In 2002, a tanker carrying 9,900 gallons of gas exploded under a bridge in Birmingham, AL, killing the driver, and causing the steel supports to sag around 10 feet on one side (3m).

That was January 5th.

On January 21, 2002, work began on the removal of the 290′, 6 lane section.

On February 27, 2002, the bridge was reopened to traffic.

37 days, start to completion. 53 days ahead of schedule (and 53 days post-accident). Brasfield & Gorrie quite rightly received numerous awards for this project (ABC Excellence in Construction, ABC National Eagle Award, ASCE Civil Engineering Award, The Engineering Hall of Fame)

I lived there, and drove past this daily to and from work. The bridge is not a simple arch over the road. Beside being 5-6 lanes wide (merges happen), the span is on a 60 degree skew with super elevation transition in two directions with a ridgeline. It’s complicated. And this 37 days included teardown of the damaged span. Oh yeah, and they only got to close I65 northbound (which was under the span) to set the girders for one 24 hour period.

By way of comparison, D Construction, Inc. of Coal City, IL should be awarded the Golden Raspberry versions of Brasfield & Gorrie’s awards. They are the contractor working on IDOT project 003-60T44, the repair of the bridge on Cicero Ave. (IL50) over I-57 in Country Club Hills. Which is the bridge I cross daily on the way to work. The project was slated to begin 05/29/2018, which seems about right. It was slated to be completed (both north and south lanes) no later than 11/16/2018. Specifically, the parameters stated:

The Contractor shall be required to complete all bridge deck related work requiring permanent lane closures and open all traffic lanes on the bridge by November 16, 2018.

If you look on the IDOT ‘current permits’ page, you see a rather different date for completion. 06/30/2019. Honestly, since they have yet to complete one side, I really doubt that date is even in the realm of possibility.

Why? Well, when they began, it was pretty standard stuff – crews there tearing up the old deck, getting the rebar out, and so on. But, as fall hit, suddenly work stopped. By the original full completion date, I would see workers maybe one or two days every week or so. Then once in three weeks. I don’t think that anyone has done actual work since December.

I get it, it’s cold, a bridge over an interstate, all of that makes sense.

But it’s been 274 days, and the rebar isn’t even finished yet. On the first half of the bridge. The bridge in Birmingham could have been rebuilt from scratch more than 7 times in the time it is taking D Construction to get to not-even-half finished. Let that sink in. This bridge isn’t curved, is narrower, and doesn’t need to be totally removed before work can begin. And the rebar on the first half isn’t done, 274 days later.

Oh, and there is supposed to be construction beginning on a huge logistics hub soon. Just south of this bridge. Which you must cross to get to the site from I-57. And to I-57 from the site. Logistics…as in shipping. As in this bridge needed to be finished on time to accommodate the development’s needs (plans include four distribution warehouses totaling 1.4 million square feet) and support the economic growth it should bring to the area.

Time to step it up, D Construction, and get the bridge finished.

Lightfoot vs Preckwinkle

Lightfoot vs Preckwinkle

So Chicago gets to choose between, barring a wild swing from the mail-in ballots, Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle. No Republican even bothered running, this is a single-party city. The only candidate I even remotely liked, Garry McCarthy, got trounced, receiving 2.7% of the vote (13,000ish votes).

So, not only will the first black woman become mayor of Chicago, but this may be the first contest between two candidates with first names that are 4 letters long ending in ‘i’.

Of course, I don’t live in the city limits, so I don’t really have a horse in this race. That said, I can’t figure out who I want to win.

On the one hand, as a victim of her tenure as President of the Cook County Board, I want Preckwinkle to lose. Badly. Her plan to ‘fix’ things is to tax them to death, then never use the revenue to fix things. The illegally implemented soda tax went to fatten a Teamster’s Union contract, not fix things.

On the other hand, if she wins, she is Chicago’s problem, not Cook County’s. Admittedly, the deeply corrupt Cook County Democratic Party still runs the county, so things won’t get better exactly. This must be how Arkansas felt about Clinton during the 1992 election.

I was pondering this last night, when Preckwinkle came on the news to deliver her speech. The content of her speech was mean, needlessly. She was attacking Lori Lightfoot out of the gate, when she could have chosen to be a gracious sort-of-winner (Chicago requires a majority to win, so there is going to be a run-off on April 2nd). But she didn’t. Preckwinkle went low. She seemed pissed off that she wasn’t cleanly coronated, which suggests she is a moron, since a clean win in a 14-candidate field, which included a Daley, wasn’t even a possibility. Preckwinkle just seemed like the proverbial ‘mean girl’. She even poached Trump, pledging to “make Chicago great”.

