Showing posts with label rendell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rendell. Show all posts

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Happy Hanukkah from Governor Rendell!

Governor Rendell has put me in the holiday spirit! He just announced funding for averting catastrophic Port Authority service cuts in March.

Once again, a one-time emergency fix has bailed out the long-suffering public transportation agency. Once again, the ball is back in the State's court to come up with a dedicated funding stream for transit. Perhaps Governor Corbett can rename the Johnstown Flood Tax, which has been making a mockery of that catastrophe for decades in the name of slush funding, to the Public Transportation tax, making a strong stand in this state that if you buy liquor you're funding the drunk buses. Perhaps, they can also start issuing busperks for each case of beer you buy?

Honestly, not only did Rendell save my bus line (and dozens of others) with his dogged attempts to not give up on public transportation even in his final days of office, he also saved this blog. There's only so much defeat this blogger can overcome. So you have one more year of decent bus service, and one more year of me blogging.

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

News Briefs Besides the G20

Hard to see through all the "news" about the G20 to what's actually going on around here.

So, what is going on around here?
  • 2 Violent robberies in the South Side on Sunday. Does this have anything to do with moving the police station up the hill? I sure hope not. But while I don't want to get robbed on the South Side walking back from the bar, in some ways, I'd rather there were robberies down on the South Side or over in Squirrel Hill instead of Garfield and Allentown. Maybe then the people that donate to political campaigns will insist on making all public safety a priority in this city.

  • "Still no state budget, Rendell talks taxes" [and pension takeovers]. Unlike the Mayor, I'm very torn on this issue. I think that Pittsburgh has clearly gotten itself in a pickle with pensions, but I don't trust the state to do any better. After all, we've been in Act 47 for over 5 years and we're worse than when we started in terms of pensions. As I see it, that's akin to putting someone in jail, telling them when to eat, sleep, and shit, then complaining about the results. How about the state takes off the handcuffs and gives Pittsburgh a chance to start again?

  • Faith trumps bureaucracy. Yet again, faith-based groups are showing that through hard work and determination, they can clean up neighborhoods and keep folks out of jail. Just imagine if they could strengthen their numbers by involving all the protesters from Planned Parenthood.

  • Pittsburgh Public Schools are solidly in the running for a big chunk of change from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Throwing more money at a problem never hurt, right? And they went through some pretty intensive hoops to get this money, so maybe it'll produce better teachers and improve college-readiness of Pittsburgh students as intended. If not, at least we'll all feel better knowing our latest Windows upgrade went to a good cause.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Gas-Powered Rocket Science

Gas prices go up, we drive less. Gas prices go down, we drive more. Gas is averaging $1.50 less per gallon than last year and like clockwork, we Americans will be hitting the road and guzzling it up - though maybe with slightly older cars and slightly less SUVs.

At the same time, Rendell and company are beginning the fight for raising the gas tax and more tolls - as well as more standardized public transportation and roadwork funding. The gas tax hasn't been raised in 25 years and the 7,000 earmarks scheduled for this summer's transportation bill make Pittsburgh's repaving schedule look like a transparent, well-oiled machine. Clearly, this system of rewarding SUV drivers at the expense of bus-riders is broken. Finally, someone in power is seriously trying to fix it.

In the meantime, I implore you to continue thinking about the ramifications every time you fill up your car at the gas station, every time you drive to the nearby convenience store instead of walking or taking a bike, every time you're sitting in your car alone during rush hour. And maybe if you all can't be inspired to change your ways by retoric, some well-placed gas taxes will clearly help to deter your bad habits. Through education and taxes, cigarette smoking has sharply declined in this country over the past 50 years. Let's do the same with the vice of oil consumption.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Militia Effect?

The Lipstick Effect is a well-known phenomenon in the financial world - wherein women can't afford to buy designer purses and shoes during economic downturns and instead get their kicks on cheaper splurges like lipstick. Now, we have the perfect storm of a liberal president and economic downturn resulting in my newly-coined "redneck-militia-joining gun effect." Gun sales are at record levels as these Jimbos can't afford a new Hummer and instead settle for guns guns and more guns in an effort to stick it to the man.

Have a better term for these morons?

Their "logic" is that they must stock-pile now before laws come into place which will prevent them from buying these particular guns or as many as they might need in the event of an apocalypse.

My solution? No more ridiculous grandfathering and laws like allowing you to buy a gun from someone else and adopt their grandfathered license. It'd be too far to simply confiscate these new guns when stricter laws are inevitably put into place, but I recommend a system similar to eminent domain. We reimburse these gun-obsessed freaks for their purchases and then hand the guns over to the police - where they belong.

