Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:46 pm

The Obama administration is proposing to spend $53 billion over the next six years to help promote the construction of a national high-speed, intercity passenger rail network, Vice President Joe Biden announced Tuesday.


Someone help me out here...is "helping promote construction" the same as actual construction? I ask because it seems a paltry amount for a system to reach 80% of all Americans. Here in Honolulu we are looking at a billion per mile and it's not even high speed rail.
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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby Shapley » Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:00 pm

From what I gather from reading a couple of articles on it, it will provide grants to those wanting to build such systems, but does not actually build any. The previous offering was supposed to cover such things as right-of-way acquisition and environmental studies necessary before such construction can begin.

The grants are to be made available to governments and private enterprises looking to develop high-speed rail projects. I'm not sure how much is availabe per recipient.
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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby Haggis@wk » Tue Feb 08, 2011 5:46 pm

I doubt that provision will make it through Congress.
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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:35 pm

What problem is this rail addressing? We need this? 21st century technology applied to a 19th century problem.
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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby Shapley » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:56 pm

Giant Communist Robot wrote:What problem is this rail addressing? We need this? 21st century technology applied to a 19th century problem.


I think it's the other way around. When Mr. Obama talks 'high speed rail', he talks about 100 MPH trains. We had trains capable of doing 100 MPH in the 19th Century.

Transportation is a 21st century problem. Domestic air travel has devolved to the point that it has all charm of airborne city buses. Airports have become expensive monuments to a dream that was never realized. Security measures mean you have to get to the airport two hours early so you can be on time for a plane that will be delayed by two additional hours. Fewer flights, smaller planes, fewer amenities, tacked-on fees, and higher fares make air travel inglorious, at best.

It's getting too expensive to maintain the meriad of highways, with all the traffic we place on them. We've been scimping on maintenance for decades, spending the money building new roads instead of maintaining old ones. Congressman love to cut ribbons on new freeways, but there's little glamour in having your photo taken with a patched pothole, so we get newer, wider, costlier freeways to bypass the old ones, but the new ones are either overcrowded as soon as they open, or they're routed so far from people's destinations that they defeat their purpose.

The 20th century solution was to build more roads, which would result in more automobile sales, which would keep Detroit rolling. We're still building the roads, but they're filled with Japanese autos. As goes Detroit, so goes America, they say. If so, then we're in deep do-do.

I like the idea of high-speed rail, but I expect the government to muck that up, too. At 100 MPH, you may as well drive. If you can get exactly where you need to be at 70 MPH, it doesn't make sense to go out of your way to get where the trains run at 100, because you've still got to get from the station to your destination, such that timewise, it'll probably be a wash.
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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby BigJon » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:58 pm

dai bread wrote:Milton Friedman talks a load of old codswallop. A centrally-controlled economy is a dictatorship, not socialist no matter what its leaders call it. Any more than they're "People's Republics". Also, the tyrant comes first. The system comes afterwards.

You might recall that the NZ Experiment was based on Friedman's teachings. Therefore I regard Friedman as wrong by definition.

So central control by a congress or group of faceless bureaucrats is superior to central control by a dictator how?

The NZ experiment was not even close to realizing Friedmen's teaching.
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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:55 pm

The NZ experiment was not even close to realizing Friedmen's teaching.


What about Iceland?
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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:03 pm

It's getting too expensive to maintain the meriad of highways, with all the traffic we place on them. We've been scimping on maintenance for decades, spending the money building new roads instead of maintaining old ones. Congressman love to cut ribbons on new freeways, but there's little glamour in having your photo taken with a patched pothole, so we get newer, wider, costlier freeways to bypass the old ones, but the new ones are either overcrowded as soon as they open, or they're routed so far from people's destinations that they defeat their purpose.


I don't like the idea of socialization of transportation. It is true that we need to spend more to maintain our roads. There's nothing our government has done to make me think they would do any better at maintaining high speed rail lines.

People can buy cars faster then freeways can be built. This doesn't mean we should look to shoehorning people into cattle cars as a solution.
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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby Shapley » Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:37 pm

Private enterprise built the railways, including the one the government now runs. That's who should build the high-speed rail, if one ever gets built.

The problem, of course, is that the government isn't likely to let that happen without having a hand in it, and they will muck it up in the process. I also think right-of-way acquisition will be a near impossibility for private enterprise today, given that the government voided prior right-of-way agreements with the 'Rails to Trails' Act, making many leary of entering such agreements in the future.

