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Here I sit, yankee trailer trash sent home from work due to the weather, due to the earliest snowfall in Houston since records were kept in the nineteenth century.  Here's how it looks right now 19 miles south of Houston.

I know this is politically incorrect, but how do you explain this?

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I was dismayed today when I opened my email and got this poll from

Although final Congressional action is still many months away, several House and Senate committees this week are holding hearings on health care reform - and the costs associated with it. The nation spent $2.4 trillion on health care in 2008, and yet 46 million Americans have no health coverage at all.
President Barack Obama and Democratic Congressional leaders hope to pass a reform bill by the end of the year.
As a first step to funding an ambitious effort to attain universal coverage, Obama has proposed creating a $630 billion trust fund in his budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Attaining universal health care will almost inevitably cost most Americans - businesses and taxpayers - more. But Obama argues that the cost of doing nothing is more extreme.
"If we don't tackle health care," he said at the White House health care summit last week, "we're going to break the bank"
Should Americans pay more so their fellow citizens can have health insurance? Tell President Barack Obama and Congress how you feel by voting in our action poll.

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Now that my morally bankrupt Senator from Texas, "Big John" Cornyn has held up Eric Holder's nomination in the Judiciary Committee, Joseph Galloway nails "Box Turtle" Cornyn.

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This is interesting.  These will be the first broad-gauge high-speed trains on the world.  While the road builders are drooling over the Obama stimulus plan, countries from Argentina to Russia to China to India are building electrified rail lines that go faster than a DC-3.  Hopefully, Obama will be smart enough to realize the the automobile and excessive flying are the source, not the solution, to our transportation and energy problems.

Here's the article: Les trains à grande vitesse prennent leur essor en Russie (Poutine)

This will be the first broad-gauge high speed railroad on the planet.  By the time it is done, it will dwarf anything the Europeans have.  I've translated it for you below the fold.

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Fri Dec 19, 2008 at 04:44 PM PST

"Stimulating" the Status Quo

by ExpressStreetcar

The stimulus package could be an opportunity to build transformative infrastructure that will not only create jobs in the short run but improve our cities and strengthen our economy in the long run. It could be a way to fund routine maintenance. Or it could be an opportunity for second-rate projects to see the light of day.

Support funding for public transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects

Congress is currently putting together an economic stimulus package to have ready when the new Congress returns in early January. While public details of the forthcoming stimulus bill are not available, we are hearing that there is a chance that funds for transportation and infrastructure projects in the stimulus package may go overwhelmingly to road projects—the same unbalanced strategy that has created our existing transportation problems.

We must speak up now to make sure that the economic stimulus language maintains the established transportation funding allocations including the Transportation Enhancement set aside which is the primary source for collective transportation, bicycle and pedestrian projects.

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Did you know that up until the 1920's, that, except for two 20-mile gaps in New York state, you could ride from New England to Wisconsin entirely by trolley car?  Here is a map of trolley lines in the Midwest from 1912:

Practically every town in the USA with a population of 2,000 people or more had access to the once-ubiquitous trolley car.

More Below the Fold

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According to Haaretz,

...according to a senior Israeli government source, the reports reaching Israel indicate that Sarkozy views the Democratic candidate's stance on Iran as "utterly immature" and comprised of "formulations empty of all content."

If true, Sarkozy is on a neocon flight from reality.  It was acknowledged almost a year ago in a US National Intelligence Estimate, much to the chagrin of the neocrazies, that U.S. Says Iran Ended Atomic Arms Work.  Iran is heading toward uranium enrichment, but the enrichment level needed for nuclear power generation is a tiny fraction of that needed for nuclear weapons.  

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Nick Lampson, the blue dog democrat who won TX CD 22 in 2006, has been targeted by the RNCC.  The republican candidate, Pete Olson, is a hard-right republican, whose mentor is Phil Gramm.  From Olson's web site:

One of the biggest lessons from the September 11th attacks is that our country can never be too vigilant and never be too cautious in how we protect America.  It is a lesson Democrats in Congress seem to have forgotten.  Having handled defense and intelligence related issues for Senators Gramm and Cornyn, I will work tirelessly to strengthen and protect our ability to defend America from future attacks.

So Olson's playing the fear factor, standard issue for right-wing republicans.

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