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as seen on phillyBurbs.com

Pa. bets the ranch
... and loses it to the Indians!

The homework is now six months late.

Yet, it's sloppily done, like it was written on a bus ride to school.

Many of the answers to math problems don't quite add up and some have been left blank.

If you think this student deserves a big fat 'F' on his or her report card, it's time to fire your state legislator or at the very least, vote for the other person at the next election.

That's because six months into its fiscal year, Pennsylvania is still without a budget.

The annual spending plan is being held hostage by lawmakers who insist they can't make ends meet without either raising income taxes by $1 BILLION - or by legalizing slot machines at 12 racetracks and opening two betting parlors.

Other lawmakers aren't so sure, now that several Native American tribes have lined up for a piece of the pie.

Who do they think they are, anyway? The king gave William Penn and us this land and he didn't mention any squatters before we rebelled against him.

Besides, did those Indians kick in any of the estimated $718,000 spent lobbying lawmakers to get the racinos bill passed. I don't think so.

Maybe House and Senate leaders should use their best John Wayne voices to tell them to go back to their reservations and drown their sorrows - if they can afford the prices at our state-run liquor stores, that is.

And speaking of going on a bender.

When this kind of financial impasse happens at the federal level, the U.S. government literally shuts down. Legislative aides are sent home and Congress burns the midnight oil to try and get something it can live with passed that meets the President's approval.

That isn't the way it works here in Pennsylvania.

Nope, the state just keeps on spending like a drunken sailor on a two-day pass with six month's pay in his pockets.

It's time to put him, the governor and the entire legislature in the drunk tank until they sober up.

Or at least give them a big fat 'F.'

My advice to the Native American tribes is this: Stop worrying about the casinos and start buying up Pennsylvania's municipal bonds. They may not be worth more than paper soon, but you'll get a chance to foreclose and evict us.


Dave - You really embarrassed yourself with this one.

Comcast does a very good job. Your anger and bitterness against Comcast is misplaced and I can only assume you have some personal issues with those people. Everybody I know watches Sports Net for their comprehensive reports, interviews, post-game shows and features. If you'd rather have a retard like Gary Pappa or Bill Vargas reading 30 seconds of scores, you are as clueless as you seemed in that story.

- Chad Stuart

Chad was referring to my Sept. 14 column, "Second-rate sports TV" in which I lamented the fact that the best local TV sports coverage now appears to be on cable rather than on regular TV. Trust me, Chad, it wasn't always like this.

My Dec. 8 column, "The sky is falling!" drew these responses:

The news/weather coverage was ridiculous! We had nothing but rain, cold, and a few snow flurries, in Columbus, Ohio.  All the alerts/warnings/predictions for snow and ice  you would have thought "the sky was falling."!

- Catherine

The Doppler function of Doppler radar is mostly meaningless in storms of this nature.  First, a local Doppler radar is an observational tool with little forecast implication.  Radar tells you there's precipitation out there.  Doppler radar tells the speed it's moving.
When a cop stops you on I-95, that's Doppler radar!
Because there's little moment to moment variability in snow, and because we're not looking for individual devastating cells, the Weather Service NEXRAD radar is probably the best tool because it's very powerful and there's a network of them.  Because of the curvature of the Earth, the farther a storm is from the radar site, the higher the beam.  NEXRAD is sited to have overlapping coverage that doesn't shoot over most precipitation.
I have been on TV, forecasting the weather at one station in Connecticut for nearly 20 years.  Here's a little secret.  There's no upside to being wrong.  So, hyping a storm for no good reason will bite you in the ass over time.

- Geoff Fox

Fox also wrote that he called for eight- to 14-inches from our first Nor'easter of the season. To see how successful he was, click here.

Dave Ralis' Pave The Grass column appears on Mondays. You can send him an e-mail at  or call him at 215-269-5051. To read his previous columns, click here.

Dec. 22, 2003