Saturday, January 17, 2015

Bad Day at the Office

Bad Day at the Office - Full Short Film from STUDIO HANSA on Vimeo.

Martin Luther King Day Weekend Links

Well, at least some folks have a three day weekend.  I hope you weren't shorting the Swiss Franc.  Here are some interesting stories for your weekend entertainment:

The Fighting Indians Earn It - SBNation

The Night A Heartbroken George Foreman Boxed Five Men In One Hour - Deadspin

A Breeder Apart: Farmers Say Goodbye to the Bull Who Sired 500,000 Offspring - Wall Street Journal

Agriculture: State-of-the-art soil - Nature.  On biochar.

Essential Oils Might Be the New Antibiotics - The Atlantic.  It's worth a look, but I doubt that it'll work.

 When Americans Ate Horse Meat - Priceonomics

Iowa's Largest City Sues Over Farm Fertilizer Runoff In Rivers - The Salt.  It's significant news because it's Iowa.

The Belfast Connection - Down East.  The story of a 1980s cocaine ring in rural Maine.

Parachuting Beavers Into Idaho's Wilderness? Yes, It Really Happened - Boise State Public Radio

How well-intentioned Americans trying to save Monarch butterflies may actually be destroying them - Washington Post

6 Things I Learned From the Book "Since Yesterday: The 1930s in America" - Motley Fool.  Mainly, that the Depression was damn ugly, especially in rural America.  When it came down to it, farmers engaged in mob rule to overcome bankers.

Yep, Gasoline Lead Explains the Crime Decline in Canada Too - Kevin Drum.  I don't necessarily buy the causation, but it is at least as plausible as broken-windows policing causing the decline.

The Republican Party's war with Pope Francis has finally started - The Week.  Go Papa Frank.

Detroit in the 1940s - The Atlantic.  Note the housing issue in 1942 and the race riot in 1943. Detroit is in its present straits because of racism, pure and simple.

The Percentage of Workers in Government is at a 54-Year Low - Business Insider.  Also see, Public and Private Sector Payroll Jobs: Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama - Calculated Risk.  Republicans are welcome to try to explain how Obama expanded government and hurt the private sector economy compared to Bush.  I'll stick with reality, though.

Back to the Future? Oil Replays 1980s Bust - Wall Street Journal.  Also, see Money Dries Up for Oil & Gas, Layoffs Spread, Write-offs Start - Wolf Street

2014 Global Temperature Recap - NOAA.  2014 was the hottest year on record, just not in the eastern United States.  I'm pretty sure future generations are fucked.  Also, see 9 of the 10 hottest years on record occurred since 2000 - Wall Street Journal

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bye Bye Polar Ice

News of the Obvious: State and Local Taxes are Regressive

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy ran an analysis that most folks with a lick of common sense and a bit of understanding about political interests would figure out on their own, that state an local taxes are pretty regressive, and cost poor folks a lot larger slice of their income than they cost wealthy people.  I mainly skimmed the report and looked at the graphics, but I seriously doubt that conservatives will punch many holes in their analysis.  Here is a chart showing the impact of state and local taxes on different income brackets nationwide:

This chart is a little more useful when your state's Republican party proposes "tax reform" or "income tax cuts."  It demonstrates who benefits and who is harmed by various tax changes:

Yeah, it is shocking that when states like Kansas and Ohio increase sales taxes and cut income taxes it is the wealthiest residents who benefit, and the poorest residents who are harmed.  Same goes for cigarette tax increases.  Whodathunkit?  Actually, Ohio is even more regressive than the national average, in spite of a somewhat progressive income tax:

I would hypothesize that one reason for this is because numerous municipal and school district income taxes (which many other states don't have) hit earned income much harder than unearned income (dividends and capital gains, for instance).  I only pay city income tax on the fairly small portion of my income coming from my town job.  Also, Kasich's entirely stupid plan to exempt half of the first $250,000 in income from pass-through entities keeps me from paying state income tax on 50% of the income from my farm partnership with dad.  Here are a few of the explanations from the report:

