Monday, March 31, 2014

HAARP Biggest Danger To Humans Ever?

In a prior post under the subheading "You want to talk about something really nutty?" I spoke about how we have no idea what magnetism is other then being defined as a force of nature. In a way of expanding on that same thought I've created this post as a follow up.

This one concerns the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP). Rather then get all talky I'll let the video below speak for itself. I only wish to add these thoughts.

When mankind screws around with (electro)magnetism, the results can be beyond anything even a science fiction writer could come up with. After viewing the video some may think this is bullshit. My reply would be-- Then explain to me how it could not be that magnetic forces do not play a part in the electrical activity in the human body nor planet?

Also ask yourself this. If they didn't think it did, why would they even be doing such research in the first place?

In short we're screwing with something we know nothing about. Maybe it's just me but I resent a handful of zealots recklessly jeopardizing all the rest of human life and this planet's environmental forces while they mess with magnetic forces knowing nothing of how everything fits together.

Just because we can doesn't mean we should!


VIDEO DESCRIPTION:
"HAARP is a controversial technology operated by the US military beaming high level energy into the Earth's upper atmosphere. HAARP also locates hidden oil reserves and missile silos around the world. However, critics of HAARP say this technology could blow a massive hole in the upper atmosphere as well as disrupt the subtle magnetic energies of all life on Earth. Narrated by Martin Sheen this film presents an investigation of a subject that could have a dramatic effect on all life."



Sunday, March 30, 2014

News & Views 03/30/2014

NEWS
NYC- "Little Italy is on the brink of extinction". "Rising rents and changing demographics have driven Little Italy to the verge of extinction."

VIEWS
This is happening in every major city in the United States. It's also happening throughout the world. I don't see this problem as one concerning ethnicity. Rather as one of creating a further separation between the 'haves' and 'have-nots'. After studying what's behind each and every one, I've concluded it all comes down to money. Wealthy developers could care less about what the nationality of the people are living in these areas. They see them as possessing below market value properties. Ones they'd have to pay more for elsewhere. There's only one thing these investment groups have in mind, money.

Traditionally we tend to think of discrimination as something between the races of people. 'Socioeconomic' discrimination can become far more sinister. When the wealthy come into a neighborhood they bring with them a team of lawyers and lobbyists. What follows is they gaining control over politicians that depend on wealthy campaign contributors. Once that happens ordinances are then passed having negative consequences to current residents and businesses of lower value. Following not too far behind we begin to see government utilizing the power of eminent domain against those that stand in their way.

So next time you see one of these gentrifications keep in mind.. Greedy people could care less about white, red, black, or yellow people. They only care about one color. The color of money. If you ain't green, you ain't seen. Get it?


NEWS
WSJ- Telephone landlines going the way of the dinosaur. "Telecom giants AT&T and Verizon Communications are lobbying states, one by one, to hang up the plain, old telephone system... the copper-wired landline phone system "

VIEWS
Not so fast. That's all fine and dandy for folks living in urban areas, but 30% of Americans don't have broadband access at home. There's also huge areas in this country that don't have cell phone service towers within range of their homes (especially in the Midwest). More importantly many of these services won't provide 911 operators with an ID or exact location of where calls are coming from.

I have no problem with companies taking down these ugly expensive wires prone to storm damage. However if provisions aren't made first to meet the needs I mentioned, the companies should be required to maintain land lines until they are. Cutting these people off would send them back to the dark ages.


NEWS
Charter Schools In The United States..

VIEWS
There are pros and cons that need to be considered. I've always personally felt the government shouldn't have a forced monopoly on education. On the other hand I'm not sure tax dollars should be forcibly extracted for the enrichment of schools owned by religious institutions either. Nor allow private educators to cherry pick students based on academic achievement or a student's financial resources.

It makes no sense to trade one monopoly for another. Some of these private charters are owned by national corporations who (justifiably so) are in existence for the sole purpose of making money. Right now the public is outraged over pensions. I don't want to see this same outrage in a few years if this same amount of public money were instead to go towards investors and corporate board members.

There will be those who insist the private sector always does things better then the government can. If that were to be true we wouldn't be seeing dozens of companies going bankrupt each year or a number of charter schools that shuttered without warning. In essence private education is no panacea for the problems that lay ahead.


NEWS
Speaking of outsourcing. EXPOSED: America’s Highest Paid Government Workers. "These well-paid workers aren’t the local teachers, social workers and corrections officers that Americans were told are responsible for state and local budget woes. Rather, they are the corporate executives who worked hard to privatize public services and who use taxpayer dollars to enrich themselves with outlandish salaries and benefits."

VIEWS
The 'Source Watch.org' article speaks for itself much better then I can present this issue here. Check it out for yourself. However I'll add the following thoughts.

If 'Tea Party' types are worried about elected officials turning the United States towards a socialist direction they should think twice about trying to privatize our government services. Unlike elected representatives corporate board members are not elected by the public therefore are not accountable to 'John Q Public'. Either way we're still going to have to pay taxes for them. There's no way of getting out of it.

It's seems kind of odd there are those so in fear of government socialism creeping up on them they'd rather place their trust in corporations. Do they not understand in many ways corporations pose a larger threat then socialism? Company officials are publicly unelected. Were it not for government oversight they'd ignore constitutional protections and regulations whenever possible. Companies are accountable to investors first and foremost beyond the general welfare of the public.

This doesn't make them evil. They serve a purpose. But one's things for sure. It's not to serve at the pleasure of what may be in the best interests to the general public. Having to choose between either 'big government' or 'big industry', when it comes to providing for the basic needs of the American public, I'll go with the government every time.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Quick Walk Around The News

     & my opinions

Walmart has launched a lawsuit against VISA for $5 billion, accusing the credit and debit card network of excessively high card swipe fees-- Go for it. I'm ticked because I always have paid off my balance every month for over 10 years and never been charged for interest. Since January I've been hit with a new "minimum interest FEE". This FEE has worked out to about 22% interest per year. I've never felt guilty because VISA charges retailers a fee for using their network. Swipe fees and interchange fees. In some cases for the equipment too. So it isn't like they aren't making money every time I use it. Needless to say I've switched over to my ATT Mastercard for all my online and POS purchases until VISA wises up!

Right now there are about 3,700 man made satellites orbiting Earth -- If there were any kind of sanity makers would install rockets to propel them harmlessly towards the sun when they no longer work. Instead they're allowed to orbit until either they crash into the ISS, one another or on top of us. Same ole same ole.. when man no longer has a use for his garbage he leaves it lay in the ground, the oceans or in this case in orbit until there's no room left jeopardizing future generations.

You think the Allentown School District is in trouble with it's $10.6 million deficit, take a look at the Philly school's $320 million!-- Same ole crap. (1) Everybody points fingers. (2) Ask for more. Agree take less of an increase to taxes from homeowners. (3) Tax payers get it put to them. . Mix stir repeat.. year after year.

A million jars of perfectly fine peanut butter worth about $2.6 million will end up in the dump-- Here's another example of a company going bankrupt and walking away with consumers and investors ending up footing the bill. Face it, this is all about not giving it away or selling it really cheap. Otherwise about 25 tons of peanut butter wouldn't be bought by consumers at full price or fed to the hungry. In the end we'd rather put it in the dump then do the right thing.

