2007Mike | Pittsburgh City Paper

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Re: “School of Hard Knocks

This is typical of the area. Unless you've a lot of money, the local powers that be will go a long way to show you just how worthless you are. Just try dealing with the health department. They are supposed to protect us, but they protect companies instead. Now, even though Clairton's air is so polluted it exceeds the p.m. 2.5 standard, the "health" department is increasing U.S. Steels allowed pollutants at Clairton. If you don't have big bucks like U.S. Steel or University of Pittsburgh you don't have any rights. Get used to it.

Posted by Mike on 09/08/2007 at 5:11 AM

Re: “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

I just saw Dead Man's Chest on cable. I could see how it might appeal to a six yeaar old. If At World's End is worse, just be thankful that it's at the end.

Posted by Mike on 05/25/2007 at 10:57 AM

Re: “Over a Barrel

Let's face it, the gun lobby will never allow us to get reasonable background checks. It doesn't matter how many die. These manufacturers are powerful and evil. In the current system, decent citizens don't stand a chance. Your kid got shot by a strawman buyer's gun. To them, it's just the cost of doing business. Personally, I believe that both the NRA and Charleton Heston are going to hell, but not before they make a mountain of money. I mean, even if the NRA's children were being shot regularly by strawman bought guns, I don't think it would make a bit of difference in their lobbying practices. Nowadays the gun lobby even wants to change laws to allow guns on college campuses! See:http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/08/1328243 So, how can we stop murder incorporated if they are willing to pay their taxes? How can we stop them if they are willing to buy government support through PAC money? Only real campaign reform will solve this kind of problem, but that's a whole other topic. Believe me, the Democrats and republicans will never address this issue meaningfuly. So, in a country that declares war on everything, the war on drugs, the war on teenage pregnancy, etc., we will we never get a war on gun violence. Thus it is that with the usual flag waving, the gun lobby quotes the right to bear arms - with or without a standing millitia, but aren't these the same people who will deny your right to the pursuit of happiness in a heartbeat. For heaven's sake, It's illegal to own a plastic representation of a penis in Texas, but you can buy an automatic weapon there. Well, I guess, when it comes to laws, this country has never had the reputation for being too logical. We're more driven by pork barrel politics and the spoils system then by good sense and decency. I know, it's depressing. But don't forget that in the same documents that the NRA loves to quote, the government is also tasked to protect the nation. So when laws or directives are in opposition, which will win? As it stands now, the one with the most campain fund contribution money behind it.

Posted by Mike on 05/25/2007 at 10:38 AM

Re: “Motznik wants city to require cat registration

It is a shame that dog license laws are necessary. I have been chased by stray dogs. I know of cases where people and livestock have been killed by dogs. So far, the worst I've heard from cat attacks are people with some scratches and an occassional missing goldfish. Dogs must be controlled to a greater extent because of the potental harm they can cause. Good public policy assesses the possible danger and regulates by law or otherwise based on that assessment. I'm sorry that some people don''t want cats on their lawns. I know that some cats can make a mess pooping all over. One can try chasing the cat away. Cats are territorial, and can be trained to stay off an area.

Posted by Mike on 05/25/2007 at 8:09 AM

Re: “Vicious Cycle

Purvis, Yes you are right. These are not hate crimes. Sometimes cyclists are more defensive because they are at higher risk. Not all car drivers hate cyclists. However, the few who do hate cyclists are really scarey because they are driving a weapon. I don't think that cyclists are looking for individual rights so much as a more rational approach to sharing the roads and the planet. Bikes don't pollute as much. Yes there are pollutants generated by the manufacturing process and CO2 from the rider, but this isn't much compared to the pollution from a car. Therefore, bikes are less harmful to the planet. This benefits everyone, not just the cyclist. Roads are expensive to build and maintain. More cycles can utilize a road than automobiles. Additionally, bikes don't damage the roadways as much as cars do. This could help save monies that could go to hospitals and schools for example. Yes you should organize the walkers. Walking around Pittsburgh can be very dangerous and unpleasant. Aggressive drivers often harrass pedestrians. I've had city busses bear down on me playing chicken in order to make a right turn or barrel through a crosswalk when they didn't have the right of way. Yes, organize the pedestrians and demand manditory jail sentences for aggressive drivers. Remember, your children are most likely to be pedestrians since they cannot drive. Some drivers do attack cyclist. Many times I've heard car drivers yell at cyclists or swerve to scare them. It does happen. It is not what I would call a hate crime, but it can be an assault with a deadly weapon. Cyclists do often disregard laws. This is unfortunately true. I don't excuse it, but I do want to explain what my experience as a cyclist and as a pedestrian has been: Cars often do not watch for pedestrians and cyclists. Many times, I've approached a car pulling out from a driveway. The driver looks one way, not both ways. The driver looks for cars not pedestrians or bikes. At intersections, it is often safer to cross when there is no traffic rather than wait for a walk sign. With the walk sign, there are often aggressive drivers who make right turns on red without looking for pedestrians or cyclists. Bicycle lanes are usually blocked by parked vehicles. Cars pass dangerously close to cyclist and pedestrians putting those lives at risk. Drivers open car doors into traffic without checking for bicycles, etc. In general, driving a bike lawfully is very perilous. I think this is because transportation departments focus on cars to a much larger degree than alternative modes of transportation. Make it safer to stay within the law and many more will. Cyclists should never block roads and should always try to be considerate. Yes you are right. Yes, don't ask for special treatment. Just ask for a sensible transportation policy and a greater emphasis on public safety for everyone who is on our roads and sidewalks. Remember, just because the automobile companies have politcal action commitees pushing public policy, that doesn't mean we can't make a difference.

Posted by Mike on 05/22/2007 at 12:36 PM

Re: “Community says jobs needed to curb Homewood crime

I agree, we need more jobs to help fight crime. I do believe, however, that this has to be addressed at the federal level. Like most cities, Pittsburgh lacks resources to address a problem of this magnitude. With per capita gross domestic product around $40K, this country has more than enough assests to guarantee full employment. As a bonus, with everyone working GDP should rise considerably higher. With every family of four at $160K a year, there would be much less social strife.

Posted by Mike on 05/19/2007 at 10:07 AM

Re: “Vicious Cycle

Yes, it's really hard to ride a bike in Pittsburgh. The roads are overcrowded and not designed for the amount of traffic we suffer. This is in large part the cost of bad planning. It is very ironic that motorists hate cyclists so much. Everyone on a bike is one less car on the road. Bikes could go a long way towards helping to reduce both traffic and air pollution. Of course there has never been a serious political movement towards this goal. the american auto manufacturers, tire manufacturers, and oil companies would never allow it. Alternative single occupancy vehicles will probably never be realized. Safe bike traffic too will not ever be a political priority. Manditory jail sentences for aggressive driving should be the norm, instead american's are sold the fanatsy of the open rode, unlimited power behind the wheel, and a foolish agrandizement of the lord of the manor in his carriage. Oedipus would have run down his dad in a second. So what about the children? I almost never see children riding bicycles. What was one of the greatest joys of my childhood is no longer an option for the overweight couch potato children of this age. Of course with the horrible air in the mon valley, it's no doubt better for the children to remain indoors. If they did come out and were hit by a car, I'm sure that most of PGH's drivers would agree - they had it coming.

Posted by Mike on 05/19/2007 at 9:56 AM

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