On the bright side, under the terms of the 'Rails to Trails' Act, there are extant rights of way available along some routes.
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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby BigJon » Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:20 am

Giant Communist Robot wrote:
The NZ experiment was not even close to realizing Friedmen's teaching.


What about Iceland?

What about Iceland? All of their biggest banks chose to enter the gambling house and lost big.
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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:44 pm

What about Iceland? All of their biggest banks chose to enter the gambling house and lost big.


I don't have the details right now, but here's a summary: Friedman visited Iceland as a lecturer and overwhelmed the crowd--they implemented his ideas and their current troubles are a result.
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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby dai bread » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:21 pm

The only reason Friedman's teachings weren't fully implemented here is that we saw what was happening and voted the Governments concerned out of office. In 1999 Helen Clark's Labour Party (the same party that started the whole fiasco, but with a different leader and a few other changes) got into power and stopped it. It's stayed stopped since, largely because of extreme public antipathy to the sale of State assets.

Central control by Congress is preferable to control by a dictator because Congress can be voted out. Faceless officials are harder to dislodge, but it can be done, usually by threatening to vote out the politicians nominally in charge.

There is a huge uproar going on in Auckland at the moment because Maori were denied two seats on the elected Auckland (City) Council. They now have an "Advisory Board" of 9 members, unelected, plus staff and consultants, costing $3.4 million to run annually, and with full voting rights on committees of elected Councillors. This was done by faceless bureaucrats. It will be undone by elected politicians, many of whom are furious that it was done behind their backs.
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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:23 pm

Rogernomics. Ruthenasia. NZ has a way with words.
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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby Haggis@wk » Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:59 am

A feminist milestone: Our male President has been pulled into war by 3 women.

“It’s the opposite of the Code Pink idea that women bring the peace. How long have I heard this feminist plaint: If only women had the power, we would have peace, not phallocratic war. But no.”
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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby Haggis@wk » Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:59 am

A feminist milestone: Our male President has been pulled into war by 3 women.

“It’s the opposite of the Code Pink idea that women bring the peace. How long have I heard this feminist plaint: If only women had the power, we would have peace, not phallocratic war. But no.”
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” Alexis De Tocqueville 1835
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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:28 pm

It certainly looks like Obama is trivializing the war in Libya since he's doing the grand tour of Latin America at the moment.
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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby Haggis@wk » Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:39 pm

Giant Communist Robot wrote:It certainly looks like Obama is trivializing the war in Libya since he's doing the grand tour of Latin America at the moment.



Trust me, that's inconsequential in the greater scheme. "Days, not weeks" is going to be the rallying cry against this regime. :rofl:
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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby Haggis@wk » Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:19 am

Donald Trump is an entertainer. Republicans can wait till fall to send in the A team. By then, President Obama will have dropped himself down to Donald Trump’s level. Already it has begun.

From ABC News, the president:

“I think that over the last two and a half years there’s been an effort to go at me in a way that is politically expedient in the short-term for Republicans. But [it] creates, I think a problem for them when they want to actually run in a general election where most people feel pretty confident the President was born where he says he was, in Hawaii. He– he doesn’t have horns…we’re not really worrying about conspiracy theories or– or birth certificates.”


An unserious president taking an unserious man seriously; he beclowns himself.
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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:41 am

Trust me, that's inconsequential in the greater scheme. "Days, not weeks" is going to be the rallying cry against this regime.


It's been weeks, and Khadaffi doesn't look like he's going anywhere.
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Re: Is Barack Obama the right leader for America?

Postby Haggis@wk » Mon May 02, 2011 9:51 am

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON:Okay, Let’s Decline.

President Obama, listen carefully. By every benchmark, this should be an American century. Our known fossil fuel reserves are soaring, as new finds of coal, natural gas, oil, tar sands, and oil shale keep growing, not shrinking. Demographically, we are expanding; Europe, Japan, and China are shrinking.

We do not have the strikes of Europe, the violence of the Middle East, the state oppression of China. India has religious, social, and caste tensions unknown in the U.S. American farmland is the most productive in the world, its farmers the most gifted and innovative. We inherited a vast, developed infrastructure; out duty is to improve and expand it, not, as our ancestors, start from scratch building a Hoover Damn, intercontinental railroad, or port facilities in Oakland.


On the other hand, a significant portion of our leadership — including our President — doesn’t much like the idea of American exceptionalism. Like Britain just after World War II, we have a leadership class that fundamentally doesn’t like the country it leads as it is, and wants to change it into something . . . less.
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