USA trapped in its own self-image

Last week, in a meeting of the state transportation board, I listened to a sales rep for a Spanish high-speed rail company extol the impressive virtues of his firm’s products, and once again I began to wonder:

How and when did this happen?

How and when did the United States of America become the consumer of dreams that others have made real? On video screens no doubt made in China, we watched sleek trains flowing at close to 200 mph through the countryside of Spain, a nation with per capita income roughly 30 percent lower than our own. And I’m sure I wasn’t the only one in that room wondering how Spain — and Germany and France and again, China — can afford such infrastructure and we, supposedly, can’t.

The answer takes many forms, but I think the overarching point is that as a nation we’ve gotten complacent and unwilling to change. We still don’t see the need. Coming out of World War II, our dominance was unchallenged in any sphere other than brute military power, and by 1991, our only rival in that arena disappeared as well with the collapse of the Soviet Union. That vision of the world, and our place atop it, remains our reference point.

But World War II ended 65 years ago; our victory in the Cold War is now two decades in the rear view mirror. The world has changed a lot since then, and I don’t think we’ve kept up. It’s not just our physical infrastructure that’s old and outdated, it’s our mental infrastructure. We’re more interested in where we’ve been and where we are than in where we’re going next and how to get there. We’re more invested in the past than we are in the future, because that kind of investment takes no sacrifice.

LIsten to our political debate: If things aren’t working out quite as well as they should be, we tell ourselves that it’s because we’ve gotten away from the old ways that brought us such prosperity and progress. And that’s just flat-out wrong. Thanks in large part to changes that we ourselves wrought, that prior world in which the old ways worked so well no longer exists. A new world will require new arrangements, and we are reluctant to admit that fact.

Last week, the Cuban government announced that 500,000 government employees would be laid off and forced to find work in a newly expanded private sector. Here in the United States, the news was greeted as further evidence that communism doesn’t work, as if that particular point hadn’t been definitively proved years ago.

Cuba’s decision represented the last brick falling from the Berlin Wall, our final vindication of the Cold War era. But the Cuban announcement was also evidence of a system recognizing that major change was required and attempting however haltingly to begin that change. But I suppose that’s easier to do when you’re tiny little Cuba rather than the self-proclaimed No. 1 in everything.

261 comments Add your comment

detritusUSA

September 20th, 2010
8:26 am

Sacrifice? That word has mostly disappeared from the lexicon of self-centered, selfish Americans who want everything from this country but give nothing back to it.

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
8:27 am

“How and when did the United States of America become the consumer of dreams that others have made real?”

not really sure about the When, but as for the How, I think it’s when the individual became more important than the community. When “me” outweighs “we”, then you DON’T invest in mass transit, you expand highways (because it’s all about when *I* get into *my* car to go home).

Keep up the good fight!

September 20th, 2010
8:28 am

We don’t live in the bestest greatest freedomest smartest country that God has ever placed on this planet and we do everything the bestest greatest way on the planet? Oh no….who is going to tell Hannity?

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
8:30 am

And, Jay, you’re not the only one looking at infrastructure and wondering how we can better structure (sorry for the pun) our spending:

“But well structured, an infrastructure bank would be disciplined — a way to drive us away from politically motivated earmarks, to put a premium on quality of projects and seek private-sector investments to match government outlays.

Plus, as William Galston of the Brookings Institution notes, the bank idea “recognizes a key reality: The consumer-led model of economic growth on which we have depended for decades has hit a wall. It’s time for investment to lead the way, with new partnerships between the public and private sectors.”

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2012929396_peirce19.html

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

September 20th, 2010
8:30 am

Well, there you go again, Bookman. Tearing the U.S. of A. down like all the libruls do. We don’t need no high-speed trains to haul a bunch of Those People out to commit crimes in our neighborhoods. Let them kill each other downtown and leave the rest of us alone.

We got plenty of things to be proud of in this great country. For one, we make the best guns in the world and we got the freedom to haul them around. And we don’t allow the gays to go prancing around and marry each other and try and corrupt our kids. And there’s plenty of churches and stuff like that. There might not be too many good jobs, but everybody can try and get one. The other countries are Socialist and Communist, but we got Free Innerprize; you can make a boatload of money if some crook don’t cheat you out of it.

Have a good day everybody.

stands for decibels

September 20th, 2010
8:30 am

when did this happen?

January 20, 1981.

This has been another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.

AmVet

September 20th, 2010
8:31 am

Listen to our political debate: If things aren’t working out quite as well as they should be, we tell ourselves that it’s because we’ve gotten away from the old ways that brought us such prosperity and progress. And that’s just flat-out wrong.

