Obama’s Bridge Collapse
President Obama would like to sell you something.
President Obama made a swing through the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area today to stand near a bridge and call out Speaker Boehner and Senate Minority Leader McConnell (whose states, by “pure coincidence,” the bridge just happens to connect) for not passing his ‘jobs bill’ already.
Jay Carney set the stage last week, saying, “It’s pretty clear that this bridge could benefit from a little repair and renovation.” Saying the bridge is “in such poor condition that it has been labeled functionally obsolete,” the President today demanded immediate passage of his ‘jobs bill’ to put people to work right now. But this kabuki dance is less about bridges than those dastardly Republicans:
“It desperately needs rebuilding, as do substandard roads and bridges all across America,” White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said. As the two most powerful Republicans in Washington, Speaker Boehner and Senator (Mitch) McConnell can either kill this jobs bill or help the president pass it right away.”
“Instead of looking for every excuse to justify doing nothing about the damaged infrastructure in their states, we believe it’s in their interest and the country’s interest to act as soon as possible and put people back to work.”
If you’re wondering why the second-most powerful Democrat in Washington–Senate Majority Leader Reid, who can’t seem to find time for the bill on the Senate’s calendar–didn’t get a mention, well, just stop. There’s a campaign theme to be developed here.
In the speech, in his usual pick-a-straw-man-and-beat-it-into-flinders fashion, Obama bemoaned opposition to infrastructure spending: “We are better than that. We are smarter than that.” If only that were true of his administration. No competent political operation (IOW, some other operation than this White House) would ever have allowed its principal to do this photo op. But apparently the “accidental” association with his Congressional Republican rivals was just too juicy to pass up. Or even do some basic fact gathering about to make sure it made sense.
For one thing, the river crossing in question is already slated for a new bridge. It’s been in the planning stages for years; the project is currently barely into the public comment phase. In fact, Obama’s own FHWA doesn’t expect it to start construction in 2015 or be completed until 2022.
The President did not explain how his ‘jobs bill’ will alter time so that the project can start creating jobs “right now.”
Worse, Obama, Carney, and Brudnage are flat-out wrong. The I-75 corridor is indeed outdated, but the bridge itself doesn’t actually need repairs:
It’s got decades of good life left in its steel spans. It’s just overloaded. The bridge was built to handle 85,000 cars and trucks a day, which seemed like a lot back during construction in the Nixon era. [Ed. – the bridge opened five years before Nixon was elected President.]
Today, the bridge sort of handles more than 150,000 vehicles a day with frequent jam-ups.
So, plans are not to repair or replace the Brent Spence Bridge. But to build another bridge nearby to ease the loads.
His first “stimulus” bill could, perhaps, have been used to repair some of the hundreds of bridges nationwide that actually do need repair–if he had required the states to use the extra money for such purposes as a condition of accepting it rather than using it instead of their own money. But he didn’t, so they treated it as found money and funded other things that, apparently, had a higher priority (i.e., keeping public sector unions happy while infrastructure employment actually declined). So now, knowing that he can’t even count on all of his own caucus in the Senate to vote for it, he uses a bridge that doesn’t need fixing as a prop to castigate Boehner and McConnell for not pushing his bill anyway.
All in all, a pretty typical day for our gaffe-prone, increasingly-ridiculous President. And a near-perfect metaphor for his entire, intended-to-fail “jobs bill.”
Um, repairs to the Brent Spencer Bridge are scheduled to take place in addition to the new bridge construction.
These repairs could be done sooner (and save lives) if Obama’s infrastructure bill is passed.
I’m not sure where to start. The I-75 Brent Spence bridge in question opened to traffic during the Kennedy era (1963); it was not constructed in Nixon’s age.There are “significant safety and capacity problems” according to the US DOT. Construction is slated to begin in 2015 according to current schedules and assuming current funding. Even if that timeline cannot be moved forward, other projects could be. There’s a huge amount of evidence demonstrating America’s crumbling infrastructure — and repairs will happen faster with increased federal funding. As a symbol of the plan to rebuild infrastructure, this seemed like a perfectly legitimate and politically opportune example .
The ARRA study Dodd links by Conley and Dupor has been criticized fairly widely in the economics academic blogosphere, though I’m not an economist. The FRB’s Daniel Wilson, by contrast, conducted a much better-reviewed study that found millions of jobs created and saved by the stimulus.
Harry Reid hasn’t placed the Obama bill on the Senate agenda, but a simple Google search reveals he has said it will be taken up in October.
Dodd criticizes Obama’s overt partisanship, but this post is a pretty good example of it as well.
If there are safety problems, including those so severe that repair “could save lives,” why isn’t it shut down immediately…………..and given the wasted money on Stimmy I, why didn’t they go here?
This is absurd.
While the LA Times being wrong on an assertion of fact would hardly shock me, it will take more than your mere contradiction of their statement to persuade anyone.
According to the Bridge Project, the bridge’s current configuration (not its structural integrity; even Obama noted today the bridge is “safe to drive on”) as the reason for the “functionally obsolete” designation. The project’s goals include “correcting geometric deficiencies” which I suppose one could lump under a very broad use of the word “repairs.” But, as someone who’s inconvenienced daily by the cracked Sherman Minton Bridge that’s closed indefinitely, when I hear “repairs” I hear “broken” not “well, the geometry could be adjusted so people can see better.”
