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Archive for September, 2011

Solyndra

Not to defend Solyndra, but practically the entire history of the DOE has been to fund dubious projects. Where was the business plan for Tokamak reactors? Or Breeder reactors, shale oil, or hydrogen highways, or biofuels?

And let’s not even start on ethanol.

So perhaps the Solyndra controversy will eliminate politics from the DOE grant process. Or not.

 

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Dumb and Dumber

With deep cuts in transit and Amtrak funding, the House GOP transportation plan has been widely criticized.

But, the President’s plan isn’t much better. It proposes 5-year, $336 billion spending plan for highway programs — a whopping 48% increase over SAFETEA-LU.

This begs the question: which is worse? The plan that cuts transit while holding the line on highway projects, or the plan that retains transit funding while massively expanding highways?

(And yeah, I get that there is a backlog of highway maintenance…but a big portion of the last stimulus went to highway expansion.)

Here is a table comparing the House and President’s budget — judge for yourself. Keep in mind that the final outcome will likely be the worst of both plans.

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Ski Helmet Bill Veteod

Governor Brown has vetoed the Ski Helmet bill. In his veto message, the Governor states:

While I appreciate the value of wearing a ski helmet, I am concerned about the continuing and seemingly inexorable transfer of authority from parents to the state. Not every human problem deserves a law.

Predictably, supporters shot back:

Brown “chose to ignore the scientific evidence (and) the ski industry’s support.”

In fact, the scientific data casts doubt on the effectiveness of ski helmets.

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When Explosives Go Missing

I feel safer already:

Explosives that went missing from Phoenix’s international airport during a routine police training several days ago, causing authorities to search the airport several times over the weekend, were spotted by a passing motorist sitting next to a roadside on Monday, police said.

The explosives — two half-pound orange-colored tubes set inside a blue, soft-sided Igloo container — were taken by an “unknown individual” Friday afternoon from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Police had placed the container in the public area of at the airport’s Terminal 4 to train police dogs.

 

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Fresno Follies

Truly depressing what’s going on in Fresno:

Homeowners be forewarned. If your residential street becomes a popular cut-through route, and you are in search of measures to calm the traffic (like a traffic circle), be wary. Your city might take the Fresno approach and solve the problem by simply removing the residents. Mustn’t let silly homes slow down the traffic.

James Sinclair misses the punchline: Peach Avenue is a designated “Scenic Arterial Street” in the 2025 Master Plan.

And even worse: Funds for this insane project aren’t coming from Federal stimulus dollars. It is being paid for by the State of California and Fresno County. Here we are in the middle of a major budget crisis. Police and teachers being laid off, and billions of cuts to higher education — but the zombie road widening projects just keep right on going.

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