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Peggy McCracken


By Peggy McCracken

Tuesday, November 21, 2000

Dusty dollars create
money laundering thoughts

Every morning when I start counting the greenbacks in the till, I start sneezing. Wondering what might be on the money that I am allergic to led me to consider cocaine dust, since I know dope dealers handle money and drugs at the same time.

That thought made me curious about the origin of the term "money laundering," most often associated with dealing drugs these days. We use it, of course, to denote money that has been deposited in a legitimate bank account to "clean it up," or make it appear that it came from a legal source. But where did the term originate, and why is it called "laundering?"

Here is one theory I came up with on my own. Bankers have been known to dust money with a colorless powder that turns purple or some other hideous color on the hands of those who handle the money. Should bank robbers or embezzlers get their hands on the money, the telltale color would "catch them red-handed."

Is that how the term red-handed came into general use? And did thieves launder the money to remove the telltale powder? Do you ever wonder about such things?

Just this morning I got an email (those forwarded messages I detest) that talked about some words associated with each person's view of his place in the universe. Most of us consider ourselves the center of the universe, and everything else radiates out from there. To Jews, everyone else was a Gentile. To ancient Greeks, everyone who did not speak Greek was a barbarian (because to a Greek it sounded like they were saying bar bar bar). To early Christians, who lived mostly in cities, everyone living in the country (heath) was a heathen.

You get the idea. And I suppose that is why the term "He thinks the world revolves around him" denotes anyone who sees himself as the center of the universe.

I don't know about you, but I find etymology interesting. That's the study of words and their origin, I think. Castle Publishing gathered up a bunch of words, expressions and cliches and published a book detailing the history behind them.

It's hard to pick just one from the thousands in the book, but here is one that relates to the topic I started with _ money laundering.

Why was the flower known as "lavender" given that name?

It was once the custom for laundresses to place a sprig of this plant in with the laundry they had cleaned in order to scent it. The Italian word for washing is lavanda.

Reckon it would help to add a little lavender to the cash drawer? Probably then my sneezing would increase due to the flower pollen. Probably I should just use Duz. "Duz does everything." Remember that ancient radio jingle?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is business manager and webmaster. Her e-mail address is

Your View

Bus drivers not to blame for mishap at band competition

To the Editor:
In a letter recently written by Diane Paz, she states that the Pecos School administrators are trying to justify their mistakes by saying that the bus drivers were tired.

We would like to further clarify for the public any questions that might arise. To begin with, the drivers who participated in that particular trip were highly experienced drivers who each have no less than 15 years of experience. We agree with Diane Paz that the administrators are in fact trying to justify any decision made by school administrators by passing the buck down to the bus drivers, when in fact we are accustomed to driving home from trips at 3 and 4 a.m., in the morning so arriving any time before midnight is a piece of cake!

We'd also like the public to know our responsibility as school bus drivers is to transport your children to and from a trip with their utmost safety in mind. Bus drivers don't have anything to do with any decisions made at all on any trip, other than any safety hazards that might put the students at risk of injury while they are on the bus. The sponsors and faculty who accompany students on any trips are responsible for the students!

Thank you,

"Celebration and Thanksgiving"

He's five.

Resting on my chest, his head nestled on my shoulder, a gentle raspemanating from deep inside him, it occurs that he is a marvel. More than that, he is a miracle and everyone who knows him is thankful for the privilege.

He is most assuredly five, as he will confidently confirm if asked.

It is quite amazing when you think about it. He weighed just one pound, eleven ounces at birth. For reference, that's about the same as four sticks of better. He was also, give or take a few days, 13 weeks early.

He probably shouldn't have made it to five, or even past the first few days, but he did and he is a joy that could never have been predicted.

My first glimpse of him lasted no more than five seconds. As soon as the doctor cut him from his mother's womb, a nurse rushed from the operating room into the waiting hands of a team of waiting pediatric specialists.

It was several hours of anxious waiting before we knew if he would live through the night. The medical professionals were not encouraging, not wanting to hold out false hope that his chance of surviving was anything more than slim at best.

This is, I suspect, the way it is for many parents in the same situation.

