Category Archives: Transit

Faustian urGe Manifesto

Ensuring That Serving “Capital” Interests Must Also Serve To Broadly Improve The Lives Of “We The People”

manifesto

CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST often bemoans ethical failures while he also attempts to mitigate, in some minuscule way, the social damages he and too many other citizens suffer from “Traditional” American Values (social and business). Inappropriate personal agendas and indifference toward obligation and ethics are significant annoyances that he addresses by trying to learn more — what wags the world and why.

Given the circus of extremes on display in society and within the political realm since President Obama’s re-election, CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST is currently working through the conundrum of how so many intelligent, educated people manage to place their feet in their mouths while their heads are so firmly up their arses.

He’s frustrated, and believes the nation is threatened, by libertarianism — knowing the objectivist/libertarian belief system is inappropriate to a fruitful, functional society. Libertarians disregard a profound reality: We are responsible for the decisions we make, yes, but we’re not responsible for the options we’re given. Thus, CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST believes that we should create that “society we would want if we didn’t know in advance who we’d be.”

He sees that another libertarian delusion is establishment of the fanciful “self-made” individual. The laughable concept discounts external influence or inspiration and exhibits a blatant disregard for the interconnectedness that is the human condition.

He remains convinced that we humans do not have to destroy each other to survive (as in two wars extinguishing 100,000+ lives as revenge for the prior killing of 3000) but that we choose to do so… not the nonsense propounded that genetics or patriotism demands it. CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST knows we have the ability to reason and that too many simply choose the easier way of reactive non-thought.

Though imbued with a simmering cauldron of rage just below his deceptively pleasant (and not altogether unpleasant looking) exterior, he’s always willing to self-examine and learn — yearning for family, friends, community members to take the same ride.

The hope… the desire… the craving… for forward movement and betterment on cultural, political, and individual levels are woven into his personal fabric, with key objectives toward equality/equitability*, liberty, fraternity, justice-for-all, empathy, self-awareness, growth, momentum, compassion, and humor.

(*EQUALITY of advancement opportunity and treatment under the law and social memes — EQUITABILITY of rewards and outcomes [economic and social])

On EQUALITY:

It appears that a large number of citizens seeking minimalist government from the Right are for strong government, though, when it favors their perceived social interests, such as interfering with the reproductive rights of women, the marriage rights of non-heterosexuals, and the civil rights of non-whites.

CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST relishes challenging the authority of political, religious, and societal priests, as he liberally supports marriage for everyone, equal rights for everyone, less poison for the environment, progressive taxation, removal of corporate personhood, financial regulation enforcement up to and including criminal incarceration, the elimination of all “consensual crimes,” and many other positions that lead conservatives to squirm uncomfortably in their seats.

On EQUITABILITY:

The Right will argue that allowing the free market to function will fix our problems. But, the free market doesn’t guarantee social outcomes, merely economic ones. Yes, it may provide more efficiency on the whole and grow the economy faster as a whole, but by itself doesn’t guarantee how wealth is distributed. The Right cannot be indifferent to the consequences of a middle-class life undermined, nor can it be indifferent to half the population’s inability to buy the products and services that businesses sell.

The Left would argue that the solution is for laws to transfer wealth from the rich to the middle class. But, while that would increase consumption, depending on the scope, it could threaten the amount of capital available to investment by the transfer itself and by eliminating incentives to invest. The Left cannot be indifferent to the fact that one can’t invest what they don’t have, and that no one will accept the risk of investment if the payoff is transferred completely away.

CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST understands the take away to be that “reasonableness” must prevail as to the extent, but transfers of some wealth should ensue as a part of the solution. So, let’s avoid extreme redistribution and focus on finding the correct amount that ameliorates the problems at hand (which will improve sales and garner more aggregate profit for firms, shareholders, and stakeholders… alike) while retaining enough incentives to invest and risk take.

As a Social-Capitalist/Social-Democrat**, CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST favors smart government — a government as big or as small as needed to achieve progressive social and capital ends, ensuring that serving “capital” interests must also serve to improve the lives of “We the people” broadly (hence, “Social”).

“Our” government’s job is best done when it benefits all of the people, and not just capital interests — as he interpretes the right favors.

(**Social Democracy is exhibited as an economic precept of Social Capitalism. The contemporary social democratic movement seeks to reform capitalism to align it with the ethical ideals of social justice while maintaining the efficient and wealth-building capitalist mode of production, as opposed to creating an alternative socialist economic system. Practical modern social democratic policies include the promotion of the commonweal, and the creation of economic democracy as a means to secure stakeholders’ rights.)

