Photo by Kalie Pierce
Earlier this year, Pittsblogher Kim Lyons wrote about the British Pens Fan Club, aka "Brinzers," a devoted group of hockey fans who cheer for the Pittsburgh Penguins from across the pond. One of their members, James Bird, visited the states last week and took in three Penguins games, two at Consol and one in New Jersey. We asked James to write us a little dispatch about his visit (and left in his British spelling for the sake of authenticity).
November 19th started like most days, I woke up at around Bedfordshire in the east of England, I was looking out over Point State Park from the 19th floor of my hotel at about , got out of bed and took a look out the window. The difference being instead of gazing out at a residential street in
nd it was a hockey night in Pittsburgh!
Journalists on Twitter and other denizens of the twittersphere played many 'What-if' games this week. It's been a week of anniversaries: Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, the 50th anniversary since JFK's assassination, the arrival of Mason and Dixon to Philadelphia.
Owners of rich imagination thought, "What is a better way to relive those moments than to commemorate them with tweets... describing those moments as if they were happening today?"
Imagine, if Twitter existed when President Lincoln was addressing the nation on November 19, 2013 rather than 1863.
So a Twitter version of the long-deceased president -- with a twitter handle @Mr_Lincoln -- live-tweeted, so to speak, the 200+ words, 10 sentences, in 140-character chunks...
My fellow citizens, I am nearly arrived to Washington after an emotional visit to Gettysburg. I was shown extraordinary hospitality.— Abraham Lincoln (@Mr_Lincoln) November 20, 2013
I would like to share with you the few remarks I gave, which I hope were appropriate to the occasion. I hope no one objects....— Abraham Lincoln (@Mr_Lincoln) November 20, 2013
And off... he went... I mean, tweeted, the @Mr_Lincoln, that is...
Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a.new nation, conceived in liberty.....— Abraham Lincoln (@Mr_Lincoln) November 20, 2013
And today, NPR launched a Twitter account with a handle @todayin1963 to live-tweet last moments of John F. Kennedy's life.
Mrs. Kennedy's outfit of choice today is a pink suit with navy trim and a matching pillbox hat.— Today in 1963 (@todayin1963) November 22, 2013
The Kennedys and Vice Pres. Johnson head to a Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce breakfast, where the president will give remarks.— Today in 1963 (@todayin1963) November 22, 2013
Kennedy's speech to Ft. Worth Chamber of Commerce focuses on military preparedness: "We are still the keystone in the arch of freedom."— Today in 1963 (@todayin1963) November 22, 2013
It's hard to imagine what the day of November 22nd, 1963, would have looked like had Twitter existed back then. It surely would not have been limited to tweets from a few accounts.
Exits the Hotel Texas after the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce Breakfast, Fort Worth, Texas with Mrs. Kennedy pic.twitter.com/iXcrZEjzux— JFK_1963 (@JFK_1963) November 22, 2013
By definition, however, there is no such thing as alternative history, as David Shribman says. It is what it is. Human nature is such that we will continue to explore, but never agree upon, what-if scenarios.
Today, social media is a place where people are not only reliving that day but sharing and preserving common memories of the man who was larger than life, a role model, a profile in courage, even for people who never lived through that haunting day...
I was not born yet but, my mom was working at N.Marcus in Dallas when JFK was shot. #JFKmemories— J. Craig Hanzelka (@pvtchef66) November 22, 2013
Watching shows about JFK with my daughter @sjvinyl we are both crying, I wad 6 at the time he was shot and she was not born yet— Renee (@reniot57) November 22, 2013
The transportation funding legislation that appears headed for final passage in Harrisburg would raise the state’s gasoline tax for the first time since 1997.
Because the increase will be applied at the wholesale level, it will be next to impossible for drivers to know how much of an impact it has on pump prices. Much more powerful forces than taxation drive the pump price up and down, including the machinations of oil sheiks, production issues, weather and good old supply and demand.
In the last two years, with no changes in federal or state taxes, the average price of a gallon of gas in Pennsylvania has fluctuated by more than $1, according to Gasbuddy.com.
Assuming that wholesalers pass every last red cent of their tax increase on to consumers — and experts say that is far from certain — drivers on Jan. 1 would be paying 9.5 cents more per gallon. For a driver who travels 12,000 miles a year in a 24 mpg vehicle, that would add $47.50 to his or her annual gasoline cost, or less than a buck a week.
At the current per-gallon price, the tax increase is less than 3 percent. That’s less than 3 percent in tax increases over a 17-year span. If your boss made you work without a raise for 17 years, then handed you a 3 percent bump, you wouldn’t be turning cartwheels over his generosity.
But that’s what Pennsylvanians are doing for their employee, PennDOT.
Pennsylvania’s current tax of 32.3 cents is 15th-highest in the nation; assuming no other state raises taxes next year, Pennsylvania would rise to No. 5. That's hardly out of line for the state that is No. 1 in structurally deficient bridges.
Looking farther down the road, two more wholesale gas tax increases are scheduled: 9.7 cents per gallon on Jan. 1, 2015, and at least 8 cents (but maybe more) on Jan. 1, 2017. Small rollbacks will occur for 2016 and possibly for 2018.
Currently, the wholesale tax is applied only to the first $1.25 of the price of a gallon. The legislation slowly removes that cap between Jan. 1, 2014, and Jan. 1, 2017. After that, gasoline will be taxed at the full wholesale price, meaning taxes will rise and fall each year based on market changes.
The gas tax is the biggest driver in the transportation bill, which is projected to raise $2.3 billion a year for roads, bridges, public transit and other modes by 2018. That is just a bit less than the amount of money gambled away at Pennsylvania’s casinos during the last fiscal year.
We don’t have the numbers yet, but Port Authority officials say their analysis of the transportation bill signals a long period of financial stability — at least five years and possibly a decade. We may even see some additional service on routes that have been overcrowded since the 2011 cuts. Oh, how we’ll miss those biennial financial distress calls.
Friday will bring the 53rd annual Light Up Night festivities to Downtown Pittsburgh. Friday’s Post-Gazette will have a rundown of street closings, but we can summarize it here — if you are anywhere near Downtown in a motor vehicle after dark, there’s a good chance you’ll spend time in gridlock.
Just in: PennDOT will open the new Route 28 ramps to the 31st Street Bridge at about 9 a.m. Monday. That end of the bridge has been closed since 2010 for construction of a grade-separated interchange.
From our PennDOT friends to the north: Traffic patterns returned to normal this week on westbound Interstate 80 in Jefferson County. The single-lane restrictions that were in place have been lifted between Exit 86 (Reynoldsville) and Exit 97 (Falls Creek). The project will resume in the spring.
Inbound Route 28 will be down to one lane from the former Millvale Industrial Park to East Ohio Street starting at 8 p.m. today. Restriction lifts by 6 a.m. Friday.
A reminder that the Pennsylvania Turnpike will be closed in both directions between Allegheny Valley and Butler Valley from 11:59 p.m. Saturday to 4 a.m. Sunday for bridge demolition.
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