The Watering Hole, Saturday, February 7th, 2015: Infrastructure!

Tappan Zee Bridge (photo courtesy of

Tappan Zee Bridge (photo courtesy of

The Tappan Zee Bridge, which connects southern New York’s Westchester County on the east bank of the Hudson River with Rockland County on the west bank, was ceremoniously opened to traffic on December 15th, 1955, the day before I was born.

NY "Daily News" special Tappan Zee Bridge Edition, Wednesday, December 14, 1955

NY “Daily News” special Tappan Zee Bridge Edition, Wednesday, December 14, 1955

Like millions of others, I’ve crossed that bridge many, many times, and each time I’ve marveled at how the western end of the bridge seems to dip down so close to the river. In photos from the eastern side, more than three miles away, it almost looks like it’s descending into a tunnel. At its highest point, if one has a chance to look up and down this section of the river, one can – even with today’s manmade clutter – understand why the awesome Hudson River inspired its own art genre.

While not a widely renowned bridge – after all, New York has the infinitely more famous and familiar George Washington Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge – a lot more Americans are likely to become aware of its existence in the near future. And I have a feeling that a lot of Republicans will soon loathe the sight of it, simply because President Obama has put an image of the bridge on the front cover of his proposed 2016 budget.

President Obama's 2016 budget proposal cover

President Obama’s 2016 budget proposal cover (photo courtesy of the White House)

The Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement is one of the infrastructure projects now under construction thanks to President Obama’s Stimulus Plan. According to the Tarrytown, NY, online Patch newspaper, in a statement issued by the White House, the reason why an image of the Tappan Zee Bridge made the 2016 Budget cover is actually pretty obvious:

“If a budget is a reflection of our priorities as a nation, why shouldn’t the cover be the same? One of the President’s key priorities in his 2016 budget is to modernize our public infrastructure — something our roads, bridges, and ports desperately need. So instead of the plain blue budget cover that administrations typically affix to the budget, this year’s cover features the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York — one of the bridges that has benefited from the President’s previous investments in infrastructure upgrades.”

As a New Yorker and a Liberal, it pleases me no end that, when Boehner and other prominent stimulus-deniers do their usual routines of waving a copy of the President’s proposed budget while decrying the contents, they’ll be displaying not only one of the President’s successful stimulus projects, but one of the Empire State’s iconic bridges. So this is, to me, a great big New York “Fuck you, Pal!” to conservatives – sweeeeeeet!

This is our daily Open Thread. Feel free to talk about infrastructure, budgets, or whatever else you wish.


88 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Saturday, February 7th, 2015: Infrastructure!

    • Thanks, zxbe. As usual, I started off in a different direction until I spotted the Patch article on a sidebar. Although it took most of the night and part of this morning doing the additional research (I really knew next to nothing about the project), I enjoyed reading about it. I wish I had the leisure time to learn more about the history of our general area. 😦

  1. (they seem to be proud New Yorkers, as well, Jane)

    Andrew Baksh ‏@birdingdude
    Digiscoped Pink-footed Goose today, in Riverhead Long Island NY.

  2. Some of you movie buffs, may get a kick out of this. Several years ago some friends and I embarked upon a project to see every Oscar Best Picture Winner. We completed (temporarily until the next one is announced) it last night with 12 Years a Slave.

    Best Picture started in 1928 with a silent movie called Wings (which is fantastic, if you ever get a chance to see it).

    Here’s my ranking in terms of how I liked them. They’re all fine movies, and I really enjoyed all of them a lot. But, based strictly on personal preference, here’s how I’d rank them.

    For this group here, I’d highly recommend The Life of Emile Zola, even to just read up on this fascinating man.

