Today’s Headlines

  • Obama Softens Stance on Drilling, Wants to Tap Strategic Petroleum Reserve (NYT, Gristmill)
  • Twelve City Council Members Request Investigation of NYPD’s Tactics With Cyclists (Time’s Up)
  • NYCT Lacks the Money to Fix Up Subway Stations (Post)
  • Horodniceanu: Fulton Transit Hub Will Keep ‘Same Elegant Look’ Despite Budget Crunch (News)
  • Straphangers Campaign, Working Families Party Re-Open ‘Halt the Hike’ Website (News)
  • ‘Jimmy Justice’ Aims Digicam at Scofflaw Cops, But Mostly Catches Traffic Agents (Huff Post)
  • NJ Attorney General Caught Speeding (AP)
  • Could Streetcars Return to Hartford? (Courant)
  • Beijing’s Curbs on Traffic, Pollution Pique Interest of Atmospheric Scientists (AP)
  • Unsurprisingly, my general view of “lesser of two evils” about Obama is once again confirmed. I’m not a particularly militaristic person, but I careful enough to know that “strategic” reserves should be used for really strategic purposes and not as price relief.

  • Shemp

    I think each of the last three or four New Jersey AG’s has been busted speeding.

  • I hate and love Jimmy Justice. He’s unnecessarily foul-mouthed and disrespectful (cops and TEAs are human beings after all, Jimmy), but still, but one of the biggest things wrong with this City, and in most need of remedy, which comes most effectively in the form of citizen vigilance, such as Jimmy Justice’s (or a tourist’s) camera, is NYPD’s deeply entrenched culture of “we’re above the law.” (Well, the “little laws,” at least, such as not enforcing laws on each other.)

    But yeah, when I last checked him out on Youtube, I sent him a message asking if he also goes after “real” cops, because sure enough, almost all of his videos show him busting TEAs, not regular cops. And of course “real cops” have greater power to take away people’s rights than TEAs–and therefore need to be monitored more diligently than TEAs.

    Jimmy replied (I hope he doesn’t mind my quoting him), “I have plenty of video of them parking on sidewalks with those placards in their windows.I havent posted those on youtube because they are not confrontational or exciting so I didnt think anyone would want to watch them.”

  • Jason A

    Yeah, I don’t find an energy policy that relies upon us dipping into our rainy-day reserves to be terribly “strategic.”

    This is not a sustainable, long-term solution for our energy problems. How can people swallow this nonsense?

  • I am wary that my year of rooting for Obama (years, actually) might cloud my judgment here, but I submit that using oil from the strategic reserve is better than allowing more offshore drilling, because it shows, if vaguely, more awareness that petroleum is a finite resource and we should not plan on being able to find more of it forever and use it forever.

    (Yeah, I know that he has also said he’d consider allowing some offshore drilling, which is disappointing. He’s still light years better than his opponent.)

  • Re. “NJ Attorney General Caught Speeding”:

    Well, that’s Jersey for you. At least she didn’t try to pull rank on the cop who pulled her over.

    Re. “Fulton Transit Hub Will Keep ‘Same Elegant Look’ Despite Budget Crunch”:

    In another seventeen years.

  • Jason A

    re: Obama and drilling…

    Open up every last stretch of Alaskan wilderness for oil production and the “drill here, drill now” knuckleheads are going to be a little disappointed at what we (don’t) find. Get a clue: the oil is not there! No amount of domestic drilling will ever begin to power all the SUVs, all the parking lots and all all the subdivisions we’ve built over the years…

    It’s time for our leaders to grow up and be frank about the seriousness of our energy problems.

  • Borrowing from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a bad idea and Obama should know better. How bad will become apparent when a hurricane takes out an oil refinery or two — peak oilers are keeping a weather vigil.

    Someday, we may regret burning oil for fuel. It’s also crucial for things like plastics, life-saving medications, and engine lubricants. An oil executive was once quoted as saying burning oil is like burning a Picasso for heat. It would be smarter to leave it in the ground and build a sustainable future with serious conservation, a smarter landscape, and more emphasis on renewables.

  • Spud Spudly

    Hey, if Sadik-Khan can speed up the Thruway with lights and sirens to lobby for congestion pricing then I guess the NJ AG can speed in her Honda too. At least she did the right thing and just took the ticket.

  • rlb

    I actually think that taking from the strategic petroleum reserve is a decent idea if used correctly. It’s not a long term solution, nor does it intend to be. The 70 million barrels could be used to smooth out major price swings, which are having a disastrous impact on our economy. It would work the way Saudi Arabia used to, tapping into reserve capacity when other suppliers lagged behind. Granted 70 million barrels seems like a pretty small amount, but I don’t know how many barrels a day would have what effect on cost.
    I think it would work best if coupled with a gasoline price floor. That way the price would never dip low enough to bring back the unsustainable demand that we had, but when it went too high, the reserve could kick in and keep everything from coming to a standstill.