How? By funding time travel technology?
See? That’s how you show the LA Times made an error. Supply facts that are true. The best that can be said for the author is that “Nixon-era” is a pretty vague phrase, but if he meant (as he must have) the Nixon administration rather than the era in which Nixon was a prominent figure, he’s off by a decade. Good catch; I’ve noted it in the post.
If you say so. But, of course, I haven’t spent months/years pretending to be the only above-the-fray adult in the room while all the partisan children squabble over my demands that they put party aside and do my bidding.
Just for starters.
Kinda looks as if President Downgrade ObamAA+ has……..
How appropriate is the visual and reality?
God forbid we have two working bridges on the I-75 corridor.
“Harry Reid hasn’t placed the Obama bill on the Senate agenda”
Therefore there is no bill to discuss is there? Its in the news, on these blogs, and without being introduced there is no bill. Oh, it may be written and on the internet, but until a document is put on the record, there is no bill. A few bill HAVE been scheduled, debated, and voted on and passed in the House. The Senate has been looking like the new Zombie craze.
Haha, you’re the one who quoted the article, Dodd.
A few minutes research is all it took to find out the wingnut who wrote it was lying.
Here’s a good place to start:
Current Bridge status
The National Bridge Inventory lists the Brent Spence Bridge as functionally obsolete due to the capacity, sight distance, and safety concerns associated with its current configuration. These concerns have led to this project being considered a top priority by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments and the cities of Covington, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Advisory Committee aided in the establishment of goals for project success. The project purpose and need goals for the Brent Spence Bridge Rehabilitation/Replacement Project are as follows:
# Improve traffic flow and level of service,
# Improve safety,
# Correct geometric deficiencies, and
# Maintain connections to key regional and national transportation corridors.
According to the hotspot analysis the above quote is not correct. Both proposals, Alternative E and Alternative I will expand the bridge’s capacity with additional lanes while building the additional bridge. I assume that’s what the White House is referring to.
Now, be fair. Obama sent something to Congress, in writing, no less (a fairly unusual event in itself, so let’s not diminish its significance). Congress just hates it. At least six Senate Dems are on record as opposing it and Reid won’t force it to a vote that would harm his own caucus.
Obama knows this. And thus knows Boehner & McConnell are almost irrelevant. Except as foils for campaign fodder. Which is all this nonsense today was.
It was pretty clever of you to find all that stuff at the link I provided and quoted from.
You realize, of course, that that doesn’t actually contradict the quoted article, yes? Expanding lanes is not a “repair.” Your friendly assumptions notwithstanding.
Also, passing this bill will not make it happen sooner.
“(and save lives)”
Can you provide any details of reports that the bridge is imminently dangerous?
Remember when Obama gave an engaging speech to sell Stimulus 1 about those “shovel ready jobs” that “wern’t so much” and how we needed to “pass the bill now” to prevent the deaths like at the St. Anthony Bridge collapse in August 2007?
He used that to sell his policy. He is using this bridge to sell his policy 3 years later. How did the first one work out?
And…..here is the truth about the St. Anthony Bridge collapse in August 2007.
“Original designers of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis likely neglected to calculate the size of key gusset plates that eventually failed, a human mistake that culminated 40 years later when 13 people died after the span collapsed, federal safety investigators have found.”
I don’t buy the snake oil any longer!
Neither should you.
@Dodd: “Obama knows this. And thus knows Boehner & McConnell are almost irrelevant. Except as foils for campaign fodder. Which is all this nonsense today was.”
Even if that were true, so what? Or are Democrats not allowed to engage in normal political activities?
If Dodd got a dollar for every time he repeated the day’s nonsensical GOP talking point he’d be rich enough to have a tax increase.
Of course they are (indeed, they do little else these days — when was the last time they passed a budget, for instance?).
And I am allowed to point out the epic fail that so often accompanies such activities and heap derision on them for it. It’s the fastest-growing sport in America.
“created and saved”
Exactly how do you calculate the number of “saved” jobs? The word of some supervisor in some government office somewhere eating $10 muffins?
I can state that I “saved 5 lives” this morning because I was aware enough to slam on the brakes when that van full of people pulled out in front of me when they ran the red light!
I searched the link you provide and cannot find the key words
need of repair
So where did anyone say this bridge is in such disrepair as to be needed to “save lives”?
One of the definitions of “repair” is to renew or revitalize. I’d say that more than suffices to debunk the quote.
The quote also implies nothing of consequence will be done to the Brent Spence Bridge, which is clearly not true when the plan is to expand its capacity.
“(a fairly unusual event in itself, so let’s not diminish its significance)…..”
Good to see another intellectually honest person here.
I really cannot tell for sure where you stand politically, but I like your comment and honesty.
@Dodd: And I am allowed to point out the epic fail that so often accompanies such activities and heap derision on them for it.
Health care reform, the end of DADT and a host of other liberal achievements over the last three years say “Hi!”
