On Thursday, the Texas Transportation Commission announced a private contract to build a 316-mile toll road parallel to the congested I-35 corridor. Spanish toll road builder and operator Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte will pay the $6 billion construction cost and an additional $1.2 billion in concession fees to the state of Texas for improvements to other highways; in exchange, Cintra will collect tolls on the route for 50 years.
In North America, Cintra is one of the investment partners in the 407 ETR bypass of Toronto and recently made an agreement to operate the Chicago Skyway toll road (a section of I-90 connecting downtown Chicago to the Indiana Toll Road) for the next 99 years. TxDOT has an overview of the statewide Trans Texas Corridor plan; more details on this particular project are here and here if you can read Spanish.
Christie Todd Whitman gets it:
A clear and present danger Republicans face today is that the party will now move so far to the right that it ends up alienating centrist voters and marginalizing itself.
On the other hand, the eternally vapid Kathryn Jean Lopez proves her need to stick to pimping subscriptions (☣) rather than attempting to make political commentary, while the new-to-me Ed Driscoll apparently also needs to make the steep investment in a copy of Downs. Barring such expenditure, at the very least they should realize that telling moderate Republicans to go fuck themselves until their votes are next needed in November 2006 is a bit rude. (þ: memeorandum)
I just watched I, Robot (DVD, Book) and have a couple of questions for you sci-fi buffs out there. Not surprisingly, the movie is no better on its second viewing than on the first. However, it did make me want to read the book—which is one of my holiday to-do items—and it’s not bad as pure entertainment.
Having me question sci-fi logic is about as useful as watching a Hollywood movie discuss economics, which this one does—badly. Even so, I have a question: why not just modify Asimov’s first law to say that a robot shall not harm the life or liberty of a human? Because it might ruin the potential for future books pondering this dilemma?
Next question: one of the reviews of the copy of I, Robot (the book) says Asimov is part of the “ABCs” of sci-fi, with the others being Bradbury and Clarke. Why not extend it by one letter and have “D”, as in Dick, Philip K.? Is he not as respected as the other three? If not, why not?
Sign up for the one, the only Dead Pool 2005, and tell Lair we sent you—we’re currently tied for second in the referral contest, so every roster counts!
Greg Goelzhauser has returned from haïtus at Crescat Sententia with some thoughts in response to Dan Herzog on whether or not the public is “incurably ignorant” about politics. My general thought on such matters, oft-repeated here, is that any democratic society in which it might be rational for the public at large* to not be ignorant about anything beyond the most trivial of political matters would be incredibly unstable politically.
That said, Greg’s point about social norms is well-taken; knowing things about politics is excellent fodder for cocktail-party discussion, even if the details don’t matter for voting behavior one whit.† Clearly the answer, then, is to invite more people to attend cocktail parties, a program I’d fully support.
* As opposed to journalists, high school civics teachers, political science professors (at least those who teach American politics courses), and politicians, who have various incentives to know and care who the Secretary of Veterans Affairs is.
† It is hard to conceive of how knowledge of current political events in Darfur or the Ukraine, for example, might impact one’s voting decisions or other forms of meaningful political participation.