Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Roads For Sale

Fifty years to the day after Ike put his pen to the Highway Act, another Republican signed off on another historic highway project. On June 29, 2006, Mitch Daniels, the former Bush administration official turned governor of Indiana, was greeted with a round of applause as he stepped into a conference room packed with reporters and state lawmakers. The last of eight wire transfers had landed in the state's account, making it official: Indiana had received $3.8 billion from a foreign consortium made up of the Spanish construction firm Cintra and the Macquarie Infrastructure Group (mig) of Australia, and in exchange the state would hand over operation of the 157-mile Indiana Toll Road for the next 75 years. The arrangement would yield hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks for the consortium, which also received immunity from most local and state taxes in its contract with Indiana. And, of course, the consortium would collect all the tolls, which it was allowed to raise to levels far beyond what Hoosiers had been used to. By one calculation, the Toll Road would generate more than $11 billion over the 75-year life of the contract, a nice return on mig-Cintra's $3.8 billion investment.

The deal to privatize the Toll Road had been almost a year in the making. Proponents celebrated it as a no-pain, all-gain way to off-load maintenance expenses and mobilize new highway-building funds without raising taxes. Opponents lambasted it as a major turn toward handing the nation's common property over to private firms, and at fire-sale prices to boot.


A Neo-Fascist society just would not be complete without corporate-owned roads now would it? This is a sign of things to come, don't get rid of your spare change yet, you might need it to get to work in the near(too near) future.

This too is a product of the fascist-in-chief and his money-laden minions, eager to glean the pockets of anyone in America with money.

Here in America your money is worth more than anywhere else, just pay up and go, see you again tomorrow,when we take some more.

America's Yard Sale, everything at discount prices, for the rich.



DEN said...

Millions of Americans agree that the time has come to demand accountability from the President and his administration. The two censure resolutions that Senator Feingold proposed will hold the President, Vice President, and the Attorney General responsible for the destructive path down which they've taken our country.

The White House can no longer be allowed to shred the Constitution, and thumb their nose at the American people. Over the recent months and years, we've learned that this President, and his administration, have used mistruths, spin, lofty-rhetoric, hyped-up intelligence reports, and scare tactics to drag this country into a war that can only be described as the worst foreign policy mistake in our nation's history.

In addition, the administration, in an attempt to justify this mistake, has repeatedly distorted the situation on the ground in Iraq. And the President continues to keep our country bogged down in Iraq - in a civil war that has no military solution and actually hurts America's ability to fight those who attacked us on September 11th, 2001.

What's equally dangerous is the blatant disregard President Bush has had for the rule of law on which our country was founded. Future generations must understand that at a time in our nation's history when the very foundation of our government was threatened, Congress was not silent.

Regardless of whether you are for or against the impeachment of the President, Vice President, and other administration officials, Senator Feingold's censure resolutions are a powerful way to hold this administration accountable for their actions.

Support Feingolds censure resolution HERE

micki said...

Den, I mentioned that a guest on Thom Hartmann's show advocated this very thing following the collapse of the MSP bridge -- privatize our bridges and highways. In Europe, there's a trend towards privatizing public works and services.

These trends will give a whole new definition to "highwayman" and "private affairs."

(I was just kidding about "renting" out our roads for a day to NASCAR.)

micki said...

That map you posted...it says "interstate and defense highways."

I've never seen that term "defense highways."

micki said...

The National Defense Highway System

Well, now that I think of it...I guess I have heard of it. This morning it just didn't register. Duh!

The above is an interesting article....

DEN said...

1 mile of each five has to be straight road to land aircraft.


micki said...

The Interstate system was designed so that one mile in every five must be straight, usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies.

Hmmmmm...snopes claims this is FALSE

Research anyone?

DEN said...

Directly from the article you posted earlier, Micki:

From the outset of construction of the Interstate System, the DOD has monitored its progress closely, ensuring direct military input to all phases of construction. The National Defense Highway System was responsible for building many of the first freeways. Its purpose was supposedly to allow for mass evacuation of cities in the event of a nuclear attack. The Interstate system was designed so that one mile in every five must be straight, usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies.

Believe it? Or not?

carey said...

Well fiddlesticks. I can't accesss the archives. I'll try later. I'm hoping my computer will be okay after the weekend.

I'm sure you all wrote of the wiretapping vote yesterday if I might change the subject for a moment. I didn't wrap my mind too much around it, it's hard for me right now. I will say this, they all wanted to go home. It was a little Bush game, the effin turd. The law will be reviewed in 60 days from what I understand.

I hope that is the case. Otherwise, I give up. Once it's voted in, I would wager it's pretty hard to fix.

I don't understand this.

