Monday, June 30, 2014

SCOTUS Decision On Obamacare

(CNN) -- "The Supreme Court ruled Monday that closely held companies cannot be required to pay to cover some types of contraceptives for their employees,"

COMMENTARY
I have more questions then answers as a result of the SCOTUS decision.. * How will this affect employees working for businesses held by 'Christian Science' or the ' Jehovah’s Witnesses'? There are also a whole bunch of fundamentalist Christian groups that believe only in 'faith healing'. Who knows how many companies identify themselves with these?

* What's to stop any company what-so-ever from chartering itself as a faith based company? One which then declares it's a disciple of the 'spaghetti monster' allowing it to cherry pick medical benefits for it's employees.

* Does not the constitution dictate that religious beliefs be protected? If so then the SCOTUS decision on one hand protects owners rights under the constitution while at the same time denying those same protections for workers who's beliefs may differ.

* If a woman is medically diagnosed to be at extreme risk or placed in a life threatening condition from a possible future pregnancy (or that of a future fetus) due to a medical condition would she be denied medical coverage? Would coverage be denied on the basis of birth prevention rather then that of a life threatening treatment for a condition for either her or the baby? Not just pregnancy but any condition what-so-ever that wasn't deemed necessary regarding the religious beliefs held by it's owners'.

* This kind of cracks the door open to all kinds of stuff. There are all kinds of screwy beliefs held by religions. Which ones should employees be protected or not protected from if the company they work for is faith based? To name only two some believe it's OK to beat or stone women, others require religious garb. Is the SCOTUS going to decide each on a case to case basis or rule separate on the birth control issue only? If not, why not?


Personally I think all of this could be easily resolved by expanding the current Medicare program to everyone. Then following that enact legislation which would allow employees the opportunity to either participate in their employers plan or be compensated by them for the government run Medicare program. This would create a entirely a voluntary (non mandated) 'national healthcare' program if so chosen by the people who wished to join. This would solve two major problems. What employers choose to offer coverage for while at the same time lowering healthcare costs for both.


Best of all it leaves the SCOTUS justices out of this and their making all these decisions on what we can and cannot have regarding our families healthcare.


I don't know about you, but I have no desire to tell religious people what they should or should not believe in. AND I sure as hell don't want them cramming their views down mine either.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..."

Yet isn't that, in effect, what this SCOTUS ruling has just done?

I truly believe the framers not only wanted to protect religion, but us from it as well. Religion and government do not play well together. One need look no further then the current situation in the Middle East or in any other part of the world as far back as history itself for that matter!

Here's Why Deregulation Sucks

PPL spinoff should bring stability to company
By Spencer Soper, Of The Morning Call
"Companies that make electricity hoping to sell it for a profit have been in a protracted slump, forcing some into bankruptcy or to sell off power plants. It is a boom-or-bust business vastly different from the stable returns and dividends offered by making and delivering electricity under government regulation...

...PPL's regulated electric delivery business, meanwhile, has been shielded from the volatile swings of power plant fuel prices. Regulated utilities can pass the cost of procuring and delivering electricity to customers, which makes their earnings relatively stable and predictable.

For that reason, PPL has spent the past several years and billions of dollars buying low-risk utilities in Kentucky and the United Kingdom."
My Comments About The Article Above
There you go. I think the article speaks for itself. Well good for them. BUT not much so for consumers.

It's all about the cost of doing business
Government legislation has eliminated these costs through deregulation. A telephone services provider needn't own nor maintain a single piece of equipment. Hell they don't even need to know how the technology works. Just a good sales staff and bunch of accountants. Same goes for all the other formerly regulated utility companies. All of this is very much like receiving a pay check without the 'know how' or having to do any of the work.

What are the incentives for resellers?
They don't have to create infrastructure, produce nor invest in future technology for the services they sell. Simply leech off those who do for profit.

In the past if a company wished to improve technologically and become more financially competitive they'd assume these costs were a natural part of the business they were in. Once that part of the business was allowed to be separated via deregulation they began getting out of the business and became sales hucksters themselves.

What are the incentives for future suppliers?
Not much. Take for example electricity. Eventually the resellers will be forced to purchase electricity from only a handful of those left who generate it. Since wholesalers will not be competing in the retail market nor out of their service areas they can charge almost anything they like . Neither will they have a great need to introduce technological advancements to produce electric.

One of the greatest problems facing the economy of this country and it's middle income workers is how it has become little more then a nation of resellers. This disincentivizes not only critically important technological advancements in today's highly completive global market, but less need for skilled workers in them.

As a result of 'deregulation'..
(1) Consumers have only a limited advantage via the varying profit margins between resellers.
(2) The United States becomes less competitive.

