This isn’t an opportunity for Georgia; this is a last chance

dart-light-rail

While metro Atlanta dithers, rival cities such as Dallas invest in next-generation light-rail and commuter-rail projects.

Watching Georgia legislators debate the state’s transportation future, as they did last week on the Senate floor, is enough to make a man despair.

You look at the scale of the challenge that we face as a result of decades of willful neglect and underinvestment, and then you see the cramped vision, distorted priorities and shortage of courage on display by those elected to lead us, and honestly — you really do have to question the state’s future economic viability. This isn’t an opportunity that we’re in danger of missing; given history, this is looking more like a last-ditch chance that we just don’t have the gumption to seize. Even the best-case scenarios of what legislators may be willing to pass fall short of what is needed to keep the state and metro region competitive, let alone make up for the failures of the past.

Look, it’s great that Georgia boasts the lowest tax burden per capita in the country. But that also means we have the lowest transportation budget per capita in the nation. And where are the benefits that are said to flow from such a low-tax environment? You can’t drive to work on the lowest taxes in the country. It doesn’t do you much good when you wait for three green lights before getting through an intersection. And with the ninth-highest jobless rate in the country, rising poverty rates and declining household income, it doesn’t appear to have jump-started the economy.

The whole idea of low taxes is to put more money into the hands of Georgians, right? But there’s strong evidence that by strangling needed public investment, our obsession with that metric is actually doing the opposite. And unfortunately, the sense of despair only grows deeper when you compare the lack of vision and courage on display under the Gold Dome to what’s going on elsewhere.

Consider the state of Texas. It’s one of the most conservative, anti-tax regions in the country, the heart of our fossil-fuel industry and a region fully committed to the romance of the open road ahead and a V-8 under the hood. If each state had a state automobile in the same way they have state birds or state animals, the state car of Texas would be a fuel-hogging Cadillac with a set of longhorns welded to the hood.

Yet a few years ago, Austin opened a commuter-rail line that now serves riders along a 32-mile route. Dallas has opened two new rail lines in the past six years and has expanded a third, with a total of 36 miles of rail service added in the last five years. Next month, it will also open a second downtown streetcar line.

Dallas also shares a 32-mile commuter rail link with neighboring Fort Worth, and Fort Worth is planning to open another 26-mile rail line to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport by 2018. Down on the Gulf Coast, Houston opened a new rail line in 2013 and will celebrate the opening of two additional light-rail lines next month.

Somehow, they’re making investments in their future. Somehow, they understand that times are changing, and that things as they used to be yesterday won’t be nearly good enough tomorrow. They recognize that their metro regions are the drivers of their economy, and they’ve given those regions the resources, flexibility and authority to prepare themselves.

And in Georgia? Our legislative leaders act as if they should be knighted because maybe, just maybe, they’ll give MARTA the power to decide for itself how much to spend on operations vs. capital needs. That’s what passes for enlightenment.

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1077 comments
Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Anyhow, I think the "current" thread seems to be the Wednesday Night Music one now, so I'm heading up there for a short spell...

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

Reports: Harry Reid won't seek re-election

Good.  One more scumbag gone from DC.

Unfortunately, there will be 7 to take his place in the cesspool.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@DownInAlbany

Scumbag?

Real nice. 

Your side got away with legislative murder for years on end until he finally summoned the courage to cross that Rubicon and make a rules change with a simple majority, if only to make a teensy, incremental change to the cloture-vote requirement for a narrow band of appointment confirmations. 

It's something he could've done in January of 2009, and certainly should have, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.

Kamchak
Kamchak

Drunk o'clock crew.

Spot on with that name, dB.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Kamchak

Drunk o'clock crew

Well, I did call them that, early and often, I will freely admit. 

Upon taking my new online persona and oath not to name-call, though, I've chosen to drop it.

Not condemning you in any way, just letting you know that I'm trying mightily not to do collective name-calling now. Like for instance, I'll refer to "righties" in terms that, I hope, are usually neutral and not intentionally offensive. I'll slip sometimes but I do try.

(And I think the only time since taking that pledge that I've ever called any individual poster here by a rude name, I honestly didn't realize it had happened until the guy complained. I apologized and deleted the post. But... who knows, old habits die very hard.)

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Kamchak

Also, I freely claim not to get what the deal really is between Josef and Mary Elizabeth. I think there's a lot of passive-aggressive layers to peel back there so I've tried to just stay out of it, but sometimes Jo gets me more irritated than ME ever does... and I reallly do like Jo a lot so maybe that's enough said.