“Or are Democrats not allowed to engage in normal political activities?”
It depends on what the definition of the word “normal” is.
Just how many bills have the Democrats attempted to introduce and the majority has refused to bring to committee or to the floor?
Most mammals would consider correcting safety defects that are killing people “repairs.”
But in any case, Obama’s infrastructure bill would allow for these, um, corrections to be completed much sooner than scheduled.
Reading over the poorly researched bit of propaganda you quoted from, I can’t find a single thing your comrade got right.
He seems like a typical Republican shill: Too lazy to do research, too thin-skinned to admit mistakes…
“when was the last time they passed a budget, for instance?”
What was the bill that failed this week? Ohhhh a “continuing resolution” whatever that is.
“functionally obsolete due to the capacity, sight distance, and safety concerns associated with its current configuration”
Very good ponce. How observant. Seeing as how “capacity” is first, the others are resultant and because of the first. (designed for traffic 40 years ago) But not imminently dangerous.
Kind of like “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…” right?
So, Obama says — wrongly — that the bridge is “in such poor condition that it has been labeled functionally obsolete” (when, as you yourself noted in requoting the link I provided you, there’s no evidence the bridge is in “poor condition” but, rather, has been so designated because of its out of date configuration) and demands his bill be passed so it can be repaired, clearly implying that it’s in need of fixing. But the real problem here is that the LA Times took issue with his intentionally chosen implications and responded in kind without fully appreciating the full range of nuance, already excluded by Obama’s own words, inherent in the word “repair?” Even though I already granted you that “correcting geometric deficiencies” of a bridge Obama himself affirms is “safe to drive on” could be included in that term if one wished to be generous?
Do I follow you correctly?
I recommend you switch to trying to find actual evidence that supports Obama’s contention the bridge is in “poor condition.” Your word games aren’t any more persuasive than your bald, unsupported assertions.
Better yet, put down the Kool-Aid. This is just another in the endless series of unforced errors by Obama (he could, for instance, have come <100 miles farther down 71 and given this speech at the actually-broken Sherman Minton Bridge. It still would have been disingenuous, but at least he'd have had a bridge he could honestly say was in "poor condition" to use as a prop. Alas, Mitch Daniels isn't running against him, so there's no useful "coincidence" there). Expending your energy trying to parse words to convince yourself it wasn't stupid is a waste. You'll just have to start all over again tomorrow.
Dodd (the Congressman) is a quitter remember.
“If Dodd got a dollar for every time he repeated the day’s nonsensical GOP talking point he’d be rich enough to have a tax increase.”
Like almost of the left’s comments here: Stupid, and uninformative.
I repeat. Are we to understand that The President of the United States is in possession of critical and factual information that this bridge – if kept open – could result in the deaths of US citizens? (That closet little civil engineer!! C’mon, show me that slide rule, Bammy!!) If so, close it tonight. And if so, why didn’t he direct that this bridge be remediated with stimulus funds, instead of using them to give his union buds an unwarranted stake in GM. If this bridge collapses, that would be blood on his hands.
Where’s the guy’s priorities? Just askin’.
“Haha, you’re the one who quoted the article, Dodd.
A few minutes research is all it took to find out the wingnut who wrote it was lying.”
Your reply would have been sufficient without that.
“Like almost of the left’s comments here: Stupid, and uninformative.”
Your reply would have been sufficient without that.
I’m still waiting for something that looks like evidence that Obama was also wrong when he said the bridge is “safe to drive on.” Because so far, all we’ve gotten is unsupported assertions contradicting him.
I am also waiting for an explanation as to how this is to be accomplished when Obama’s own administration doesn’t expect the project to break ground for 4 years and it’s still in the early planning stages. For instance, do you have some evidence that suggests Obama intends to allow the project to circumvent or even fast-track through its regulatory approvals? Because that would be very interesting.
He tried to sell Dodd a brain, but was told “Sorry, I just don’t see the need for one”.
@Dodd: Implicit in the term “poor repair” is that the bridge is in serious need of revitalization. Your original assertion was:
By definition if the bridge needs work to renew it to meet modern requirements it is, in fact, being repaired.
P.S. : I gave factual data on the definition of repair. So what “bald, unsupported assertions” are you accusing me of making?
“Health care reform, the end of DADT and a host of other liberal achievement”
Those are now and not yet tested so give them time to mature and evolve. Talk to me 15 20 years from now.
(not including ObamaCare since it will die under its own weight)
Thanks for the kind words.
To answer the implied question briefly, I’m a conservative libertarian. To answer it at greater length, I have a decided pox on both their houses attitude but I tend to prefer Republicans over Democrats. Because I prefer my Constitution coarsely grated into still-recognizable shards that could be re-assembled with some effort rather than composted into an indistinguishable semi-organic mass exuding noxious emanations.
Suffice it to say, I don’t take unconstitutional health care “reform,” repeal of Clinton’s odious DADT policy, or any of the other unspecified “liberal accomplishments” cited above as contradicting the now-almost-universally-accepted fact that Obama is a bucket of fail in a pint-sized glass.
ponce, your comment would have been sufficient without “Most mammals would consider correcting safety defects that are killing people “repairs.””
