Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

EZPass Not Only Increase Facing Pa. Motorists

Gasoline taxes are going up too. Peter Mucha at 'Philly.com wrote, "Fuel companies will determine how much of the tax increase to pass on to consumers,” said PennDOT spokesman Richard Kirkpatrick. “If entirely passed on, the change would be about 9.5 cents a gallon.”

By early 2017, the new tax rate could add more than 25 cents a gallon, pushing Pennsylvania’s gas taxes higher than any current level in the nation."

This is what happens when Pennsylvania forgoes taxes of nearly $1 billion dollars for Allentown's NIZ and nearly another $750 million to Lancaster and Bethlehem for CRIZ. In addition to Gov. Corbett handing out another $133 million in cardboard checks for RACP projects.

That's almost $2 billion dollars out of a budget of $66 billion (about 3%). The total increases in Pennsylvania Transportation bill is expected to bring in $2.3 billion in additional revenue.

Can you guess who's making up the funding difference for the NIZ, CRIZ and cardboard checks for RACP projects?

What's A Crappy Job?

I don't know why I let this guy get to me, but he just does. At one time Jon Geeting told me (in blog comments) manufacturing production jobs are "crap jobs" best left to robots. Now he's at it again.

12/30/2013- Just Get EZ-Pass Already
"Sitting in a booth all day collecting money is a waste of human capability. It’s mind-numbingly boring and horrible to make people do that. These jobs need to go away."

Let's first address the Pa. Turnpike issue
The Pennsylvania Turnpike employs 622 toll collectors who average $23k a year. I'm sure most of these workers don't consider themselves having a "horrible"job which allows them to put food on their table. One man's meat is another man's poison. If Jon thinks it's "a waste of human capability/mind-numbingly boring" who's he to determine what's beneath someone else's station in life? The statement is rather elitist don't you think?

Let's take a look into the turnpike's finances regarding these 622 jobs. Taking the $23k a year average per worker, it costs the turnpike $14.306 million a year to pay these salaries. According to the turnpike itself they expect to bring in a gross operating revenue of $832.064 Million in 2013. Doing the math, the salaries represent little more than 1.7% of the gross revenue.

What this says to me is a simple increase of only 1.7% alone would have paid for all the toll collectors salaries entirely. Yet the state raised tolls by 12% for cash customers. Apparently Pennsylvania would prefer to get rid of all 622 workers by 2018 rather then let them keep their jobs by raising tolls less then two cents on the dollar.

Now Let's Address The Issue Of Lousy Jobs
Referencing the information below, my wife worked in retail sales all her life ($25.9k). I worked in production ($28.87k). Both these "..waste of human capability. It’s mind-numbingly boring and horrible to make people do that.." jobs enabled us to pay off our home in 12 years. Raise three children and always afford two cars. Either of us having just one of those "crappy" jobs wasn't enough to make ends meet, but combined we carved out a pretty good living for ourselves.

Jon if your too good for those jobs.. great for you. But I see no reason for you to continue advocating for the elimination of them because you feel they are beneath other people. People who are willing to do what it takes. Even if they should feel their job is "mind-numbingly boring and horrible" they go out everyday not because they always want to, but it is what they have to do to support themselves and their families.

Please get off your high horse. No job is a crap job that pays the bills. Whether it's in mines, picking apples, raking lawns or cleaning toilets. If everyone felt as you who'd be left to clean, cook, repair or do all the other things you depend on (since obviously your not going to do them).

Further References
PA. Turnpike's Gross Income 2nd Highest In The Nation
PA. Turnpike’s revenue is up 7.3% over a year ago
Toll Road News.com

2012- Gross Operating Revenue- $803,888 Million
2013- Gross Operating Revenue- $832,064 Million
2014- Gross Operating Revenue- $871,102 Million

$23k- Average Toll Collector Salary at Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
$30k- New Jersey Turnpike Authority Toll Collector
$40k- MassDOT Toll Collector

2012 Median Wages In Pennsylvania For..
$26.26K- Building And Grounds Cleaning And Maintenance
$28.44k-$35.80K- Production Workers
$35.29K- Bus Drivers
$32.79k- Delivery Drivers
$23.15k- Taxi Drivers
$35.47- Construction Laborers
$26.19K -Retail Salespersons

2012 Median Wages In The Lehigh Valley For..
$26.26K- Building And Grounds Cleaning And Maintenance
$26.7k-$28.87K- Production Workers
$27.71K-$36.91K- Bus Drivers
$32.16k- Delivery Drivers
$23.45k- Taxi Drivers
$31.86- Construction Laborers
$25.95K -Retail Salespersons

Monday, December 30, 2013

Water Main Breaks Never Cause Sinkholes

Only sinkholes cause water main breaks, right?

"... the condition of the water main discovered broken after the ground caved in has led crews to believe the sinkhole came first and was responsible for the damage to the main rather than the other way around."Has any city ever said a water main break led to a sinkhole.. EVER?

Pay Cash On Pa. Turnpike It'll Cost More

..Pay More Starting This Sunday

Call me a curmudgeon but this E-ZPass is bullshit. By 2018 the Pa. Turnpike wants to be 100% cashless. My use of the turnpike consists of about once a year going to Wildwood, N.J. for vacation. How the hell am I suppose to do that without $helling out over a half a hundred dollars?

Here Are Some Hard Facts..* The turnpike commission claims these little nuggets will cost $35 + $3 for an annual fee. HOWEVER according to one of the retail outlets for one of these, Wegeman's (in my zip code area) would charge me $42. So therefore I would have to pony up $42+$3 and another $10 to $15 to open an account (depending on which payment method I'd choose). No matter how you slice it.. that's over $50.. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!

* These transponders are only good for one vehicle. Suppose one of my vans broke down and I wanted to use the other... NO DICE.. TOO FREAKIN' BAD... STAY HOME... LOOSE YOUR MOTEL DEPOSIT!

* I come from an era where gas stations and some stores gave a discount for using cash. Yeah I know the reasons why the state says it cost them more.. SO SCREW ME INSTEAD forcing me to pay 10 cents more a mile (for now and can't at all after 2018). NOTE: Cash tolls are 40 percent higher than E-ZPass rates.

* Now let's get to the part where my transponder screws up and I don't know about it. "Violators will be charged a maximum fare based on their point of exit to the farthest entry point on the Pennsylvania Turnpike ticket system plus additional administrative fees." What if it doesn't record me getting on but does exiting? "Because the system cannot determine how far you traveled on the system, you were charged a flat fee of $5." Yeah you can appeal.. good luck with that!