Obnoxious websites. The last straw for me was when even 'mail.com' has now started loading several animated gifs and video rolls with their accompanying audio tracks when I'm trying to read an article. I've now installed 'Adblock Plus. It's free and it works!-- Trust me, I'm not being compensated in any way. I have no problem with sites monetizing themselves, but after they've become so obnoxious that I could scream, I had to do something. I held off as long as what could be considered reasonable. I could no longer tolerate the advertisements for things I will never buy nor stand waiting for these to load for up to two minutes. I've taken every measure including and up to avoiding these sites altogether. Now that almost everyone's gotten into the act.. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH ALREADY! Give it a shot. See if it works for you. If not just uninstall it.

Try as I may to be fair when comes to so-called liberals versus conservatives when it comes to talking dumb, conservatives have it hands down. Here's 50 of the dumbest things ring-wingers said in 2013-- A few examples: "Just because the Supreme Court rules on something doesn't necessarily mean that that's constitutional."- Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine. "President Obama can't wait to get Americans addicted to the crack cocaine of dependency."- Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann on Obamacare. "There's a movement to normalize pedophilia . . . What is their objective? They want us to all think that pedophilia is just another sexual orientation. You know who's gonna fall right in line is college kids, just like they have on gay marriage."- Rush Limbaugh. "Yeah, I would."- Nevada assemblyman Jim Wheeler, when asked if he would vote to reinstate slavery if his constituents wanted it. To name a few.


About This Blog-- Time For A Change?
I've posted two items today. The first concerning my early days trying to learn how to play the organ. A somewhat personal, entertaining and light hearted commentary. The other, this one.

I'm curious to see which will garner more views. If it be the earlier one (which I'm kind of hoping it will be) I will post less often. Quite frankly the value of posting things of the nature of this post has become less and less of an interest to me. Especially considering two things. (1) They change nothing. (2) Posts of this kind only has value if people engage in a further discussion of them.

I'm Evolving:
Bloviating about things in the news has become rather monotonous and meaningless not only here on this blog but on others around here locally as well. Perhaps the time has come to speak less frequently, but in a more meaningful, insightful way and of things that have more of a informational value. Things that are of more personal in nature to me. I'll check out the stats between both posts and how they go. But right now I'm leaning towards the kind of future posts that inform and express more about my personal experiences over that of how I or others feel about current issues.

Candidly speaking, I've grown quite tired of futilely speaking towards or reading about knucklehead politicians, people in the news or issues that will never be resolved either on blogs, city hall, Harrisburg, Washington D.C. nor elsewhere throughout the world for that matter.

Going forward most likely the posts you will see here will be less frequent, but with a greater accent on personal, entertainment and informational content over that of opinionated material regarding news items like this one.


UPDATED
(03/30/2014)

Hands down far more people viewed this my views about the news over that of my organ lessons.
About three times as many.


I Use To Take Organ Lessons

Way back when I was a pup around 10 years of age dad decided to buy a Hammond Organ from the Chiarelli Brothers music store in Allentown. It was located just North of Tilghman Street on 7th. Dad also joined the local Hammond organ club which would meet once a month at the old Allentown Moose which was located across from the Allentown Hospital on Hanover Avenue at the time. He also hooked me up with a wonderful music teacher who's name was Bob Hanke. Bob use to have a steady weekly gig playing at the former Lehigh Valley Club located 1554 Hamilton Street.

Bob suffered through my thoroughly lousy lack of talent for the instrument for about two or three years. Although I continued to delude myself into thinking if I just stuck with it for several more years it would come to me. Well it didn't. In 1967 I took it as a revelation when even God had enough and pulled the plug on June 5th. That was the day of the Mid-Atlantic power failure. Hey I can take a hint :-)

Seriously speaking, when I observed Bob & Mickey (a female who's last name I don't remember) played dueling organs to the tune of 'Tiger Rag' at one of the club meetings I was overwhelmed. There's no way I ever was going to get my feet to find those damned 13 bass pedals nor learn my 'B flat diminished' chord from a 'B flat augmented'. I don't even want to talk about my lack of rhythm.

The greatest thing I did learn (thanks to dad pushing me) is, no one can ever fully appreciate what someone else can accomplish unless they try it for themselves. That goes not only for playing the organ, but everything else in life.

With that in mind I present the following two videos. If someone never tried to play the organ they probably won't appreciate Richard Hills playing 'Tiger Rag' on the Wurlitzer Theatre organ as much someone who has. This is incredibly difficult if not impossible for someone who's brain isn't wired for talent in the same way. Either some are fortunate enough to be born with it that way or they're not. Or in the case of my brain's wiring... it's just knot!

Richard Hills- "Tiger Rag"

Talk About Multitasking!



Lew Williams at the Mighty Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa, Arizona- "Chattanooga Choo Choo"

Even though I had little talent I did enjoy being around organs. So right after high school I applied and got a job at Allen Organ Company in it's final inspections department for a little over two years between 1966 to 1969. I worked on the smaller model organs for the home (the T12a's on down). A few days ago I came across this following video put out by Allen Organ in September 2011. About all I can say is a hellva' lot changed over the 42 years between 1969 and 2011 when this video was made!

When I was working there we were working with transistors, push pins and in-house wound coils. There was only rumors back then that Allen engineers were starting to look into digital circuitry. There was no such thing as sound sampling. Everything was about mixing single tone analog oscillators. Surely a kid coming just out of high school, like I did back then, would never be able to understand today's digital complexities.

Without a college education in electrical engineering and at least some talent musically, there's no way I could have had the same opportunity I did back then in today's world. In this respect it's harder then ever for kids coming out of high school to land a job.



There's a message in all of this.. STAY IN SCHOOL. GET A GOOD EDUCATION. You'll need it!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

If Extraterrestrials Exist Where Are They?



As you look at the deep space image above taken by the Hubble Space Telescope it's hard to imagine why we haven't spotted any signs of life outside of our own. Hubble has taken pictures of galaxies and stars going back in time to nearly 13.5 billion light years ago. One would think we should see some sort of craft traveling between us and they sometime over the last 13.5 billion years. Yet nada!

The Fermi Paradox"-- "The age of the universe and its vast number of stars suggest that unless the Earth is very atypical, extraterrestrial life should be common. In an informal discussion in 1950, the physicist Enrico Fermi questioned why, if a multitude of advanced extraterrestrial civilizations exists in the Milky Way galaxy, evidence such as spacecraft or probes is not seen."

Yeah, why is that?

We scour the universe using all kinds of optical devices in both the visible and invisible to human eyes spectrums of light. Constantly listen with sensitive radio telescopes for any kind of distinctive electromagnetic pulse(s) that might be that of intelligence beyond our own. Again nothing!

Why Not? * Is it because we are the first species ever capable of doing so in nearly 14 billion years?

* Could it be a civilization far more advanced then our own cloak themselves fearing it far too dangerous to make themselves known? That might explain a few, but surely there must be some less advanced such as we and have no reason or such capability.

* Quantum Physics allows for the possibility of multiple time frames to exist. Are we just a hairsbreadth away living in another parallel universe running alongside that of where others exist? Running with that thought.. is our entire 13.5 billion year old universe being drawn into a super black hole unable to communicate or observe anything outside that of our own?

* Matter is composed of nothing other then forms of concentrated energy. Energy forms what we recognize as matter. Science proves matter can be converted back to energy. This includes our bodies. Are there beings who's bodies and worlds are less condensed into molecular particulate materials? Could they therefore exist in a more subtle form then we are able to detect?
These are just a few of the possibilities. Now before someone thinks I've gone off my rocker I want people to think about this. This concerns human nature when it comes to dismissing such things as impossible crazy talk. Human ego likes to think we know more then we do. Anyone who speaks of such things such as I are some sort of loon to be ignored. Not so fast...

