Monday, March 7, 2011

Weekend Links

Local News:
1. The Seattle City Council has overridden the mayor veto the tunnel construction that is supposed to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct along Seattle’s waterfront. The tunnel is not a done deal yet as it still has to go before the voters. Mayor Mike McGinn is worried about taxpayers having to foot the bill for cost overruns. Cost overruns? That NEVER happens with government contracts, right? Take a look at this from the Cato Institute. Although the study is nearly eight years old, it is still a viable product for getting an idea of why Mayor McGinn is concerned.

2. I have blogged in the past about how the State of Washington is going to raise funds with declining gas tax revenue expected to accelerate with more Hybrids and electric cars on the roadways. A bill currently under consideration would charge tolls on I-405 for single occupancy vehicles to use the high occupancy (carpool) lanes. It is already in use on State Route 167, which feeds into I-405. So far, the SR 167 tolls have not been successful, costing more money to operate than is being raised. In the eyes of DOT officials the tolls have been successful in improving traffic flow. We subsidize farms, we subsidize housing, we subsidize health care, and now we are subsidizing driving to work. Ain’t American great?

The State of Washington is using voodoo numbers to show that the unemployment rate dropped from 9.3% to 9.1%. According to the data crunchers in Olympia, the state added 11,000 new jobs. But there is a problem with how the numbers are figured. The most widely reported job figures use an index that adjusts for the predicted job increases and decreases during the holidays and summer. If you throw out that hocus-pocus, the state actually lost about 47,000 jobs.

“In a very real sense, we lost jobs,” said Dave Wallace, acting chief economist for Employment Security.  But “we lost fewer jobs than we normally would lose at this time of the year.”

To add a little more the job woes, a broader measurement that uses “discouraged” job seekers (those not looking for work any longer), the state unemployment and underemployment rate leaps to 18.4%.

National News:
1. Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, is seriously considering a run for the Presidency in 2012. It is expected that he will form an exploratory committee in the next few days. Two things about him have me a bit concerned. The first one is his age. He is now 67 and would be 69 upon taking office and 77 at the end of a second term. I think we need someone who is a little younger.  The second issue is his personal life. He is going to get chewed up and spit out over his two divorces, both caused by affairs.

2. Interesting story here about how hand-held laser pointers might be causing eye damage. There have already been issues with people pointing lasers at aircraft as they approach an airport, but so far there have been no accidents.

4. Politico points out that conservative bloggers are asking their foot soldiers to video as much as possible at rallies they attend.  According to Politico the Conservative Movement and Tea Party are doing because they were:

Stung by allegation of incendiary, racist and homophobic rhetoric at tea party rallies last year, conservative activists with flipcams and camera phones have circulated at the union protests sprouting up across the country in hopes of catching violent or abusive behavior by their liberal adversaries.

First of all, they were allegations only. There is absolutely no evidence of the allegations anywhere to be found, other than some folks who admittedly crashed these Tea Party events in order to stir up troubles.  Secondly, there is so much material on how the liberals are behaving, that separate web sites are being set up just as a holding place for all the heated rhetoric spewing forth from the left. Oddly enough, the lame stream media was VERY quick to pick up on the allegations of violent rhetoric and behavior from the right, but you’ll hardly see anything in the LSM regarding the hatred coming from the left. The LSM nearly had a heart attack over the completely debunked spitting/n-word issue after the passing of Obama Care, while a black man selling Tea Party and conservative memorabilia gets beaten by SEIU thugs you hardly hear a twitter from the LSM.

Global News:
The Bill & Belinda Gates Foundation has given $20M to the BBC’s charitable arm. The story linked here touches on the blurring of lines between traditional media and the new way of getting news out. There is concern that the Gates Foundation may use their money and influence to get certain stories written as they would like to see them. At this time, the Gates Foundation is focused on issues concerning health care in developing areas of the world, so for now it remains fairly benign.

No comments:

Post a Comment