Transportation Department Embraces Bikes, and Business Groups Cry Foul

The New York Times
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Getty Images Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced “the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of nonmotorized.”

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced a “major policy revision” that aims to give bicycling and walking the same policy and economic consideration as driving.

“Today I want to announce a sea change,” he wrote on his blog last week. “This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of nonmotorized.”

The new policy, which was introduced a few days after Mr. LaHood gave a well-received speech from atop a table at the National Bike Summit, is said to reflect the Transportation Department’s support for the development of fully integrated transportation networks.

It calls on state and local governments to go beyond minimum planning and maintenance requirements to provide convenient and safe amenities for bikers and walkers. “Walking and biking should not be an afterthought in roadway design,” the policy states.

Transportation agencies are urged to take action on a number of fronts, including the creation of pathways for bike riders and pedestrians on bridges, and providing children with safe biking and walking routes to schools.

They are also encouraged to find ways to make such improvements in concert with road maintenance projects and to protect sidewalks and bike lanes in the same manner as roads (by clearing them of snow, for example).

Mr. LaHood also indicated the department is discouraging “transportation investments that negatively affect cyclists and pedestrians.”

Not surprisingly, the news had bike enthusiasts excited.

“It is simply the strongest statement of support for prioritizing bicycling and walking ever to come from a sitting secretary of transportation,” said Darren Flusche, policy analyst for the League of American Bicyclists.

Nonetheless, some business groups have expressed concern that giving walking and biking the same policy considerations as other transportation modes, as Mr. LaHood recommended, would impede progress on other fronts.

“Treating bicycles and other nonmotorized transportation as equal to motorized transportation would cause an economic catastrophe,” warned Carter Wood, a senior adviser at the National Association of Manufacturers. “If put it into effect, the policy would more than undermine any effort the Obama Administration has made toward jobs. You can’t have jobs without the efficient movement of freight.”

At a House appropriations committee hearing last week, Congressman Steven LaTourette, Republican of Ohio, brought up the new policy and asked a Transportation Department official to clarify what Mr. LaHood means by “equal treatment.”

“If we’re going to spend $1 million on a road, we’re not going to have half of it go to a bike lane and half of it go to cars?” he asked, according to a transcript of the hearing.

“My interpretation of that would be equal in the eyes of policymakers as what is the expenditure you make, what is the benefit you get,” responded Roy Kienitz, D.O.T.’s under secretary for policy. “And if the freight project offers the best bang, great, but if the bike project offers a good bang, great for them.”

“I don’t even understand how you get a bang for the buck out of a bicycle project,” Mr. LaTourette subsequently commented. “I mean, what job is going to be created by having a bike lane?”

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Liberal Threatens Sarah Palin

Power Line

Patterico documents approximately 20 death threats against Sarah Palin and her family that have been made on Twitter by a liberal who expresses admiration for Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. A sample:

@Palin360 you need 2 b assassinated soon we ll settle 4 one of the family if not u!

You probably won’t hear about this anywhere else, but if a Glenn Beck fan threatened to murder Nancy Pelosi, it would be news.

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How the Left Silences Critics by Crying Wolf

by Michelle Malkin

If you can’t stand the heat, manufacture a hate-crime epidemic.

After years of covering racial hoaxes on college campuses and victim sob stories in the public arena, I’ve encountered countless opportunists who live by that demented mindset. At best, the fakers are desperately seeking 15 minutes of infamy. At worst, their aim is the criminalization of political dissent.

Upon decimating the deliberative process to hand President Obama a health care “reform” victory, unpopular Beltway Democrats and their media water-carriers now claim there’s a Tea Party epidemic of racism, harassment and violence against them.

On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a tepid, obligatory statement against smearing all conservatives as national security threats. But her lieutenants had already emptied their tar buckets. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Chris Van Hollen accused Republican leaders of “stoking the flames.” Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn accused the GOP of “aiding and abetting” what he called “terrorism.”

Yet, the claims that Tea Party activists shouted “nigger” at black House Democrats remain uncorroborated. The coffin reportedly left outside Missouri Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan’s home was used in a prayer vigil by pro-life activists in St. Louis protesting the phony Demcare abortion-funding ban in Obama’s deal-cutting executive order. Videotape of a supposed intentional spitting incident targeting Missouri Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver at the Capitol shows no such thing. Cleaver himself backed off the claim a few days later. He described his heckler to The Washington Post in more passive terms as “the man who allowed his saliva to hit my face.” Slovenliness equals terrorism!

The FBI is now investigating the most serious allegation — that Tea Party activists in Virginia are somehow responsible for a cut gas line at the home of Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello’s brother. But instead of waiting for the outcome of that probe, liberal pundits have enshrined the claim as conclusive evidence of the Tea Party reign of terror.

