitious, outgoing, lively young people move to urban hubs or developing areas around them, and those who remain are hostile, cliquish, and live in a semi-comatose manner. They don't have conversations, they don't have hobbies, they don't have sex. Vegetating in front of television is their preferred pastime. When they do go out, it's in cliques, and they seldom interact with strangers. The females adopt pets as a outlet for their motherly energies until their wombs go barren, and if they do have a boyfriend, they avoid all contact with other men, including casual conversation. Sexual restraint among young women seems stronger than in tribal Saudi Arabia.

1. Predatory Corruption
Prison is frequently retirement home for NEPA elected officials, most notably Ray Musto, Bob Mellow, Greg Skrepenak, Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conanhan. The crime of the latter two is particularly disturbing. As county judges, they sentenced children who misbehaved in school to a for-profit prison in return for kickbacks. These children all went to public schools and were disproportionately poor and middle class. The scheme was dubbed Kids for Cash and made national news. But that didn't stop the NEPA elite at Wyoming Seminary from attempting to name their athletic field after real estate mogul Robert Mericle, owner of the for profit prison, who allegedly issued the kickbacks to the judges. The hostile mentality that many of the NEPA elite have for the poor and middle class is a legacy of the coal mining days, when the descendants of 18th century immigrants from Connecticut, known as the Connecticut Yankees, oppressed poor Catholic coal miners by attempting to make them indebted to the company store and by conspiring to keep out industries which would compete for their labor so they could be paid as cheaply as possible. In other words, the Connecticut Yankees' descendants wanted a captive, impoverished population from whom they could profit. So did Robert Mericle in the 2000s.

A lesser known but similarly predatory scheme has been dubbed Cars for Cash. Leo Glodzik, a heavily tattooed truck operator, was charging exorbitant impounding fees to the people whose cars he towed as the towing contractor for former mayor Tom Leighton's administration. Glodzik was connected with city attorney Bill Vinsko and Leighton is believed by many to have known about the scheme. The $600 a night impounding fees Glodzik charged people prevented the poor from retrieving their cars and amounted to de facto theft. Several Wilkes-Barre police officers allegedly received discounted cars from Glodzik which had belonged to poor people who couldn't afford to pay to get them back. The majority of city council members looked the other way. Current Mayor Tony George was at the time the only councilman to speak out against it. After failing to persuade other Wilkes-Barre City officials that the tower had to go, community activist Mark Robbins, who had been a victim of Glodzik, petitioned County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis to do something about it, but she had someone on her staff who was related to then Wilkes-Barre city police chief Gerald Dessoye, so she declined. Not until Glodzik took the bait of $1,000 that Feds planted in one of the cars he towed, did a full investigation take place. No local authorities ever investigated Glodzik. His accuser Mark Robbins is one of few rich people in the area who seek justice for the poor and unconnected. There are a few good people left in the Valley.

Here's my advice for NEPA life:
  1. Avoid Sherman Hills and Coal Street in Wilkes Barre because they're hot zones for crime.
  2. Avoid Public Square in Wilkes-Barre to avoid being heckled by beggars.
  3. Avoid bars. Patronize coffee shops and restaurants. Try meeting people in Meet-up groups online.
  4. Understand that you will not get a good job as long as you remain in the region.
  5. Understand that you will have to dumb yourself down to get by socially.
  6. Understand that few people are interested in participating in social events and you may have to seek them outside the area.
  7. Understand that you must either live the single life or lower your standards for looks and personality in a potential mate or pray for a miracle.
  8. Understand that you will never reach your fullest potential while living in NEPA.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Parkade of Horrors in Wilkes-Barre


Urine trouble if you set foot in this Wilkes-Barre parkade's stairwell. You may notice pools of a substance other than H2O of which the entire stairwell reeks. At the top floor are discarded beer cans from many bums seeking a warm refuge from a Wilkes-Barre January as they almost magically transform an intoxicating substance into a disgusting one.

Should you walk on other stairways, you may have to dodge pools of vomit, flattened pizza slices, and mysterious dark clumps of things that are disfigured beyond recognition.