/Days of our Lives

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@Visual_Cortex @Kamchak 

Agreed. Josef seems to keep summoning up ME's name whenever he wants to rally his troops, even when she's not around. What's up with that?  Some grudge he's holding for something posted years ago?


I've lived long enough to be retired, and one lesson I've definitely learned is not to hold grudges. It hurts the one holding the grudge more than the one who has offended.  Just let it go.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Fred had written to me on my blog in December of 2010.  Here was part of my response to him on Christmas Eve, 2010, on my personal blog:


"In the meantime, if these words are of help to you, remember that 'all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God' (as I had stated in my post entitled, 'A Conversation with Isabella Rossellini'). Ironically, it is this fact that connects us spiritually with every other person on Earth and makes us all one. To heal from our individual and community brokenness, we must forgive others, but we must also forgive ourselves. Sin is simply brokenness – brokenness from God and from one another. When we can forgive, we are, then, spiritually freed to love others, as well as ourselves, unconditionally, as God loves us."

US_Patriot
US_Patriot

Un ultimo pensiero prima di ritirarmi per la sera ...


Per quanto riguarda gli editoriali / commenti su Lunedi / Martedì su alcuni dei miei post (non ho idea del perché sono stato il tema, deve essere stato un altro giorno lento al blog AJC),


Gmare, superare te stesso! Mi può fregare di meno se sei maschio / femmina, vecchio / giovane ..... E 'un blog. Non si può prendere il calore, ottenere l'inferno outta la cucina.


Chi era l'altro, oh, sì, Madre Effin 'Superior: Che le donne bigotti (no signora, nessuna classe) meritavano quello che ho postato. (Come emerge dai commenti di questa sera).


Per quanto riguarda gli altri che accatastati su (senza fare nomi), a superare voi stessi, si tratta di un blog che eccita.


Ahhhh! Mi sento molto meglio! AMF!

td1234
td1234

"Wealthy tech founders and the automation of middle-class jobs are often blamed for increasing concentrations of wealth in fewer hands. But a 26-year-old MIT graduate student, Matthew Rognlie, is making waves for an alternative theory of inequality: the problem is housing [PDF]."

Rognlie is attacking the idea that rich capitalists have an unfair ability to turn their current wealth into a lazy dynasty of self-reinforcing investments. This theory, made famous by French economist Thomas Piketty, argues that wealth is concentrating in the 1% because more money can be made by investing in machines and land (capital) than paying people to perform work (wages). Because capital is worth more than wages, those with an advantage to invest now in capital become the source of long-term dynasties of wealth and inequality.

Rognlie’s blockbuster rebuttal to Piketty is that “recent trends in both capital wealth and income are driven almost entirely by housing.” Software, robots, and other modern investments all depreciate in price as fast as the iPod. Technology doesn’t hold value like it used to, so it’s misleading to believe that investments in capital now will give rich folks a long-term advantage.

Land/housing is really one of the only investments that give wealthy people a long-term leg up. According to the Economist, this changes how we should rethink policy related to income inequality.

Rather than taxing businesses and wealthy investors, “policy-makers should deal with the planning regulations and NIMBYism that inhibit housebuilding and which allow homeowners to capture super-normal returns on their investments.” In other words, the government should focus more on housing policy and less on taxing the wealthy if it wants to properly deal with the inequality problem.

This is precisely the problem in my home city, San Francisco. The tech-fueled economyhas been great for most San Franciscans, where a booming tech sector has increased wages and protected the local economy from the ravages of the recession

However, housing prices have skyrocketed. Just 14% of homes are affordable to middle-class families. In the once diverse Mission District, where many young tech workers are now relocating, it’s hard to find a new home for less than $1.5M.

Local housing boards have made it damn-near impossible to build new condos. After much infighting, San Francisco plans on building up to 50,000 more units. Yet San Francisco’s chief economist, Ted Egan, estimates that that the city would need at least 100,000 new units to stem increasing costs, let along bring prices down to something more affordable.

If Rognlie is correct and we really care about inequality, it might be wiser to redirect anger towards those who get in the way of new housing, rather than rely on taxes to solve our problems."

josef
josef

On Yemen…it IS of great strategic importance.It controls the Bab al Mandeb and with it the access to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.

