America Stupid? Ha!

Typewriters, baby, Typewriters.

Thomas L. Friedman has a great article on Making America Stupid.  I've ranted about it a million times before, but one comment really brought home the silliness of the "drill, baby, drill!" chant at the RNC.

From my point of view in the technology industry, to my professional interests in transit, transportation, and automobiles America just continues to implement these things in a horribly innefficient manner, and the RNC really just points to their backing of bad implementations.

Mind you, I don't really intend to make this a political entry, because I doubt the Democrats have any truly better ideas (at least in functional implementation).  But the Republicans seem hell bent to prove to any remotely intelligent human being that they definitely do NOT have any real solutions.

Even in technology we have these issues, and slowly I've started seeing legislative encroachment into the software field.  Sarbanes Oxley is almost touching on actual implementation, which removes progress.  If it encroaches further I am scared the technology industry will quickly lose its A-Game Geeks, not just Microsoft or single companies in the country, but the whole country.  Those non-stupid Americans that become these A-Game Geeks, the productive of the country would not tolerate being dictated their profession to them.  Just like the  machine geeks  of the guilded age left their trades and it slowly began, and now has died a slow death over the last 50 years.  Politicians Republican, Democrat and others will be treading a thin line between starting the decay of the industry, or staying out of the way and letting the industry to continue its breakneck pace of progress, advancement, job growth, and intellectual stimulation.

I hope as long as I live, I will see this freedom in the industry be maintained and the liberty to innovate, advance, and procure progress and growth for America will continue.  This freedom is even more important in the coming years with the giants of China and India becoming economically vital in the world economy.  Our freedom and unhindered progress is vital to the continued standard of living in America.  To keeping our economic freedom, cheers to success, cheers to America the non-stupid.

8 thoughts on “America Stupid? Ha!

  1. Adron

    I know you don’t drive much, but I have to fill my tank at least twice a week. Four dollar plus gas hits me hard, as it does millions of others in this country. America sends over 700 billion dollars a year to other countries for oil, when we have plenty of sources domestically to tap into. We haven’t built a new refinery in over 30 years, 90% of the potentially sources of energy are either blocked by litigation, or can not be legally tapped into (by legislative action).. we haven’t built a new nuclear plant in 35 years.. clean-coal technology is being blocked.. oil shale deposits are blocked.. goodness, the list goes on and on. All of these things are blocked by Democrats, or their constituents (such as environmental lobbies). Yes, it would be nice if non-carbon based energy sources could be used more, but those are still years away from making a serious difference. In the mean time, the high cost of energy is really hurting the little guy out here, and what "drill baby drill" hits upon is the seemingly obvious point that our country needs more sources of domestic energy. I’m not sure what is so "silly" about that? You speak of the "RNC having no ideas", but it’s the Democrats who are bereft of ideas.. it’s they who continue to block any advancements in energy production. Don’t be fooled by the Thomas Friedman’s of the world, who harbour their own ulterior motives. Please read and understand BOTH sides of the issues, instead of simply living in the echo chamber of Liberal dogma. I apologize for the rant, but this disinformation is just killing me, and just continues the ignorance that is so common.. especially in this town.

    Here’s a couple of articles from one of my favorite authors. You don’t have to agree with me on any of this, but for God sake, what no one seems to do any more is understand BOTH sides of an argument.. it’s not just the Left or the Right.. both sides need to understand what the other side is advocating.. only then can we be informed enough to make up our OWN minds, and not just regurgitate the talking points one side or the other spews.

    Peace out.

  2. First off, no fear, I’m not confused by dolts like Thomas Friedman. I just found his article kind of funny. I also am in support of drilling, but am under no expectation that we get the oil soon or that it will reduce our prices, because really, it never has before. We buy foreign mostly because it is higher grade, cheaper, and because of political policy setup by Reagan during the cold war policy years. It is a different age now and Clinton, if not Bush Sr., should have drastically altered that policy but seem to have been tied by the middle east.

    I don’t really drive at all, total of 8 miles in the last 2 weeks, don’t want the headache or the responsibility for the oil dependence we have. But just to note, I do NOT support the "no drilling" ideas, I think we definitely should drill more. Here’s my problem with this though, and it is a very pragmatic one.

    My car, along with most modern cars require a decent quality level in gasoline, usually 97 octane. In the north west we have some of the worse fuel available in the entire country, and we get a bulk of it from Alaska already. We have massive benzine levels in the air here that literally kill a few dozen people per year. Mind you, a lot of that sits squarely on the shoulders of people driving north or south on I-5 and the fact that the Government stuck the Interstate right smack in the middle of the neighborhoods up there.

    Back to the point though. The fuel that we could make, and use domestically by drilling domestically is wretched stuff. It is by no means as easy to refine as the middle eastern petroleum. If we do get around to refining and drilling the stuff in country, say we roll back all those years of disinvestment and offshore purchasing that Reagan started in the 80s – we’re still over a decade out from getting fuel relief at the pump. The other problem is the fuel that could be refined and created domestically would require new refineries of much higher standards than we have, because the petroleum is a much lower quality than what we’ve dealth with in the past. Chevron/Texeco has estimated several times that when the fuel that could be drilled from Alaska, or a few other places up north, comes on line it will easily be 2x as much as what we have at the pump now.

