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Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

and the cost of vehicle ownership continues to go up …

In Everyday Living, Government on March 5, 2014 at 6:57 pm

“State transportation plan allows counties to add $5 fee on vehicles”

WGAL news report says:

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. - Part of the states new transportation funding plan includes a provision that allows for counties to raise their own money for infrastructure needs.

In Cumberland County alone, dozens of bridges need to be replaced. Last year, both Wolf and Craighead bridges were closed because they were no longer safe for traffic.

To help repair these bridges, counties could enact a yearly fee of $5 on all vehicles registered in that county.

It’s how monopolies operate

In Everyday Living, Government, Opinions on March 4, 2014 at 4:55 am

Did you notice the increase in your Comcast cable bill?

Bet you can’t wait for the Comcast merger with the other cable provider? Here’s another instance of how monopolies gouge, or operate. Without warning to Customers, Comcast has imposed a “broadcast TV” charge on their bills. We googled “broadcast TV charge” and found this November announcement – wonder why Comcast didn’t send an email to its Customers, too?

Instead, they just added the charge to the bills. “According to their latest quarterly report, Comcast has 22,525,000 video customers and 17,550,000 high speed Internet subscribers.” So the monopoly just added a cool $33,787,500 to their coffers.

AND THE CHARGE FOR INTERNET SERVICE WAS BOOSTED BY $2.00 A MONTH!

Despite the reports that state the merger of two cable giants is good (here and here and here), we believe that the ability to stick on charges whenever they want does not bode well for consumers. Google’s coming with Internet connectivity to some cities. Otherwise there are few alternatives since Comcast has already paid communities to be their provider company.

Since commenters to big media often provide clearer, more independent thought than the retransmission of a press release, this commenter to this article speaks a clearer shade of truth: “LOL, give me a break. Americans pay more for slower broadband than any country in the world, and this merger does nothing to fix that. In fact, I read this article twice looking for your argument on how this is “good” for competition, and failed to find it. You also mention that other companies are poised to capture dissatisfied customers- implying that customers actually have a choice in picking their cable provider (which they absolutely don’t.)”

Again … can someone explain why isn’t Comcast regulated or overseen by the Pennsylvania Utilities Commission?

COMCAST BILL – January 2014

comcast jan 2014

COMCAST BILL – March 2014

comcast mar 2014

Double whammy: “You’ll be paying even more for service, yet your access to all sorts of websites may be limited or blocked outright.”

In Everyday Living, Government, Opinions, Opportunities on March 3, 2014 at 5:47 am

How much time do you spend online?

keepopen

What if everything about the way you use the Internet is about to change just to feed the greed of corporate behemoths like Comcast and Verizon?

A recent court ruling would permit a handful of near-monopolistic Internet providers to censor and constrict what you do online.

 Take a stand with our allies at RootsAction to keep the Internet open, democratic and safe from corporate censorship.

In January, a federal appeals court struck down “net neutrality.”

Here’s what that means:

  • Corporations like Verizon and Comcast can now slow down or even block any website or online service — for any reason.
  • The big Internet providers can now create fast lanes for websites and consumers who can afford to pay more — with slow lanes or even traffic jams for everyone else.

Sign the petition to preserve the Internet as we know it — without preferential treatment for websites approved by mega-corporations like Comcast and Verizon.

This is a double-whammy for anyone who uses the Internet for news, shopping, entertainment, civic engagement, whatever.

You’ll be paying even more for service, yet your access to all sorts of websites may be limited or blocked outright.

Add your name to the RootsAction petition if you don’t think Verizon and Comcast should be allowed to decide which websites you can visit and then charge you even more for restricted service.

Council’s meeting of the whole agenda, February 24

In Everyday Living, Government, In Columbia, Opinions on February 25, 2014 at 3:56 am

A half-dozen citizens had a front row ticket for one of the more “biting” council meetings of season. The entire council, the mayor, the borough manager and the borough financial officer ran through the agenda items from 6:01 until 9:09 last night. They covered the items on the agenda (below) and entered into a few other areas.

With not enough time to review written and audio notes at this writing, Columbia news, views and reviews will have follow-up articles about the meeting topics over the next few days. Thornton Wilder would have been happy, though, because the name of his classic play, Our Town, was thrown into the script last night more than a few times by more than a few councillors, the mayor and others.

There’s a great line from the play that seems curiously applicable: ““Wherever you come near the human race there’s layers and layers of nonsense.”