You want to talk about something really nutty?
Electricity-- Nearly everyone on this planet takes electricity for granted. What is it?

Science explains it as the flow of electrons. A free electron jumps to the next atom taking with it a charge (energy). This goes through a conductor which eventually converts it back into a electromagnetic pulse to accomplish what we want it to. Most people think they understand this most amazing thing but actually no one can actually explain it.

Sure we generate electrical energy by introducing a electromagnetic field to cut across a metallic conductor. Thus displacing an electron which moves down the conductor. This produces an electric flow for all the modern miracles we see today. YEAH BUT.. What is magnetism?

Some will explain it as alignment of a material's electrons in one direction (north/south). While this is true, can anyone really explain the forces at work between the magnet and the conductor to get electrons to move in the first place without physical contact between the two. They can not!

At loss for an explanation mankind describes magnetism as a force of nature or physical phenomena. In other words, they don't know what the hell it is.

There isn't one electronic device made that doesn't utilize this mysterious force. Capacitors within these circuits result in voltage lagging behind current and inductive coils doing just the opposite. The combining of inductors and capacitive circuits create the resonate frequencies needed to transmit the signals in our cell phones, routers and countless other broadcast devices. Introducing resistors to these 'resonant circuits' control their all important bandwidths.

All this WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING WHAT ELECTROMAGNETIC FORCE REALLY IS!

Why is it within humans to accept and take for granted of this while rejecting the possibilities of such things I said above as too preposterous to be even considered?

I tend to think such things are never discussed because most people would rather go about their daily existence living in a bubble never questioning. If someone were one of those I assume they never read this far into this post. If you have read the last sentence, too late.. you're as screwed up in your way of thinking as I...
Have A Nice Day
:-)


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Edward Snowden Traitor Or Patriot?

A few weeks ago at a 'Ted 2014' Chris Anderson interviewed Ed Snowden. The topic was about taking back the internet. Irregardless of how someone views Ed Snowden there's one thing we should all agree on... Snowden's no dummy.



My own personal opinion
I'm not big on putting labels on someone. I'm more comfortable talking about the results of those actions someone took. Obviously no one likes what government intelligence is doing including U.S. Senate members. Nor former President Jimmy Carter who spoke to 'USA Today' on this very subject Tuesday, March 25th, 2014.

The question should become, has Snowden betrayed the American people or just the government of the United States? In my opinion, no to the first. Yes to the latter.

Like anyone who takes on the government (here or elsewhere in history) they should prepared to suffer the consequences. So I suppose whatever one's view is depends on how closely they feel aligned with what their government is doing and how willing they are to support it. I tend to support the view that if an individual is doing nothing wrong they should not have anything to fear from their government. Which on the other hand, shouldn't it be said, neither should our own government in their actions?

Snowden's revelations then leads us ask of ourselves.... * Has the security of the United States government been compromised?
     If so, has the safety of it's people been compromised likewise as well?
* Constitutionally speaking, does this exceed the reasonable expectation of privacy?
     If so, how far are we willing to let those protections slide to keep us safe?
* If other people have this information should they keep it to themselves?
     Would you want to know?
* What would you do if you know what Snowden knew?
     Tell or keep it quite?
This whole issue can be summed up with this metaphorical question. You learn someone's wife, husband, boyfriend or girlfriend is cheating. Should you tell?

If you decide to tell what you know..
(1) Have you destroyed the trust between them causing their relationship to breakup?
OR
(2) Was it broken by they them self doing what they did behind the others back?

I suspect how someone feels about either (1) or (2) is how they may feel the same way about what Edward Snowden has done. Loose lips may sink ships, but cheaters never prosper either. Tough call, ain't it?

Comprehensive Report On Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

There's no need to have followed this for the past two weeks. I have done all the work. Everything is wrapped up right here in this single post.

Here's every single verifiable fact we know so far regarding the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370..
It's Lost
~ ~ ~ ~ ~


In the late 70's when planes became lost there was one expert who had the uncanny ability to spot them. Unfortunately for the news media and investigators he's no longer with us...

video
Sorry, but I couldn't resist


It's not that I'm insensitive to the 239 missing passengers, but this constant 24/7 media attention is way over the top. This is only a drop in the bucket considering..* 33,561 people died on American streets and highways in 2012.
* As many as 440,000 die every year from preventable medical errors.
* About another 88,000 die each year in the United States attributable to excessive alcohol.
We need to put things in perspective
About 362,255 people die each day worldwide. Why is the media (and those who watch) obsessing over the possible deaths of these relatively few passengers when 1,515x's that many die each and every day on this Earth? Why are these passengers lives any more or less important then those of countless others?

I'll tell you why. It's because the news media has turned this into a TV drama mystery series. The cable news channels have gone on to become a extended form of entertainment rather then serious journalistic factual reporting. Hard facts are only of secondary importance as producers juice up speculation in the pursuit of ratings.

Greed has replaced professionalism in the TV news media. The field hardened experienced news veterans like the Walter Cronkite types have been replaced by TV news reader models wearing low cut tops and skirts up to their thighs along with strategically placed camera angles.



Field news crews have been left go replaced by clips from YouTube. Producers now rely more on Google then having a team of their own gathering the stories. Top news executives in charge have been replaced by those from the networks' entertainment divisions in a few cases.

I consider my satirically making light of this incident far less disrespectful. I'm not pretending to be a legitimate news gathering organization. It's they who are exploiting this situation for every nickel it's worth to them. Much of it through every conceivable wild speculation they could possibly think of.

I've given you only the verifiable fact we have. This plane is still missing as of March 25, 2014. Until if/when we have debris or the black boxes all else is meaningless fodder served up by the networks for the gullible masses who apparently eat this stuff up.

As far as I'm concerned these news huckster phonies can all 'zip it' till they actually have something to actually report.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

X Factor The Musical

Leave it to those crazy Brits. There's a new musical playing in London's West End at the Palladium entitled "I Can't Sing"


Official Site For-- "I Can't Sing"


The Show Must Go On..
     Not Quite


Although it's still in previews till March 25, 2014, all has not been going well. According to 'Metro" the audience walked out mid performance last Monday (03/17/2014) after this happened...


If this musical flops, it won't be the first one in recent days. It seems Andrew Lloyd Webber can't seem to catch a break these days either. His latest musical "Stephen Ward" closed in less then four months. It went into previews on December 3, 2013 and closed by March 2014.

February 2014 Trailer For "Stephen Ward"


Lots of hopes.
Lots of dreams.
Lots of money.
     That's show biz for ya!

Another Thing Solar Panels Have Going For Them

Check out this article--
     "Solar Power Is A Huge Water Saver"


Graphic Courtesy Of-- 'One Block Off The Grid'


Whenever solar reflector arrays, nuclear materials, biomass or fossil fuels are used to make electricity, they all have one thing in common. They rely on steam turbines that require lots and lots of water. Several of these fuels further rely on vast amounts of water for the extraction of them in the first place. We all know how much water drillers use fracking. Each of the coal fired power generators can leave behind 100's of tons of sludge waste as well.

As population grows there's an ever increasing need for water coupled along with the alarming lack of it for Midwest farmers. It makes little sense not committing to solar panels in supplying our future electrical needs which is water free just as soon as practically possible.