You ask about risk and closing the bridge. It is all based on the statistical value of a human life, ins’t it?
To do cost-benefit analysis, we need the same units on both sides of the equation. If we just say life is “precious” that is hard to balance with an umpty-ump million dollar bridge repair.
Now, are you asking why “iffy” bridges are not all closed, nation-wide?
I’d think it is because chances of a failure “this year” might be low, while at the same time the economic cost for repair is still justified. And of course, communities with few bridges are going to hope that they won’t fail, this year.
The OP and the thread following continue to revolve around the accuracy of the word “repair”. Maybe the President should have used the more colloquial “upgrade”, as in “This bridge is in desperate need of upgrade”. It wouldn’t undermine the President’s basic point; rather it would have enhanced it.
I’ll send his speechwriters an email about that if it will make you feel better, Dodd.
I think you’re confusing the construction of the new bridge with the repair of the old one.
(It is kind of a dirty secret that our world isn’t about making everything “safe.” It is about spending “prudent” amounts to keep “too many” people from dying.)
What needs to go is this:
“Haha, you’re the one who quoted the article, Dodd. A few minutes research is all it took to find out the wingnut who wrote it was lying.”
“Most mammals would consider correcting safety defects that are killing people “repairs.””
“Like almost of the left’s comments here: Stupid, and uninformative.”
“He tried to sell Dodd a brain, but was told “Sorry, I just don’t see the need for one”. ”
All the rest is fine! Why the personal fetishes?
Can you get past the damn word issues and get to the forest!?
“Because I prefer my Constitution coarsely grated into still-recognizable shards that could be re-assembled with some effort rather than composted into an indistinguishable semi-organic mass exuding noxious emanations.”
Post of the Week!
Let me make this easy for you. Obama stated, in no uncertain terms, that the bridge ““in such poor condition that it has been labeled functionally obsolete.” This is factually incorrect. You yourself quoted the source that explains that that designation is not related to the bridge’s condition but, rather, that it is out of date.
Obama clearly meant to imply (and likely even believed) that the bridge was “functionally obsolete” because it needs to be fixed to ameliorate its “poor condition.” But the bridge isn’t broken, as implied. It’s just been overtaken by growth and design advancements.
Further, you’ve repeatedly asserted since the first comment, that the bridge is unsafe and that “repairing” it (whatever meaning you choose for the term) would “save lives.” But you haven’t provided a shred of evidence that the bridge is in fact deadly. And, in fact, as I have been at pains to remind you, Obama himself was at least wise enough to reassure his audience that the bridge is safe (not doing so while pounding the table for Boehner to “rebuild this bridge” might well have caused a serious PR problem much worse than the mere gaffe he stumbled into instead if people started worrying).
I assure you I am not confusing anything with the repair of this bridge. That fault lies elsewhere.
The project is what it is. Expanding the BSB is part of it. And, according to the local paper, Obama’s ‘jobs bill’ “contains no mention of the Brent Spence bridge.” So the repeated assertion that the bill would make the “repairs” happen sooner has no basis in fact.
In this quote, “functionally obsolete” does include safety concerns:
They do say “safety concerns” and I’d expect that the other item they call out, “sight distance” has some impact on crashes.
If brentspencebridgecorridor.com had not put “safety” in there, it’d be easier to claim it was all made up.
(If you want to drill down, try to find out projected deaths per year, and costs of accidents per year.)
Ok. On to Assertion #2:
I’m not aware the President stated passing the jobs bill would put people to work on the bridge “right now”. In fact, the only “right now” I see in the original post is the “right now” Dodd wrote without quotation marks, so it seems reasonable to conclude the phrase “right now” originated with an OTB poster and not the President.
Reading the text of the President’s speech, all I see are repeated demands for Congress to pass his jobs bill “right away”. I don’t actually see where he is claiming passing the bill would create instantaneous jobs.
Wasn’t it Obama that said “Words have meaning”?
And then there’s this from wikipedia:
On June 21, 2011, the Brent Spence Bridge truly began to show its age and wear as chunks of concrete from the upper deck of the bridge fell onto the lower deck.
Compare that with what Dodd’s truth-challenged source said:
It’s the Brent Spence Bridge. It doesn’t really need repairs. It’s got decades of good life left in its steel spans. It’s just overloaded.
Dodd will be along in 3..2..1 to claim that shutting down the bridge to replace chucks of concrete that fell off of it isn’t really “repairs.”
Pfft. That might dent a Prius, but if you’ve got a big Republican Hummer, I’m sure you’d be fine.
“While the LA Times being wrong on an assertion of fact would hardly shock me, it will take more than your mere contradiction of their statement to persuade anyone.”
Perhaps you didn’t notice but your link is to political commentary from right wing hack Andrew Malcolm, and not to a news report.
Thanks for your post. Wow, what a thicket of nonsense one has to go through to dare question the President aboiut his placement of infrastructure funding!
@jan: It helps to question on the basis of what the President actually said.
Happy to be of help…
Indeed they do…so when you refer to him as “President Downgrade ObamAA+” you’re being quite disingenuous, as it wasn’t his fault that S&P downgraded our country’s credit rating…better look to Teabaggers in Congress for the blame for that…
You don’t understand the Chicago way.
