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Author Archives: Peter Weiss

kitchen-4

Arlene led him to a small all-night diner. She waited in her car until he had parked next to her then they entered the diner together.

“I come here sometimes with my mother,” said Arlene. She led him to a corner booth where they sat facing each other. We usually have lunch, sometimes dinner. Saves my mother from having to cook.”

“My mother died when I was kid,” said Bill. “I’m only telling you that because I want you to know that I feel for you. I hope your mother still goes on and lives a long life.”

“She has cancer,” said Arlene. “They’re going to operate but the prognosis isn’t all that good.”

“I’m really sorry,” said Bill. “I’ll pray for both of you.”

Arlene reached her hand across the table signaling for Bill to give her his hand. They were holding hands across the table when the waitress came. They both ordered coffee and sat without speaking.

After awhile, Bill asked her if she had any other family. Arlene said she had some cousins but they all lived far away.

Bill didn’t know what to say. He held her hand until the waitress brought the coffee and then he let go. It was an awfully awkward moment. Arlene looked as if she were going to burst into tears. Bill hoped she wouldn’t, but he wouldn’t have blamed her if she did.

“Want some ice cream or something?” he asked.

Arlene said, “I just want to be held. What I’d really like is for us to be somewhere quiet, alone, where I could just cry on your shoulder.”

“You have a place to go?”

“Sure. My place.”

“Is it close by?”

“Very.”

They drove in separate cars, Bill following Arlene, to where she lived, a small apartment. When they were inside Arlene showed him where to put his coat and then led him into the living room.

First thing, Arlene kicked off her shoes. She motioned for Bill to sit on the couch and asked him if she should start a pot of coffee. He said no, that he’d had plenty. He told her under ordinary circumstances he’d ask her if she wanted to get high, but he didn’t figure this was a time for that. He also said he had some Quaaludes and that she was welcome to a couple if she wanted to really relax later on.

Then they were both settled on the sofa and Arlene was looking at Bill in a way that he didn’t quite understand. He couldn’t figure exactly what she wanted from him and he was very unsure as to how to proceed. He sat back and shifted away from her but did not actually move. He hoped she would read his body language but he wasn’t at all sure his body language was clear because he wasn’t sure that he was clear about what he was doing there or about what he was feeling.

He said, “I guess I should put this out on the table. I’m not sure why I’m here and I’m not clear about what you want from me. So if there is anything you would like me to be doing or you’re expecting me to be doing, just let me know.”

“I don’t have many friends,” said Arlene. “The friends I had were at the University. When I grew up I wasn’t one to have many friends. Then my parents got divorced when I was fourteen. Not many families had divorces in them so I was kind of a pariah.”

“We all have stories,” said Bill.

“I am so scared,” Arlene said.

Pick up a copy of my published works here: 

By Peter Weiss

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originally written in 2013

quill-pen-300x300No one disputes that humankind has evolved or that the first premise of evolution is survival. Typically, we think of survival on an individual basis, but few people are wholly isolated or individually apart any longer. Instead, we live in vastly institutionalized societies. Barnard (1938) compared organizations to living, breathing organisms and he extended his analogy to view an organization’s attributes as human in nature. After all, since human organizations are made by humans, they are innately human.

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Service’s Welfare programs inclusive of Food Stamps, Aid to Domestic Children, Section Eight, and most others, were begun with the best of intentions:  an unequivocal desire to help the needy, the unfortunate and the unprotected in our society. But these intentions and desires have been usurped by survival. Staying alive, the simple rule of existence, has trumped and replaced original human concern and altruism. Along the continuum, the prime directive of these institutions has become survival, pure and simple, and just as the original main objectives of these institutions have been altered, so have their directions and, most important, so have their current effects on the very people they were created to serve. By far, these programs are now harmful to their clientele and detrimental to our society and the taxpayers who ultimately fund them.

Child Protective Services (CPS), although it has many names nationwide, under the umbrella of Health and Human Services (HHS), demonstrates a similar evolution. Formally begun in the early 1900s with the purest intention of helping children in need, CPS is now a vast, fifty-state bureaucracy that has deleterious effects upon the children and families it is supposed to help. The National Coalition for Child Protection Reform (NCCPR) asserts that CPS has an 80% failure rate and that 75% of comparably maltreated children not removed from their homes fare better than those children placed in foster care. However, since a major part of Federal, State and local economies in the United States are financially dependent upon CPS subsistence, little is done to reorient it toward its original missives.

