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marmar

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Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 70,152

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Toronto City Council pushes back against pig-beast mayor on transit expansion plans




from the Transport Politic blog:


In Toronto, the Fight for Transit City Continues


Transportation is an intensely political game in Toronto. Canada’s largest city, home to millions of daily transit users, has been fighting for half a decade on how to expand its rail network over issues that might be familiar to inhabitants of many metropolises. Should trains be put in a subway or remain on the surface? Should extensions be developed downtown or in the suburbs? Should funding come from the public or private pocketbook?

The election of Rob Ford to the mayoralty in fall 2010 seemed to answer some of those questions: All new urban rail projects would be built underground in order to avoid disrupting traffic. Most new lines would be designed to extend into suburban business districts, rather than reinforce the network in the center city. And an emphasis would be placed on finding private financing to cover costs. Almost as soon as he entered office, Mr. Ford managed to dismantle the light rail surface-running, publicly funded Transit City plans his predecessor David Miller had imagined and, in one case, actually brought to the construction stage.



In the process, no one seemed to notice that the mayor, who never sought full approval from the council in renegotiating the funding contract with Ontario Province, didn’t have the legal authority to trash the plans.

For Toronto, this once again puts the city’s public transportation future up in the air. Mr. Miller’s project would have funded three new light rail lines and a refurbishment and extension to another by 2020; only a 6-mile segment of the Eglinton Crosstown corridor would have been underground, compared to 29 miles overground on the rest of the plan, all at an Ontario-funded cost of C$8.2 billion. Mr. Ford squashed plans for the Finch Avenue and Sheppard Avenue light rail lines and killed the planned extension of the Scarborough RT; in their place would be a 12-mile fully-underground Eglinton line and a refurbishment of the Scarborough line — a total of about 15 miles of fixed-guideway transit at the same cost, serving far fewer Torontonians in the process. A subway extension along the Sheppard corridor would be paid for by the private sector. In theory. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2012/01/31/in-toronto-the-fight-for-transit-city-continues/



Toronto City Council pushes back against pig-beast mayor on transit expansion plans




from the Transport Politic blog:


In Toronto, the Fight for Transit City Continues


Transportation is an intensely political game in Toronto. Canada’s largest city, home to millions of daily transit users, has been fighting for half a decade on how to expand its rail network over issues that might be familiar to inhabitants of many metropolises. Should trains be put in a subway or remain on the surface? Should extensions be developed downtown or in the suburbs? Should funding come from the public or private pocketbook?

The election of Rob Ford to the mayoralty in fall 2010 seemed to answer some of those questions: All new urban rail projects would be built underground in order to avoid disrupting traffic. Most new lines would be designed to extend into suburban business districts, rather than reinforce the network in the center city. And an emphasis would be placed on finding private financing to cover costs. Almost as soon as he entered office, Mr. Ford managed to dismantle the light rail surface-running, publicly funded Transit City plans his predecessor David Miller had imagined and, in one case, actually brought to the construction stage.



In the process, no one seemed to notice that the mayor, who never sought full approval from the council in renegotiating the funding contract with Ontario Province, didn’t have the legal authority to trash the plans.

For Toronto, this once again puts the city’s public transportation future up in the air. Mr. Miller’s project would have funded three new light rail lines and a refurbishment and extension to another by 2020; only a 6-mile segment of the Eglinton Crosstown corridor would have been underground, compared to 29 miles overground on the rest of the plan, all at an Ontario-funded cost of C$8.2 billion. Mr. Ford squashed plans for the Finch Avenue and Sheppard Avenue light rail lines and killed the planned extension of the Scarborough RT; in their place would be a 12-mile fully-underground Eglinton line and a refurbishment of the Scarborough line — a total of about 15 miles of fixed-guideway transit at the same cost, serving far fewer Torontonians in the process. A subway extension along the Sheppard corridor would be paid for by the private sector. In theory. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2012/01/31/in-toronto-the-fight-for-transit-city-continues/



No Justice for Haditha Massacre


from the Consortium News:



No Justice for Haditha Massacre
January 31, 2012

In 2003, President George W. Bush launched a “preemptive” war against Iraq, citing imaginary threats to the United States. The invasion inflicted massive loss of life, including massacres like the one at Haditha, but with very little accountability in the field or in Washington, writes Marjorie Cohn.

By Marjorie Cohn


They ranged from little babies to adult males and females.