“This vast number of worlds, the enormous scale of the universe, in my view, has been taken into account, even superficially, in virtually no religion, and especially no Western religions.” – Carl Sagan

Taking exception with the very concept of “American Exceptionalism,” CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST feels compelled to explore these issues in rambling-though-coherent thoughts and an adventurous assortment of arbitrary amusements.

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Liberalism is “Life.”

It is an unrelenting pursuit of freedom from physical dangers that can kill or disable us.

  • The Liberal believes it is a nation’s job to protect its citizens from physical harm, whether from external sources, such as hostile nations, or internal ones, like crime, disease, or hunger. Without the solid ground of physical wellbeing, our nation and its citizens cannot enjoy the benefits of being free.
  • Liberals believe in a strong military, well suited to defend the nation.
  • Liberals believe in good laws, hard-working police, and a just legal system to protect its citizens from crime.
  • Liberals believe in affordable health care for everyone, to keep our people strong.
  • And Liberals believe in the availability of food and shelter for its needy, not as a hand out but as a reasonable step in moving all Americans toward self-reliance and the freedom that comes with it.

Liberalism is “Liberty.”

It is the freedom to do as your conscience dictates without impeding another’s rights. Liberalism established a nation where personal belief and self-determination are protected, not persecuted; where hard work is rewarded, not demanded; and where each person is bestowed with the ability to better his or her life because of citizenship, not class.

  • Liberals believe in freedom of speech to protect us from political oppression.
  • Liberals believe in sound regulations to protect us from economic oppression.
  • Liberals believe in just laws to protect us from social oppression.
  • And Liberals believe in quality education to protect us from the oppression of ignorance.

Liberalism is “The Pursuit of Happiness.”

It is the freedom to create an environment where the individual can excel. What is freedom if it cannot be used to better our lives? A truly free society must be one where its members can rise above their limitations and expand their futures — it is “The American Dream,” and it’s alive and well in the heart of the Liberal.

  • Liberals believe in equal opportunities for all to rise above our means.
  • Liberals believe in equal opportunities to rise above our education levels.
  • Liberals believe in equal opportunities to rise above our social status.
  • And Liberals believe each and every family should have an equal opportunity to make this world better for their children.

Based on these tenets, Liberalism is not the monster it’s made out to be by the opposition.

  • It is pro individual and pro family.
  • It is pro community and pro country.
  • Liberalism is, by its very definition, the heart and soul of what it means to be an American.
  • It stands against tyranny of any kind, whether international or domestic.
  • It works to remove abuse and fight crime.
  • And it strives to eliminate the idea of a wasted life by not wasting resources and opportunities.
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China Opens Longest High-Speed Rail Line — Republicans Keep U.S. Stuck At The Depot In Last Century’s Trains

China began service Wednesday morning on the world’s longest high-speed rail line…

…covering a distance in eight hours that is about equal to that from New York to Key West, Fla., or from London across Europe to Belgrade, Serbia.

Safari 3

Trains traveling 300 kilometers, or 186 miles, an hour, began regular service between Beijing and Guangzhou, the main metropolis in southeastern China. Older trains still in service on a parallel rail line take 21 hours; Amtrak trains from New York to Miami, a shorter distance, still take nearly 30 hours.

Completion of the Beijing-Guangzhou route — roughly 1,200 miles — is the latest sign that China has resumed rapid construction on one of the world’s largest and most ambitious infrastructure projects, a network of four north-south routes and four east-west routes that span the country.

Significant spending on the project has helped jump-start the Chinese economy twice: in 2009, during the global financial crisis, and again this autumn, after a brief but sharp economic slowdown over the summer.

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Due to Republicans, the United States has yet to embrace the future of transportation…

…while high-speed trains have been zooming commuters across the continents of Europe and Asia for decades.

President Obama, in his 2011 State of the Union speech, called for a high-speed rail system over the next 25 years. However, Mr. Obama’s proposal to spend $53 billion on high-speed rail over the next six years hit a roadblock when Congressional Republicans eliminated money for that plan for the year.

The year before, newly elected Republican governors in Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin turned down federal money their Democratic predecessors had won for new rail routes, lest their states have to cover most of the costs for trains that would draw few riders.

The cuts will not halt the rail program since unspent money remains that can be used on new projects. But they leave the future of high-speed rail in the United States unclear. So far roughly $10 billion has been approved for high-speed rail, but it has been spread to dozens of projects around the country.

China builds its future while American Republicans hold back United States abilities.

China builds its future while American Republicans hold back United States abilities.


Compare & Contrast: Time For U.S. To Repair Its Antiquated Infrastructure


Now Is The Winter Of Our Discontent — A Liberal’s Calm Before The Storm

Made glorious summer by this sun of Windy City;
And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried…

…for how long?

