Blacknell.net

Politics, technology, and society. And the seasonal incursion of pro cycling.

Month: May 2010 (Page 1 of 3)

The Scale of the Cost of the Gulf/BP Cleanup

Latest observation:
Federal officials say cleaning up the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has already cost the government $87 million, making it the third-most expensive cleanup effort in the nation's history.
For comparison:
Other skeptics inside the Pentagon note that the planes, designed 30 years ago to combat a Cold War adversary, have cost an average of $350 million apiece and say they are not a priority in the age of small wars and terrorist threats.
That's for grins, right?  Because if anyone actually gave a shit about fiscal responsibility, this would be all over the front pages, no?

Cycling Safety Starts With . . .

Cyclists?/!  Good discussion there.

Thank Sec. LaHood: DC’s Freedom Plaza on Friday at 12:45p

Meet up with other area cyclists at 12:45pm on Friday, May 28, in Freedom Plaza (14th and Pennsylvania NW) for a ride to the Department of Transportation to thank Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for his leadership on bicycling and pedestrian issues. From the press release:
Bicyclists and Pedestrians Recognize US DOT Secretary LaHood for His Leadership Transportation advocates to bike thank you letter down Pennsylvania Avenue to USDOT WHAT: U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will greet bicycle riders outside USDOT headquarters to accept a thank you letter signed by over 275 organizations nationwide for the Secretary’s leadership on bicycle and pedestrian issues. LaHood has issued a new policy to make bicycling and walking safer and more accessible, setting the stage for creating livable communities that polls show Americans want. Leaders from America Bikes, Safe Routes to School National Partnership and Transportation for America will bike down the new Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes on their way to USDOT.  At the press availability, LaHood and representatives from three transportation organizations will speak and take questions from the media. WHERE: U.S. Department of Transportation 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC, 20590 In the Courtyard on 3rd St SE in between M and N Streets SE WHEN: Friday, May 28, 2010 Bicyclists to arrive down 3rd Street at approximately 1:15 p.m. Presentation ceremony to take place starting at 1:30 p.m. WHO: U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood Randy Neufeld, President, America Bikes Margo Pedroso, Deputy Director, Safe Routes to School National Partnership Lilly Shoup, Research Director, Transportation for America

Dude.

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Weekend Music: Cloudbusting Edition

Kate Bush's Cloudbusting + Madonna's Get Into the Groove =

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Rand Paul Demonstrates the Emptiness of His Libertarianism

One of the central premises in libertarianism is that people will be accountable when they take actions that damage others.  Your property rights shall not be infringed upon, and you shall not infringe upon the property rights of others and all that.  That's the magic fairy dust that makes it all work, right?  So with BP having engaged in a massive infringement upon the property of others, what's Paul's reaction to Obama saying that BP needs to take some responsibility?
Paul said: "This sort of, you know 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,' I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business." Paul continued: The President's reaction is "part of this sort of blame game society" where "it's always someone's fault." Paul added: "Maybe sometimes accidents happen."
Turning black people away from lunch counters and getting rid of regulations that keep workers safe, that's all a necessary consequence of the sacred principles of his libertarianism.  But holding a business accountable for the damage it does to the property of others?  That's not only un-liberterian, but un-American! Christ, what an asshole.

More Senate Failures

It's just boggling:
Historians will probably conclude that the package of reforms was surprisingly modest given the depth and severity of the 2008-09 financial crisis. A harsher historical judgment might find that the political and economic power wielded by the financial industry in the late 20th and early 21st centuries was so extensive that it could weather a near total collapse of the system without having to yield its power or privilege.
I don't doubt that there are some actually useful reforms included, or that some are misguided.  But that is mere quibbling around the edges.  Nothing in this bill acknowledges the failures of the premises that are central to the system.

“[T]oo ignorant to be embarrassed.”

TNC nails an essential part of the Libertarianism that seems to be so popular these days. Update: and he's got a strong follow-up:
What I'm driving at is raising the question about methods is never wrong, to the contrary it's essential. That process is undermined by people who raise those questions, without having thought about them, without being able to speak to their nuances, and are mostly concerned with tribal signaling. People were dragged from their homes, raped and murdered over civil rights. Talk about it, by all means. But talk about it with the intellectual seriousness it deserves.This is not a third grade science fair project.

Kings of the Court

I literally cannot recall the last time I cared about pro basketball (in fact, just half an hour ago did I learn that the Seattle Supersonics no longer exist), but this is an awesome - and appropriately titled - set of pictures.  And also immediately brought to mind a song from when I most definitely *did* care about what was going on in the NBA:

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You Went to School in Texas?

Oh. [As an aside, I finished up my secondary schooling in Georgia.  And it was clearly second rate, in comparison to the DODs schooling I got in Germany.  So I know the failure that I mock.  I mean, getting an entire class to ridicule me, with the approval of the teacher, when I brought up the mere possibility of intelligent design (cf. a literal seven day creation)?  Yeah, that's the American South.] Update: more clowning from the Texas State Board of Education:
The new amendment (.pdf), which is expected to get a vote on Thursday, would require high school history students to "discuss alternatives regarding long term entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, given the decreasing worker to retiree ratio" and also "evaluate efforts by global organizations to undermine U. S. sovereignty." [ . . . ] As justification for that second item, McLeroy writes: "Threats of global government to individual freedom and liberty include the votes of the U. N. General Assembly, the International Criminal Court, the U. N. Gun Ban proposal, forced redistribution of American wealth to third world countries, and global environmental initiatives."

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