Clinton’s infrastructure spending plan too little to tackle multi-trillion-dollar crisis

News item:

Hillary Clinton on Sunday announced her plan for infrastructure spending—a “down payment on our future,” she said—and it comes with a hefty price tag: $275 billion.

At a campaign event in Boston, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination called for an increase in federal infrastructure spending over five years and the establishment of an infrastructure bank—two proposals that she says will create jobs and repair the U.S.’s crumbling highways and bridges.

aging-infrastructureJust $275 billion? That’s only $55 billion annually. That’s not enough to address the ailments of the nation’s roads and bridges — let alone everything else. The Federal Highway Administration argues $170 billion is needed each year to address safety issues and performance. Federal, state, and local investment, the American Society of Civil Engineers says, amounts to only $91 billion each year. Meanwhile, bad roads cost Americans more than $100 billion annually in wasted time and fuel.

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Donald Trump threatens Scotland; Scotland yawns

You know The Donald™. He likes to be, well, public. So when he wanted to build a fancy new golf course and super-duper resort in Scotland a couple of years ago, he went public. And after his proposal was turned down by the local planning authorities, he went nuclear and got his good buddy Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party, to override the local council’s objections, which Salmond, or more specifically his Finance Secretary, duly did. So it looked as if The Donald™ would bring to Scotland something it sorely needed—another golf course.

But then Salmond decided that in order to bolster the case for further Scottish separation from Great Britain, if not outright independence, it needed to become a trailblazer in renewable energy, particularly wind farms, where Scotland claims to have one quarter of Europe’s wind resource capacity. Salmond’s ambitions are high, indeed—the government is currently targeting 100% of Scotland’s energy need be filled by renewable sources by 2020, and there are a number of programs in place to move this along. Continue reading

If I wanted America to fail…

On Earth Day (which was Sunday – keep up) the inchoately titled Free Market America … er, foundation, released a video entitled, “If I wanted America to fail” in which they tackle the knotty subject of climate change and carbon pricing through the medium of a patronising preppie grossly oversimplifying a complex problem.

No, please, go ahead and watch:

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Nota Bene #123: Behold the Chickenosaurus

“There ought to be limits to freedom.” Who said it? Continue reading

Rep. Upton's business competition hypocrisy, exhibit A

Rep. Fred Upton, Republican chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, held a hearing yesterday on a piece of legislation euphemistically named the Energy Tax Prevention Act. This law seeks to overturn the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases. In Upton’s opening statement, he claims “I know American manufacturers can compete – but not if they are saddled with burdensome regulations that put us at an unfair disadvantage.”

On the surface, this is a completely reasonable thing for a Republican to say. After all, Republicans generally are against regulations on the laissez-faire premise that all regulation is bad for business. But Upton is also on record supporting repeal of last year’s healthcare law, something else that would put American manufacturers at an “unfair disadvantage.” Continue reading

Nota Bene #117: Wake Up!

“Hollywood is so crooked that Mafia gangsters are entirely outclassed and don’t stand a chance. People in Hollywood are smarter. They have more sophisticated knowledge of money and deals and how to steal legally rather than illegally.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #115: RIP No. 32

“If you’re really pro-life, do me a favor—don’t lock arms and block medical clinics. If you’re so pro-life, lock arms and block cemeteries.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #112: GOOOLLLLLLLL

“Freedom of any kind is the worst for creativity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Gulf oil has likely reached the Loop Current

The image at right is a composite of the most recent MODIS satellite image of the spill area in the Gulf of Mexico and a National Weather Service model of the Loop Current. It was created by Brad Johnson of Think Progress’ The Wonk Room.

The composite image shows that the oil spill area has almost certainly reached the Loop Current, which is one of the major currents in the Gulf of Mexico. The loop current runs right past the Florida Keys and then meets up with the Gulf Stream, and if the tar balls that have been washing up on Key West beaches over the last day or two are from the spill (they may be from older spills years ago), then we should assume that the MODIS satellite imagery is the minimum extent of the spill area. Given that scientists aboard a NOAA survey ship have observed a plume at least 45 km long and 10 km wide that’s thousands of feet below the surface (and thus not visually detectable from the surface), it’s reasonable to say that the observed surface slick does not represent the full extent of the spill to date. And NOAA has now closed 19% of federally-controlled Gulf waters to all fishing (map).

Nota Bene #110: WEHT SWK?

“In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #105: The Illustrated Dick

“When all you are becomes defined as the amount of information traceable to you, what are we then? What have we become, in a world where there is no separation, no door, no filter beyond which we can say, ‘No. This is my personal space. Not yours. Here I am alone with my thoughts and free of any outside influence or control. This, you cannot have.’ I don’t know, but I don’t want to find out.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #103: Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse

“To take people from the music world and give them the same kind of credibility that you give me, Morgan Freeman, Laurence Fishburne, Forest Whitaker—that’s like an aberration. I know there’s some young actor sitting in New York or L.A. who’s spent half of his life learning how to act and sacrificing to learn his craft but isn’t going to get his opportunity because of some ‘actor’ who’s been created.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #100: Il Planetario di Figaro

Wow, 100 issues of Nota Bene! Props to Russ for helping me for a while with this nifty little S&R feature. Never mind all that now, let’s get on with this issue. “What splendid buildings our architects would be able to execute if only they could finally be less obedient to gravity!” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #99: Heed the Peace Gnome

“You just pick up a chord, go twang, and you’ve got music.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #97: toDwI'ma' qoS yItIvqu'!

“To be truly free, and truly to appreciate its freedom, a society must be literate.” Continue reading

Nota Bene #96: Saturn's Hexagon and the Bulava Spiral

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” Continue reading

Democracy & Elitism 3: burning down the straw man, and who are these out-of-touch "liberal elites," anyway?

Let’s begin with a quick trivia question. What legislator’s Top 20 donor list includes the following?

We’ll have the answer for you at the bottom. Continue reading

Nota Bene #92: Echoblowcation

A few things for you NB readers: Continue reading

The Weekly Carboholic: ACCCE hired Bonner, but didn't notify Congress of forgeries when they were discovered

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Before the House voted on the American Climate and Energy Security Act (ACES) earlier this year, someone hired Bonner & Associates (hereafter Bonner) to manufacture some grassroots opposition against ACES. At least one employee did so by forging letters from non-existent people to Representative Tom Perriello of Virginia. These letters were discovered, Bonner claims to have fired the employee, and a partner at Bonner apologized to the two minority groups from which the letters were supposedly sent. The apologies were, it’s fair to say, emphatically not accepted.

Since the Bonner story broke last Friday, there have been a lot of new information about who hired them, whether there were other Congresspeople who received forged letters, the legality or lack thereof, and an official response from a House committee with subpoena powers. Continue reading