Of course it is!

And that is why I constantly expose the backwards wing of American politics – the GOP, for what it is. For them to call themselves “conservative” is hysterical, if the consequences of their xenophobic violence weren’t so damn tragic.

They are NOT conservatives in the most remote sense of the word, they are in fact:

reactionary –adjective
1. of, pertaining to, marked by, or favoring reaction, esp. extreme conservatism or rightism in politics; opposing political or social change.

And thus their incessant pining for the “good old days”, when abortions were dangerous and deadly to the women involved, when Christian prayers were shoved down every public school child’s throat, when those people and women knew their places and where there was no pretense at all who owned and ran the world – rich, old white guys.

Just as they’d have it now, if t we hadn’t taken that power away from them…

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
8:34 am

dB – 8:30 – I’m just waiting for the first person to blame the 1960s …

Th for the big one

September 20th, 2010
8:34 am

Two years ago, many Americans were intrigued with Barack Obama and change he promised. In past two years, though, Americans’ looked into the reality of the collectivist agenda and were repulsed by it. We have seen this movie before and don’t like how it ends. It’s nothing new, it’s just shop worn, failed liberalism jammed down our thoats by elites who think they are smarter than everyone else.
The democrat message is “We are smart. You are stupid. Vote for us.
Let me know how that works for you.

stands for decibels

September 20th, 2010
8:36 am

Jay, over the weekend, Atrios coined a nifty unit of American wealth you should consider using: the Mia.

One Mia buys one month in Afghanistan, currently about $6 billion. [...] a new metro line to Dulles [...] costs all of .66 Mia.

JohnnyReb

September 20th, 2010
8:37 am

Stands – are you washing the peanut farmer’s car today or tomorrow?

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel

September 20th, 2010
8:38 am

I’m checking the alignment of the stars because I think Jay and I are basically in agreement. One thing, though, while Cuba cuts 500,000 govt jobs and seeks to find them work in the private sector, in the US is seems as though job growth in the private sector is shrinking and the govt sector is increasing and becoming more lucrative than the private sector. That just cannot continue.

stands for decibels

September 20th, 2010
8:38 am

liberalism jammed down our thoats by elites

ooh! Dogwhistle! Treat!

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel

September 20th, 2010
8:39 am

USinUK
September 20th, 2010
8:34 am

Nah, you had Democrats occupying the White House during most of the 60s. The 1950s may be a better area to “blame” for today’s problems.

stands for decibels

September 20th, 2010
8:40 am

Johnny, I’d much rather wash Jimmeh’s car than suck Ronnie’s dessicated corpse, but that’s just me.

Anyway, I gotta go help pay for another Mia. Later, all.

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
8:40 am

dB – given the number of futboll fans on this particular blog, you might want to clarify the MIA … otherwise, people will think you’re talking about

http://www.oysaplayhardplayfair.org/wp-content/uploads/Mia.jpg

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
8:41 am

leg lamp – “The 1950s may be a better area to “blame” for today’s problems”

but … but … but …. IKE! Mamie! the Fonz!!

The Boner's Tan Line

September 20th, 2010
8:43 am

The Boner’s had a terrible weekend. He did not receive a single vote for President in the straw poll at the Anti-Masturbation Pro-Witchcraft Voters Summit in Washington. He’s OD’d in the tanning bed, and we fear the worst.

If any of you could send him a nice encouraging email it just might help.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel

September 20th, 2010
8:43 am

USinUK
September 20th, 2010
8:41 am

…and the eeeeeevil Rock n Roll music.

stands for decibels

September 20th, 2010
8:43 am

UnU @ 8.40, I feel confident in stating that the devine Miss Mia will be happy to re-direct footballers over to the recovering economist’s joint, should the need arise.

(Really outa here now.)

finn mccool

September 20th, 2010
8:44 am

We aren’t as crowded as some of those other countries. And don’t forget we are kinda playing catch up – witness the photos of german tanks on the autobahn – we didn’t start our interstate system until the 60s.

NowReally

September 20th, 2010
8:44 am

I’m really hoping that Jay will write a blog topic about Nathan Deal at least once this week. To borrow from Redneck Convert – Deal is a perfect example of how “Free Innerprize” works; who is trapped in his own self-image.

Peter

September 20th, 2010
8:44 am

When Bush took office it was time for War, and Oil, and corporations taking advantage…..cutting jobs so the few at the top could get rich.

A time for bilking the treasury, starting Billions of dollars of new construction in Iraq, that have never been finished, but doing little at home.