• Kansas enacted more changes to its personal income tax on top of those already passed in 2012. Tax rates are gradually reduced to 2.3 and 3.9 percent and both standard and itemized deductions are pared back. The food sales tax rebate was reinstated, but made nonrefundable. If revenue targets are reached in future years, the income tax could be repealed entirely. Kansas also increased its sales tax from 5.7 to 6.15 percent.
• North Carolina replaced its graduated personal income tax rate structure with a flat rate of 5.75 percent and enacted several other changes to the tax including: the elimination of all credits except for the child tax credit (this included allowing the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit to expire), elimination of per­sonal exemptions, elimination of a $50,000 deduction for business pass-through income, an increased standard deduction, eliminating most itemized deductions and subjecting property taxes and mortgage interest to a $20,000 cap and allowing unlimited charitable contribution deductions. The package also expanded the sales tax base, increased sales taxes on electricity, and phases-in a corporate income tax rate cut that will eventually bring the rate from 6.9 to 3 percent.
• Ohio reduced personal income tax rates across the board and exempted 50 percent of business pass-through income from the tax (capped at the first $250,000). The state also enacted a very limited non­refundable EITC equal to 5 percent of the federal credit in 2013 and expanded it to 10 percent in 2014. At the same time, the state’s sales tax was increased from 5.5 to 5.75 percent and its base was expanded.
• The District of Columbia cut income tax rates for middle-income residents and increased the standard deduction. Further rate cuts, as well as increases in the standard deduction and personal exemption, could take effect if revenue grows sufficiently quickly. The District of Columbia also phased-out its per­sonal exemption for high-income taxpayers and made permanent its 8.95 percent income tax bracket on high-income earners. The city’s EITC was expanded for childless workers and its property tax cir­cuit breaker was enhanced. The business franchise tax rate was cut from 9.975 to 9.4 percent, and could see further cuts to 8.25 percent contingent on revenue growth. DC’s sales tax base was also expanded, while its rate was lowered from 6.0 to 5.75 percent. The city also reformed its gas tax so that the rate can grow alongside gas prices in the future.
It is interesting to see how Republican (and ALEC-backed) tax changes seem to go from one state to another, like some kind of hideous virus.  For instance, Kansas went with the pass-through tax exemption, then Ohio and Missouri followed suit.  Ohio got rid of the business personal property tax, now Michigan is following.  Very rarely do these changes benefit people at the lower end of the income spectrum.

No matter how you figure it, people making less than $250,000 and voting Republican are suckers.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

One Run With Bobby Brown

One Run with Bobby Brown from Under Armour Action on Vimeo.

Slowing Down in the Bakken

This month's North Dakota Oil and Gas Commission report is pretty interesting:
Oct Oil 36,688,971 barrels = 1,183,515 barrels/day
Nov Oil 35,616,174 barrels = 1,187,206 barrels/day (preliminary)(NEW all-time high)
1,123,304 barrels per day or 95% from Bakken and ThreeForks
63,902 barrels per day or 5% from legacy conventional pools

Oct Gas 44,334,943 MCF = 1,430,159 MCF/day
Nov Gas 42,759,688 MCF = 1,425,323 MCF/day (preliminary)

Oct Producing Wells = 11,903
Nov Producing Wells = 11,942 (preliminary)(NEW all-time high)
8,640 wells or 72% are now unconventional Bakken–Three forks wells
3,302 wells or 28% produce from legacy conventional pools...

Oct Sweet Crude Price = $68.94/barrel
Nov Sweet Crude Price = $60.61/barrel
Dec Sweet Crude Price = $40.74/barrel
Today Sweet Crude Price = $29.25/barrel (lowest since December 2008) (all-time highwas $136.29 7/3/2008)

Oct rig count 191
Nov rig count 188
Dec rig count 181
Today’s rig count is 156 (lowest since Oct 2010)(all-time high was 218 on 5/29/2012)...

The drilling rig count dropped 3 from October to November, 7 more from November to December, and has since fallen 25 more from December to today. The number of well completions decreased from 145(final) in October to 39(preliminary) in November. Oil price is by far the biggest driver behind the slow-down. Operators report postponing completion work to avoid high initial oil production at very low prices and achieve NDIC gas capture goals. There were no major precipitation events, but there were 11 days with wind speeds in excess of 35 mph (too high for completion work) and 7 days with temperatures below -10F...

Rig count in the Williston Basin is falling rapidly. Utilization rate for rigs capable of 20,000+ feet is currently about 80%, and for shallow well rigs (7,000 feet or less) about 50%.
It will be interesting to see what the next few months hold for activity in the Bakken.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Five Ring Circus Or Five Rings of Hell?