Lori Lightfoot’s speech was much more humble – thanking people (not just dropping names, thanking volunteers) for nearly 5 minutes of a 12 minute speech, one that attacked the machine, but not her opponent. One with personal notes and hope. Plus, her campaign logo is better, with the lighthouse theme. So there’s that.

So, even though it leaves an angry, and (based on the response to the soda tax thing) likely vengeful Preckwinkle with her death grip on the county, I have to hope that Lightfoot is elected Mayor of Chicago. If only to deny it to Preckwinkle.

And yes, no matter who wins, it is likely Chicago loses. I just think they might lose less under Lightfoot.

S.311 – Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

S.311 – Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

The idea that 44 sitting US Senators voted to not protect babies who survive attempted abortions is abhorrent. Much like the Democrats march towards open advocacy of infanticide, this is the kind of thing that turns the stomach.

But it didn’t fucking happen.

I made that big, so read it again. It. Didn’t. Fucking. Happen.

What did happen is that 44 US Senators voted to oppose cloture on the bill. In short, they voted against ending debate and forcing a vote. Yes, there is a real chance they meant that as a way to kill the bill, and that is speculation on my part given the current climate of litmus tests and hyperpartisan politics.

As with any legislation, it is worth taking the time to read the actual document. It can be found at It is pretty plain language – if an abortion fails and results in a live birth, that baby is to be accorded all the same required efforts and services as any other (intentional) live birth. That is, transport to hospital, neonatal care, etc. It also specifically states that if said baby is killed postpartum, then it is murder (fucking duh).

What is interesting is § 1532 (c) – the bar to prosecution. Since abortion is legal, the mother is shielded from prosecution for any crimes related to the abortion. This is important because in the result of a live birth, the attempted abortion could be construed as attempted murder. This bill prevents that. Strongly. It reads:

“(c) Bar To Prosecution.—The mother of a child born alive described under subsection (a) may not be prosecuted for a violation of this section, an attempt to violate this section, a conspiracy to violate this section, or an offense under section 3 or 4 of this title based on such a violation.

It also specifically allows the mother to seek legal relief for the botched procedure (that’s fancy talk for sue them). While it limits statutory damages to three times the cost of the abortion, it allows punitive damages and “objectively verifiable money damage for all injuries, psychological and physical, occasioned by the violation of subsection (a);”.

I get that abortion is one of those tricky things that makes everyone slightly uncomfortable, at various points and levels. It was forced into legality in the worst way possible, and has been a subject of argument since then.

But that was 46 years ago.

It isn’t going anywhere, and I wish my fellow conservatives would understand that. Oppose it on moral grounds, yes. It is morally repulsive when it is used as ex post facto birth control. But we need to be honest, and abortion needs to remain safe, accessable, and legal. At least until no one is ever raped. Which isn’t going to happen in any future that we get to live in.

Back to the vote. 44 Senators, all Democratic (and Bernie) votes to oppose cloture (3 Republicans didn’t vote). As cloture needs a 3/5 majority (or 60 votes), that blocked cloture. As I opined above, this is likely meant to preview votes on the bill itself, but is not, in fact, a vote on the bill. While organizations like Planned Parenthood chose to lie about the bill, stating that it limited abortion, the simple reality is in the bill as introduced.

So, here are the Senators who, it seems, object to protection for babies born after attempted abortions:

Baldwin (D-WI)
Bennet (D-CO)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Booker (D-NJ)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Coons (D-DE)
Cortez Masto (D-NV)
Duckworth (D-IL)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Harris (D-CA)

Hassan (D-NH)
Heinrich (D-NM)
Hirono (D-HI)
Kaine (D-VA)
King (I-ME)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Leahy (D-VT)
Markey (D-MA)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Murphy (D-CT)
Murray (D-WA)
Peters (D-MI)
Reed (D-RI)
Rosen (D-NV)

Sanders (I-VT)
Schatz (D-HI)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Sinema (D-AZ)
Smith (D-MN)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-NM)
Van Hollen (D-MD)
Warner (D-VA)
Warren (D-MA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)

It will be interesting to see what happens next. The bill may still make a floor vote, and at that time, we will see who votes to not protect newborns.

More On Jussie Smollett

More On Jussie Smollett

Quick note – spell check knows his last name. That says something.