We talk about transportation systems, but the vision is not there, and everyone wants to drive by themselves.

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
8:48 am

“We aren’t as crowded as some of those other countries”

those other countries aren’t as crowded as you think … when you get away from the major cities (London, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, etc), it’s no different than the American countryside – loads of farms, a few small towns. They just invested in infrastructure differently – England was building its massive train network in the mid-1800s – and it did the same in its colonies, particularly in India, because it knew that THAT’S the way to increase productivity

Jimmy62

September 20th, 2010
8:48 am

Spain spent a lot of money on green projects, and the result is less jobs and less prosperity for everyone in Spain, except the people who got paid to build the train, they are doing ok. Everyone else, not so good.

Do we really want to emulate Spain? Don’t you think you should learn more about the wider picture in Spain before mentioning one little thing and acting like they are making so many better decisions than us?

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel

September 20th, 2010
8:49 am

USinUK
September 20th, 2010
8:41 am

Let me do my best AmVet imitation. Top 5 things to blame from the 1950s.

* McDonald’s. The beginning of corporate elitist greed.
* Jerry Lee Lewis. Helped popularize cousin marrying and the breakdown of the traditional family.
* I Love Lucy. Those damned Cubans are a menace.
* I Love Lucy (2nd appearance). When they moved from their apartment to the countryside it signaled the suburbanization (is that a word?) of America. It also fostered our dependence on automobiles and those eeeeeevil oil companies.
* TV Dinners. This, and companies like McDonald’s (see above), pushed America over the brink to being an overweight, out of shape society thus overburdening our healthcare system, the extent of which wouldn’t be felt for another 5 decades.

JohnnyReb

September 20th, 2010
8:51 am

I have to mostly agree with Jay on this one. A country, like a person, can only live so long in the past. If you are not moving forward, you’re dieing. The last big invigorator was Kennedy with the space program. We won’t achieve the intent of Jay’s article with administrations, of either party, that fixate on making things equal instead of focusing a dream of growth.

finn mccool

September 20th, 2010
8:52 am

I’m hoping my next job is downtown so I can ride that gwinnett bus. Read the paper while riding to work – sounds really good now!

TaxPayer

September 20th, 2010
8:52 am

Not to worry, Jay. Change is on the way. The tea partiers are gonna see to that. We’re going back to a simpler time. A time when men were men and women were women. A time before the the advent of socialism and social security and Medicare and taxes for anything other than the protection of our borders and the chasing of the enemies of capitalism around the globe. Yessirree! Forward to the Past! And it won’t be in no green-fueled D’Lorean either. It’ll have a coal-stoked steam-driven set of wheels like God and the Koch brothers intended. So, sit back and enjoy the ride.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel

September 20th, 2010
8:54 am

JohnnyReb

September 20th, 2010
8:51 am

Harumph, harumph!!

Can you imagine how the “party not in control” would react if a President came up with something bold like the space program? I don’t mean a financial black hole like Obamacare, but something truly innovative and risky.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel

September 20th, 2010
8:54 am

finn mccool
September 20th, 2010
8:52 am

Read the paper hell. You could legally text. :)

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
8:57 am

leg lamp – 8:49 –

McDonalds – not for the corporate greed – for the breakdown of the American diet
I Love Lucy – for the popularization of American colonial furniture – GAH! an abomination of taste
TV dinners – see McDonalds
Jerry Lee Lewis – for continuing the “acting” career of Winona Ryder. after Heathers, they should have shuffled her off to the one-hit-wonder home for bad actors
Unchained Melody – one of the worst songs EVER. which, like the undead, has come back to torment us again and again in movies.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel

September 20th, 2010
8:58 am

TaxPayer
September 20th, 2010
8:52 am

Threatened by the tea party? What do they have, maybe 4 or 5 candidates in the general election? And none are guaranteed a victory. Geez, you might want to consider changing your name to Chicken Little.

mm

September 20th, 2010
8:58 am

We’re too busy nation building (or blowing up nations). Lord help us if we spend money on our own country. At least that is how the GOP governs.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel

September 20th, 2010
9:00 am

USinUK
September 20th, 2010
8:57 am

Ewwww. Haven’t thought of Winona Ryder in quite some time. I feel like I need to shower again.

larry

September 20th, 2010
9:00 am

Much like Ike in the 50s with the interstate highway system, something like the interstate rail system.

finn mccool

September 20th, 2010
9:00 am

The trucking industry took demand and growth away from rail systems and forced the need to continuously repair the damage trucks do to the highway and interstate system.

Wish we could regulate those trucks off the interstates and just have local trucking.

