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marmar's Journal
marmar's Journal
October 31, 2018

On the ballot in 2018, a clear contrast among those who would move into Governors' mansions

(The Transport Politic) November’s U.S. elections will determine the control of the Congress, and as such may play an important role in impacting the nation’s transportation policy. Over the past two years, the Trump Administration has put dozens of transit projects in limbo. Even as the Congress has reaffirmed its funding for new investments in rail and dedicated bus lines throughout the country, the executive branch has put most grant-making on hold. As a result, long-planned projects in places like Dallas, Minneapolis, and Seattle are simply not being funded.

If Democrats retake the House of Representatives or the Senate, they may gain more power to force the Department of Transportation to release funds needed for transit projects, and potentially reorient the BUILD discretionary grant program, which has reinforced the administration’s focus on rural, rather than urban, projects.

Yet the real action this year may actually be in the nation’s states and cities, where 36 gubernatorial seats are up for grabs, dozens of transportation-related referenda are being considered, and several major mayoral positions are being contested. Voter input on these races will orient the course of action for states representing about 80 percent of the U.S. population.

If state and local elections are less visible, they are likely to be quite impactful in terms of actually defining how urban transportation works, since cities decide what projects they want to pursue, states allocate resources between transportation modes, and referenda often determine funding streams. ...........(more)


October 31, 2018

Report Card Grades Miami's 'Abysmal' Transit Options. Hint: Nobody Even Got a C

from McClatchy, via MassTransitMag:

Oct. 26--The report card is out for Miami's public transportation system, and if our trains, buses and trolleys were students, they would be flunking out of school.

Think trolleys are the answer to gridlock? Think again. The shuttles ferrying people around 25 municipalities in Miami-Dade County earned a grade of F. Only Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Doral and the City of Miami earned more than one star on the five-star scale.

Shouldn't Metrorail be an efficient option for commuters in a major metropolis? (Insert bitter laughter from regular Metrorail riders here.) Metrorail got a D for deplorable: Trains are late 69 percent of the time, the rollout of new cars has been plagued by delays and breakdowns and the system that was originally meant to span 55 miles of track has only expanded 2.4 miles since it opened in 1985 -- for a grand total of 24.4 miles.

You could take the bus -- but why torture yourself? Metrobus received a D. Average wait time is 35 minutes, the circuitous route network is outdated, and the lack of dedicated lanes means buses are stuck in the same traffic as cars. ............(more)


October 31, 2018

Mammoth Iceberg Five Times the Size of Manhattan Splits From West Antarctica Glacier

(Newsweek) An enormous iceberg five times the size of Manhattan dropped off West Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier.

Images shared by scientist Stef Lhermitte from the Netherland's Delft University of Technology showed the 115 square-mile chunk of ice had slowly split from the glacier over several days. Other massive pieces of ice fractured around the berg as it splintered off.

“Iceberg B-46 did not live very long, as it already fragmented in several pieces today, one day after calving from Pine Island Glacier,” Llhermite wrote on Twitter Tuesday.

The video shined a light on Antarctica’s retreating ice. Warm waters were thought to melt the bottom of ice shelves, making them weaker and more likely to fracture, the iStar science program reported on its website. IStar—supported by numerous international universities—works to understand the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. ........(more)


October 29, 2018

Fascism has arrived in Brazil - Jair Bolsonaro's presidency will be worse than you think

(Independent UK) The world’s fourth largest democracy and the biggest economy in Latin America has elevated a man who promises to imprison or banish his political enemies and who has openly declared he will enact a historic cleansing of the left after taking office. Jair Bolsonaro is not a normal presidential candidate. He is openly hostile to democracy and will probably be the most extremist elected leader in the world.

Bolsonaro is not the straight talking man of the people his supporters claim he is; instead he is the embodiment of the most hardline faction of the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil for 21 years. He claims fidelity to those like his hero Colonel Ustra who embraced torture, murder and rape, as necessary tools in the fight against communism..........(more)


October 29, 2018

Chris Hedges: The Cult of Trump

By Chris Hedges

(Truthdig) Cult leaders arise from decayed communities and societies in which people have been shorn of political, social and economic power. The disempowered, infantilized by a world they cannot control, gravitate to cult leaders who appear omnipotent and promise a return to a mythical golden age. The cult leaders vow to crush the forces, embodied in demonized groups and individuals, that are blamed for their misery. The more outrageous the cult leaders become, the more they flout law and social conventions, the more they gain in popularity. Cult leaders are immune to the norms of established society. This is their appeal. Cult leaders demand a God-like power. Those who follow them grant them this power in the hope that the cult leaders will save them.

