Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Monday, October 23, 2017
infrastructure

Elite Cities Should Share The Wealth (And Crowding) With Others

As Seattle ascended into the club of superstar American cities, its housing became expensive and its streets congested. That’s the price of success. These factors helped prompt Amazon.com to announce plans to build a second headquarters somewhere else in North America. This move could herald a neat solution for cities seeking choice jobs and for those burdened by crowding and astronomical rents. In this vast continent of ours, it’s crazy to shoehorn so much ambition, innovation and technical prowess into New York, San Francisco and a handful of other coastal cities.

September 14, 2017

Rethinking The ‘Infrastructure’ Discussion Amid A Blitz Of Hurricanes

The wonky words infrastructure and resilience have circulated widely of late, particularly since Hurricanes Harvey and Irma struck paralyzing, costly blows in two of America’s fastest-growing states. Resilience is a property traditionally defined as the ability to bounce back. A host of engineers and urban planners have long warned this trait is sorely lacking in America’s brittle infrastructure.

September 14, 2017

Houston Officials Hope Harvey Convinces Congress To Fund Coastal Barrier

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Tuesday gave his strongest endorsement to date for constructing a physical coastal barrier to protect the region from deadly storm surge during hurricanes. Though such a barrier system would not have guarded against the unrelenting and unprecedented rain Hurricane Harvey dumped on the area, Turner — one of the region’s last leaders to endorse the so-called “coastal spine” concept — said at a Tuesday news conference that he believes it is crucial.

September 14, 2017
FEC

Trump’s “Infrastructure Week” Scheme Was Another Media Fake Out

A close reading of the plan, coupled with the White House’s budget request for the 2018 fiscal year, shows that it is not actually a plan to invest $1 trillion in our nation’s roads, bridges, and other vital infrastructure. Instead, it is a proposed $200 billion tax giveaway to developers and construction contractors, which the administration hopes would spur additional private sector investment of up to $1 trillion.

June 10, 2017
Border Wall

Trump Offers Fool’s Gold To Fund Infrastructure

Donald Trump surrounds himself in gold. The signs on Trump buildings shimmer in it. His penthouse in New York is gilded in it.He claims now to have found the alchemy to conjure $1 trillion in infrastructure gold. He plans to put up a mere $200 billion in federal funds and stir it together with $800 billion in private investment and state dollars.

June 10, 2017
Trump border tax

Trump Infrastructure Plan Is A Privatization Scam

President Trump’s original proposal for a $1 trillion infrastructure jobs plan was, in principle, a worthy idea, a practical way to create jobs and improve the country’s highways, bridges, railways, and airports.

June 6, 2017
Trump on the attack against news media

Trump To Propose Privatizing US Air Traffic Control

Air traffic control currently falls under the operations of the Federal Aviation Administration. Gary Cohn, Trump’s chief economic adviser, told reporters ahead of Monday’s announcement that privatization would help reduce travel times and fuel costs.

June 5, 2017

The Art Of The Steal: Has Trump Finally Found Someone To Buy The Brooklyn Bridge?

At last, Trump has set the stage for a sequel to his first book of lies, The Art of the Deal—and in grand style. He’s found the right investor. He may have received a gold necklace from the Saudi king and looked regal;

May 25, 2017
Trump border tax

Is Trump On the Verge of His Biggest Legislative Humiliation Yet?

The second plank of Trump’s job program is the much touted and much delayed “trillion-dollar infrastructure jobs plan,” favored by White House adviser Steve Bannon. However, the plan has yet to be drawn up and is not scheduled for presentation until next year. It remains to be seen if Trump and Bannon can harmonize their infrastructure jobs program with that of Senate Democrats or the American Society of Civil Engineers.

April 3, 2017
Trump Congressional address

Fuzzy Math: Why Trump’s Congressional Address Simply Doesn’t Add Up

There is no conceivable fiscal plan that can underwrite Trump’s hucksterism. He makes wild spending promises, swears to reduce taxes, and then complains about the debt incurred by the Obama administration. Such obvious and irreconcilable contradictions have only one rational explanation.

March 1, 2017
Oroville, Dam, Spillway

Engineers Have Known For Decades That Oroville’s Backup Spillway Would Fail

Engineers have known for years that if water ever spilled onto Lake Oroville’s unpaved auxiliary spillway, it would cause serious erosion, possibly compromising the earthen structure that holds back the reservoir and threatening communities downstream.

February 14, 2017
Elaine Chao

Senate Approves Chao To Lead Transportation Department

The Senate voted 93 to 6 to confirm Elaine Chao as head of the U.S. Transportation Department, which overseas aviation, vehicle, train, and pipeline safety. Chao, a former U.S. labor secretary and deputy transportation secretary, will face key decisions on how to regulate the growing use of drones and automakers’ plans to offer self-driving cars.