AmVet

September 20th, 2010
9:01 am

Lamper, I appreciate your growing obsession with me. But you’ll have to take a number, I’ve got several leg humpers in front of you.

Any attempt to change the failed status quo is simply labeled socialism or some other inaccurate and inane bumper sticker. Now the Tea Bags have a chance to step up to the plate and advocate for a true change in the blossoming plutocracy. But apparently I’ve missed exactly what that “change” is.

Would one of you “true” conservatives, help me out here? (eye roll)

And the cons take umbrage at being correctly labeled the Party of No…

TaxPayer

September 20th, 2010
9:01 am

By the way, Jay, trains are so passe. The ride of the future is the air tube — a scaled-up version of those little canisters that you use at the bank drive-thru. We already have the technology so we can begin building right away and the power source… Well! Given the abundance of hot air we have here just in the state of Georgia alone, we can heat those riders at no extra cost while on their trip.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel

September 20th, 2010
9:01 am

I thought you libs would LOVE the tea party. Republican establishment candidates are getting beat in primaries and their tea party victors show less of a chance of beating the Democrat candidate in November. Why trash them. Instead, you libs should embrace them.

Mary Elizabeth

September 20th, 2010
9:03 am

Outstanding, in depth, article. My only concern is that those who espouse unregulated capitalism will read into the Cuban example, above, the need to downsize government further.
Government. is the reasoning balance to capitalism’s inherent greed – productive though capitalism can be. Government, contrary to current popular thinking, is the means to keep Americans focused not only on the “me” as USinUK says at 8:27am, but on our interconnectedness to others for the common good, such as in transportation, education, and healthcare. And this balance “saves” us from a consciousness of individual greed to one that keeps our souls sound.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel

September 20th, 2010
9:04 am

AmVet
September 20th, 2010
9:01 am

“Any attempt to change the failed status quo…”.

Translated by a lib – a new govt run program.

barking frog

September 20th, 2010
9:05 am

Convenience is the word. Who wants to ride a
high speed train from Atlanta to Macon or vice
versa and be dependent on cabs or buses. Note
the lack of business on Greyhound and the
Airlines. Henry Ford ruined mass transportation
in the US.

Bosch

September 20th, 2010
9:05 am

Yeah, to me, this is a no-brainer – but then again, we have alot of brainless wonders who lick the butts of those special interests who don’t want us to have mass transit, so there you have it.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel

September 20th, 2010
9:07 am

Bosch
September 20th, 2010
9:05 am

I understand what you’re getting at, but I dont think this is a “Field of Dreams build it and they will come” situation. Mass transit has to show it’s more effective than the auto, and not just from hub one to hub two. Getting from the hubs to your final destination is the real roadblock.

TaxPayer

September 20th, 2010
9:08 am

Embrace the Tea Party spirit within you, Leg Lamp. Don’t feel threatened by it.

Normal

September 20th, 2010
9:08 am

The only trains we are interested in here is Thomas.

Happy Monday morning to all y’all. Hope y’all will have a great week!

larry

September 20th, 2010
9:09 am

I would love to be able to ride high speed rail from say Cornelia or Toccoa to Atlanta or Macon.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel

September 20th, 2010
9:09 am

TaxPayer
September 20th, 2010
9:08 am

Nice try, but you still missed badly. Look at our posts. You are obviously the one consumed and concerned about the tea party.

getalife

September 20th, 2010
9:09 am

You think too much Jay.

Just say no.

It is much easier.

TaxPayer

September 20th, 2010
9:11 am

Lame, Leg. It was in fact you that mentioned feeling all threatened.

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
9:11 am

I’d love to be able to catch a train from Atlanta to Athens – talk about ideal!

paleo-neo-Carlinist

September 20th, 2010
9:13 am

“Coming out of World War II, our dominance was unchallenged in any sphere other than brute military power, and by 1991, our only rival in that arena disappeared as well with the collapse of the Soviet Union. That vision of the world, and our place atop it, remains our reference point.” SEE: Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell address and the Military-Industrial Complex. As the title implies (”self image”), our “only rival” is ourselves. were the USA a pack of dogs, we might accept the constant challenges (”rivalries” as it were), which produce a leader or alpha male. but we are not dogs, but were we, we would know the alpha male or pack leader recognizes his role as leader, and KNOWS he will not remain a leader if he bows to the self-interests of a few, as opposed to “representing” the interests of the pack as a whole – good golly, my dog is a Socialist!). not only are we a nation of narcissitict children, but naricssism defines our national psyche (petulant, whining, demanding of attention, respect and admiration where none is warranted or earned). it’s a tough call JB, because up until about 1980, it was a pretty good deal; a productive, thriving middle class, and an economy based on performance and not I.O.U.s (monetary and political).

