Archive for infrastructure

Lauren Mayer: 2014: A Year in Review



Lauren Mayer is a singer/songwriter/pianist who writes comedy songs about everything from Supreme Court decisions to the Kardashians. She proudly supports leftist causes including equal pay, reproductive choice, fair minimum wage, addressing climate change, and marriage equality.
Note: Check out Lauren's CDs, including her latest, "If My Uterus Were A Gun (And Other Musical Rants From The News)" - available at "" as well as on iTunes and Amazon. Her website is She's on Twitter at @laurenscomedy

From YouTube:

A musical recap for an operatically eventful year

From the video:

Liberal! Anyone sane would be liberal! Despite what you've heard, it's not a four-letter word!


Roads and bridges falling down, falling down, falling down...



Sing it with me, now!

Roads and bridges falling down,

Falling down,

Falling down!

Roads and bridges falling down!

Where is Congress?

Face it, America, not only is our infrastructure in a total state of disrepair, but our stellar lawmakers *coughGOPcough* make our roads and bridges look positively reliable.

Via the Los Angeles Times:

America's transportation infrastructure, once an engine of mobility and productivity, has fallen into such disrepair that it's become an economic albatross. Consumers shell out billions of dollars for extra car repairs every year. Insufficient and poorly maintained roads mean costly bottlenecks for businesses, which discourage expansion and hobble American companies competing in the global economy. [...]

A quarter of the country's 147,870 bridges are deficient or obsolete, according to a July report by the White House on infrastructure investment. [...]

[In East Greenwich, south of Providence, Rhode Island]... some of the supporting beams underneath were so beaten down by time and rainwater that they were "paper-thin." [...] All told, about a third of [California's] public roads are in bad shape, compared with 14% nationally.

Public safety, schmublic schmafety.

"Pro-life" my ass.

Here's a little flashback dedicated to Republican Congress members who obstruct infrastructure bills the way Fox obstructs truth in broadcasting:


Overnight: The Tennessee Valley Authority



Whenever I hear right-wingers / Libertarians complaining about the Federal Government, it's clear to me they have not the slightest idea about how to run a country and the important role the Federal Government can play and has played. Ask them about the Tennessee Valley Authority and you will draw a blank.

Here's what the TVA did for the south, thanks to the New Deal.

From YouTube (for this video)

President Roosevelt's Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) brings electricity to the masses as it works to build dams and transport coal in horse drawn carriages throughout the Tennessee region. Norris Dam and Muscle Shoals and Wheeler are all featured in this Department of the Interior footage from the National Archives.

Tennessee Valley, 1936

Part 1 shows a dam, generators, power lines and a power house; workers constructing a dam with steam shovels and other machinery; the flooded Tennessee River; and views of horse drawn coal cars, deserted farms, and eroded land. President Roosevelt addresses Congress requesting the creation of Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). It shows Wilson dam and powerhouse at Muscle Shoals, Ala., and Norris dam under construction. Part 2 shows views of laborers operating dump trucks, drills, steam shovels, and other equipment to construct Norris dam. Mrs. Roosevelt, Arthur E. Morgan, and David Lilienthal inspect Norris dam site. Includes an aerial view of the town of Norris. Part 3 shows the library, bank, dormitories, homes, and cafeteria for workers in Norris, and views of machine shops and trade schools. Workers watch a track meet. Wheeler dam is shown under construction. Rock is drilled and blasted, power shovels scoop up the rock, and concrete is poured into forms. President Roosevelt arrives in a motorcade, inspects the TVA area, and speaks. Part 4 shows a drill taking a rock core sample, men chopping down trees and burning brush, and men spraying river banks. Includes views of eroded land and a fertilizer factory. In part 5, land is contour plowed to prevent erosion. Water flows over Wilson dam at Muscle Shoals. Scenes of city streets and building illustrate the blessings of electric power from TVA. Contrasts the old animal and human muscle methods of performing farm chores with the modern electrical way.

The federal government is just as important today as it was when FDR was president.


You Can Pay At The Pump Or At The Body Shop


gas pumps

As if the price of gas isn't high enough already comes this news from The Hill:

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) is introducing legislation that would nearly double the 18.4-cents-per-gallon federal gas tax that is traditionally used to pay for federal transportation projects.

Blumenauer's bill would increase the gas tax by 15 cents, matching a proposal that was included in the 2011 Simpson-Bowles budget reform recommendations.

The legislation would result in drivers paying an extra 33.4 cents per gallon on their purchases, in addition to state taxes.

On the surface, this pisses me off. But then I got to thinking, you know what else pisses me off? Last week I hit a pot hole at night and damaged my car and threw the front tire out of alignment. I got it adjusted, but I was out a hundred dollars.

Streets aren't repairing themselves on their own. And bridges, overpasses, rail lines and runways aren't getting any safer with the lack of action by the 113th congress. They're content with just talking about our need to upgrade infrastructure. They're not willing to do anything about it.

We can't wait much longer. We're paying for it one way or another. If I hit that pothole, how many other people have done the same and how many more will be following behind me?

Blumenauer's bill sounds pricey. But when you come down to it, his proposed increase, along with the current federal tax on gasoline comes to less than 10% of the current price/gallon -- an amount similar to the sales tax in many places right now. But look what we could get for that. Safety on the roads, high speed rail upgrades (currently they exist only in California), repaired airport runways.

I'm not generally down for tax increases, but rather for taxes going down. Yet I'm also not for automobile repairs that are caused by a crumbling infrastructure. Maybe it's better to pay the 10% at the pump than face body shop work or worse, the potential loss of life.

Can we put a price on that? We're already paying in more ways than one. And consider this as well: The last time the federal gas tax was increased was 1993. You don't remember, do you? That's because we learned to live with it. And we didn't suffer irreparably. Prices didn't increase. Productivity didn't go down. People didn't lose jobs. So maybe it's time to pay the piper -- so long as he uses the money to employ the workers to fix the problems. That means jobs which help our economy and that's something we have do have to fix right away.