No matter what the acronym, CPS has a department or division in each of the fifty states. They all suckle on federal funding through HHS, Title IX and Social Security, and while this might not sound too bad at first, cost wise this is just the tip. Attached to this are all affiliate services, service organizations and all the connected State Agencies which are needed to enable CPS to operate.  Below is a bare-bones, simplified chart to offer an idea of how CPS sits atop a mega child-industry, the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing, supporting a wide-spread array of privately contracted agencies and other state agencies.

cps1

Prevent Child Abuse America (http://www.preventchildabuse.org/index.php) estimated that direct expenditure on child abuse and neglect for 2012 would be approximately $33,333,619,510. Indirect expenditure, it estimated, would be $46,926,791,578. The total cost of child   maltreatment, according to Prevent Child Abuse America, was estimated at $80,260,411,087. (http://www.preventchildabuse.org/images/research/pcaa_cost_report_2012_gelles_perlman.pdf).

In sum, the total cost of child maltreatment in America is slightly less than 25% of the total United States budget, and HHS and CPS as the distributors of this fortune in tax dollars fails 80% of the time.

cps2

References

Barnard, C. (1966). The Functions of the executive (30th Anniversary ed.). Cambridge:

Benson, C.  (Ed.). (2003). America’s children:  key national indicators of well-being, 2003.  Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, Washington DCRetrieved April 17, 2005 from http://childstats.gov/ac2003/pdf/ac2003.pdf.

Clark, M.A., Shreve, K., & Stone, C. (2004, December). Taking stock in children: collaborating to promote success for low-income secondary students. National Association of Secondary School Principals. NASSP Bulletin (88), 61-73Retrieved July 8, 2006, from Proquest database (ID 788921681).

Crosnoe, R., Mistry, R.S., & Elder, G.H. Jr. (2002). Economic disadvantage, family dynamics, and adolescent enrollment in higher education [Electronic Version].  Journal of Marriage and Family 64, (3), 690-702. Retrieved June 11, 2006, from Proquest (146863841).

Deal, T. E., & Peterson, K. D. (1999). Shaping school culture. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Dickens, W., Sawhill, I., & Tebbs, J. (2006, April). The effects of investing early in education on economic growth The Brookings Institution (Policy Brief No. 153). Retrieved July 2, 2006, from http://www.brookings.edu/ comm/policybriefs/pb153.pdf.

Fass, S., & Cauthen, N. (2005, September). Who are America’s poor children? National Center for Children in Poverty. Retrieved July 9, 2006, from Columbia University National Center for Children in Poverty website, http://www.nccp.org/pub_cpt05b.html.

Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.

Pick up a copy of my published works here: 

By Peter Weiss


kitchen-4

So there they were. Arlene went into a whole monologue describing exactly what was wrong with her mother and what it meant to her. Bottom lines were simple. Her mother was very sick, maybe not going to live for much longer and the treatments she needed were very expensive. This meant Arlene was going to have to work nights and days and be away from her mother much more than she wanted to be.

“Life sucks,” she said.

Bill didn’t know what to say. He didn’t know why Arlene was telling him this. He wondered if she had told Tommy or any of the other waitresses. He wondered if she had other family who could help out. He clearly agreed that life sucked.

He listened. He had a bottle of beer in his hands and sipped at it slowly. He looked to his feet and shuffled his butt a little as he sat on the metal milk cases.

“You closing girl?” he asked.

“Yeah,” said Arlene. “But I’m not making any money tonight. No one is.”

“Check the basketball schedule,” said Bill. “When the buckeyes are playing we always have good business. Make sure you get those shifts.”

“It’s not that easy,” said Arlene. “I don’t have any seniority and I don’t have any pull. I know Tommy will help me out when he can, but there’s not much he can do. If I want the good shifts when I want them, I have to screw Drenovis.”

“Life does suck,” said Bill. “Let me see what I can do.”

“What can you do?”

“Give me a few days. I’ll do it quickly.”

“Think anything will happen?”

“Like what?”

“With my shifts.”

“Of course it will.”

