this plan does not run the new Blue Line down M street and back into its current configuration. Instead, it runs the Blue Line north, through Adams Morgan, Shaw, Gallaudet, and Trinidad to create a new corridor mostly on Florida Avenue.I'm not going to steal his thunder ... go read his whole thing. It really is another great improvement on our ever-lackluster Metro system.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
• Purchase buses, paratransit vehicles, maintenance vehicles and components for rail cars;
• Replace, repair and expand maintenance facilities such as bus garages and rail car storage facilities;
• Repair and improve passenger facilities such as station platforms, escalator canopies, stairs, elevator access and credit card readers;
• Expand security systems and purchase additional emergency tunnel evacuation carts;
• Procure maintenance and repair equipment for Metrorail track and rail cars;
• Replace deteriorating operating equipment like fare collection equipment and signage; and
• Procure hardware and software to improve maintenance efficiencies, monitor network traffic and protect WMATA systems for disaster recovery.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Now, everyone is a little prone to some outbursts, especially in an office environment. But some people just go above and beyond in their inappropriateness; those people deserve to be ridiculed.
I have a friend, who is only willing to be identified here as "Cougar", who recently told me about some of her ILOLAW situations . She a great fan of this new terminology and is happy it finally has a name as she has to deal with this situation daily. Couger has a coworker, "Z", that ILOLAWs constantly. Not little titters or giggles, but wholehearted guffaws.
"I don't get it, there I am minding my own business doing my work and suddenly I hear this ear-piercing yelp followed by the loudest laughter I've ever heard. I remember thinking, 'What the f**k was that?!' That was day 1. It's been like that every day since. I don't know what she's laughing about, if she's trying to get attention or what, but it got old... fast."Our hearts go out to you, Cougar.
Do any of you have ILOLAW stories to share?
The New York Times (SHEAm calls it a record paper or something...) has a story yesterday about the economic recovery of the former Steel City and it's current (relative) prosperity.
Now, I'll be the first to openly admit that Pittsburgh is not a perfect place and has gone through some considerable hard times. But as the Times points out, while other industrial cities slid into a terrible stage of depression, Pittsburgh pulled itself out of the much by expanding into education and health care. Given the state of the economy now and the tough times ahead for places like Detroit, maybe Pittsburgh should serve as a model for these cities to replicate.
David Streitfield says it best himself:
It goes on:
This is what life in one American city looks like after an industrial collapse:
Unemployment is 5.5 percent, far below the national average. While housing prices sank nearly everywhere in the last year, they rose here. Wages are also up. Foreclosures are comparatively uncommon.
A generation ago, the steel industry that built Pittsburgh and still dominated its economy entered its death throes. In the early 1980s, the city was being talked about the way Detroit is now. Its very survival was in question.
Deindustrialization in Pittsburgh was a protracted and painful experience. Yet it set the stage for an economy that is the envy of many recession-plagued communities, particularly those where the automobile industry is struggling for its life.
Entrepreneurship bloomed in computer software and biotechnology. Two of the biggest sectors are education and health care, among the most resistant to downturns. Prominent companies are doing well. Westinghouse Electric, a builder of nuclear reactors, expects to hire 350 new employees a year for the foreseeable future. And commercial construction, plunging in most places, is still thriving partly because of big projects like a casino and an arena for the Penguins hockey team.One of the points of the story is that part of Pittsburgh's current-enviable situation is due to the fact that it played things very by the book in recent years. There wasn't a large real estate bubble (so one didn't pop), and house prices are up about 2% as of Sept 2008 while nationally they fell 4%. PNC Bank, a big local bank (and my FAV!) didn't take a lot of risk in the midst of the sub-prime bonanza, and being cautious served them well: while other banks are folding in spades they just acquired several Ohio-based banks. The moral of the story: don't go nuts just because everybody else is doing it; it if seems to good to be true it probably is.
In any case, it's worth a read, especially for those of you in the new Rust Belt looking for some inspiration. There was life after steel, and there will be life after automobiles...
In 2008 he was even nominated for President by the Libertarian Party. He must have really changed for them to love him. I'm not so sure.
However, this week he did take a big step away from nut-job-ism and wrote an editorial in the LA Times recanting his previous devotion to DOMA. He now claims (realizes may be a better word) that there is an unfair 'one sided' federalism that has unintended consequences for the nation. He further notes that then-Senator Obama was right to oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006. Agreed.