    1 The Godfather – 1972
    2 Mrs. Miniver – 1942
    3 Ordinary People – 1980
    4 Titanic – 1997
    5 The Best Years of Our Lives – 1946
    6 All The King’s Men – 1949
    7 You Can’t Take It With You – 1938
    8 The Life of Emile Zola – 1937
    9 Sound of Music – 1965
    10 In the Heat of the Night – 1967
    11 The Godfather II – 1974
    12 The Artist – 2011
    13 Patton – 1970
    14 Rebecca – 1940
    15 The Sting – 1973
    16 Midnight Cowboy – 1969
    17 On the Waterfront – 1954
    18 Mutiny On The Bounty – 1935
    19 Shakespeare in Love – 1998
    20 Going My Way – 1944
    21 An American In Paris – 1951
    22 Annie Hall – 1977
    23 The Apartment – 1960
    24 A Man for All Seasons – 1966
    25 The King’s Speech – 2010
    26 12 Years A Slave – 2013
    27 American Beauty – 1999
    28 A Beautiful Mind – 2001
    29 Schindler’s List – 1993
    30 Driving Miss Daisy – 1989
    31 The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King – 2003
    32 Million Dollar Baby – 2004
    33 No Country For Old Men – 2007
    34 Forrest Gump – 1994
    35 The English Patient – 1996
    36 Slumdog Millionarie – 2008
    37 Ben Hur – 1959
    38 Rocky – 1976
    39 Wings – 1928
    40 Amadeus – 1984
    41 Argo – 2012
    42 Kramer vs Kramer – 1979
    43 West Side Story – 1961
    44 Marty – 1955
    45 Around The World In 80 Days – 1956
    46 From Here To Eternity – 1953
    47 All About Eve – 1950
    48 Hamlet – 1948
    49 Bridge Over the River Kwai – 1957
    50 The Deer Hunter – 1978
    51 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – 1975
    52 Dances With Wolves – 1990
    53 Unforgiven – 1992
    54 Chariots of Fire – 1981
    55 My Fair Lady – 1964
    56 Ghandi – 1982
    57 Terms of Endearment – 1983
    58 Braveheart – 1995
    59 Platoon – 1986
    60 Chicago – 2002
    61 Greatest Show On Earth – 1952
    62 Gentleman’s Agreement – 1947
    63 Casablanca – 1943
    64 The Lost Weekend – 1945
    65 The French Connection – 1971
    66 Lawrence of Arabia – 1962
    67 Tom Jones – 1963
    68 All Quiet On The Western Front – 1930
    69 Gone With the Wind – 1939
    70 Out of Africa – 1985
    71 Oliver – 1968
    72 The Last Emporer – 1987
    73 Gladiator – 2000
    74 The Departed – 2006
    75 Gigi – 1958
    76 Silence of the Lambs – 1991
    77 It Happened One Night – 1934
    78 The Great Ziegfeld – 1936
    79 Grand Hotel – 1932
    80 The Hurt Locker – 2009
    81 Crash – 2005
    82 Cavalcade – 1933
    83 Cimmaron – 1931
    84 How Green Was My Valley – 1941
    85 Broadway Revue – 1929

      • Did about one every 3-4 weeks. Been working on this for about five years. With only a couple of exceptions, we watched them all in order.

        Wings – we couldn’t locate a copy to view so we had to skip it for a while.
        We watched the two Godfather’s back to back, and then watched the Sting.
        Titanic came out in rerelease in 3D in the theater so we watched it in the theater, but it was out of order.

        Was fun to see the progression of themes and styles.

    • Rocky won “best picture”? Really? And Braveheart also? Wow. I saw a few minutes of Rocky on the tube before I shut it off, avoided Braveheart completely because Mel Gibson. I think living in a cave is a good thing! 😉

  3. Why is it that Republicans are so down on domestic infrastructure but so hot for a new war, any war anyplace, and NOW? Does infrastructure imply a smaller dick size than war, perchance?

    • Infrastructure jobs have to be done inside the country, which leads to demand for labor, which raises wages across the economy. People won’t crawl for any crappy wage to WalMart and McDonalds if there’s demand for labor.