Nonsense was in the council chambers last night.

MOTW page 1

Page 2

MOTW page 2

Notes:

  • Agenda item II, 9., a. – Council took no action on this agenda item until more clarification is attained. It was pointed out that if Robert Miller is employed by the borough, his appointment to the Civil Service Commission may not be authorized.
  • Agenda item, II, 12. a. – The agenda incorrectly lists Kenneth and Julie Wagner; someone pointed out that the spelling of the last name of the persons residing at 287 S 5th street was Wanger.
  • Agenda item, II, 6, a. – Quite a bit of councillor chatter took place on this issue. The obfuscatory nature of the mayor’s description of the PA DOT Agility Agreement elicited a response from a councillor that asked for clarity and being upfront. PA DOT describes the agility agreement as: “A contract between PennDOT and the Partner. When signed by PennDOT and the Partner and approved in Harrisburg, both parties may then complete a Work Plan. The agreement alone does not obligate any party to perform work. It merely provides the foundation and legal authority for cooperation and exchanging services. Some Agility Agreements are put in place as a type of “insurance policy” even if no work plans are executed.” When pressed by the councillor, the mayor consented that the agreement in consideration will have Columbia’s street sweeper sweep several bridges on four lane highways (Routes 30 and 283) and PA DOT will provide certain reciprocating actions. A citizen asked why Columbia was asked to be the Agility Agreement partner; the mayor said that two PA DOT employees live in Columbia and this may have led to Columbia being asked to enter into the Agility Agreement rather than other communities as Elizabethtown, etc.
  • Non-Agenda item number 2 – Councillor Barninger related a conversation that left her unable to get her head around a concept. As she understood it, she described a collaborative initiative or an interim “consolidation” between Columbia Consolidated Fire Department and Columbia Quick Response, Inc. (QRS). However, it was explained to her, she said, that when the borough’s anticipated consolidation of all three operating fire companies comes to a consolidation conclusion, the QRS will not be part of that consolidation. The two response entities share a history.

- more to come in the next few days -

You gotta’ like someone who has a plan and shows it

In Government, Opinions, People on February 16, 2014 at 4:55 am

York Countian, Tom Wolf, is campaigning for governor of Pennsylvania. Political party crapola aside, Columbia news, views & reviews applauds him for having the fortitude to not do “politik-speak” and for putting his words out there.

wolf-fresh-start1

by Sarah Galbally

“Pennsylvania needs a new direction with proven leadership focused on strengthening the state’s economy and rebuilding the middle class.

“And that’s why Tom released his “A Fresh Start” policy plan as he continues traveling across Pennsylvania, where he is listening to struggling families and small businesses and talking with voters about the need to build a 21st century economy and create solid, secure middle-class jobs:

“I believe Pennsylvania’s best days are ahead of us — where a dynamic and growing economy offer opportunities and help strengthen the middle class,’ said Wolf. “Too often policy making is about the next deal or reacting to the latest crisis. It’s time we think ahead. Politicians in Harrisburg have failed middle class families and have plagued us with an ailing economy.”

Read the rest of this article here.

But be sure to read Wolf’s plan. Pie in the sky … maybe, but it’s his plan and it’s out there for us to see it. And we like that!

Comcast’s Takeover of Time Warner Is a Horrible Deal for Consumers

In Government, Opinions, Opportunities on February 15, 2014 at 5:05 am

comcastPhoto Credit: 360b/Shutterstock.com

America already had too little TV and Internet competition. The government must veto this deal.

“As Comcast pushes regulators to approve its  just-announced deal to buy out  Time Warner Cable, it’ll make one essential point: the acquisition won’t visibly change the competitive landscape for TV and  internetcustomers.

“Nice try. Regulators and competition authorities are supposed to consider the public interest when looking at such deals. In no way does the public interest benefit from this one.

“We’re talking immense scale with this deal. Comcast – which  completed its takeover of NBC Universal a year ago in a deal that never should have been allowed in the first place – is the nation’s biggest cable company, with about 21m subscribers. Time Warner Cable, the second largest, has 11m.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the combined company will sell off what amounts to 3m of those subscribers in order to keep its overall market share slightly below a mythical threshold that raises worries about too much market power.

“The public interest is not served when a company that provides one-third of all cable TV service in America replaces two smaller ones (which were plenty big in the first place). It is not served when that company already owns one of the four major broadcast networks, a major movie studio, several cable channels (including CNBC, which will assuredly be boosterish) and other properties.”