Water should not be the only reason..
All fossil fuels create varying levels of pollution in both the extraction and the combustion of them. There's also the safety aspects in transporting fuels to get them there in the first place. In most cases across rail and pipeline. With nuclear materials there are even greater hazards then those associated with fossil fuels. It's not just getting nuclear material to a generating station alone. Spent radioactive waste has to be transported and stored for up to 10,000 years before it's considered safe.

The question we should be asking ourselves is not whether we should convert to solar energy, but rather.. when?

See also my other posts:
     Solar Energy, At Least One State Got It Right
     Nearly Unnoticeable Solar Electric Shingles
     Solar Panels Why Buy? Lease Them Instead
     Electrical Energy From Windowpanes

Friday, March 21, 2014

Damn Right I'm A Curmudgeon!



Here's a few things I wanna get off my chest..* School Taxes: According to WFMZ Allentown homeowners are going to get a break on next year's school taxes. Instead of getting a 9% increase we may see only a 6% increase. Same old bullshit every year. Ask for 'x' percentage of increase and only get a 'x" percentage lesser increase. Thanks but no thanks for the favor!


What is it they don't understand? Seniors on social security received only 1.5% increase in 2014. Most employees have seen little if any raise. Even the ones that did have seen increasing amounts taken out of their paychecks for medical and retirement. In other words taxpayer incomes are going down while the taxes continue going up. Gee I wonder how this will turn out?

I've tried to understand all the various school districts woes, but 'freaking-a'... these guys can't keep increasing their revenues while the average smuck is going in the other direction economically. At this point I don't giving a flying fig about their problems anymore then they give a flying fig about those to whom they are forcing more money out of with their constant increases year after year. Yes school district board members may be empathetic but empathy doesn't translate into dollars when push comes to shove.

For whatever reason it's always somebody's else's fault. All I know is, no matter how much finger pointing there is, we're the ones ending up getting it in the behind.

Allentown School District is not alone. Easton's looking at a 4.9% increase. Over at Parkland School District they're looking at a school tax increase too. When you couple these increases with some of the homeowners higher reappraisals we're looking at some serious increases.

* School Dropouts: Allentown schools' dropout rate was 7.23% in the 2011-2012 school year. Being the curmudgeon I am.. the hell with them. The average student in Allentown cost taxpayers around $11,000. While I appreciate that Allentown has done all it's can to keep per student costs down below surrounding school districts, $11,000 is still a hell of a lot of money. If some kid can't appreciate the free day care and school meals to them (and in some cases their babies) while they receive a education I doubt there's little that can be done to convince them otherwise.

As much as I or other members in society may be concerned for them, if they don't there's little point in trying to help someone if they won't help themselves. This cost us 7.23% less to try and persuade them otherwise. I'm all for trying to help them, but if they don't want help (obviously) why waste further time and money when we can focus on the other students who do?

Far as I'm concerned our only obligation is to provide a quality education for those who want one. It should not be the responsibility of schools to solve society's problems. Increasingly scarce tax dollars are being wasted on students who not only don't appreciate but reject the hard earned money from others who are trying to support their education.

* The Internet & What It Has Become: Everyday I review 100's of RSS feeds. The problem starts when I click on those feeds. I filter YouTube feeds for Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and the Lehigh Valley. 99% of what is coming across now are advertisements. Even when I come across the occasional user video I'm subject to pre-roll ads. After the video plays it goes off to some other video I wasn't coming to see in the first place. Same goes for not only the national feeds but here locally as well. I click on a local story and pop ups are all over the place and sound video ads start playing as I'm trying to concentrate on the article they posted.

While I understand the need for monetizing, it doesn't mean anyone should be subjected to in-your-face bullshit and having to wait for everything to load up. I can honestly say I never ever bought one damn thing these sites are pimping. The internet has turned into one giant billboard with only a small consideration given to what someone was attracted to their site for in the 1st place. At this point unless there's something overwhelmingly drawing me to read further I avoid going to them like a plague.

* These hotshot newfangled ideas so called urban planners come up with. Take for example these Citi bikes in New York. Turns out it' will cost 10's of millions of dollars to make this harebrained scheme work. Not only do 100's of batteries have to be changed every day at the 330 docking stations, but hundreds of bikes have to be redistributed to the various stations if too many accumulate in any one location. Gee, who would have seen this coming! I'm sure the same thing will happen with this idiotic 'Zipcar' idea.

Again call me a curmudgeon but this whole "build it and they will come" every time idea will fall flat on it's face eventually too. People are attracted to the latest mall opening, entertainment venue or restaurant, but only until the next great thing comes along. Over the long haul these novelties never last more then a few years.

* One final crank (for now)-- All news is 'breaking news' otherwise it wouldn't be news.

"BREAKING NEWS": "Newly received or noteworthy information, esp. about recent or important events."

This has become the most abused term in the biz. A plane crash that happened 13 days ago isn't "breaking news". Finding it is. A trial that's been going on for days isn't '"breaking news". Neither is learning the identity of someone from a prior news story.

These are called "updates". Continuously calling something "breaking news" puts them in the same category as some retailer having a door buster sale or yelling fire when there is none. After a while nobody takes it seriously. Think about how certain words or phrases have been so over used that people no longer take them serious. Like "sale", "closeout", "automobile rebate/$1 over invoice", "zero percent financing", "by one, get second free" so on and so forth. After a while who takes anything someone says seriously?
What other things might make you a curmudgeon too?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Issue With Allentown's Recycling Performance Grant

The city of Allentown released the following..."The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has recently awarded the City of Allentown roughly $265,000 in a Recycling Program Performance Grant. The grant, whose letter cites the city’s “exemplary efforts,” is..." blah, blah, blah.

Yeah BUT..
I'm tired of calling this into the city when nothing's done about enforcment. The Muhlenberg college students living in one house out here in our area haven't recycled one iota of anything in over 20 years.. NADDA.. NOTHING!

Right now there are over two dozen trash bags piled up next to one porch. Once every summer the landlord loads up the trash on to the back of a pickup only to have it accumulate once again with the next batch of students. It isn't like the city of Allentown doesn't know about this rental since it is registered with the city.

We've brought home two large green containers for them. Lord knows where they ended up. Maybe as ice buckets for their beer kegs?

Let me explain how things work out here in the fabulous West End. Not once (in over the last 20+) has any citation ever been issued by the Allentown Police for a noise complaint to this house I'm referring to (no matter how many times we've called it in) that resulted in an eviction. Nor have students been cited for failure to recycle, the trash bags that have built up in their back porch area or underage drinking after breaking up 30 or more students partying at any given time in this particular rental. Not one student rental has been kicked out under the city's three strikes ordinance.

The only thing I can conclude is the mayor has issued a 'hands off policy when it comes to the college students in off campus rental units'. How else to explain it?

Perhaps the mayor ought to take some of this quarter of million dollar+ grant and use it to impress upon students why they are required to observe the ordinances like the rest of us while they live in Allentown for four years. Call it a part of their education regarding civic responsibility if you will.

Because of the city's failure to enforce their illegal parking, trash/recycling noise and underage partying ways, these students will continue to be encouraged to live off campus to avoid coming under the constraints that they otherwise would have had under Muhlenberg College's supervision. Therefore I do not fault Muhlenberg College nor it's other students but rather the city of Allentown for choosing to look the other way.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Obamacare Can't Fix GREED

Aljazeera reports about a guy bit by a copperhead snake last August in North Carolina. He got treated and was billed $81,151.16 for treatment with four vials of anti-venom costing $20,000 each!