In short...      NO GOOD CAN COME OF IT!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Things To Do In Lehigh Valley

From 06/30/2014 Forward
Video Courtesy Of REMAX Real Estate


Friday, June 27, 2014

Trio charged in Nazareth Stickers Campaign

June 27th, 2014-- Sarah M. Wojcik | The Express-Times- "Three Nazareth men were charged this afternoon for allegedly smacking stickers across the borough aimed at the police chief.

All three are charged with criminal mischief, harassment, scattering rubbish and disorderly conduct. They were each released on $5,000 unsecured bail."


Oh thank God they caught these desperados. We can all sleep safer now!

Deaths From Alcohol- What Geeting Fails To Mention..

Once again Jon Geeting at 'Keystone Politics'' is at it again promoting Pennsylvania privatizing it's alcohol sales with a flair he has for cherry picking the facts.

'PA Has Higher Alcohol-Related Death Rates Than NY, NJ, and MD'


What he fails to mention is 34 other states have higher alcohol-attributable deaths. While it's true Pennsylvania (with it's death alcohol rate of 25.8 per 100,000) is the only state that still has state run liquor stores, evidence clearly indicates the majority of other states have higher death rates.

If he wants to cherry pick states like NY, NJ and MD he should also should point out the bordering states which don't support his bullshit argument. Ohio (26.9), Delaware (26.8) and West Virginia (33.1).

There can be arguments for or against 'privatization', death from alcohol related deaths isn't one of them. Nice try.. no cigar!

ASD Raise Taxes 5.85% In 2015

WFMZ TV is reporting , "The Allentown School District Board of Directors on Thursday night approved a 2014-2015 budget... " blah, blah, blah.

I could point out that my Social Security benefit check was raised only 1.5%. I could also point out that my teeny tiny IRA CD is earning less then 2% interest or that my only other source of income, my 401k earnings rate has been fluctuating around 4%-5%. Which might be better for me then some who are working and haven't had any raises at all.

Let me put it this way...
What the hell am I getting for my monthly $200.35?


That's how much it will cost me with this 5.85% increase. That may not seem a lot to some people, but I sure can think of a lot better ways I could use this money. * Since I'm driving around in a 24 year old van (the wife's is 23 years old) it would afford us monthly payments on a brand new car. Lord knows we need one.

* The shingles on our roof are almost 30 years old. Same with the furnace

* The money could also be used towards our annual $3,000 out-of-pocket medical expenses.

* My tree out front has grown over my and the neighbor's roofs. I need to take care of that sooner rather then later. Especially if the city tags me it will no longer be a matter of choice

* The concrete behind my garage has crumbled between it and the street.
It's not that the house looks like crap, but these things will have to be done surely within a year to 5 years at most. That $200.35 school tax per month over 5 years adds up to $12,021. That may not pay for it all, but that $12,021 would benefit me far more then draining down my remaining retirement funds to pay for them. Without factoring in future school tax increases.

Oh we could sell the home and go rent. Don't think we haven't thought it through, but that money would only last about 10 years at today's rents and future increases. So here's the bottom line... We, like many others on fixed incomes, are being drained by ever increasing taxes that exceed all cost increases in the other sectors of the economy. There will come a time I like so many others (not only those on fixed incomes but workers too) will be forced by these taxes out of our homes and apartments.

As each of us continue to go broke while the school system is bleeding money it's only a matter of time when the shit hits the fan (if it hasn't already). No matter how you slice it, an investment of $200.35 a month for education in no possible way is providing us (or others) a direct return that benefits us. This isn't a matter of being selfish, but rather economic survival.

There's A Rather Simple Solution
Increase sales taxes 2%-3%. Everyone spends money on something that's taxable. Those that have more, spend more. Those that have little spend little on taxable consumer items. We are told education benefits us by developing the skills needed into today's marketplace. Well it seems to me if consumers in the marketplace benefit the most, why not tax them the most to pay for it?

There is little if any correlation between property ownership and the cost for education. On the other hand, large purchasers receive direct benefits from the items or services that require the skills needed for them.

Schools whine that this kind of revenue fluctuates too much. Well it does for all of the rest of us too. None of us are guaranteed next year we will make the same money as this year. But oh no, not the school district even if a homeowner loses his job or retires to a fixed income. They still expect the same amount of money.

Once these city, country and schools taxes have bled the property owners dry it will be time to turn off the lights. The party will be over. That day may not be as far away as some believe.

Property taxes are the most evil of all taxes
Any other item (other then maybe a car) when you buy it the purchaser pays a one time tax. Every time a property is sold sales taxes are collected again. Over the life of a home it can be sold several times. Each time the home is sold it's usually for more then the time before. Henceforth sales taxes are collected several times over at ever escalating amounts. Even these taxes pale in comparison to the real estate taxes the owner pays in between.

