Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The death of Atlantic City

Atlantic City is doomed as a gambling destination. It's always been just about the gambling, AC never expanded into shopping, shows, tours, etc... as Vegas did. Philly is going to end up eating AC's lunch, it has all the right ingredients: shopping, food, shows, much easier accessibility than AC from NYC and much of the populated regions of NJ. AC casinos are mostly rundown, with the exception of Caesars and the Borgata.I say this while sitting in the first stage of the SugarHouse casino in Philly. Within the next six years I predict multiple casinos will be here in the Penn's Landing area.

Within a year there I bet poker will be readily available and within 5 years there will be sports betting in Philly. Philly will become the high roller destination of choice for overnight and post business trip gambling stints in the east as higher end casinos and hotels open up and the waterfront will be further revitalized. It's strategic position on the northeast corridor will also be a boon. LA has Vegas, DC, NY, and Philly will will have Philly.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Free rider, expecting a smooth ride, falls of back of train, breaks leg, blames train company

Liberal blogs everywhere are screaming bloody murder after a free loader loses his house to a fire after he thought he could scam the local fire department.

From Huffington Post:

"By now, you've probably heard the news about Gene Cranick and his family, and how the South Fulton, Tennessee fire department stood by and allowed the Cranick house to burn to the ground, destroying everything and killing the family's dogs and cats. All because the Cranicks failed to pay a $75 [yearly fire department] fee. While a raging brush fire neared his home, Cranick begged the fire chief to stop the fire before it engulfed his house. He even offered to immediately pay the $75 [yearly fire department] fee, but the chief refused and the house burned to the ground. "

Most of the commenters on this blog (which is decidely liberal) are claiming that this is all neo-cons and libertarians fault, and this is what the world would look like under them. My guess is that most of those responders live in the NY, LA, SF, DC, Seattle, Boston metro area, because 80% of the municipalities in the United States are covered by volunteer fire departments, and many unincorporated areas (read: choose to not pay taxes because they are outside a city) follow this same practice.

"I hope no one is surprised by this? Because when you are down on the dirt, the Neo-Cons will pick up their shovel and throw dirt at you. When your near death, they will have your grave ready for you. Glenn Beck has a large media audience who makes him a multi-millionaire, and instead of Glenn having compassion and maybe offering the poor family assistance, he kicks dirt in their faces as they lie down on the dirt just to prove a point in that the Republican councils legislation wasn't flawed at all, but rather it was a good law of making everyone pay $75.00 dollars and it was correct for firefighters to see the house go up in flames and do absolutely nothing. If you really cared about the American Citizen, and you know that they lost everything in a house fire, and it could have been prevented, then it doesn't matter which party created the flawed law, what matters is that we are all Americans and we shall help one another and better our country and flawed legislation. But for the Neo-Cons like Beck it's all about themselves. It's not about helping American citizens because if it was then they would be opposed to the US Chamber receiving foreign money for favorable legislation. If they cared about American workers then they would applaud General Motors & Chrysler doing extremely well after being helped by the government. Beck is showing his true colors. Truly disgusting. "

Someone, who clearly did their homework, had this to say in response:

"*Gene Cranick has a huge amount of property that is outside city limits and so is untaxed. The money he DOESN'T pay on taxes, and the money he makes via farming and govt. subsidies, surely provides that 75 dollar payment.

* The FD had, 3 years ago, put out another fire for the Cranicks even though they weren't paying the fee then either. Cranick paid the fee for a few months afterwards and then assumed the fire department would do the same again so he stopped paying the fire services fee; 3 reminder calls and a letter say he did not "forget". The fire department would still have come if a human were trapped.

* The Cranicks' grandson *started* this fire by burning trash in a barrel even though the area was under fire ban. He left the burning barrel unattended. When he came out, the fire had spread to a shed. It didn't reach the house for over an hour; lots of time to get even reluctant pets out before the house caught fire. [But, expecting the neighboring fire department to put out the fire on the basis of their help the last time the Cranicks had a fire but refused to pay the yearly fire department fee, it seems they didn't attempt to move the pets until it was too late]

* The fire department Mr Cranick called belongs to a town they do not live in, paid for by the taxes the *town's* residents pay and the rural residents don't. There is no state tax.

* The rural residents have VOTED DOWN a .13% property tax to support the FD. That leaves only the subscription model to get them to pay into the service they're demanding the use of -- and MOST of the FD's calls are from them.

* The FDs in the area tried a pay-as-you-go model, but fewer than half the people whose property they saved paid them.

I DO live in an unincorporated area; and yes this is exactly how it works, in thousands of communities across the country. Property owners pay NO taxes to the city. That's 'nice' benefit eh? Of course that also means no access to city services like Water, Sewer and Trash pickup. People around here have Well Water/Filtration Systems/Septic Systems. It also means Trash pickup is not included. We have to contract with a local Sanitation service our own selves. That is the way this works. You 'make out' on not paying taxes, but you have to shell out your own money then for services that are available to taxpayers.

It's sad that this guy's house burned down. But, it's idiotic for people to think that someone who chooses to live outside city limits and not contribute to city coffers should be entitled to all the services city taxpayers are.

And again, the Fire. Dept. cannot force taxes on non-residents; and they can't collect monies owed by people who don't want to pay, either before or after a fire.

I don't see how liberals and conservatives see differently on this issue....The same fire department saved the same house 3 years ago, even though they had not paid. Even after that they decide not to pay!!

That is just plain stupid. I am sure they thought that the fire fighters would save them again.
I completely agree with the actions of the fire department and I am a bleeding [heart] liberal. Watch now, every one of those pay the $75 per year.. "


Monday, October 4, 2010

High Speed Rail in the US

China is eating the USA's lunch when it comes to high speed rail. Five years ago the Chinese rail system was an unreliable dinosaur, now they have the most high speed rail of any country in the world.

I've heard many many excuses in the past regarding high speed rail, mainly "Japan and European countries are tiny compared to the United States, it just won't work here."

Well China is not tiny. In fact, the highly populated part of China (eastern half) corresponds nicely to the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, and it is just as population-dense if not moreso!

Hopefully we start getting regional true high speed rail this decade.
I see three viable regional routes:
1) Northeast Corridor
Washington, DC - Baltimore - Philadelphia - New York City - New Haven - Boston
2) Texas T-bone
-------------------/Dallas/Ft Worth
Houston - Austin
-------------------\San Antonio
3) NorCal-SoCal-Vegas
Sacramento - Oakland/SF - Fresno - Bakersfield - Los Angeles - Vegas