Donald Trump has transformed the decayed carcass of the Republican Party into a cult. All cults are personality cults. They are extensions of the cult leaders. The cult reflects the leader’s prejudices, worldview, personal style and ideas. Trump did not create the yearning for a cult leader. Huge segments of the population, betrayed by the established elites, were conditioned for a cult leader. They were desperately looking for someone to rescue them and solve their problems. They found their cult leader in the New York real estate developer and reality television show star. Only when we recognize Trump as a cult leader, and many of those who support him as cult followers, will we understand where we are headed and how we must resist. .........(more)


October 29, 2018

Brazil elects a far-right authoritarian a**hole

(HuffPost) The rise of right-wing movements and parties across the globe took a giant and dangerous leap forward Sunday when far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil’s presidential election.

Bolsonaro, a federal congressman for Rio de Janeiro who formerly served as an Army officer, has praised the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985 and has expressed a fondness for authoritarians past and present. He defeated former São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad of the left-wing Workers’ Party to win the runoff phase of the election. ......(more)


October 28, 2018

Whatever happened to the WH hunt for the anonymous NYT op-ed writer?

That story has completely vanished.

October 28, 2018

The True Toll Of Donald Trump's Words

(HuffPost) Saturday morning, President Donald Trump attacked a Democratic Senate candidate on Twitter, calling her a “Nancy Pelosi Wacko!”

Just a short while later, speaking about the horrific shooting massacre in Pittsburgh that killed at least 11 people, Trump lamented, “It’s a terrible, terrible thing what’s going on with hate in our country… It’s a violent world. You think when you’re over it, it just goes away but then it comes back in the form of a madman, a wacko.”

Within a few hours, the president of the United States applied the term “wacko” to one of the most accomplished public servants in our nation’s history and then used precisely the same term for a deranged murderer.


The events of the past week has revealed the true toll that Trump’s words are having on our society. And I am afraid it is only going to get worse.

The scariest thing isn’t that Trump says what he says, it’s that there are those who cheer him for it. Who believe it when he says the free press is “the enemy of the people.” Who laugh when he mocks a disabled reporter. Who chant “lock her up” after Hillary Clinton was mailed an explosive device. Who look the other way when reports surface revealing how foreign powers are eavesdropping on the president’s cell phone conversations because he refuses to use a secure line. Who applaud when he attacks victims of sexual assault. Who would rather militarize schools and churches than consider any reform to our nation’s gun laws. .............(more)


October 28, 2018

A Week Of American Hate: Bombs Mailed, Black People Executed, Jews Slaughtered

(HuffPost) A man executed two black people at a grocery store, but didn’t engage a white man outside because “whites don’t shoot whites.” A Donald Trump supporter and apparent anti-Semite who looked up to white supremacists sent bombs in the mail to the president’s opposition. An avowed anti-Semite walked into a synagogue and killed 11 people after screaming, “All Jews must die!”

This was one week in American hate.

Some of the bloodiest and most excruciatingly tense news stories in recent memory felt painfully similar to one another, unified under the same banner of racism, violent rhetoric and anger. The only difference between this week and the last is that a few of the angry, hateful people under that banner decided to go out and act on their hate.

On Monday, packages containing apparent pipe bombs began to arrive at the doorsteps and offices of high-profile Democrats, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and former CIA Director John Brennan.

The first showed up at a home owned by George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist who has been the right’s favorite punching bag, conspiracy catchall and boogeyman for decades. Five days passed, and more packages arrived. The news media pointed out that all of the victims were Trump’s public enemies, and that he’d prodded his followers to commit violence against some of them in the past. Conservatives ― including the president himself ― implied or outright stated that the bombs were a so-called false-flag operation committed by the Democrats.

That, of course, turned out to be untrue. On Friday, police arrested Cesar Sayoc, 56, who was revealed to be a staunch Trump supporter and wild conspiracy theorist. His sticker-covered van suggests he committed his alleged crimes in the president’s name; some of the stickers on his van featured targets on the faces of his victims, while others were loving homages to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Trump, meanwhile, would go back to making fun of Soros by Friday night. .......(more)


October 27, 2018

Obama at Detroit rally: "Out of this political darkness, I see a great awakening"

(Detroit Free Press) Standing before a crowd of several thousand people in Detroit Friday night, former President Barack Obama said the biggest threat to the nation’s democracy is indifference.

But a vote on Nov. 6 can neutralize that threat, he told a crowd jammed into the gymnasium at Cass Technical High School.

“I’m hopeful that despite all the noise, all the lies, we’re going to remember who we are, who we’re called to be. Out of this political darkness, I see a great awakening,” he said. “If you vote, things will get better, it will be a start.”

With 10 days left before the Nov. 6 election, the rally was designed to get Democrats fired up and ready to work to both help candidates up and down the ticket as well as get to the polls to cast their ballots. ............(more)


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Hometown: Detroit, MI
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