For the record, I think it's perfectly fine if someone wants to have a gun or two (safe-guarded) in the house for self-defense in the case of emergencies or to go hunting during deer season, but the Poplawski's of the world must be stopped.

To Rendell and Ravenstahl, please do not listen to these wingnuts and continue with your proposed legislation banning assault weapons.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves

According to Governor Rendell, the North Shore Connector is a "tragic mistake." (Thanks to Bram at The Pittsburgh Comet for bringing this gem to my attention.)

To that I say, "shut up." You may believe that this T extension is the biggest boondoggle this side of the Big Dig, but to go on record and say it as governor of this state? To lambast this project that will employ 4,000 of your voters for the next few years? That's just irresponsible and disrespectful. Governor Rendell, you need to support your troops. And your troops are the citizens of Pennsylvania. You may not agree with this "war" but do not shit on them.

Also, Governor Rendell, you may want to look up the definition of tragic. War is tragic. The Titanic went on a tragic journey. Romeo and Juliet is a tragic story. The North Shore Connector was probably not the best use of money, but this construction project is NOT tragic. Let's stop the gratuitous hyperbole and keep Pennsylvanians working. Or perhaps you'd like to fund some more amphitheatres?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Opposites Attract

In a surprise move, Station Square announced yesterday that they had an investor to re-open the Chevrolet Amphitheater previously closed because of confusion over the new casino. How much is it costing to re-open this venue? $50,000. That's a far cry from the $12 Million entertainment complex being planned on the other side of the city.

The North Side hotel-entertainment-dining fiasco has caused a lot of grief among North Side residents, but Governor Rendell is almost begging to add $4 Million to their pot-of-plenty in spite of this mind-numbing recession. I expect he'll recommend legalizing and taxing prostitutes to pay for this project.

Certainly seems suspicious to me that Rendell is so eager to hop on-board this latest North Side boondoggle. Is it because of pay-to-play politics? Is it because he's distracting us from the truly evil deeds he's playing over in Philly? If anyone knows, I'm sure they've been paid off. But I'd sure feel better about it all if there was some reform in Harrisburg ala the GOP. Maybe then we can have realistic projects like the Chevy Amphitheater that add value to the city while not costing the region an arm and a leg. In the meantime, we'll be subsidizing Toby Keith's new restaurant.

Don't get me wrong. I believe the more venues/hotels/restaurants the better. Let the people decide. But I also believe that if you can't afford it, you shouldn't build it/buy it/rent it - unless of course you're giving major kickbacks to the residents and raising their quality of life. Now is the time for Rendell to listen to the North Side residents and insist on a landmark community benefits package ala the new arena.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Thanks Senate!

The Pittsburgh Trib has a nifty breakdown of the House bill versus the Senate bill. To bring around the stimulus bill to semi-local issues:

First, the Senate decided to remove $25 BILLION in state grants from the stimulus package.

No state block grants = higher state taxes.

But it's okay because we'll all get a $1,000 per couple tax credit for the next 2 years. Don't worry, if you phase out of the tax credit (at a combined income of $140,000), there's a loop-hole for you. The Senate also decided to add a fix to the Alternative Minimum Tax. "The change would save a family of four an average of $2,300." Glad to see we're focused on who needs the money during this recession. How about you save a family of four who's making under $150,000 per year $2,300??? Between those 2 tidbits, we've got $210 BILLION of the stimulus. The Senate and House are ignoring that Bush's stimulus checks did almost nothing to help the economy and the people are not clamoring for a check.

The people were actually excited about the prospect of a major infrastructure investment. The Senate decided to chop out $43 BILLION for rail and general public infrastructure repairs. They leave the infrastructure component at about $55 BILLION or about 6.5% of the package.

But wait, there's also lots of money for energy.

The Senate thought energy was so important they added $11 BILLION to that area. Maybe we'll see some of that trickle down to $25 Million for Pittsburgh LED street lights? Fat chance. Instead the extra money is divided out like this: $4.6 BILLION for fossil fuel research and development; $6.4 BILLION to clean up nuclear weapons production sites.

The Senate also decided to sneak in an auto-makers bailout by allowing folks to deduct interest on their auto loans as well as extending tax benefits to companies losing money. Another $16 BILLION down the drain there. And they'll give all of us a $15,000 coupon if you buy a house in 2009. Except in Pittsburgh where most houses cost less than $150,000 so we'll only get 10%. Another $35 BILLION there.

All in all. This "stimulus" is a gigantic mess that is mostly managing to alienate the American people from their overlords in the House and Senate. With $838 BILLION to play with, you'd think they could manage to please someone. Instead, the Democrats appear to be setting the stage for a major Republican come-back in 2 years.

