1. Did you hear about the million-dollar painting that was stolen from NEPA? Seems that, within the past couple of weeks, a painting by Goya was on its way from a museum in Toledo to the Guggenheim in New York. Somewhere in Monroe County, I believe, the painting was stolen while, according to THIS article, the professional art transporter that was, well, transporting the painting left the "transport vehicle" unattended! Hello! You are transporting a 230-year-old painting that's insured for $1 million. Shouldn't someone be attending the "transport vehicle" at all times?
Anyway, the painting is not the important thing here. What I found interesting is that just about every article I could find about the theft refers to it as taking place in "the Scranton area." OK. I guess if you're not a local, Scranton is the most recognizable city that's closest to the vicinity where the theft occurred. But, I really had to crack up at the way THE GUARDIAN newspaper in the UK described the heist. The article specifies that the aforementioned "transport vehicle" was a van. It also says: "The van was travelling on a circuitous route through the backwater of Scranton in Pennsylvania, well away from the main interstate highway 80 that led to its destination, New York."
So, the Brits consider the Poconos to be the "backwater of Scranton?" Well, at least they stopped short of calling Scranton "an old coal-mining town."
2. After holding hearings all around the state, some commission or other recently released its proposal to promote public transportation and get PennDOT the money it needs to fix the damn roads once and for all. All it's going to take is an extra $1.6 billion a year, which the commission suggests should be raised by increasing the state's gasoline tax by about 11.5 cents/gallon, increasing registration fees, and sticking homeowners with some sort of monthly tax on their mortgages.
To recap: PennDOT says that if it could just get its hands on another $1.6 billion of our money each year, it could fix the roads and maintain them just fine. And, maybe more people would use public transportation.
I say it all sounds an awful lot like what PennDOT said the last time fees, etc. went up. So, we should believe them this time because .... ??? (feel free to fill in the blank)