That’s the view earlier from Sydney, Australia. My Sister in law was there to see it. Lucky girl!

December 31, 2008 at 11:38 pm Comments (0)

Only in Pennsylvania

December 31, 2008 at 3:25 pm Comments (0)

An Early Bailout

The Penn Central railroad in the 70s.

Based on the mergers of two of the largest railroads in the world, the Pennsylvania & New York Central railroads, the PennCentral Railroad was pretty much formed bankrupt.

Here’s a video that the PC management created in selling their bailout request to Congress.

Washington eventually decided to create a new railroad, ConRail, which combined what was “still good” in Northeastern railroads and abandon or scrap the rest.

Something the railroads that became ConRail had been asking for for years.

December 31, 2008 at 3:01 pm Comments (0)

Re: Pa New Years Traditions

The Hartley Potato Chip thing in Lewistown was just started last year.

The more established tradition is that many of us will be eating sauerkraut either tonight or tomorrow.  Don’t ask me why.  But it’s tasty, warm, and a kraut-dog goes well with a good beer, so I’m not complaining.

Also, Port Royal (Juniata County) will be lowering a sprint-car, and Beavertown (Snyder Co.) has a 5′ 8″ artificial beaver.

December 31, 2008 at 2:19 pm Comments (0)

Pa New Years Traditions

I had no idea.

At Bethlehem’s First Night, a crane lowers a 25-pound lighted fiberglass likeness of a marshmallow Peep. That was No. 2 on the TripAdvisor Web site’s Top 10 quirkiest New Year’s Eve events.

A 120-pound, 7.5 foot-long edible bologna lowered by a Lebanon Fire Department ladder truck was seventh on the list. (Key West, Fla., was No. 1 with night spots offering choices of a descending conch shell, pirate wench or drag queen in 6-foot red high-heeled shoe.)

Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, not in the Top 10, Hershey raises a Hershey Kiss, Pottsville raises a Yuengling bottle, Hummelstown drops a 9-foot lollipop, Lewistown lowers a big bag of Hartley’s potato chips, and Elizabethtown lets down a monster M&M.

December 31, 2008 at 12:40 pm Comments (0)

Toomey Speaks Out on Card Check

In the past Arlen Specter has consistently supported the “card check” proposal that would deny union members a secret ballot. The proposal will soon be coming up again and will probably pass unless Republican senators stand firm against it. Pat Toomey, who nearly defeated Specter in the Republican primary four year ago and will probably be challenging Specter again, has written an editorial denouncing “card check” as an intolerable assault on workers’ rights. It reads in part:

Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter is the only Republican who has joined the Democratic senators voting to advance the legislation. That isn’t the kind of leadership a state with a broad industrial base needs.

By stripping workers of their rights, the act would undermine businesses and workers, causing further declines in American employment and productivity in an economy that desperately needs both.

Labor unions can play a constructive role as bargaining agents for workers, provided they are accountable to their members through a democratic process. But compulsory membership, monopoly privileges, and unchecked power can harm the workers whom unions are supposed to help.

Read the whole thing here.

Clearly Toomey plans to make Specter’s vote a campaign issue. Will the threat of a Toomey candidacy be enough to make Specter reconsider his vote?

Stay tuned

December 31, 2008 at 12:17 am Comments (0)

RE: Weeping for the Li-berries

Here’s a little reality check from Philly Firefighter, Captain America:

Common Pleas Court Judge Gary Di Vito denied a request this afternoon from Local 22 of the International Association of Fire Fighters for an injunction to stop Mayor Nutter’s plan to close seven fire companies next Monday.

Local 22, in a legal action launched two weeks ago, said the elimination of five fire engines and two ladder trucks would endanger the lives of firefighters and city residents. The union argued that a grievance it filed with the city on Dec. 3 about the company closings should be considered before any action is taken.

I guess nobody is weeping for the firestations, so no need for judicial interference.  Captain America is actually supportive of keeping the libraries open, but disgusted —  and rightfully so — with the media coverage of this issue.  Read his whole post here.  And here’s more:

Under Mayor Nutter’s cutbacks ENGINE 14 will be eliminated creating a single Ladder station. Single Ladder stations were done away with sometime back in the 1930s? ironically because it no longer made sense to house a Ladder Company without a Pumper. The arrangement was found to be inefficient. NOW SUDDENLY it makes sense again? Hardly.

December 30, 2008 at 6:25 pm Comments (0)

Philly Li-berries

As Lisa said, “saved by the courts.”

We gotta find this guy for his reaction….

December 30, 2008 at 6:06 pm Comments (0)

Meanwhile, we’ll still be getting rid of that firefighting equipment…

From NBC10:

Mayor Nutter and the Free Library of Philadelphia will halt their plans to shut down 11 branch libraries Wednesday after 5:00 p.m after a judge from the Court of Common Pleas ruled against the closures, as reported by

Ok, count me amongst those who think that libraries are important but not at the expense of lives that could be lost to fire.  Count me also amongst those who are questioning how a Court of Common Pleas judge can rule on budgetary matters concerning the City. 

I admit I’m more than a bit tired of the over-wrought response to closing library BRANCHES in the city of Philadelphia.  As if one couldn’t get to another branch in the City.  As if Philadelphia was banning all books wihin the city limits. 

The concerned citizenry, of course, trotted out the pre-requisite brainwashed waif:

“The library is a great place to go. It changes kid’s futures,” said Maria Dasilva, a concerned child.

Ah, the wisdom of a child.  If only we could all be so smart and not so concerned about vulgar money matters.  Let’s hope that the fire equipment being “retired” isn’t in her neighborhood.  Because that could potentially “change her future” too.

Library supporters will be having a party tomorrow at the Kingsessing branch that was supposed to close. The party will start at 3:30 p.m.

Wonder who’s paying for that?

December 30, 2008 at 5:33 pm Comments (0)

CSI: Bridgeport

It’s like a plot from a network crime show:

A Bridgeport man who decapitated himself jumping off the Dannehower Bridge Saturday afternoon had apparently accidentally strangled his live-in girlfriend while the two were having sex, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.

Just before 2 p.m., 43-year-old James F. Goeke drove a burgundy minivan halfway across the northbound side of the bridge that crosses the Schuylkill River, and parked the vehicle on the shoulder.

The man tied a rope to the minivan’s back seat and put the other end around his neck and jumped off the bridge, and after “falling a great distance,” the rope decapitated him. His body and head landed on Barbadoes Island, according to District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.

Upper Merion and Norristown police were the first on the scene and saw the man on the railing with a rope around his neck.

“Upon arrival of police officers, (Goeke) jumped off the bridge,” the DA said.

When investigators later went to Goeke’s Belmont Village apartment on Ross Road, they immediately smelled “the odor of death” even before entering the unit, Ferman said. Minutes later, police found a woman’s badly decomposed body under a blanket in the master bedroom.

Investigators determined the dead woman was 42-year-old Michelle Kavenaugh, who lived in the apartment with Goeke. She was naked and lying on her back and had a belt from a cloth robe around her neck, according to authorities.

“It appeared the two were involved in consensual sexual relations,” the DA said. “This appears to be an accidental killing.”

Ferman is quoted as saying that this is a “tragedy all around.”  I couldn’t agree more.

December 30, 2008 at 5:22 pm Comments (0)

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