Posts Tagged ‘rail

06
Oct
11

wrap-up

President Barack Obama talks with staff in Senior Advisor David Plouffe’s West Wing office at the White House, Oct. 6, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Jonathan Cohn (The New Republic): Remember when President Obama wouldn’t even utter the word “Republican”? Those days are long gone. And maybe, just maybe, the change in rhetoric is starting to pay off.

We’re now into week four of the administration’s campaign to promote its jobs proposal. And instead of dialing down the pressure, Obama has been dialing it up….

…. A new ABC-Washington Post poll suggests that, so far, Obama’s campaign is working …. public support for the elements of his jobs bill is high. And, more important, Obama has opened up a substantial gap with the Republicans over which party voters trust more to handle “job creation.”

… whether or not the Democrats have every single member in line is less important than whether they have 50 votes to pass it – because if they have the 50 votes, then the obstacle to enactment won’t be Democrats. It will be Republicans….

And that ought to matter to the voters. Everybody assumes Obama is campaigning hard for his jobs plan primarily to make a point to the voters about who stands for what, in advance of the 2012 elections. That’s probably true. But he’s adopted this posture because Republicans refuse to compromise. And if Republicans start to pay a political price for holding up popular legislation, there’s still a chance they will relent – and pass legislation before the year is done….

Full post here

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Based on Symmetry’s brilliant twitpic here (Thanks Meta)

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Business Week: Railroads shipments are the highest in almost three years, helping to defy concerns about a double-dip recession.

Total rail volumes averaged 381,831 carloads in August, the most since October 2008 … these shipments represent the bulk of materials for industrial production, so rising volumes show the economy is still growing…

… since reporting quarterly earnings in July, the three largest U.S. railroads haven’t given any indication of a sharp decline in demand similar to 2008 and 2009, when volumes fell as much as 24 percent on an annual basis.

…. Earlier this month, CSX’s Chief Financial Officer Oscar Munoz said he isn’t concerned about “any kind of overarching sort of dire circumstances around the corner,” as there is still a “general level of optimism” among customers and suppliers.

“Sure, things have moderated, but there is no one in that near state of panic that we saw certainly in late ‘08 and ‘09,” Munoz said….

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Greg Sargent (Washington Post): John Boehner has a new line he’s trying out to justify the Republican House’s rejection of Barack Obama’s jobs bill: “We’re legislating. He’s campaigning. It’s very disappointing.”

Huh? Really?

… legislating? The House of Representatives? The 112th Congress? Hard to believe that Boehner could say that one without bursting out laughing. The current House has done hardly any legislating at all. They could barely pass a bill to keep the government’s lights on back in the spring, and they almost send the nation into default in the summer…..

And outside of that there’s … well, almost nothing. As Obama pointed out today, there is no Republican initiative that can meaningfully be called a jobs bill…

…. The key here is that real legislating requires compromise, especially during times of divided government. And House Republicans have no intention of compromising with either the Senate or with Barack Obama … Even now, if Boehner really offered to deal on jobs, I don’t think anyone doubts that Obama would hop off the campaign trail and try to work something out. But there will be no legislating, because the House isn’t going to do it.

No matter what talking points John Boehner might trot out.

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About one thousand people gather and form a large ‘99%’ in the middle of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC, October 6

Thanks nintendowii10

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Perry and Bachmann finally talk some, err, sense:

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GOPolitico’s race-baiter supreme, Julie Mason – get over it Julie, your President is black ;-) – had yet another pitiful dig at the President today for not mentioning, when he hosted the Texas A&M University women’s championship basketball team at the White House, that her beloved Rick Perry attended the college. Maybe Julie missed her buddy Knoller’s tweet…..

The President invited Perry to the White House?! See, that’s what you call class, Julie – you should try and acquire some one day ;-)

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Captain Mark Kelly hugs his wife, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, after receiving the Legion of Merit from Vice President Joe Biden during a retirement ceremony in the Secretary of War Suite in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, in Washington, D.C., Oct. 6, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

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The photo I love more than any:

Forty years after their silent protest at the 1968 Olympics, Gold Medalist Tommie Smith hugs Bronze Medalist John Carlos, and their wives Delois Smith and Charlene Carlos after Barack Obama is officially sworn in as the President of the United States. (Boston Globe/Stan Grossfeld)

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Night everyone ;-)

10
May
11

‘the rejected windfall’

NYT Editorial: After Gov. Rick Scott of Florida thoughtlessly rejected $2.4 billion in federal aid for a high-speed rail line, he claimed last month that he was doing a huge favor for the national Treasury, which he expected would give away the money in tax cuts. That was nonsense, of course; Mr. Scott was really doing a favor for train passengers in the Northeast, Midwest and California, which were given $2 billion of his money on Monday for better service.

Florida voters might want to think about that decision as they sit in traffic jams, burning up $4-a-gallon gasoline. In fact, some of them clearly have thought about it because Mr. Scott now has some of the worst approval ratings of a Florida official in the last decade.

He has joined other newly elected Republican governors so rigidly opposed to the Obama administration that they are willing to harm their states to score points. The result is a crazy quilt of state relationships with Washington, stitched more with ideology than reason.

None of the money in Monday’s announcement will be going to Wisconsin, for example, where Gov. Scott Walker has also decided that his strapped state could do without rail improvements and the construction jobs that go with them. Nor will it go to Ohio, where Gov. John Kasich preferred rejectionism to the improvement of rail service among the state’s largest cities, which could have produced 16,000 jobs.