Here's a quick excerpt from Barr's note in the Times:
"In effect, DOMA's language reflects one-way federalism: It protects only those states that don't want to accept a same-sex marriage granted by another state. Moreover, the heterosexual definition of marriage for purposes of federal laws — including, immigration, Social Security survivor rights and veteran's benefits — has become a de facto club used to limit, if not thwart, the ability of a state to choose to recognize same-sex unions.
Even more so now than in 1996, I believe we need to reduce federal power over the lives of the citizenry and over the prerogatives of the states. It truly is time to get the federal government out of the marriage business. In law and policy, such decisions should be left to the people themselves."
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
There's an interesting post on Millenial Makeover about the Obama team's transition. While I don't agree with 100% of the historical assessment or the insinuation that there is wide-spread agreement on the 'fact' that administrations fall into either the 'idealist' or 'civil' categories (etc), I am intrigued by the author's analysis. I think the most important point made is about the impact of Generation Y, the "Millenials":
"The current realignment however, is a "civic" realignment, produced by the political emergence of America's newest civic generation, Millennials (born 1982-2003). Civic generations react against the efforts of divided idealist generations to advance their own moral causes. They expect their team to unify the country, focus on reenergizing political and governmental institutions and using those institutions to confront and solve pressing national issues left unattended and unresolved during the previous idealist era. The transition efforts of President-elect Obama should be measured against this set of expectations, not those of an idealist era like the one just ended."
As a proud Millenial and an individual working in the civic engagement field: this really is an exciting time and I hope the "Makeover" author is right. A lot of the public impression/conventional wisdom has been that young people don't get involved and are generally an apathetic age-group. The one recent exception has been the election, when we saw a great number of books, articles, columns, political commentary/strategy claim that the apathy trend was changing (with various levels of credit given to Sen. Obama). But that isn't the whole story.
The fact is we are seeing more and more Millenials get excited about their community, get engaged, and get active. Some of that has been election-based (or related to the outcome of the election, given Obama's strong youth following). But maybe part of the issue is the way in which we talk about and measure engagement.
For instance, many younger people choose to get involved in very innovative ways, particulary online. With the advent of Facebook (and "Causes" in particular), MySpace, ActBlue, and myriad others, the word "engagement" is gaining a whole new meaning. Older generations measure activism by attending rallies, signing physical petitions, going to community meetings. Millenials tend to measure it with email alerts, virtual petitions, facebook groups, etc. "Can you be engaged while sitting at a keyboard," has become a more and more relevant question (for more on this see a debate by the experts here.)
Furthermore, a record number of young people today are getting active, volunteering in their communities (especially in long-term service programs), and partaking in the political process. Just glance at the number of young people joining Teach For America, AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, and other similar programs. Or look at revolutionary organizations like Mobilize.org that were created by Millenials specifically to empower Millenials. Add to the mix the fact that a recent study by the National Conference on Citizenship(more on this in future posts...) shows that Millenials now are more committed and active in their communities than Baby Boomers (the most active age-group around these days) were at this point in their lives, and we may truly be headed for a greater civic realignment.
What's crucial here is to take the initiative and ensure that we don't miss an opportunity to help institutionalize/spread dedication to community, neighbor, and country. Just look at a snapshot of our situation: our infrastructureis outdated, our urban centers are crumbling (not to mention going bankrupt), and our economy is floundering, with no end in sight. Yet we have a new President buoyed to victory by hope and optimism and a generation of emerging leaders eager to get its hands dirty.
Let's marry the two by increasing the funding and our national investment in service initiatives. Creating an even more impressive corps of volunteers to help salvage our wrecked education system, to build a 21st century infrastructure, and combat the poverty gap will serve as a modern New Deal and help kick start the economy by providing jobs while creating some of the vital improvements we've been in need of for sometime.
I realize I'm not suggesting anything that hasn't already been proposed, my point is simply to lend my voice to the chorus of social innovaters that expect action from our new Congress and incoming President.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
University of Colorado researcher Roger Pielke Jr. calculated in early 2005 that the shuttle program to that point had cost $145 billion, or about $1.3 billion per flight. (Based on a 1995 midpoint, that's about $1.9 billion per flight in today's dollars.)
The Apollo program cost a total $19.4 billion from 1960 to 1973. That averages almost $2.2 billion for each of the nine lunar missions. (Based on a 1967 midpoint, that would be about $13 billion each today.)