If these taxes were for investment that would be one thing, but someone buying a home for their primary residence should not be taxed in the same way. I have no problem paying my fair share, but for God's sake.... I've lived here for 24 years and added up the sales and real estate taxes we've paid. It adds up to over 75% of what we paid for the home!


You see one never truly owns their home other then on paper. The banks hold the note until the home is paid off. They get 1 to 2x's the purchase price in interest.. After that a homeowner then has to pay real estates taxes for about the same amount of money they bought it in accumulated taxes over the next 30-35 years for the rights to continue living in it.

For the government this a whole lot like homeowners paying all the expenses to repair and maintain while the government collects all the financial rewards.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Boehner to SUE Obama

David Martosko, U.S. Political Editor and Francesca Chambers | Mail.com-- "House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday that he will file a lawsuit against President Obama for what he claimed is a series of abuses of power in the executive branch of the federal government."



The Short & Long Of It
OMFG!
FUBAR!

Even Neil Cavuto has finally figured out that Michele Bachmann & her ilk are a bunch of hateful loonies. Republicans in Congress both under Clinton and Obama went gonzo each time a Democrat got elected by the American people to the oval office. What kind of message does this send to the rest of the world? Or is that their plan.. to make sure if a Democrat gets into the oval office he/she fails?

Here's a flash. If the president of either party fails in office.. so goes the United States. So which is the bigger threat to the United Sates, foreign influences or our own U.S Congress on the right side of the aisle?

Like them or not the Democrats held their noses and stood in solidarity with George W's bullshit arguments for invading Iraq. A price both the Democratic party and the rest of us are paying for dearly with both the lives lost and tremendous amount of money the next generation will inherit.

Talk about tearing a country apart. Why should the bad guys expend themselves. All they have to do is standby laughing and wait while we do it to ourselves. In my lifetime I've never experienced such divisiveness. If and/or when this country fails it will not come from outside but rather the rot within.


There once was a time we Americans pulled together even if we didn't agree amongst ourselves.

That time is no longer. Shame be on those who no longer comprehend the former values we once shared.

Let Me Bore You With The Federal Budget

First the charts. Then I'll discuss what they show us...





The source of these charts can be found here..
at 'National Priorities" and also at another page on 'National Priorities' website



What we can quickly surmise is (1) the vast majority of discretionary spending is on the military (55%). (2) Even though the federal government receives 32% of it's revenue from Social Security and Medicare taxes it spends less then 5% in discretionary money on them. (3) If we eliminated all the tax breaks the federal government wouldn't only have enough to cover the entire amount of discretionary spending, but even have a surplus left over!

I found it also interesting that individuals pay into Social Security/Medicare taxes that amount to almost 3x's as much as corporations pay in taxes (32% versus 13%). Plus an additional 46% in payroll income taxes. In other words workers are paying 78% of the load. The vast majority of discretionary goes, in many cases, back into the private investors for education, housing, transportation and military contract providers.

My Overall View Of The Entire Budget
The main beef I have is the way we spend taxpaying worker's money for our military. Over the entire federal budget we are projected to spend around $3.9 trillion in 2015. Of the entire budget 16% will be spent on our military. Much of it to protect foreign nations. Shouldn't we compensated? Each of us have to pay taxes towards our local and state police. Shouldn't foreign nations as well?

While Americans receive back directly about 60% in the form of Medicare, Social Security and in unemployment benefits, this still leaves over $1.16 trillion being spent elsewhere. Take into account the $1.24 trillion in tax breaks and that's a sizable chunk of change ($2.4 trillion) we have to work.

Does it make for sound reasoning to allow almost 1/3rd of our annual budget be in the form of tax breaks?

Provide military protections costing us over a half a trillion $'s w/o being compensated by much of it going to protect foreign nations?

Should 32% of the annual revenue derived from Social Security & Medicare go towards funding the government or instead be set aside and not factored in the budget?

Since President Obama's 2015 budget has a deficit of $561 billion (3.1% of the U.S. Economy) why not take part of it from the $1.24 trillion in tax breaks?

Lord knows how many emergency spending bills are proposed & passed beyond the budget and how many of these contain hidden provisions?

We also have those off-the-books accounting methods used by the U.S Treasury. Also check out what the 'The Pew Research Center had to say back in October 2013 about that national debt-- "The debt is about equal to gross domestic product."

THE BOTTOMLINE IN ALL OF THIS
None of this means anything. It's just a giant game of bullshit. The only reason any of this continues to work is because of either peoples ambivalence towards it or indifference. So long as that's the case everything will be just fine.