Getting my new lenses today. I'm so stoked.

•c•arol said...

Bob and I are are both LONG overdue to have our eyes checked. If I sit on this pair I don't know what I'll do!

I only need them for driving and what did I forget when I went to the grocery store this afternoon? Fortunately, when it's bright out I can see almost as good as with the glasses.

Den, what if my neighbor has an older diesel? I couldn't tell you what year it is. I don't know the year of any vehicle.

It's a good thing his house is half an acre away or I'd probably need to complain.

I finally got my hands on the audio book version of Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone by Rajiv Chandrasekaran. I'm only on the first disc and could already spit nickels! Just makes me more ashamed of my country and the American mind. :(

DEN said...

Carol, And Den! Our neighbor drives a diesel pick-up and EVERY day he comes home he lets his engine idle for at least five minutes. Do people have to do that to all diesels?

The theory behind that is the turbocharger is spinning at 10,000+ RPM and the oil pressure of the motor keeps it lubed with oil, if shut off too soon it means the turbo is spinning at high speed without engine oil pressure lubricating it, causing the turbo bearings to wear out sooner.

1 minute at idle should be plenty after stopping after highway driving, 5 minutes is excessive in my mechanical opinion.

Does he ride a Harley?

If so that explains a lot.

micki said...

Den, I realize it said that in the article. Snopes is generally spot on in its research. So, that's why I said "research anyone?"

micki said...

Carey, I think it's that the measure must be renewed in 180 days or the changes will expire. The 60 day "thingie" that you referred to is about another aspect of the measure. The version that bush signed on Sunday does not contain the audits every 60 days by the Inspector General that the House version provided. That is bad news, IMO.

Well, the whole damned deal is bad news. But the lack of outside oversight, when DNI honcho Mike McConnell and Gonzo are essentially in charge of the program is not reassuring!

But, I think already people are beginning to see that this is a horrible bill and it must be changed. PRONTO! Forget about the 180 days!

micki said...

Oh for gawdsakes! This would be laughable, if it weren't so serious!

It is left to the director of national intelligence and the attorney general to "assess compliance with such procedures" and report their assessments to the House and Senate intelligence panels, the statute states.

Isn't this like the fox watching the hen house? Additionally, doesn't "semi-annual" mean "twice yearly" or "half yearly"???????

Well, they must figure the law is here to stay, because it expires in 180 days (which is pretty much "half a year") if it isn't renewed!!!

micki said...

Oh, oh.....this might explain the "semi-annual" provision. Worse than we thought....

Lisa Graves of the Center for National Security Studies, which advocates for civil liberties, said the new law will potentially allow the government to intercept millions of Americans' calls and e-mails without warrants — as long as the NSA and other authorities have a foreign suspect in their sights.

"This power that they have obtained is a dramatic expansion," she said.

The Bush administration also fixed an odd quirk of the surveillance law that it said had emerged with the rapid technological growth of the past two decades: The government had to get legal approval to listen in on foreign suspects who are located overseas but whose conversations cross into the extensive U.S. communications network, as millions of international calls and e-mails do each day.

While the law is in effect, that legal approval will no longer be required, officials acknowledged.

The power may last longer than some people expect, Graves noted, thanks to a little-noticed provision of the bill. While the law expires in February unless Congress acts to extend it, any surveillance orders that are in place when it sunsets can last up to a full year, she said.

Without a repeal, lawmakers "weren't just giving them the power for six months. They were giving it to them for the rest of the administration," Graves said.

•c•arol said...

Thanks for the explanation, Den. I knew you'd know the answer.

No, the neighbor doesn't ride a Harley BUT he has a small bike, maybe a dirt bike? Last summer he had a bulldozer plow a course on his two acres complete with two little hills. The other neighbors got mad and went to the township meeting. He had to get rid of the course. I was glad because when he rode the dirt did fly!

micki said...

I just realized I left this off of my post about my "semiannual" comment:

Gonzalez is also required to provide semiannual reports to the House and Senate intelligence and Judiciary committees, which are to include any accounts of abuse or noncompliance that Justice and intelligence officials discover in their internal reviews.

Oh, well, y'all get the picture. ;-))

DEN said...


In the hope that this article will find its way into Public Roads and Public Roads Online and will be seen by Internet surfers, I will conclude by saying that, for all I know, there are 293 ways to make change for a dollar, snails can sleep for three years without eating, and an ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain. BUT NO LAW, REGULATION, POLICY, OR SLIVER OF RED TAPE REQUIRES THAT ONE OUT OF FIVE MILES OF THE INTERSTATE HIGHWAY SYSTEM MUST BE STRAIGHT.

The horses mouthFederal Highway Administration

I thought it sounded weird.