For some of us the inauguration of Barack Obama ushered in the potential for an era of liberal progress, of recovery from the dark clouds of George W. Bush… illegal wars, reactionary social policy, and economic destruction.

The republican party nomination process stimulated my presaging fear of tumult as I witnessed enthusiastic applause for the proposed destruction / elimination of women’s’ rights, civil and marriage rights, health care access, criminalized physical expressions of hate, and responsible stewardship of earth’s resources.

While I know that I am not alone in my liberal desires for a more progressive and better nation, it sure feels a lot lonelier.

As I contemplated my sense of alienation and just how far I am away from the American political norm, a battery of political spectrum tests proved that, indeed, I am a Liberal Elite in a right wing, conservative nation…and it is not a good feeling.

For the Liberal Elite contemplating the national mood, it may soon be another kind of Winter…the end (winter) of our contentment…


City of Sustainability and Renewable Energy

Amazing Malmö, Sweden Puts Us All To Shame

Malmö is a municipality of 280,000 inhabitants located in Southern Sweden. Third largest city in Sweden, Malmö developed from a garrison town in the late Middle Ages into a shipping and transportation town, then into an industrial city, and today is an expansive big city with higher education facilities. Even today, blocks of the city have a Middle Ages appearance, especially with its abundance of parks and other recreational areas around the canals, beaches and harbor.

But it’s not the Middle Age aesthetic that lands it on this list. Rather, it’s Malmö’s innovative use of renewable resources and its goal to become a leading eco-city.

Sweden is a leader in green electricity solutionsmost of the country’s electricity comes from nuclear and hydropower. Cities such as Malmö are contributing to the greening of Sweden with plans to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent between 2008 and 2012, far exceeding the 5 percent goal set by the Kyoto Protocol.

Moreover, Malmö aims to have the entire municipality running on 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

To help meet this aggressive target, systemic and lifestyle changes have occurred as neighborhoods across Malmö are transforming into sustainable, eco-friendly enclaves; of particular note are the areas of Western Harbor, Sege Park and Augustenborg.

What systemic and lifestyle changes?

  • Low-energy schools and houses that are so well insulated that body heat keeps them warm.
  • 96% recycling rate; what cannot be reused is burned in a waste-to-energy facility for district heating.
  • Buses run on biogas.
  • Vacuum garbage removal system.
  • Green Roofs.
  • Open storm water management.
  • Organic gardening in the middle of the city.
  • Sensors on traffic lights detect bicycles and adjust for them.
  • It is a “fair trade” city
  • The schools serve organic food.

What neighborhoods across Malmö are transforming?

Western Harbor, a former shipyard now densely urban, runs on 100-percent renewable energy from sun, wind and hydropower, as well as biofuels generated from organic waste. Its buildings are constructed with sustainable materials and designed to be energy efficient, and its streets are pedestrian and cycle friendly — 40 percent of commuters and 30 percent of all travelers go by bike. The aim was for the district to be an internationally leading example of environmental adaptation of a densely built urban environment.

Additionally, the restoration of the area of Sege Park, another eco-friendly transformation, will power the neighborhood with green energy sources including photovoltaics (solar electricity), wind power and biofuels.

Augustenborg, a district that’s been going green over the past decade, is known for its green roofing — botanical roof gardens that reduce runoff and add insulation and vegetation to an urban neighborhood. Augustenborg is also home to the world’s first emissions-free electric street trains, as well as more than a dozen recycling houses processing about 70 percent of collected waste.

 

The driving force in Malmö’s development is towards environmental sustainability. The metropolitan area is exclusively provided with energy from locally produced renewable sources.

  • Sun, wind and water form the basis for energy production together with biogas produced from organic waste from the district in biogas digesters.
  • Buildings are designed to have a low energy demand and the area is planned to minimize future transport needs and car dependency.
  • Cycle traffic is the most important element in the area’s transport system.
  • The district is built with the aim of containing a diverse range of natural life using plant beds, foliage on walls, green roofs, water surfaces in ponds and large trees and bushes.

Photovoltaic Systems (PV) (Solar)

  • Malmö is the city with the largest area of PV installations in Sweden.
  • Since 2001 the municipality has been encouraging PV, the work has included installation of several large PV plants on public buildings.
  • A total of 15 PV-plants have been installed on official buildings like schools, museums and hospitals.
  • The PV plants are installed on existing buildings and have a total area of 3400 m2 and a peak power of 500 kW.

The city of Malmö is making investments in solar energy to strengthen and market the environmental profile of the city. It is also considered likely that rising energy prices will make PV profitable in the future. An investment in solar energy is one step on the way to reduce CO2 — emissions and future energy costs and to become more self-sufficient in energy.

What makes Sweden so different, that they can reinvent their industrial cities, build properly, deal with their waste and use renewable energy?