Mary Elizabeth

September 20th, 2010
9:13 am

Oh, just one fact. In the past 8 years – under in Georgia’s Republican (private sector) rule – public education funding has been cut by 4 billion dollars.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel

September 20th, 2010
9:14 am

USinUK
September 20th, 2010
9:11 am

Are you talking about the trans Atlantic rail the connects Atlanta to Athens, Greece? :)

TaxPayer

September 20th, 2010
9:14 am

Getalife is on to something here. Just saying no requires virtually no effort. No mental exertion. It is no wonder that Republicans prefer it, unanimously.

Cap'n Comfort

September 20th, 2010
9:14 am

JohnnyReb @ 8:51

If that’s the case, then why did/do people make so many jokes about Obama and change. Isn’t that what he was trying to tell the US? I agree that we need to look to the future and not the past. I think Obama had the right “general” idea. His specifics may not be the way to the future, but at least he’s trying to move foward and not take things back to the way they used to be.

I’ve seen the Acela train running the rails and can only wonder what the real high-speed trains look like. I’m hoping to see that here in the US in my lifetime.

jt

September 20th, 2010
9:14 am

How and when did this happen? That’s an easy question.

Keep whistling.

The Federal Reserve System (also known as the Federal Reserve, and informally as the Fed) is the central banking system of the United States. It was created in 1913 with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, and was largely a response to a series of financial panics, particularly a severe panic in 1907.

The Federal Government “fixed” the problem.

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
9:15 am

Mary Elizabeth – 9:13 – that’s another example of the right’s plan to reduce it to the size you can drown it in a bathtub (because everyone should pay for their own education)

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
9:16 am

jt – what in the name of Elvis does the Fed have to do with infrastructure spending

(here’s a hint: NOTHING)

what does the Fed have to do with the solipsistic attitude of most Americans?

(here’s a hint: NOTHING)

you want to blame Volker/Greenspan/Bernanke on this problem? that’d be funny if it wasn’t so completely irrelevent

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
9:20 am

leg lamp – 9:14 – gah, now, THAT would be the train journey from hell …

nah … Atlanta GA to Athens GA … I’m pretty easy to please.

Normal

September 20th, 2010
9:21 am

Southern Comfort

September 20th, 2010
9:25 am

Normal

That’s pretty funny…

Bosch

September 20th, 2010
9:25 am

“because everyone should pay for their own education)”

Yeah, like back in the good old days when only white landowning men folks got to vote.

AmVet

September 20th, 2010
9:26 am

OK, I’ll throw you one last bone today, leg lamper. Then get busy on someone elses leg.

I doubt more than the tiniest handful here take you seriously. Which is a shame, because by fringer standards you are not a complete mental midget. Yes, you have some serious emotionally driven, obsession issues – like a high percentage of the fringers do – but in time, and with some concentrated effort, you could mature and learn how NOT to fixate on other individual bloggers and focus on the topic at hand.

Make your points, leave the personal insults out of it and actually contribute something worthwhile to the conversation.

But I’m not holding my breath…

(BTW, how about keeping this goofy moniker for more than three weeks this time, OK?)

Peter, at 8:44, great points. The focus by the past five administrations has been more on building and keeping the US empire thriving rather than on the American working class. And now the fallout of it is coming home to roost in massive (record) bankruptcies, unemployment and underemployment.

For all of you Saint Ronnie fans…

http://tinyurl.com/26aj85c

barking frog

September 20th, 2010
9:26 am

High Speed Amtrak. Only if they install cameras on
every foot of track so we can watch reruns of the
spectacular crashes.

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
9:27 am

Bosch – 9:25 – sssshhhhhhhhhhhhh … you’ll ruin their plans!

TaxPayer

September 20th, 2010
9:30 am

HONG KONG (Reuters) – American International Group Inc plans to list its Asian life insurance unit, AIA Group Ltd, on October 29, aiming to raise about $15 billion in Hong Kong, sources familiar with the deal said on Monday.

AIG, which is nearly 80 percent owned by the U.S. government, is disposing of assets to repay taxpayers who committed $182.3 billion to prop up the insurer during the financial crisis.

Darn those credit default swaps. And cons are worried about how GM is gonna pay us back. At least GM employs lots of people here in the US and they manufacture/assemble a product here.