Of course, at least all this money is being spent in the USA. And I'd rather have a deficit based on spending and tax cuts that benefit my family rather than spending the staggering trillions of dollars on destroying and rebuilding Iraq.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

How I Love Taxes

Trying to cut costs at the state level? How about this one? Charge inmates for toilet paper and soap.

Next, maybe state employees can pay for their toilet paper, too? And how about charging people $10 when they have jury duty? While we're at it, let's get rid of those pesky free defendant's attorneys.

Personally, I believe that if our society creates criminals then we need to pay for their attempted rehabilitation. While they may get free books in prison, they do not get a college education. When they leave prison, they should not be in debt for their years of servitude. They'll have a hard enough time finding a job.

If you want to be innovative with the budget, how about the criminals monitor the new legalized video gambling machines? We can pay them 72 cents per day for staring at the computer. While we're at it, let's take Pgh Comet's suggestion and legalize table gambling at the casinos to get them off our backs about video poker. Though I think Las Vegas has proved time and again that gambling addicts can support however many slots machines you give them.

While we're at it, why don't we legalize some drugs that the inmates can package up for us, and we can tax them?

And how did the tobacco lobbyists pull this one off? Only state in the nation with no tax on chewing tobacco and one of the few with no tax on cigars? Heck, my tobacco-naive self was under the impression that cigars were basically cigarettes and that the two were taxed equivalently. Silly me.

Seriously, Mr Rendell, I don't care how you make the money, just as long as you don't introduce the 10% 2009 Emergency Budget-Filling Tax on alcohol that stays on the books for the next hundred years. How's Johnstown doing these days?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bullsh*t

"City sources" say there will not be a parade if the Steelers win the Super Bowl - or as Mind Bling says - WHEN the Steelers win the Super Bowl.

Why? You ask.

"Concerns are that the cost would be a budget buster and the parade would cause safety issues."


Bull Shit.

Onorato, Ravenstahl, and Rendell are willing to take time off to fly down to Tampa?

They're willing to hold pep rallies and have a Terrible Tree? They're willing to make terrible bets and change their name?

But no parade?

Indianapolis had a parade in 2007.

The Giants had a parade in 2008.

And no Steelers parade?

Bull shit.

If it's a money issue - ask for a $1 donation from everyone that shows up. The quarter million should cover it.

Safety issue? Give me a break. Too many people downtown? If only that was a regular problem. Oh, no. They had to arrest 34 people last time or 0.0136% of the attendees. Sounds like a manage-able crisis to me.

Or maybe RavenSteelerstahl thinks that only elected officials should celebrate a victory?

Bull shit.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fools For Black & Gold

Ravenstahl and the mayor of San Diego have entered a bet where one of them will end up looking like a moron. Either Ravenstahl will be in Chargers gear with a surfboard ready to jump in the Allegheny River or Sanders, the San Diego mayor, will don Steelers gear and get ready to ski at Sea World.

This is just the latest publicity stunt that I've heard of on top of the Terrible Tree and the bet by Onorato for the Stanley Cup.

I highly enjoy rooting for local sports, but these antics are along the lines of me voting for McCain because he ate at Primanti's. While local politicians should be more accessible than our country's president, I prefer photo ops with babies at charity events. Instead, politicians wave black & gold in our faces instead of facing a bad economy and questionable leadership. Unfortunately, making a fool out of the mayor of San Diego will not make me feel better about Pittsburgh. And Rendell's getup in a Detroit jersey didn't make me feel better about Pennsylvania.

Seriously, is it someone's job to run around finding donations for stupid bets between cities? Do you call in a special consultant for that serious responsibility?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Oh Well

A couple months ago, I was pleased to learn that PA does not use federal abstinence-only education funding. Unfortunately, Harrisburg is about to change that. They promise no state money will pay for abstinence-only education, but what does that mean for us? It could mean that any community running short on money might be encouraged by Harrisburg to pursue abstinence-only education. It seems to me that it will result in less state money for sex education (or lack thereof) and it can only mean bad things. Well, you had a good fight for 5 years, but eventually everyone wants their millions of extra federal dollars.

I can just envision the stodgy conservative dimwit now, "but why does it hurt you if some small community in four-trailer-one-stoplight, PA teaches abstinence-only in line with their strong morals? Why are you inflicting your wanton ways on these poor people???" Pretty soon, we'll just have an exception for Philly and maybe Pittsburgh and the rest of the state will be all-abstinence all the time. Yippee for Harrisburg!

(reference: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08240/907318-100.stm)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Does anyone even like Rendell?

So Governor Rendell has voiced his opinion that Barden, whom nobody appears to like, has solid financing. This is news? That the governor thinks the plan is valid? Ok... I'll wait till there's actual financing in place before I believe it.

(reference: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08152/886340-85.stm)