* Got an RV?
"If you have an RV, with a gross vehicle weight over 15,000 pounds, you will need to open a commercial account."
This is all fine and dandy for some who use the turnpike more then a few times a year, but otherwise it's a CASH COW for Pennsylvania. All in an effort to eliminate even more jobs. Screw this I'd rather pay double and wait in line to pay cash on my yearly sojourn. What am I to do instead? Drive down RT309/611/then the Schuylkill Expressway for 3 hours instead! BULLSHIT!

It will be a sad day when American currency (legal tender) is no longer accepted in Pennsylvania on the turnpike. I have no explanation on God's green Earth why automated collection baskets can't be still used for folks in the same predicament as myself... OTHER then the E-ZPass folks must have some damned good lobbyists who come first before Pennsylvania travelers' interests.

What's Next?
Ya gonna charge me a couple of buck$ for toilet paper in the bathrooms too!

Difference Between Shit, Bullshit And Fertilizer

* Shit- Raw Human Waste (Untreated Sludge)
* Fertilizer- Biosolids (Processed Sludge)
* Bullshit- What neighbors to farms are spreading
I'll explain more.
First the Headlines..

"The state Department of Environmental Protection has given former Northampton County Council member Ron Angle approval to use fertilizer made from human waste on his farmland in Upper Mount Bethel Twp"

"A vote earlier this month to file an injunction to stop the spread of fertilizer made from human waste was tossed out on the advice of the Upper Mount Bethel Township solicitor.... A re-vote could come tonight at a special meeting..."

Forget that it's Ron Angle and focus on the real issue...
It is said a rose is still a rose by any other name. Shit doesn't work like that. Pardon me people but your ignorance is showing. We're not talking about human waste like outhouses in the old days.

According to the EPA "Biosolids' "Biosolids are treated sewage sludge... local governments are required to treat wastewater and to make the decision whether to recycle biosolids as fertilizer, incinerate it, or bury it in a landfill... The application of biosolids reduces the need for chemical fertilizers." I'm not going to quote the entire EPA material, you can look that up for yourself by following the link.

Housing developments go up next to turkey, hog pens and farmers growing crops. Within a couple of years, as the housing developments fill up with city slickers, the bitching and moaning begins. Invariably I've seen this time again right here in Lehigh County also. There's a lot of ignorance at work here. These people need to be educated when it comes to farming and what's in their best interests.

Many of these homeowners are the same ones who have no problem fertilizing their lawns in a far more reckless manner. You see there are two types of fertilizer. One is chemical. The other organic. Chemical fertilizers contain an exaggerated amount of nitrogen which gives a quick bang for the buck, but doesn't stick around and needs to be reapplied. Chemical fertilizers suppress the growth of microbes which requires more applications. Organic on the other hand encourages the growth of microbes. Therefore requires less need for additional applications.

Many of these same people are all for organic farming and are willing to pay more for organic products at the store. Yet when a grower heads in that direction next door neighbors get all bent out of shape. I lived in Schnecksville for a short time long before it became crowded. I can tell you first hand when the farmers emptied their horse and cow barns it stank a hellva' lot worse then these biosolids will.

The short and long of this is...
These farmers didn't move into their neighborhood and force themselves on the homeowners. The reason most of these people moved next to a farm was to get away from other homes. Continuing efforts to thwart farmers will encourage them financially to sell off the land to developers. In the end many of these same folks will end up living next to a mall, warehouse or dense home development. The very thing they tried to escape from.

Are these objections more about Ron Angle then good farming?
I tend to think so

If you took the time to watch the video above I can testify how well organics work for lawns as well. About five years ago I wised up and spread mushroom compost on my front lawn. My lawn is very shady and no matter how much chemical lawn fertilizer I applied the grass looked terrible. Since that time it looks great year after year without me doing a thing. The grass is thick, green and healthy. The robins are back for the worms and the soil healed itself. Give it a shot. I think you'll be well rewarded. Oh by the way.. it saves money too!

See Lots More Information On The Blog...
Better with Biosolids!
"It may be counter-intuitive, but the little bits of you and me treated to become biosolids are helping with climate change, phosphorus depletion, and all the while growing great gardens."

My Blog Review 2013

As is my tradition I have reviewed my blog over the past year.

This year I'm not whining and moaning (as some have accused me of in the past)

Points Of Observation (In Review)
(1) There is a other blogger I've resisted all temptation to engage with over the past year. The guy's against all things involving cars, homeownership and wants everybody to live in chicken coops downtown. He loves punishing anyone who doesn't give up their cars, homes and ride public transportation. So allow me to take an opportunity for a brief moment to sum up my objections to this critter. I feel a need to get this off my chest for this one time only. Concerning 'Public Transportation'
* My daughter has two twin girls that are one month old. Is he suggesting she put them on a bike or push them in a stroller 8 miles away for their doctor visits (no bus service where she lives)?

* How the hell does this guy go grocery shopping? We come home with a 25lb bag of kitty litter and at least 4 grocery bags. Can you imagine my daughter on a bus with two babies, four bags of groceries and walking 3 miles either way to and from a bus stop!

* My wife drives 10 minutes to work. Checking out the LANTA bus schedules.. she would have to walk 3 blocks, change two buses (which would take 1 hour to get her to work) arrive two hours early and leave 1 hour after the store she works at closed?

Concerning renting a chicken coop
* We have over a 2,000 SqFt home that is paid off. So this guy thinks it's a swell idea to pay (what next door pays) $1,800 a month + utilities to rent as opposed to my $400 a month in taxes.

* If I were to rent a decent apartment it would exceed my social security check alone. Would he rather my wife & I sponge off the government in some government subsidized senior high rise instead?
Sorry.. I just had to get that off my chest 1st

(2) Another point of observation over the past year- I've created what I consider are great posts, but they are too long and windy. I'm going to try and do my best to keep them short. If anyone wants to comment I'll save my breath and go into greater details in that area if there is an expressed interest to do so.

(3) I've observed the larger portion of my visitors come from outside the Lehigh Valley. Therefore I will continue to focus on things beyond this area in the coming year ahead.

(4) I noticed I have lots of readers, but few (to none) who leave comments. That's a good thing. It indicates to me either they agree or have nothing to add to the discussion. Does that mean I'm doing my job well? Perhaps, since many of these also come back again.

