Senator Casey (D - Moronic)

Senator wants accounting from US Airways on Philly fares
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey has sent a letter to US Airways objecting to the upcoming increase in the cost of flights from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia.

The Post-Gazette reported Tuesday that when Southwest Airlines drops its flights between the two cities next month, the price for a US Airways round-trip ticket will increase from $118 plus taxes to $698 plus taxes. US Airways would be the only airline operating direct flights between the cities.
Mr. Casey asked the airline to provide him with regular updates on the impact the increase would have on Pennsylvania travelers.
Maybe US Airways has been pricing flights way below cost just to stay competitive with Southwest. Maybe now US Airways is just raising rates to finally cover the cost of carrying passengers from Pittsburgh to Philly. Maybe it's just the opposite and US Airways sees an opportunity to screw over its potential customers and charge them way more than they need to charge. I really don't care! They're able to do so in a free market and they'll have to suffer the consequences, whether they deserve them or not.

I'm really not sure how in the hell this is any of Senator Casey's business. And I'm not really sure where he thinks he has the authority to "request regular updates."

If only Senator Casey was as concerned with what the government's policies are doing to drive up the unavoidable costs of living - food, gas, energy - as he is with how much an airline is charging someone to avoid a simple five hour drive.

Quote of the Day - Governor Brown of California

To the Members of the California State Senate:

I am returning Senate Bill 105 without my signature.

This measure would impose criminal penalties on a child under the age of 18 and his or her parents if the child skis or snowboards without a helmet.

While I appreciate the value of wearing a helmet, I am concerned about the continuing and seemingly inexorable transfer of authority from parents to the state. Not every human problem deserves a law.

I believe parents have the ability and responsiblity to make good choices for their children.


Edmund G. Brown Jr.
California Governor Brown, Senate Bill 105 Veto Message

Via Say Uncle

I'll take 'Will cause an increase in false arrests' for $400, Alex

U.S. Appeals Court: OK to check DNA of those arrested
In an 8-6 ruling, the circuit judges found that people who are arrested have "a diminished expectation of privacy in their identities." Outweighing their privacy, they found, is the importance to law enforcement of correctly identifying people who are charged with crimes, determining their criminal history, potentially linking them to unsolved crimes and promptly ruling out involvement in a crime in cases in which the DNA does not match that found at the scene.
So the cops get to take your DNA in order to increase the speed of investigations and to "potentially" link you to unsolved crimes. All for simply being arrested. It's a good thing the cops never falsely arrest anyone for nefarious reasons.

Am I right, David Briddle? Oscar Mendoza? William Bartlett?

I do not think that means what you think it means ...

LTE in July 5, 2011 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Kids need to be protected from video trash

Our Supreme Court ought to be ashamed of the latest decision it made about video games ("Supreme Court Strikes Violent Video Game Restrictions," June 28).

Is it no wonder many countries are so totally against our values when it comes to TV shows and music and want to ban our influence from their citizens? I wish we could ban so much of the trash that is available for our children in this country.

It is said that we should rely on parents to examine and decide what their children should or should not view. Some parents will. But who helps and guides those children in homes where there is little apparent supervision and children are left to continue to make harmful decisions?

Yes, I understand the argument about freedom of speech and such, but historically when folks lobby long and strong enough (money talks), some considerations of freedoms fall to the wayside.

Come on, USA, how about instead of choosing to pour more and more money into the video industry, we choose what is best for our children and, for once, just once, decide on the side of our youth?

Observatory Hill

Wow. Ok, Joyce, which is it? Are we banning things or are we allowing people to choose? Or are a small group of people choosing to ban something for everyone?

I'll be the first to agree that much of the "entertainment" that is produced in this country is utter crap. It's mindless nonsense designed to remove the need for logical and rational thought. And to sell advertising. And, as much as I wish for that nonsense to not be available, I am completely and totally against having the government force that to be the case. Down that road lies only danger.

And I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that other countries are "so totally against our values when it comes to TV shows and music and want to ban our influence from their citizens" - have you seen some of the nonsense that comes out of just about every European country? Japan? The Middle East? We have no monopoly on violence, sex, or stupidity.

It's easy to ask the government to do your job for you. It's much more difficult when you actually have to be the one to say No and set a good example. Your request for the government to ban something you don't like is the kind of behavior you decry in your letter: "But who helps and guides those children in homes where there is little apparent supervision and children are left to continue to make harmful decisions?" By outsourcing your parental responsibilities to the government, you're no longer guiding the children and they're certainly not getting any lessons about how to make good decisions. All you're doing is freeing up more time to watch So You Think You Can Dancing with the American Idols Got Talent.

No thank you. As a father of two, I think I'm more capable of successfully raising my children and being a better role model for them than some faceless bureaucrat.

Mother Nature Has Rights Too!