“That’s not why I came out to sit with you,” said Arlene.

Bill said, “I didn’t think so. You want a piece of pie?”

“Sure.”

“What do you like?”

“Cherry.”

“Lexi knows you’re out here, right?”

“Yeah. She told me to take my time.”

Bill got up and walked through the kitchen over to the pantry station. He helped himself to a piece of cherry pie then stopped to see what Esserine was doing.

“You eating pie now?” she asked.

“It’s for Arlene. What you up to?”

“Hanging out. Deciding whether I should start to cleanup or not. What’s up with her?”

“I’ll tell you more later,” said Bill.

Esserine said, “You don’t need another girlfriend.”

“It’s not like that,” said Bill.

He walked through the line back into the hall, handed Arlene the plate with the pie on it and sat back down.

He said, “When you go back out, bring me another beer and ask Bebe what she wants for dinner.”

Arlene took a forkful of pie and ate it. Bill watched her, gave her the once over although he couldn’t say why. He wanted to ask her if she wanted to talk but he was hesitant. It seemed, and it felt logical, that she did. Otherwise, he thought, she wouldn’t have said anything in the first place.

Arlene was conscious of him watching her. She shifted on the lettuce cases and made sure her legs were not wide open.

“Pie is good,” she said.

“You’re not supposed to be eating it,” said Bill.

“Yeah, I know.”

“So,” Bill said, “you want to go somewhere after work and talk?”

“I think I do,” said Arlene. “Something tells me you’d be a good person to talk to.”

Bill was about to say something when he heard the automatic doors open in the kitchen. He was about to say that he didn’t know if he were a good person to talk to or not, but he would certainly try to be. But he didn’t get the words out. He heard the bell a second after the doors opened and he stood up immediately.

Pick up a copy of my published works here: 

By Peter Weiss


kitchen-4

Bea got more and more bitchy. Mary got more and more needy. Bill started getting bored. He wasn’t bored with Mary. He was in love with her. He was in love with her and he was in love with his fiancé. This was a conundrum, to be sure.

Bea’s bitchiness stemmed from the fact that she was losing control. The loss of control was not in any one given area but just a general malaise that rose in her and spread throughout.

As she became more bitchy she became more demanding in all regards. She demanded that Bill go downstairs with her at all different times, usually for no reason. She demanded he carry up the silliest little things for her, even at times when he was occupied doing other work. The more Bill and Mary cared for each other, the more mean Bea became.

Tommy saw what was happening. He didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to see what was happening. Tommy saw it. The waitresses saw it. Mary saw it and told Bill that she would talk to Bea about it. Bea didn’t want to hear anything and told Mary nothing was wrong.

Sooner or later, it had to come to a head. Sooner or later there had to be some sort of catharsis, as it were, or a catastrophe. Mary told Bill that in their discussions she asked Bea if she was having the change of life. Bea almost smacked her.

Arlene and Bill did get together, but not the way either of them thought it would happen. Per their original conversation about it, Bill had thought they would have arranged a time and a place to actually meet. Given that he was busy with Mary and of course his fiancé, he thought that was going to take some planning and not be as easy as it might be for someone who was unattached. But that’s not the way it happened at all.

It happened one night when the business was unbearably slow, several weeks after they had that moment in the kitchen. Arlene had only worked nights two more times. This night was the third.

Bill was sitting out on the milk cases where he always sat. Jimmy and Grandma had left about fifteen minutes earlier than usual. Arlene and Lexi were the two girls working and Lexi was early girl. Bill had already fed the waitresses and given that there were no orders but it was still early, he had nothing to do but hang out. It was too early to start any cleanup.

Bill had called home and told his fiancé he would be on time, a good thing, he’d decided, since with her studies and her busy schedule centered around UDC they had not been spending much time together. Unlike Bill, his fiancé was a clearly-focused, no bull shit lady. She knew what she wanted and was unafraid to go after it. She knew how to get what she wanted, knew what she had to do and did it.

Bill was quite the opposite in some respects. He was conflicted, overly cerebral, clearly ADD. He had been taught not to ask for what he wanted, that other people were always more important than him. These teachings would not serve him well, but he would not discover this until later in his life. More immediately, they would serve certain needs of his but not the key ones. And the drugs didn’t help anything, but you couldn’t tell him this.

