Another mouth to feed
Can't talk. New baby.
Well, Pittsburgh City Council voted to press the mayor to apply for a slots license, with council President Gene Ricciardi leading the way:
This blogging thing is OK, but I much prefer getting paid to write.
Pittsburgh had its Katrina moment about two weeks before that hurricane devestated New Orleans and much of the rest of the Gulf Coast. A Downtown water main break flooded office buildings, ruined equipment and forced many of the city's few Downtown residents from their homes.
If you asked me to describe my vision of Hell, it would probably look a lot like Cranberry Township in Butler County. Nothing but strip malls and franchise restaurants at the crossroads of a couple of highways far (by my standards) from the nearest city of any consequence. What's worse, you can't walk anywhere; if you suddenly run out of milk, you're getting in your car to get some more, whether you like it or not.
Students should not be required to say the Pledge of Allegiance in school (technically, they can't be compelled, but it's doubtful most of them know that) not because it contains the phrase "under God" but because it is little more than a loyalty oath, administered to children too young and naive to question its implications. I'm not too thrilled that every sporting event in this country begins with the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" but at least as an adult I'm well aware that I can refuse to sing along, or even stay seated, should I desire to bring down the wrath of those around me. Free societies should not compel their citizens, either through law or the force of social conformity, to demonstrate their love of country.
While my wife and I were out shopping, we suddenly realized that today is the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. I had a pang of guilt that I had forgotten, and that I had done nothing to mark the occassion. But then I remembered what the president asked Americans to do in the wake of the attacks--go shopping--and I realized that I was simply doing my patriotic duty.
Jack Shafer in Slate dares to suggest that New Orleans is not worth rebuilding, and he makes a powerful if at times cynical argument. First, he correctly notes that overdevelopment and poor land and water management conspired to make last week's catastrophe inevitable. To wit:
You may have noticed that I'm not much of a liberal. I've grown more libertarian in recent years, and I think there are limits to what government can do to ameliorate poverty and other adverse social conditions. I also think there is plenty of room for reasonable people to disagree over the proper role of government.
John Tierney spreads around the blame for the debacle in New Orleans, and neither federal nor local officials are spared. The greatest lesson for cities, Tierney writes, is one they should have learned a long time ago: Never rely on the federal government:
With a movement afoot to raise Pennsylvania's minimum wage, this Slate article from last summer is worth considering:
Movie quote for a Sunday afternoon:
The president and his administration are fond of using historical analogies to bolster America's resolve in the war on Iraq and the larger war on terror. The war against jihadism is akin to our nation's great and ultimately successful struggles against fascism in World War II and communism during the Cold War. Many of these analogies, of course, are bogus, and this thoughtful essay explains why the comparison to communism fails:
Jimmy Carter is remembered as a failed president, and it seems unlikely historians will ever grant him a Trumanesque rehabilitation. But we correctly understood that America's oil dependence would one day take her down the road to ruin, as David Shribman reminds us in today's Post-Gazette:
I'm a little confused over the gasoline price-gouging controversy. What are the laws here? I know that oil companies can't conspire with one another to keep prices high, but what stops an individual gas station or supplier from taking advantage of the situation and trying to make a few extra bucks? Would you call the attorney general if Gap doubled the price of a pair of jeans tomorrow?
Via Rauterkus, I learn that Pittsburgh City Council President Gene Ricciardi thinks the city should apply for a slots license so that it can use casino proceeds to eliminate property taxes, pay down debt, build a new arena, improve infrastructure and cure cancer. (OK, so I made up that last one.) I have a measured, thoughtful response:
Slate has a quick profile of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. The article indicates the mayor did have some kind of evacuation plan.
From both ends of the political spectrum come indictments of the government's failure to respond to the unfolding catastrophe in New Orleans. First, from Paul Krugman:
You know the problem with this country? Too much porn.