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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Borders and Mark Ciavarella

Today's topic is bankruptcy-- fiancial and moral.  Money is the common thread.

Published reports say Borders is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and it might have already happened by the time you read this.  BORDERS FILED WEDNESDAY MORNING. The plan calls for closing 200 of the chain's 650 stores.  NO LOCAL STORES AFFECTED.  Year to year sales are down about fifteen per cent.  The nation's number two book retailer is struggling. 

The Wall Street Journal blames some of the problems on Borders' slow entry into the e-reader market.  I don't have one.  I don't want one, even though there's a good chance I'll like it.  There's just something about wandering around a good book store, finding something you like, taking it home, and savoring the words on a printed page.

I know the day will come when printed books and newspapers will no longer exist.  Johannes Gutenberg, please have mercy on our sorry souls.

One industry expert said the number of  traditional "bricks and mortar" book stores will drop by fifty per cent in two years, and ninety per cent in ten years.  What a tragedy.

Nothing can match the charm of picking up a good book.  An e-reader can't come close, can't get it done.  

Let's hope Borders uses Chapter 11 to straighten itself out, and stay in business.

Now, on to an unrelated topic-- the trial of former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella.  He faces a long list of charges, including bribery and tax evasion.

From Ciavarella's own testimony Tuesday, we know he's a liar, a thief, and a cheat.

Something continues to bother me.  Ciavarella allowed thousands of kids to come before him without legal representation.  That fact is not in dispute.  It wasn't talked about at the trial.  It's clear evidence that Ciavarella was up to something-- likely funnelling kids to a juvenile detention center developed and owned by his thieving pals, who are also admitted criminals, by the way.  Why wasn't Ciavarella's courtroom behavior and demeanor part of the record?

I'm currently enjoying my weekend.  I'll be producing and anchoring Saturday and Sunday.  It means the trial will be over by the time I get back out on the road next week.  I'm begging all the people covering the trial to ask the right questions after the jury reaches its verdict.

I'd also love to know the defense strategy of having their client confess to some of the charges on the stand.  Will the jury think because Ciavarella honestly admitted what he did wrong, the rest of his testimony will be credible?   Or will it show Mark Ciavarella is a thief and a thug who short circuited the judicial system to make a quick buck?