Now THAT’S Infrastructure! Of God And Bridges…

This is one of those times someone is bound to say, “There are no coincidences!” Today, President Biden was scheduled to come to Pittsburgh to talk about infrastructure. God, apparently in an Old Testament mood, decided to collapse a bridge in Pittsburgh, sending a bus and several cars into a ravine. In a New Testament mood, he chose that relatively sparsely used bridge, the Fern Hollow Bridge in the area of South Braddock and Forbes avenues, and let it go before 7 a.m., when the traffic was light. But the point was made, or should have been. Whether Joe will get that point, whether the public will wake up to it, and whether the news media will try to paper it over, is too early to tell.

Biden’s (barely) bipartisan infrastructure bill this was passed November with a price tag of $1.2 trillion dollars, more than the GDP of Mexico. Nonetheless, that’s still less than a study I oversaw in the 1980s for the U.S. Chamber of Congress calculated was needed then to address our massive infrastructure rot. So one would think, wouldn’t one?, that the bill that finally was passed would at least direct all of its money to the infrastructure—you know, roads, bridges, airports, mass transit, pipelines, the power grid, waterways, railways, sewage systems, that kind of stuff. It would still be inadequate, but it would be a start. But much of the Democratic base is being deluded into thinking that infrastructure spending is really social spending, or should be. Thus MSNBC’s Joy Reid called the bill a “white guy employment act.”

Continue reading

Infrastructure Bill Partisanship, Deception And Ethics

infrastructure

Stipulated: the nation really does need to spend a lot of money on infrastructure, and has for decades. The longer the essential repairs and upgrades are kicked down the road, the worse the economy will perform, and the more expensive the eventual bill will be. Yes, during a period of massive inflation caused in great part by an irresponsible Democratic Party spending spree is not the ideal time for trillion buck outlays, but there is no ideal time for trillion buck outlays, and this one is really in that category of things the government has to do.

Only 13 Republicans joined with House Democrats to get the already scaled down bill passed, and those thirteen are being excoriated by conservatives, most Republicans, right-wing blogs and Donald Trump as traitors, dupes and RINO’s. This is because the bill, needed though it is, will supposedly give President Biden a “victory,” and we can’t have that. No, it’s better to have cholera outbreaks and bridges collapsing.

Continue reading

Unethical Website of the Month: Bloomberg News

Seldom does any news media organization make its absence of fairness and objectivity on a topic so obvious that there isn’t some room for argument, but Bloomberg managed to scale the heights with its headline to a story by reporter Heidi Przybyla. Her report covered the results of a Bloomberg poll designed to create a profile of the members of the Tea Party movement, which has been holding multiple demonstrations across the country to protest passage of President Obama’s health care reform bill.

The poll results themselves were unremarkable, given what we already have learned about the Tea Partiers’ objectives and objections. Over 90% of those polled by Bloomberg said that they feared that the nation was turning to socialism, with the federal government trying to control too many aspects of  Americans’ lives. In answer to another question,  70% felt that Obama’s Administration needed to put more resources into job creation. So Przybyla, her editors and Bloomberg’s management chose to headline the report with this:

“Tea Party Advocates Who Scorn Socialism Want a Government Job” Continue reading

Futile Ethics Lessons From the Luge

Long before Luger Nodar Kumaritashvili of the Republic of Georgia crashed and died on a training run there, Vancouver’s Whistler Sliding Centre, now the site of the Olympics luge, bobsled and skeleton competitions, had been the target of complaints, warnings and controversy regarding its safety. After the first international training event at Whistler in November 2008, the president of the luge governing body openly expressed worries over the speed of the track. Since then, there have been sufficient accidents on the track, not only in the luge, but also bobsled and skeleton races, that the fatal accident there could not fairly be called “a surprise.”  Just a  day before the Georgian was killed, United States luger Mark Grimmette was quoted as being concerned about the course’s speed, saying, “I think we’re probably getting close, too close, to the edge.” Later the same day, a Romanian luge racer was knocked unconscious during his training run. The frequency of crashes during the training runs last week were far above the norm.

Nevertheless, Olympic and luge officials chose not to make changes to the course that would limit the speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour that luge, bobsled and skeleton competitors were reaching, speeds beyond what they were used to, or had trained to handle.

And yet… Continue reading