In the previous post, I discussed “predictable outcomes” when it comes to regulatory weakness or lax enforcement in creating man-made disasters. I said they were due to political ideology or short-term economic concerns. There’s another type of disaster which can happen, when problems from a natural event end up being magnified into a man-made one. These stem from political ideology. Recently, a polar vortex moved south, and created winter storm conditions in the South. The result? Atlanta, Georgia became a parking lot. It wasn’t the only area in the South affected, Birmingham, Alabama had similar issues.
A day after up to 3 inches of snow in parts of Georgia caused horrific gridlock on ice-covered streets — particularly in metropolitan Atlanta where thousands were trapped on the roads overnight — several major thoroughfares remained a mess due to lingering accidents and other problems.
In neighboring Alabama, there was a similar scene playing out. “There are still four or five areas on our interstates that are still treacherous. The traffic is still proceeding very slowly, but we are making progress,” Gov. Robert Bentley said.
I wrote this post almost 4 years ago, and decided to update it in light of the failure to pass extended unemployment benefits.
I’ve spent a while reading statements from various right-wing politicians – Rand Paul being one of the more prominent – that extended unemployment benefits are a bad thing. You see they may increase the deficit, and (gasp!) they may cause people to put off taking low-level, low-paid jobs! There seems to be two major core assumptions: That the extension of the benefits decreases people’s willingness to look for work; and that there are plenty of jobs available, if only those lazy unemployed would just take them. To back up their case, they’ll come up with an apocryphal business owner whose minimum wage jobs are just going begging, because the unemployed won’t take them.
Spandan C over at The People’s View has an great post up about “liberals” disappointment in President Obama. It’s a brutal takedown of Liz Halloran’s NPR posting about how Obama spent the year “disappointing the liberal base.” It’s a laundry list of what he hasn’t done, which supposedly he should have accomplished despite having to deal with all the other “minor issues” like government shutdowns, international crises, among other issues. It’s not the only one like that, a quick look at around various professional liberals show a remarkable similarity along the same lines What it gives me is a sense of deja vu, mostly because I’ve seen exactly the same complaints before.
There’s a big uproar in the conservative media about “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson’s suspension by A&E for his comments in an interview. Although much of the press coverage is devoted to his homophobic comments, those were only a part of them.
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy.
Honestly? I’m not surprised that someone who proudly touts himself as a redneck southern boy would have these views. But what’s interesting is how many people on the Right are suddenly “free speech advocates.” Sort of.
There’s been a lot of criticism directed at the rollout of the healthcare.gov signup for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The website has had a lot of glitches, and now the government is bringing in top tech help to fix the problems. While some of the criticisms are valid, many are not. One of the most pernicious is that “private industry would never allow something like this out.” Speaking as someone with a couple of decades of IT experience under his belt, I can state that that particular line is … unmitigated bullshit. Private industry does it all the time, in fact, it’s a major surprise if they release something on time and on budget that works out of the box.