Forget I even brought it up :-)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Global Warming Controversy At Saucon Valley School

"Calling an environmental science textbook's global warming chapter propaganda, Saucon Valley School Director Bryan Eichfeld pushed the board tonight to supplement the book with "true science"." My Comments About The Article Above
'The Express-Time's publishes local stories far more then anyone else and few garner the number of comments this one has. That's a good thing. This is such a hot-button issue the story has taken off internationally. 'The Raw Story' headlined their post, PA school director wants kids to learn the Tea Party ‘science’ of global warming denial. Usually when outlets like 'The Raw Story' pickup on these stories they gather wings, so I expect we'll see even greater attention nationally as TV news producers come across this. They too had over 100 comments in less then two hours!

I'll try an make this brief.(A) What Happens If Global Warming Supporters Are Wrong?
     (1) We get a lot cleaner air and breath in less CO2.
     (2) The climate continues to change despite reducing it's carbon content.
     (3) We reduce our dependence on foreign and domestic fossil fuels.
     (4) Global warming supporters look foolish.

(B) What Happens If Global Warming Deniers Are Wrong?
     (1) We get to breath dirtier air, inhale less oxygen and more CO2
     (2) It's a historically proven increased CO2 levels cause Earth's temperatures to increase.
     (3) We increase our dependency on traditional fossil fuels subject to market fluctuations.
     (4) Deniers not only look foolish, but more severe temperatures, droughts and extreme weather jeopardize not only the world economy but our very existence.

Ah.. let me think.... mmmm.... I'll go with (A)

Who cares if those who warn us of greenhouse gases and their effect on global temperatures are wrong. No harm can come from it. BUT on the other hand the consequences of those who deny global warming if they should be wrong would be devastating if not deadly.







Don't believe it?
WHY WOULD ANYONE BE WILLING TO TAKE THAT CHANCE?


$13.38 a Month For Cable Sports


The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting, "Pro sports leagues will collect more than $7 billion this year from TV networks; the total will jump to $9.5 billion next year, with the NFL collecting more than half the total..

...The sports networks together collect about 50% more than what Disney, TimeWarner and Viacom collect for all their other cable networks -- combined."


Perhaps because I'm not the biggest sports fan in the world ... my short answer is these teams can go stick it. Sports teams and because the major networks force package deals down the throats of cable providers, they will eventually kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

As far as I'm concerned most of the channels I use to enjoy are getting crappier each year. There's only one program left we still watch on Syfy (Haven). This after they cancelled six other shows we watched faithfully (Warehouse 13, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Sanctuary, Eureka, Tripping The Rift). These so-called cable news channels are nearly anything but news anymore. The History channel has nothing to do with History anymore. The Learning channel has nothing to do with "learning" anymore either. There's nothing to discover over at the Discovery channel either. Other then 'Cosmos' NatGeo can stick it too.. .... etc, etc., etc.

We're are just that far from pulling the plug. If it weren't for the telephone/internet/cable TV package discount we would have already. Yeah like the cable company hasn't already figured that out :-)

It's just about come to the point the increased costs of the trade off will make more economic sense for us. Most of these shows can be seen online free or for small online access streaming fees. Even DVD's cost less in some cases.

Anyone else have thoughts on this?

Water- They Got Ya By The Gonads


Detroit activists call for UN help as city shuts off water for thousands: "The latest sign of Detroit’s decline came from the city’s water department, when it said in March it would begin shutting off water for up to 3,000 homes and businesses a week."

It's not all the fault of the water company. According to this same article, "Nearly 50 percent of DWSD’s 323,000 accounts were behind on payments as of March."


Or Is It?
"The rate for residential customers has doubled in the last 10 years. The average bill is now $75 a month, according to the Free Press, much higher than the nation’s average rate of about $40."



I can see the dilemma. How can any water company maintain a 10" water main that may only feed one or two homes over several blocks. Especially if customers aren't paying. Then on the other hand, who the hell can afford $75 a month either!

All of this is rather sad to watch as the United States slides further from what it once was for the middle class. I'm not sure I have solutions, but one thing's for sure, the lack of decent full time employment for the average Joe Blow has dried up. Perhaps it's due to automation. Perhaps in some cases it's companies taking their operations to cheap 3rd world countries. Perhaps it's the cheap foreign imports. Either way, something has to be done if this nation is going to thrive like it once did.

By accident or design the income gap is has become nearly unmanageable. In the 60's (when I graduated) any kid could get a job straight out of high school. There were plenty of small businesses where one could find fulltime work. Enough to support a family even if the wife stayed at home to raise the family.

Take for example, way back then one could set up a small repair shop. Not anymore since huge companies design things to be un-repairable and refuse to stock or make parts for them. They'd rather sell stuff. Take for example lawnmowers and other power equipment. How many super retailers like Lowe's or Home Depot are interested in servicing anything after the sale? Same goes for electronics, apparel and so forth. In the 60's a kid could set up a small shop and find a niche market to do these things. But in today's world it's nearly impossible to find repair parts for them.

