This post is not about Rep. Anthony Weiner. The media’s Weiner roast is far more entertaining than entertaining thoughts of Weiner’s wiener.
The Pew Internet & American Life Project reports a significant increase in the percentage of Americans using Twitter:
13% of online adults use the status update service Twitter, which represents a significant increase from the 8% of online adults who identified themselves as Twitter users in November 2010. 95% of Twitter users own a mobile phone, and half of these users access the service on their handheld device.
As in our previous research on Twitter use, African Americans and Latinos continue to have high rates of adoption of the service. Fully 25% of online African Americans use Twitter at least occasionally, with 11% doing so on a typical day.
Today, the Campaign for America's Future is hosting a jobs summit.
During an appearance on MSNBC’s “The Dylan Ratigan Show,” Campaign For America’s Future Co-Director Roger Hickey, previewed the goals of the summit:
We need a jobs movement that will take back some of that money from the very wealthy and invest it in job creation. Washington, DC, hasn’t got it yet. The number one priority of the American people, as you found on your tour around the country, is jobs. It’s not cutting the deficit. It’s not cutting education programs, which the Republicans are trying to do now. It’s investing in short-term and long-term efforts to get our country fully employed and that’s what we’re going to be talking about at this conference on Thursday.
We’ve got to build a bottom-up movement around things like investing in infrastructure and taxing the wealthy. Every poll that you see says that we made a bad mistake in letting those tax cuts, the Bush tax cuts, continue. People don’t like the idea that we’re having to tighten our belts and the wealthy are getting to take their ill-gotten gains off to the offshore islands. It’s time for us to invest in the country, and reversing the Bush tax cuts would be one of the best ways to finance that immediate investment.
The summit is free. You can register on site beginning at 8:30 a.m., at the National Press Club.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is under attack for rejecting $2.4 billion for the proposed Tampa to Orlando high-speed rail project. Scott expressed concern about potential cost overruns and inflated ridership projections. In a statement, Scott said:
Historical data shows capital cost overruns are pervasive in 9 out of 10 high speed rail projects and that 2/3 of those projects inflated ridership projections by an average of 65 percent of actual patronage.
I attended a workshop on the future of high-speed rail at the 2011 Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference. The presenters underscored the importance of managing expectations: high-speed rail is not a stand-alone economic development tool. One speaker observed:
You have to connect people to people. You need density. You can't connect nothing to nowhere.
I love riding Amtrak, as well as regional and light rail. I have been a member of Amtrak Guest Rewards since its inception. Also, I spent a lot of time in the Orlando region visiting my mentor. It seems to me the Tampa-Orlando corridor lacks the population density and center city-to-center city business districts required to make high-speed rail feasible.
The National Committee for America 2050 released a study of “corridors in America that are most appropriate for high-speed rail service.” The report listed the top 50 city pairs. Tampa-Orlando did not make the grade.
Sure, a lot of people live along Interstate 4, but a lot of them are retired. Residents and visitors to the region generally do not have the mindset to abandon their cars. As a practical matter, how would they get around once they left the train station? I know firsthand that public transportation is not reliable. Besides, there's a stigma attached to riding the bus.
When it comes to high-speed rail, Europe, Japan and Taiwan have two natural advantages over every region of the United States, with the possible exception of the Northeast Corridor - high gas taxes and high population density. If high-speed rail turned into a money pit under relatively favorable circumstances, imagine the subsidies it would require here. Every dollar spent to subsidize high-speed rail is a dollar that cannot be spent modernizing highways, expanding the freight rail system or creating private-sector jobs. The Obama administration insists we dare not lag the rest of the world in high-speed rail. Actually, this is a race everyone loses.