Obama wants some money and thinks that he’ll get it if he lets the right people “wet their beaks”. Since he’d be getting a cut if this bridge was in his district, he assumes that the right people are getting a cut, so it’s not just negotiation over the amount.
@Andy Freeman: I’m sorry but I don’t understand what your comment has to do with the topic. Perhaps you could restate it?
I can see that bridge standing beside my desk at work. Everyone in Cincinnati knew it was BS, plus a traffic jam due to a lane in each direction on the interstate being closed during the speech for security reasons. Locally, since Obama’s speech, we’ve decided to refer to the Brent Spence Bridge by its initials, the BS Bridge.
The healthcare reform bill that they passed is a travesty, not an ‘achievement’. President Obama sold out single payer and instead signed his name to a wish list from Nancy Polosi’s pixy dust fantasy land. How often does a progressive president have a super majority in congress and the support of the people, and yet underachieves so vigorously on such a landmark issue? Such opportunities come only once in a generation. Fortunately, the current bill won’t pass muster in the Supreme Court and that will be the end of that and we can start over on something that actually has a chance to work . Too bad it will now take 20 more years to get there. What a waste.
I think it’s absolutely crucial that this death trap finally be brought up to modern standards, if only for the children! Of course, it was a shame, but couldn’t be helped – not Obama’s fault! (Bush’s, of course – that goes without saying) – that this project didn’t make the cut in Stimulus I, what with all the absolutely necessary bailouts of state and local governments (read public sector unions), car companies, cowboy poets, and the many shovel-readier projects that scored higher on the hopeychangeometer. Tough choices sometimes have to be made for the greater good, and subsequent developments in our economy certainly bear out the sagacity of our best and brightest.
I do hope this will be a green project, however – perhaps with solar panels to provide power for the lighting (compact fluorescent bulbs, of course!). I understand there may be some product hitting the market soon at fire-sale prices.
Sure they do, DVd.
Meanwhile, in the real world:
“I think (the speech) was great: jobs, jobs, jobs,” said Mike Marchioni, a manager at Hilltop Concrete and 23-year employee. “We’re right here in the belly of the construction business. Our guys feel it every day…there’s not enough (work). We go over these bridges, we can build ‘em – it’s just a matter of getting the money for them.”
@ponce: Touche. Who knew that construction guys favor construction projects? (Only on the merits of the projects, of course.) While we’re at it, why don’t we build that bridge to nowhere up in Alaska? It must be shovel-ready.
That definition does not appear in Miriam-Webster. The definitions there center on broken parts or return to functional condition.
…liberals just love to change language.
The truth or falsity of a Dodd blog post is irrelevant. His purpose is to echo that day’s Republican talking point. He’s done that. Everything else is beside the point. Arguing with him is like arguing with your DVR.
it’s funny how Republicans think introducing facts into political debates is some kind of dirty trick.
@ponce: Please. You’ll have to work a little harder to sink to the level of a dirty trick. It actually requires some imagination and a sense of humor. My point, which clearly sailed, unimpeded, far above your (congested? functionally obsolescent?) mind, was that your fact was painfully obvious and beside the point.
Damn those guys for wanting to work. I’m tired of their sense of entitlement.
The problem is not the desire to work. The problem is the – yes – sense of entitlement to other people’s money to pay for it. If you can’t see that in Mr. Marchioni’s comments, then you’re willfully blind. As he says, “it’s just a matter of getting the money for them.” Hey, no problem.
Except it proved DAD was lying.
But I kind of agree.
Proving a Republican is lying is rather besides the point.
It’s like proving the sun rises in the east.
@ponce: I assume you mean Dodd. (My DAD was an honest man. I can’t speak for yours. I doubt either were implicated by your “fact”.) I suppose he could be lying. Or maybe he’s just wrong – it’s possible, it happened to me once. But I realize it makes you feel better to think he’s a pathetic liar, as well as all Republicans (really – do you actually believe that? What about Jon Huntsman?). The question remains: why are you wasting your time in this blog? Fighting the good fight, eh? Letting no erroneous internet thought go unchallenged? Bless you, sir. Bless you.
Nope, it was DADvocate who claimed: “Everyone in Cincinnati knew it was BS”
So in other words, block grants betray the bumbling incompetence of a Democratic administration when it comes to economic stimulus, but show the free-market ingenuity of a Republican policy proposal on education or health care funding?
I’m not saying you yourself have claimed such, Mr. Dodd, but the conservative/Republican line does seem to invert along that particular axis quite often to suit its political needs. Not to damn with faint praise, but this comes across instead as a nitpick.
Also, I seem to remember the entire notion of infrastructure-based stimulus being countered during debate about its passage with the notion that if we *actually wanted to stimulate job growth during the recession*, the number of shovel-ready projects merely awaiting funding was way too small to do much of a dent to the unemployment numbers. Additionally, if the (Ohio?) DOT is anything like the geniuses in my home state, the alternative bridge they intend to construct to alleviate traffic could very well be a half-hour detour through a tolled road that only helps those driving through the region.
