Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Midweek Review

Here it is the middle of the week already. And, if you string together some of the news stories you can see some trends.
Clinton May Pave Way for Talks With Spotlight on Kim (Update3) - "The success of the former U.S. president in securing the release of reporters Euna Lee and Laura Ling eases strains created by North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests and the regime’s refusal to return to negotiations, former U.S. officials said."
I want to give Former President Clinton props for getting the young ladies out of the NK. I don't think much of his character. And I wasn't a fan of his in office. But, he went in and did what needed doing to bring the women home. I hope they learned from their experience. And I'm really happy for thier families sakes. Good Job Mr. President.

Sotomayor worthy of high court? Senate set to continue debate - "WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Debate is scheduled to continue Wednesday to determine whether federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor will become the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.
If confirmed, Sonia Sotomayor would be the nation's first Hispanic on the Supreme Court and it's third woman.
As the Senate considers her nomination, hundreds of supporters of Sotomayor are expected to rally at Upper Senate Park in Washington."
We know that her confirmation is a lock. And I'm glad to see that at least her supporters are getting out there and making noise on her behalf. I'd like to see more dogfighting though. I'm not a fan of mudslinging in general, but the opposition has accepted the inevitable and rolled over. Instead they should go down fighting. Her appointment is so important that a microscope on her judicial career is warranted.

Obama to announce $2.4 billion in electric vehicle grants - Drive On: A conversation about the cars and trucks we drive - "The goal of getting the U.S. solidly back into the race to become the leader in the production of electric cars gets a boost today. President Obama is headed for Indiana this morning where he will announce $2.4 billion in funding for electric vehicle manufacturing.

Of the total, about $400 million of the total will go to buy thousands of plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles for demonstration projects. Another $1.5 billion will go to trying to foster an advanced vehicle battery industry in the U.S. And the remainder, about $500 million, will go to makers of electric drive components, power system and the other parts needed to make electric vehicles."

This bugs me. Grants are all well and good from private entities. But not the .gov. I'd far rather see loans instead of grants. At least then there is a chance of getting something back into the treasury. Plus, this program comes from the stimulus which is anti-Constitutional at best. The bottom line is that most Americans won't buy an electric car unless it is sexy. If I were in the Oval Office and just had to satisfy political reality by throwing cash at something related to transportation I'd throw it at mass transit. Less gas guzzlers, and a chance to remove a bit of gridlock as well. Of course, in the perfect world the .gov would obey the letter of the constitution and stay out of it except perhaps in an advisory role.

The Associated Press: 'Clunkers' rebates look likely for another month: "WASHINGTON — The Senate has cleared the way for a vote extending the 'cash-for-clunkers' program, which offers car buyers rebates of up to $4,500 for trading in their gas-guzzlers for new, higher-mileage models, setting aside Republican opposition to the plan.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday he had several very good conversations with Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and there is 'a significant majority' that wants to move forward with the legislation."
You have to credit the Democrats for being aggressive. As the minority they fight delaying actions that stop, stall, or otherwise try-to-block whatever doesn't fit thier ideology. As the majority, they pay lip service to bipartisanship and then steamroll the opposition. You can't help but respect the folks for playing hardball.

What to do? Call or write the key legislators and let them know that the programs are not in Americas best interests in the long term. In the short term try to convince them that mass transit is more important than privatly owned autos. In this case, Mass Transit isn't only subways and busses in the metro areas. Mass Transit as far out into the suburbs and even fringe rural areas would be good. Mass Transit of Goods within the cities or from city to city would be great.

Thanks for reading, have a good 2nd half. - Phil

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