    The fact of the matter is after 50+ years of subsidies pumped into the Interstate and highway systems no competitive free market solution is alive anymore, the Government controls all our means, except for the private vehicle. Unfortunately for all of us, pro auto or pro transit based patrons, we’re quickly even losing control of what we do have control over for vehicles even. Transit hasn’t made serious advances in this country for over 50 years, automobiles are almost the same things they were in the 50s, with some slight improvements by the Japanese in the 70s and 80s. Otherwise we’re stuck with Government intrusion all over the place, and drilling for fuel in Alaska, or elsewhere, won’t do anything except make a few extra bucks here and there.

    Fact of the matter is, America should get used to increasing fuel prices, just from the basic fact that production has gotten more expensive and is getting more expensive and more difficult to do.

    Of all these problems though, there is a silver lining, we in the US built our entire pre-interstate system pretty much by private means. We still have the most elaborate mileage of freight railroads and pay 10 cents on the dollar for usage of that system. We still maintain a very low cost on our roadways even though that burden is placed on the upper 50% income earners. Overall, we pay next to nothing for getting around. We should be happy that it is so cheap, and many in America should be happy that such a burden of this is shouldered by the upper income brackets. Eventually though a balance will have to be achieved and we have to get the Government out of road building and subsidization. In addition it would be nice if the citizenry took back the responsibility for transit, transportation, and these other services again. The Government pushing road construction above all else has effectively destroyed all passenger service in the US, and even has left the airline industry very vulnerable. Ike knew it, he said it was a dangerous time being created when he signed onto the Interstate idea. It now doesn’t serve it’s purpose and is hundreds of billions of growing debt in maintenance. …and we can’t afford $4.00 gas? We need $6 and 7 dollar gas just to maintain the road system that we’re plunging into debt over.

    That’s were the silver lining ends, and we’re in deep shtuffz. America has been resilient so far though, we’ll most likely figure a way out of the mess.

    btw – Thanks for reading. Check out my other read over on for even more on the transportation related issues in the US. I’ll probably have an entry up in relation to the $4 dollar gas soon.

  3. Adron

    That’s a lot to chew on ;}

    The bottom line for me is to find a comprehensive solution. What does that mean? It means that nothing should be off the table. Should we be using less energy (reduce, re-use, recycle), of course. Should we be finding new (and cleaner) sources of energy, such as solar, wind, etc al’? Absolutely? But it’s not reasonable to assume these will be enough in the short term. Just because it might be true that "we can’t drill our way out of this mess", it’s equally true that we can’t NOT not drill as part of the solution. The root of the problem is the unwillingness of the democrats to stand up to the environmental lobby, and do what they know is right. And it’s not just carbon-based energy that this lobby is against. They may speak of "alternate sources of energy" as a solution, but even these sources often find themselves the target of lawsuits.

    One thing you hit squarely on the head, though, is who’s paying the taxes.. Ask your friends what percentage of income taxes the bottom 50% of income earners pay the next time you’re at the coffee bar. They’ll probably say something like 75%, which is the number I typically get…they certainly won’t say 3.6%, which is what it was a few years back, and probably is even lower today. While, the top 10% of income earners pay a whopping 65.8%, and the top 1% pays over a third of all income taxes alone.. but I guess the "rich" don’t pay their fair share.. i mean, that’s what the hipsters down at Stump Town tell me, so it MUST be true. ;}

  4. btw.. out of curiosity, do you expect to profit from your software (the High Ball Management), or is this just something for the better-ment of those who take trains?

  5. Yeah, comprehensive solutions would be good. Not sure what we’ll get with our current political environment. The two solutions that always get thrown at the problem, as you know are; let’s raise taxes and build stuff (transit, roads, etc) or let’s go into debt and build stuff (transit, roads, etc). So neither of those are going to work long term.

    As for the High Ball Management Software, I started building that for two reasons; 1. It’s an interest of mine, so I figured I’d just build some awesome scalable software and 2. our passenger rail systems are deplorable when it comes to timely and accurate software functionality. Amtrak still uses methodologies that are at least 80 years old for seating. It’s just silly compared to what Europe, and England use. If I can make some money at it, then that’d be great. Aside from that I figured it would be a great system to build and have code to blog on, since I often can’t really talk about what I’m developing for companies.

  6. Understand on the software.. i guess it’s just strange to me why anyone would spend the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to do something like that, and not plan to profit from it.

    I guess it’s the Capitalist Pig inside me :}

  7. Yes, but we’re not talking about Government-funded investment, whether that be through higher taxes, or increased deficit spending. All we need is for them to get out of the GD way!! Let private industry do what they are chomping at the bit to do.. might actually create a few new (or.. maybe a few hundred thousand) high paying jobs along the way. Now THAT is a real solution :}

  8. Mr. Kirk – you my friend are preaching to the choir. If we could put it back in the hands of the people of this nation and remove it from the meddling Government, the infrastructure we once had, could once again shine. Problem is, I doubt it could ever be achieved with the level of meddling the Republican and Democratic Controlled Federal Government seems to demand. I unfortunately see no Libertarians, Constitutionalists, or other true to the ideals parties getting close to victory. 🙁

    …and now, back to our regularly scheduled tech geekness. I knew posting this on this blog would devolve to non-geek politics. 😉 Definitely thanks for the posting though!

    Keep having fun! We’ll have to do lunch sometime or something, we’re both downtown 99% of the time for work I suspect.

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