After Arlene had eaten, while Lexi was still out on the floor, she came into the kitchen and found Bill out in the hall. She sat herself on the lettuce cases, the same ones on which Bea always sat. The stack was lower now since most of the cases of lettuce had been used.

“What’s up?” Bill asked.

Arlene looked down to her feet. “My mother’s really sick,” she said.

Pick up a copy of my published works here: 

By Peter Weiss


more-truthForget who you believe. Forget which side you’re on. The real question is what do you want. Do you want a safe community, a safe country? Do you want to go to sleep at night without having to worry who’s going to break into your house? Do you want your kids safe at school? If you have a daughter, do you want her around boys culturally aligned with her ?

These are real questions that Americans face today. These are questions brought about by leaders who have no skin in the game that everyday Americans live in.

Last night you heard the president speak. Today the reports are that the fact checkers have found no real inaccuracies in what he said, particularly regarding the statistics on the crimes, the arrests, the drug deaths, etc. that he referred to.

After the president spoke, if you were watching TV and were tuned into it, you saw Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer speak. They said what they always say. They criticized the president, were wholly devoid of facts and spoke the hollow words of how they are for border security and a safe America. Such words are hollow coming from their mouths because they have completely reversed their course on the positions they used to have regarding border security so as to play politics. Their goal is only to deny the president any appearance of fulfilling one of his major campaign promises. The American people be damned!

That’s all this is from the left side. Politics. It’s mostly what it is from the right side too, and it’s very often what it is from the president, politics pure and simple. However, there are times when the goals of the politics and the goals of the people actually coincide. Perhaps, just perhaps, such is the case regarding the president’s positions on national security, the border, immigration, the economy and America’s standing in the world.

So there it is. Which one do you want?

Altogether, these questions don’t even scratch the surface. Last week, when Nancy Pelosi banged the gavel opening the new session of the Congress for which she is the Speaker of the House, number three in line to the presidency, her grandchildren were up there with her. So here’s the real question. Have her grandchildren in any one single one way been affected by the Democrats’ policies on immigration and border security she and Chuck Schumer so avidly seem to now support? She’s worth more than $115 million. What do you think? You think her grandchildren live in the same world you live in, go to the same schools your kids go to?

That’s the real issue. In today’s world in America the leaders lead but are not subject to the conditions they create or the laws they make.

So which one do you want? Do you want your government to protect you and do you want your leaders to be subject to the same conditions under which you live? Or do you want them to systematically divide you such that they can continue to live in “the gated cities” as depicted in movies like The Hunger Games?

Forget the left or the right. Think about what you want for America and figure out which America you want.

Pick up a copy of my published works here: 

By Peter Weiss


kitchen-4

Turns out they were done. When Esserine asked her question about being finished, Bill stood close to Arlene a moment and looked at her. If they’d been alone in the kitchen, or if it had been Marie over on the pantry station, he might have reached for Arlene. He might not have. So he looked at her, studied her, then asked her to go out and ask Tommy if he could close up.

Arlene studied Bill a moment too. She was feeling him out just as he was feeling her out, and turns out they were both deciding whether or not they were going to do anything. At least for the moment it was a standoff, so Arlene turned from Bill and headed out through the front doors into the front dining room.

She came back two minutes later. She carried a beer and walked around the counter onto the line to put the beer down by where Bill stood.

“Tommy says we’re done,” she said.

“Okay,” said Bill. Then, to Esserine, he said, “We’re done, you can go down and change. I’ll come down as soon as you come up.”

When Esserine had left the kitchen, there they were again, Bill and Arlene standing together almost touching. Bill looked at Arlene, wondering if he should kiss her. After all, he thought, they were alone in the kitchen and had a moment, but only a moment because if Arlene stayed in the kitchen too long Tommy would come to see what she was doing.

“What?” she asked.

“I was wondering if I should kiss you,” said Bill. “That’s why I was looking at you. I was thinking.”

“You could,” said Arlene.

Bill leaned in toward her and kissed her once, a gentle kiss on the mouth. Then he put his arms around her and reached one hand down her back to her buttocks.

The second kiss was decidedly more intimate, a feeling-out of tongues. It lasted as a kiss would, and while it lasted Bill slid his hand up under her skirt.

“That okay?” he asked.