I honestly don't even know what to say to this. Only two things come to mind:
  2. Are you fucking kidding me?
LTE: A planet's rights
A planet's rights

The June 20 article "Defending Mother Earth" reports on the Bolivian president and Parliament passing a "Bill of Rights for Mother Nature." But this is only the first step in a process of getting the United Nations to make a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. In Cochabamba, Bolivia, during the World People's Conference on Climate Change in April, Bolivia and other Third World countries passed a resolution to move the process to the world forum at the United Nations.

The PG article quotes "local stakeholders" such as Matt Pitzarella of Range Resources, who states that the Bolivian policy "is a little out there." Also quoted is Joe Osborne, who states that "the practical effects will probably not be very significant."

My opinion, however, is that this is a development of monumental significance for humanity and the planet. Further, the passing of such a universal declaration is well nigh a necessity if the planet is to be saved from the depredation enshrined in our economic and social policies. It is possible to dismiss this movement as rhetoric, but could one not say the same of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations in 1947? But in the aftermath of that declaration came the decolonization of the world, the civil rights movement and the feminist movement, to name just a few of its profound effects.

To get a perspective other than the kind of voices quoted in the article, the Thomas Merton Center is bringing to Pittsburgh on Nov. 3 Vandana Shiva of India, one of the pioneers for the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. She will be receiving the annual Thomas Merton Award and giving this movement a jump start in Pittsburgh.


The writer is a board member of the Thomas Merton Center.
Props to Matt Pitzarella for the understatement of the day.

Massachusetts - Stupidity Wins Again

Looks like Zero tolerance Intelligence wins again: Massachusetts Boy Charged With Bringing Toy Gun on Bus
Police say a 9-year-old elementary school student from Palmer, Mass., will be summoned to juvenile court to face charges for bringing a toy handgun on the school bus, reports.

Chief Robert Frydryk says the school district has a "zero tolerance policy" regarding weapons. Even though the gun was a toy, it is considered a weapon because it shoots soft plastic projectiles.

The boy told police he forgot he had it in his jacket when he got on the bus on May 5.

Frydryk says there is no indication the elementary school student wanted to hurt anyone. The student's name was not made public.

Superintendent Gerald Fournier says that the school took appropriate action "based on the policies and procedures we have in place," MyFoxBoston reports.
I remember when I was in elementary school and brought a NERF gun to school for show and tell. All the teacher did was ask me not to shoot it in school. No cops were called, no media were alerted, and certainly no charges were filed.

Privatizing the PLCB - Screw the Benjamins, It's all about the principles, baby

In Tuesday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Opinion section we find a Letter to the Editor: Liquor price impact
Liquor price impact

Regarding "Defending a Dinosaur: Neither CDC Nor LCB Should Halt Privatization" (April 18 editorial):

Many years ago a dynamic family member shared with me an interesting business fact. That person was employed as a consultant and drew assignments in places as far away as South America, worked in a presidential administration and was working for an international distillery when these thoughts were shared with me. I was told that the distillery's largest customer was the state of Pennsylvania. If that was true then, I imagine it is still true today.

By association, that fact should be true with all those providing products to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. One would think that fact would have an impact on the price paid for the products for sale in Pennsylvania. That being said, how can fragmented privatized operators get better deals on the front end of this business deal? This issue never seems to be mentioned in any discussions on privatization.

If the LCB is not getting a good deal on the products it sells, it should be scuttled. However, if the LCB does get the best deal, good business acumen should follow that the taxes applied to the privatized operators would need to be astronomical to realize the same overall benefits to the consumers and the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.

Will privatization lead to low consumer prices? If not, who do you think is going to absorb the greatest impact of privatization? You got it: the consumers and the taxpayers.

As for modernizing this Depression-era dinosaur, are there legislative restraints preventing the LCB from modernizing? If so, you should be railing against those obstacles instead of beating the victim, the LCB. Business-wise, what you are saying does not seem to be grounded in reality.

I can understand Oliver's point. I don't agree with it, but I understand it. Whether he's right or not, however, is immaterial to the situation. While I have a strong feeling that privatization will result in better selection, better hours, cheaper prices, and little negative impact on the state budget, my strong support of privatizing the PLCB is not based on the costs or savings for consumers, taxpayers, or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Those are just side effects of privatization.

I ultimately support privatization for one reason alone: I do not think the government should be involved in a state-run monopoly in the liquor business. That's it. I want the government out of the liquor business. Let them regulate it (though I probably don't agree with the amount of regulation, we can debate that later) but get them out of the sales business and have them stop prohibiting private citizens and companies from engaging in regular commerce.

Electric cars now run on rainbows!