  • I couldn’t watch more than one Jimmy Justice video. I barely made it through one, and was very happy to be rewarded with the sequence of a guy on a bench (I think wearing a yarmulke?) singing, “Bad cops, bad cops, whatchu gonna do? Whatchu gonna do when Jimmy Justice come for you?” That made it worth enduring the haranguing and yelling. But the prospect of watching more pointless confrontation discouraged me from watching another one. Ugh. Can we just have more of the guy singing on the bench?

  • “Hey, if Sadik-Khan can speed up the Thruway with lights and sirens”

    Lights *and* sirens? Yeah I bet. Quit being the congestion pricing ad hominem siren for a change.

  • I think Obama’s take on offshore drilling and the petroleum reserve is brilliant. I’d been dreading learning more about his statement, but I was impressed with what he said — it shows that he’s able to get things done. He said that offshore drilling is not “a particularly meaningful short-term or long-term solution, [but] I am willing to consider it if it’s necessary to actually pass a comprehensive plan. I am not interested in making the perfect the enemy of the good — particularly since there is so much good in this compromise that would actually reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

    He recognizes that he can’t get his energy platform through without giving the pro-drilling lawmakers what they want. And while I love principled stands, I am glad Obama recognizes that we risk setting ourselves further back without compromise. One of the Grist readers, David Ahlport, left a comment that I’d like to quote in full because he puts it so well:

    “The Renewable Energy Tax Credit (RETC) runs out in January.

    “Thats over 60,000 jobs, and over 6,000MW of renewable energy development down the tubes if that happens. (Not to mention a brain-drain of the key professionals in this area overseas)

    “Republicans have blocked the 2009 renewal of the RETC 8 times so far this year.

    “Republicans have previously blocked it in 2000, 2002, and 2004. (It also lapsed 3 months into 2008) During those years, the market completely crashed.

    “There are ONLY 3 weeks left in September of this congress session before they close for the rest of the year.

    “Democrats got 51 votes in the Senate.
    “Democrats NEED 67+ votes to pass the renewal of the RETC.

    _

    “So the only way that Democrats are going to get the RETC passed is if they give Republicans something they want.

    “And while that may not be ‘ideal’, thats what we have to deal with.”

  • >> “Hey, if Sadik-Khan can speed up the Thruway with lights and sirens”

    > “Lights *and* sirens? Yeah I bet.”

    Actually, none of us here knows for sure whether lights or sirens were being used (but Doc, I do remember reports that both were), but I am glad people here have not forgotten that she was speeding.

    Speeding is the number one cause of “accidents,” folks, and it’s inexcusable for everyone.

  • Dave H.

    While I’m all for Hartford getting a streetcar, New Haven should logically be first in line since it already has so many high-density, walkable areas that would support and feed off a streetcar. Unfortunately, the recent $100,000 study by City Hall seems to have fizzled.

  • “but Doc, I do remember reports that both were”

    The report was anonymously sourced, and “lights and sirens” is the lingo (probably appears in the laws regulating use) which is fine, until it’s stated as fact to invoke a caricature. I wonder if DOT vehicles even have the siren, or just the yellow lights? I’m cool with saying she broke the “lights and sirens” law, but not so much with attacking congestion pricing AGAIN, several months later because someone was running late to lobby for it and made two bad decisions (1. speeding 2. turning on lights). None of the newspapers bothered to follow up on the story, so we don’t know exactly what happened and never will. Do we even need to? The scandal is that assembly members used this completely irrelevant event (as well as the shocking fact that Bloomberg has billions of dollars, woo hoo) to explain not voting on pricing, and that gross admission of bias is on the record as well.

    I fully agree that speeding is stupid and helps cars crash and kill 40k people every year, but I get less excited about it on interstates where there is less collateral damage. The lady has been sufficiently shamed if you ask me, but if the papers really care about speeding or abuse of power, maybe they should get the police reports and write about the topic even after the week where it was able to help kill pricing. During this month they’re probably too busy speeding up the thruway to their vacation homes.

  • Obama’s stance on drilling, petroleum reserve…not impressive.

    It’s my understanding that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is for, you know, emergencies. From wikipedia, the SPR is intended “primarily to counter a severe supply interruption”. Is the current situation an emergency? NO. Prices are a high; people need to conserve. There’s no mass hysteria at gas stations, no long lines.

  • rex

    Jimmy Justice behaves like an ass. I find zero entertainment in person being yelled at and berated. Nor does it add anything to success of his project.

  • “While I’m all for Hartford getting a streetcar, New Haven should logically be first in line since it already has so many high-density, walkable areas that would support and feed off a streetcar. Unfortunately, the recent $100,000 study by City Hall seems to have fizzled.”

    I haven’t spent a whole lot of time in New Haven, but a good friend of mine lives in Hartford so I’ve hung out there a bit over the past few years. There’s a pretty fair amount of downtown revitalization going on – for example, my friend lives in a building that used to be owned by AT&T or Bell or something but was converted to apartments a few years ago – and the addition of street cars (the article says Main Street; I would’ve suggested Asylum Avenue/Street, with a connection to the Amtrak station, but that’s splitting hairs) would go a long way for creating a more people-friendly downtown area in the capitol of a state that’s generally as consumed by car culture as New Jersey.

    Unfortunately, the author says right at the beginning of the article that it’s a “fantasy” rather than any sort of actual plan.