The Daily Gnuz

Good Morning all, and Happy First Sunday in June!

In the gnuz today:

Under the heading of ‘watch out what you ask for’ comes this

Trump’s ‘big story’ on unmasking might reveal more on ties to Russia
Perhaps the term ‘unmasking’ confuses our Prezidunce. Methinks he considers it a ‘find the leaker’ exercise. The tweeter machine can lead to unexpected avenues.  h/t The Hill

and

 Trump plans week-long focus on infrastructure, starting with privatizing air traffic control

When I consider necessary infrastructure, my mind conjures up high speed rail, road and bridge repair, and useful stuff like that. About the last thing considered would be a giveaway to corporate greed.  h/t The WaPo

Finally,

  After London attack, Trump urges travel ban, end to political correctness

Ah, yes. The simple explanation. If only we weren’t so damn politically correct, we could round  up all the scary  brown people for a ‘final solution’

Open Thread Y’all, come and get it!

RUCerious @ TPZoo

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The Watering Hole, Tuesday March 29, 2016 – Environmental News and Food Politics

THE BIG U.S.OIL BUST

“Back in 2010, the price of a barrel of Brent crude (the international oil price benchmark) topped $80. That made it profitable to extract oil from tight shale formations, which is especially costly. A drilling frenzy ensued, domestic oil production skyrocketed, oil companies raked in profits and oil patch communities prospered.

But all that new oil on the market, plus China’s slowing economic growth, began to dampen oil prices in the summer of 2014. Instead of curtailing production to keep prices afloat, OPEC’s leaders launched a thinly veiled price war, clearly aimed at putting U.S. producers out of business. Here are some indicators that OPEC won the war.”

Oil bust – A red state phenomenon. Will this affect 2016 elections?

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

Tappan Zee Bridge (photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

Tappan Zee Bridge (photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org)

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.

The Watering Hole, Monday, February 17th, 2014: Pick an Issue?

I’m sure that I’m not the only one among us Critters and Zoosters who received this email survey from Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) asking, “What should Congress focus on in 2014?”

Which issue matters most to you in 2014?

__Keeping Our Promise to Seniors by Protecting Social Security & Medicare

__Strengthening Our Manufacturing Economy

__Raising the Minimum Wage

__Protecting Women’s Health and Freedom

__Tax Reform That Rewards Hard Work

__Working to Lower Healthcare Costs

__Supporting Small Business Startups

__Investing in Innovation, Science, Research and Technology

Other:

I went with “Other”, more or less:

While most of the above are important issues in my view (“Protecting Women’s Health and Freedom” and “Investing in Innovation, Science, Research and Technology” in particular), I believe that the single most important issue that impacts the future of this country is EDUCATION. We need children who are taught critical thinking, in order to have the ‘Innovation, Science, Research and Technology’ in which to invest. Stressing the basics in: reading (especially reading comprehension); spelling (because words are spelt the way they are for good reason); vocabulary (because words mean what they mean due to their evolution through history); math skills; and the basics in the sciences and technologies, are all paramount. Investing in the future means investing in schools, teachers, and (most importantly) young citizens’ minds.

Really, with all of the problems that our country faces, there are so many important issues to be addressed that it’s impossible to say which is MOST important. And some issues which I would have thought were important are not even on the list, i.e, gun control, environmental issues (climate change, fossil fuel pollution of several sorts, etc.), our failing infrastructure…(sigh) I could go on, but you get the idea.

How would you respond to Senator Baldwin’s survey?

This is our daily open thread–you can answer the survey if you wish, or talk about whatever you want!

The Watering Hole: Wednesday, June 20, 2012: Does it really Matter?

Ok, so for the next few months, if you’re in a “swing” State, you’ll be inundated with SuperPAC commercials designed to get you to vote against your own best interests. We will also be systematically bombarded with messages from the Mainstream Media designed to influence our thinking.

IT’S ALL A SHOW. IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER.

If the Powers That Be really want Obama out, all they have to do is raise gas prices to about $5.00/gallon. Instead, gas prices are going down, heading into the summer vacation season. That’s not to say they won’t go up between now and the election – but they are an accurate predictor of where our economy will head. So, pay attention to the pump, not the talking heads.

Ok, that’s my $0.0199 cents. And you?

OPEN THREAD
JUST REMEMBER
EVERYTHING I SAID
DOESN’T REALLY MATTER

 

Guest Blogging: Bridges to Nowhere and Beyond

By Pachydiplax

On November 17, 2005, Congress defeated two earmark bills fromAlaska’s sole Congressman, Don Young and the late Senator Ted Stevens, for bridges in Alaska. The first bill earmarked $231 million for what became known as the “Bridge to Nowhere”, a bridge to provide a connection between the port city of Ketchikan and Gravina Island, the location of Ketchikan’s airport. The second bill earmarked $223 million for a bridge connecting Anchorage with Point MacKenzie across the Knik Arm. Both bridges were touted as being important for economic development in Alaska. The 2005 legislation prevented Alaska from spending any federal funds for planning, design or construction of either of these two bridges. The legislation did not eliminate the bridge projects nor did it eliminate the $454 million fromAlaska’s federal transportation funding that year.

The bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina would eliminate the need for the ferryboat that currently serves the 13 families that live on the island and the 200,000 passengers that use the airport each year. The bridge would have to be taller than the Brooklyn Bridge to allow passage for large cargo and passenger ships. The ferry makes its crossing at a narrow location while the bridge would have to be longer than the Golden Gate Bridge, crossing at a wide point, 6 miles south of the ferry crossing, so not to interfere with airport operations. Even thought the bridge hasn’t been built, Alaska did spend our tax dollars to build a road on Gravina Island. It runs for 6 miles south from the airport… to nowhere.

The envisioned 2.6 mile, 4-lane crossing over the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet would consist of causeways built out from each shore connected by a 1.5-mile long bridge. The cost of the bridge and several miles of roadway and interchanges could reach $1.5 billion. The 81-mile drive from Anchorage to the new Goose Creek Correctional facility at Point MacKenzie would only be 12 miles via the bridge. The deepwater port at Point MacKenzie would also benefit from a water crossing to Anchorage. Construction has begun on a 30-mile spur line from the Alaska Railroad at Houston to Port MacKenzie and work is underway reducing road grades and widening roads for expected increases in truck traffic to and from the port. Proponents of the bridge are currently seeking private investors and environmental studies have begun on the bridge project. Meanwhile, there is a need for a way to cross the Knik Arm

That need was closer to being filled in 2010 with the completion of a new ferryboat, the M/V Susitna. Thanks to Senator Stevens and the U.S. Navy, the Mat-Su Borough now owns a $78 million twin-hulled-ice breaking-catamaran ferryboat. It can operate at 17 knots in high seas drawing 12’ of water or reconfigure itself to operate at 4.5’ draft. Unlike any of the 17 ferryboats the State currently operates in the Alaskan Marine Highway system, the M/V Susitna requires more crewmembers than comparably sized ferryboats and crew members require special training. The vessel carries 120 passengers and 20 vehicles. A building housing a passenger terminal and offices for the ferry operators has opened at Port MacKenzie. Now all that is needed are specialized docking facilities at both Port MacKenzie and Anchorage and the ferry will have somewhere to go.

The Watering Hole: November 5 – Then and Now

Then

The Marshall Plan or the European Recovery Program (ERP) was the large-scale American program to aid Europe in which the United States (US) gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of WWII in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism.

The monies involved were $13 million in US aid (5% of US GDP, a drop in the bucket!) on top of $12 billion in American aid already spent in Europe up to that time.. The monies provided were eventually returned to the United States. In addition, Germany also repaid 16 billion marks of debts from the 1920s which had defaulted in the 1930s, but which Germany decided to repay to restore its reputation.

Former enemies as well as allies were recipients of this aid.

At that time, the US economy was, by far, the most powerful in the world.

During the Eisenhower(R?) administration the Interstate Highway System began as a military asset, but made it was available to every American.

This describes post-war America through the 1950s.

The United States put men on the moon in July 1969. The rescue of the crew in the Apollo 13 mission riveted the world in 1971. The rapid response to a potentially fatal outcome was diverted by United States’ can-do attitude and technological prowess.

The Space Shuttle was first launched in 1981, a heavy lift vehicle that has never been matched. It served for 30 years. It was used to assemble the International Space Station as well as deploy and repair the Hubble Space Telescope.

The collapse of the USSR between January 19, 1990 and December 31, 1991 left the United States as the sole major power on earth.

Now

From then on, the United States has rested on its laurels. Tax revenues from corporations and the rich have been pared to the bone. The Iraqi invasion and occupation has depleted the national treasury simply because there were no “matching funds”. The nation was trying to drive a Lamborghini on a burger flipper’s salary. The solution was to slash entitlement and infrastructure programs which had served the nation very well since the mid 1930s.

Now China has been asked for assistance by European for assistance in support of the economic collapse resulting from weak economies in Greece, Italy and Spain. The US is in a position where it cannot help – the dollar is weak and US manufacturing is struggling at best! And China rebuffed the request until Europe gets its house in order.

Just this week, mainland China demonstrated a first step towards development of its own space station which when completed be truly international – available to all nations (There are nations denied access to the “International” Space Station.).

China is starting the development of naval airpower and stealth aircraft.

China is in the process of becoming a world power in solar energy conversion using either steam or silicon.

This is our Open Thread. Now how did we get into this fine kettle of fish?