Back then a kid out of high school could make furniture that would last a lifetime, find a fulltime job in textiles or do a whole host of other things they no longer can. Why? Because I don't care how productive, efficient or innovative you are there's no way to compete with foreign workers who are paid less money per week then we need to survive on for just one day.

Therein lies the key to resolving America's difficult problems. (1) We need to re-visit these unfair trade agreements. (2) Give cost benefits (via taxes and regulations) to those companies and small businesses that provide the best support to American workers. I'm not talking about giving American workers an unfair advantage but rather a fighting chance. (3) Recognize not every new worker coming into the marketplace is going to turn out to be a rocket scientist, doctor or hold three degrees in art.

The bottom line in all of this is... we need to reduce the ever widening gap between the haves and have-nots somehow one way or another. Else Detroit is only a reflective microcosm of what will surely become of this nation. In so denying such a problem currently exist is refusing to see what lies before this nation's future.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Power Outages Suck!


I was composing a few posts yesterday when the power went out..
     AGAIN!


I'm not sure why, but this is starting to happen several times a year now.

When it does..

* My four wireless video surveillance cameras have to be reset. It takes about a half an hour to restore all the various settings I have for each one's motion detector zones, pre/post record settings, etc.

* My time settings on the two DVR's, telephone answering machine, microwave oven, stove/oven clock, night light timers and the clocks on my two nightstands.

* Sometimes the TV channel memories also have to be reprogrammed.

* Unfortunately for one reason or another it takes 3 reboots for this computer to restart + I lost the document I was working on the day before to post here today.

* I also lose the electronic settings on my through-the-window air conditioners and my basement dehumidifier.

* Not only that it's freakin' boring as hell w/o electricity! :-)
I also try to turn off all my breakers so there isn't a surge when electric comes back on. I suppose all this is no big deal, but it has been happening ever more frequently. I wonder why that is?

The one thing really good about it is how it reminds us how much our lives are centered around the flow of electrons and what life would be like without it. One could only imagine the horrors of a world if a EMP wave would cross our path from either the sun or a nuclear explosion and it's resultant magnetic force were to be set off in our atmosphere. Either of these could result in every form of electrical energy being nullified . This includes all vehicles, cell phones, computers (and all existing records erased).


Yeah like the United States doesn't have one of these weapons in it's arsenal


In short, life would cease to exist as we now know it. So it's a a good thing from time to time to be reminded just how fragile we are and how dependent we are by these occasional power outages. These power outages serve as a constant reminder never to take for granted how quickly everything in this life can change in an instant.

Think life can't change in an instant?
Call me an alarmist, but I am quite sure neither did the residents living at the base of Mount Vesuvius in Pompeii, Italy in August 79 AD. Nor the folks living in Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan on those fateful days back in August 1945. << CORRECTION: I changed the date. My thanks go to a observant reader who left a comment correcting me.

Better to be over concerned then taking for granted that nothing on this Earth can ever happen to change what we all take for granted in-so-much as our lives will last forever unchanged. Yeah I know some think I'm talking nuts after all it was only a short power outage. But just what if it weren't. What would we do if food supplies, water, all communications, money supply and jobs were to suddenly disappear?

     Never say never.. that it can't happen!

What Is Happening To Blogging?

That' is the question Ron is asking over at his blog 'Being Ron' "Some things I've noticed: -People seem to be blogging less or have stopped blogging altogether....

...Eight years ago, when I first started on this social media, it was all about forming a dialogue and community. Yet, I’ve noticed that over the past year, blogging seems to be turning into a single experience in which many bloggers are writing posts and then not discussing them, thus, there is no sense of community...

The whole landscape of blogging seems to be changing. What used to be a media of quality online community and discussion is becoming more of a Tweet, a Like, or a form of solo-blogging masturbation."
I do agree with much of what he said but yet... in contradiction he has received over 26 comments on the subject in just the first few hours after he posted on this subject.

There's no doubt about it, Ron's one of the heavy hitters when it comes to blogging although I'm not sure why since he only post about 10x's a month. It's remains a mystery to me how he has so many followers and comments. He seems to have no Facebook, Twitter or the other social media accounts that are supposed to be the recommended way to grow a large blog. Neither am I particularly impressed by his posts.

Yeah sure he also has his YouTube Channel. But his 20 videos haven't gotten more then a few hundred hits either over the last 4 years.

