Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fossil-fuels or democracy -- pick one, only one

Why do the world powers oppose democracy with such consistency? Because the world powers are controlled by, and dependent on, fossil fuels. Fossil fuel sources and pipelines are impossible to protect except with total control of the population. Here is another example.

EGYPT: Pipeline blast halts gas exports to Israel, Jordan - April 27, 2011

An attack on a pipeline in the northern Sinai peninsula on Wednesday sent flames and a massive plume of smoke into the sky and cut off Egypt's natural gas supplies to Israel and Jordan for the second time in less than three months, according to the Egyptian Natural Gas Co.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

USA is NOT broke - we CAN afford free public transit

It's the Inequality, Stupid | Mother Jones: "A Harvard business prof and a behavioral economist recently asked more than 5,000 Americans how they thought wealth is distributed in the United States. Most thought that it’s more balanced than it actually is. Asked to choose their ideal distribution of wealth, 92% picked one that was even more equitable."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Oil industry bleeding America dry

Wake Up, Washtenaw!: National Deficits: Government and Oil: "I'm told most Americans no longer believe in climate change, but even for that questionable majority, these figures should raise an alarm about our dependence on overseas oil:

$22B is what we sent to outright unfriendly countries for oil. During the same period, the Federal Government spent only $7B, about one-third as much, for public transit in this country.
$55B is what we sent to questionable allies. During the same period, the Federal Highway Trust Fund spent only $32B on highways in our own country.
No wonder there's so much pressure to cut back on spending for rail and transit: it's pretty clear who stands to gain, but it's not the American people. And it seems those who gain have ever-deepening pockets."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Big Brother says: Cars good, Cars safe.

Selling Violent Death - Death by Car: "Like so much else in the market-totalitarian United States of America, Big Brother would be hopping jealous of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Not only does the agency get away with its name — as if “safety,” rather than danger, is the topic raised by “highway traffic” — but it also functions as a more or less open adjunct to the corporate car-sales effort.

Consider the issue of NHTSA “frontal crash tests,” the procedure that yields the “government 5-star ratings” that are a staple in automotive advertising. If the truth be told, these tests are merely another form of public subsidy to cars-first transportation. As a basis for making marketing claims, they are gold. As a source of legitimate information about the risks of owning and operating any particular car, however, they are close to meaningless."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Oil wars funded, public transit cut

Transit group: Ryan's budget 'misguided' - The Hill's Transportation Report: "The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) sharply criticized the 2012 budget proposal from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) Wednesday, saying it cuts too much from federal spending on transportation."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tucson fare increases punish the poor and discourage transit use

How many Democrats on the Tucson council will vote to burden the poor even more tonight? - Three Sonorans: "Either you charge more or you get more riders. In my opinion, from an environmental perspective, riding the bus should be as free as possible. If Sun Tran had a ride-free month Tucson would see much less traffic on the roads, saving gas, speeding up the commute times, less exhaust, etc. But this will never happen.
However, gas prices will continue to rise. There are many states that are already over the $4 a gallon mark. Tucson will be there soon. Oil production has peaked, and prices will only continue to rise from now on, fluctuating here and there but overall on the rise, but gas is already over $10 a gallon in England.
As summer nears, and gas gets even more expensive, Sun Tran will have more riders. Thus it will be making more money. And it will have more riders the less expensive bus fare is.

The City of Tucson should be promoting public transportation as much as possible, especially if they know anything about peak oil. Increasing bus fares on the poor is the exact opposite of the way they should be headed.

16th Street Shuttle in Denver, CO.

Consider downtown Denver, where all the hotels and convention centers are, with stores, restaurants, bars, bookstores, everything. Public transportation is FREE!
And the bus you ride is environmentally friendly.
Those dozens of people on each bus could be dozens of cars burning gas, but instead it’s just one vehicle and everyone is happy.

The city is providing the infrastructure for business to bloom. Even hotels a mile away from where a conference is are just a free short ride away.

This is so different from Tucson’s downtown."

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Climate delayers are immoral careerists

The Truth About Climate Change, Still Inconvenient - For years now, large numbers of prominent scientists have been warning, with increasing urgency, that if we continue with business as usual, the results will be very bad, perhaps catastrophic. They could be wrong. But if you’re going to assert that they are in fact wrong, you have a moral responsibility to approach the topic with high seriousness and an open mind. After all, if the scientists are right, you’ll be doing a great deal of damage.

But what we had, instead of high seriousness, was a farce: a supposedly crucial hearing stacked with people who had no business being there and instant ostracism for a climate skeptic who was actually willing to change his mind in the face of evidence. As I said, no surprise: as Upton Sinclair pointed out long ago, it’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.

But it’s terrifying to realize that this kind of cynical careerism — for that’s what it is — has probably ensured that we won’t do anything about climate change until catastrophe is already upon us.

So on second thought, I was wrong when I said that the joke was on the G.O.P.; actually, the joke is on the human race. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Free public transit. How would it work?

First, it already works. Click for list of locations.

You can implement free transit locally for about 60 basis points of tax. You will receive immediate return on this modest investment. Less traffic, fewer parking problems, main-street business unblocked, lower medical costs, lower auto-insurance rates, less money needed for roads, less drainage problems, savings on gasoline, less cars per family... and many more money-saving benefits. See Externalities.

But what is the larger plan?

When a certain critical mass of small towns adopt free transit, larger cities will catch on. Suddenly they will discover that un-gridlocking is a competitive advantage. This will be the tipping point. When the auto loses its critical mass its massive subsidies will be seen as a burden. If this leads to the end of the wasteful autosprawl system, there will be hope that we have not poisoned our planet beyond repair.