Hillbilly Report and the network of blogs served by the Soapblox was down for part of yesterday morning and afternoon. It appears our site and the others were a victim of a DDOS (distributed denial-of-service) attack. We will report back as new info surfaces.
The Texas Department of Transport and Federal Railway Authority announced in June that they were beginning an Environmental Impact Study for the proposed private Texas Central Railways (TCR) High Speed Rail corridor between Houston and Dallas.
This is a private venture that is proposing to using the "Japan Rail Central" N700-I system, an internationalized version of the 186mph HSR train running between Tokyo and Osaka. TCR proposal is not only for the trains to be operated on farebox revenue, but for the corridor to be built with private funds. As the FRA announcement states:
TCR is a Texas-based company formed in 2009 to bring HSR to Texas as a private-sector venture. Working closely with Central Japan Railway Company (JRC), TCR is proposing the deployment of JRC's N700-I Bullet System based on the world's safest, most reliable, lowest emission, electric-powered, HSR systems, the Tokaido Shinkansen System. Developed and operated by JRC and the former Japan National Railways, the Tokaido Shinkansen has operated safely for almost 50 years and carries over 400,000 daily passengers. The most current generation Shinkansen train, the Series N700, runs at speeds up to 186 miles per hour.
Being a private venture, the EIS process will give us our first public look at corridor alternatives that TRC is considering, as well as the first opportunity for formal public comment.
You’ve got to wonder how many Kentucky Republicans are like Barbara Knott. She just quit the Daviess County GOP executive committee because she’s not for Sen. Mitch McConnell.
Knott heads the Tea Party in Owensboro, seat of Daviess County in conservative western Kentucky, heretofore mostly McConnell country.
Knott, who says she’s sticking by other Republicans, backed Matt Bevin, the senate minority leader’s tea party-leaning challenger, in the May 20 GOP primary. McConnell clobbered Bevin.
On May 21, a lot of Bevin-for-Senate yard signs went into trash cans, but not the big one in Knott’s yard. Her 4-by-8-foot “Retire Mitch” sign is still up. She vows it won’t come down until after election day, Nov. 4, according to Phillip Bailey, news editor at WFPL radio in Louisville.
McConnell and Bevin pledge allegiance to President Ronald Reagan. But they nuked the Gipper’s famous 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any Republican.”
Team Mitch bashed Bevin as an “east coast con man” and all but called him a crook. Bevin slammed McConnell as “Mudslinging Mitch” and even put his daughter up to labeling McConnell a liar in a TV commercial.
Naturally, McConnell called for party unity after he won. Bevin didn’t desert to Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Democrat who wants McConnell’s job. But Bevin’s not on the Team Mitch cheerleading squad either.
Some tea party stalwarts have migrated to Mitch. Yet we won’t know if Knott represents the exception or the rule until after the votes are counted on election night.
Evidence suggests she might not be a lone mutineer. "Probably more than half of the executive committee feels like Barbara Knott does,” Bailey quoted Chris Holt, Daviess County GOP chair. “It’s about 50-50, so my job as chair is to try to bring both together. I'm not sure if Daviess County will go for McConnell or not." McConnell carried Daviess County in 2008.
Patterson is no threat to Grimes. It’s impossible to believe anybody inclined to vote for the captain of Team Switch would rally to Patterson.
On the other hand, Patterson seems bound to peel off some Republicans of the Barbara Knott persuasion.
But McConnell’s larger worry has to be turnout. Who knows how many Bevinites just won’t vote in the senate race?
Either way, it’s advantage Grimes. A vote for Patterson is almost certainly a vote that would have gone to McConnell. Likewise, almost all tea party-types who opt to steer clear of the polls on election day would have otherwise cast ballots for a Republican senate candidate.
Everybody says the vote will be close. But it wouldn’t take many Bevin loyalists to jump ship for Patterson, or to go fishing on election day, to swing the race to Grimes.
All along, Team Mitch bragged that their guy would zoom ahead in the polls after the primary because the GOP would close ranks behind McConnell.
Yet Grimes has a slight lead in almost every poll. She is also raising more money than McConnell and is smashing fund-raising records, to boot.
At the 2013 picnic, Grimes got off the most memorable line of the campaign so far: “If the doctors told Sen. McConnell that he had a kidney stone, he’d refuse to pass it.”McConnell forced a pained smile that made him look like he might have a kidney stone.
Team Mitch probably figured they’d have the election sewn up by Fancy Farm 2014. The game plan had McConnell smoking Bevin in the primary, pulling the party together afterwards, pulling way ahead of Grimes in the post-primary polls, burying her under an avalanche of cash and all but flying on automatic pilot to a happy landing on election day.
Now on Fancy Farm eve, it looks like Team Mitch is sweating, and not just from the heat of another scorcher of a Kentucky summer.
Back in Washington, the buzzards seem to stirring from their roost, if not quite circling. GOP bigwigs blabbed to Politico about who might succeed McConnell as the top senate Republican. Naturally, the Grimes campaign fired off the Politico story in an email. The headline asks, “What if Mitch McConnell loses?”
The speculation must have Team Mitch turning up the AC to max cool and buying antiperspirant in bulk.
I’ve never been prouder to pack a union card than I was when I visited the Topography of Terror museum in Berlin and the Dachau concentration camp memorial near Munich.
Both are stark, sobering memorials to victims of Nazi savagery. Both include haunting, black-and-white photos of men and women whom the Nazis murdered, tortured or imprisoned for opposing Adolf Hitler.
Walter Miertschke and many others in the photo galleries carried union cards. His fate is evidently unknown, but he apparently did not survive the Nazi terror.