I'm not criticizing the guy. More power to him I admire that, but what's the story?
I just don't understand how he accumulated such a large blog following ??
     ANY THOUGHTS?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Allentown Pa. Bicentennial Parade (1962)

Part 1



Part 2

Videos Courtesy of '19king14'


My Wife In Her Outfit

My Mother-In-Law Marching With The Bell Telephone Switchboard Operators Somewhere In The Group
Bell Switchboard Operators' Float



 
 
 
 
There never was a parade like it before nor will there ever be one quite like it again

Should Local Police Be Allowed To Use Radar Guns in Pennsylvania?

June 20, 2014
video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player


As you might expect I'm not quite as optimistic as Rep. Schlossberg. I agree 100% with him if these devices were used fairly with good justification in certain limited areas. However with Pennsylvania's budget coming up short around $1 billion I expect local municipalities will experience less funding coming from the state. If so, then the question becomes can local governments resist the temptation to use these to make up for the lost revenues? Those "if's" concern me.

Hopefully not, but there are still other issues to think about concerning the devices themselves.

On March 31st, 2014 in McDonough, Georgia TV2 reported " A Channel 2 Action News investigation uncovered that McDonough police wrongly ticketed thousands of people within the last decade.", This resulted in their suspending the use of them for several reasons. Check out the video to see why.

Then there's the issue of how well trained the officers will be using them. With radar guns there's the possibility if the guns aren't used properly they may pick up more then one target. Even possibly picking one up going in the opposite direction. Another technological problem with radar is it tends to pick up the stronger of two signals reflecting back to it. For example a large trailer or box truck reflects back a stronger signal. Thus it's speed would be recorded rather then the much smaller target vehicle in front of it. Weather is also a factor. Frequent and accurate calibration is one more (just as it would be with laser devices).

Speaking of laser speed devices. They too have inaccuracies if not held steady so that they are pointed on a very specific area of the vehicle in question.



It's possible speed guns could only be the first step. On March 26, 2013 CBS TV3 in Philadelphia reported "The I-Team found there’s a plan that would bring speed cameras to Pennsylvania." Which was reporting similarly to what 'Philly.com' also published prior on February 2, 2014-- "The cameras would photograph the license plates of vehicles moving faster than the permitted speed and generate a ticket that would be reviewed by police before being mailed to the vehicle's owner. The fine would be $100."

One of the more negative articles I came across was at 'Watchdog.com'. Published on May 9th, 2013. It said, "Speed Cameras: A Scam the Motorist Cannot Win-- The real truth about traffic cameras lies not in the amount of lives saved and accidents avoided, but in the enormous amount of revenue it supplies both the camera manufacturer and the jurisdictions that embrace these forms of policing for profit." While they did put it rather strongly they had some rather interesting background information. If true, they may not be too far off the mark. "One town in West Virginia with a population of only 3,200 issued more than 18,000 tickets in a single year, booking almost $4 million in revenue."


In Summery
Local radar and laser devices may only be the first step towards the further use of plentiful unmanned speed cameras.

While no one could argue against their potential safety value, neither can one rule out the possibility of their abuse by less then honest use of them. Nor deny succumbing to the temptation of using them to generate a revenue stream for locals.

When it comes to trust I'm always a bit skeptical. If we're going to do this let's create restrictive legislation that excludes (as much as possible) any abuse of these devices in favor of the motorists.

I'm of the mindset 'abuse it, lose it'. If motorists can't obey speed laws then they need to get tagged. Same goes if local enforcement can't behave themselves with these devices either. In other words I'd be in favor of legislation that would have to be renewed or left to expire after a certain period of time to see how it plays out. Is that going to happen? Probably not!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

What MM Isn't Reporting About Washington 'Redskins'

I've listened and read countless main stream media outlets misreporting about the trademark protections afforded to the Washington 'Redskins'.

Few are reporting that the loss of registration under federal trademark protections doesn't mean any and everyone can just go out now and sell a bunch of stuff with the team's logo on it, even though one newscast I was watching reported anyone now could. Talk about misinformation!

* First off the team's billionaire owner since May 1999 (Daniel Snyder) is appealing. Which could possibly take decades.

* Even if he would lose on appeal it means even though someone couldn't be held for a criminal act they'd still be libel under civil law. This afforded to the team under the civil enforcement provisions of the 'Lanham Act' enacted on July 5, 1946 (signed into law by President Harry Truman).

* It also doesn't nullify existing contracts with manufacturers of their sports memorabilia. These still must pay royalties to them.

* Even though federal protections have been weakened to the team by the federal government, they still have certain protections under Virginia law (the state in which they are headquartered in)
Anyone listening to ill-informed news readers on TV and/or radio and still wishing to go out and test that.. be my guest. There must have been at least a dozen newscasts I listened to who never mentioned this.

If anyone is expecting a name change or to get rich off of merchandising the team's logo for themselves anytime soon.. don't hold your breath!