(5) Even though on occasion I've interacted with other bloggers they've tended to ignore me. So for the past year I've rarely interacted with them. When I did leave a comment at another blog I've noticed that the person I was addressing did follow my link to this site even though they didn't seem to want me to notice. Good enough for me.

(6) I want to address the issue of anonymity (yet again). Anonymity and creditability are two separate issues. There are some other bloggers who consider me competition to them. I've never felt for one moment that blogging was a competition. Nor that someone's view depended on who they are or their qualifications by their professional or educational stature in life. ISSUES.. that's what it's all about. Those who tend to belittle this blogger by those means are simply trying to use nefarious means to win an argument. It's the oldest lawyer's trick in the book. Lawyers use it all the time to discredit a witness who they feel is a threat to their case. This says more about them then I. This is how I feel about that.

Overall I think I presented a pretty good blog which presented 756 posts in the past year which interested me. I look forward to 2014 and hopefully I can do even better with even more posts said in fewer words.

I wish to express my gratitude to all of you who have continued to come here and read my posts. I also encourage any of my readers to engage with me when you feel my opinions are out of line or not factually correct.

With these thoughts in mind I wish all readers of this blog a healthy and better new year then the last. Along with my sincere appreciation.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Texas One Screwed Up Country

"Under Texas law, “[a] person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment under this subchapter from a pregnant patient.” Crucially for this case, the law does not specify that the fetus be viable, only that the woman carrying her be pregnant."To summarize- Here is a woman who was only 14 weeks into her pregnancy and died. So for the next 22 weeks she will be nothing more then a human baby vessel who's muscles will deteriorate into jelly. We don't know how long the baby went without oxygen and may not even be viable. The hospital, the husband and the woman herself have expressed a desire to pull the plug on this and Texas lawmakers forbid the wishes of all three to be carried out. The article goes on to point out "even if a pregnant woman has a DNR or a living will, the law supersedes that.”

Let me also mention something not brought up in the article. In 2010 "the average cost per patient was more than $300,000 for the year of care.". Is Texas going to pay for that.. HELL NO!

I titled this as Texas being one screwed up country because Texas is so foreign to the American principles that I think of them as another nation unto themselves. Here we have a state that claims to hate government regulation. Yet imposes more regulations then Washington, D.C. would ever dream of on this family.

A state that refuses to pay for birth control or anything that even smells like it. Yet insists (by law) people be forced pay and give birth to them even if a child should be born into this world entirely dependant even if the father exhausted all his resources to pay for his/her upbringing. What happens if this father passes away in the future? You think Texas will take responsibility in what's best for the child? No. They are more likely to warehouse it for the rest of it's life in some sort of human warehouse (out of sight).

Texas has to be one of the most two faced governments that exist in the world. On one hand they force people to give birth even as they complain about welfare dependant parents. Many of which would use birth control if given to them for low or no costs. Instead the very people they moan about are encouraged to give birth creating an even greater population of dependency. Who at the end of the day are left twisting in the wind to fend for themselves.

Even an idiot knows birth control pills are a lot cheaper then raising a kid which cost $241,080 until they are 18 (w/o college) even when they are 100% healthy. Birth control cost vary from $9 to $63 depending where one lives. A 1/4 of a million dollars can pay for a hellva' lot of unwanted pregnancies. How stupid are they?

As far as I'm concerned if Texas doesn't secede, we should throw their asses out of the U.S.

If Texas doesn't like Washington and doesn't want to play ball, shut up and secede already. Let them defend their own border, cut all ties to funding from Washington, D.C., work out a trade deal and let all the people who think like them move there. They'd being doing the rest of us a favor.

As you can see, I'm no fan of Texas!

After all it's what they want(ed) for years.

The "Lone Star" state: "This flag was introduced to the Congress of the Republic of Texas on December 28, 1838, by Senator William H. Wharton. It was adopted on January 25, 1839 as the final national flag of the Republic of Texas"


So Go Already
Do All Of Us A Favor!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Your App A Data Hog?

CTIA-The Wireless Association® did research on the top 50 apps people are most likely to install on their smartphones and how much data they can consume.

This should concern not only those with data limits on their plans but those with so-called 'unlimited' plans as well. Most providers are not forthcoming with information regarding 'unlimited' plans. Many throttle down speeds when someone exceeds a certain amount of data (bandwidth) is used on a given month.

Check out the link above. CTIA also offers helpful information on choosing a device and a plan that best suits an individual's needs.

TIP: Whether someone has a tablet or smartphone it's always a good idea to switch apps connections to cellular service off when Wi-Fi is available.. A wireless router with Wi-Fi is always a lot less expensive. It's also faster too!

CTIA also recommends turning down or entirely off an app's request for updates. This can consume data as well. They also recommend exiting apps so they don't continue eating up data while running in the background. One more advantage is, this will help your battery last longer without needing to recharge it.

I'd also wish to point out tablets and smartphones don't have tons of memory. If your not using nor intend to use an app, uninstall it. It's always a good idea not to keep more junk then needed because no software is perfect. When a program closes it's supposed to pull itself entirely out of memory. This is not always the case. As a result this can create conflicts (errors). When that happens a reboot may become necessary.

This also is good advice for PC's as well. Some recommend doing restarts every day or so if a PC is left on all the time. Programs load dozens of threads into the RAM. No matter how well a program is designed it is possible not all the threads were removed from the RAM when the program was closed. Any legacy threads can result in errors or the dreaded 'Blue Screen' which locks up a PC. There are built in recovery methods for operating systems, but they too are not perfect. Best to do reboots and avoid the problem altogether.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Why We Can't Afford Cedarbrook Or Gracedale

'The Washington Post' reports Hospice firms are draining billions from Medicare "..over the past decade, the number of “hospice survivors” in the United States has risen dramatically, in part because hospice companies earn more by recruiting patients who aren’t actually dying,

There are people who walk amongst us (including legislators) who constantly fill our heads with the idea the government doesn't do things as well as the private sector. Let's put that to theory to rest for once and all.

Up until a few years ago both Cedarbrook and Gracedale were doing quite well. That was before politicians both at the federal and state level stacked the deck against them. Neither of them existed to make a profit and yet they find themselves in this financial predicament.

Nearly 7 out of 10 (69%) are private, for-profit facilities I can't help but wonder how a private nursing home can do things cheaper and still manage to make a profit.* Could it be that many of them cherry pick the healthiest patients that require less care?

