Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
One of the office buildings I regularly spend a bit of my work week at is advertised as a ‘green’ building. Reused materials, solar panels, recycling program, etc. Along with this theme they have a grand total of 17 parking spots around the building that have signs posted that say ‘For Green Vehicles Only’. After the handicapped spots, they are the prime parking areas.
Every time I’ve been at this building, every one of these spots has been empty.
A couple of weeks ago I had a bit of an epiphany. As a result of said epiphany, I parked my Ford F-150 Crew Cab truck in a spot reserved for ‘green’ vehicles. On my way to leave I was accosted buy building management (with a member of building security in tow).
‘You can’t park that here!’
‘It’s clearly marked for GREEN vehicles ONLY!’
‘So it is…. and?’
‘That THING is clearly NOT green!’ (Yes, he called my baby a ‘thing’. Bastard.)
‘Sure it is.’
‘It’s a flex fuel vehicle. In fact, I’m currently running E85.’
‘Ethanol. E85 Ethanol. Corn gas. Green.’
‘That’s not what we meant!’
‘Well you don’t do a very good job of explaining it.’
‘Just don’t park it here again’ and he stormed off (security wandered off a bit earlier… I think to keep from laughing)
In any case… I was back at this building today and noticed something. About a third of the spots that were previously marked as green were no long marked at all. It looks like the unwashed parking masses were now allowed to use them.
The other spots? They all had new shiny signs…. ‘For Hybrid Vehicles Only’.
They were also all empty.
To whom it may concern,
Look… I understand completely that ‘green’ is the new in thing. I also understand that schools like to be trendy and appear to keep up to date by riding whatever train is loading up and leaving the station. Seriously… I get it. This is why I simply grin and bear it every night at the dinner table listing to my kids tell me how I should adjust our lives…. with small, easy to obtain ‘green’ goals. Goals such as:
Dad, we should install solar panels on the roof.
Dad, we should install a windmill in the back yard.
Dad, you should mow the lawn with a hand mower. (this is probably my favorite)
Dad, you should buy electric cars. You mean Hybrid? No, electric. Hybrids use gas.
Yes…. I know… such small, easily obtainable and most of all, cheap ways to help in the environment and save the planet (never mind the fact it will be incinerated when the sun goes supernova).
Seriously though… have you heard the term ‘baby steps’? Just a suggestion, but how about a class where you teach kids that a light switch does in fact have TWO positions. On and OFF. Actually, you could go just a bit further in that class and cover the OFF switch capability of all electronics including (but not limited to) stereos, radios, televisions, printers and computers. Then again, I’ve walked through your schools during parent conference nights and judging by the number of lights blazing in empty classrooms and unused computers running screensavers with no users around or power saving features enabled, you might not actually be aware of the invention of OFF yourself.
Here’s another idea… a class for the girls (and my wife) where they are informed that showers do not have to last 45 minutes and use nothing but scalding hot water. (the boy seems to have this down already. He’s usually in and out in 5 seconds flat).
Ah hell… while we’re at it, why don’t we go with a CRAZY idea for a class. How about one where the kids are taught that outside doors can CLOSE as well as open. Yeah, I know… I’m reaching here but its worth a shot. Extra credit can be given if they can explain WHY this is particularly important in winter when the heat is on or summer when the A/C is on.
I’m just sayin’…..
Wow…. this almost makes me like Metallica again:
Hmmmm….. nah. They’re still pricks.
Edit: broken link fixed.
Despite widespread predictions of record turnout in this year’s presidential election, roughly the same portion of eligible voters cast ballots in 2008 as in 2004.
This news is surprising since nearly everyone predicted record turnouts for this election. Even my earlier post where I had to give up after waiting two hours (the first time) seemed to indicate a larger than normal turnout. However, checking my entry from 2004 you’ll see that the wait times were pretty much identical to the previous election.
Still reports of exceedingly long lines at the polling center. Current wait is listed at two hours with the line out the door.
An update to my no vote entry:
I ended up being able to leave work early and head back to my polling place. I waited another 40 minutes in line for the first check in. We then had to head to one of the three lines based on last name where our signature was checked. I lucked out in that my line was empty. The other two lines had 12+ people waiting . I went right up to the desk, signed my name and received my voter card. I was done 5 minutes later.
