UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

May 28, 2009

READER COMMENTS

Excerpts from reader comments

BETTER DISHWASHING

Or, wash dishes by hand using a less-powerful detergent and less-heated water. - Mairead

ARGUMENT WITHOUT HONOR

You say Obama boys are intelligent. I think you are confusing careerism with intelligence. All of them, including Obama, are careerists. They are trained at Harvard to be careerists. To look out for themselves. To be articulate is not a sign of intelligence. They are bound to develop that skill once they are in Harvard or Yale. They are empty vessels who don't really care about any ideology. They are only concerned with their career advancement. If Communism was dominant I am sure every one of them would be a Soviet bureaucrat. - Ajit

WHAT RAILS AND ROADS TELL US ABOUT CLASS & POWER

One need only look at Portland, Oregon's transit system to see just how this works perfectly. Our region short-changes the bus system in every way imaginable. But no expense goes noticed for WES, Streetcar and MAX.

WES riders get nice, plush seats; fully developed stations with huge plasma (or LCD, maybe) displays for train arrivals and even a news headline ticker; free wireless internet access and air conditioned vehicles. It also connects some very upscale cities - Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville; although admittedly much of the ridership are bus riders between Beaverton and Tigard who use WES as a faster alternative to the 76/78 route.

Streetcar is literally a vehicle for the rich - from the rich 23rd Avenue neighborhood, to the rich Pearl District, to the rich Museum District, to the rich Riverplace to the rich South Waterfront. Virtually all stops are fully improved with Next Bus displays, shelters, lighting, and pedestrian improvements such as lit and signed crosswalks.

Much of the MAX ridership is "park and ride", and surveys have shown a considerable difference in "park and ride" riders from the "walk and ride" riders.

And finally we have the lowly bus. Half of TriMet's bus fleet is beyond retirement age as determined by the Federal Transit Administration. Half of TriMet's bus fleet lacks air conditioning. No buses have plush seats like WES and no buses have free Wi-Fi. The average bus stop lacks so much as a bench; many bus stops are signs mounted to power poles, often on the side of a road with no shoulder and occasionally the bus stop is in intersection or a driveway. Hardly the "nation's best transit system".

Yet those who cite Portland as an example never ride the bus system; they go on the guided tour of streetcar, the mandatory ride of MAX from the airport to their downtown hotel. They'll see the Transit Mall and watch buses go by, but these self-proclaimed transit experts fail to ride a scheduled bus to see what the average bus rider looks like or what they ride. - Erik H

WANT TO BE HAPPIER? TRY SOME MORE SOCIALISM

What's the difference between state tyranny and private tryanny? Is it OK for Wal-Mart and Citibank to stomp all over individual liberty? As long as abuse isn't government themed abuse you're cool with it?

The record of concern for individual life, liberty, and property in highly state-controlled societies versus democratic capitalist societies is pretty clear: the more power the state has, the more likely it is to murder its own citizens. The worst problems America has are caused by the feedback loops of government trying to control things that only individuals can really control . . . and when government fails it gets angry and breaks things . . .

Ah, the perpetual fantasy: just let the government spend all your money for you and you can be happy, happy, happy all your carefree life . . . unless you want to grow up and live your own life and build your own dreams. Then you find out the state doesn't welcome competition in its lowest common denominator utopia.

This rapacious capitalism
seems pretty good as crushing peoples dreams. Not to mention all the people we've actually killed so that pro-capitalism rhetoric like yours can be spouted on TV without any challenges.

BUSH'S MID EAST POLICY BASED ON BIBLICAL MYTH

And God spake unto W saying," Snort lots of coke, put your feet on the bar, dodge the draft, do whatever the hell you feel like."

A SHORT HISTORY OF CIA LIES TO CONGRESS

When was the last time that anyone but a baseball player was pursued for lying to Congress? - m

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