The New York Times has an opinion piece, Electric Avenue, on electric cars that has both feet firmly rooted in fantasy land.
THE American response to rising gas prices has been depressingly predictable. We’re shocked to see prices top $4 a gallon, as if it’s never happened before. We demand that something be done — not to reduce our dependence on oil, but to cut the cost of a fill-up. Fortunately the White House is standing behind a goal that could genuinely transform the nation’s automotive fleet: putting one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.
Purely electric cars like the Leaf never consume gasoline; plug-in hybrids like the Volt can run primarily on electricity. Department of Transportation statistics show that 78 percent of Americans commute 40 miles or fewer a day, so most people who drive a Volt won’t need to burn any gas on a normal day.

When cars like these are being driven on a large scale, the benefits will be substantial. The Electrification Coalition, an electric-vehicle advocacy group, estimates that if, by 2040, 75 percent of all miles driven in the United States are powered by electricity, oil consumption by light-duty vehicles will drop from the current level of nearly nine million barrels a day to two million. But getting there will require a mass rollout of these cars, and it will take government assistance to make that happen.
Sounds great as long as people understand that replacing gasoline-powered cars with electric-powered cars really means that you're creating coal-powered or nuclear-powered cars. Which means our dependence on coal or nuclear will increase significantly. That sounds like a fair trade-off to me, but it needs to be a conscious decision.
The Obama administration already supports incentives to encourage drivers to buy electric cars, and it has devoted $2.4 billion in stimulus money to the development of a domestic electric-car industry. The president’s 2012 budget request increases financing for battery research and proposes good ideas for accelerating the spread of electric vehicles, including the transformation of the existing $7,500 tax credit for the purchase of a plug-in vehicle into a point-of-sale rebate, which would give buyers their refund immediately rather than at tax time.

These investments may be too much to expect from a Congress that can barely keep the government running. At the very least, however, President Obama and the Senate must resist pressure to gut renewable energy programs in the name of reducing the deficit — an urge expressed most clearly in Representative Paul D. Ryan’s budget plan, which proposes a sizable and profoundly shortsighted cut in financing for energy research and development.
Sorry folks - I'm not a scientist, but everything I've read would indicate that generating enough electricity through cost-effective renewable means to cover 75% of the miles driven in the US is a very long-term project. By 2040? Possible, but I highly doubt probable.

Switching to electrically-powered vehicles will also require a significant overhaul of the nation's electricity transmission grid - a non-trivial expense.

And, when less gas is sold, that's less tax revenue for the government, so be prepared to pay for that some other way - either increased electricity costs, some sort of mileage-based tax, or something else entirely.

So, while I think switching to electric-powered cars is a great idea, I can't see any way it could possibly happen in the near-term nor be any sort of cost-saving measure.

South Carolina: "Hey Feds - Screw you!"

Looks like South Carolina is attempting to circumvent the retarded and un-American ban on incandescent light bulbs:
The Incandescent Light Bulb Freedom Act, which unanimously passed South Carolina’s Senate panel, would allow South Carolina manufacturers to continue to sell incandescent bulbs so long as they have "Made in South Carolina" on them and are sold only within the state. Other states have floated the idea, and last year Arizona passed a bill that would have done the same thing, but Governor Jan Brewer (R) vetoed the legislation.
Source: South Carolina Taking Light Bulb Ban into Its Own Hands

I love it when states bend the Federal Government over and give it a spanking. I know, I know - much like the Firearm Freedom Acts from several states, this is likely more of a statement than a law that will hold up in court - but that doesn't cause me to love it any less!

Let's have more of this, please!

This Post Recommend For Children 0+

JayG posted about the continued pussification of children which, unfortunately, tied in way too well with a recent conversation I had with my sister. I have two kids, John (3 1/2 years old) and Zoe (1 1/2 years old) and she was relating how hard it was to shop for presents for them. She found a NERF gun that she really wanted to get John, but it said it was recommended for children 6+ years old. And a Hot Wheels set for Zoe that looked awesome but was recommended for 4+ years old.


I told her to call me next time as I'm in favor of violating those guidelines as often as possible. I got Hot Wheels for John AND Zoe before they turned one year old. FOUR? Seriously? And John already has a NERF dart gun and a cap gun. SIX PLUS for a NERF gun? Hell, I'm getting him a BB gun for Christmas! Well, maybe his birthday - he already has a ton of Christmas presents. And a .22 when he turns five or six, depending on how soon he can show he's mature enough.

To quote Silverado: "That ain't right. And I've had enough of what ain't right."

Listen up people - raising safe kids isn't done by waiting until they've hit puberty to let them touch anything fun. It's done by TEACHING them how to think and how to play and then by letting them try and, sometimes, fail. Hell, minor injuries as a child end up being good lessons - if they're not getting the occasional bruise or risking a broken bone, they're not really playing! And I'm not talking about sore thumbs from 12 hour XBox sessions. Get your kids outside and playing. What they play is not as important as the fact that they ARE playing.

At the end of the day, bubble-wrapping kids isn't about making THEM safer - it's about making YOUR life easier by not having to do your job as a parent.