Marc Fisher’s final column

MARC FISHER: After 1,250 Columns, the EndThe Post
Fisher is moving on to an Metro editor position:

There are a million stories in the naked city, someone once said, and I told 1,250 of them here, and another 1,200 on the blog. I heard from readers 250,000 times and I tried to respond to all of them. I could stay on this road for years to come, I love it so. But this path feels worn and familiar, and the challenge now is to hack out a new one.

Newspapers are in a fight to survive, desperately searching for new ways to reflect the world to an audience that is less trusting, more distracted and diffuse. For many people now, digital connections seem to trump geography as the central definition of home. But those electronic ties don’t fulfill all our needs. Where we live still matters. Starting next month, I’ll be putting together a group of writers whose job it will be to tell the truths of Washington in compelling and essential ways, combining traditional storytelling with new forms that involve and engage the people who live here.

Sounds like it is worth a shot. Fisher was the best Washington columnist around and I will miss his columns and chats.

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Gov. Rendell still pushing for tolls on I-80 in Pennsylvania

Rendell: Congress should remove restrictions on tolling of interstatesPost-Gazette
There he goes again — Gov. Ed Rendell wants Congress to give Pennsylvania and other states the ability to establish tolls along highways. Interstate 80 which runs through the northern half of the state has heavy out-of-state traffic. This leads to people with no familiarity of highway funding to believe that out-of-state drivers do not contribute to the roads maintenance costs. This is fiction of course, since American motorists are responsible for 90% of interstate highway funding that is collected primarily through a national sales tax on gasoline. State gas taxes tend to fund the other 10%. in short, all American drivers pay for interstate roads. Politicians, like Rendell and a previous recent governor, Tom Ridge, apparently do not understand this either. Both called for tolls on I-80. I have even created a label called I-80 so you can follow along.

American motorists and taxpayers have paid for I-80 for over fifty years. If Pennsylvania wants to toll the road or any other previously “free” interstate highway, they should have to reimburse the highway trust fund for all costs associated up until this point. If that happens, I have no problem with them putting tolls up. I’d laugh and call Pennsylvania “the toll booth state” too. It is worth noting too that Pennsylvania got more funding from the Federal Highway Trust Fund throughout the 1990s than any other state. Of course, much of it was sent to the Altoona area by Bud Shuster, who ruled the powerful infrastructure committee that allocated highway funds. Congress shouldn’t give Pennsylvannia a free pass because they spent the money poorly. If Pennsylvania wants more highway funding, they ought to increase their statewide gas tax appropriately.

H/T Jeff Kitsko, on Facebook

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Athlon: Penn State #7

No. 7 Penn State Nittany LionsAthlon College Football
We are 99 days away from kickoff, but Athlon has had their Penn State preview up for a little while now. They rank Penn State #7, but have concerns about the offensive line, wide receivers and the secondary. Of those, the wideouts concern me the most, followed by the line and then the secondary. I think the last year’s DBs can be improved upon. Line play has gotten better over the last four seasons and while I don’t think that they will “reload” I think it will be okay.

Okay, no more previews after this one — I’ll wait until summer practice for any more.

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Nats Manny Acta might be a better manager if he wanted to keep his job

Acta Sees No Need for AlarmThe Post
By all accounts, Manny Acta is pretty good human being and this article does nothing to dissuade me of that notion. However, as great a guy as he is, I believe he is just too laid back about the way things are going. This is a team that needs a kick in a butt and not just “let’s just stay calm all the time” leadership. I am not suggesting Acta kick dust at the umpires every time he disagrees with them, but at least go out and plead your case. The players will appreciate it.

Also, Acta’s one big flaw comes out — he has no fear of losing his job because he knows another MLB job will be waiting for him. That is not a trait I want in a manager who is in last place for the third consecutive year.

I think Acta will be a good manager some day, but the odds of it happening in D.C. are so slim.

Acta: Managing to Stay Calm or Too Calm to Manage?The Post
Bos is chiming in:

Besides, the Nats have already gone the extra mile. The cliche says: “They fired the manager because they couldn’t fire the team.” The Nats have actually reversed that dictum. They have “fired the team” multiple times already, rather than can Manny. And it’s only May. So far, the Nats have had two full-scale bullpen purges, a center fielder exiled to Class AAA and a free agent starting pitcher released outright. Nobody has gotten that much support under fire in this town since Abe Lincoln backed Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

That may be a bit much, Bos. Anyway, Bos does not really reach any conclusions. My conclusion — sadly, he needs to go. Preferably to the American League.

Acta discusses Nats’ present, futurenationals.com
More of the same in an Q&A with Bill Ladson.

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