October 28, 2010

147,000 Rail Riders in Entire Year in Ohio Seen as ‘Demand for Transportation Choice’

Buckeye State residents are supposed to be impressed with media reports like this one from WXIX in Cincinnati telling us that passenger rail ridership increased 14% last year to almost 147,000.

That’s just over 400 people a day. In the whole state. Spread over seven station stops in multiple cities. You’ve got to be kidding me.

Context, people.

But first, here a few paragraphs from the WXIX report:

Based on new passenger rail ridership figures from Amtrak, a review by the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Rail Development Commission shows that the demand for transportation choice is on the rise, with 14 percent more Ohioans riding passenger trains over the past year.

Nearly 147,000 passengers got on or off trains in Ohio in fiscal year 2010, according to data released earlier this month by Amtrak – the nation’s leading passenger rail operator. That’s up from 128,174 passengers in 2009.

The increase of more than 18,500 in Ohio helped Amtrak set a new annual ridership record of 28.7 million passengers for the fiscal year ending September 30. Since 2000, Amtrak says national ridership is up nearly 37 percent. Currently, Amtrak provides limited long-distance service in Ohio, with seven station stops.

At this link, there’s a map showing how much traffic there is on stretches of Interstate 71 between Columubus and Cleveland. It’s related to a Cleveland Plain Dealer story about how the government isn’t coming up with $86 million dollars needed to widen the only 25 miles of road not yet widened to three lanes each way.

The map indicates that the 25-mile stretch involved has 40,600 vehicles a day. This one stretch of road moves more people in four days that Ohio’s passenger rail services do in a whole year — even before considering the fact that many of the cars have more than one occupant. Annual traffic on this one stretch of road is over 14.8 million vehicles, more than 100 times all of the passenger rail traffic in the state.

The Obama administration has granted Ohio $400 million of stimulus money to build a “high-speed” rail route from Cincinnati to Dayton to Columbus to Cleveland. That’s about five times the cost of widening the 25-mile stretch of I-71 just discussed. That widening would benefit the state far more. But you wouldn’t know it from media reports like the one cited from WXIX.

Incumbent Ohio Governor Ted Strickland wants the money. GOP challenger John Kasich doesn’t. It would be much smarter for whoever wins to just ask that $86 million be diverted to finishing I-71′s Cleveland-Columbus widening and that the rest be given back, or to just say “never mind” to all of it.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

On Initial Unemployment Claims …

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:16 am

… in light of the news that seasonally adjusted claims dropped to 434,000, well below expectations, it’s good to know that someone has been keeping track of the trend in following-week revisions:

(Last week’s initial claims number) was pushed higher from 452K to 455K. This also brings the total YTD prior revision at 34 up and 6 down.

And as an aside, continuing claims were revised from 4441K to 4478K. This is 40 up revisions, and 2 down.

Mostly “unexpected,” I’m sure (/sarc).

Clermont County (OH) Commissioner’s Race – Archie Wilson Vs. Incumbent’s Special Interests

Filed under: Activism,Economy,OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 10:43 am

ArchieWilson1010

________________________________________________

Note: This is the first in a series of posts by Rose chronicling why endorsed GOP candidate Archie Wilson should be the choice of Clermont County’s voters in the contest for County Commissioner.

The series also will raise important and troubling questions about how property tax dollars are being allocated in Clermont County — and perhaps many other Ohio counties.

________________________________________________

In late September, I chronicled the rather extensive list of endorsements won by Archie Wilson in the Clermont County Commissioner’s race here.

Given the desparate measures Wilson’s progressive incumbent opponent, his band of bullies and the lamestream media are taking to maintain power after being rejected by Republican and Tea Party conservatives, it is clear that those organizations made the right decisions.

The following is posted in full with permission.

Vote Archie Wilson for Clermont County Commissioner
By Tim Rudd
Clermont County Republican Party Chairperson
September 27th, 2010

Republican, Conservative, Conservative Republican, confusing – it can be especially when someone is deliberatively trying to confuse you. Let me cut through the confusion.

The Clermont County Republican Central Committee met in January and endorsed Archie Wilson for Commissioner on a vote of 100 for Archie, 54 for incumbent Scott Croswell, and 10 not to endorse. Archie’s vote total met the 60% of the quorum present necessary for endorsement. The vote total showed that Archie had widespread support from across the county. Immediately after the endorsement the incumbent announced that the endorsement was “essentially irrelevant” and that he would prevail in the primary. The incumbent subsequently changed his mind and filed to run as an Independent in November.

I still believe that the conservative base of the party has a real concern regarding the use of taxpayer’s money by the incumbent Commissioner to compete against private enterprise for economic development in this county. The incumbent brags about fiscal responsibility while spending millions of taxpayer dollars on economic development where the commissioners, or the private corporations they established, pick the winning developers.

In 2006, for the first time ever, over 15% of county normal operating funds and over 37% of the county beginning fund balance was spent on “economic development” without any voter input. Picking winners and losers sounds more like President Obama’s failed economic stimulus than being a free market fiscal conservative.

The Croswell for Commissioner Campaign filed its semiannual campaign finance report in July.

Of the almost $21,000 raised only about 7.4% was raised in Clermont County leaving over 92% raised elsewhere.
Political Action Committees donated $2,000.00 with addresses of Omaha, Nebraska, Nashville, Tennessee, Pickerington, Ohio and Columbus. Private donors from Indianapolis and Lexington donated $3000.00.

The rest of the private donations comprising the balance of the 92% percent came mostly from across Ohio from such places as Upper Arlington, Hilliard, Blacklick, anywhere except for Clermont County.