      • I suppose then that they’re all unaware that they, too, use infrastructure all the time and that they might be late for work if all the bridges fall down . . . oh, silly me, Congress loves to be late for work. They don’t even like being there at all, actually.

        • Helicopters. The wealthy use helicopters to get around when the bridges are out. They don’t care if us rabble travel on pothole-ridden roads, or spend hours a day in traffic jams, as long as their taxes don’t go up.

  4. A ‘shout-out’ to our friend Jeremy at work, who was curious about our site: For all of us tired-of-the-snow-already New York baseball fans, of either team – and to any other huge baseball fans: Pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training camp soon! Mets’ Ps+Cs report first, on February 19th, and the Yankees report on February 20th. Wayne found a good site,, for obsessive baseball fans who can’t wait for spring – it even has a countdown clock!

  5. This Week in God, 2.7.15

    …Rep. Joe Barton (Texas) isn’t about to have his prized legislation get tagged with a 666 – the number of the beast. […]

    Barton’s bill to lift restrictions on crude oil exports, his office balked. House officials agreed to change the designation from H. Res. 666 to H. Res. 702.

    Steve M. reminded me that the Texas Republican isn’t alone among politicians with concerns about the three-digit number (which apparently is the subject of a diagnosed phobia). After President Reagan left the White House, he and Nancy Reagan bought a home in California. The street address was 666 St. Cloud Road.

    As the L.A. Times noted, the Reagans “had the address changed to 668 to avoid the ‘number of the beast.’”

    • In Eastern AZ there once was a highway, US 666, went N-S near the New Mexico state line. Problem was, several of the towns along the route were heavily populated by Mor(m)ons and they finally got the number changed to US 191. Just in case. Only bad thing that’s happened since was the forest fire a few years back that burned some 850 square miles of timber along 191. Must have been a sign that God was only a little pissed, since at least the world wasn’t destroyed.

        • One thing about that 666 mentality bothers me. On Sept 19 2014 I posted here an “essay” entitled The Devil’s in the Details in which I noted that on the previous day, “my bicycle’s odometer turned over to Clootie’s magic number” plus a photo of same when it read 6666.6. The next morning, Sept 20, I was in the hospital, having suffered a mild stroke the prev. evening.

          Now I know full well what the word ‘coincidence’ implies, but still . . . y’ know? 🙂

  6. The “Who Really Gives A Shit?!” post of the day:

    Bruce Jenner’s new name will be “Belinda Jenner”… can all rest easy now. I know this has been weighing heavily on your minds.

    • Wait. What? Jenner had a gender re-assignment?
      Seriously didn’t know about this…just looked it up and according to the
      Daily Mail (gossip rag extraordinaire) he’s only ‘reliving his youth’ and doesn’t want to identify as female…hmmm (supposedly is not going through re-assignment)

  7. Guantanamo Forever: 28 Words of Hate

    “As far as I’m concerned every last one of them can rot in Hell, but as long as they don’t do that they can rot in Guantanamo Bay.” – U.S. Senator Tom Cotton

    And there was never an acknowledgment of the injustice suffered by men like Shaker Aamer, who has never been charged with any crime, who was cleared for transfer years ago, and who still languishes indefinitely at Guantanamo after nearly 13 years.

    Instead, there was ignorance and outright indifference to the facts.

    “Common sense would tell us that if you’re still in Guantanamo Bay after all these years, you’re still a high risk threat…We wouldn’t have kept them that long.” – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham

    Graham is a nasty piece of work … and seems to know nothing of our (in)justice system!

      • “Larry Wayne “Chipper” Jones, Jr. is an American former Major League Baseball third baseman who spent his entire 19-year MLB career playing for the Atlanta Braves, and all 23 years as a professional baseball player in the Atlanta organization.”

        • Mets fans always loved to chant “Laaarry, Laaarry” at him when the Braves played at Shea. It seemed like half the time Chipper would respond by getting a base hit. He named his son “Shea” because he loved hitting at Shea Stadium.