* Accept far more patients who have assets and less of those who rely on Medicare and Medicaid payments.

* Have lower staffing levels with less qualified workers.

* Have a single doctor on call (subcontracted) who may visit hundreds of patients only once per month
Want more reasons?
Reader's Digest- 50 Secrets a Nursing Home Won’t Tell You

I'll give you a couple of more stories. The first one involves a private nursing home here in the Lehigh Valley which shall remain nameless. My son got a call on his ambulance about a patient who they were having trouble waking up. In less then a minute my son determined the guy was dead for hours. They seemed puzzled and asked if my son was sure? You have to really question someone on staff who can't tell the difference between some guy sleeping and one who assumed room temperature hours before.. I mean really!

Something else I noticed. This concerns the time we had to find a place for my mom who was dying from cancer and had only Medicare. The nursing home sales representatives weren't exactly swooning over us like they did when we visited at another time with someone whom had lots of assets.

The second thing I noticed. at all the homes they were quick to show us the recreation rooms and dining rooms while avoiding the areas with Alzheimer and hospice patients. My brother's wife is a bit of a stinker and insisted we be taken to those areas. Some provided wonderful care. Others wheeled them into the hallway and lined them up. How they take care of these least fortunate says a lot about the differences between nursing homes. She also reviewed their state inspection certificates.

Overall we found those affiliated with religion and the public nursing homes (less motivated by profits) fared better.

When it comes to end of life nursing care it's unlike making widgets for the lowest cost at bare minimum quality. Patient to care giver ratios should not be traded to make a profit. We can kid ourselves as the day is long that private nursing homes can give better quality for less cost, but the truth remains. Investors expect a return on their money. Any nursing home that can deliver a profit while still costing less is cutting corners somewhere... YOU BEST BELIEVE!

The blame is also on voters who support federal and state legislators who promise to make cuts. Yeah they sure do in this area, but at the same time raise taxes and spend more money, give tax breaks and funding on everything else under the sun except these former social programs.

Does not everyone understand?
Legislators always increase taxes and spending no matter what they promise. Give them $1 and they will spend $2. It's a damned shame when they cut funding for nursing care and redistribute even more money somewhere else and the suckers taxpayers remain deluded into believing somehow they are doing us a service.. election after election.

People On food Stamps Have It Made


According to a recent PEW research study in 2012 the average Pennsylvania household received only $266 per year from SNAP

To make matters worse these folks who having been living large will receive even less then they did in 2012. The federal government was pouring 'stimulus' money into the program and that has now ended.

Pennsylvania will receive $183 million less from the federal government next year. It is projected 1.8 million are expected to apply in 2014. Almost a half million of them are disabled or elderly and nearly twice as many are children.

I've advocated for raising the minimum wage on this blog a number of times. This gives me one more reason. Do you realize that if a single person earns $9 and works 40 hours they would no longer qualify for SNAP? Even a family of four would no longer qualify if both mom and pop both worked full time and made $9 an hour.

Seems odd to me that many of the folks who hate this SNAP program also oppose a minimum wage increase. Seems kind of stupid no?

h/t to John L. Micek | Patriot News (Mechanicsburg, Pa) for his first-rate reporting on this issue.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas Everyone

Wizzard - "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday"

Monday, December 23, 2013

On This Day Trolley Crash Killed 6

It was on the evening of Monday, December 23rd, 1901 when 6 people lost their lives and another 10 or 12 were seriously injured. The daytime temperature that day never rose above 33 degrees. As evening began to fall, temperatures were headed back down into the 20's causing parts of the trolley tracks to freeze over.

The trolley made it's way up the North side of Lehigh Mountain (as South Mountain was called back then) after leaving Allentown where it reached the top of the crest. As it began to make its way down the South slope towards Coopersburg it began to lose traction. The motorman applied the brakes to no avail. The trolley began to slide down faster and faster until reaching a speed of nearly 50mph before going into the curve at the bottom.

The car flipped over and was sheared in two by a guy wire for a utility pole. The motorman was only bruised and the conductor had his left leg cut. Six others weren't so lucky.

SOURCE: GenDisasters.com

Photo Courtesy: LANTA News

Wikipedia lists two others. The most severe occurred North of Norristown in July 1942 near Germantown Avenue which killed 12 people (including the motorman) after it collided head-on with a freight trolley.

Photo Courtesy: LANTA News

If anyone's still interested I have four other posts concerning Lehigh Valley Transit Trolleys. I have a post HERE. Another one HERE. A third one HERE. And yet another HERE

Uncle Jay Explains: Year In Review 2013

Jib Jab Year In Review 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ain't Just Santa Who Sees U When U'r Awake

aljazeera.com-- "Big Retail is watching you; in-store, mobile and online analytics give companies troves of data the that NSA might envy."

'Good Morning America' (2012)

Santa Claus Everybody's coming to town...
He's They're making a list,
And checking it twice,
Gonna find out who's naughty or nice.
Santa Claus Who knows who else is coming to town!
He They see you when you're sleeping,
Know when you're awake.
Know when you've been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake!

Fate Of Lehigh County's Cedarbrook

Randy Kraft at WFMZ reported "Concerned about how much money the Cedarbrook nursing home is costing Lehigh County, county commissioners plan to begin the new year by authorizing an independent evaluation of the operation’s future."

Again kudos to Randy on his reporting.

I was always reminded by my old boss, "shit rolls downhill". Boy it sure does. In this country we once had homes like Cedarbrook in nearly every county of Pennsylvania and the United States. These days government at the federal and state levels no longer give a rat's patootie about funding what inevitably will befall everyone... the aged in their final years.

Some will die young from disease, accidents or war. A far greater number of us will make it past those calamities in life. Fact is nobody, not anyone will make it out of this life alive. By far most will succumb to old age. Those making the budgeting decisions must think somehow they will be immune to becoming old. Well I'm here to tell ya....

"...the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped. "
~Last Speech of Hubert H. Humphrey~

What Lehigh County Commissioners will be facing in the days ahead...