January 31, 2017
Flint, Lead Poisoning

Over 1,000 Communities Across The U.S. Have 4x The Lead Poisoning Of Flint, Michigan

Reuters investigation finds Flint’s water contamination crisis is just the tip of a very contaminated iceberg. Nearly 3,000 areas nationwide facing lead poisoning rates “at least double those in Flint during the peak of that city’s contamination crisis.” In 1,100 of those communities, residents had lead levels in their blood that were four times higher than those found in Flint.

December 31, 2016
Infrastructure, Road, Trump

Trump’s Infrastructure Splurge On A Collision Course With Skilled Labor Crunch

Infrastructure projects need highly trained workers, such as heavy equipment operators and iron specialists. But as a result of the 2008 recession, which caused an estimated 25 percent of construction jobs to vanish, their ranks have thinned.

December 19, 2016
Nannygate

Trump Says Rep. Mulvaney To Be White House Budget Director

Trump called Mulvaney a Congressional voice for “reining in out-of-control spending” and “fighting government waste.” The night before, he promised to seek $1 trillion to spend on infrastructure programs.

December 17, 2016
Sandbags and tarps cover the entrance to a subway station near Battery Park as New York City prepares for potential flooding as post-tropical storm Hermine stalls off the east coast of the United States, September 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich

We Urgently Need To Mend Our Broken Infrastructure

A significant portion of our nation’s public transit vehicles have outlived their “maximum useful life,” as determined by the federal government, including 31 percent of commuter rail cars and 33 percent of subway cars.

September 10, 2016
A lock icon, signifying an encrypted Internet connection, is seen on an Internet Explorer browser in a photo illustration in Paris April 15, 2014. REUTERS/Mal Langsdon

How Realistic Is Clinton’s Broadband-For-All Plan?

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is aiming to have high-speed broadband in every U.S. home by the end of what would be her first term if elected. But with 2020 so close, just how realistic is her plan?

August 12, 2016
South Bay Boston

Sorry, Grandpa, Your Infrastructure Is Not My Infrastructure

Give me liberty and give me infrastructure. Don’t make me choose. What’s one without the other?

June 3, 2016
U.S. President Barack Obama toasts with Argentina's President Mauricio Macri during a state dinner in the Centro Cultural Kirchner as part of President Obama's two-day visit to Argentina, in Buenos Aires March 23, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

5 Reasons Barack Obama Doesn’t Get The Credit He Deserves

The stock market nearing new highs? Bubble! Jobless claims at a 43-year low? The numbers must be fake! More than 20 million Americans gained health insurance? Obamacare can’t possibly be helping anyone because I know a guy who knows someone’s doctor who said…

May 2, 2016
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Clinton speaks as rival Sanders listens during the Democratic U.S. presidential candidates' debate in Flint

Clinton, Sanders Clash Over Trade And Auto Bailout In Michigan Debate

Flint provided a dramatic backdrop for the pair — who were actually willing to discuss the systematic failures that led to the poisoning of an entire city.

March 6, 2016
Oil barrels are stacked at a storage facility in Seattle, Washington

Obama’s Oil Tax Is Politically Unfeasible, But It’s Still An Important Discussion To Have

Even though the plan has zero likelihood of passing in a Republican-controlled Congress during an election year, the motivations behind Obama’s proposal deserves a closer look.

February 11, 2016
The Flint River is seen flowing thru downtown in Flint, Michigan

Michigan Governor Won’t Know Flint Costs Before Next Budget Is Due

Preliminary estimates of the cost of repairing Flint’s water distribution infrastructure range from millions of dollars to as high as $1.5 billion.

January 27, 2016
Sincere Smith, 2, of Flint, Mich., is one of three children living with his single mom Ariana Hawk, 25. He is suffering from a severe skin rash that his mother believes is due to bathing in the contaminated Flint water.

‘Nobody Should Have To Be Living Like This,’ Residents Of Flint Say

Ariana Hawk heated a bowl of distilled water in the microwave, dipped a washcloth in it and wiped her 2-year-old son’s itchy, irritated skin.

January 20, 2016

Schools Get Tested On Their Earthquake Safety, With Kids’ Help

California is taking measures to determine the threat of earthquakes on its schools.

December 15, 2015

Will Your Driverless Car Kill You So Others May Live?

By Eric Schwitzgebel, Los Angeles Times (TNS) It’s 2025. You and your daughter are riding in a driverless car along Pacific Coast Highway. The autonomous vehicle rounds a corner and detects a crosswalk full of children. It brakes, but your lane is unexpectedly full of sand from a recent rock slide. It can’t get traction. […]

December 9, 2015