Need more reasons to treat the latest Democratic hysteria with a grain of salt the size of their gargantuan health care bill? Remember:

  • In November 2009, Kentucky census worker Bill Sparkman was found dead in a secluded rural cemetery with the word “Fed” scrawled on his chest and a rope around his neck. The Atlantic Monthly, Huffington Post and liberal media hosts stampeded over themselves to blame Fox News, conservative blogs, Republicans and right-wing radio. Federal, state and local authorities discovered that Sparkman had killed himself and deliberately concocted a hate-crime hoax as part of an insurance scam to benefit his surviving son.
  • In mid-October 2008, news outlets from Scranton, Pa., to ABC News to the Associated Press and MSNBC reported that someone at a Sarah Palin rally shouted “kill him” when Obama’s name was mentioned. In fact, the Secret Service (which was at the event in full force) couldn’t find a single person to corroborate the story — other than the local reporter for the Scranton Times-Tribune who made an international incident out of the claim. Agent Bill Slavoski “said he was in the audience, along with an undisclosed number of additional secret service agents and other law enforcement officers, and not one heard the comment,” the paper reported in a red-faced follow-up. Maybe the shouter is hiding with Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman’s real killer.
  • In late October 2008, a gaggle of liberal blogs spread the rumor that a Republican supporter of vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s had shouted that Obama was “a nigger” during a campaign rally in Iowa. Video and firsthand accounts showed that the protester did not shout “he’s a nigger,” but “he’s a redistributor.” A lefty activist at the “progressive” Daily Kos blog confirmed the truth — but to this day, the crisis-manufacturing smear stands uncorrected and unretracted across the Internet.
  • In September 2009, supporters of Colorado Democratic Rep. John Salazar falsely accused a town hall protester of hurling a death threat at the congressman. Liberal blogs again disseminated the angry Tea Party mob narrative. A week later, the local press quietly reported that Grand Junction police had investigated the incident — and determined the claim was “unfounded.” A police spokeswoman revealed that “(p)eople who witnessed the interaction between the man who made the complaint and the suspect confirmed they never heard any direct threats made regarding Congressman Salazar.” Witnesses included a Grand Junction cop “in close proximity when the interaction took place.”
  • In late August 2009, as lawmakers faced citizen revolts at health care town halls nationwide, the Colorado Democratic Party decried a vandalism attack at its Denver headquarters. A hammer-wielding thug smashed 11 windows and caused $11,000 in property damage. The perpetrator, Maurice Schwenkler, turned out to be a far-left nutball/transgender activist/single-payer anarchist who had worked for an SEIU-tied 527 group and canvassed for a Democratic candidate. Nevertheless, Colorado Democratic Party Chair Pat Waak continued to blame “people opposed to health care” for the attack.

Then, as now, being a Democratic Party official means never having to say you’re sorry for smearing conservative dissent.

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The Election That Never Was

Right Side News

Will Obama Suspend the Mid Term Election?

More and more politics-watchers are coming around to the conclusion that the scheduled Mid-Term Election in November of 2010 will be a political bloodbath for the Democratic Party. It is beginning to appear as if the democrats may, indeed, lose control of BOTH houses of the Congress. As a conservative I can only hope and pray they do.

But – the democrats lust for power is so great and their zeal for socialism so intense, that I cannot see them allowing their hold on power to be placed in jeopardy by, of all things, an election where the voice of the people is actually heard.

American-socialists-for-change_OBAMASo, the question must be asked: Will Obama and the socialist/democrats in our government suspend, postpone, or “call-off” the Mid Term Election scheduled for this coming November?

First we must remember that Obama promised during the presidential campaign to bring “Fundamental Change” to the United States. I do not believe a person alive in America today could doubt his sincerity when he said that. Plus, the evidence of that fundamental change is right before our eyes, and in our wallets. In less than eighteen months the Obama Regime has managed to take America from a constitutional republic to a socialist republic. That accomplishment alone should give you reason enough to suspect that when their power is threatened they will use the full force of the Central Government to ruthlessly crush any and all who they perceive as a threat. At this moment in history, a threat is anyone, any American, who does not agree with them.

What the Obama Regime needs is a national crisis of some kind, a national emergency, in order to suspend the election in November. There is much talk about the Obama Regime declaring martial law as the result of a national emergency. That would take care of the election.

Next question: Who decides what a national emergency is? You’ve got it — the Obama Regime!

Ok. So now I am worried about a natural disaster such as a major hurricane striking the Eastern Seaboard this summer or this fall. As all of us who live in Hurricane Alley will attest, we know from experience that we are due a major strike.