I don’t know about you but I’m getting a little uneasy here between the economic development and an unprecedented out of county funding for a commissioner’s race. Can a “For Sale” sign be too far behind for our county?

Archie Wilson is the only Republican in the race for Commissioner this fall. Archie’s endorsements include the following:

Ohio Tea Party PAC
Cincinnati Right to Life PAC
Citizens for Community Values Action PAC
Fraternal Order of Police, Ohio Valley Lodge #112.

He is serving his third term as Batavia Township Trustee. Archie is a Master Plumber who along with his partner founded and manages Midwestern Plumbing. Midwestern Plumbing is a thirty year success story that was recognized last year by the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce receiving the Pacesetter Award. Archie gives generously to charity but does not believe in government funded corporate charity. Archie has faced the tough decisions of a private businessman and knows what is necessary for a business to succeed. Archie, a true self made man, will bring real conservative values to the office of Commissioner. Vote Archie Wilson.

Additional Posts:
- Oct. 29 — Archie Wilson Stands Up to Cronyism
- Oct. 30 — Archie Wilson Takes on Elitist Incumbent
- Oct. 31 — The Tea Party Weighs In
- Oct. 31 — Kasich Denounces Croswell Trick
- Nov. 1 — The Croswell-Kasich Mailer (Pics and County GOP Chairman’s Reax)

Lickety-Split Links (102810, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:14 am

New York State “may be a big part of the Republican wave.”

What’s reported there makes this “write it down” prediction from five weeks ago (“If Jay Townsend loses to Chuckie Schumer, it will be by less than 10 points. That’s right, I said ‘if.’”) looks more plausible.

It will become even more plausible if the Jay Townsend campaign does something with this speech by Chuck Schumer in 2007:

[T]he violence in Anbar has gone down despite the Surge,
not because of the Surge. The inability of American soldiers to protect these tribes
from al Qaeda said to these tribes, “We have to fight al Qaeda ourselves.”

Schumer was so proud of what he said that, as Sweetness & Light noted at the time (HT Hot Air), he had the italicized words above — a direct slur of American soldiers — deleted from the transcript of the speech he posted at his Senate web site and replaced with “The lack of protection for these tribes.”

__________________________________________________

From the “Cash Out While You Can” Dept.

The overwhelming volume of sell transactions relative to buy transactions by company insiders over the last six months in key leading sectors of the market is the worst Alan Newman, editor of the Crosscurrents newsletter, has ever seen since he began tracking the data.

… (It’s) “as awful as we have ever seen since we began doing this exercise years ago,” said Newman, who was ahead on such trends as the dangers of high-frequency trading and ETFs before the ‘Flash Crash’. “Clearly, insiders are seeing great value only in cash. Their actions speak volumes for the veracity for the current rally.”

Related: Reacting to this report from Bloomberg (“Fed Asks Dealers to Estimate Size, Impact of Debt Purchases”), Zero Hedge contends that “the only ones left trading the market are the Fed and the PDs (Primary Dealers, such as Goldman Sachs), passing hot potatoes to each other, and the HFTs (High Frequency Traders), churning the (expletive) out of everything else to pretend someone is still trading,” and that “a paralyzed Fed” is having to ask the PDs how much additional “quantitative easing” is appropriate.

Completely reckless fiscal policy since the inception of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and Hank Paulson’s figurative “gun to the head” episode two years ago has certainly severely weakened the Fed, which if it isn’t “paralyzed,” is certainly looking desperate.

__________________________________________________

Indoctrination and (possibly illegal) electioneering, via Andrew Marlow at BigGov: “(Incumbent California Senator Barbara) Boxer Campaign Apologizes for Getting Caught Soliciting Teachers to Recruit Student Volunteers.”

__________________________________________________

Via Dan Riehl, Harry Reid “Milks” the System for a constituent. As a result, he claims “credit” for “saving” jobs, but destroys more. Read the whole thing.

__________________________________________________

Thanks for (doing) nothing, guys (/sarc) — Showing that “It’s the Uncertainty, Stupid” is spreading to everyone (“Employers in U.S. Start Bracing for Higher Tax Withholding”) —

Lawmakers won’t start debating whether to extend the (federal income tax) cuts, which expire Dec. 31, until after the Nov. 2 elections. Because it takes weeks to prepare withholding schedules, the Internal Revenue Service will probably have to assume the cuts will expire and direct employers to increase payroll deductions starting Jan. 1, experts say.

Pelosi and Reid having Congress leave town before the elections without settling this is having costly, real-world consequences.

Positivity: Sisters auctioning rare baseball card to raise mission funds

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:14 am

From Baltimore:

Oct 28, 2010 / 03:22 am

A Baltimore-based group of religious sisters is auctioning off a rare baseball card to raise support for the community’s missions to the poor. A member from Baltimore’s School Sisters of Notre Dame received the highly valued card featuring Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Honus Wagner in her deceased brother’s will.

Sister Virginia Muller told the Associated Press (AP) that the slightly damaged card of Wagner, one of only 60 that exist, was bequeathed to one of the sisters in a safety deposit box with a typewritten note explaining its value.

“It just boggles your mind,” Sr. Muller said. “I can’t remember a time when we have received anything like this.”

A card in mint condition from the same early 1900s batch went for $2.8 million in 2007 – the highest price ever paid for a baseball card.

Wagner, known as the “Flying Dutchman,” was one of the five original inductees into baseball’s Hall of Fame and compiled a .328 batting average during his career.

Although the sisters’ card is wrinkled and laminated, its estimated value is between $150,000 and $200,000. …

Go here for the rest of the story.