Nate Silver lays out potential Republican Presidential candidates amongst the various ideological interest groups within the party:

Geez, that's an ugly group.  I don't really know anything about Susana Martinez, other than that she is the governor of New Mexico, but it scares me that of this group, Romney, Bush and Kasich are probably the least objectionable to me (but that is still very objectionable).  As far as I'm concerned, you can throw out the Tea Party and Christian Conservative circles and our nation would be a better place.  The only good thing I can say about Rand Paul is that he would be most likely to oppose fucking up foreign countries, torture and ridiculously wasteful and pointless domestic surveillance.  Christie is a corrupt, thuggish jackass, Ryan isn't running, and Rubio and Jindal are useless.  As I said, Jeb, Willard and the only governor I currently have are probably the best candidates on this chart. 

Unfortunately, I don't think we'll have much of a better choice on the other side.  I dread a Clinton candidacy, and while I enjoy Joe Biden as Vice President, I'm not really sure I'd like him in charge of everything.  Jim Webb is intriguing, but is somewhat of a bull in a china shop.  I think Martin O'Malley might not be too bad, but I don't think there is any way he'll be able to take down Hillary.  Bernie Sanders is entertaining, but doesn't stand a chance of winning the nomination, and would make George McGovern's 1972 campaign look extremely successful in the heartland.  Elizabeth Warren says a lot of the right things about Wall Street and Main Street, but I don't think she really has the heart to do the fundraising that would be necessary to mount a challenge to the Clinton juggernaut, and the attacks she'd face from Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce would be ridiculously ugly out here in flyover land.

The options for 2016 remind me that I really do like President Obama, and despite some of his missteps, right now, I'd vote for him over any of the potential 2016 candidates mentioned above.  That may not be the most ringing endorsement, but it does illustrate how I feel about the current President and his potential successors.  I'm sure I'll have more to say about the candidates in the next two years, and I may come to like one or more of them, but right now, I think there's a real possibility I'll be voting third-party or not voting at all, especially if the choices are Bush vs. Clinton or Romney vs. Clinton.

Monday, January 12, 2015


The Collective Quarterly // Issue 1 // Absaroka from Duncan Wolfe on Vimeo.

California, the Drought, and Almonds

Tom Philpott at Mother Jones:

Almond products—snack mixes, butters, milk—are flying off supermarket shelves. The value of the California almond market hit $4.8 billion in 2012—that's triple the level of a decade earlier. Only dairy is worth more to the state than almonds and grapes. In fact, almonds, along with California-grown pistachios and walnuts, are becoming so lucrative that big investment funds, eager to get in on the boom, are snapping up land and dropping in trees.
There's just one problem: Almond orchards require about a third more water per acre than grape vineyards. In fact, they're one of California's thirstiest crops. It takes a gallon of water to produce a single almond—more than three times the amount required for a grape and two and a half times as much for a strawberry. There's more water embedded in just four almonds than there is in a full head of lettuce. But unlike row crops, which farmers can choose not to plant during dry spells, almond trees must be watered no matter what.
In the midst of the worst drought in California's history, you might expect almonds' extreme thirst to be a deal breaker. But it's not. In fact, the drought has had hardly any impact at all on the almond boom. The state's farmers bought at least 8.33 million young almond trees between July 2013 and July 2014, a 25 percent increase from the previous year. About a quarter of the saplings went to replace old orchards, but most of the rest were new plantings, some 48,000 acres' worth, an area equal to three Manhattans.
In order to thrive, almond trees need a Mediterranean climate, hot summers and mild winters. Those come free in the Central Valley. But steady access to water is just as crucial to an almond grove's success. So where is the water for all these new orchards coming from? No longer California's famed irrigation projects, which draw on the state's rivers and have slowed to a trickle during the drought. Instead, farmers are tapping into groundwater.
 I just can't imagine that farmers can continue to plant acres to almond orchards.  They just can't continue to pump water from the aquifers to water all those trees.  Yes, the money is incredible, but wide-scale almond production in the Central Valley just isn't sustainable.

Is This The Year For a China Meltdown?