And be careful when walking to the nearby Movies 14 Cinema since an extremely slick oily substance seems to have been dumped all over the stairs leading there.

In fact if you're going to see a horror movie, it would be cheaper and perhaps more horrifying to simply walk around in this parkade on a wet and rainy night where odors permeate the moist air and things from the dingy ground stick to your shoe. You could get more of a thrill while at the same time refrain from contributing money to liberal Hollywood.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

WVW Teacher should not be Charged with a Felony

A 31 year old school teacher from Wyoming Valley West High School had sex with a 18 year old student. She should not be charged a felony because it's not as it would be if she were a man.

Gender equality is ideology. Gender difference is biology. No ordinary woman who is 31 years old can overpower an ordinary young man, aged 17 or 18. Therefore the sex was consensual, barring any blackmail. Moreover, the nature of the sex did not involve a dominant adult pursuing a submissive minor as would be the case with an adult man pursuing a female minor. Moreover, a young woman is more sensitive to bonding from sex than a young man, and it's physiologically more of a commitment for a young woman than for a young man.

Equivocating the relationship of an adult woman and male minor with an adult man and female minor is biologically incorrect.

While ideology is a noble effort to escape biology, we shouldn't totally dismiss biological considerations such as gender differences in our efforts to escape nature.

A misdemeanor would suffice as a legal punishment.

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Cacaphonous Judeo-Christmas

Christmas Songs written by Jews in the 20th century don't mix with Ancient Christian Christmas Carols.

One cold winter's day in the prime of Advent there funneled into the Osterhout Library an unknown women's group. Once settled, they proceeded to sing a wide array of Christmas carols in a large community room. A library is maybe the least tactful place to sing carols, but a contentious person would make an exception for the ladies because one so rarely hears live voices singing carols these days.

If there was a problem with the carols, it was how the ladies alternated back and forth between spiritual old songs and the somewhat cynical popular Christmas songs from the first half of the 20th century. The "sound" of songs like "A Holly Jolly Christmas" differs vastly from songs like "O Come, O Come Emmanuel." For this reason the ladies' performance was incongruous and kind of maddening to the aesthetically sensitive listener.

Christmas has changed over the past century. What made the holiday fun in pre-20th century days was the festive spirit. Song like Deck the Halls, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Here We Come A-Caroling, and Jingle Bells embody this spirit of merriment. But a far greater proportion of pre-20th century Christmas songs were religious hymns that conveyed spiritual sincerity. The most popular of these hymnal songs are:

O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Silent Night
Joy to the Word 
The First Noel
O Come All Ye Faithful
O Holy Night
Hark the Herald
We Three Kings
Away in a Manger
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

The "sound" of these songs differs greatly from the pop Christmas songs of the 20th century, many of which were written by Jews who appreciated Christmas but who couldn't and wouldn't grasp any meaning in the holiday that went deeper than gooey nostalgia found in Irving Berlin's "White Christmas". Jews of 20th century yore appreciated Christmas, just not in the same way pre-20th century Christians did.

The setting for much modern Christmas music is department stores. It would be awkward to hear religious hymns while trying on clothes or buying toys for junior. It may be outright sacrilegious to do so.

Television commercials also play a big role in defining what a modern Christmas is, and these would obviously favor the Santa theme because they are selling stuff that Santa will bring.

The radio is the main source of most people's knowledge of Christmas music, and it follows the commercial trend. Aside from frequently playing the top ten worst Christmas songs, they play songs like these top ten as reported by ASCAP.

1. Winter Wonderland
2. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
3. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
4. Sleigh Ride
5. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
6. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
7. White Christmas
8. Jingle Bell Rock
9. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
10. Little Drummer Boy

Usually 1/3 to 1/2 of the top 25 songs in any given year are written and/or composed by Jews. The only two religious songs that creep in are the lamentable "Little Drummer Boy" and "Do You Hear What I Hear?". If any song epitomizes the aesthetic monstrosity of a Judeo-Christmas, it is the latter, which was written by couple consisting of a Jewish woman and Christian man. There is a theatrical coldness to it and a strained sincerity, as if it is something done merely for something doing it. It is a compromise that erases the best qualities from everyone.

