Monday, July 27, 2009

Get your money for nothin' and your roads for free

As was inevitable, transportation has become a major issue in the race for governor.

Democrat Creigh Deeds, apparently emulating Richard Nixon in 1968, has a secret plan to fix the transportation problem, which he’ll tell us more about after he’s elected. He has said he wouldn’t rule out a tax increase, which means he’s thinking about the problem in slightly more realistic terms than Republican Bob McDonnell.

McDonnell, to his credit, has come up with a detailed transportation plan. Unfortunately, like most of the Republican plans over the last five years, there’s not a lot of real money in it. Like Dire Straits, McDonnell plans to get his money for nothing.

Because McDonnell’s plan is another GOP “all gain, no pain” plan. It contains a lot of real debt, $4 billion in bonds, and a lot of theoretical money to service that debt.

The plan recycles some ideas that House Republicans have floated over the last several years.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

We can put a man on the moon but...

I remember the moon landing in 1969. A precocious 10-year-old, I was allowed to stay up late to see something my parents realized was truly special.

It was truly special too, and still is. Man’s leap into the void and successful touchdown on another celestial body is perhaps the most amazing achievement in human history.

It was one of the last things pretty much everybody in America agreed on. Except for some bean counters on the left who would rather have seen the money spent on human services programs and some tin-foil hat types on the right who thought the whole thing was faked in the desert somewhere, everybody in America, everybody in most of the world, came together in celebrating the accomplishment.

Certainly it ranks up there with Columbus crossing the Atlantic to the Americas, even if we haven’t followed up an on it as quickly.

That’s probably because of the expense. Any country could outfit a few ships and set out for the New World. Only the very richest countries could hope to even land a robot instruments package on another world, much less human explorers.

Still, it’s disappointing that NASA is only now considering returning humans to the moon. After all, Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick had predicted humans would be orbiting Jupiter by 2001.

The moon launch also became something of a gauge of human and technological progress, usually in phrases that began “We can put a man on the moon but we still can’t (fill in the blank).”

Here’s a few thoughts along those lines to ponder on this 40th anniversary of he moon landing.

We put a man on the moon 40 years ago, but……

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