Friday, October 24, 2008

Stick to the issues

To my loyal reader out there, yes, I do realize that this is not a transportation posting. I've just seen so much crap flying back and forth between the respective camps of our illustrious Presidential Candidates, that I had to get something off my chest. Stick to the issues. People should be voting on the issues, not on alleged personal indiscretions, or un-substantiated political leanings that may or may not be true, and have NOTHING to do with the issues facing our nation.

I had a great discussion with a friend of mine who first brought this reality to my attention. He talked about how most people don't vote on the issues. More specifically, he talked how most Americans will not analyze issues on the platform, decide which candidate better represents their personal views on issues, and then vote for that candidate.

Instead, they take all the half-truths, here say, and bogus chain e-mails that the each political party, the news media, and their ignorant friends have provided them with, and they base their choice for the leader of our nation on that.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying there shouldn't be negative campaigning. If you want to attack the opponent's voting record, or their stance on a certain issue, that is fine, but stick to the issues.

We have become a politically polarized nation, and I believe the aforementioned crap flinging is at least part of the cause. Political affiliation has become less about a stance on an issue and more about your value as a person. A Democrat in a room full of Republicans is seen as a communist or socialist who hates America. Conversely, a Republican in a room full of Democrats is seen as a gun toting psycho who admires the works of Hitler. Are there members who affiliate themselves with both parties that fall into those categories? Probably, but for the vast majority of Americans, it's not that way. We shouldn't think that is the case.

Hopefully, everyone will vote, but whoever you vote for, Obama or McCain, I hope you vote for them because you feel their policies will make America better, not because you believe some half truth smear campaign perpetrated by the opposing party.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Careful America, Your Ignorance is Showing

Let me start off by giving a little background on this post. I was talking to my mother a few days ago, and during a lull in conversation (believe me, there are more than one of those in a given conversation, but that is a topic for a blog about little things that annoy me about my mom) she brought up the fact that gas is "way down" to about $3.15 a gallon.

That comment just set me off. How blind can you really be? In my mind this drop in gas prices is temporary and won't return us anywhere near what prices were before this latest price hike began. All this temporary drop is doing is lulling Americans back into a false sense of security, so they stop all that crazy talk about "hybrid cars" and "public transportation". Once Americans are fat and happy again, paying $2.50 for a gallon of gas, and thanking the oil companies for it, all they will do is raise it to a new exorbitant price. Then, once Americans start rattling the cage over gas prices, they will lower prices again, not to the point they were formerly at, but just low enough to shut everyone up.

I checked on the Department of Energy site and looked up historical trends of gas prices. It seems that every year is a record high year over the past 8 or so years. Additionally, I found that after gas prices spike, they'll go down somewhat. That may last for a few months, but every single time, the prices manage to recover and reach a new high. I don't see that changing any time soon.

Now, I love my mom, that goes without saying, but it distresses me that she is so ignorant to the facts. I then made the mental leap, that her opinion is surely not an isolated one. I heard a report on the radio, that since gas had fallen below $3.50 a gallon, there was already a spike in SUV sales. I can't verify for sure whether this is true or not, but that's the beauty of not having to verify the accuracy of my sources.

Am I the only that wants to beat my head against a wall upon hearing "spike in SUV sales"?

This brings me to my point, well actually both of my points.

#1. Wake up mom, and wake up America. You, me, all of us are getting screwed, and saying "thank you sir, may I have another". I guess as long as everyone can watch their flat screen in HD at home, no one cares about the ever rising cost of gas, and what our dependence on fossil fuels is doing.

#2. Gas ain't going down any time soon, and the earth ain't getting any cooler. I have been impressed by the recent push for public transportation, but I am worried that now that gas has gone "way down" and my mom and a lot of Americans seem willing to settle for that, I'm worried that the push will lose all its momentum, and it will take $5 or $6 a gallon to get it moving again.

We need to continue the push (especially in Pittsburgh) for better transit now, before the luster wears off, and before everyone (especially the politicians) are lulled back into a false sense of security.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Great Minds Think Alike!

This Sunday's Post Gazette has a great article by Joe Grata that talks about the many transportation failures in the history of Pittsburgh, and an all around lack of vision.

I'm glad to see that there are others in Pittsburgh who:

#1 can see the lack of vision of local policy makers when it comes to transit.

#2 Perhaps more importantly, are frustrated, and think there is a better more efficient way to move people in Allegheny County.

By the way.......I don't like to toot my own horn, but I am going to anyway. Check out my series on the many transportation failures in Pittsburgh in this blog!*

*This assumes someone reads this blog other than the author.