But if most modern Christmas songs are aesthetically lamentable, then capitalism is proving that one doesn't need good aesthetics to survive. To make it in a capitalist society, you don't need to have good taste. You just need to find a way to use the market to make money. Rather than sincere flourishings of spirituality to coat a rough agricultural life or festive crescendos to end a hard year's work, we use less sincere pop jingles to accompany our less austere jobs.

There's no reason to consult spiritual beauty or festive energy when the goal is always another item in Santa's bag or to experience some picturesque snowfall. Because appetites are more frequently satisfied in a more productive capitalist society, the occasion for satisfying them means less, and holiday sincerity overall suffers.

Moreover, for most people, surviving in a capitalist involves many compromises. Putting up with incompetent superiors, doing demeaning jobs, and using one physical motion as in factory work or one mental exercise as in paperwork, repeatedly, till it's time to go home involves compromising one's will toward others. Compromise breeds cynicism, thus making more sincere music seem alien.

Seeking a deeper meaning in life vis a vis the hymnal songs does not get you anywhere in a capitalist economy. Neither does yuletide merriment which is symbolized with leftover pagan symbols such as evergreen trees, holly, ivy, mistletoe, etc.

The meaning of the 20th century songs the ladies sang is very different from the pre-20th century Christian/pagan carols they inter-spliced them with. This is not to say 20th century songs about Santa, Christmas nostalgia, and wintery weather are bad. Moreover, in no way is it artificial that we would have less sincere capitalist music in a less sincere capitalist culture. But for those looking for something more than what such a less sincere society can generate, they do not suffice. Mixing them together with religious songs and old pagan songs denudes them all of their essence. So it'd be nice if the ladies could finish the 20th century songs apart from the older carols.
____________________________

Epilogue

Besides the hymnal songs we listed above, there are some lesser known songs we'd like to share for those looking to explore the landscape of Christmas songs out there:

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
What Child is This? (set to the tune Greensleeves)
Good King Wenceslaus
Carol of the Bells (based on an old pagan song Shchedryk.)

From France:
Sing We Now of Christmas
Bring a Torch Jeannette Isabella
Patapan
Now is Born the Divine Christ Child
The March of the Kings (tune found in Bizet's opera "Carmen", and allegedly comes from crusader days.)

From England:
Ding Dong Merrily on High
Coventry Carol
The Boar's Head (about a pagan symbol)
The Holly and the Ivy

From Germany:
How Great Our Joy

From Appalachia, USA:
I Wonder as I Wander

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Message to Readers of this Blog

Dear readers,

There aren't very many of you out there. The few views we receive do not justify the amount of time we spend writing articles. We started off writing disjointed rants to get things off our proverbial chest, but now we wish to produce more original, informed and professional pieces, and thus we will need a better platform.

In the past seven months we've become a lot more serious about politics. We've begun to ask questions that one isn't supposed to ask. We've reached conclusions that would outrage our former fellow travelers.

We no longer wish to promote increasing individual liberty. There are more pressing issues. Even if a liberty candidate like Ron Paul were to win, he would not address the most troubling problems on the horizon which people have blinded themselves to with belief in egalitarianism.

Within certain confines liberty philosophy makes sense, and within these confines the practice of it makes for peaceable high-functioning societies.

But the world will change for the worse, liberty or not. Politics must no longer be about elections but rather preserving populations on a small scale.

The reality is that we face dilemma between turning into Haiti and staving this slide off by moving toward a Brave New World Society.

The only way to prevent the world from sinking into an abyss of Haitian proportions is to move closer to an ideal hierarchical society with hierarchies based on physical reality that determine reproductive quotas.

In light of this it seems incidents of  local corruption or incremental abridgements of liberty --the usual subjects of discussion on this blog -- are but insignificant quibbles in the grand scheme of history. Although such topics are pressing at the moment, they will not matter centuries into the future.

What shapes the horizon is what we've been ignoring all these years.