Fortunately, Senator Brown sees the danger of the amendment, and replied:
I appreciate hearing your views on how important it is to fund transportation initiatives in Cincinnati. Recently an amendment was offered to the House appropriations bill that would restrict funding for light rail or “fixed guideway” systems in the City of Cincinnati. I share your concerns about this potentially overbroad language.
Should relevant legislation come before the Senate, you can be sure I will keep your concerns in mind.
On the latest episode of The UrbanCincy Podcast, we discuss Rep. Chabot’s amendment, which would ban future federal funding for any sort of light rail, commuter rail, streetcar, freight rail, bus rapid transit (BRT), or other “fixed guideway” system in Cincinnati.
We also discuss how the extreme politicization of transportation issues results in politicians “selling out” their own constituants and costs taxpayers much more in the long run.
Our Founding Fathers established an initial copyright duration of 28-years, but that has been repeatedly extended to up to 120 years to favor corporations like Disney and Sony and authors’ descendants at the expense of the public. Such durations ignore the Constitution’s requirement that copyrights be for limited times and promote progress in science and the useful arts. They actually inhibit scientific progress by restricting the free flow of information, preventing global digital libraries, and withholding information that future generations need to freely exchange and build upon. The original copyright duration provides ample incentive for companies and authors to create, so we ask the President to urge Congress to pass a bill restoring copyrights to their original duration of 28 years.
Eternal copyright does not “promote progress,” it actually allows copyright holders to stop innovating.
Louisiana state representative Valarie Hodges loved the idea of using school vouchers to send more students to Christian schools. But she was shocked to find out that if religious schools are eligible for this form of public funding, all religions are eligible. It turns out she’d rather withdraw her support for vouchers than allow the use of “public funds for teaching Islam.”
Democracy, however, is apparently not good enough for some people, particularly of the Tea Party Republican variety. […] I hope this explodes the notion that the Republican party has any true interest in decentralizing government power. They love to rant and rave about Washington and states rights, but as I’ve noted before, when they run state governments, they gleefully set about micro-managing local governments.
Wireless network SSIDs in residential areas are typically left on default router names like “Belkin” or “LinkSys,” but some people use them as a subtle way to broadcast a message. Sometimes it’s simple like “DontStealMyInternet” or “Big Bob’s playhouse.” Others use their SSIDs to make a political statement. With that in mind, James Robinson, a developer for OpenSignalMaps, wondered if political allegiance could be inferred from assigning sentiment to SSIDs.
It’s been nearly two decades since Congress last increased the federal gas and diesel taxes that have historically paid for highways. Meanwhile, the cost of road and bridge construction has gone up and the purchasing power of fuel taxes has declined by more than a third. Revenue is also down because people have been driving less due to the uncertain economy and because cars are becoming more fuel-efficient.
This episode of This American Life put many of the thoughts I’ve been having, but couldn’t figure out how to express, into words.
So many Americans are currently stuck in the mentality of yelling and screaming “smaller government!” without thinking about what that actually means. Like in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where citizens voted down a tax increase, and as a result, the city had to make drastic cuts, like laying off firemen, turning off street lights, and closing down parks. Some citizens were willing to spend their own money to turn street lights back on, even though they were paying significantly more for these services than they would have paid in taxes.
Councilwoman Jan Martin:
He had just written a check to the city for $300 to turn all the street lights back on in his neighborhood. And I did remind him that for $200 if he had supported the tax initiative, we could have had not only streetlights, but parks and firemen and swimming pools and community centers. That by combining our resources, we as a community can actually accomplish more than we as individuals.
I understand that people get frustrated when they feel like they aren’t getting anything in return for their tax dollars. But, as this example shows, that’s not the case. People are getting mad because… I don’t know, because the government exists, I guess? If that’s the case, here’s a list of places where you might want to consider moving.
Stop for a second and thing about the big picture. What kind of country do we really want?
Some media outlets are so afraid of looking biased that they don’t fact-check politicians’ claims and simply report both sites as equal arguments. Unfortunately, this mentality is also creeping into coverage of scientific issues.
I think you see that a lot in science coverage and medicine. You have someone making an outrageous claim, and even if everyone in that field lines up on the other side, it’s presented as scientists’ debate.
Mnookin blames the media for giving credit to the theory that the MMR vaccine causes autism. The scientific paper that is often cited to back up this theory was published in 1998 but publicly retracted in 2010, after it was found to be flawed and fraudulent. As a result of more parents refusing to vaccinate their children, measles infections have hit a 15-year high. (On the bright side, some pediatricians are ‘firing’ families that refuse to have their children vaccinated.)
Fortunately, there is at least one field where journalists have not sunk to the all-arguments-are-equal level:
You don’t see it in business. If someone came along and said, “Hey everyone, my company is actually as valuable as Apple,” no business reporter would write a piece saying, “John Doe, who just started this company, claims that his company is as valuable as Apple. Apple Computer says, actually, it has more cash than any other company in the world,” because it would be ridiculous. But you do get that in science and medicine and in politics.