All right, already! I KNOW this all sounds paranoid as the dickens! But understand this: A little paranoia in the face of danger can save your butt! Lord knows — we are starring danger in the face every day the ObamaRegime enjoys in power.

Will there actually be a Mid Term Election this year? I honesty wish I could answer affirmatively, but I fear the raw power on which the democrats are drunk may decide that for us. Understand this: there is nothing as dangerous to freedom in the US as a Progressive (Socialist) Democratic Party inebriated on raw power.

ZZZZ_Remember_in_November__2I can say this: The American people are a patient people. We will put up with a lot of nonsense from our government – for a while. But we draw the line when that government ignores the constitution, as the ObamaRegime and the Democrats in the Congress have done. There is a seething rage in America today. It has cut to the quick many a patriotic American’s soul. There is a tidal wave of unrequited anger, roiled up and posed, ready to fling itself at a government it sees as a threat to America’s freedom and liberty. Woe be unto him who is caught in the deluge.

Look, some of us have a knack, a talent, a curse, call it what you will, of sensing huge changes around us well before they actually occur.

During the past few months I have sensed a change in the American atmosphere. Where there was anger, there is now rage. Believe me, there is a HUGE difference between anger and rage. Both are great motivators. but motivation by anger can be considered and well thought out. On the other hand, motivation by rage (or outrage) is often not well considered and thought out. It is more akin to lashing out, and is, therefore, to be avoided when it is possible.

But, my senses tell me it is too late to avoid the “lashing out” Americans are about to unleash.

Why do I even bring this up? I bring this up because — at this very moment that tidal wave of anger and outrage is damed up, increasing in power and intensity, waiting, just waiting, for an incident that will knock the chocks from the dam wall holding back the cascade. Postponing, or suspending, the Mid-Term Election, currently scheduled for this coming November, would be the spark that ignites a firestorm that will consume all in its path.

But those in our nations legislature, intoxicated on their acquisition of more and more raw power, haven’t seemed to notice the shadow of liberty loving Americans looming over them as they celebrate.

OBAMACARE_-_DEAYHCARE_-_REPEAL_ITElections are a sort of safety valve in America. Without a safety valve to release unwanted pressure a boiler would soon explode. This coming Mid Term Election, in November, is one of the most important safety valves ever to exist. Shut it, remove it, or disable it, and believe me, the boiler will explode with unimaginable force.

If America was one huge computer, we could simply “reboot.” Of course we cannot do that – but many are saying we CAN “reset.” That is the aim of Americans in the coming Mid Term Election.

The federal government MUST be brought back under the control of the citizens and limited to only that power, and those particular powers, granted by the US Constitution. If Americans can accomplish that — then most everything else can readily be taken care of — and a return to constitutional republicanism in America restored.

I don’t even want to think about what will happen if we are unsuccessful in saving and restoring America at the ballot box in November. It MUST happen if America is to survive.

Remember in November!

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obamacare Signing, Ex-Con at Scene of Crime

Big Government

Convicted felon Robert Creamer, who wrote the blueprint for the Democrats’ health care reform campaign, attended official health care signing celebrations in Washington, D.C. yesterday. He was joined by numerous activists and “community organizers” who have had their sights set on nationalizing health care and have finally achieved it. Creamer’s spouse, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, was one of the bill’s most vociferous proponents.

01-01-09 - Robert Creamer - 2

Creamer’s attendance was leaked by a fellow partygoer who blogged: “I just got back from the post-signing ceremony celebration at the Interior Department. It was like a family reunion–young Obama staffers mixing with warriors from the ’93-’94 health care fight. I sat next to Bob Creamer, with whom I had been attending organizing meetings back to the early 1980s on passing national health reform.”

Let us leave aside for the moment the question of why federal departments are spending taxpayer dollars to throw parties celebrating the largest expansion of government in two generations, or why felons who failed to pay federal taxes are on the guest list. The real question is how America could have allowed itself to be led to this point, and what can be done to stop it from traveling further down the road to self-destruction.

Even from a sincere lefty point of view–if I can think myself back into the mindset of my teenage years–the bill is a travesty.

It subsidizes Big Pharma. It punishes the most vulnerable–the elderly and disabled–by cutting half a trillion dollars from Medicare and gutting home health care. It raises the costs of education by nationalizing the student loan market. And the benefits don’t begin for years, thanks to the bill’s accounting tricks.

But the real goal is more power, not better health care. The radical left has been trying to pass universal health care for decades before rising health care costs–party the result of government intervention–became a national issue. In 2006-7, Creamer, a political consultant with close White House ties, wrote a ten-point plan for passing the bill in a book he started while serving time in federal prison for check kiting and tax evasion. He explicitly intended his plan to be carried out in 2009.

