Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thursday.  Welcome to May.  At least that is what the calendar says.  Looking at the temperature and the dismal, cloudy scene outside our windows one would think it was mid-March.  The temps won't rise much today and won't get into the sixties again until Saturday.

I found this item on the news this morning.  I live in an area that is criss-crossed with interstate highways.  Most people going from anywhere to anywhere will go by an interstate.  We also live near the major toll road that goes from New York (state) to Iowa.  We used to travel that toll road when we visited my sister who lives about 40 miles west of here--but haven't since they selectively raised the tolls several years ago.  Just after the politicians leased our part of the road to a private management company.  Selectively?  Well, they raised the tolls for those who pay cash for the privilege of riding on that road.  For drivers who installed the I-Pass sensors and could go through the unmanned gates they left the tolls alone.  We were pissed.  We made that trip--maybe--twice a year.  The cost of the equipment and installation was a couple hundred dollars.  To save $.50 a trip???  We decided to save even more and went by other roads.  U.S. infrastructure has deteriorated badly and I have seen little political will to really deal with it over the last 30 or so years.  About 30 years ago, during a conversation about one the conditions of a road we were on, a remark summed up the basic problem--the politicians love building roads and other structures, campaigning on how much money they have brought into the area to build them, noting how their constituents benefit from the building but they don't do much about getting the funds to keep the infrastructure repaired and renovated.  Another problem no one wants to talk about--the economic conditions over the last half-dozen years has induced Americans to cut back on driving and/or transition to hybrids, electric or highly fuel efficient vehicles which means they are buying less gas which in turn means less revenue for highway construction.

And we now have "medical homelessness."  I totally agree with one of the people quoted--why pay for what you can't use?

Interesting piece by Peter Van Buren on Tomdispatch.  I pretty much knew where it was going when Englehardt mentioned Van Buren's new book: Ghosts of Tom Joad.  I wondered how many reading that title would get the literary reference. Or the reference behind the title of the post.

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