I close with this: how is it supposed to betray anything that a politician has distorted the facts on the ground in such a way that targets his base but is seen through by others?
@ponce: Well, I apologize unreservedly for the mistake and withdraw all of my comments to this blog. In penance I plan to launch a campaign of terror against this DADvocate person (what kind of name is that?) I mean, really! He had the nerve to claim to speak for everyone in Cincinnati? Or, at least, he recklessly assumed that people of ordinary intelligence would be able to distinguish a bit of hyperbole (yes, it’s a word.).
@anphang: “So in other words, block grants betray the bumbling incompetence of a Democratic administration when it comes to economic stimulus, but show the free-market ingenuity of a Republican policy proposal on education or health care funding?”
Aren’t you comparing apples and oranges here? Block grants can be justified as means to actualize federalism, promote freedom, and encourage efficiencies, and they are praiseworthy to that extent. Whether or not they are effective as an economic stimulus in the midst of a severe recession is an entirely different matter.
@ponce: Obama’s “jobs” bill, which Harry Reid is sitting on, would do nothing of the sort. The bridge still has years of review and public comment, and studies to go through before work starts. The “jobs” bill will do nothing to speed up the process, and will put no one to work. No such thing as a “shovel ready job” remember?
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said the Senate would focus on a number of “related issues” to the $400 billion job-creation legislation this week. But he quickly noted on CNN that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has placed the massive jobs bill “on the calendar.”
Ho hum, yet another Republican lie debunked.
How about that Rick Perry, eh?
Quite a performance.
Looks like the Republican nominee is going to be…a Democrat.
@PhilB: In other words, Republicans (or more accurately, conservatives) do not claim that federal spending on health care or education, even if structured in the form of block grants, is effective as economic stimulus. It may or may not (see federal spending on education) be desirable on other grounds. But of course, Republicans/conservatives don’t look primarily to federal spending of any sort for economic stimulus. They look more to federal getting out of the way.
Even where Republicans/conservatives support federal spending for economic reasons (e.g., on public goods like non-boondoggle transportation infrastructure), they don’t support it as short-term economic stimulus, but rather as a means to create the conditions for sustained, long-term growth.
@ponce: Interestingly, the editors saw fit to give the article the following headline: “Durbin: Senate likely won’t act on Obama’s jobs bill until Oct.” Yet Obama said, ad nauseum, “Pass this bill now!” To your credit, Durbin did say the bill was “poised.” I suppose that’s a technical term.
October is next week.
Tomorrow, we’ll all be talking about what terrible human beings the Republicans are for booing an Iraq veteran at tonight’s debate.
Any ideas how to spin that?
Except, of course, that Obama and his flacks have been talking up his bill since he came back from vacation and decided to get around to drafting it and have repeatedly used that very turn of phrase.
I didn’t put it in quotation marks in this post because he didn’t use it in this particular speech. But it’s been hard to miss the last couple of weeks that they’re promoting their dog’s breakfast as a measure to “create jobs right now”, one whose “effects would be immediate”, “provide an immediate boost to America’s economy”, make “[i]mmediate investments in infrastructure”… and so on and so on.
@ponce: Since we’re quibbling, I will point out that next week is not now (or, to be more precise, then). I will also note that you are a very trusting soul to take Sen. Durbin’s hasty comment as an iron-clad commitment. Finally, there was a debate tonight? And you watched it?
Haha, I watched Perry’s first debate just to see how much of inarticulate goober he was.
And while I didn’t watch tonight’s debate, I have watched the video of the Republican audience booing a serving member of the U.S. military over and over and over and over.
So veterans should be totally immune from the hate crime of booing? Even when they choose to enter the political fray and ask provocative questions in public, on national TV, in a national debate? Man, I hope our vets can handle that. If not, we’re screwed.
Close to 80% of Americans supported the repeal of DADT.
It’s hardly provocative to ask a Republican religious zealot whether he’d try to reinstate if if, god help us all, he won the presidency.
Three Republican debates, three ghoulish responses from the audiences:
1. Cheering executions
2. Cheering because a man died because he had no health insurance
3. Booing a man serving in the U.S. military
The hoods are really coming off this election.
Shouldn’t you say, in the interests of honesty, that a columnist for the LA Times took issue? It wasn’t a case of straight news reporting, was it? After all, the observations were recorded in a column called “Top of the Ticket” that carries the subhead, “Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm” — it was opinion not reportage.
Dodd’s time would have been better spent plying with his thumb and some mimes…assuming his claims on that are more accurate than this post.
Obama = epic fail
@ponce: Brother, all I can say is you are easily outraged. By the way, the fact that his question actually provoked the reaction you object to means that it was in fact provocative. And shouldn’t that be, “the hoods are really being put on this election”? And booing an active military guy may arguably be objective or offensive, but it is not ghoulish.
Somehow we got to this point from a discussion of the Brent Spence Bridge. Clearly a bridge to nowhere….
NOW this too!!
“The Obama administration this week is shutting down the office charged with carrying out a long-term-care entitlement program included in last year’s health care law, according to a departing employee who said the staff has been reassigned to other projects.