Anyway, breaking this morning is that Mr. Smollett not only paid friends to stage an attack, but also sent the ‘suspicious letter’ the week before. The letter is going to be the main problem, as it is not only potentially violations of various federal Postal laws (and they do not play around), but by adding crushed Tylenol into the envelope, it becomes a potential federal charge of false information and hoaxes and mailing threatening communication. Or has in the past, in similar cases. Those charges alone could result in 5 years in prison.

I would argue that the charges should include a first and second count of, as phrased in 720 ILCS 5/12-7.1, Hate Crime. By making each event a separate offense, there is a stronger message sent to the kinds of scum who perpetrate these fake crimes. Per 720 ILCS 5/12-7.1, the penalty for one offence is a Class 3 felony (2-5 years), and the second is a Class 2 felony (3-7 years).

Look, the point of severe punishment is to deter criminals. If we continue to treat people who fake these crimes as minor criminals, we will continue to get more of them. After all, if it works, they stand to gain substantial benefit from the lie. Look at Mr. Smollett, his role on Empire was reinforced as vital, he was put in front of more positive media than he could have ever expected otherwise, and more people than ever knew who he was. The media (CNN, NBC, etc) jumped to his defense, celebrity media defended him as a near-martyr, Democrat presidential candidates fell all over themselves to compare this event to a lynching, and demand the CPD find the monsters who did this horrid event.

Well, they did. To the surprise of no one who pays attention to not only human nature, but the trend of fake hate crimes, it was Mr. Smollett himself.

The motivation was money. Reports are that the estimated $65,000 per episode ($1,170,000 over an 18 episode season) wasn’t enough. For clarity, I make less than $65,000 per year. Not going to find any sympathy there.

Because faking this kind of thing makes the next actual victim’s story less believable, I want to again call for the laws to be changed, so that a false report of a crime carries no less than the same penalty as the crime reported. Preferably the punishment for the reported crime, plus the maximum punishment for the false report itself. Report a rape that never happened, be sentenced under the rape guidelines. Or worse. There needs to be a change in how we address these things, and punishing them accordingly is a place to start.

It won’t happen, of course. Defenders of Mr. Smollett are already lining up to say that while he lied, he told a bigger truth – that this happens on a daily basis and is ignored. I call bullshit on that – if it were such a frequent crime, someone somewhere would be sounding an alarm, and the ‘news media’ would have picked up on it, if only to blame Trump somehow. But there isn’t such a cry, so we can infer this isn’t common.

Mr. Smollett needs to be the example – his lie was national news, unlike the others who lie about this – and the message needs to be sent – no more.



When do sins ‘fall off’? This has become a topic of discussion in American politics, with the revelation that the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, appears in either blackface or KKK robes in his college yearbook; the Lt. Governor, Justin Fairfax, stands accused of the nebulous term ‘sexual assault’ (the one account made fully public sounds a lot like rape, but that’s not the term used anymore, I guess), and Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar continues to support and express antisemitism.

With the exception of Ilhan Omar, who basically continues her antisemitism, can the elected leaders of Virginia be forgiven? Should they?

Let’s do the easy one first, Lt. Gov. Fairfax. He is accused of not only criminal action, but the kind of criminal action we don’t take seriously enough. He continues to deny it, but is being treated as if he is guilty – his firm removed him, and there are calls from his party to step down or face impeachment and removal. Of course, this is being handled far, far differently than the accusations against Justice Kavanaugh, which were far less serious, less provable, and not from his own team.

Almost like the Democratic Party didn’t care at all about the accusations, only the politics of preventing a Trump SCOTUS appointment. But that was obvious at the time.

So, Justin Fairfax should probably resign, and defend the accusations. If they have merit, then he should face consequences for them, if not, the accuser can face their own consequences.

As an aside, those who level false accusations of serious crimes should face the penalty for the crime they faked – their selfish actions only make it harder on the next real victim. And yes, if that penalty is life in prison, then so be it. We would see far fewer fake rapes and hate crimes if you faced actual prison for the accusation.

Anyway, Lt. Governor Fairfax is in a bad spot, and is going to pay a hefty price. But not for his sins – remember, these were reported before he was elected, and they were ignored. So if they are true, his (D) shielded him from the consequences, and the media provided the usual level of cover to keep the story from being spread.

No, in a horribly ironic twist of fate, Justin Fairfax is going to be Ralph Northam’s whipping boy.

So, Governor Northam’s yearbook. Some facts to ponder – that has been ‘out there’ since it happened, and ignored. Of course. See (D) shield above. But when Northam spoke in support of a bill that legalized infanticide, he crossed the line, and the page was leaked to the media. Conservative media. Who spread the hell out of it, and forced the mainstream media to notice.