Cedar Haven Lebanon County, Pa. Commissioners Discussion on 10/09/2013
How to approach a $12 million pension deficit at Cedar Haven

Options for Cedar Haven

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Boycotts Are A Lousy Way To Make A Point

The first and foremost reason is because, deep down, nobody cares . The second reason is almost none of them in the past worked.
     Anti-Gay Group Abandons Failed Boycott Of JCPenney, Toys 'R' Us And Ellen DeGeneres (2012)
     Why Nobody's Boycotting Beijing (2008)
     Call for Colorado hunting boycott misses mark (Nov. 2013)
     Chick-fil-A boycott backfire not surprising

For that matter neither was the boycott of sugar in the late 1700's over slavery successful either.

Which brings us to the latest two making the rounds. The one calling for a boycott of the TV show 'Duck Dynasty'. The other claiming 70% of the doctors in California will boycott 'Obamacare'.

Let's talk first about 'Duck Dynasty'
I could care less about the show or what the eldest member says in an interview.. Never watched it. Don't intend to. That said, this particular boycott is the biggest waste of time anyone ever came up with in the last few years. CBS Houston reports Over 1 Million Support Boycotting A&E Following ‘Duck Dynasty’ Star’s Suspension. Who cares if a million even carried out their pledge (which is highly unlikely).

According to that article the show averages 14 million viewers. So even if 1 million left they'd still average a reported 13 million viewers. That would still leave them with the #1 cable rated show by far and tied in 13th place over all the other shows on network TV (Source TV Guide). According to the Nielsen ratings for the top 20 network primetime series through March 24, 2013 'Duck Dynasty' would still be in 15th place.

Any prime time show having above 8 million viewers is considered a hit show. Consider also the Bill O'Reilly show (the highest rated cable news show) has nearly 1/5 the viewers and is still making lots of money for Fox News. The only way 'Duck Dynasty' will be cancelled is if cast members refuse to do future shows or management is so damned incompetent at A&E they kill the goose that laid a golden egg for them.

Now Let's talk about doctors boycotting California's Obamacare exchange
"An estimated seven out of every 10 physicians in deep-blue California are rebelling against the state's Obamacare health insurance exchange and won't participate, the head of the state's largest medical association said." This like most boycotts have a bunch of people blowing hot air. 70% of the doctors? BULL!

As the article points out, many doctors were included in the list put out by California Medical Association even though they never gave their permission. Just because I would so happen to belong to AAA or the AARP doesn't mean I support their positions. Most doctors are still waiting to see what their payments will be and are holding off before signing agreements with the insurance companies.

MEDICARE: Depending on what branch of medicine these doctors are in, a large part of their practice's income depends on Medicare. Indeed Forbes just pointed out on December 18, 2013, There Is No Shortage Of Doctors Willing To Take Medicare Patients. "Despite widespread claims that doctors are fleeing Medicare, more than 9 in 10 still accept new Medicare patients and fewer than 1 percent have quit the program."

THE HEALTHCARE EXCHANGES: As far as doctors blowing off the exchanges, it's too early to say. As I mentioned above most doctors haven't received all the information from the insurance companies who are offering 'Obamacare'. The most misunderstood part about 'Obamacare' is that the government is somehow determining what doctors will be paid. That is not at all the case. It's still between what the individual insurance providers want to pay and what the doctors will accept.

It should be common sense to anyone who thinks about it for more then 30 seconds. Currently few if any doctors in private practice will accept patients without insurance. Anyone who ever tried to treatment without insurance will tell you that. Try it for yourself if you don't believe me. Yes you can get treatment at a hospital without insurance, but you won't at a private practice unless you either show up with insurance or with a wad of cash.

“In the first week of December we had 50,000 pick a plan in Covered California. That’s an average of 7,000 a day.” Last week, Lee says, 15,000 people a day were signing up for insurance in California."

Here's the common sense part--- That's 10,000's of new patients who now will have medical insurance. People who doctors in private practice wouldn't have given them the time of day without coverage.

Boycotts are all flash, no bang. They get the media all hyped up along with their followers, but at the end of the day..

Phil Robertson Will Return To 'Duck Dynasty' Episodes In January

Pa. Supremes Rule Drilling Can Be Zoned

No gas drillers can't drill any where they like just because Pennsylvania state law said they could according to this ruling.

12/20/2013- Philly.com: Pa. Supreme Court jolts shale industry"The bottom line is that the majority of the court agreed that Act 13 is unconstitutional, and that local governments can zone oil and gas drilling like they do other activities," said Jordan B. Yeager, a Doylestown environmental lawyer who argued the case on behalf of several municipalitiesI don't believe this to be a NIMBY issue but rather one that respects local residents wishes. Particularly those who bought property with a reasonable expectation that legislators in Harrisburg wouldn't supersede their quality of life concerns.

Face it the state is inclined to do what's financially beneficial for the state, not necessarily for the local communities'. In more then a few cases many legislators come from districts where drilling for gas isn't viable.

Therefore drilling here, there and everywhere may seem like a good idea... especially when it's in somebody else's backyard.

Permits Issued YTD As Of November 2013 By Pa.'s DEP
Click On Map For Source

The 80 Dollar Prosthetic Knee

Note that this is not available in the United States...WHY NOT!

According to Wikipedia "The nationwide average for above-knee prosthesis is $16,500".

Everyone bitches about the cost for medical care and insurance premiums.

Is it any wonder why I remain suspect of insurance companies, doctors and hospitals who live large off the misfortunes of others?

Friday, December 20, 2013

America Isn't The Greatest Country In The World

It isn't as much about that as it is the current state of the news media

Below is a scene from season 1, episode 1 of HBO's series entitled "The Newsroom". It wrapped up it's 2nd season on September 15, 2013. Those who were fans of 'The West Wing" are delighted. Those who feel that show was left wing propaganda... well they will absolutely hate it. Both were created and written by Aaron Sorkin who also was responsible for 'A Few Good Men', and 'The American President' to name two others. There may be a 3rd season, but it still up in the air at the time of this writing.

Since I don't have HBO I can't say I'm familiar with it. However as a fan of 'West Wing' I found the opening to Season 1 Episode 1 interesting. Let me explain why. In the scene below a star network news anchor is part of a Q&A. Typical of what news media has become, he avoids any conflictive statements. However when pushed too far he blows.

I relate this to much of what has being going on in this country. Megyn Kelly says something about Santa and gets trashed. Phil Robertson of 'Duck Dynasty' was asked his opinion and now the show is in jeopardy of being cancelled. To name a few others who ran aground was Lara Logan of '60 Minutes', Martin Bashir at MSNBC. Keith Olbermann and IMUS formerly with MSNBC. Paula Deen, Alec Baldwin and the list goes on and on.