“Is it obligatory?” Arlene asked.

“Not at all,” said Bill. “All you have to do is say no. If you don’t want to be touched, I won’t touch you. If you want to be touched, tell me so.”

“I want to be touched,” said Arlene. She stepped in even closer to Bill and kissed him harder than they had been kissing. “But not right now, not right here. Let’s set a time and date.”

Bill fondled her a moment until they stepped away from each other, not hastily but agreeably. He took a sip of his beer and offered it to Arlene.

“You do drugs?” he asked.

“Sometimes,” said Arlene.

“Which ones?”

“Pot. Downers. Acid sometimes. Why you asking?”

“Just want to know what I should bring when we get together.”

“We going to get together?” Arlene asked.

“Maybe.” said Bill. “You’re going to have to be the one to make it happen.”

“And why is that?”

“Because I don’t pressure anyone into anything. I’m not like Drenovis.”

“You find me attractive?”

“You think we’d be having this conversation if I didn’t?”

“Okay,” said Arlene. “Understood.” She leaned in and kissed Bill on his cheek then turned and left the kitchen.

Alone, Bill finished his beer. Then he went around back to make sure everything was properly covered. Seeing it was, he put it away into the ice box.

Even before he was done doing this, Esserine came back into the kitchen in her civvies. She had her coat on and her purse draped over her arm. “I’m out of here,” she said. “Come let me out and lock the back door behind me.”

Pick up a copy of my published works here: 

By Peter Weiss


political darwinsimMan is by nature selfish and greedy. My father-in-law used to say this. He said it in relation to what he observed in the course of his life. It seems pretty poignant especially nowadays but it has probably always been poignant.

Selfishness and greed are only part of what has brought us to where we are. Another big part of it is the desire for power. It seems pretty clear that they all play in the sandbox together: selfishness and greed lead to acquiring wealth, and money is power. Sometimes power is power and that’s where politics seems to come in. Ask the Clintons about this one.

In our time, now, we have the advent of the political class in America,  those lifetime politicians whose one and only goal seems to be securing reelection, hence Political Darwinism, survival of the fittest, the fittest being the most able to get reelection, most able to stay in power. Ask Andrew Cuomo about this one. Ask him about nepotism. Ask the Kennedys and the Bushs and Cheneys too. They are only some of the nepotism beneficiaries. Cuomo has it best, though, with his brother a shill for him on CNN.

And so it goes.

The truly powerful today are the very wealthy on the one hand and those in the leadership/law business on the other, the politicians, judges and even some lawyers, particularly the ones who become prosecutors, district attorneys and lawyers to the politicians. They are all people who have within their simple and sometimes singular discretion the ability to destroy many lives with a stroke of the pen and/or pass laws (or not pass them) which affect a multitude of people.

One spectacular image: John McCain’s thumbs down vote on repealing Obamacare.

Of course it’s all more complicated than any one way of looking at it, so surely there are others who could be put on the powerful list. But for here, now, the focus is Political Darwinism, the survival of the fittest politicians and political parties, or those who manage to keep power and wield it.

Political Darwinism.

For those of us who lived through it and/or those who studied it, we were forewarned about Soviet society in which only two classes existed, the rich leadership (the Politburo) and the poor people. You had to be born into that Politburo class. You couldn’t just work hard and get into it. We were taught that leadership class was inherently evil because it suppressed freedom and raped the very people it was supposed to protect of all their wealth.

So here we are some thirty years after the fall of the Soviet Union. In our public schools and our colleges we are now taught that capitalism is evil, socialism is good. What’s more, beyond any sense of reason, we’ve allowed the American Politburo to rise to power.

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

Make no mistake about it! The only purpose of most, if not almost all of our politicians and of both the political parties in America today is to secure power and keep it.

The American Politburo is pure Darwinism at its worst, the survival of a class of people whose only value is to keep power at any cost, even if the cost is to disavow the very purpose for which it was created.

Divide and conquer. Keep them poor. Make laws for them from which we are exempt. These are their unwritten and unspoken mottoes.

In the old days, they used to say “keep them barefoot and pregnant,” which referred to women and  meant keep them poor and tied down. This is the very same goal of the American Politburo today.

Political Darwinism!

Pick up a copy of my published works here: 

By Peter Weiss