Mary Elizabeth

September 20th, 2010
9:31 am

USinUK,
Eric Johnson told me, in an e-mail response, that he would hope that all of Georgia’s children could have a private school education. Johnson has many supporters of similar ideological conviction in Georgia’s legislature – thus, the 4 BILLION dollar cut to public education in GA in only 8 years.
They do not know what they are sowing for our state – a return to class stratification in Georgia as in the days of “Gone With the Wind” which I had hoped had gone with the 19th and 20th centuries.

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
9:31 am

AmVet – 9:26 – I don’t know where you got that, but Reagan said that about the Contras, not the Taliban

(you remember the Contras – the ones who murdered priests and raped nuns … )

jt

September 20th, 2010
9:31 am

AmVet——

Per your 9:26——————Your Democrat boy Charlie Wilson ran that show.
Along with the ever faithful drug dealing CIA and the military industrial complex.

Furthermore, Mr. Reagan didn’t have too many opportunities to pose with American COFFINS ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,did he??????????

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel

September 20th, 2010
9:32 am

AmVet
September 20th, 2010
9:26 am

And you say I’m obsessed with you? mmuuwwaaAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

Read your post again, look at yourself in the mirror, and ask yourself again, who is obsessed with who? And what “personal insults” did I hurl your way? Name one. Ditch the decaf, calm down, and reread your posts and mine. The only one hurling personal insults is you. Geez, talk about thin skinned.

Southern Comfort

September 20th, 2010
9:33 am

barking frog

That lil’ bugger sounds like a rollercoaster when it passed by me. I got a photo with my phone, but couldn’t get the video up in time to record it. I wish I could have recorded it though. Even though it runs at about 75mph (I think), it looked like it was hauling @ss on the rails.

paleo-neo-Carlinist

September 20th, 2010
9:34 am

AmVet, or you could just send Leg Lamp to the kids’ table, where he is free to throw peas, bully other kids and laugh when milk comes out of his nose.

RB from Gwinnett

September 20th, 2010
9:36 am

Jay, as an enterprising man of you superior intellect, perhaps YOU should put together an investment group and build yourself a high speed rail to somewhere. Then you can sit back and reap all the profits from it.

Unless, of course, it’s NOT a profitable venture and you just want to saddle the government with yet another money pit of a project. Gas in the countries you mention is about 4x what it is here, taxes are higher, and people can’t afford to drive the way we do. The rail funded by those gas taxes pays for the rail they have to take because they can’t afford anything else.

I know you think you can have all that neat stuff you see around the world without the down side of it (liberals always do), but you can’t, Jay. Socialism doesn’t work. Anywhere.

Of course, you could pack your crap up and move to Europe next week and be in socialist heaven by the end of the month. Just a thought….

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
9:36 am

Mary Elizabeth – 9:31 – it’s called social mobility – the ability for one generation to improve their lot and move up economically … the OECD did a study on the obstacles to social mobility and found that education is key to help people achieve a higher income and social status than their parents … so, are we really SURPRISED that the right wants to marginalize public education?

Paul

September 20th, 2010
9:37 am

Jay

Seems to me, whether it’s adjusting our military bureaucracy in significant ways to the post 1991 reality or embarking on these new schemes, a major impediment is we don’t shed not just the old ideas, but the old programs and bureaucracies that go with those outdated ideas. I think that’s one of the underlying items of angst expressed by the Tea Partiers so many like to ridicule – the idea of gov’t waste and excess is directly tied to those old ideas we keep spending billions on, shutting off the ability to move into new areas without piling on debt.

Morning, USinUK

“not really sure about the When, but as for the How, I think it’s when the individual became more important than the community. When “me” outweighs “we”, then you DON’T invest in mass transit, you expand highways (because it’s all about when *I* get into *my* car to go home).”

For much of our history we’ve extolled the worth of the individual. I think I see what you’re saying – it’s a fine line, or maybe a hazy transition?, between individualism and selfishness. “I” can drive what I want – but when enough “I”s clump together with their 12mpg commuters we end up sending others to their deaths to protect that ‘individualism.’

We can band together for the common good – funding research to conquer disease, providing a safety net for elderly people, providing educational opportunities. Why we do for some issues and not for others is worth pondering.

Keep up

“We don’t live in the bestest greatest freedomest smartest country that God has ever placed on this planet and we do everything the bestest greatest way on the planet? Oh no….who is going to tell Hannity?”

That kind of expression is why some gravitate towards the Hannitys and view some Progressives with disdain – because lots of people don’t take kindly to the idea America isn’t great, doesn’t provide more freedoms and opportunities than others. Pres Carter’s malaise speech wasn’t well received.

Peter

“When Bush took office it was time for War, and Oil, and corporations taking advantage…..cutting jobs so the few at the top could get rich.