Here locally nearly every newspaper investigative reporter that might cause controversy is no longer working for the papers.

As you watch this see if you agree with me on this. Everybody in the media is scared of their own shadow for good reason. Media at all levels has become more concerned about not rocking the boat and are trying to avoid taking a hit on their profits via boycotts.

I am of the opinion the problem is not so much with viewer outrage as it is within their own group of peers working at another media outlet. It is they who are juicing the story and relentlessly trying to whip people up against their competition. As a result of their hostility towards one another it is we, the readers and viewers who are worse off for it. Anything for a buck, right?

In the this clip the newsman was trying to avoid being anything but all lollypops and roses, until he got fed up and spoke his mind. It is then that he tells us what he really thinks. Not what's he's expected to say by his network bosses. I wonder how many actual news reporters feel he's saying what they would like to, but can't?

Official Website for 'The Newsroom"
YouTube Clips From The Show

Some other select clips I found somewhat more informative then either CNN, MSNBC or FOX

Gays In The Militiary

U.S. Christian Nation?

Obama Coming For Your Guns?

Emergency Responder Question

LehighValleyLive.com reported, "Easton police cruiser runs light, hits car while responding to a chase"

Courtesy themetapicture.com
Suppose an ambulance carrying a patient collided with a police car who both were running sirens and lights. Neither could see nor hear the other because of the layout of the intersection and the sounds of both sirens going.. Who'd be at fault?

This is exactly what happened just 3 blocks from this one several years ago when my son was driving ambulance and had the green light. In his case it was determined my son was at fault. While he wasn't charged, the ambulance company had to pony up and pay for the damages to both vehicles.

The only other time he got into a dispute was in Whitehall Township on McArthur Road. The cop ordered his ambulance crew to extricate the patient immediately before my son felt the patient was fully secured in a cervical collar. My son was concerned about the patient and the cop about getting traffic moving as it was taking too long. My son refused and delayed until he felt the patient's medical concerns were fully addressed. It went before the Whitehall commissioners to decide. Who won that one?

The Cop... naturally :-)

So what have we learned kids?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Allentown's Waste To Energy Foolishness Part 1

On December 19, 2013 'Molovinsky On Allentown' brought up the subject of Allentown's waste to energy project. The post features a comment by Rich Fegley submitted to an earlier post..

In response I shall repost earlier articles I once published here, but had since removed.

Reposted From 03/08/2012
According to LehighVallleyLive.com the vote, 4 to 2 came in around 1:01 AM in what was apparently a packed meeting. Attending was nearly double the capacity of council's chambers. The two dissenting votes were those of Jeanette Eichenwald and Councilman Ray O'Connell. Concannon finally did attend a council meeting, but left early w/o voting.

Those who regularly read this blog will note that Mr. Van Rainey (Director of Operations at CBES Global, LLC ) who was the competitor for this project said on this blog.."I came across the financial analysis conducted for the City of Allentown comparing Delta Thermo’s offering to what is projected for costs of operating under current conditions. I borrowed the values for current projected costing and compared that to what we have to offer. Making all of the same assumptions as the most conservative estimate and allowing for the City to share the same level of income for processing outside sources of MSW (even though the profits would be greater with us). Over a twenty year period we would save the City of Allentown nearly $94,000,000 vs DTE which would save at most a little over $4,000,000 in the same period.

I simply don’t understand why the administration has chosen to take such an inferior deal. When you also take into account that they offer an unproven technology while we have proven on a commercial scale to have cleaner and more financially viable technology. We don’t need $6,000,000 in grants to make our program work. We can generate as many jobs but still save the City substantial sums."

About the project itself.. "This test project is barely at proof of concept and is permitted only at that level and cold not qualify for permit to construct because they are not measuring emissions from the autoclave chamber, the effluent from the microbial water treatment system and they have no version of the combustion chamber with scrubber to test. To jump from there to a full scale commercial facility is in the least imprudent and very questionable on so many fronts to mention, and to tie the city to a 35 year agreement is patently foolish.

Any other City would be demanding that they prove at a commercial scale the viability of such a project before making commitments to go forward. To say they are at no risk defies tort and civil law stipulating reasonable reliance on those commitments that would subject the City to litigation if they did not do everything to assure the "success" of the project.

There are better and more proven technologies available and this project should be tabled until they can better demonstrate its viability or until some technology is found that is."

See Also:
"Waste-to-energy plant talks resume"

"A bidder for Allentown's waste-to-energy plant says his company overlooked"

Ok, something stinks here.* First off I agree with Van Rainey's point that the city would not left off legal hook for anything that happens. He said, that it "defies tort and civil law". This is much like a homeowner who has a contractor build a incinerator in your backyard. It doesn't matter at the state and federal level what agreements you have with your contractor or the city. State and federal laws and regulations trump all agreements. You as a property owner are ultimately held accountable. Even if the city were trying to be slick and sold the land to this developer, the city is still a partner in it.

* We have a competitor that neither the council nor the public was allowed to present his alternate proposals in a public forum.

* Nobody commented on any of online sites. Apathy was abound. All in a sudden tons and tons of union workers members show up for the council meeting supporting this. How many of these "union" members were from Allentown? Where they brought in from elsewhere? Why should the council chambers be overfilled beyond capacity with people from outside the city who pay no city taxes or are not vested in Allentown's future. People who have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Why wasn't this put on a non binding referendum in the upcoming elections? In the manner only genuine certified eligible bona fide residents would have a say on this matter. Instead what we had last night where a bunch of people whom we have no idea as to who they were.

* Questionable phone calls were made to council members or one of their acquaintances who voted against this.

* The mayor's friend and supporter coincidentally is the same attorney for the energy company.
In ShortOnce again the public's input was negated. Only one proposal was accepted without doing due diligence to alternative proven trash to energy successes elsewhere. The financial aspects are highly speculative. Most of the background going into this project was already done far from public and council's scrutiny.

All in all, politics in Allentown has one again triumphed over careful scientific and sound financial methodology and public review.

To those folks who say, "well you voted for them".
Neither the incinerator project, the sale of Queen City Airport or the arena project was ever brought up as part of the discussion in the election campaigns. How in the world is anybody supposed to base a vote on anything and everything imaginable when voters were told of such things in the first place? This whole thing is like getting on a plane where you have no idea where's it's going.. and you can't get off!

Does anyone still wonder why people in Allentown get (a) frustrated. (b) Angry. (c) Feel it's pointless to give a crap?Or Is it all of the above?