The news raises the question of whether the Obama administration is pulling back on implementing the program, known as the CLASS Act, which was a priority of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat who died in 2009, and was inserted into the massive health care overhaul that President Obama signed into law.
Officials doubted the viability of the program even before it became law, and a Republican report released last week cited one internal Obama administration official calling it a “recipe for disaster.” More evidence of the program’s shaky footing surfaced Wednesday night, when the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bill zeroing out any funding for implementing the CLASS Act even though the administration had requested $120 million.”
Was it the vet or the question?
Obama could have just said the bridge was obsolete, and needed to be modernized and expanded to handle todays increased traffic, and prevent unsafe traffic jams. Then his statement would have been completely true. But he needed a better sound byte, so he incorrectly implied that the bridge needed immediate repair, and was in danger of collapse. I’ve seen much worse whoppers than this from Obama though, this one is pretty small potatoes.
Does it really matter?
For decades, the left has been excoriated by the right for insufficient fealty to our military (spitting on soldiers, burning the flag, etc.). Now we have the right booing an American soldier on national television solely because he is gay and/or asked a question about gays in the military. If the Democrats don’t use this in campaign commercials next year, they are more than fools.
@PhilB: I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but October is in a week. It’s not like the bill has been postponed until Groundhog Day.
@WR: My previous response to Ponce tells you what I think about this devastating point.
@Nikki: Whatever the reason for the booing, it certainly wasn’t because the guy is a soldier. So it may demonstrate lack of a “proper” PC attitude towards DADT, but it’s not an example of a general lack of respect for the military.
It’s ironic that the same folks who are decrying this incident as disrespectful of the military aren’t prepared to respect the military’s attitude toward repeal of DADT, which is strongly negative.
@PhilB: Yup. It tells me you don’t care about facts. You just want to attack. Thanks for clearing that up!
This bill does remind me of Groundhog Day. The movie, of course. Except I don’t see it ending with the protagonist having a change of heart and getting the girl.
But we can all enjoy the brazen hypocrisy of Obama demanding McConnell & Boehner help get this bill passed “right away” while ignoring the fact that his own party can’t be bothered to even calendar it until after their vacation. Just following his lead in presenting it, one would assume.
The only fact ponce mentioned was that October begins next week, which I do not dispute, being one of those rare pro-Science conservatives. He did not mention that the Dems only put Obama’s jobs bill on the October calendar after receiving increasing criticism that they weren’t serious about passing it in the Senate, or wouldn’t be able to. After all, 5-6 Democratic senators have already come forward to express serious reservations with the bill, so it might not even achieve a bare majority, let alone overcome a filibuster. “Being on the calendar in October” may seem like a sure thing to you, but to me it provides numerous holes big enough to drive an Obama Darth Vader Bus Tour through. And I suspect that the whole thing was designed anyway to ensure rejection by the Republicans and so to provide an issue to run against them on next year.
In its unreality, it’s somewhat reminiscent of Obama’s April budget plan, which only seemed to exist within his teleprompter. When asked about its long-term viability before Congress, the head of the Congressional Budget Office said, “We can’t estimate speeches.”
And you know what will really help the Southern Ohio-Northern Kentucky economy? Shutting down the main crossing for seven years. Business in Covington will be booming I am sure.
If you ask me, all the wind went out of your argument. We started with kind of an insubstantial claim that Obama wouldn’t repair this bridge, which was fine anyway.
We saw that it is being repaired and that safety is a cited concern.
Money being fungible, infrastructure spending in these states fixes more such concerns, whether dollar serial number L28589033R goes to this bridge, or another.
In the end you just say “but he promised it would be magic and immediate!”
Well, lol, when you are reduced to complaints like that you are kind of done.
The question of timing is hardly trivial or irrelevant when it comes to stimulating the economy. So yes, new infrastructure money will fix more such concerns, but several years from now. Good over the long term, not such much for the near future.
Well, are you being real, or asking for the impossible as a political gambit?
We know government can try to go fast, but that they’ll never be as fast as … bloggers with a 10 minute turn-around saying “where is it?”
(I believe stimulus money hits the road in less than “several years” anyway. It might take as much as “a few,” but that’s all.)
I’m not faulting the administration for not being able to get infrastructure money out the door faster. I’m faulting them for claiming it will be effective as stimulus in our current recession. (I don’t dispute that it will be helpful over the long term.)
Notwithstanding your jibe at Dodd, I’d say your understanding of infrastructure spending more closely resembles magical thinking: for example, “I believe stimulus money hits the road in less than “several years” anyway. It might take as much as “a few,” but that’s all.” Well, if wishes were horses….
Some info from the Illinois DOT website: “The funded highway project process can involve as many as 55 steps and take many years to finish. A major construction project involving a new highway, for instance, can take from five to 20 years to complete all the steps. Rehabilitating a highway may take up to five years, or more. Completion of a project is dependent upon reviews by various federal, state and local governmental agencies, as well as public and private organizations, with which IDOT cooperates to complete various work phases.
“This is typical of new highway construction from the start of engineering to the completion of work. However, before engineering can even begin, new projects have to be proposed and a feasibility study completed. That pre-engineering process can take from two to five years….”