A time for bilking the treasury, starting Billions of dollars of new construction in Iraq, that have never been finished, but doing little at home.”

And what, exactly, has changed since Pres Obama took over and Democrats got a legislative majority? Answer: not much. One war’s on the same path it was on, the other war’s expanded, corrupt companies are awarded tens of millions in reconstruction contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, security company spinoffs are still operating and the superrich get superricher.

Jay’s correct. Some people have time recognizing the new reality’s the old reality.

Hey Bosch 9:05

Some of us are still munching on breakfast or a midmorning pick-me-up. Got any other metaphors you could use, pretty please?

TaxPayer

“Just saying no requires virtually no effort. No mental exertion. It is no wonder that Republicans prefer it, unanimously.”

And some will say it’s what Democrats do, too – never saying “No” to any entrenched program or special interest. In fact, they’re continued and expanded.

I Report :-) You Whine :-( mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

September 20th, 2010
9:37 am

Americans don’t ride trains, you silly socialist.

barking frog

September 20th, 2010
9:38 am

Southern Comfort 9:33 Multiply that speed times 3 and
you got High Speed Amtrak. I don’t think so.

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
9:40 am

Paul – 9:37 – as usual, you hit the nail on the head — however, given the recent proclivity to demonize any kind of safety net and extol the virtues of private research into disease, I don’t know that those are the best examples you should use of “putting ‘we’ first”

thomas

September 20th, 2010
9:41 am

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
9:36 am

There is nothing to prevent any citizen of the United States from success, other than that persons own faults. there may be sacrafices tht have to be made but what is there out there currently making it impossible for anyone to succeed.

From someone who has been in the public education system many times it is a matter of the student truely doesn’t want to be educated or the student lacks motivation and self discipline.

Now not saying there are not improvements that need to be made (social promotion) and changes to the way teachers teach.

But please tell me what it is that prevents anyone from becoming as educated as they want and also what prevents them from success?

Bosch

September 20th, 2010
9:42 am

RB,

OR, maybe we could use all the money we use to subsidize the oil companies and build us some infrastructure.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/04/business/04bptax.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

Sorry Paul….didn’t mean to ruin your breakfast.

Left wing management

September 20th, 2010
9:42 am

“Here in the United States, the news was greeted as further evidence that communism doesn’t work, as if that particular point hadn’t been definitively proved years ago.”

Has it been “definitively proved” in fact? Really? Are you sure?

Bosch

September 20th, 2010
9:43 am

Paul,

And yes, that 9:37 bit to USinUK — brought a little tear to my eye. Well written, well written….deserving of shrimp salad good.

williebkind

September 20th, 2010
9:44 am

Well I see the super train as a good idea. The progressive liberals who live in the cities and have cars with no place to park them will get off my back on how I use my property. I know I would not use a train. I would drive even if I have to rent a car. But you know the liberals are steadfast about becoming like Europe. Is it really the train or the assimilation of the world population. Good try liberals!

AmVet

September 20th, 2010
9:44 am

neo, lamper is just using a new name, but the same old childish shtick…(Being the valorous blogger he is, he’ll likely have anew moniker very shortly.)

jt, your other points notwithstanding, my boy?

Please do expound…

Southern Comfort

September 20th, 2010
9:47 am

barking frog

I think the max speed on that train is around 150, but they can’t run that fast in the northeast because of traffic congestion. An easy remedy is to dedicate specific rail lines for high-speed only and eliminate any grade crossings. I think one of the problems with that train is that it’s all electric and it takes a while to get started again once it’s stopped.

Bosch

September 20th, 2010
9:47 am

thomas @ 9:41 – if I may interrupt, I know that was directed to USinUK, but at face value, what you said is true.

But if you look at education pragmatically, it’s real simple — you take money out of the public school system — kids don’t get educated. It’s all nice and sweet and true to say that each kid can be what he wants and has the opportunity to do it, but that’s just not realistic and I think you know it.

TaxPayer

September 20th, 2010
9:47 am

And some will say it’s what Democrats do, too – never saying “No” to any entrenched program or special interest. In fact, they’re continued and expanded.

And if that (Democrats never saying “No”, that is) were true, Democrats would have passed single payer healthcare legislation during the first quarter of 2009 and moved right ahead to getting us out of Iraq and Afghanistan in the second quarter, leaving time to solve global warming before the end of Obama’s first year in office. In fact, that’s no quite the way things played out. Feel free to Object to my assessment and just say no if you wish though. Then again, that just wouldn’t be Price-less, would it.

pn

September 20th, 2010
9:47 am

Oil companies (see Bush Family Fortune) and Auto Companies (see GM=largest corporation on earth) dominated the decision to switch from rail to highways and cars. My parents and grandparents rode the rails whenever they needed to go long distances. Comfy seats, comfy sleep cars and staterooms, good meals served in clean and shiny dining cars. If people want to go back to the good old days, we should go back to rail.