    • Here we see two levels of idiocy. First; there’s the Bible Spice level of idiocy. That’s really idiotic. Then we see the next level which is “too idiotic to realize that Bible Spice is an idiot”. The second level of idiocy requires an additional level of insanity that just might require one to spend a month or so shitting in one’s pants.

        • You are too kind. I have known several 6 year olds who were far smarter and saner than either Bible Spice or ol’ Crap Pants. I would say that they more closely resemble a toddler throwing a tantrum in a restaurant. The difference, of course, is that the toddler will eventually get tired and fall asleep under the table but the rightwhiners have been maintaining the tantrum since President Obama was originally nominated by the Democratic Party.

        • And Bible Spice might be the only American with a public presence who has aged more than President Obama since the 2008 election. She is starting to resemble the old horse-keeping phrase “rode hard and put up wet”. I would be willing to just chalk that up to the fact that a person ages a lot between 40 and 50 but it’s more fun to assume that booze and/or meth are taking their toll on the former mayor of “the meth capital of Alaska”.

          • “She is starting to resemble the old horse-keeping phrase “rode hard and put up wet”.”

            Although I rarely hear anyone use that expression anymore, not long ago a commenter at ThinkProgress also used it to describe Palin – although he used “put away wet”, which is the version that I remember. Either way, it still makes me laugh to hear it – especially when referring to the Wicked Witch of the Far Northwest.

      • There’s no reason to believe that anyone could ever manage to read 245 pages. Just look to Marsha Blackburn. She has, allegedly, been carrying around the alleged 2000 pages of the ACA for 8 years and has still not managed to read a single page. This feeds my pet theory that rightwhiners will never even attempt to read a single page of any work that is longer than a single page and/or might refute their preconceptions.

    • “TMZ reports that eye witnesses claim Jenner’s vehicle was responsible for the crash after rear-ending another car. Initial indications are that the person who died was female; however, other sources say the gender is not immediately known.”

      … Nah, too easy.

    • Hilarious! Most of those dogs are laid-back, and some cats are neurotic!

      Writing of cats, how is Ms Giesla doing?

      • She’s feisty and stubborn. If I put out canned food she doesn’t want, even if she’s already eaten half the can, I get ‘the treatment’. She goes through a repertoire of ‘button pushing’ actions, like popping her claws on the bed spread, on the side of the bed I can’t see from the recliner. Then, as soon as I get up, and walk around the bed, she’s already watching me from the door to the kitchen. Or she climbs the curtain. She also likes to knock things off the top shelf where I keep my first aid stuff. She will stand on the top of the computer, where the shut off button is, and sometimes she actually shuts it off.

        • She’s been ‘talking’ to Mel! Although he doesn’t knock things off shelves.
          The scratching post gets the brunt of ‘human I don’t like you anymore’!
          Have you been able to get to the vet and fixed?

          • I haven’t got that done yet. My ex keeps claiming she’ll get it done for me, but then she puts the burden on me to let her know when Gisela’s not in heat. My schedule is the consistent one, and hers is the variable, so I told her to call me on a day when she can take her. Sooner or later it will get handled, on a day when ex can do it, and she’s not in heat at the same time. I’ve had her almost a year now. I’m going over tomorrow to help my ex move a washer/dryer out to the road. The washer died, and the dryer is about shot too. Maybe I can ask her to prioritize getting her to the vet soon. My ex doesn’t seem to know what she needs to download her photos off ‘my’ phone, so I can have it. That’s another task in the way. The area where the new washer/dryer needs to go has to be made bigger for the units she just bought. Then there’s a closet she’s building…and a fence that isn’t completed.

  8. Jake and Elwood just pulled up in front of Triple Rock Church, and Reverend ‘Cleotis’ James is getting going. Jake’s epiphany is my favorite scene in the movie.

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