The big deal is it cost the hospital $2,200 a vial. Not only that but it's made at that same factory in Mexico that charges substantially less to patients who live in Mexico. I strongly urge everyone to read the article.

There's no way in hell the United States medical system can be cost contained either under Obamacare or private insurers, I'll put this briefly as possible (once again). Doctors, lawyers and hospitals have a helluva' racket going. They are not going to let go without kicking and screaming all the way to Washington. Not so long as they have these other options available.

Simple solution.. 'National Healthcare' (expand Medicare) which is a single payer system. Here's what providers get paid.. PERIOD. Private insurers would still exist. Their only role then would be to collect premiums and pay out the medical payments. In return they would be paid for their services allowing them to continue being in business.

Some may call this socialism or a government monopoly. I on the other hand feel the private marketplace is no place to hold someone hostage when it comes to pain, suffering and allowing for the charging of whatever ransom need be paid to save our lives or relieve our medical torment

We all get sick and we all die. We all (rich or poor) surely should support a balanced healthcare system which provides reasonable payments for services rendered. No one should profit hugely off the misfortunes of others. Not in the kind of country I would like ours to be.

Chris Christie Town Hall Meeting A-Holes

Lehigh Valley.com March 19, 2104-- Chris Christie town halls disrupted...,
"It was the second consecutive town hall to be disrupted by Christie opponents.

In today's world being shouted down in only 2 out of 115 town hall meetings might be some kind of a record!



I don't care whether one agrees with Christie or not. Nor do I care whether these outbursts come from Republicans, Democrats or of any other idiot with a cause. It's rude, obnoxious, disgusting and turns me against whatever cause these kind of bozos are promoting. Say what you will no one deserves this kind of treatment. Anyone can ask the New Jersey governor anything on any topic. These a-holes could have framed their talking points into questions like everyone else.

What they have done instead is pissed him off just like it would any other human. He couldn't have done better if he had paid these jerks to make his point.

It's little wonder why today's political representatives avoid public meetings. How can we expect the best and brightest to run for office when the public treats them like they are at some sort of sideshow act at the fair trying to match wits with them over a dunking tank. Damn it America. show some class. If these screamers can't show respect, at least have some for yourselves

Screaming over the top of everyone is as a baby having a tantrum. A baby's brain not yet being fully formed and in early development is an excuse for this kind of behavior. Maybe this accounts for their behavior as well, eh?

ASD Has A PR Problem

Lehigh Valley.com is reporting, "A William Allen High School student was injured and taken to a local hospital following a group of students fighting, Allentown police confirmed... When asked about the incident, district spokeswoman Kimberly Golden Benner said through email, "We do not discuss student issues."

This is no way to handle a situation like this. By not releasing something official this can grow legs in social media along with the expected accompanying speculative conjecture that usually follows.. With a possible smartphone video upload of this incident looming out there, a school district saying "We do not discuss student issues" is not a wise choice.

This could have been handled much more wisely by releasing an official statement. Doing otherwise makes it appear WAHS is attempting to avoid attention by refusing to even talk about it in the hopes this will go away. There would be no legal repercussions in simply acknowledging indeed there was some sort of altercation by issuing a public statement. For example, here's how an official response could have been handled (but it wasn't)--Today there was a incident involving 4 or 5 of our students. William Allen officials in conjunction with the Allentown Police will further investigate the circumstance surrounding the physical altercation. Once our investigation is complete appropriate measures will be taken with the students involved.

While we consider William Allen High School to be a safe learning environment for our students, occasionally there are incidences that do occur. This is not unlike other high schools of our size who have to deal with situations like these that can occur from time to time. Rest assured the safety and well being of our students is our utmost priority.

Acts of a few do not represent the majority of our students nor does it reflect the overall campus safety or the learning environment here at WAHS. Parents and students can be further reassured we will take all the steps necessary to maintain the safest and highest learning experience possible for all our students. It's important for parents to understand both WAHS as well as throughout the Allentown School District we take these matters very seriously. We will take whatever measures necessary to try and prevent future reoccurrences within our means.
That sure would have beat the hell out of a simple email to the media stating, " We do not discuss student issues." That kind of response seems kind of brusque doesn't it?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Music Video: "I Am Ukrainian"

Georgian singers singing in support of Ukraine

Currently this video has garnered nearly 8 million views


Deborah Stambler wrote a blog piece at The Huffington Post on February 14, 2014-- "Filmmaker, Ben Moses, who put the video together and released it on YouTube has direct contact with the young woman. I asked him who she is and why she's speaking out. In order to keep her identity confidential and keep her safe, he's not saying a word about that. He's letting the video and the response to it speak for itself,

Ben Moses was the creator and co-producer of Disney/Touchstone’s "Good Morning, Vietnam" starring Robin Williams.

As you would expect this video does not come without controversy attached to it--
Exposed: Viral 'I am a Ukrainian ' Video” Produced by PR Company Linked to ‘Regime Change’ NGO

Whether the changes currently going on in the Ukraine is a grassroot movement or not I'll leave for others to decide. My only hopes are for the Ukrainian people this will not lead to the horrific conditions we see today in Syria, Egypt and elsewhere.

Regarding that other part of the world-- I find it rather suspect if there isn't some kind tampering going on when nearly all the enemy nations of Israel are currently ripped apart internally. When largely Muslim nations are weakened by infighting, they have little ability to stir up trouble for Israel. Is this by coincidence or design?

Hence my reluctance to accept either Ukraine's or the problems in middle east coming entirely from the people themselves without outside forces having at least some sort of hand them. Therefore my thoughts go out to the peaceful people who want no part in any of this and suffer because of it. To peaceful people everywhere my heart goes out to you. I could care less who claims victory. Only that whoever the victor is, they do what's right for their people who have suffered needlessly in these power grabs.

Yes I know history shows us that's not always the case. However, one can always hope otherwise. Call me unrealistic or a dreamer, but my thoughts will always be with the people who just want to go to work, raise a family, want no greater part in this life then to be left alone and grown to realize throughout history ALL WARS are stupid as hell !


"Holy Dirt",
There's No Such Thing!



ALL WARS SUCK !


Irishman's Prodigal Daughter Returns Home


An Irish daughter had not been home for over 5 years. Upon her return, her Father cursed her heavily. 'Where have ye been all this time, child? Why did ye not write to us, not even a line? Why didn't ye call? Can ye not understand what ye put yer old Mother thru?'

The girl, crying, replied, 'Sniff, sniff... Dad... I became a prostitute.'

'Ye what!? Get out a here, ye shameless harlot! Sinner! You're a disgrace to this Catholic family.'


'OK, Dad.. As ye wish. I only came back to give mum this luxurious fur coat, title deed to a ten bedroom mansion, plus a $5 million savings certificate. For me little brother, this gold Rolex. And for ye Daddy, the sparkling new Mercedes limited edition convertible that's parked outside plus a membership to the country club ... (takes a breath) .... And an invitation for ye all to spend New Year's Eve on board my new yacht in the Riviera.'

'What was it ye said ye had become?' says Dad.

Girl, crying again, 'A prostitute, Daddy! Sniff, sniff.'

'Oh! My Goodness! Ye scared me half to death, girl! I thought ye said a Protestant! Come here and give yer old Dad a hug!



