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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Policy Changes and Debt

With the current debate on the debt limit, and the conservative side of the spectrum going on about Obama being at fault, here is an interesting chart that breaks down the comparison between Obama and Bush as to who has had the worst effect on the debt.



Image Source
 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rick Perry's racially insensitive pastor problem

These are the new voices of religious conservative movement. And they are as important to the values side of Republican politics as the anti-tax crusaders, Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce are to the economic side. Most of all, they have Rick Perry's ear, and they'll be on hand at Perry's prayer meeting in Houston:

read the full story here...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

U. S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings on Defense of Marriage Act

For those who support individual rights, and everyone who reads this blog should, the U. S. Senate Judiciary Committee is holding the first hearings ever on repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat, has stated, “I find it unbelievable in the year 2011,that there is still a need to hold hearings and debates about whether a human being should be able to marry the person they love.” But the Republicans, lead by Charles Grassley, with a continuing desire to control peoples lives as if they were characters in an Orwellian novel, are fighting in defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Act.

Here is a video of recently elected Democrat Al Franken putting the smack down on one of Grassley’s witnesses.



Monday, July 18, 2011

Police Bust Lemonade Stand

Normally I would use this as an opportunity to make fun of southerners, as these cops are in Georgia. But the reality is that police most anywhere would probably do the same.

In Midway, Georgia three girls did many do, and many have done for generations. The girls decided to make a little extra candy money by opening a lemonade stand. But when local officer drove past and noticed the stand, he promptly shut them down. The girls didn't have a $50 dollar a day food permit, and of course the lemonade could contain anything since it hasn't been quality checked.

According to MSNBC, "We were not aware of how the lemonade was made, who made the lemonade, of what the lemonade was made with, so we acted accordingly by city ordinance."

Once again, instead of going after actual criminals, the police are picking on the easy targets. In this case, three little girls.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

On Experts and Global Warming

Experts have always posed a problem for democracies. Plato scorned democracy, rating it the worst form of government short of tyranny, largely because it gave power to the ignorant many rather than to knowledgeable experts (philosophers, as he saw it). But, if, as we insist, the people must ultimately decide, the question remains: How can we, nonexperts, take account of expert opinion when it is relevant to decisions about public policy?

Read full story here...


Friday, July 08, 2011

Ex-cop charged with murdering 2 women in Missouri

You would think a cop would know better than to leave DNA evidence at a crime.

A retired police officer is charged with murdering two women and raping a third after DNA evidence collected after a sexual assault last week linked him to all three attacks, prosecutors said Friday.

Read Full Story here...

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Sound Transit Funding and Route Cuts Debate


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Sound Transit, who services the Puget Sound region, is in the process of identifying route and schedule changes for 2012 based on forecasted riders of 25.1 Million people for the year, a slight increase over the current year.

The expectation is that they will cut routes like cuts to most everything else in this state due to budgets, with a projected shortfall of about 25%, according to the Implementation Plan.

After reading through the budget there is discussion about the savings made by the route cuts, but I wonder if during the meetings they discuss how to actually generate revenue that they are missing on now.

I've been riding the public bus for over a month now and a few things I have noticed. The first is that most every bus I'm on is full to capacity and then some with standing room only. The bus on the route I take is a bus with two cars. So if they are projecting over 25 million riders next year, up from the current year where many routes are filled to capacity, it seems like an odd choice to discourage people from riding by reducing routes and creating even more full buses. Especially considering how often I see people riding without paying.

Yes, on occasion, someone might forget their Orca card, or not have cash on them. I'm not talking about those free rides. What I'm talking about are the times that the Orca card reader isn't working. So far in the past month, on my route alone I've seen this happen twice. So assuming that happens on other routes, which I've heard it does, with a full bus of riders that's a decent chunk of cash they are missing out on.

The largest bit of revenue they are missing out on is the Seattle Street Car, aka South Lake Union Trolley, aka Seattle SLUT operated by King County Metro. The posted adult fair for the SLUT is $2.50 and less for seniors and children. Almost non of which is being paid. The SLUT uses the honor system when collecting payment. Riders can pay via a payment system at the platform or on the trolley. What they don't have is a Orca card swiping like buses, or a person to enforce it. So the only people who actually pay to ride the street car are tourists. According to Wikipedia, in 2010 there were over 500,000 riders.

The SLUT is almost always full. Not only are all the seats full, people are usually standing shoulder to shoulder during the morning and afternoon commute, so I think the ridership has gone up even more. But lets assume they actually started enforcing payments on the street car and ridership is at 500,000. doing some quick math, let's assume an average payment of $1.50 (discounting $2.50 for seniors and youth) times 500,000 riders, we get $750,000 of lost revenue. Even assuming we pay some low wage workers to make sure people are paying, I'd still say the transit system is missing out on some revenue that they could use.

So maybe instead of cutting routes, Sound Transit should consider fixing the methods of collecting payments instead, so that then they could expand routes, which might involve me not getting stuck sitting next to some fat chick, who's fat roles over into my seat with the seats so close I'd almost rather be on an airplane.


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Traffic Delaying the Bus

One of the many joys in taking the bus is waiting for the bus. On this day, there was a traffic accident somewhere, I'm assuming. Because, my bus as seen in this first picture is here.



And as seen in this picture approximately 30 minute later has moved to here.


About an hour after it was supposed to arrive it did arrive, then it still took about 30 to 40 minutes before it made it out of Seattle.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Roger Ailes’ Secret Nixon-Era Blueprint for Fox News

Republican media strategist Roger Ailes launched Fox News Channel in 1996, ostensibly as a "fair and balanced" counterpoint to what he regarded as the liberal establishment media. But according to a remarkable document buried deep within the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, the intellectual forerunner for Fox News was a nakedly partisan 1970 plot by Ailes and other Nixon aides to circumvent the "prejudices of network news" and deliver "pro-administration" stories to heartland television viewers

Read the full story here...