It is likely better for hope to spring up from the nothingness of despair then to have false hopes dashed by reality if events turn to the worse.

Of course, faith must accompany hope for, without faith, there is no person or power in whom we may surely place out trust.

The agonizing months of hospitals and home care and helplessness eventually past as worry was replaced by anticipation of forthcoming milestones, traditional and otherwise. Along with first steps, first words, and the first tooth go, for him, the last night in the hospital, the last oxygen tank, and the last tube feeding.

It was an arduous and emotionally draining task for which my wife deserves the credit for overseeing to completion. It is, under normal circumstances, difficult to maintain the integrity of a household with growing children in today's world. With a child in the hospital, it is close to impossible without strong bonds.

He is, like all children are, special. There seems to be, except for his smaller than average size, no lasting harm resulting from the conditions of his birth. And the size issue appears to be resolving itself as well.

In the school picture he brought home, the vague outlines of a handsome and manly face that will someday supplant the lean and tender baby face that so many know so well are starting to make an appearance.

He greets each day with a smile, eagerly anticipating the challenges ahead of him before bedtime rolls around again.

Like all children, he wants time, attention, and things. Like too few children, he is willing to share these things with others. He is a five year old who gives because it is right and because he is confident that the love he gives away will be paid back in abundance.

He is moving, slowly, from boy to man. As slow as it is, it is still faster than we like. Our time with him grows shorter by the day. The job of preparing him to go out the front door for the last time began the day he walked out the front door under his own power for the first time.

His smile and his embrace of life are infectious. No adult can meet him without discovering that his happiness is contagious.

He's five, and so much more. He tops the list of things to be thankful for.

He is a blessing and a treasure and a wonderful gift. He is a human equivalent of a shiny Christmas package wrapped just a tiny bit askew with a bright satin bow. The world would do well to have more just like him.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Peter Roff writes political analysis for United Press International. A well-known political writer, he is a frequent commentator on Fox News, MSNBC and radio. He can be reached by e-mail at

Eagle Mom touched by team support

Dear Editor:
As the mother of a Senior Fighting Eagle, I want to say thank you to Rosa Guerrero and her staff for the support that they have given our boys ALL season.

Thank you to Cristina who worked with me on the parents ad for the paper and the ad with all of the signatures, and to Jon who reported the story after a heart break loss. Thank you to all of the busisnesses who decorated and showed support for our boys. Thank you to former Coach Hewitt and wife who braved the cold with their small children.

To all of those who stayed for the entire game, a special Thank you. You who did all of this for our Pecos Eagles will hold a special place in this mother's heart as well as others for your support and encouragement.

To those of you who left with 2-3 minutes left to play and/or those of you who showed up for this one game, sat quietly and wouldn't even purchase a program so that you would know who was who and made it difficult for loyal fans, parents, and grandparents to view the game, shame on you!

Our boys deserved better than that.

Thank you to our coaches for the hard work and long hours. A special thank you to your wives and families who have supported you and our boys and have given up family time with you so that you could work with our boys.

But most of all to the 2000 PECOS EAGLE FOOTBALL TEAM, you are the pride of our hearts and the love of our lives. You gave us a memorable season. Thank you. To the Eagles who will lead the 2001 season make up your minds now and bring the play-offs back to Pecos.


Hand counting more accurate

I have done 10 manual recounts and everyone of them has changed the total that was first provided by the machine count. Are machine recounts better than hand counting? I don't think so. Section 127.201 of the Texas Election Code states that: to ensure the ACCURACY of the Punch Card voting system, the custodian of the Election Records SHALL perform a manual recount of all candidates on at least 1% or 3 precincts, which ever is greater. Does this sound to you like the State of Texas trusts the machines exclusively?

As to the chads, it should be noted that there are at least 25 chads that can be punched on the Florida ballot, and in the handling of the punch card some can fall out from races that are not even affected.

There are 10 candidates for president, a U S Senate Race, a US Congressional race, and numerous state wide and district races that also can be punched. So if a chad from the U S Congressional race falls off on the floor what significance does it have?

Reeves County Democratic Chairman

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