Here’s the kicker: my voter number, the one you’re assigned when you check in, was over 1,850. This was assigned a little over three hours before the polls closed and the line was still wrapped around to the door. I’ve never received a number higher than the 270 range before (though I’ve always been able to vote before noon).
After waiting just over two hours at my polling place in Pennsylvania this morning, I had to leave to head in to work. I hadn’t even made it to the registration desk.
The polls in PA close at 8pm. I’m hoping to make it home in time to vote tonight.
A year ago I talked about the rumor the Rabbit Transit might actually add a route connecting PA commuters to the Maryland Light Rail system. At first I was pretty happy to read this then had my hopes quickly dashed as I read that they planned on making it an express line (no stops) from York to Hunt Valley… totally bypassing all the ‘bedroom communities’ in between.
A year has passed and that rumor seems a bit more concrete now. In fact, they’re talking about a January 09 start date. There’s still no definite info on proposed stops but the following statement from the article looks promising:
The exact route of the buses has not yet been determined, Farr said, but it would start in downtown York and work its way south to Shrewsbury and head as far south as the light rail Timonium.
The mention of Shrewsbury is a good thing since that is right smack in the middle of a pretty major commuter area.
But, as usual, they mention something that pretty much ensures I won’t be using the bus line.
The cost has not been set, but Farr estimated between $14 and $16 round trip per day, or about $280 per month for five days per week. Discount rates would be available for a monthly pass.
$14 to $16 per day. That is far more than I currently spend on gas (and thats driving a Jeep no less). A monthly pass wouldn’t really be an option since there are days when, for various reason, I need my vehicle at work to do my job. I was hoping for a commuting option that I would be able to use 2-3 days a week. With those rates it looks like I’m still driving.
Edit: Here’s something I just noticed in the article that makes things a bit more confusing:
The van pools to Maryland will continue, with a third van being added soon, he said. The vans cost $115 per month per passenger.
Interesting. Van Pools to Maryland? A quick Google search turns up the fact that they now run a Van service from Shrewsbury to Fort Meade (south of Baltimore).
So how is it monthly bus service from York to Hunt Valley will cost $280 but van service from Shrewsbury to Fort Meade, a longer and more congested route, costs only $115 per month?
Things have been busy as hell lately. Mostly kids and projects at work. The work changes have been especially fun since just a few of months ago things where feeling very much like a rut. We’ve recently started up a couple new and exciting projects now and its good to actually be looking forward to going into work in the morning again.
But thats not the real reason for this post (though it helps partially explain why things have been so slow around here lately).
You may have noticed that a few of my recent political posts have been crossposted to a new site (there’s also a RSS feed for that site in the sidebar). For the most part, I’ll no longer be putting political themed posts on this site. Anything new will be going to the new location. There will probably be posts relating to local/regional politics (i.e.: my semi-regular school rants), but they will be the exception and not the rule. For now, my del.icio.us links will continue posting to this site. I may look at focusing those to particular sites in the future, but I don’t have the time for that right now.
Why this change? This was brought about from a chance meeting a few months ago that has led to me now being paid to write political entries on to be unnamed site. I’m writing under a pseudonym (um… a different pseudonym) and there are a few restrictions on what I can write about and when after somethings been covered on the other site. Its a bit of a strange agreement, but there’s a check behind it so I think I can manage to live with it.
I didn’t have to separate the political topics from this site, but I thought this was as good a time as any to do it. It’ll help me keep things organized and keep each site more focused on its purpose. Besides, I know I have a few readers who aren’t going to be upset seeing my political rants go away.
A high-profile documentary, Sony Pictures Classics’ “Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains,” had a poor debut, taking in just $10,573 at seven theaters. The film from director Jonathan Demme (“The Silence of the Lambs”) follows the former president during a tour to promote his book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”
If they really wanted to make some money on this thing, they should have focused on the single greatest moment of Carter’s Presidency. And what would that be you ask? Why… making it Federally legal to homebrew beer of course.
“It was hissing menacingly, its teeth flashing and nostrils flared and making straight for the president.” – press account of the incident.
Can’t you just hear the theme music?
They say this cat Carter is a bad mother
SHUT YOUR MOUTH!