Sunday, March 16, 2014

Shooting Down Some More Obamacare BS

Heart-Breaking Anti-Obamacare Ad Shows Woman Suffering From Bullsh*t


America's Obsession With Others' Habits



Phillly.com March 15, 2014-- "State wants landlords to ban smoking""Twenty-one percent of Pennsylvania's adults smoke cigarettes. And if Michael Wolf has his way, none should be able to light up if they live in apartment or condominium complexes. Wolf, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, delivered that message to landlords.." Phillly.com March 14, 2014-- "Committee approves adding e-cigs to public ban on smoking""A CITY COUNCIL committee yesterday agreed to treat e-cigarettes the same as the traditional kind..." This fixation on other people smoking has gotten so far out of hand it's become absurd when even e-cigarettes are taboo. There's no way in hell second hand smoke can be a justification for what has become a 'obsessive compulsive disorder' in calling for a ban on them in outdoor public spaces. While one could argue against second hand smoke, this in no way applies to e-cigarettes either in one's own dwelling or outdoors. It's nothing more then fixation for some telling others what they can or can not do.

Why Should NIMBY's Stop There?
* Why not ban booze too? I have a bunch of college kids next door who drag home two kegs of beer almost weekly for 'Thirsty Thursdays'. They invite 30 or more of their closest friends for 'beer pong' while the booming bass from their stereo rocks my house next door till after midnight. I'm sure there are lots of other folks who live alongside or next door to drinkers. Drinkers who could pass out leaving food cooking on the stove, ignore their crying babies or raise all kinds of hell after they've been drinking. No thanks, I'll take a low keyed quiet hookah party any day

* Why not ban stereos over 20 watts? Lord knows how much sleep I've lost or while out on my deck listening to the loud thumping of bass music coming up the street a block away. How about too those loud motorcycles with their radios turned up louder then their resonating mufflers. Shouldn't we be protecting people from themselves when it comes to hearing loss too?

* How about banning crying babies from airplanes, trains and busses too while we're at it? This can cause sleep deprivation and mental duress for other commuters affecting their health.

* There are lots of people who's health is affected by exhaust fumes coming from inefficient fuel smoking lawn mowers (not to mention the God awful noise). Same goes for the leaf blower a guy across the street uses every single day seven months out of the year. Not to mention these noisy smelly two stroke weed whackers. Should we ban them too and require only electric lawn tools be used?

* Throughout the summer I'm forced to inhale the horrible chemical fumes emanating from next door with her overuse of fabric softener towelettes she puts in her dryer. I don't use them. Why do I have to put up with hers? From now on let's ban them too!

* Cursed be those damn noisy jets spewing out thousands of lbs of spent jet fuel into the air as they go over my house several times a day too!

All of these could conceivably make more sense then banning e-cigarettes. The reason we don't is people like to do what they do even though each carry a certain element of risk. When we begin imposing our will with personal annoyances on others we risk having something we enjoy being taken away. While I can fully appreciate the intentions behind trying to get people to refrain from tobacco use, the over zealousness about e-cigarette use has little (or nothing) to do with that.

At some point things become fanatical. We've seen this over guns. If a kid points his fingers or draws one in school they have been suspended in some schools. One kid even got suspended for pointing a banana at another student in the school cafeteria in a threatening way. This crazy crap now going on regarding e-cigarettes is another step in that same direction.

We can't keep forcing our annoyances on other people and not expect to one day endure the same. There's some truth in the old saying... "What goes around, comes around."

Maintain Anonymity On The Internet

Here I go preaching yet again urging people to retain as much privacy as possible while on the internet. Want more reasons?

The Daily Mail- March 14, 2014: "Utah mom finds her image on 'revenge porn' website after receiving emails from men across the world propositioning her for sex - but the images were stolen and the body isn't even hers""Esplin is one of hundreds - if not thousands - of victims of a new extortion scheme where 'revenge porn' websites take innocent, fully clothed photos of women and crop their heads onto another woman's naked body. They then post the photos on their websites with the woman's full name, city and other contact information. If the woman complains, the owner of the website will often charge her a fee - oftentimes hundreds of dollars - to remove the photos." The Daily Mail- March 14,2014: "Plus-size blogger's rage after diet company stole her image to promote products""Plus-size blogger Rachele Cateyes has told of her horror after finding out that a diet company was using this bikini shot of her without permission to show customers what they 'don't want to look like'. I began my earliest presence on the internet using both 'Compuserve' and 'AOL' software at separate times. Both of these service providers identified users by their screen names only. This was not only the default setting but was highly encouraged by both companies. There was a reason both saw fit do things that way. It was to protect their clients. Since that time people have voluntarily chosen to go in the complete opposite direction via 'Facebook', 'Twitter', etc.

Want a few more reasons? * Do you really want strangers, bill collectors, banks, employers and ex-lovers to know every one of your habits, contacts, friends, health conditions, where you are going or currently hanging out?

* Why make it easy for scammers who then armed with enough information can call, email and find all kinds of nefarious ways to make your life hell?

* There's no internet filter that can determine mentally unstable people, who having access to the internet may become obsessed with someone.

What was good sound business practice and advice back then applies today just as well as it did back then. No one would think of walking around a dangerous unknown neighborhood with a name tag showing their address, phone number, daily travels, personal activities along with potentially exposing all their friends' information as well. Yet this is exactly what people do when they troll the internet and do not safeguard themselves.

It's called the 'super information highway' for a reason!


Saturday, March 15, 2014

'The Voice', Contestants Don't Get One

A article published exclusively in 'New York Daily News' claims "'The Voice' contract says NBC can ignore votes and release talent's psych tests on TV." Additionally the show can edit contestants interview video clips or require of them scripted responses. Which could make contestants' personalities far different from whom they really are. Reportedly competitors can even be eliminated at the discretion of network and/or the show's producers.

The details were uncovered by The New York Daily News' after it reportedly got a hold of a 32 page contract for the show.

So Kids...
If ya wanna be a star, I recommend you do it the old fashion way. Rent a recording studio or purchase equipment to make your own recordings. Promote yourself. There's so many opportunities available for free on the internet. Record companies can do little more then what you can already do for yourself. Sell your music via downloads online or market the CD's.

The recording industry professionals have always been notorious for profiteering on inexperienced new artists hoping for a shortcut to stardom. It is a well known fact if you score with a first time hit you likely won't see a dime. Maybe not even on a second chart topper. Sometimes record companies promise large amounts of money upfront. That evaporates after deductions for studio time, producer costs, distribution, legal fees, vocal coaching, promotion, etc. When you pay for your own recording, promotion and retail, you get to keep nearly all the money. Sure it won't make you a million overnight, but neither will you have people telling you what your composition, arrangement or vocals should sound like.

Competing against others in live contests is really bad marketing strategy. So is hiring a promotion manager. Hiring a booking agent isn't. Set a goal. How big do you want to become and how willing are you to sacrifice or compromise your music to get there? Selling your soul to the devil in the belief record companies are looking out for your interests is the worse idea of them all.

One final word of advice. Go to school, learn accounting.. you're going to need it if you should ever become successful.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Solar Energy, At Least One State Got It Right

Clean Technica 03/13/2014: "California’s Grid Sets Two New Solar Energy Records in Two Days"-- "Solar energy provided a record 3.9 gigawatts (GW) of electricity on March 7th, then bested that mark with 4.1GW on March 8th, according to the California ISO – enough to power about 3 million homes or 18% of overall power demand."

I wrote about nearly invisible solar panel shingles back in July 2011 with a post entitled "Nearly Unnoticeable Solar Electric Shingles". Check it out.