Bank of America thinks it might be:
China is at mounting risk of a financial crisis this year as growth sputters and deflationary pressures trigger a wave of defaults, Bank of America has warned.
The US lender told clients that a confluence of forces are coming together that threaten to chill the speculative mania on the Shanghai stock exchange and to expose the underlying fragility of China’s $26 trillion edifice of debt.
“A credit crunch is highly probable,” said the bank in a report entitled “Deflation, Devaluation, and Default”, written by David Cui and Tracy Tian.
They said the country’s highly-leveraged companies cannot safely withstand President Xi Jinping’s drive to stamp out moral hazard and wean the country off excess credit, warning that the mix of slower growth and excess debt “could prove lethal for the financial system”.
The report warned that it is rare for countries to escape either a financial crisis, or major bank failures, a currency upset, a sovereign crisis – or a mix of these – after letting credit grow at such vertiginous rates.
“The most likely scenario is a bad debt surge as growth slows, followed by a credit crunch in the shadow banking system, followed by a major recapitalisation of the banks,” said Mr Cui.
The report said China spent 15pc of GDP to rescue lenders in the late 1990s but the scale of the problem is much greater today, and this time the government cannot resort to fresh stimulus so easily.
Loans have jumped by roughly 100pc of GDP in the past five years under most estimates. This is twice the pace of growth in Japan over a comparable period before the Nikkei bubble burst in 1990, or in the US before the Lehman crisis in 2008. 
Standard Chartered said total credit has surpassed 250pc of GDP once shadow banking and offshore lending are included, an extremely high level for an emerging economy without mature markets or layers of accumulated wealth.
Mr Cui said the explosive rise on the Shanghai stock market - up 50pc in barely three months - is being driven by “blue-sky talk” and $180bn of margin lending from brokers. It is happening at a time of deteriorating earnings. “When the sell-off happens, we suspect that it will not be orderly,” he said. The Shanghai composite index may fall back from 3,300 to 2,400 before it settles in a trading range.
He advised investors to stick to defence stocks or equities linked to the nuclear industry given that both are shielded from Mr Xi’s efforts to shake out excessive capacity in Chinese industry.
Bank or America said China has been in factory gate deflation for 33 months and the downward slide appears to be deepening.
That is terrible news for commodities.  Just a guess, but I doubt a Communist government will be able to weather a capitalist meltdown very effectively. But, then again, capitalist countries suck at handling deflation, too.

Mapping the Bakken

Mason Inman created an interactive map to capture drilling activity in the Bakken:
US oil production has been booming the past few years, due in large part to North Dakota’s Bakken formation, a rock layer tapped through fracking. Each well travels down about two miles, then turns horizontally and snakes through the rock formation for another two miles. There were 8,406 of these Bakken wells, as of North Dakota’s latest count. If you lined them all up—including their vertical and horizontal parts—they’d loop all the way around the Earth.
As a journalist digging into the long-term potential for shale oil—how much oil it might supply, and at what economic and environmental costs—I wanted to create a map showing the extent of this drilling boom to help me look for trends...
There are some maps out there already, including an online interactive map from North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources (ND DMR), and other groups have created their own maps of fracked wells across the nation, like the non-profit FracTracker. To get an impression of the extent of the boom, there are the mind-bending graphics in this New York Times piece, showing a tangle of lines obscuring the sky. But I haven’t seen any interactive maps out there that let ordinary citizens easily explore the extent of this boom.
To make my map (see a larger version here), I took the same data the New York Times used and plotted it out using the open-source program TileMill, creating an interactive map that allows you to, um, drill into the data. It appears the New York Times used a large shapefile available from the ND DMR, for nearly all horizontal wells, showing their curvy paths in detail. To get this file, I went to their ArcIMS Server, and clicked on the button in the upper-right, which opened up a list of shape files. The one I used was “”. I unzipped it, created a new project in Tilemill and added the shapefile as a layer.
On top of this layer, I’ve added the locations of each wellhead, with the most recently drilled ones highlighted in red. This wellhead data is available only through ND DMR’s basic subscription at $50 a year. If you’re into this kind of data, it’s definitely worth the price, since it gives you access to all sorts of details—monthly production rates for each well and well files that give extensive details, including which rock layer the well is tapping.
With the wells drilled during 2014 highlighted in red, it’s clear that drilling has contracted to focus mainly on a core area in the center, rather than pushing out into new areas.
Also, North Dakota allows drillers to put new wells on “confidential” status, typically for about six months. I’ve marked those in orange. The details on these wells—where exactly each horizontal well threaded its way through the rock, when the wells started producing oil, and how much they yielded—is kept private until confidential status expires. Since the horizontal well paths are kept private, they don’t show up on this map, so you’ll see lone orange dots with no horizontal wells—not because they’re not there, but because the data isn’t available yet. Since most wells get put on confidential status initially, the locations of these wells gives you an idea of where companies have been drilling most recently.
From afar, it’s just a forest of lines. But if you zoom in, you’ll see that some areas have wells tightly packed in, whereas other areas have a solo wells. From what I’ve read—such as in assessments like those from geologist David Hughes in his recent report “Drilling Deeper”—the densely drilled areas are those where wells yield the most oil. These are the “sweet spots,” as the industry calls them.
To help distinguish the drilling hotspots from the less attractive areas, I’ve made all the wellhead location markers partially transparent. This is because companies often drill several wells on a single “pad,” an area of they clear where they set up the drilling rig and park all the trucks that bring in the millions of gallons of water that they pump into the wells at enormous pressures to fracture the rock, and the thousands of tons of sand that the water forces into those fractures. (The sand stays behind, holding the cracks open so that the oil and gas will continue to flow out.)
His previous article in Nature here.  He also has a website here. Looks like they've really worked over the sweet spots.  More on the sweet spots in the Bakken, and whether they are played out, including this chart, at OilPrice:

