Leaked: The Internet must go!

Hey! Are you on the internet right now? Of course you are! Then you should definitely check out this amazing video about what the internet companies are planning. This move could hurt both consumers and content creators--but of course would be a huge windfall for internet providers.

How weathly are Americans?

The disparity in wealth between the richest one percent of Americans and the bottom 80 percent has grown exponentially over the last thirty years — but the video, posted by user politizane and relying on data from a popular Mother Jones post, focuses on the difference between the ideal disparity that Americans would like to see and the reality.

Tax the Rich

So long! It's been fun.

Dear listeners,

In July 2011 I started a new job teaching Italian at Kansas State University. In some ways this was a return to my roots, as I taught English as a Foreign Language for 17 years in Italy. Now I am teaching English speakers Italian. I've come full circle.

This coming full circle also means the end of an attempt on my part to start a new career in my 50s. Sadly, as much as I tried to bring community radio to Manhattan, I was not successful. So I have decided to dedicate my energy and time to my first love, being an educator.

The archive of my shows will remain active - there's a lot of great content in the shows. So I hope you continue to listen and enjoy them.

Once again thank you for your support and encouragement over the five years the show was on the air. I know many feel that my program needs to be on the air and I agree with you that a diversity of voices is sorely lacking in the local media. But alas, it is not I who will bring that diversity. It will have to be someone else.

Christopher E. Renner

25 June 2007

Repeating Past Mistakes

by Christopher E. Renner
I attended the public forum on June 18 concerning the proposed Kansas Department of Transportation project to upgrade the K-18 corridor between Ogden and Manhattan. This public meeting was well attended and facilitated. I arrive a little late to the meeting, so I missed the name of the woman facilitating, but it was obvious that she was trained in the National Discourse model for discussing complicated questions like the K-18 proposal.

The purpose of the meeting was to provide the public an opportunity to hear about a competing proposal brought forward by Joe McGraw and other business owners on the K-18 corridor.

Each side was given 15 minutes to present their proposals.

KDOT began by explaining the difference between a Freeway vs. an Expressway. Freeways are accessible only at interchanges, ie, I-70, and carries a maximum amount of through traffic and have the maximum amount of restrictions to access. Freeways have .591 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles. On the other hand, Expressways are high-speed multi-lane roads with access at most public roads, ie, US 24 between Manhattan and Wamego. Expressways have 1.521 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles.

KDOT prefers a Freeway to an Expressway for the K-18 corridor because of the growth in traffic over the next 25 years. Currently there are 18,000 vehicles per day traveling on the existing road. This number is expected to rise to 30,000 vehicles per day by 2030, which is the lifetime of the new road. Of the 18,000 vehicles on K-18, 2/3s or 11,880 travel between Manhattan and Ogden.

The KDOT proposal would whereas the KDOT proposal would have changes in the roadbed at Ogden and after the airport and drivers would access the expressway via diamond interchanges at Ogden, the airport, Scenic Drive, and the Miller Parkway/Davis Drive intersections.

McGraw began his proposal with an introduction about the fact that Manhattan is changing and his feelings that we need to “slow down” the pace of the change, - this from a political conservative who pro-business and anti-government! Go figure. He proposed to make Ft. Riley Blvd. a TRUE boulevard, keeping to the K-18 in the current K-18 roadbed and placing traffic circles at Scenic Drive, the Airport and at the entrance to Ogden. Effectively slowing down rush hour traffic to a crawl. So instead of taking 10 or 15 minutes to get home, it would take anywhere from 30 to 60.

McGraw claimed to have 100% of residents of Eureka Valley behind their proposal. They claimed that traffic circles would slow down traffic and make the existing road safer. They also were all about “allowing business” to develop along Ft. Riley, as is happening along eye sore I-70 has become in Junction City, so that Manhattan “could compete for economic dollars.” They concluded their proposal with using Seth Childs road as an example of what K-18 could become.

At the beginning of the evening the facilitator encourage us to “care about people,” “question to help understanding,” and “think creatively” in order to generate a consensus solution to the problem being proposed.

I sat there listening, I was reminded of a Albert Einstein quote: "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Both proposals reflected thinking that is more in line with a 1960s view of the world, than one that is looking 30 years down the road.

Back in the 50s Manhattan leaders were given the option of having the proposed new interstate highway we know call I-70 to follow US-24 and the Kansas River Valley from Junction City eastward to Topeka. Manhattan’s leaders of that time exercised their same shortsightedness that I was seeing at this meeting; they told KDOT and the federal government that they didn’t want any 4-lane highway coming through their town. As a result millions of additional tax dollars have had to be spent by the state of Kansas and federal government to create 4-lane corridors between Manhattan and I-70; Manhattan and Wamego; and now Manhattan and Junction City. Had we used foresight and doing what is best for the common good, rather than allowing local economic and political interests to dictate that decision, we wouldn’t even be having a discussion about K-18 today. Why can’t we learn from our past mistakes?

The reason I ask this question is that I saw nothing creative in either the KDOT proposal, and certainly not in Joe McGraw’s proposal. Both are based on the concept that in 2030 we will still all be driving individual cars, that petrol will still be readily available, and that our lifestyles will not have changed in the face of global warming and the depletion of natural resources. These underlying assumptions of status quo being what 2030 will look like greatly disturbed me. We are once again using the vision of Manhattan leaders in the ‘50s and are really missing the boat to a future which energy independence and mass transit is normative.

If by 2030, we are going to have 30,000 cars traveling between Ft. Riley and Manhattan, I am sure the number is based on the assumption that each car will have one passenger - the driver. I live close to Ft. Riley Blvd, and last year when they were working on the Seth Child interchange, was able to set and watch traffic in the morning and evening. The vast majority of cars with Fort decals on their from window had one passenger in them.

Given the state of the world and growing political disintegration of the Middle East into civil war, it would seem to me that we ought to be making decisions about what our future is going to be based on the assumption that we will not have as much petroleum available to us as we assume we do today.

What I took away from the meeting was that Manhattan will need a means to move 30,000 people per day between Ft. Riley and the neighborhoods in which those people live. 30,000 cars is more than just wasteful, it is down right immoral when we think of the lives lost in Iraq for oil. If we were truly concerned about the future of our community, wouldn’t it seem obvious that what is needed is not another highway?

The mathematics is simple: Most cars get poor gas mileage, but lets say they get on average 26 mile per gallon carrying one person. Whereas if that same gallon of gas was placed in a bus could get we would get 115 mpg per person and in that gallon were placed in a train, we would get 7,800 miles per gallon per person.

So, why is KDOT and the County Commissioners using the same thinking that cause the problem we face - congested, unsafe highways, instead of thinking about a new alternative that lightrail link connecting Manhattan and the Fort? Maybe because they have never heard Einstein’s thinking on the matter. Maybe because they just plain lack creativity. In any case, it is the same thinking that put I-70 eleven miles south of town and continues to cost the taxes payers on the state.

A rail link with express trails could have passengers to and from the Fort in as less as 10 minutes. Express trains could be connected to bus routes in the city of Manhattan providing efficient, energy-saving and much less polluting connections from home to work for a majority of the people - 11,880 at the current rate. Providing them financial savings, helping get our nation and community off our oil addiction, and improving the quality of air we breath.

It is time we started thinking about a future which isn’t weighed down with the same mistakes we have made in the past. It is time we got serious about Global Warming and the planet we will leave to the next generation.

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