SEPTA for sale

IMG_4960.JPGToday it was announced that SEPTA’s Market East station would be renamed Jefferson Station in a sponsorship deal with SEPTA and the city of Philadelphia. I didn’t have a problem with this until I read the following line:

In a similar deal in 2010, SEPTA sold the naming rights for Pattison Station on the Broad Street Subway, rechristening it AT&T Station. That five-year deal cost AT&T $5.4 million, of which SEPTA received $3.4 and its advertising agent, New York-based Titan Worldwide, got $2 million.

A 5 year deal? Are you telling me that in 5 years when AT&T is gobbled by the Walmart/Google/Comcast conglomerate that’s sure to happen, we’ll be in for another name change?

In the 20 years that the Susquehanna Bank Center has been in Camden, it has had 2 previous names (I still refer to it as the Tweeter Center by periodically). The Wells Fargo Center is even worse with 4 total names in 18 years (I still miss calling it the FU Center – one of the more unfortunate names in sports history). This seems like a bad idea for transportation centers, where the idea is to be easily found. How easy will it be when the names change every few years? I mean, can Xfinity City Hall be too far behind?

I’m all for SEPTA coming up with creative solutions for funding, especially when you have state leaders that don’t care about public transit. That said, I hope they have the good sense to remember that these names actually do have a purpose, and don’t change them every time they get a high bidder.

Your argument against more guns

We’ve all heard the argument that if more people owned guns, then tragedies such as the Newtown massacre wouldn’t happen. Unfortunately for gun nuts, the past few weeks have provided two examples why more guns is a bad idea.

  1. Jovan Belcher kills girlfriend, himself
  2. Father Accidentally Shoots, Kills 7-Year-Old Son Outside Gun Store

By the way, the guns in both of these incidents were legally owned.

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Komen, Planned Parenthood & the power of an angry mob

How great has this week been? When I first heard about the Susan G. Komen Foundation eliminating funding for the breast cancer screening services that Planned Parenthood provides to poor women, I was shocked. I took to my blog, Facebook and Twitter to express my dissatisfaction as did a lot of people. I sent them $50 and others sent them 2,999,950 more. I wouldn’t have been surprised if that was it.

It wasn’t.

Over the next few days, the mob got louder and angrier, and they kept it up. It got so bad, that today Komen apologized and stepped back (albeit a little) from their original plan. It’s a testament to the power of an angry mob.

What amazes me, is that companies and organizations continue to make the same mistake. First there was Lowe’s, then there was SOPA and now the Komen debacle. You’d think they’d learn. The damage to Komen’s brand and reputation may be irreparable. This controversy has forced many people to take a deeper look at them and what was found wasn’t pretty. The founders of Komen have been found to be big GOP donors. They had no issue putting their brand on pink guns,and a new part of their management team is a major anti-abortionist. Many of the supporters they lost this week will not be coming back.

At the end of the proverbial day, I’m happy this happened. Planned Parenthood collected $3 million to help people who need it the most and we know what the Komen Foundation really is. And the internet and social media has become of age as a tool of mass activism.

It’s been a really good week.

TSA wants you to feel safer – even if you’re not

I don’t like to write about the TSA controversy two weeks in a row, but the furor isn’t dying down. If anything, it’s only gotten greater as there have been stories of breast cancer survivors being asked to show their breast prosthetics, scans being leaked, and the TSA’s refusal to modify their screening procedures.

I have already come to terms with the fact that when I fly next, the agents will have to grope me. As a man, I guess it doesn’t have the same stigma. I have never been sexually assaulted; I don’t know the feeling of being leered at; I don’t have a disfiguring disease that makes me self-conscious – so I will give away the right that bars unreasonable search and seizure, not because I want to, but because it’s the best of two evils.

But let’s be clear – what the TSA is attempting to do is substitute technology for a lack of intelligence (in all senses of the word). Their agents are overworked, underpaid, and trained to follow written rules to find terrorists (as opposed to teaching them how to spot a terrorist). How about spending some of the hundreds of millions that we are spending on these machines, towards better pay and better training?

But all of this will make some people feel better about travelling, and I think that’s the real point, because the appearance of doing something is often better than doing something.

The touching of junk: How far will the TSA go?

As the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) moves to more invasive forms of screening, they’re getting some push back from pilots, attendants, civil rights activists, and citizens. Some people are saying enough is enough, but once you’ve given away freedom for the promise of security, it’s hard to know where to stop.

I read a novel that described how a prostitute was “turned out”. A woman meets a great guy, until one day he gets into trouble and owes someone a great deal of money. In exchange for the money, that person is willing to accept sex. The great guy tells his girlfriend his predicament and she bails him out – just that one time. Once she has slept with one guy for money, she’s damaged goods, and she does it over and over again.

We’re that prostitute; the first time a traveller took off their Nikes so that they could be checked for a bomb, we proved that we were willing to sell ourselves for safety – and the government, like a pimp, keeps coming back to us for more. The day that a terrorist smuggles a bomb aboard by hiding it in his anus, we’ll be grabbing our ankles and they’ll be grabbing the lube. All in the name of safety.

There’s a great quote from Benjamin Franklin (actually there are  a lot of great quotes from Benjamin Franklin):

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

So how far are you willing to go?

How to Stop Your Car if the Gas Pedal is Stuck

Toyota has been in the news for their massive recall of eight recent models. First off, if you own a Toyota, you need to check their website to see if your Toyota has been recalled.

Next thing, if your accelerator does get stuck, the following video explains how to stop your car. This can happen in any car, wether it’s a defective pedal or your pedal gets stuck under your carpet. The following video can save a life, so watch it and share it with your friends.

Conshohocken Lends a Hand to Haiti

On Wednesday, January 20, ten Conshohocken restaurants are donating 20% of your bill to the American Red Cross. The restaurants are:

You may think that there is enough money, but there isn’t. Haiti was destroyed, when the thought of that a few weeks ago would seem redundant. They are going to need our money for years to come. If you’re going to eat out, why not make sure some of the money goes to a good cause? See you tomorrow.