You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘pennsylvania’ tag.

Technological innovation leads to greater efficiency: a simple maxim that seems to carry the force of law. But you don’t have to scratch deep to find other effects of innovation.

Hoping to stave off riots, Pennsylvania officials separated the red and white wines.

You can read books to discern those effects, including Nicholas Carr’s The Big Switch or David Noble’s Forces of Production.

No time to read? Stroll into a Pennsylvania supermarket and gawk at a wine kiosk (left), a frightening cross between a vending machine, an ATM and a prison, brought to us by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Anyone care to argue that this technology is the most efficient way to sell wine? The machine obviously serves other purposes, mostly having to do with control–and they haven’ t even been very good at that.

In this case, technology’s other purposes are obvious. Other cases are less obvious, which allows me to circle back to highways, my original inspiration for blogging this year. Highways are synonymous with freedom. But why?

 

Advertisements

So here is what I learned yesterday about William Warwick, the man who drove with his wife across country in 1916 in a GMC truck: It was not his first trip. According to a 1915 article in the Aberdeen Daily-American (of South Dakota), he also drove across country in one of these, a Metz:

"Just for two" is legally binding advice from the manufacturer, as evidenced by the double quotation marks.

Perhaps Warwick was some kind of hired gun who drove across country testing the viability of various wheeled machines. If he did, it was in the service of some sinister organization called the “good roads movement.”

Maybe you think it was bankrolled by the cynical group “people who hate trains.” But think again. Support came from the fans of all things bicycle.

Obviously, we did get better roads somewhere along the line-except in Pennsylvania. But we didn’t get as many bikes as, I’m sure, the manufacturers hoped. Yet another victory for the unintended consequence.

So I’m in the bathroom of a convenience store in Gettysburg, Pa., when I notice the condom dispenser. Only it’s not labeled as such. The sign reads: “Health Care Convenience Center.” Alas, my camera phone was in the car so I can’t provide visual evidence.

Nonetheless, it’s good to see that people outside Washington and Manhattan have been polishing their euphemisms. Lord knows we’ll be seeing plenty today as the House takes up a financial bailout and vice presidential candidates clash in St. Louis

It appears that Democrats in Adams and Franklin county have an online edge. They’re pushing Dem Bruce Tushingham out in front of Republican Rich Alloway in this Internet poll I set up many moons ago. I don’t quite understand the results, but it seems Tushingham has support of 65% versus 10.3% for Alloway. Both are running for a state Senate seat, to replace retiring Terry Punt, a Republican.

I haven’t seen many yard signs yet, but then again, I’m not driving regularly on Route 30 between York and Gettysburg. That, after all, is the other important metric in this race. Oh, and so is the overwhelming advantage in voter registration enjoyed by the GOP. I wonder if that will make a difference in the fall…

I discovered a new site that let me create my own polls and offer YOU the chance to take them. This survey here allows you to take your pick in the 33rd Senate District race between Rich Alloway and Bruce Tushingham. Take a look and let me know what you think.

The outcome of this particular race isn’t much in doubt, so I’ll try to create additional polls that might actually offer some suspense.

I hope PA is a bit player in Campaign 2012 so we can avoid painful examples of media condescension like this one. It reminds me of a 1986 video called “Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” only much less funnier.

Note that there is only one Cabela’s store in the entire state of PA, and the people who go there are not all rural — or Pennsylvanian. Fortunately, this particular store is located close to the highway and easily accessible to big-city reporters interested in barely scratching the surface.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I would have been in that parking lot in 1986 with my high school friends had it not been for family trip to the beach.

Why wait 24 hours when you can have a prediction on tomorrow’s election tonight? On the eve of the most-hyped PA primary in history, I’m posting the local Adams County candidates whose names drew the most searchers to this particular blog both for the entire spring and for the last seven days. Look for an explanation of this exercise here.

There is an interesting difference in the results depending on how far back you look, suggesting that Rich Alloway could be riding to victory on a wave of momentum. If I were you, I would trust the results from the shorter time frame more than the results from all time. WordPress seems to leave some searches out of the latter, creating odd fluctuations.