Should I Do vBlogs?

Seven years ago I did a bunch of vBlogs before I started this blog. Here's a sampling of them from 2007. Would anyone be interested if I starting doing vBlogs like this again? If so which kind of format (Video #1, #2, #3, etc.)?

I was thinking about doing only one a week talking about that week's news stories if anyone expressed an interest since they take so much time to make. Or should I concentrate on a single topic w/o the high production green screen razzle dazzle?

Keep in mind these are old videos that related to ongoing issues at the time. Although some of them still seem to apply.

Or would you rather I stick with the non video text type of blogging?

 Let me know what you think.. Thanks.


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UPDATE
As you can see in the comments section below there hasn't been an overwhelming surge of excited people wanting me to do these. While I appreciate Matt's lone comment, it doesn't exactly inspire me to spend several hours to look for stories, compose script, search for pictures, background sound effects plus a few additional hours in my editing software. Not that I expected a bunch of people to encourage me anyway :-)

This was yet another one of my ideas that I wanted to run pass the readers of this blog. Like some of my previous posts I was trolling for some kind of feedback/interaction.

Yeah well, guess the video idea went over like a lead balloon too. Obviously doing labor intensive videos are out for me. Oh well, I gave it a shot.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Got A Question For Ya

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Liquor Privatization In Pennsylvania

Debate over privatization of Pennsylvania's liquor stores has been going on for a very long time. Most of the arguments for privatizing center around two things.

Issue #1: More Variety
I find it disturbing that proponents want to encourage even more drinking considering the problems booze currently causes both in the home and public places. Especially on our streets and highways. It simply amazes me that people are so adamantly against smoking in public, yet when it comes to drinking it's a whole other matter. Why is smoking considered a greater sin then booze?
Which would you rather have operating your plane, train or bus, someone who just had three smokes or one that had three drinks?
Neither should be encouraged. Yet that is exactly what proponents of privatization are doing. by encouraging alcohol to be sold at grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and who knows where else on top of the bars that already exist. We already know that smokes are sold to underage kids by some less then scrupulous proprietors. Hence liquor enforcement costs are bound to rise if/when alcohol becomes more plentiful.

Issue #2: Cheaper Prices
Anyone who thinks booze will be cheaper in the long run must have been born yesterday. Let me explain how this is going to go down.Step 1- Pennsylvania sells off it's income producing sales of liquor.

Step #2- After politicians spend all the initial loot, where do you think they will turn to replace that lost revenue stream in a few years? Well I'll tell ya. They'll just up the taxes on liquor even higher then they are now.
As you can surmise, over the long haul the state won't lose a dime. As for consumers, they won't end up so fortunate. The price for a bottle of liquor will then not only reflect the wholesale costs, increased taxes, but also the profit margin that retailers will then have to make. As an added bonus the state most likely will see a increase in fines via enforcement on them. In addition retailers who employ anyone under 21 will have to pay more by hiring adults to service their liquor customers.

What disturbs me even further about this hornswoggle is how it affects the current small business owners. The beer distributor I go to is owned by a husband and his wife. Both lost their previous jobs. After they couldn't find any decent jobs to replace the ones they lost, they decided to invest their life savings into the place they rent to sell beer from. Because there is so little profit to be made they both work 7 days a week with no days off. They like many of the other small individual business owners will be forced out of business.

Boo hoo will say some who fail to realize what's actually going on here, Politicians in Harrisburg who favor privatization are being courted by lobbyists into creating legislation that will serve to benefit large retail chains and wholesalers. The particular beer distributor I go to told me it would cost him over $15,000 just for the license from the state to sell other liquors besides beer. In addition over another $10,000 wholesale to purchase the additional liquor stock. AND even if he did he & her have no additional room to even shelve the stuff.

Yeah I know. Who the hell cares about him as long and there's cheap plentiful booze. However as I've shown you, it might be plentiful but it sure as hell won't be cheaper eventually!

Anybody who can't find enough booze already available seven days a week just isn't looking hard enough and probably have a drinking problem.

Anybody who thinks the state isn't looking ahead to increase taxes after losing the revenue stream from the sale of booze is naive.

Anybody who thinks there's already too many problems related to boozing drivers and family members ought to be 100% against making it even more available.

Anybody who favors furthering government legislation in order to line the pockets of the already wealthy large businesses over the encouragement of forming small family owned businesses are being short sighted in the selfishness.

Privatization will not only cost buyers of booze more in the end, but encourage greater consumption of it. Add on top of that the growing movement for legalized marijuana and I don't see how any of this will benefit society. We already have legalized gambling and soon pot. Surely prostitution can't be far behind. No doubt supporters then will cite health, safety and the profits over prosecution that can be made from it.