Allentown's Waste To Energy Foolishness Part 2

On December 19, 2013 'Molovinsky On Allentown' brought up the subject of Allentown's waste to energy project. The post features a comment by Rich Fegley submitted to an earlier post..

In response I shall repost earlier articles I once published here, but had since removed.

Reposted From 11/22/2012
On Saturday, November 17, 2012 I posted about The Argonne National Laboratory developing a mobile reactor energy from poop. Now word comes that Microsoft plans to build data center in Wyoming that runs on human and animal poop. The method they are using will "extract methane from wastewater. Then chemically turn the biogas into electricity".

Let's compare this to Allentown's waste-to-energy experimental project and the differences between the two. And there are vast differences.

First off Microsoft is footing the bill. No taxpayer money will be used. At the end of a year and a half Microsoft then will deed it over to city of Cheyenne at no cost. One of the most other significant difference is this waste-to-energy plant will cost only $5.5 million. Granted it is expected to generate only about 200,000 watts while Allentown's is expected to generate 833,050 watts if all goes well.

Forget for a moment who's funding it since we don't have Microsoft picking up the tab. Let's just compare the project costs in of itself. Allentown's will cost $35 million. To do any sort of comparison it could be said Microsoft would have to build about 5 of these, which would surpass the output of Allentown's by 167,950 watts. The price tag for all five would total up to $27.5 million. about $7.5 million less. One could argue that money will be made up redirecting our solid waste and sludge to the power plant rather then incur those costs making it a wash.

HOWEVER.. according to the contract dated March 29,2012 Schedule- 5.2(8) Allentown's operating fee for the generator will be $5,885,000 per year. Going up 2.21% each year thereafter.

Allentown's 2013 budget for the solid waste fund is $20,377,861. Over half of that cannot be eliminated even if the generator is successful because it goes towards salaries, maintenance, etc. That's still about $10 million.

For the Sewer fund in 2013 $17,723,984 is allocated. Again much of that cannot be eliminated either. $1,280,000 is allocated for debt service. Another $8,097,442 for salaries, pensions, repairs, etc. That's less then half that could be eliminated as well. About another $10 million.

Let's do a little math assuming the power plant fully succeeds. Assuming my figures from above, we'd still need to spend about $20 million for solid waste and sewer. Plus the additional $5.885 million operational fees. That's about $25 million. This then comes in about a $3 million dollar savings over the 2013 budgeted allocations.

But that's not the whole story. According to the contract (item In the event Allentown exceeds it's tonnage we must shell out $68 per ton increasing by 2.21% each year. The generator operators get to sell any and all electricity produced (item 6.2.2). However (item 6.2.3) says Allentown's usage fee will be reduced by whatever price they get for selling it. At the time of the contract that was assumed to be 12 cents per kilowatt. Today's electric retails just over 7 cents. So cut that expectation in half.

Then There's All Of This
On Friday, March 2, 2012 I Posted "Is Allentown Waste To Energy Experimental? ". In the comment section Van Rainey (who council cut out of the deal) said, "Over a twenty year period we would save the City of Allentown nearly $94,000,000 vs DTE which would save at most a little over $4,000,000 in the same period.

I simply don’t understand why the administration has chosen to take such an inferior deal. When you also take into account that they offer an unproven technology while we have proven on a commercial scale to have cleaner and more financially viable technology. We don’t need $6,000,000 in grants to make our program work. We can generate as many jobs but still save the City substantial sums."

Perhaps this will explain why. In my post on Monday, May 14, 2012 "Allentown Waste To Energy" I linked to Jarrett Renshaw's article which said, "A pivotal figure behind plans to bring a waste-to-energy plant to Allentown is not a scientist or engineer, nor is he an expert in trash disposal... Marcel Groen... is the attorney and a member of the executive board for Delta Thermo Energy... Groen has contributed at least $2,000 to Pawlowski’s campaigns since 2006, records show."

This information came to light after I already posted in between those dates with issues I had on Thursday, March 8, 2012. I urge you to take a look at those as well. Some of them are, who really bears the brunt of fines if the EPA steps in? Where did all these union supporters come from on the night of council's approval (hint: Philadelphia)? What about those questionable phone calls that were made to council members?

As far as we know grants of $2 million is coming from the Commonwealth Finance Agency and another $1 million from the U.S. Department of Energy. Locally we fee out around $6 million a year for 35 years. That comes in around $213 million. So here are the remaining questions.

Will this project even work?
Will we save $213 million over the next 35 years?
Why wasn't a competitor allowed to speak publicly at council's meeting?
Were there viable alternatives, in our haste, that weren't discussed?
It's been 8 months. Has DTE acquired financing and required permits?
Why didn't we go with already proven successful technology companies?
Or Here
See also this article from June of this year which says, "Sweden's successful waste-to-energy program converts household waste into energy for heating and electricity. But they've run into an unusual problem: they simply aren't generating enough trash to power the incinerators, so they've begun importing waste from European neighbors.... Sweden has recently begun to import about eight hundred thousand tons of trash from the rest of Europe per year to use in its power plants."

Right Here In Syracuse, New York

MVR Waste-to-Energy plant in Hamburg, Germany
(Built in 1994)

The Confederation of Europe Waste-to-Energy Plants represent
about 380 Waste-to-Energy plants across Europe

Somebody Explain Why Allentown's
Needlessly Re-Inventing The Wheel?

Kind of stupid, don't you think?

Allentown. What a bunch of rubes!

Allentown's Waste To Energy Foolishness Part 3

On December 19, 2013 'Molovinsky On Allentown' brought up the subject of Allentown's waste to energy project. The post features a comment by Rich Fegley submitted to an earlier post..

In response I shall repost earlier articles I once published here, but had since removed.

Reposted From 12/04/2012
In my previous post I spoke about Allentown's foolish waste to energy contract. This is a continuing discussion about that. Before I begin part two of this discussion please watch this video first.

What does Nepal's poop filled hole in a backward country have anything to do with Allentown's WTE? Who has the time or desire to stir a poop pit in one's backyard just to get one burner lit on a stove?

Plenty. It's called "biogas". It's proven technology. Allentown already has a huge poop pit. It's called the sewage treatment facility. I stated "proven technology" for a reason. It's a scientific fact the same can be done on a macro level such as Allentown's sewer plant. It's not a question of can it be done. It has already been successfully implemented for over 15 years.