DEN said...

Maybe THIS is what they were talking about?

Gerald said...

About 3 or 4 years ago I was listening to Alex Jones on infowars and he said that all our roads would be privatized, they would be toll roads. If you want to go from point A to B, you would have to pay a fee. These toll roads would control our movement. This would be another sign of a police state. I recall one of my posts where I wrote that each state would have various wailing walls and the people would come to wail at their enslavement.

My fellow Nazis, the wailing is just beginning for our enslaved people.

micki said...

I'm changing the subject from dirt bikes to DIRT BAGS

Okay, okay....I admit this article is kinda People Magazine-ish (or even National Enquirer-ish) but it's kind of fun to read crapola like this at times -- especially when it has to do with a B actor's "trophy wife."

But, I have read in numerous articles that Fred Thompson's wife is an attorney. Not so, it says here...

micki said...

Den -- good find! I maintain my faith in Snopes! They have never let me down! When I read that one/five mile "provision" I thought it was suspect -- that's why I immediately went to Snopes.

Gerald said...

I propose that since we fight to promote Nazi American imperialism, we should add more states to the current 50 states. We should add Israel, Iraq, Iran, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Philipines, and D.C., to name several new states.

Israel should be a another U.S. state

micki said...

Gore: Polluters Finance Research to Cast Doubt on Global Warming

”They’re trying to manipulate opinion and they are taking us for fools,” he said.

He said Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, is one of the major fuel companies involved in attempting to mislead the public about global warming.

Gerald said...

Posters, I forgot to add Canada and Mexico to the new Nazi American states. Since a superhighway will be a reality in a short time, the lies can stop about this new superhighway that will open our borders and make Canadians and Mexicans new American citizens. Mexico has never accepted the states in the southwest including Texas as American properties.

DEN said...

I'll let my pal Steven Colbert tell you about the super highway.

DEN said...

Junkie Troops in Afganistan.

David B. Benson said...

Spineless snails in the US Capitol.

David B. Benson said...

I think I just insulted snails.

Not by calling them spineless. That's just a fact.

micki said...

The faster snails eat and the more they eat, the more they move around (no longer "moving like a snail!"), then bingo! The quicker they die. I read that some place.

micki said...

NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday ran a piece about the current baby boom among the very well-off.

The newest status symbol for the nation's most affluent families is fast becoming a big brood of kids.

Historically, the country-club set has had the smallest number of kids. But in the past 10 years, the number of high-end earners who are having three or more kids has shot up nearly 30 percent.

Some say the trend is driven by a generation of over-achieving career women who have quit work and transferred all of their competitive energy to baby making.

They call it "competitive birthing."

Does this mean that fertility drugs will be banned from the competition like steroids are from competitive sports? ;-)

micki said...

Slugs live for only one season.

Or less. Pass the salt.

David B. Benson said...

Slugs. Yes, I don't mind insulting slugs.

Ripe banana slugs in the US Capitol...

David B. Benson said...

Your US Senators?

carey said...

From Micki's post:

Without a repeal, lawmakers "weren't just giving them the power for six months. They were giving it to them for the rest of the administration," Graves said.

That is exactly what I was afraid of. They're actively working to cut out all the mounting evidence against them.

Ed Schultz started his show today by saying not to worry. He assured listeners there is oversight. He faulted the Dems for not coming out and explaining this to all of us concerned folk.

I don't think so. There's plenty to effin worry about. We're nailing the damn coffin shut.

Like this:

Gonzalez is also required to provide semiannual reports to the House and Senate intelligence and Judiciary committees, which are to include any accounts of abuse or noncompliance that Justice and intelligence officials discover in their internal reviews.

They are in total control.

Okay--now I'm going to turn the TV on and take in the AFL-CIO presidential forum hosted by Keith O. This is the first significant gathering of the season, guys. What with the labor issues being ever so integral, the gathering should be revealing.

It should be interesting.

DEN said...

Edwards and Biden locking horns over the number of picket lines they walked and when, clearly playing to the union audience.

Kucinich raised a few cheers with his record on union support.

Ole Hill hitting the highs and lows with Edwards.

Mr. O, well he is winging it and should be in Hollywood.

Dodd is a real candidate with sound ideas.

Interesting indeed.

KO trying to stop a runaway speaker is funny, not a good brakeman.

Tune in if you can or go to C&L later.

micki said...

That fits many U.S. Senators to a T, Dr. B!


Alan said...

Does this mean that fertility drugs will be banned from the competition like steroids are from competitive sports? ;-)

Speaking of... Bonds just broke Aaron's record while ago.

Alan said...

Y'all should watch Markos keynote speech from the YKOS convention... at "Crooks...".