Del

September 20th, 2010
9:48 am

Attempting to draw a comparison between Cuba and the United States is indeed a far stretch given that Cuba is and has been for many years a dictatorship. When things aren’t going well politically for them the left often makes the argument that the masses just can’t accept change or that the country is in a state of lunacy. Translated they’re upset to learn once again that the country rejects far left non-solutions. Many Americans think that maybe it’s time to get back to the basic core values that made us what we are and reject the stupid decisions made by both parties that have been bringing us down.

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
9:48 am

thomas – 9:41 – I agree with you about structural changes that need to be made in public education – particularly when more and more time and emphasis are placed on standardized tests. that does nothing but turn students into little short-term-memory robots that learn what they need to know to pass a test, then promptly forget it.

however, addressing Mary Elizabeth’s post that education funding is actually decreasing, it is becoming harder for students to excel because of defunding for certain programs (like the arts), increases in classroom size, etc.

can students achieve? yes, but I think the hurdles are becoming higher and higher just at a time when the US needs to be more competitive, not less.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel

September 20th, 2010
9:49 am

AmVet
September 20th, 2010
9:44 am

I’ll keep the same name just to satisfy you, okay?

Now, care to address what I posted at 9:32 or are you just going to ignore it like you always do when someone points out the obvious? Name one personal insult I sent your way. I’ll be waiting for your vitriol.

Normal

September 20th, 2010
9:49 am

Maybe trains would work better if they were developed a a Theme park,
you know, sit with the Gambler and play “texas hold “Em”, watch the Buffalo stampede accross the tracks…maybe have a few Native American Attacks, etc. Then, on another track, have the theme as WWII troop movements, pullman sleepers, Big Band music, etc. Or Futuristic Theme,
like the monorail with a Trekkie theme, or Babylon Five theme. Hell, it would work if you made it fun. Everybody knows we can’t work if we can’t have fun.

We ain’t the greatest anymore, but we could be again if we just made the US of A one great big amusement park!

williebkind

September 20th, 2010
9:50 am

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
9:48 am
If I stick a cross in a jar of urine can I get a scholarship?

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
9:51 am

Bosch – 9:43 – so, where does shrimp salad fit on the sliding scale? is it before or after cheesy shrimp grits? and what’s on the “double-plus-ungood” side of the scale?

paleo-neo-Carlinist

September 20th, 2010
9:51 am

I report, have gone liberal? your post is ironic to say the least. America use to “ride trains” all the time. Railroads were key to our westward expansion (see: immigrant labor/Chinese. genocide of indigenous peoples, etc.). When there was money to be made in the railroad biz, it was as capitalist a venture (ever play Monopoly, railroads were always safe)? Have you read Atlas Shrugged? Wasn’t Dafney or Dabney or D-bag Taggard the matriarch of a failing (because of government regulation) railroad? I must confess, it tried (twice) but couldn’t stomach ponderous, infantile prose of libertarian goddess Ayn Rand. anyway, what is your point? do you think the “rational self-interests” of the oil and automobile purveyors (who consolidated their positions via lobbyists, wars, and buying political influence) serves the US as a whole? let me let all you “anti-socialists” in on a little secret; once the Constitution was ratified; we became socialists. we the People established a “central authority, which controls the means of production and distribution” of ANYTHING that matters (”domestic tranquility, common Defence, general welfare, and Blessings of Liberty”). the fact that we the People (or “they the Founding Fathers”) chose to refer to the beast as a “representative democracy” or “constitutional republic” does not change this fact. what’s the line about “lipstick on a pig”?

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel

September 20th, 2010
9:52 am

Not meaning to venture too far off course before leaving for the day (very long flight ahead), but can any of you remember when we had such a lousy choice in ANY election (local dog catcher up to the Prez) as compared to Georgia’s upcoming Gubernatorial election? Barnes and Deal? Geez, there isn’t even a “lesser of two evils” candidate. The state of Georgia is screwed no matter who wins.

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
9:52 am

willie – 9:50 – dude. that’s the best you can come up with?

lame.

USinUK

September 20th, 2010
9:54 am

paleo – 9:51 – used to? criminey – the rails between DC, Philly, NY and Boston are always busy … people still ride trains today