I won’t say he is racist or segregationist. I don’t know his history. For all I know, this was a theme party, and he was as uncomfortable as the picture makes people today. Who knows. What is known is that he thought it was a good idea to dress in either blackface or a KKK uniform for a party. That is not great judgement.

But it is college, and bad judgement is part and parcel. Should he be run out of public life on a rail because of one event?

Personally, I say no, of course not. That is absurd.

But that isn’t the system we have, is it? In the system we have, which is intended to be used only against certain people of course, that one error should be his end, he should never again be allowed to associate with anyone. His career over, unemployable, and driven from the public square – that is the price demanded by the media and progressives.

Or would be if he was a Republican. Can you imaging the hue and cry if instead of Ralph Northam, it was Mike Pence? Or even Bruce Rauner (former R-ish governor of Illinois)? Of course you can. But that isn’t what Northam is getting, is it?

Or would be if he was a Republican. Can you imaging the hue and cry if instead of Ralph Northam, it was Mike Pence? Or even Bruce Rauner (former R-ish governor of Illinois)? Of course you can. But that isn’t what Northam is getting, is it?

One rule for everyone – this shouldn’t be a far-right paleo-conservative position.

But that doesn’t answer the question, does it? Can there, should there, be forgiveness for past sins.

And yes, the answer is yes. Without the potential for some form of forgiveness or remission of sins, no one is made better – or made whole. Religion knows this, and always has. You have to have a means to repair your transgressions against the God, or why would you not continue to harm the group by sinning? And so it is that you confess, pray, sacrifice, or whatever to regain approval.

In the new religion of Politics, there is no such mechanism, and we are beginning to see the problems that causes.

With his, correct, assumption that there will be no forgiveness for his actions, Northam has taken the only course possible – no retreat, no surrender. And to the people who are offended or hurt by the photo, too bad (I would argue that unless there is personal connection to being harmed by the Klan or similar, your offense shouldn’t matter to anyone else, but that isn’t how this works). It is the right call in this climate. If he resigned, he would face a rough future, and his family might be punished too. In all, sticking it out is his only play.

If we had a forgiveness and redemption mechanism, the answer would be different. Look, he did something offensive and stupid, and had to know it was both offensive and stupid, and he should face some consequences. Should have then too, by the way. There needs to be a way to get past it though – and reading ‘Roots’ isn’t the answer.

I may not know the answer. I think it involves actual work to repair any harm done, and some time out of the spotlight to make the repair work personal, not a show. Then, once there is personal forgiveness (those he wronged forgive him), the society should too – and then he can begin working back to where he was. We shouldn’t brand people to keep their sins always front and center.

Not holding my breath, really.

Green New Deal

Green New Deal

Introduced yesterday in both the House and Senate (identical text, so far as I can tell), the self-proclaimed “Green New Deal” is the sort of red meat that is designed to freak out the Republicans, energize and rally the neo-socialist and progressive Democrats, and send a shot across the bow of the establishment Democrats who are not on board with the Dem’s flirtation with the socialist agenda.

It’s also profoundly stupid.

What it isn’t is any kind of legislation. These are ‘Sense of the Chamber’ resolutions, a type of bill used to express an opinion, but which is not binding in any way. These have been used to make political statements, and to express thanks. I think it is important to put this in the correct box – it isn’t pending law, it is puffery and opinion without any regard to how it would be implemented.

It’s also profoundly stupid.

Reading the proposal, we see a bunch of ‘Whereas’ statements that are dubious. For example:

  • More predictions of imminent climate collapse & disaster – the same thing we have been hearing for over 20 years, with the same ‘we only have a decade to save the world’ mentality.
  • They claim US life expectancy is declining, which is not inaccurate, but is also not connected to the environment. The CDC identified unintentional overdoses, suicide, and chronic liver disease (drinking related?) as the drivers for a down tick of a tenth of a percent. Nothing in the GND would address that.
  • The usual pablum about the rich being richer, the poor poorer (but never about the poor being richer than at any previous time in history), and so on.

This leads to the ‘so FDR had the New Deal’. Which they forget didn’t work. It took WWII for the Depression to end and “…created the greatest middle class that the United States has ever seen…” And yes, in 1941 ” indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth” didn’t see the same benefits as whites. That was then, this is now. I would point out that factory jobs and serving in combat were things that the elderly, disabled, and youth were not allowed to do (and still aren’t, depending on the disability).

