Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wanting...

Is southern California -- home to the music, movie and television industries -- supposed to be a inspirational place? Or am I confusing correlation with causality?

I think it's the latter, though perhaps I'm just jet-lagged.

Regardless, after waking up ridiculously earlier this morning (Pacific Time), walking around the downtown Hollywood area for a couple hours and enjoying a Strawberry-Banana Soy Protein smoothie with a shot of Wheat Grass on the side (condensed veggie nutrients, yum), I still can't think of anything I really want to write about.

Which is unfortunate, because, as my wife joked yesterday, without the obligations of home, I have all the time in the world to blog. But nothing to blog about.

Ah, the sorrow of excess. I guess I now know how it feels to be rich but unsatisfied.

Anyway, since my big ol' Whoop De Doo begins in a couple hours and runs until 10 pm, by which time I'll be exhausted (must resist adjusting to new time zone), this is probably my only time to write today.

So, here are a few stories you might have read with a few comments you might not care to read...

A friend sent a long the link to this one, basically a tit-for-tat piece about the race for Governor. In addition to trying to convince me to load up a bright red Caddy convertible and drive through the desert to meet him in Vegas this weekend to both loathe and fear, he asked me about public transportation -- specifically the benefits of bus rapid transit (basically, separate lanes for buses) as compared to rail lines. Although I haven't given the subject the thought it deserves, I will say that transportation systems that tie us down to a specific means and configuration (i.e. rail) might not be the best approach for the future, simply given rapidly changing technology and a soceity that's following suit. The problem, however, which my friend gets at, is perception about buses. While bus transit is cheaper, easier to reconfigure and (maybe) more efficient, a lot of people don't like them, for various reasons.

That said, fixed line transit has a place, I think. Also, one could probably come up with a good metaphor about rail systems/bureaucracy and bus lines/decentralization, but I'm in no mood for metaphors today.

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Best Headline of Today: "County candidates appear to differ little." You wouldn't get that impression if you only read the local blogs, however. Such is our purpose: to inflate minor differences to the point of absurdity. And really, what's the most minor of them all? Democrat vs. Republican.

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More political stuff: Schrader-Robey, getting testy; Democrats endorsing Merdon; and More Schrader-Robey.

I suppose I should say something about these stories, but I don't really have much to add. Others, however, are full of thoughts. See, for instance: David Keelan and Wordbones, who disagree about both the importance of these endorsements and the motivations behind them.

In more endorsement news, the liberal media have really been living up to their name this election cycle, no? At what point do laughable allegations of bias and attempts at victimization become sad instead of just funny? Are we there yet? I think in this instance Sandy from the play/movie Grease is a good metaphor for Republicans, with the media being the greasers (Burger Palace Boys and Pink Ladies). I won't elaborate, however, because, as I said, I'm in no mood for metaphors. Suffice to say, the message in Grease -- fitting in is more important than keeping it real -- is what kept my high school drama teacher (What's up, Mary Jane!) from producing this much-loved if morally bankrupt musical.

Will Patuxent Publishing follow it's fellow liberal institutions and endorse mostly Republicans? Tune in tomorrow to find out!

2 comments:

Dave W said...

I think the fact that they both endorsed Merdon, and in the case of The Post, endorsed Ehrlich as well, is partially a reflection on the subpar Democratic candidates put up this year on the Democratic side, Martin O'Malley and Ken Ulman., that even they couldn't justify support the Democrats this time around. There is no question, however, that both papers are still hopelessly tilted to the left, both in the news sections and on the editorial page. That is why when either paper endorses a Republican, it is big news. Democratic endorsements are expected, Republican endorsements are not.

Don't forget, the Post hasn't endorsed a Republican for President since Dwight Eisenhower. For goodness sakes, they endorsed Walter Mondale over Ronald Reagan in 1984. WALTER MONDALE! I think that about says it all....

Oh, and I don't think Patuxent Publishing is as liberal as you claim it to be. In the past two elections, they have endorsed both Robert Ehrlich and George W. Bush. There is no question they lean left on many issues, but for the most part they tend to be more sensible in their editorials and are willing to endorse Republicans when warranted.

Anonymous said...

...he asked me about public transportation -- specifically the benefits of bus rapid transit (basically, separate lanes for buses) as compared to rail lines.

Increasing bus service by itself would be the least expensive way to enhance mass transit in the region. In my opinion, this would be a reasonable short term solution.

Buses with dedicated lanes would be more costly, either by restricting traffic on existing lanes or by requiring construction (and greenspace consumption) for new dedicated lanes. In my opinion, because of additional costs this would not be a reasonable short term solution.

"Although I haven't given the subject the thought it deserves, I will say that transportation systems that tie us down to a specific means and configuration (i.e. rail) might not be the best approach for the future, simply given rapidly changing technology and a society that's following suit."

Transporation systems with a specific means and configuration may be necessary to achieve greenhouse gas reductions, sufficient convenience and speed to achieve switchovers from auto use, and acceptable costs concurrently. At some point soon we'll need to make drastic improvements both to address congestion and pollution and we will have to pursue a solution with the technology available at that time.

"The problem, however, which my friend gets at, is perception about buses. While bus transit is cheaper, easier to reconfigure and (maybe) more efficient, a lot of people don't like them, for various reasons."

Some of those reasons:
- bus schedules require waiting for them, increasing commute times
- buses lack the privacy of cars
- buses, because of waiting at stops for the next bus and shared ridership can have safety issues
- buses get stuck in congested traffic, too
- bus fumes

But using solely buses beyond a short term solution is problematic. To increase use of mass transit, the system has to equal or exceed the convenience of auto traffic. Buses don't.