Maybe I think things go faster because I’ve driven by stimulus projects in progress?
Breaking ground in November, 2009, was pretty fast, wasn’t it?
To be fair, I have to, but most were minor roadwork projects – e.g., road resurfacing.
“This project was ready to move forward when the funding for construction dried up.” Clearly a project already well into the pipeline. Most projects don’t make that far without committed funding. The new stimulus funding may get additional projects into the project pipeline but will do little if anything to shorten the pipeline.
If there is a time limit for states and local governments to get into a spending program, you know they’ll run as fast as they can to get through that window.
That will shorten the pipeline.
Give them a chance to spend someone else’s money, of course they’ll jump.
There’s some truth to what you say. Governments can find creative ways to push money out the door. Look at the example of Solyndra. With a little goosing by the administration, the OMB fast-tracked the review of the $500 million loan guarantee application. That’s worked out so well. More jobs created! And they’re green!
Seriously, you may be right, and I hope you are. But I seriously doubt it.
As I’ve said, the error in Solyndra is that it was subsidy of produciton, as opposed to support for R&D. When market forces (including, possibly, competing Chinese subsides) broke Solyndra’s financial model, of course the loans went down.
The cleanest way to fix this is to eliminate all production subsidies for (food and) energy.
But … that’s far afield from infrastructure, something that is “owned” by government in the first place.
@PhilB: Ooh, Solyndra! Score one for Phil. But a big demerit from Talking Point Central for neglecting to mention sixteen dollar muffins. You’ve really got to try harder around here.
Just to highlight the hypocrisy, many people will not just play the Solyndra card while remaining silent on oil produciton subsidies, they’ll actually complain about Solyndra while supporting oil production subsidies. Far larger subsidies.
Hey, good job jumping in with some snark. You can go back to sleep.
@WR: Reviewing you comments, that seems to be your specialty. Lurk in the tall grass, wait for your opportunity to leap out unexpectedly, then quickly scurry back.
For what it’s worth, I don’t support oil production subsidies. However, at least oil production subsidies are directed toward an energy source with a proven market and companies with a proven track record. And the subsidies are accomplished through the tax code, rather than through actual outlays of public monies. Whether or not it’s true for the other “green energy” loan guarantees, the Solyndra guarantees were manifestly driven by political considerations in the teeth of clear evidence that the company was failing.
And I offered the Solyndra example to suggest to john personna what can happen when governments decide to alter typical decision-making processes for separate political reasons. (Also because it was fun, and I knew you all would get your panties in a twist about it!)
So you think the Chinese (and Germans) are mis-spending their solar subsidies, and that they’ll have no kWh to show for it?
Lol, no. I saw it for what it was, defeat and redireciton.
But I could go with it.
@PhilB: Yeah, there was some definite frustration at previous policy debates in that paragraph – my apologies. Nevertheless, while I can easily concede that block grants, as a matter of policy, have certainly been able to do all the things you named, it has always been frustrating for me to read stimulus criticism that focuses on money that goes to opposition party interest groups – like public sector unions.
Not to downplay the crimes of corruption, but money being spent as quickly as possible to stimulate the economy is *always* going to be subject to a certain amount of misuse. I somehow doubt the economy cares if the money that kicks it back into gear comes from the pockets of public sector workers or construction workers. Ironically, broader questions like whether or not to base economic stimulus on infrastructure development are the important questions – but not if they are presented as part of a give and take between doing what seems correct with hindsight and noting innocently how the other side always seems to find a way to funnel taxpayer money to its political allies. I remember a certain government organization set up during another Republican Administration whose purpose was to aide faith-based organizations giving Democrats the same excuse.
Finally, saying “the bridge doesn’t actually need repairs” is not the same thing as saying “if funding comes through and the state timetables are followed, the bridge will receive traffic alleviation rendering repairs and updates unnecessary in the form of a companion bridge.” The more realistic thing to say in that case is something conveying the idea that “a solution is already underway,” which would directly counter the notion that Republicans are somehow responsible for roads needing maintenance between the years 2008-2012.
This kind of thing doesn’t represent the current administration’s incompetence, it demonstrates the lengths politicians are willing to obfuscate inconvenient facts in order to feed the nation’s appetite for the Presidential bully pulpit. That’s a pretty bipartisan failing at this point, however, and I will be honest enough to say that I would have criticized a “pox on both your houses” post as well. I’m a policy wonk, what can I say? I dislike when politics intrudes on transportation policy especially, as it is my favorite area.
@PhilB: Yup. I’ve tried to engage seriously with right wing trolls, but since they refuse to acknowledge anything that comes close to a fact and keep repeating the spin points they’ve copied from Red State and other such sites, I find it much more useful and entertaining to jump in and out with a bit of snark. Because taking people like you seriously is a waste of everyone’s time. Start taking your self seriously first — that is, actually learn something instead of reciting the daily spin — and you’ll be worth having a conversation with. Until then, mockery is what you deserve and what you get. Bye!
What has been unwittingly admitted here is that most of what passes for “conservative thought” these days is embracing what they think makes “liberals” angry. The logic of a school-child, but that’s what has come to dominate the Republican Party. Sad, really.