Then comes the fun part, the Resolved section. And the stupidity.

Section 1

Not much here to complain about – this isn’t bad. Except for 1E (emphasis mine):

to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this resolution as “frontline and vulnerable communities”);

Huh? Repairing it how? By forcing people now to pay for the sins of maybe their ancestors? Good luck with that. I am not even sure how that would work, and absent a time machine won’t undo what was done. Punishing people today for actions before their birth is insane.

Section 2

Here we go!

  • “accomplished through a 10-year national mobilization”. Not a great beginning, very Soviet in tone. But let’s see where it goes…
  • Sections A & B are ok, nothing too wacky here. Look, climate change is a thing, even if ‘global warming’ isn’t. Not convinced we are the sole cause, but it is still something to be aware of, and compensate for. That is all A & B are calling for.
  • C is interesting, because it calls for things that don’t exist, and have never been shown to function at the scale demanded. Which is fine, but you have to accept that if so-called green energy was a valid alternative, it would be in greater use. After all, if it worked, and eliminated the need to buy fuel, what utility wouldn’t jump on that as a way to increase profits? They aren’t, because it doesn’t scale.
    • What does work are nuclear plants, which are never part of these proposals. Pebble Bed Modular Reactors would provide power without the (minimal) risks of other reactor designs, and without the insane pollution from coal.
  • E is where it goes so far off the rails, the bill might as well be called Green Plan 9 From Outer Space. E reads “upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification;”. Dafaq? All buildings. WSO estimates 120 million buildings in the US. As of 2015. Let’s be stupid, and assume an average cost to replace of $1M per (less on houses, far more on commercial buildings, but this is to prove a point). That is $120,000,000,000,000 – 120 trillion dollars. At the $1/second, that would take something like 3.8 million years to spend. it is more than 6,000 times the 2017 US GDP. Statista estimates the GWP – the gross world product in 2017 at about $80 trillion dollars…so this would cost 1.5 times the world’s gross production in 2017. I believe the term ‘economically infeasible’ was coined specifically for this. And remember, that is at an average of $1M per building, which is probably far below the actual costs.
  • I actually like G – cleaning up farming to remove pollution and increase soil health – this is important to the continued feeding of the world, and should be looked at seriously (by which I mean no one supporting this nonsense should be anywhere near it)
  • H is probably were the remove cars bit was, but it is not there now. I don’t support this in the least. Limiting mobility is among the first act of tyrants, and the ability to relocate is crucial to a free people.
    • Further, this Sunday I plan to drive to Michigan City, about a 2 hour round trip, costing $10 in gas or so. On public transportation, it would take at least 2 hours each way, cost at least double, and with Greyhound require an overnight stay. This is not better, and anyone who thinks it is is insane.
  • I is vague puffery designed to make people think their overlords care. Seriously. This is such a central-control document that a bit about community-driven projects is almost insulting.
  • J through N isn’t bad either – more about cleaning up polluted sites and reducing pollution. I can’t see anyone not liking that.

Section 3

Um, this is an interesting part. Section 3 reads, in whole:

a Green New Deal must be developed through transparent and inclusive consultation, collaboration, and partnership with frontline and vulnerable communities, labor unions, worker cooperatives, civil society groups, academia, and businesses; and

With that many ‘cooks’, there is exactly zero chance of anything being done. Zero. So, yes, let’s make this happen!

Section 4

Goals and projects!

And this is all Dem talking points in written form. Worth noting that as currently on the site, there is nothing about paying people to not work. That was likely in a draft version, and removed before introduction. Basically, this is all saying ‘we want to make high-status and high-pay jobs for everyone’. Which is nice. Impossible, but nice. Universal employment is only a reality in command economies, and those always fail.


The whole thing just stops here – there is no wrap up or conclusion statement, it just ends. That seems fitting, since it is so absurdist that any conclusion would be laughable.

But here is the problem. This is a roadmap to what they want. Thinking people look at it and see insanity and a massive lack of comprehension of costs and economics, but they don’t. They see an aspirational document, and a set of goals to be forced on the nation, for their own good. A lot of us saw Hillary Clinton as a threat because she is a true believer – someone who would aspire to tyranny for our own good. Unfortunately, we have a collection of people in the Congress who are just as bad. And their branch of the government is tasked with passing laws, unlike the President.

Finally, if you think this isn’t going to matter, isn’t going to be the goal for the statists and overlords in the Democratic party…remember that President Trump’s candidacy was also considered a joke. Yes, you should be worried.