Allentown: A Path Not Chosen
Alas, if only Allentown had done it's due diligence before rubber stamping an unproven system.

I urge my readers to read the link from Olympia, Washington (May 3, 2010)"A new cogeneration system installed at the Budd Inlet Treatment... has substantially reduced the amount of energy needed for treatment processes and buildings at the plant by using treatment by-products as fuel. This renewable energy system, combined with an aeration blower retrofit currently underway at the Budd Inlet Treatment Plant, is expected to save LOTT more than $228,000 per year in utility costs.

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) provided a $1.7 million Energy Conservation Grant to install the cogeneration system. PSE is Washington State's oldest and largest energy utility, with a 6,000-square-mile service area stretching across 11 counties. They serve more than 1 million electric customers and nearly 750,000 natural gas customers.

The PSE grant represents 70 percent of an estimated total project cost of $2.4 million for the cogeneration system project... The combined projects are expected to result in an energy savings of more than 2.8 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, enough to power more than 210 Thurston County homes. "
The cogeneration system was the second phase for what they already had in place. According to HDR Inc. who provided permitting support, alternative funding support, design engineering and construction support services for the first phase of installation, "The project was installed in just under a year... Construction was completed in November 2009.".

Differences Between The Two
* Olympia has a proven technology system.

* A utility paid 70% of the cost.

* Ours will try to process both solid & sewer wastes. However it's $43 million price tag, which $6 million of taxpayer's money will go towards, cost almost 20x's as much as Olympia's.

* Ours also comes with a $5,885,000 per year fee. Going up 2.21% each year thereafter with the hopes we'll get some of it back by selling electricity to the grid. That's if we ever get the thing to run in 2014 (the expected completion date).
Another thing worth noting, Allentown is relying on Department of Energy grants & Loans from the Pa. Commonwealth Finance Agency.

There is another source of funding which, as far as I know, Allentown didn't take advantage of. the federal EPA. They are offering "Financial incentives, such as grants, tax incentives, low-interest loans, favorable partial load rates (e.g., standby rates), and tradable allowances." Along with.."Regulatory treatment that removes unintended barriers to CHP and biomass project development,such as standard interconnection requirements, net metering, and output-based regulations." In other words they not only offer grants and loans, they also will fast track the much dreaded permitting process. Several of them have already been given to PECO, MetEd, First Energy and others.

PPL has been on the EPA list since 2009 in Pennsylvania and 13 other states concerning alternative energy credit purchases. Why didn't Allentown look into PPL's already existing biogas renewable energy program?

It's becoming redundant for me to keep mentioning that biogas technology isn't some half baked experimental idea in which Allentown needed to fund a risky experiment.

One need look no further then the "American Biogas Council". On their website they state, plain as day "Over 1,500 wastewater treatment plants use anaerobic digesters and 250 of them use biogas to make electricity and/or heat.".

Even our contracted trash hauler "Waste Management" has been working with methane technology for over 15 years. Bet we didn't consult with them either, did we?

About all there is left to be said is...

"Stupid is as stupid does"
~Forrest Gump~

Poverty In Parts Of Philadelphia Worse Then Detroit's

'Philly.com' reports, "Poverty has increased a startling 62 percent in the communities of Lower Northeast Philadelphia since 1999. At the same time, poverty increased 42 percent in Roxborough and Manayunk, while declining 13 percent in South Philadelphia....

According to the American Community Survey ACS, the area with the highest poverty rate in the city between 2008 and 2012 (45 percent) included the neighborhoods of Nicetown, Tioga, Hunting Park, and Fairhill."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau:..
between 2007-2011 the poverty level in Detroit was 36.2%.
between 2007-2011 the poverty level in Allentown was 25.8%
between 2007-2011 the poverty level in Philadelphia was 25.6%
between 2007-2011 the poverty level in Harrisburg was 31.6%
     All U.S. Census data above was also collected by ACS

Putting The Information Together
* Parts of Philly are worse off then Detroit
* Allentown stands at the same poverty level as Philadelphia
* Overall Harrisburg (the state capitol) is worse off then either Philly or Allentown

Implied Conclusions
Comparing Allentown & Philadelphia to Detroit
The article breaks Philly down into sections. We don't have the same information breakdown neighborhood by neighborhood for Allentown. However, I think it would be safe to conclude certain sections of Allentown are likely to be in the same boat poverty wise.

Both cities have suffered from white flight just as Detroit has.

It may be somewhat a stretch to compare certain sections in these Pennsylvania cities with the entire city of Detroit, however the numbers are enough to be worrisome. Especially being the case for those stuck living in these areas where poverty is 8.8% higher then those living in Detroit overall. For these individuals it's more then 'worrisome', it's how they are forced to live out their daily existence. This is unacceptable.

A city is only as great as the parts that make up the whole. And Gentrification in downtown center city isn't going to solve the poverty problem. Not in Philly nor Allentown. Neither is it going to improve drop out rates, reduce escalating taxes nor solve vacant property problems. This simply moves it from one place to another.

Philadelphia introduced a 'Shared Prosperity Plan'. It calls for poverty fighting groups to coordinate their efforts rather then work independently in order to reduce duplicating their services. It also calls for initially creating entry level low skill jobs through various means. Expand low cost or free daycare so parents can afford to go to work without spending their entire earnings to afford child care. Among other things

A few of my own ideas involve raising the minimum wage. Providing separate low cost subsidized housing to only those willing and able to work apart from those who will not. Priority hiring by the city for families and individuals who are presently collecting government benefits. Create low skill manufacturing jobs by offering companies unproductive properties for free the city has seized for delinquent taxes or have been abandoned with the contingency they need only make repairs to them. Encourage low income seniors to stay in their homes by offering reduced property taxes rather then taxing them the full rate (especially after an area has become too expensive for them after becoming gentrified). I have a few more ideas, but those are enough for now.

The point is this... If we're not going to offer incentives to those in poverty and force others to pick up the slack, we're going no where. It's all about encouraging people to take personal responsibility for themselves and not giving them an excuse for a easy way out. While at the same time creating an opportunity for them.

There will always be those unwilling to do squat, but there are many more who will respond if given the choice to make good of themselves. So far the direction we've been heading obviously is not working. It should also be apparent we should learn from mistakes made in Detroit and elsewhere. No amount of money is going to fix things without the appropriate changes in strategy. So far all we have done is move the same pieces around the board.