I’m talkin’ ’bout Carter.
THEN WE CAN DIG IT!
Crossposted to The Political Stuff.
Last year I detailed a fight I had with the kids school (see the entries:Here we go again and I win for details). A teacher had sent the oldest daughter home with some computer homework that was Microsoft centric. You couldn’t do the assignment properly without using Microsoft Office software. Well is looks like I’m in a bit of a OS fight yet again.
Last night oldest daughter informed me that she had to do some violin homework on the computer. Turns out the lessons she is now expected to do at home are all on a DVD. A DVD that is, you guessed it, Mac and Windows only. I guess it never occurred to the people who made the lesson DVD to make is an actual DVD. That way it would work not on in any DVD player, but any computer or even game console that can play DVDs. Presently the only windows based system I have at home is my gaming box… and at the moment that system is spread all over my basement workbench. I had to write a note to her music teacher stating that she couldn’t do the practice sessions since she doesn’t not have access to a windows/mac computer at home. We’ll see where this latest problems goes.
I don’t quite grasp how a public elementary school can just assume that every student has access to a computer at home. Over the past year my kids have brought home various assignments that have required Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, a DVD drive, Color inkjet printer, and internet access. They’re making a lot of assumptions about what their kids have access to at home.
Did I happen to mention the new school cafeteria software? The ones where the parent can log in and see how much money is left in their kids account, what they’ve been buying, and select what they are and are not allowed to buy? Did I mention that it only works in Internet Explorer? I called the schools admin on that and he suggested using the firefox plugin ‘ie tab’. Well thats great… except that IE tab only works on MS Windows system that already have Internet Explorer. Whats the point? Our tax dollars at work.
Ok… I was going to skip this whole SChip debate, but since Congress has brought SChip back to the floor and is trying to force a vote as I type this, I’m going to start yapping about it.
Background and liveblogging on todays vote attempt:
Republican whip Roy Blunt sends an e-mail calling foul on the timing of the vote, to be held while many California House members are home, responding to wildfires. Also take note that the Republicans have not been able to see the new bill
Meanwhile, I came across this entry while browsing Consumerist yesterday:
This lady who appeared on Oprah lives the life of a big house in the burbs, new cars, six beautiful kids, and spending way beyond her husband’s $5,000/month salary. Felice drops $400 a month on Starbucks, $240 on tans and manicures, and her children have no health insurance.
Obvious we all need to start taxing lower income smokers so we can provide this family with free health care for their kids. I mean its not their fault they don’t have health insurance. Well ok… yes it is, but nevermind that! Its for the children! Think of the Chiiiilllllldddddrrrreeeeennnnn!!!!
Nevermind the McMansion, the new cars, the new clothes, the tans, the manicures, the $400 a month starbucks habit…. If you don’t support paying for this families health care with your tax dollars, you obviously hate children. There can be no other explanation.
crossposted to The Political Stuff.
I had the TV on in the background while doing some general work on the computer when something caught my attention. The talking heads on this local network news show were going on about ‘record high temperatures across the country’ and how they where causing people to just drop dead left and right (marathon deaths and such). While they were ranting about global warming, the melting ice cap* and on and on and on.
While they were talking, I happened to start paying attention to the news ticker scrolling by at the bottom of the screen. ‘Forcast of record low temperatures this winter causing heating oil prices to rise to near record levels.’
Ok… please… just ONE disaster at a time. Ok?
Death because of heat. Death because of cold. Record high temps. Record low temps. Record high deaths from panic attacks brought on by incessant news fear mongering.
* Yes, just one. They only talking about the North Pole. I guess the fact that Antarctica is actually growing just doesn’t fit the disaster mold they wanted to fill.
Now here’s the funny part. If you read my previous entry, you’ll see that the cost was originaly presented at around 1.7 million. I predicted that easily climb to well over 2 million. What I didn’t predict was how FAST that number would climb.
Did you catch the title of today’s article? Suddenly the price is presented at 1.8 million. But wait…. just a little bit into the article there’s this:
The cost of adding artificial turf to two fields would be a total of $1,958,661 over 10 years.