So, here are the results for all time:

For Terry Punt’s Senate seat:

  1. Cathy Cresswell: 26
  2. Rich Alloway: 23
  3. Bob Curley: 12
  4. Jim Taylor: 8

For Nickol’s House seat:

  1. Will Tallman: 25
  2. Mike Rishel:7

And here are the results for the last seven days…

For Punt’s Senate seat:

  1. Rich Alloway: 13
  2. Cathy Cresswell: 12
  3. Bob Curley:10
  4. Jim Taylor:8

For Nickol’s House seat:

  1. Will Tallman: 24
  2. Mike Rishel:5

Tallman is way ahead on the House side no matter how you slice it. On the Senate side, Alloway is up by one over the last week. But one person on Saturday was searching under “pa state senate democrat primary alloway.” Is it possible that Alloway supporters are encouraging Democrats to write in his name in a bid to block Curley’s write-in bid? Hmmm. I thought politics was supposed to be fair.

Will online searches turn into real votes? Tune in tomorrow to find out!

With one week to go until real votes are cast, we have a new leader in search requests for the state Senate race to replace Terry Punt. Cathy Cresswell has overtaken Rich Alloway for the lead. Jim Taylor also made it onto the board, finally, but Bob Curley stayed ahead of him for third, suggesting his write-in campaign as a Democrat is getting traction.

In the race to succeed Steve Nickol, Will Tallman extended his lead. More people are looking for him than his opponent, Mike Rishel. One person was looking for “pa primaries state representatives mike.”

For Punt’s Senate seat:

  1. Cathy Cresswell:15*
  2. Rich Alloway: 12*
  3. Bob Curley: 6
  4. Jim Taylor: 3*

For Nickol’s House seat:

  1. Will Tallman:8
  2. Mike Rishel: 1

* Three searches combined Cresswell and Alloway into a single search. I added three to each candidate’s total. Another search combined Alloway and Taylor. They each get one as a result.

So it looks like Cresswell is pulling ahead of Alloway. Tallman, who previously ran and lost against Nickol, is on pace to win this time. Or not.

The main thing missing in the ongoing debate over Barack Obama’s comments about small-town PA are voices of actual Pennsylvanians (other than Ed Rendell). I’ve seen quotes from consultants, politicians and pollsters, but next to nothing from people who live in our small towns. So for your edification, here’s a particularly perceptive op-ed from a young reporter in York who’s a native. Athough it ran a few weeks ago, it shows why Obama wasn’t far off the mark.

Yes, Obama’s comments were a tad condescending. How would it sound if John McCain said urbanites cling to their lattes and their fear of the suburbs because they’re bitter and frustrated that health insurance isn’t universal? Someone should just say that anyway, I suppose.

But rather than discuss the issues affecting small towns in Pennsylvania, we’re going to get an argument about who’s an elitist. It seems Obama’s biggest crime was uttering words that anyone with the slightest interest in tearing him down could spin quickly and easily. If only politicians could move as quickly when they had an actual problem to solve.

Pennsylvanians aren’t entirely silent in all this. We’ve seen a mayor trotted out in favor of Obama, a guy called John Fetterman from a town called Braddock, near Pittsburgh. But look at this web site and tell me if it seems typical of small towns in any state. Rick Gray of Lancaster also has been making cameos, but Lancaster also is fairly atypical when it comes to PA towns (but aren’t they all and isn’t that part of the point about not clinging to stereotypes?)

Hillary Clinton has been running ads showing her bucolic childhood days in Scranton,. She also assembled a mayors’ conference call, but the only one quoted that I’ve read is Mayor Stephen Reed of Harrisburg. Look at the Harrisburg skyline below and tell me if this is a small town:

[UPDATE: Here are the voices of the bitter themselves]

Can someone explain to me why, in a time of war, a defense contractor needs a state grant? Here is the story. BAE Systems, maker of various military vehicles used in Iraq, stands to get a $2.5 million grant and tax credits valued at $1.8 million from the generous commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Sadly, the company’s latest order is for a measly $715 million. Lord knows how it’s making ends meet in these tough times.

UPDATE: You can sound off here.