There are more calls for a renewed spending package for transportation at the federal level. With the GOP in a state of permanent (selective), budgetary freak out, it probably won’t happen, but it’s worth looking at anyway. As part of the 2009 Recovery Act a lot of money flowed to the states to be used to fund so called “shovel ready” projects that would provide a quick jolt to the disastrous jobs situation inherited from the Bush collapse of the previous year, while beginning to address the infrastructure crisis that’s built up via decades of neglect. It was an impressive investment and in many ways it did what it was supposed to do short term. Of course a lot of that money went to road construction (STP), which produced less job hours per dollar/per month, rather than public transportation, and because of the disproportionate influence of rural states in Congress, a lot of money went into rural projects that were often less urgently needed but very politically expedient. Some States controlled by the GOP like Florida, and Wisconsin even returned transportation stimulus funds rather than encourage the Obama administration’s clearly “socialist”, attempt to jump start the economy through insidious high speed rail lines. So now, with a GOP controlled House and a filibuster friendly Senate, the GOP is sitting on transportation funding while the nation’s bridges crumble and the commuter rail system continues to atrophy.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court, you remember them from the recent Judicial election (yes they elect their judges in Wisconsin, go figure), where the progressive candidate was going to unseat the conservative until a county clerk with close ties to the GOP and a history of election day “irregularities” and errors, “found” an extra 15,000 votes that guaranteed the conservative a win, will probably overturn the ruling, but this is still a victory. Governor (for now) Walker and the boys in the State Senate are in for a long, hot summer.
The days when you could be out “shootin at some food”, and have your bullet set off a geyser of “bubbl’n crude” are fast coming to an end. Energy extraction, at least fossil fuel energy extraction is getting expensive and very dirty. The oil companies hold out a lot of hope for Canadian oil shale and tar sands, but the process of extraction is an ecological nightmare, and only seems profitable if the price of oil gets a lot higher and stays there (think they know something they’re not telling?). There’s been a move afoot in Congress to build a huge pipeline from Canada down south to get all that “black gold and tundra tea” to the waiting SUVs of America. It’s an international pipeline so it’s being held up at the State Department, which is a good thing, consider dropping a line opposing this bad idea, see below.
Interesting story about the wide spread use, and perhaps abuse of a psychological test that is meant to diagnose psychopathy in prison inmates.
Reading this made me very proud of the members of APV, we’re already doing a lot of what is suggested here. Still this is a great resource and one we’ll be using in the future. Check it out.
Sarah Palin, the occasional Governor of Alaska has a movie coming out (and no, not that movie), about how incredible she is. It’s modestly called “the Undefeated” cause, you know she only lost that one time as part of a ticket in a national election. Any way, the gang at Balloon Juice have been collecting alternate titles… enjoy and have a great weekend and holiday.