Now I'm reaching... too far a stretch you say. Well the same could be said before 2004 when we in Pennsylvania couldn't have imagined gambling would ever be then legalized. Nor in 2014 that pot legislation would introduced just ten years later in Harrisburg. Gambling, booze and eventually girls.. anything for a buck right?

It all starts somewhere one step at a time. Don't get me wrong I'm no saint, but profiting off of peoples vices doesn't seem like the best plan. In the long run the costs begin to supersede the monies derived from them. It's not about morals, but rather the lack of economic sense it makes over time. There's no good excuse to piss away one's paycheck on booze, gambling or women.

When any government comes around to encouraging this kind of behavior one needs to question whether it's serving the best interests of the public. At the same time one has to ask him or herself whether they want to go along with this nonsense. Perhaps government only reflects the will of the people. If so, what does that say about us as individuals?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Biggest Iraq War Critic (Was) Dick Cheney

September 14, 1992



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The old man should have shut up years ago while he was ahead. He along with almost all the same screw ups that got us into Iraq years ago are now on TV re-advocating we do the same thing again. I could go on and on, but I will defer to one of the more trusted names in news to explain...Jon Stewart (June 16, 2014)



The biggest thing that stood out for me was John McCain wanting to bomb almost a half a dozen countries. The old farts need to get the hell out of politics. A number of them tried and couldn't get elected or appointed to dog catcher.

There is absolutely no reason to be listening to these has-beens who are the very ones responsible for getting the middle east in the mess it is today. Don't believe me? Obviously you didn't watch the first two videos, did you? I never thought in my wildest dreams I'd a ever agree with Dick Cheney, but he couldn't have been more right back in the 90's nor any more wrong since that time.

It's a disgrace that cable news allows these old farts full of historical hypocrisy back on TV who appear to want to rewrite history and drag our asses back into these Muslim nations.


Specifically Concerning Iraq
Here is a country that never was a single government entity except in the eyes of the Western powers who drew up it's false borders. Iraq as a government would never have existed except for western interventions. It has always been a religiously based tribal area composed of three separate peoples. Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds (and factions thereof).

Which Muslim group should the United States fight for? How do you think the other two will feel about us if when we do? No matter which one or the other we support we will be less safer because of it. Shouldn't we have learned that by now! I'm sure Israel and Iran friendly Saudi Arabia has some strong thoughts on the matter.

Here's an idea.. stay the hell out of these Muslim nations. Haven't we messed things up enough already with our meddling?



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bunch Of Videos Below

I've been going over a bunch of old videos that I've posted at one time or another and later then took down.

What follows are a few videos I found which still might be of interest and have reposted them.

LVCI On Anonymity

I removed but will repost this video I did back on October 8th, 2012 concerning creditability versus anonymity. I still feel the same way today.

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Social Security- The Big Deception

A vBlog repost I first uploaded on April 2, 2011


References:

Wikipedia- Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax

Social Security Online: Trust Funds and the Federal Budget

Center For Economic & Policy Research: Seven Key Facts About Social Security and the Federal Budget

Just The Facts: The Impact of Social Security on the National Debt

zFacts: National Government Debt Clocks & Savings Clocks

Ronald Reagan On Amnesty- 1984 Debates

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FoxNoise

I had removed but will repost this video from October 13th, 2012

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Bud Is Not Happy When We're Gone

Yesterday (Saturday, June 14th, 2014) we had the pleasure of attending a wedding at the 'Dupont Country Club' in Delaware. This is what our cat Salem ('Bud') does over the course of several hours after it registers on him we aren't home. No I don't think he was doing his 'stepper size exercises' since he usually hangs out with us half asleep on the recliner till it's time to go to bed with us for the night. Of course not before having his bedtime snacks far earlier then when we came home on Saturday :-)

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By the way-- We went down the Pa. Turnpike (495) to I-95 and back. No wonder there's nearly an accident everyday the shuts the damn thing down. They are working on a 10 mile stretch around the Lansdale area. A great deal of it involves lane shifts and miles without shoulders to pull over if there is a problem. What the hell! Why not work on a mile or two at a time, then move on to the next.?

What a very treacherous heavily traveled piece of highway. Anyone who has a break down is forced to be stuck in a traffic lane. We all know how that goes with all the rear end collisions involving slow or stalled vehicles. Yeah sure it will be wider and safer when the four year project is done, but that's four freaking years in which 1,000's of cars and trucks are placed in danger in the meantime every day. What the hell are they thinking!

Ironic that Pa. just increased the tolls for drivers. Then increased the inconvenience to them while both reducing their safety and travel speeds for 10 miles over this particular section of the turnpike. Glad I don't have to travel down it on a regular basis.