The chart shows the rapid decline in LTO extraction by vintage.
What is the month over month legacy decline in total LTO extraction?
The month over month total decline for LTO extraction wobbles around due to seasonal effects, differences in productivity of the wells started in any month, variations to when in the calendar month the wells were started and number of days of the month.
Measurements from actual data showed that the smoothed month over month legacy decline varied between5 – 6%.
From figure 03 it may be observed that the legacy decline rate slows with time.
How many net producing wells need to be added to sustain the LTO extraction level from October 2014?
In October 2014 total LTO extraction from the Middle Bakken and Three Forks formations in North Dakota was 1.12 Mb/d.
The “average” well, so far in 2014, had a first month flow of 486 b/d.
This works out to a need of net monthly additions of 115 – 135 producing wells to sustain the October 2014 extraction level.
If drilling activity in the Bakken falls off due to low oil prices, you may see an unrecoverable decline in overall production as the most recently drilled wells decline and enough new ones aren't drilled to replace them. When prices eventually do increase, there might not be enough new places to drill wells to get back to the previous peak.

NASA Photo of the Day

January 10:

The Windmill's Moon
Image Credit & Copyright: Babak Tafreshi (TWAN)
Explanation: Seen from the Canary Island of Fuerteventura, this bright Full Moon rose at sunset. Reaching its full phase on the night of January 4/5, it was the first Full Moon of the new year and the first to follow December's solstice. Of course, in North America the first Full Moon of January has been known as the Wolf's Moon. But this Full Moon, posed in the twilight above an island of strong winds and traditional windmills, suggests another name. The telephoto image, taken at a distance from the foreground windmill, creates the dramatic comparison in apparent size for windmill and Full Moon.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Kentucky Clown Show

Otherwise known as the Kentucky Republican gubernatorial primary.  The leading candidate and his running mate want to re-legislate the entire Brent Spence Bridge project:
The leading Republican gubernatorial ticket in Kentucky wants to take a whole new look at the Brent Spence Bridge project if elected, examining potential new sites for a bridge, truck bans and a possible tunnel, while asking Ohio to pay more for the estimated $2.6 billion project.
In an exclusive interview with The Enquirer, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, said he and running mate Agriculture Commissioner James Comer are not convinced that a new bridge next to the existing span is the best course of action. He said that a new administration would ask for a level-set review of the project upon entering office, with the possibility of creating a new alignment through Campbell County and eastern Hamilton County.
McDaniel also said that Ohio should pay for at least half of the estimated $2.6 billion cost (right now, Kentucky is estimating to pay $1.5 billion of the project, including the cost of the new bridge itself and rehabbing the existing Brent Spence).
The 51-year-old bridge's conditioning is worsening and it carries more than double the daily traffic it was intended to. The project has been stuck in the planning stages for years, mainly because of a lack of federal funding. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear have said tolls are the only way to get the project done. Northern Kentucky state lawmakers, however, have long rejected tolls, fearing Northern Kentucky commuters would bear most of the costs. 
Let's take these issues one at a time.  They are not convinced that a new bridge beside the existing bridge is the best course of action.  There has been a detailed study completed (from 2005-2009) which selected this alternative. This bridge is the main artery of the regional transportation system, is 50 years old and undersized, and is rapidly deteriorating and in need of rehabilitation or replacement.  Because of the necessity of maintaining existing traffic, a new bridge has to be constructed before work starts on the existing bridge.  No existing alternative route could be utilized as a detour during reconstruction of the existing bridge, because they are either too small (I-471) or way too long of a detour (I-275, see map below).  That leaves building a new span nearby, shifting the traffic to it, then replacing the existing span.