Bruno2
Bruno2

@JamVet @Bruno2 Give the man some credit for coming up with an interesting moniker.  From Wiki:

Although he was the man responsible for its technology, Farnsworth appeared only once on a television program. On July 3, 1957, he was a mystery guest ("Doctor X") on the CBS quiz show I've Got A Secret. He fielded questions from the panel as they unsuccessfully tried to guess his secret ("I invented electronic television."). For stumping the panel, he received $80 and a carton of Winston cigarettes.[16] Moore then spent a few minutes discussing with Farnsworth his research on such projects as high definition television, flat-screen receivers, and fusion power.[54] Farnsworth said, "There had been attempts to devise a television system using mechanical disks and rotating mirrors and vibrating mirrors — all mechanical. My contribution was to take out the moving parts and make the thing entirely electronic, and that was the concept that I had when I was just a freshman in high school in the Spring of 1921 at age 14."


josef
josef

So, what did I do today?

Here in my little town on the Rez, there had been some issues with the way the gendarmerie was treating the Latino community.So, I was invited by the Pentecostal ministers to offer my input at a pro-forma little meeting with the mayor, chief of police and sheriff with “the community.”

Whoo-law!They got an earful, all right, and of course being of the spiritually evolved, coy and precious community organizer type.I interpreted and made sure I translated the local Guatemalan and Mexican dialect(s) into the local one.

The authorities certainly wondered just who that “white man in the tie” was, you know, outside agitator.

Well, they didn’t want to take my offer to volunteer whenever they had a situation requiring an interpreter.The 911 operator, however, was quite happy to hook me up with three-way calling, assuring her bossman, the COP, that I was “a life saver.”

So, I’m in the PD dispatch room learning the ins and outs when here comes the COP to “thank the volunteer.”Ha!It was that uppity white man from Atlanta with a tie!

At any rate. I’ve been going in to give some Spanish lessons to the 911 dispatchers and officers who want them.And a little diplomatic lessons in cross cultural relations.

And the mayor?“If there’s anything we can help you with…”

"Well, yessir, there is.You can rein in the Hysterical District Nazis!"

"I'll see what I can do..."

LOL I'm loving life in a small town out here in the rural South....

 

US_Patriot
US_Patriot

@josef "What time is it?" 


Let me tell ya how the clock works........LOL!

josef
josef

So, where's Bovina?  I wanted to tell her what I did for the poor and underprivileged lesser than I today.  Sing my own superior to thee praises.

Bruno2
Bruno2

@josef ME seems to get under your skin even more than she gets under the con's skin.  Personally, I think she's crazy.  Either that, or one of the least self-aware people I've ever run across.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

Her streams of bong-induced consciousness reveal a life of hippie-dom.

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@josef Good for you. I tried but my mean spirited ways made it impossible, I even tried to give a homeless person some money but he did not have any change so I kept me quarter.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

And her ALEC obsession rivals Soothie's truther goofiness.

josef
josef

@InTheMiddle2 @josef 

Ha!  I assure you my fulfillment of civic responsibilities to those less fortunate have  decided payback...and NOT of the spiritually evolved kind, but the coy and precious...  LOL

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@Bruno2 @josef


She probably gets under his skin for the same reason she gets under mine. She's a fraud who has an overblown sense of self righteousness and holier than thou crappola with self indulgent musings about people like herself who have a "higher sense of consciousness" than everyone else. 

josef
josef

@Bruno2 @josef 

Well, she DOES want to be persecuted, and Mama taught me to always give the ladies what they wanted!  LOL

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@Bruno2


Something tells me she wouldn't grant you membership into the "higher consciousness club". You could look like the hunchback of Notre Dame and have a better shot of getting into the beautiful people's club than the higher consciousness club. 

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

I dunno. She's kinda amusing - never uses one word when ten will do.

josef
josef

TBS

From below...

That's interesting to hear.  Artists, even the most internationally prominent, have not always fared too well in Cuba...even Cabrera Infante ran afoul of the Castro regime...

fedup52
fedup52

Yemen Crisis: Saudi Arabia Masses 150,000 Troops to Support Airstrikes

++++++

This is Obama's legacy.  He is not going to sacrifice our boys and girls to be world police man.


It is about time ME people take care of their own backyard.  Comprende morons.


Of course you can join the South African forces like in Nigeria and make the world safe. Any takers or  are you bunch of chicken hawks.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@fedup52 

Why is the Houthis seizing power in Yemen such a crisis in the first place? 

ALibNotToBeMessedW/
ALibNotToBeMessedW/

@fedup52

I wonder what lies the cons will make up 2 years from now, when you'll hear the stirrings of presidential historians comparing Obama with Lincoln, Washington and Roosevelt.