Archive for September, 2013

PATransit Tuesday: The future of ConnectCard?

Scientists from MIT teamed up with Boston’s public transportation agency and created the Sesame Ring (as in, “Open, Sesame”).

The ring operates with RFID technology, like the ConnectCard, and Boston’s equivalent, Charlie Card, which pays for trips when it is tapped/waved in front of a reader on the bus or T.

It’s a cool idea, and it was funded through Kickstarter to address the problem of people not being able to fish out their cards in time, but I have to wonder if that is really a problem.  I’ve never had a problem pulling out my card, and even when people have had to fish for their card, pass or money, the bus normally takes off and they pay or swipe what they need to as the route continues.

Either way though, it’s a cool idea, especially since you could get them customized, but I just don’t see the need of them, aside from being a cool fashion accessory.

The state of marriage equality

Pennsylvania has been in the news a lot lately for our struggle for marriage equality.  Here’s a quick round-up of where we are.

The ACLU lawsuit is still pending, this was first announced after the Prop 8 and DOMA decisions and is actually separate from everything else going on.  Our Attorney General declined to defend it, since she believes it is unconstitutional and would not stand in court, opting to save the state money.  Governor Corbett, however, picked up the defense and is now using a $400/hour lawyer, charged to the taxpayers, to defend Pennsylvania’s ban on marriage equality in court.

What’s kept us in the news lately has been marriage licenses coming from a county hear Philadelphia.  A case was heard, and the Governor’s lawyers shoved their feet so far into their mouths, it garnered national attention for their offensive remarks:

In a brief Wednesday, state attorneys said those marriage licenses were never valid, and compared gay and lesbian couples to “12-year-olds” who are also barred from marrying under state law.

The Governor backtracked from those remarks after the backlash heated up, which I suppose is something.

The wording of that brief however, called these marriages “meaningless.”  And I think that’s the most hurtful part.  These are people’s lives, people’s loves that they’re calling meaningless, because Corbett is desperately trying to cling to some sort of base to keep him in office next year.

And I may be wrong, but here is what I understand, once a marriage license has been given to a couple, they can be married by anyone in the the state that has that authority, so people like Mayor Fetterman aren’t breaking any laws.  Again, I may be off on that, and it’s really a technicality, but one that I would hope would give more public officials ways to show their support.

So the two trials will continue, and the spotlight isn’t going to be moving off of Pennsylvania anytime soon, as we’re the only state in the entire northeast that has no legal recognition of same-sex relationships (NJ has civil unions, but no marriage equality, and every other state has marriage equality).

Update: The court has ordered the the county clerk to stop issuing marriage certificates to same-sex couples.

More reasons the Pens are far superior to the Capitals

Football season started over the weekend, or I guess actually last Thursday, but really that just means we’re about a week until pre-season Pens games.

In case you’ve been under a rock lately, you’ve most likely heard about Russia’s draconian anti-LGBT laws as we barrel towards the Sochi Olympics.  And in classy fashion, Sid spoke with the media about how he disagrees with the law.  Combine that with Orpik’s work with the You Can Play project, and it’s a refreshing look at a professional sports team, and its stars, interested in equality.

The Capitals on the other hand, we have Ovechkin, who is either completely unaware of the law (best case scenario), or afraid to talk about it, instead trying to turn the conversation back to the jerseys.  And to be fair, he is in a bit of a more precarious situation, considering he’ll be playing for Team Russia, but it’s still a weird non-response and he’s in a position to make a significant difference, it’s sad to see him pass on the opportunity.

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