Every month that goes past gives us less and less reasons to frack, build a pipeline for tar sand guck from Canada (not same as crude oil), burn high carbon fossil fuels or nuke our way into providing for our energy needs. Not when trillion upon trillions of kilowatt equivalent energy is being poured down to Earth from the sun everyday.

)


Profiteers would have us continue living in the stone age. It is they who wish us not to embrace solar energy's promise over that by the continued burning of carbon based fossil fuels It is my hope that we not have a repeat of history regarding the denials of science once suffered by Nicolaus Copernicus by those who wish to maintain the status quo. One path leads us ahead. The other to wallow in ignorance of what is possible.

Remember The Old Days When Bus Companies Paid For Themselves?

Express-Times 03/13/2014-- A $4 million grant to help pay for the Easton Intermodal Transportation Center was announced Wednesday ... "Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr. said the amount is the other half of a $7.2 million grant. He said the total project cost is about $32 million"

Remember The Old Days When Bus Companies Paid For Themselves?
Some Still Do!
For example, here locally Bieber & Trans-Bridge buses. They receive no government assistance to pay for their terminals or the rent for their stalls at the Port Authority in New York City.

Some may say this is a unfair comparison. My reply-- (1) Neither of them would consider spending several millions of dollars on terminals because they know they'll never be able to sell enough fares to cover them. (2) Both bus companies only sell routes they know will earn money.

Still others will argue the need for people to move to public transportation.
Counter Argument-- It hasn't worked so far and most likely never will.

Others will point out, what are people to do if they don't own a car?
Counter Argument-- Should taxpayers be obliged to pay not only for their own transportation but others as well?

Another point of argument is we spend money for the highways that both use.
Counter Argument-- Bus lines pay huge amounts for tolls and licensing to use them.

Let's be realistic here. Back in the days of Lehigh Valley Transit Company there was a need therefore a profit to be made. The reasons varied. To name two Most women didn't drive. There was only one car in a family. In today's world one would think as shopping moved from downtown along with the jobs local bus service would be more in demand then ever.

Before taxpayers pour million$ more into bus service one should stop and ask why isn't it in demand?

I'm strongly in favor of government providing for the needs of people, but clearly people are either unwilling or have only a limited need for local bus service. When it costs us 10's of millions of dollar$ over and above fare revenues one should stop and question why taxpayers are compelled to continue providing bus service at this level so few riders are willing to pay for. Shouldn't we instead provide the fewest number of buses and routes that are vital? Those that connect to the industrial parks at morning and afternoon prime hours, hospitals, etc. In short, this whole system has to be appropriately downsized.

This like some of our other government programs has become an entity unto itself for the sake of itself. Every time government gets involved in what should be private enterprise, knowing it will be a losing proposition, they form some kind of "authority" or another. This is another one of those.

These Hockey Fans Getting A Twofur

In this case Idaho fans were charged for two beers and only getting one at the CenturyLink Arena in Boise. "The potentially class action lawsuit claims the owners of CenturyLink Arena in Boise defrauded customers by selling tall, narrow cups of beer for $7 that held the same amount of liquid as shorter, wider cups sold for $4."
)

According to the information posted on this video uploaded on March 10, 2014...
"CenturyLink Arena has responded quickly! They are ordering 24oz cups to be the "New Large" for future events, sold at the same $7 price point. It's amazing what impact our little video had...20,000 views in less than 24 hours and a big company made a good change that benefits consumers! Creating change, one large beer at a time! Drink responsibly and make sure you have a DD for all events!"

Oopsie. I bet they're sorry... sorry they got caught :-)

Moved To Pennsylvania. I Love It Here

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Allentown City Council Still Can't Afford Cameras!

(Except for the street cameras constantly watching us)


Allentown city council still won't offer videos of their meetings, but...

Lower Macungie Township does.
Lehigh County Commissioners do.
So does Northampton County's Council.


Last November 2013 city council unveiled it's $120,000 newly renovated chambers. One would think they would have appropriated about two or three hundred buck$ for a video camera to record meetings.

I find it reprehensible Allentown council's written minutes are always posted two to three months after the meetings. It can't be about the money it would cost. Nor can it be blamed on laziness or lack of expertise required to make videos. I consider this a deliberateness on council's part.

It can be for but only a few reasons: (1) Council is counting on only a handful of zealots who have the time or commitment to show up at city hall. Thus making their jobs easier to deal with. Doing videos online would expose them to at least 10x's as many people. I assume to them having less exposure means less grief to their way of thinking,

(2) Could it also be they want to know who the trouble makers are and where they live when citizens show up in person? This intimidates some people who fear there could be reprisals.

(3) Council's minutes in print form does not indicate the tenure nor body language expressed by council members as they speak to issues. Maybe they don't want future voters to form opinions or judge them on how well they carry out their performance while on council?
Come on, this isn't the horse and buggy days. What city council budgets for someone to hand record the minutes. Who then has to put them into a computer archiving them to city servers cost no more then it would to video record directly to the server. It practically pays for itself!

So if cost isn't a factor. If it isn't technical expertise. Maybe somebody on council could explain exactly why they won't do this

Till otherwise I'll assume it's because of one or all three of the reasons I mentioned above.

Monday, March 10, 2014

I Get Sick Of...

* Food packages shrinking every month or so, but still costs the same price. No snacks aren't only half full because of settling either. Who the hell are they kidding!

* Food manufacturers offering coupons for new versions of the same products that cost more. While at the same time screwing up the old ones so consumers are forced to pay more for what the product once was.

* Every website loading up more and more advertisements that have been slowing down their page loads ever increasingly month after month. This includes pre-rolling embedded videos, annoying banners, embedded advertising, survey requests and a whole hosts of other kinds of pop ups. Do they think we came for advertisements or the content? JERKS!

* Redesigning the GUIs on web pages and their options every damned month. Take a break I don't want new & improved options!

* No I don't want to save paper by receiving my bills online. For example my medical plan cost me $6,000 a year + a $2,000 deductible. Send the damned EOBs. It only cost ya pennies for what you won't cover anyway!

* Stop nagging me on the telephone, email and on my bills to switch my telephone carrier, electric company, gas company etc... it ain't gonna happen!

* Thanks but no thanks to my credit card carriers, banks and others who's telemarketers insist on calling me dozens of times . I already have life insurance. I don't want your payment protection nor credit monitoring either!

* I've paid close attention to all the advertisements on TV that appear hourly. I have no need for pills for erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure, low testosterone. I have no use for maxipads or panty liners. Same goes for a better toilet paper wipe. 2/3rds of the advertisements are for $20,000 automobiles that I will never buy till the wheels fall off the one I have. If I'm unconscious laying in the back of an ambulance I doubt I'll express a preference for them to take me to a special hospital for treatment miles away that's out of my network either.

* Thanks 'Morning Call' for littering my sidewalk out front with your free newspapers that I don't want. This has required me to put my recycling bin out twice as often. Maybe you should talk to my medical provider above who no longer wants to send me paper EOBs.

* Politicians saying budgets will cost taxpayers 30% more next year. Year after year they always manage to look like they're doing us a favor when it ends up costing everyone 10% or 20% more. Wow. What a break.. thanks!

* Litigants who say they are suing on principle while collecting millions of dollars which cost consumers and taxpayers wads of money that benefit only lawyers and they themselves. These costs are simply passed on to others Yeah that'll show them !

* Outlawing cigarettes and e-cigarettes while at the same time the push is on to smoke weed. Yeah ok, I'll drink to that.

I have at least 20 more. Enough of mine. What about yours?

