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By Michael J. Smith on Thursday August 12, 2010 10:38 PM

IOZ! I hate him! He beat me to this one, from Release The Kruggen:

America Goes Dark

The lights are going out all over America — literally. Colorado Springs has made headlines with its desperate attempt to save money by turning off a third of its streetlights....

[A] country that once amazed the world with its visionary investments in transportation, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, is now in the process of unpaving itself: in a number of states, local governments are breaking up roads they can no longer afford to maintain, and returning them to gravel.

And a nation that once prized education — that was among the first to provide basic schooling to all its children — is now cutting back. Teachers are being laid off; programs are being canceled; in Hawaii, the school year itself is being drastically shortened.

And here is the detestable IOZ, saying everything I would have wanted to say about this idiocy, and saying it a lot better:
America is overpaved.... there isn't a holler that hasn't got its own asphaltized state route, even if it only sees one beat-down Chevy every decade.... every single bridge in Pennslyvania is [said to be] a fart and a hiccup away from total structural collapse, and yet it is unthinkable and unimaginable to propose that perhaps we have too many bridges, too many roads.... Cleveland, OH, a city with a population of three retired steel workers, a black guy, and a rat, has a highway system as elaborate as Paris'.

Colorado is turning out streetlights? Bully! Modern streetlighting is obscenely wasteful. The pure and unnecessary expenditure of megawatts, light dumped futilely into outer space, is a travesty.

Hawaii is shortening the school year? Oh no. We might fall behind Japan!

Seems to be a case where ol' Krug, who is unquestionably a smart guy and probably a good-hearted guy too, is exhibiting the extraordinarily confined imagination of all the merit class's most stellar products. Conventional wisdom really is the Law and the Prophets to these SAT Wunderkinder, isn't it?

Comments (11)

The Interstate Highway System was certainly visionary. Tunnel visionary, but visionary...


As social policy, this is very unwise. On shrinking incomes, Americans have very few ways to escape the misery than get in their cars and drive somewhere. I have recently watched this in a depressed northern California coastal city, where RVs and trailers roll through in a continual stream of blear-eyed travellers, straining to see something beautiful. It struck me as a kind of voluntary exile, a mobile Siberia.


visionary investments in transportation, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System

Visionary? Right... like the earlier investments in the power loom... a 'borrowed' vision. Canals from all of western Europe and the IHS from Hilter's Germany.


I see the point that he was trying to make, but definitely a poor example.

The massive overbuilding of highways is one thing that I immediately notice when travelling in the US. Empty 4 lane expressways everywhere

Anyone in the US (LA, NY, Washington, anywhere really) who complains about traffic should just try to drive in Toronto for one day. Toronto traffic is one of the reasons that I don't own a car and probably never will.

Michael Hureaux:

The bastards who own this country aren't shutting down infrastructure because they're sensitive to the environment. They're shutting it down because they're a bunch of pigs. I don't know why some people here are having a hard time understanding that. It's not about sensible energy use, or "unpaving" an overpaved country. It's about screwing us all over in whatever way they figure they can sell to corporate liberals.


tempest in a teapot on both sides here

i most say however
cheering on down sizing and retrogression
is indeed a genteel oh so green
rag a muffin
boho table scraps fantasy
like cheering on the pump price of gasoline
as if it went to some community chest not
the loathsome beasts of big energy

i agree with mh not ioz i think


love to see evidence that hinterlandia is losing population due mostly to financist malfeasance. the timing of road maintenance decisions (and school closures) is separate. how many places that became nowhere many years ago were propped up by credit & bribes?

If I don't have a Constitutional right to drive a crew cab pickup, then what?!


then you lost your construction job.

op, those corn niblets look awfully tasty to a channel cat. you got channel cats here?


as I often do, I agree with M. Hureaux's post above. I don't think he's observing anything different from what M. IOZ is observing, though.

I agree with Hureaux. The overlords cut a bunch of bus lines here, citing lack of funds to serve all corners of the community. Then last week they announced a crying need for a new line of more high-tech buses, so back to the trough they go!

Public service shrinks to become accessible to fewer and fewer people, but what's left gets more and more glitzy. Thus the burden increases disproportionately on those who are least likely to get a crack at reaping the benefit of what they're mandated to pay for.

It's important when following these stories that you wait for the other shoe to drop. (And I don't write this as somebody who despises mass transit, or who thinks that we have the worst mass transit available. We don't, but that's not the point.)

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