Case for private beautification. Paul Marcotte of Wichita writes in with a way the City of Wichita could reduce capital costs and on-going costs: “Why is it that when we do street work in Wichita, that we have to decorate the center of the streets with landscaping? That includes the 12 feet or so on each side of the curbs. I see tree crews out all over Wichita cutting back or down the trees that have grown either out into the streets and obstruct traffic, or grown up into the power lines. The power company sends out a tree planting guideline with my bill that asks not to plant trees under the lines but we do it on every new project in Wichita. Also, the landscaping in the middle of the lanes in unnecessary. It ensures that someone will have to be hired to take care of that landscaping. I asked the City of Wichita about this and they said that there aren’t enough trees in Wichita and they had to beautify the city. Have they ever seen an aerial view of the city? There are more than enough trees. We don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to landscape the streets of Wichita. Streets should be functional, not beautiful. Let the 400,000 or so citizens of Wichita beautify the city. They already do, at their own expense.”
Airport security gone awry. Mike Smith, who usually writes about weather, climate and science on his blog Meteorological Musings, also has some good posts about airport security. He refers to it as it as “‘security theatre’ — designed to make us feel secure without actually making us secure.” It’s a violation of dignity, too. After a woman complained of a pat down search, an airport representative said: “I think this is the first time that I’ve heard of anybody that didn’t enjoy the experience.” Pilots don’t like it, with their advocacy group objecting to “needless privacy invasion and potential health risks caused by the AIT [nude imaging] body scanners. Smith concludes: “It is time to stop this madness and this threat to civil liberties. Dial the passenger part of airport security back to where it was prior to September 11, keep the screening of checked luggage, and increase the scrutiny of parcels shipped on passenger aircraft and the people who service passenger aircraft. Doing so would actually make us safer than we are now.”
Rasmussen key polls. It seems the the U.S. voting public is a surly lot without a lot of hope for the future, despite the results of the election. “Most voters are not confident that President Obama can work with the new Republican majority in the House to do what’s best for the American people.” More here. “Most voters say today’s election is a referendum on President Obama’s agenda and that he should change course if Republicans win control of the House. But most also don’t expect him to make that change.” More here. Finally, “A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds, in fact, that 59% of Likely U.S. Voters think it is at least somewhat likely that most voters will be disappointed with Republicans in Congress before the next national elections. That includes 38% who say it is Very Likely.?” The details of this poll are here.
Pelosi to seek leadership position When you’re used to wielding a big gavel, changes comes only with difficulty, it seems. Writes the Wall Street Journal: “Ms. Pelosi’s announcement came as a surprise after an election that saw her party lose 60 House seats, with a handful of races still too close to call. Past House speakers have left Congress entirely after similar drubbings, and some Democratic critics had called on Ms. Pelosi to step aside.” Many conservative Democrats — Blue Dogs — retired or were defeated, so the Democratic caucus is more liberal than before, notes the Journal. “‘This was an earthquake of an election,’ said Rep. Jim Matheson (D., Utah), chairman of the Blue Dog Coalition. ‘When you suffer this kind of loss, you’ve got to shake up your leadership.”