Columcille Megalith Park- Bangor, Pa.


Homepage For 'Columcille Megalith Park'


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Millennials Moving To Urban Areas, Yeah But

12/19/2013- Forbes-- "A close look at recent migration data shows that a significant number of younger people do indeed prefer urban life and can endure, temporarily at least, the high housing costs that go with it. However, the data also show that as they age, Americans continue, in general, to shift to suburbs, and later smaller communities, looking to buy homes and start families.

High-profile companies such as Google (itself located in very suburban Mountain View) seek outposts in places like downtown Chicago or New York, where youthful labor, often less expensive, is readily available. But most companies in technology — particularly those with an engineering focus as opposed to social media — depend heavily on older, skilled workers, most of whom live in suburbs. Much the same can be said of professional services, and finance and industrial companies."


01/24/2014- Philly.com-- "City a magnet for young people, but they do not stay, Pew report finds... The findings reflect a "promising but fragile boom," Pew cautioned, because half of these young adults said they would likely move out of the city in five to 10 years in search of better schools and stronger career prospects.

05/29/2013- Stockton City Limits- "Stockton’s population is growing, but are people really moving here?

Stockton’s population is clearly rising by any measure, but as many readers have pointed out, that does not necessarily mean that people are not leaving the city. It may very well be the case that our population growth can be attributed to births, not people moving here."


COMMENTARY
Urban renewal cheerleaders who insist the next generation will flock into Allentown and elsewhere to live are deluding themselves. Cheap housing will most definitely attract those starting out. However once younger people start getting married, establish themselves with better paying jobs and start having kids they're outta here!

The reasons should be obvious. It's not just about choosing whether to raise and educate their offspring in a city or suburban environment. As today's millennials become older and start to accumulate wealth they will begin to seek out homes that offer a higher standard of living. One where they can park their cars without the hassles that come with city living. Homes located where shopping offers free parking without the aggravation of trying to drag home their purchases and kids on a bus. Schools that are considered safer for their kids. Where there isn't the constant wailing of sirens.

There are a few traits commonly found amongst urban cheerleaders. Most are young, single and fresh out of college. Another of the group rely on paychecks to promote this philosophy. Then there are those developers who stand to personally gain via the use of public dollars going into their pockets.

Let's put this in perspective. There's nothing wrong with getting urban areas dolled up and looking pretty. BUT.. as far as a fooling oneself into believing that somehow one day there will be this huge migration back into the cities is delusional. Hess's isn't come back to 9th & Hamilton. Neither are the big box national retail chain retailers either. Not ever!

This brings me to Allentown's NIZ.
Yes there are new opportunities, but they are limited. Promoters have exaggerated and overblown their claims about the whole project. Indeed many people may come to work in the offices and see events at the arena. BUT.. at the end of the day (I do mean it literally) routes 309, 78, 22, Hamilton and Tilghman streets will look like the Schuylkill Expressway with cars headed back to their suburban homes.

Hypocrites?
While I will not publish names and addresses of the various members of these local cheerleaders, the majority of them live neither in Allentown nor downtown. Hell some of them weren't even aware of the Lehigh Valley till they arrived here only a few years ago. Now that right there ought to tell ya something!

Oulook For The Future
Families who make a decent living with kids aren't going to flock back into town. Median incomes for those renting or owning a home in Allentown won't be go up more then a few percentile Rents will outpace whatever increase in income they receive (gentrification). Home prices in Allentown will remain about the same if not less. Developers will flip some of their NIZ properties for profit. While the local city and county governments will make out, little of these changes will benefit the average Joe economically, crime wise or generally raise their standard of living much differently then it is now. Of this I am confident.

Lest you think I'm a negative nanny, the proof of my words will come by about this same time next year. Don't be surprised when I will do a SEE I TOLD YA SO piece.

OK LVCI What 10 Things Would You Planned For The City Instead? (1) Removed as many blighted properties as possible turning them into mini greens areas. Blighted properties increase crime and produce little if no revenue anyway.

(2) Altered zoning laws to be as strict as legally possible to stifle further single home conversions being turned into multi-rental units (which is also creating a parking nightmare). This alongside a list of landlords who are highly responsible and dependable through a type of ratings system by an outside firm. This would be similar to what is being done with hotels and motels. Why not where someone has to live day in and day out?

(3) Encourage businesses to get back to the old park & shop method. Few feel encouraged to go downtown where they have to go on the hunt for a parking meter. Free parking should be available to every legitimate shopper. This program could be offered to businesses that participate through some sort of tax incentive.

(4) One thing I wouldn't have done was relied only two or three players in hopes of reviving the city. Several small businesses that may fail are no big thing. Putting too many apples in too few baskets (if they should fail) carries far larger risks.

(5) Put more cops on foot with beat patrols. Nearly every cop gets his own cruiser. Is this necessary in the densest areas downtown? Perhaps on certain calls the one driving the cruiser could pick up the beat cop to assist him when a certain class of call comes in.

(6) I'd review what we're spending on the public pools with the thought in mind to eliminate them. Take the money we now spend and offer free or reduced passes to Dorney Park's water park where kids would much rather go instead. LANTA could provide the transportation through a shuttle bus service. This eliminates both liability, maintenance and salaries for lifeguards to the city.

(7) Encourage the Allentown School District to centralize. We maintain dozens of neighborhood elementary schools and four middle schools. Suburbia on the other hand have changed over to having K through 12 at one central location eliminating the huge costs for having dozens of small buildings. If they can do it you would think having the density we have would be less cumbersome for us then they who's students are spread out all over the place. Again think.. LANTA (who's tax dollars we are already paying for).

(8) Actual residential homeowners should receive a better tax treatment then someone who purchases a home seeking to rent it out for commercial investment. Thus encouraging homeownership over the ever increasing rentals. I'm not picking on landlords, but these units contain multiple families which increases the burden on police, parking and the Allentown schools. Thus I feel they need to pick up a larger share then a single family.

(9) Use one of the vacated elementary schools (see #7) to house the homeless, parking authority. city's health clinic, etc. that we now pay for separately.

(10) Strongly insist and persist through the local unions and in Harrisburg that we convert these horrible pension plans for the taxpayers. This can be done voluntarily through offering to convert the values of their current benefits into 401k's and outright cash they can convert to whatever a government worker deems appropriate to them. I realize state charter restricts our abilities, but it doesn't restrict an individual government worker from making a voluntarily choice on their own.

Please don't even try and tell me we can't find a work around. Take for example a government worker wishes to accept this offer. Then agrees to be rehired under new terms after cashing out. The only thing standing in their way would be those who refused the offer and are still in the union plus the union itself. Ordinarily this would lead to the required binding arbitration under Pennsylvania law. However, there's nothing saying the city can't outsource by bidding contracts for the work previously done. Why not grow a set and use that leverage?

This isn't meant as a tactic for busting unions. Rather it's to strongly persuade unions to allow workers who choose to do so be rehired under new terms they deemed acceptable to them individually. Failing the unions to still insists otherwise would be doing so at their own peril. I doubt they'd receive support from their remaining members who chose not to participate in the early pension payments their co-workers agreed to knowing the city could outsource their jobs.
In other words none of the millennials aren't going to put up with the problems living in an urban area for any longer then they have to till these problems get resolved. I've offered 10 suggestions that actually may change things around to make city living once again attractive.

The bottom line to all of this is-- Cheap rents, a bunch of food joints and living without a car isn't going to cut it alone. Not over the long haul.