When all else fails, do it again


So, let’s see. In 2009 President Obama asked for and got a pork fiesta $787 billion stimulus package from Congress, saying we needed it to keep unemployment from rising above 8% and to put America back to work.

It failed miserably. And that’s not even mentioning the pork-barrel spending and nonexistent zip codes.

So, when faced with the utter failure of Keynesian stimulus spending to stimulate anything other than the national debt, what’s a Lightworker President to do? Cut taxes? Cut spending? Ease the burden of regulation on small businesses? Allow a free market economy to do what it does best?

Dudes, don’t be silly.

The answer is obviously to spend more:

President Obama, looking for ways to jump-start the sagging economy and create new jobs, called on Congress on Monday to approve a far-reaching plan to rebuild and modernize the nation’s transportation networks — roads, rail and airport runways — over the next six years.

With Democrats facing increasingly bleak re-election prospects, Mr. Obama used a Labor Day visit to a union festival here to lay out the plan, which the White House says could begin creating jobs as early as 2011 if Congress moves quickly. But prospects for a hasty passage seem unlikely, given that lawmakers have only a few weeks before they go home to campaign and Republicans have little interest in giving Democrats any pre-election legislative victories.

“Over the next six years,” Mr. Obama promised “we are going to rebuild 150,000 miles of our roads — that’s enough to circle the world six times; that’s a lot of road. We’re going to lay and maintain 4,000 miles of our railways — enough to stretch coast-to-coast. We’re going to restore 150 miles of runways and advance a next-generation air-traffic control system to reduce travel time and delays for American travelers — I think everybody can agree on that.”

Mr. Obama vowed that the plan, which would include work on high-speed rail lines, would be “fully paid for” and not add to the deficit.

Gee, where have we heard that last one before?

Setting aside my complete lack of faith that this Congress and administration could spend the requested money wisely (based on their performance so far) and ignoring the consequences of adding to our staggering debt (Oh, heck. What’s another $50 billion among friends?), the proposal for a smaller, more tightly focused and controlled stimulus package is about 18 months too late:

While President Barack Obama goes on the road to shore up slipping popular support for the $1 trillion stimulus porkfest that he ordered up from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Walt Minnick, a freshman Democrat from Idaho, is pushing a better idea: The Strategic Targeted American Recovery and Transition Act (START).

Minnick is a member of the Blue Dog caucus of occasionally conservative Democcrats. His START plan is a $170 billion “bare bones” pure stimulus approach that would put $100 billion immediately into the pockets of low- and middle-income Americans, then use the other $70 billion for basic infrastructure projects that create jobs. START requires that all funds not spent by 2010 be returned to the Treasury. START also stops stimulus spending when the nation’s Gross Domestic Product increases in two of three previous quarters, and all START payments are required to be posted on a public website.

While I’m opposed to Keynesian stimulus in general, and I think the record of history bears out its ineffectiveness, I could have supported the Minnick proposal as a reasonable compromise. To hear Obama come out with something similar only after all the damage his first stimulus has done calls for one response:

D’oh!  Doh

LINKS: More at MSNBC, International Liberty, and Hot Air.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Fitting: School built on toxic soil in LA named for … The Goracle


Another one from the Dept. of You Can’t Make This Up, via the LAT:

Al Gore has had some tough breaks — like losing the presidency after getting more votes than the other guy — but the noted environmentalist achieved a singular honor last week, becoming the first vice president to have a Los Angeles school named after him.

And, fittingly, the school will be devoted to environmental themes.

But as in the 2000 election, there’s a catch. Critics say the campus’ location poses a long-term health risk to students and staff.

School district officials insist that the Arlington Heights property is clean and safe. And they’ve pledged to check vapor monitors and groundwater wells to make sure.

The $75.5-million Carson-Gore Academy of Environmental Sciences will open Sept. 13 for about 675 students. As he was with Bill Clinton (who has an L.A. middle school named after him), Gore is second on the ticket to Rachel Carson, the late author credited with helping launch the modern environmental movement.

“Renaming this terribly contaminated school after famous environmental advocates is an affront to the great work that these individuals have done to protect the public’s health from harm,” an environmental coalition wrote in a letter to the Los Angeles Unified School District. Making sure the school is safe “would be an even better way to honor their contribution to society.”

Construction crews were working at the campus up to the Labor Day weekend, replacing toxic soil with clean fill. All told, workers removed dirt from two 3,800-square-foot plots to a depth of 45 feet, space enough to hold a four-story building. The soil had contained more than a dozen underground storage tanks serving light industrial businesses.

Additional contamination may have come from the underground tanks of an adjacent gas station. A barrier will stretch 45 feet down from ground level to limit future possible fuel leakage.

An oil well operates across the street, but officials said they’ve found no associated risks. Like many local campuses, this school also sits above an oil field, but no oil field-related methane has been detected.

Via Doug Powers, who writes in response:

All in all, I’d say that putting Al Gore’s name on a contaminated school is just about the most intellectually honest thing to come from any educational institution in the history of the United States. Potayto, potahto.

Speaking of vegetables, who wants to be the first to take a bite of something from the Carson-Gore Academy’s garden?

The principal also envisions an organic garden that could produce a student-led farmer’s market.

Suwol said Lowry sounds “incredibly wonderful,” but added that she’d feel better if the vegetables were grown in planters above the ground.

Why not grow them in the ground? A “consensus of scientists” say the soil is clean. Grow ‘em in the ground and let Al have the first bite so we can see how seriously he values scientific consensus when it comes to eating something that may or may not make his second chakra glow in the dark.


One final note, from the LAT piece:

In the spring, a school-naming committee received six options, including Pete Seeger Community School. A representative from school board member Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte suggested that the folk singer’s “affiliation with the Communist Party,” among other factors, made that choice inappropriate, two in attendance recalled.

Yet they named it in honor of Al Gore, who – like the current occupant of the WH – envisions this country as some sort of future Socilaist Utopia? These days, I’m not seeing much of a difference between Communism and Socialism. You?