Creating a new alignment through Campbell County and eastern Hamilton County makes no sense whatsoever. 

Campbell County is located in the area labeled Newport on the map.  There are currently 2 interstate bridges crossing the river into the county, I-275 and I-471.  As you can see on the map, there are three major interstates traversing the region, I-71 (going to Louisville and Columbus), I-74 (going to Indianapolis) and I-75 (going to Detroit and Lexington).  All traffic from these three highways are currently routed through central Cincinnati and across the Brent Spence Bridge.  Interstates 71 and 75 continue to the southwest and later split further south from the bottom of this map.  There is no way to route a bridge from Campbell County to eastern Hamilton County and benefit the I-75 route in any way.  I-471 can already divert traffic from I-71, so this eastern bridge does nothing whatsoever on that side.  So why would the gubernatorial candidate propose a bridge there?  For future development:
But McDaniel said that the bridge decision should also include potential impacts on commercial development and that it is a "60-70 year decision, not just for the next three to five years."
"We should be looking to get the biggest bang that we can out of this ... so why not look at going through areas such as Newtown in Ohio?" he asked. "There is less and less developable land through the I-75 corridor. Why not use this as an opportunity to open up more development? It seems as if there was a foregone conclusion that this would be the site without enough examination of other options."
He also said he was also not convinced that a second look would cost the state any more money or time, but said he was sensitive to such concerns.
Why in the world would a Kentucky candidate for governor be proposing a new bridge to spur development in Ohio?  And who in the hell thinks the solution to Cincinnati's problems is more sprawl?  Most of the recent development in the region is along the I-75 corridor, so the governor candidate is proposing to abandon recently invested capital in order to invest new capital in another region.  That is the whole problem with suburbanization as it has been done over the last 60-70 years.  Apparently he has learned nothing from this.

Now, to the issue of cost-sharing.  Kentucky owns the bridge (and most of the Ohio River), and is thus responsible for the cost of construction according to the Federal Highway System.  Period.  Ohio is paying for all of the approach work on the north side of the bridge.  If you don't like that, Kentuckians, deed the Ohio River to the State of Ohio.

As for Northern Kentuckians paying the majority of the tolls, that is the point of a toll system, having the actual users pay for the project.  If that is Northern Kentuckians, so be it.

All of these issues are not recently discovered by the gubernatorial candidate.  They have been well known for decades.  Over the last decade, Ohio and Kentucky have been slowly working toward the much-needed replacement of the Brent Spence, and as always, funding is the big problem.  What is the solution to this for the leading gubernatorial ticket from the state and local government over federal government party?  Of course, federal funding:
Both said that the federal government needed to better fund the project, eliminating the need for tolls. In addition, Comer said he agreed with a funding proposal submitted by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., that would create a new federal fund for emergency transportation projects such as the Brent Spence by making it harder for companies to send capital overseas.
What a fucking joke.  Every day of delay in constructing the bridge adds cost to the project.  Studying a pointless location for a new bridge slows the project even further.  I hate the idea of tolls, and I hate the lack of transportation alternatives that 60-70 years of automobile-centric development has left us with.  But you come to a point where you have to bite the bullet, spend the money and take your much deserved beating for having such short-sighted development vision for so long (and not continue such vision by trying to develop new regions).  I'm all for federal funding, especially through an increased gas tax, but try to get the Republican Party in Congress to go along with that.  This clown show demonstrates how weak Republican Party ideas really are.  That these bomb-throwers come in so late in the process with so useless alternative ideas, and they are the leading figures in the race for governor indicates the bankruptcy of Republican governance.  Kentucky, please don't foist these idiots into this complex project.