Instead, it will go to 15 states that have more farsighted leadership, who understand the important role federal dollars can play in stimulating the economy, moving people quickly from place to place and reducing tailpipe emissions. Some of those states are led by Republicans…

….Refusenik Republicans glorify shopworn principles like smaller government and states’ rights. They will have to defend them to their voters when the public hears the passenger trains whistling from the next state over.

Full editorial here

09
May
11

blue ray!

Halo, thanks so much for telling us about Ray LaHood’s interview on Hardball, will try to find the video – this will do for now!

One question: What is on John Mica’s head in that video? :shock:

Mention of LaHood reminds me of this gem:

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Republican member of the Cabinet, feigns being a blocking back for President Barack Obama as he arrives backstage to meet with GOP House leaders before speaking to their issues conference at the Renaissance Baltimore Harbor Place Hotel in Baltimore, Md., Jan. 29, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

23
Mar
11

the know nothing party

CNN and Politico: The Know-Nothings were an American political organization of the 19th century known for their opposition to Catholics and recent immigrants – they got their name because they were, at least in theory, sworn to profess total ignorance about their activities. Their heyday was the 1850s, but after some electoral victories, the Civil War pretty much knocked them out of the spotlight.

Vice President Biden, speaking Wednesday in Tampa, Fla., referenced the Know-Nothings in complaining about the strategy of congressional Republicans who want to, he said, “cut our way out of a recession.”

“It’s never happened before, these guys remind me of the Know-Nothing Party of the 19th century. Then it was about religion, now it’s about the economy.”

Biden, who appeared with Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, took some specific swipes at Gov. Rick Scott, a first-term Republican who has rejected $2.4 billion in federal funds for a high-speed rail line from Tampa to Orlando. Scott said he doubted enough people would use the train.

“Your governor, God bless him, I don’t know him, but I don’t get it. Even if you were doubtful, I don’t understand how in this economy in Florida you could walk away from 24,000 high paying jobs.”

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Love ya Joe ;-)

05
Mar
11

by george!

Freedom-crushing automobile-hating authoritarian

Conservative columnist George Will wrote a piece for right-wing comic Newsweek recently attacking President Obama’s support for high-speed rail.

Now, if Georgie’s main concern was cost, then you might say, ‘okay, that’s an argument’.

But no, as Steve Benen (Washington Monthly) put it, the column, which “featured a variety of errors of fact and judgment”, suggested that “liberals support high-speed rail (as) part of some elaborate, freedom-crushing, Ayn-Rand-inspired conspiracy.”

Seriously.

Okay, deep breath, here are a couple of extracts:

George Will: High Speed to Insolvency – Why liberals love trains.

“Generations hence, when the river of time has worn this presidency’s importance to a small, smooth pebble in the stream of history, people will still marvel that its defining trait was a mania for high-speed rail projects. This disorder illuminates the progressive mind…..

… Only an administration blinkered by ideology would persist … the real reason for progressives’ passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.

To progressives, the best thing about railroads is that people riding them are not in automobiles, which are subversive of the deference on which progressivism depends …. automobiles encourage people to think they – unsupervised, untutored, and unscripted – are masters of their fates. The automobile encourages people in delusions of adequacy, which make them resistant to government by experts who know what choices people should make…….”

I know, I know.

Paul Krugman, who described the column as “truly bizarre”, made a similar point to Benen: “….it’s amazing to see Will – who is not a stupid man – embracing the sinister progressives-hate-your-freedom line, more or less right out of Atlas Shrugged; with the extra irony, of course, that John Galt’s significant other ran, well, a railroad.”

So, you’d imagine Georgie would disagree with this columnist who, in 2001 (after 9/11), wrote:

” ….Americans are impatient problem-solvers, so here are three things that should be done, the doing of which will assuage any sense the nation is having trouble gaining traction in the tasks at hand.

…..Third, build high-speed rail service.

…..A government study concludes that for trips of 500 miles or less – a majority of flights; 40 percent are of 300 miles or less – automotive travel is as fast or faster than air travel, door to door. Columnist Robert Kuttner sensibly says that fact strengthens the case for high-speed trains. If such trains replaced air shuttles in the Boston-New York-Washington corridor, Kuttner says that would free about 60 takeoff and landing slots per hour.”

Who wrote this? A liberal trying to take away your automobile freedom? Eh, no. Ready for this? Those are Georgie’s very own words, as reported by Sarah Goodyear (Grist).

Benen: “I don’t care that Will changed his mind; I care that he casually dismissed the substance of the debate in order to make the truly stupid case that high-speed rail is part of a liberal crusade to “diminish Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.”

On the merits, he was right the first time. To agree with Will circa 2001 is not to be a freedom-crushing authoritarian.”

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So, Georgie was an enthusiastic supporter of high-speed rail….until he found himself on the same side of the issue as President Obama??

The amazing part is that this guy displays sense, occasionally – as Krugman said, “he is not a stupid man”, he has supported the President at times and has attacked the extremes of the GOP/Tea Party.

So what’s this nonsense and hypocrisy all about??

25
Oct
10

picture perfect: no 11

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s hands rest on the railing of a boat during their tour of St. Andrews Bay in Panama City Beach, Fla., Sunday, Aug. 15, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

See all the Picture Perfect photos here




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