And just like that we’re a hairs breath away from 2 million. Funny how that works isn’t it? Ever time the number is mentioned it gets bumped up just a little bit more. Anyone want to lay odds on how fast we’ll get to 2.5 million?
Sep 21, 2007 The Southern School Board voted 6-3 Thursday to spend $1,729,833 to install synthetic turf on both the multipurpose stadium and field hockey fields at Susquehannock High School. The work is expected to be completed by fall 2008.
Teachers? No. Books? No. 1.7 MILLION DOLLARS for synthetic turf? Hell yeah!
And don’t forget… property taxes are going up because the schools don’t have enough money.
(And its $1.7 million now. How much do you want to bet the final price will be well over $2 million after ‘unexpected problems’).
side note: Yes, I’m no longer censoring the School District’s name.
During the four years of Ehrlich being in office all we heard from Speaker Bush was ‘no slots!’. Again and again he was able to block their approval. But suddenly, now that O’Malley is in office, slots are O.K. and here they come.
Funny how that works.
I even predicted this when O’Malley was running for office and said Maryland needed to work on new sources of revenue. One of my replies on SC’s blog was ‘Translation: Slots’. One or more Baltimore bloggers took issue with that statement and told me in no uncertain terms that slots would not be coming to Maryland.
(I’d provide a link, but dumbass SC ‘accidentally’ wiped his blog’s database)
Edit: And by the way, the sales tax increase is not ‘just a penny’. If someone tells you ‘it’s just a penny’, fell free to smack them upside the head because what they’re really saying is ‘hey, I think you’re a complete moron.’
It’s a 20% increase. If everything you bought in Maryland cost a buck, then you could say it was just a penny. But if you’re buying a new car, a house, new clothes, breakfast/lunch/dinner or other prepared food for your family it’s not just a penny. It’s 20% more sales tax.
First up, Sally Field:
if the mothers ruled the world there would be no goddamn wars in the first place.
In Gaza, Farahat is known as Um Nidal, or Mother of the Struggle — a mother who sent three of her six sons on Hamas suicide missions against Israeli targets. “We consider it holy duty,”
I could go on (Andrea Yates anyone?), but I think I’ve made my point. Tell me Sally, how are things in Warm, Happy, Fuzzy Bunny Land(tm)?
Next Up, Barry Manilow.
Not much needs to be said here Barry except for this… Just how much of a wimp are you to be afraid of debating Elisabeth Hasselbeck? Especially on such a lopsided show as The View?
What ELSE does the school system seem to have money for? Books? No. Teachers? No. Astro-Turf for the athletic field? Looks like it.
Previous: Just one week into the school year
Who pass me going home every single day at 80+ MPH on I-83.
It doesn’t work that way.
And I’m already pissed off.
The School District had enough money for another computer lab upgrade.
The School District had enough money for a television studio upgrade (Yes. A television studio. In an elementary school).
The School District had enough money to replace their previous email system with a Microsoft Exchange/Outlook email system.
The School District had enough money to redo their website (complete with streaming video from the television studio no less).
So what didn’t the school system have money for?
Textbooks. A school supply ‘addendum’ was sent home during the first week. We now have to pick up a World Atlas. Of course the one the school recommended costs nearly $50.
Teachers. Last year my oldest daughters class size was 28 students. The teachers were complaining then that they needed more staff. The response was ‘there’s not enough money’. Daughters class size this year? 33 students. But hey, the school got a kickin’ web site and TV network.
What else does the school district plan to have money for? Well lets just take a quick look at some images I grabbed from the executive summary of the budget:
Looks like they’ve got enough money for some pretty serious technology upgrades. Too bad they don’t consider books ‘technology’. Note even more planned Television and Website upgrades. And I’m REALLY hoping that 2-1 Computer/Student ratio is a typo because I’m reading that as two computers for every student (You’d think a little more attention to detail would go into a multi-million dollar budget summary).
Well thats interesting. They only have the money for ONE additional full time teacher. Apparently they have enough money for a full time Television Station Manager though. Nice priorities.
Did I mention that a tax increase notice was sent out? Property taxes are going up (again) nearly 5%. (property taxes in PA go entirely to the school systems). They say they don’t have enough money. Does anyone reading this think any school system will EVER say it has enough money?
Back to school night (start of 2006 school year)