Brandenburg, KY. 21 July 2014 — Kentucky’s Second Congressional Democratic nominee, Ron Leach, blasted his opponent, Congressman Brett Guthrie, for his repeated votes for the Paul Ryan budget. In an ad that will be airing throughout the 2nd Congressional District and on-line, Ron Leach notes “budgets reflect our values.” Guthrie’s vote for the Paul Ryan Budget reflects just how out of touch the Congressman is with the voters he represents. His vote protects the rich and special interests at the expense of the middle class and our seniors.
There is a long list of devastating cuts that are inflicted on the American people within the Ryan budget-however; the cuts to Medicare are perhaps the most striking. The Paul Ryan/Brett Guthrie Budget effectively turns the Medicare program into a voucher health insurance system, which will give seniors a voucher to look for coverage on the open market. Furthermore, it increases the enrollment age for Medicare to 70.
Wednesday 13 AUG 2014: Weisiger Theater in the Norton Center for the Arts, Centre College, Danville KY. Debate start time 6:30 pm Eastern Time
Wednesday 20 AUG 2014: Pritchard Community Center, 404 South Mulberry St, Elizabethtown, KY. 42701 Debate start time 6:30 pm Eastern Time
Wednesday 27 AUG 2014: Venue to be finalized, Owensboro KY. Tentative -Debate start time 6:30 pm Central Time
These debates will be centered on Support or Opposition to the “Paul Ryan Budget” as passed in the US House as a defining distinction in the candidates’ vision for Kentucky and America in the coming years and decades. The goal of these debates is to encourage substantive discussion of important issues to educate and engage the electorate. It is our desire that these debates may be informative and generally elevate the political discourse. While the debates will center on Support or Opposition to the “Ryan Budget”, discretion will be given to the moderator on related issues and related questions.
The Great Recession of 2007-2009 triggered the Depression that we appear to be exiting this summer. And it was triggered by the collapse of the Great Turn of the Century Suburban Housing Bubble.
In coming out of the recent Depression, one driver of residential property values, the Cul de Sac, seems to be in conflict with a new driver: walkability. In October 2013, the Realtor(R) Magazine Online, of the National Association of Realtors, wrote, in Neighborhoods: More Walkable, More Desirable that:
Neighborhoods that boast greater walkability tend to have higher resale values in both residential and commercial properties, finds a recent study published in Real Estate Economics. In fact, a 2009 report by CEOs for Cities found that just a one-point increase in a city's walk score could potentially increase homes' values by $700 to $3,000.
And Ken Harney, writing for NewHomeSource.com, observes in that:
The core concept - connecting people with where they want to work, play and own a home by creating attractive neighborhood environments that make maximum use of existing transit infrastructure - fits many post-recession households' needs, regardless of age. Older owners of suburban homes are downsizing into townhouses and condo units close to or in the central city, often in locations near transit lines. Younger buyers, fed up with long commutes to work, want to move to places where they can jump onto mass transit and get off the road.
Many of these buyers also have an eye on economics. For example, Bill Locke, a federal contracts consultant in northern Virginia, said that although owning a LEED-certified townhome near a Metro transit stop "is a really big deal" for himself and his wife, he sees the unit they recently purchased in the Old Town Commons development in Alexandria, Va., as a long-term investment that will grow in value "because it makes so much more sense" than competing, traditional subdivisions farther out from the city.
So, what does this mean for the sustainable transport and for the future of the deadly American Suburban Cul de Sac? Let's have a chat about it, below the fold.
Response to Brett Guthrie’s 7 JUL 14 Op-Ed comments on Workforce Skills Training Bill Brett Guthrie tries to put positive spin on dismal congressional performance:
The recent passage of the “Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA)” was the conclusion of an 11-year effort to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998. The sad fact is that this bill – or similar legislation - could have helped many displaced workers retool and retrain to reenter the workforce more quickly during the great recession and through to today if we had a functional US Congress that could have done their job sooner.
The current Workforce Investment Act as passed had wide bi-partisan and labor support, unlike the divisive and narrow interest “SKILLS Act” previously sponsored by Congressman Guthrie in 2011. Guthrie’s bill would have pitted one group of workers against another, would have led to fewer resources for dislocated workers, and would have removed labor from the table as a vital partner and voice for workers. Yet Congressman Guthrie appears to be taking an election year victory lap as if his bill had passed.
While I applaud the passage of the WIOA – even if needlessly delayed for years, the fact remains that this US Congress continues to fail.
Our nation’s infrastructure continues to crumble, making America’s economy less efficient, less resilient, and dangerous as bridges fall, railways fail, and airports and roads become more congested. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives our current national infrastructure a grade of D+ and urges a national investment of $3.6 trillion dollars just to maintain and repair our current infrastructure, let alone invest in the future requirements for a growing and dynamic US economy. A functional congress would address this real and growing crises, while stimulating hundreds of thousands to millions of near term and future jobs.
A functional US Congress would raise the minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour is supported by greater than 600 economists to include 4 Nobel Laureates as a means to not only lift greater than a million Americans out of poverty, but also stimulate the economy and create more jobs. The simple fact is that folks living paycheck to paycheck and sinking further into poverty do not stimulate the economy, and results in the very slow and inequitable economic growth we have seen over the past several years. We must rebuild an economy that works for all of us again, not just a diminishing few at the top – a rising tide that lifts all boats, not just the biggest Yachts.
A functional congress would fix the Federal Highway Trust Fund, which will run out of money early next month. The need for a fix has been known for years. Yet the best this failed congress has to offer is a temporary patch by borrowing from elsewhere, rather than come up with a sustainable funding solution. If the fund is not made solvent, 700,000 US jobs are at risk.
Brett Guthrie and this congress continues to fail to find long term pragmatic solutions - Fails to put governing ahead of ideology, and fails to put people ahead of partisanship.