Why does Malmö have the political will, money and smarts to do this kind of thing when we can’t?


The Significance of ANOTHER BIG TUNNEL

THE WORLD’S LONGEST ROAD/RAIL TUNNEL: Fehmarnbelt Underwater Link between Denmark and Germany

Reference past article https://spfaust.wordpress.com/2010/10/15/the-significance-of-a-big-tunnel/

Denmark yesterday approved constructing a high-technology sea tunnel under the Fehmarn Belt — the 18-kilometer strait between Germany and Denmark — at a cost of over 5 Billion Euros (or $6.5 Billion).

Travel times from Hamburg to Copenhagen will be dramatically reduced after completion over the next decade, with Denmark taking a big step forward towards realizing one of the biggest public infrastructure projects ever undertaken in Europe.

At a speed of 110 km per hour, this project will offer motorists a journey time of approximately 10 minutes through the tunnel. For freight and passenger train, the journey will take seven minutes from coast to coast.

The rail journey from Hamburg to Copenhagen, which currently takes around four and a half hours, would be shortened by one hour. The same applies to the driving time between the two cities, which also takes about four hours at the moment.

Tunnel construction is set to begin in 2014 for a planned opening in 2020. The transit passage consists of three tunnels: two containing a four-lane highway and a third one with two train tracks.

Currently, the stretch between Rødby in Denmark and Puttgarden in Germany, north of Hamburg, has only been served by ferry.

Longest Tunnel of Its Kind

Fehmarn Belt, a strait in the Baltic Sea between the German island of Fehmarn and the Danish island of Lolland, where the tunnel will be built.

What Denmark plans to build across this 18-kilometer (11-mile) stretch of water is the world’s longest underwater tunnel that utilizes the “immersed tube method,” three times the length of the Trans-Bay Tube Bart Tunnel in San Francisco, which is currently the world’s longest immersed tunnel.

The individual elements will be built on land and then sunk onto the sea bed. These concrete pipes will be 200 meters long and weigh around 70,000 tons each pipe — each having the size proportions and weight of a supertanker ship.

Computer graphic impression of the German-side tunnel portal

The country’s largest island, where the capital Copenhagen — Denmark’s economic center — is located, will be connected with the Danish mainland in the west, with Sweden in the east, and by completion of the Fehmarn Belt, with Germany in the south — one-fifth of all of Denmark’s trade is conducted with Germany.

Oresund: Denmark to Sweden-Bridge & Tunnel

The Fehmarn crossing is the final missing link of the most expensive and important infrastructure building project in Denmark’s history.

The massive bridge project over the Great Belt strait, which effectively divides Denmark in two, has been in operation since 1998.

In 2000, the Oresund Bridge/Tunnel was opened to connect Denmark with Sweden.

And now, the Fehmarn Belt Tunnel — this final great sea connection — is scheduled to be ready for trains and trucks in just a decade.

Infrastructure Improvement Overdue

While Denmark is to foot the entire cost of constructing the tunnel, Germany will not, however, be able to avoid some kind of financial involvement. It has already committed to electrifying the 90-kilometer stretch of rail between Lübeck and Puttgarden — as well as laying a second track at a later date. The road connection from Fehmarn will also be improved.

These infrastructure changes will cost €800 million (or more than $1 Billion), according to the German government.

Local resistance to the project formed a long time ago.The seaside resorts fear a dramatic increase in traffic. More cars, high-speed ICE trains and dozens of freight trains could influence their quality of life. Opponents want neither a bridge nor a tunnel — they want everything kept as it is.

Following Tuesday’s decision, another part of Europe marches progressively into the future.

The United States?

Not so much…

Witness the retrograde American attitude about this project expressed on a development portal discussion group (and note the Danish response):

Click Image To Enlarge For better Readability

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When I was a child, I wondered aloud about how I was so fortunate to be born into the world’s most advanced nation.

Now… I just wonder why I allow myself to be stuck here!

We soon will have no spaceships to reach the International Space Station, haven’t replaced two buildings some international thugs knocked down a decade ago, have no high-speed rail system, and pridefully squawk about taking away health care insurance from 15 million U.S. citizens who only had it for a few months.

I just need to remember that we grew stale, conservative, and republican… and be prepared to bolt for the new progressive nations of the world.


RALLY TO RESTORE SANITY AND/OR FEAR Application

Get The Free Rally App on Your iPhone, iTouch and iPad

Before you head to D.C. for the Rally of a lifetime — or at least a weekend — download the official Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert-approved Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear application today for free in the iPhone App Store.

View maps, upload photos, share comments, and check in on Foursquare to earn one-of-a-kind badges! WooHoo!

 

Android phone lovers, your app is on its way, as well!