I’ll never be able to get that out of my head. I can still smell the blood.

This left something in my head and heart.


-Lance Cpl. Roel Ryan Briones



Last week, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich was sentenced to a reduction in rank but no jail time for leading his squad in a rampage known as “The Haditha Massacre.” Wuterich, who was charged with nine counts of manslaughter, pled guilty to dereliction of duty. Six other Marines have had their charges dismissed and another was acquitted for his part in the massacre.

What was the Haditha Massacre? On Nov. 19, 2005, U.S. Marines from Kilo Company, Third Battalion, First Marine Division killed 24 unarmed civilians in Haditha, Iraq, execution-style, in a three- to five-hour rampage. One victim was a 76-year-old amputee in a wheelchair holding a Koran. A mother and child bent over as if in prayer were also among the fallen.

“I pretended that I was dead when my brother’s body fell on me and he was bleeding like a faucet,” said Safa Younis Salim, a 13-year-old girl who survived by faking her death. Other victims included six children ranging in age from 1 to 14. Citing doctors at Haditha’s hospital, The Washington Post reported, “Most of the shots … were fired at such close range that they went through the bodies of the family members and plowed into walls or the floor.” ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://consortiumnews.com/2012/01/31/no-justice-for-haditha-massacre/



Why American 'democracy promotion' rings hollow in the Middle East


Why American 'democracy promotion' rings hollow in the Middle East
Egypt's crackdown on Republican and Democratic organisations is hardly surprising: they're widely seen as stooges of US empire

Mark Weisbrot
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 31 January 2012


I have to laugh when I see the International Republican Institute (IRI) described by the international media as an "organization that promotes democracy" (in this case, on NPR). The IRI is in the news lately because Egypt's military government has put some of its members on a "no-fly" list and thereby trapped them in the country, facing investigation and possible trial. I am wondering just how credulous these journalists and editors are: if I were to describe the Center for Economic and Policy Research as "a magical organization that transforms scrap metal into gold", would that become CEPR's standard description in the news?

The IRI is an international arm of the US Republican party, so anyone with the stomach to watch the Republican presidential debates might doubt whether this would be a "democracy-promotion" organization. But a look at some of their recent adventures is enough to set the record straight: in 2004, the IRI played a major role in overthrowing the democratically elected government of Haiti. In 2002, the head of the IRI publicly celebrated the short-lived military coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of Venezuela. The IRI was also working with organizations and individuals that were involved in the coup. In 2005, the IRI was involved in an effort to promote changes in Brazil's electoral laws that would weaken the governing Workers party of then President Lula da Silva.

Most recently, in 2009, there was a military coup against the democratically elected government of Honduras. The Obama administration did everything it could to help the coup succeed, and supported "elections" in November of 2009 to legitimize the coup government. The rest of the world – including even the Organization of American States (OAS), under pressure from South American democracies – refused to send observers. This was because of the political repression during the campaign period: police violence, raiding of independent media, and the forced exile of political opponents – including the country's democratically elected president. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/jan/31/american-democracy-promotion-rings-hollow



Canada’s Economy Records Surprise 0.1% Drop in November on Energy Declines


(Bloomberg) Canada’s gross domestic product posted an unanticipated decline in November, shrinking for the first time in six months on maintenance shutdowns by crude oil producers and lower natural gas extraction.

Output fell 0.1 percent to an annualized C$1.27 trillion ($1.27 trillion) after being little changed in October, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. Economists in a Bloomberg survey forecast the economy would grow 0.2 percent, based on the median of 23 responses.

The report suggests fourth-quarter growth will fall short of the 2 percent annualized pace the Bank of Canada estimated last month, with BMO Capital Markets today cutting its projection to 1.5 percent. Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty have said growth will be modest this year as weak global demand curbs exports.

The report “shows how the economy is vulnerable to even minor hits,” said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist with Bank of Montreal’s capital markets unit in Toronto. .....................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-31/canada-s-economy-records-surprise-0-1-drop-in-november-on-energy-declines.html



Welcome to the balmy Great Lakes Region !!!!





Current temps:


Detroit: 54
Chicago: 57
Cleveland: 61
Pittsburgh: 58
Indianapolis: 58
Toronto: 43



Confidence Decline Points to Cooling U.S. Growth


(Bloomberg) Consumer confidence unexpectedly dropped in January and a gauge of business activity fell, underscoring forecasts that the U.S. economy will cool after expanding at the fastest pace since the second quarter 2010.