Creamer’s intentions had nothing to do with increasing access to health care, lowering its cost or increasing its quality. As he stated in his book, Listen to Your Mother: Stand Up Straight! How Progressives Can Win, health care was to be the first in a set of steps aimed at a radical redistribution of wealth and a massive increase in government control. He repeated this theme throughout the health care fight in his columns at the Huffington Post.

The second step he prescribed is sweeping immigration reform aimed at providing amnesty (and the vote) to millions of foreigners who are in the country illegally. And lo and behold, on the day the reconciliation bill passed the House of Representatives, a large pro-amnesty rally was held at the Washington Monument. Creamer promoted the rally on the Huffington Post, daring Republicans to oppose Democrats on the issue.

The White House and the Democrats in charge of Congress agree with Creamer that the health care bill leads the way to other radical changes. As Nancy Pelosi said in the days before the vote: “Once we kick through this door, there’ll be more legislation to follow.” If that proves true, it won’t be because Americans have become used to radical change, but because our elected officials have become used to ignoring us.

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Florida High School Forces Students to Partake in Pro-Obama Rally and DNC Video Without Telling Parents

Associated Content

Out of Marin County, Florida, comes a very distressing story about abuse of high school students by school administrators at Martin County High School. On March 16, more than 2000 students gathered on the football field

of Martin County High School during school hours when they were mandated to be there. They were made to chant the Barack Obama campaign slogan “Yes, we can!” and also hold up posters with that very Obama slogan. All this was for a video which was then given to the Martin County Democrat Party for the purposes of handing it over to the Obama White House. There was no information given to parents either by notice or on the website of Martin County High School, and making matters even worse than they already were, at least 100 students who refused to partake had to anyway.

Originally the brainchild of a student organization at Martin County High School (perhaps the Young SEIU Hopefuls; I don’t know), the pro-Obama rally and companion video were intended to bring Obama to Martin County to speak at a Recovery Rally event for the purpose of uniting the community, local business owners, and even the local government (natch) to support one another (awww, how “touching!”) in the magical-yet-irrational hopes of magically “ending the recession.” The Recovery Rally is a pet project dreamed up by a Martin County High School student organization (can you say future government employees?) to have Obama show up in their community and spread the propaganda of his Middle Class Task Force. Poor kids: Clearly, they’ve been indoctrinated into believing that Obama is the “Savior” and that government is the answer to everything. That makes me ask, Where the heck are their parents??!!

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Fidel Castro Applauds Obama’s Healthcare Reform

WKRG.com

HAVANA, Cuba – It perhaps was not the endorsement President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress were looking for.

Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro on Thursday declared passage of American health care reform “a miracle” and a major victory for Obama’s presidency, but couldn’t help chide the United States for taking so long to enact what communist Cuba achieved decades ago.

“We consider health reform to have been an important battle and a success of his (Obama’s) government,” Castro wrote in an essay published in state media, adding that it would strengthen the president’s hand against lobbyists and “mercenaries.”

But the Cuban leader also used the lengthy piece to criticize the American president for his lack of leadership on climate change and immigration reform, and for his decision to send more troops to Afghanistan, among many other things.

And he said it was remarkable that the most powerful country on earth took more than two centuries from its founding to approve something as basic as health benefits for all.

“It is really incredible that 234 years after the Declaration of Independence … the government of that country has approved medical attention for the majority of its citizens, something that Cuba was able to do half a century ago,” Castro wrote.

The longtime Cuban leader—who ceded power to his brother Raul in 2008—has continued to pronounce his thoughts on world issues though frequent essays, titled “Reflections,” which are published in state newspapers.

Cuba provides free health care and education to all its citizens, and heavily subsidizes food, housing, utilities and transportation, policies that have earned it global praise. The government has warned that some of those benefits are no longer sustainable given Cuba’s ever-struggling economy, though it has so far not made major changes.

In recent speeches, Raul Castro has singled out medicine as an area where the government needs to be spending less, but he has not elaborated.

While Fidel Castro was initially positive about Obama, his essays have become increasingly hostile in recent months as relations between Cuba and the United States have soured. Washington has been increasingly alarmed by Cuba’s treatment of political dissidents—one of whom died in February after a long hunger strike.

Cuba was irate over the island’s inclusion earlier this year on a list of countries Washington considers to be state sponsors of terrorism. Tensions have also risen following the arrest in December of a U.S. government contractor that Havana accuses of spying.

In Thursday’s essay, Castro called Obama a “fanatic believer in capitalist imperialism” but also praised him as “unquestionably intelligent.”

“I hope that the stupid things he sometimes says about Cuba don’t cloud over that intelligence,” he said.

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