Continue reading this AlterNet article by clicking here.

“Reversing course, Congress restores military pension increases”

In Government, History and Heritage, Opinions, Uncategorized on February 14, 2014 at 4:49 am

disabled-veterans_main

Veterans groups argued against the cuts, concerned about their impact on veterans whose costs are above and beyond their Veterans Affairs benefits packages. – Reuters | Jim Urquart

WASHINGTON — “Lost amid the coverage of debt ceiling votes lawmakers took this week was a bill — approved Tuesday in the House and Wednesday in the Senate — to undo a cut to veterans’ benefits. Congress instituted the cuts just two months ago.

“Everyone from Minnesota except Reps. Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum voted to undo the cuts, a 1 percent reduction in the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) applied annually to retired, 20-year veterans’ pensions before they turn 62. The cut was part of a December budget deal and would have saved $6 billion over 10 years, with the cut itself starting in 2015.”

Click here to continue reading this article at MinnPost.com

This reduction was contained in the omnibus legislation (H.J.RES.59.ENR) under this section: Sec. 402. Annual Adjustment of Retired Pay and Retainer Pay Amounts for Retired Members of the Armed Forces Under Age 62″  of passed by the House of Representatives in December 2013.” Bills and resolutions are filled with pet projects of these “elected public servants” also known as “hogs at the trough.” And right-clinging Joe Pitt$ voted “yea” in support of all the projects in this resolution. So did Joe sell out veterans? Looks like it.

It’s wealthy at the top and we get to pay for that.

It’s “wealthy” at the top – and we get to pay for that

In Everyday Living, Government, Opinions, Opportunities on February 11, 2014 at 4:48 am

generals-575

Senator Questions Retirement Perks for Generals and Admirals

Here’s an article from the Project on Government Oversight that’ll make you wonder who the hell’s in charge and how much is being funneled into their pockets?

The article asks: “Is it fair that the military’s top brass gets paid more in retirement than they did while on active service at the same time that lower ranking service members see cuts to their future retirement benefits? Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) thinks not.”

We’d like to add: “Is it fair considering the number of generals and admirals killed in combat in recent military interventions is a far lesser percentage than enlisted (or officers in pay grades through O-6) warriors?”

Take a closer look at the growing glut of general officers here.

Clearly, the “pigs at the trough” in the US legislature have introduced, allowed and encouraged the corporate “more for you at the top” mentality into the US military. Hey, it works for them.

Click here to read more.

Monday night’s borough council meeting agenda

In Everyday Living, Government, In Columbia, Opinions on February 10, 2014 at 9:19 pm

The February borough council convened at 7:00 pm Monday evening. The entire council was present, as were the borough manager, borough financial officer, mayor, police chief and solicitor. A handful of people were in the gallery. In a somewhat speedy meeting, the agenda items below were covered and the meeting adjourned at 7:53 pm.

council meeting page 01

page two

council meeting page 02

The mayor extolled Columbia’s response during the recent ice storm as he praised the highway department, police and fire department responders and borough employees.

mayor and K9Mayor Leo Lutz reads an award presented to Columbia Police Department officer Read the rest of this entry »

Columbia’s First National Bank Museum is listed at National Park Service’s Underground Railroad “Network to Freedom” database

In Government, History and Heritage, In Columbia, Treasures on February 9, 2014 at 6:44 am

FirstNatlBankFirst National Bank Museum, 2nd & Locust Streets, Columbia, PA

The National Park Service lists the First National Bank Museum at its Network to Freedom Website database of Network to Freedom sites.

underground railroad

“Other Federal, State, local, and privately owned properties pertaining to the Underground Railroad that have a verifiable connection to the Underground Railroad and that are included on, or determined by the Secretary to be eligible for inclusion on, the National Register of Historic Places.

“Other governmental and non-governmental facilities and programs of an educational, research, or interpretive nature that are directly related to the Underground Railroad.

“The last category, ‘governmental and non-governmental facilities and programs” is much more flexible and invites the inclusion of a variety of different categories of listings. Facilities and programs in the Network can have an educational, research, or interpretive scope, as long as they are directly related to, and verifiably associated with, the Underground Railroad. Facilities can include, but not be limited to, archives and libraries, research centers, museums and museum collections, and cultural or commemorative centers. Programs can be even more diverse in Read the rest of this entry »

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