The New York-based Conference Board’s confidence index decreased to 61.1, lower than the most pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists, from a revised 64.8 reading the prior month. The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc. said its business barometer declined to 60.2 from 62.2 in December. Readings above 50 signal growth.

Employers aren’t hiring fast enough to drive bigger gains in wages and consumer spending, while higher gasoline prices are cutting into household budgets. Another report today showed home prices fell more than forecast in November, eroding the wealth of families as they seek to rebuild savings.

“This quarter will be a bit slower,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group Inc. in Pittsburgh, who had the lowest sentiment estimate. “Consumer confidence appears to have leveled off, as job growth isn’t quite as good and gasoline prices have moved back up.” .......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-31/consumer-confidence-in-u-s-unexpectedly-drops-on-fuel-costs-job-concerns.html



John Lewis criticizes Chris Christie's comments about leaving same-sex marriage to a referendum


(Bloomberg) Representative John Lewis, a veteran of the U.S. civil-rights movement, joined New Jersey Democrats criticizing Governor Chris Christie after he said blacks in the 1960s would have preferred referendums on desegregation -- a move he has backed for same-sex marriage.

Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, stopped in the New Jersey capital yesterday to step up pressure on Christie, a first-term Republican. The governor has faced opposition from Democrats in the Legislature, including the state’s two openly gay lawmakers, after saying a week ago that early civil-rights activists “would have been happy to have a referendum.”

The governor, 49, has said he’ll veto any legislation allowing two people of the same gender to wed, and has called for a ballot question in November. Christie said that unlike the South in the 1960s, where prejudice made support for civil rights impossible, advocates of same-sex marriage claim a majority of New Jersey residents supports such legislation now.

“I’ve said over the years that I fought too long and too hard against discrimination based on race and color not to stand up and speak out against discrimination based on sexual orientation,” Lewis, 71, said at a press conference in Trenton, the Associated Press reported. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-31/christie-finds-himself-on-losing-side-of-history-after-civil-rights-remark.html



Peyton Manning......finished?


INDIANAPOLIS -- Four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning has hit a plateau in his rehabilitation from neck surgery, and the slow rate at which the nerves in his arm are healing indicate he will not play again, Yahoo! Sports reported Monday, citing two sources.

Manning's future with the Indianapolis Colts has dominated headlines in recent weeks, with team owner Jim Irsay facing a decision on whether to pay $28 million to retain the star quarterback.

The 35-year-old began throwing in December after the fused vertebrae in his neck healed as expected, but he has not shown any improvement in the velocity of his passes.

The two sources feared Manning would never show improvement again. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://xfinity.comcast.net/articles/sports-nfl/20120131/NFL-Peyton-Manning-Colts/



Gridlock over Gotham


from USA Today:





"I've had incredible delays," says Green, a consultant from St. Petersburg, Fla., who visits New York on business at least eight times a year. "I remember one night we didn't get there until 3 a.m., and I had to be in front of a customer at 8. I travel everywhere, every week, and it's the only place I go that I truly dread."

For airlines, the skies over the New York City metropolitan area are the most sought after in the U.S.— and the most crowded. With roughly a third of all flights in the nation flying to, from or through the New York area, congestion there can lead to rippling delays that ground planes and frustrate passengers from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.

Recognizing the critical role New York plays, federal and local officials are taking a series of steps to keep air traffic moving. New flight lanes are being carved in the skies, runways are being widened and limits are maintained on the number of flights that can take off and land at the region's three major airports: LaGuardia, JFK and Newark.

Work also continues on the satellite-based navigation system known as NextGen that's ultimately supposed to make room for more planes to fly safely in tight space across the nation's air traffic network. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/story/2012-01-30/Skies-over-New-York-remain-gridlocked/52893264/1


..............





TGV Sud-Est reduced the travelling time Paris–Lyon from almost four to about two hours. The rail market share rose from 49 to 72 %. For air and road traffic, the market shares shrunk from 31 to 7 % and from 29 to 21 %, respectively. On the Madrid–Sevilla relation, the AVE connection rose the rail market share from 16 to 52 ; air traffic shrunk from 40 to 13 %; road traffic from 44 to 36 %, hence the rail market amounted to 80% of the combined rail and air traffic.[46] This figure increased to 89% in 2009, according to the Spanish rail operator RENFE ........................

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail



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