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Posts published in “Day: August 13, 2007”

De-build it, and they won’t drive

This weekend we pointed out the the dog that didn't bark in the night-time - that is, the massive traffic mess predicted for the site of the large-scale road work on I-5 in Seattle. Traffic hasn't, in relative terms, been bad. The shocker is in the quotes from people who say it's better than normal, even now that the work week has resumed.

Part of this has to be a decision by people to avoid what had been widely billed as a rolling catastrophe. But cut a layer beneath that, and you find some implications worth pondering.

Consider this notion from the Stranger's Slog this morning:

Collective panic alone can’t explain the startling number that was reported by newspapers this morning: Of 120,000 cars that normally use northbound I-5 daily, about half simply disappeared. That is, their drivers took alternate routes, rode transit, worked from home, or didn’t take unnecessary trips. Which is, by the way, exactly what happened in San Francisco—and exactly what we’ve been saying will happen here if the viaduct closes down. You can’t argue that closing the viaduct would lead to disaster and then ignore the fact that eliminating half the lanes on a major freeway through Seattle actually made traffic better. And that’s without any additional transit service from Metro, the main transit provider in the region. Imagine how much smoother the commute on I-5 could have been with expanded transit to take another 20,000 or 30,000 cars off the road.

“They’re not equal”

Bill Sali

Bill Sali

Last Thursday, when we posted on Idaho Representative Bill Sali's comments on the delivery - of which he disapproved - of a prayer by a Hindu cleric in the U.S. Senate, the congressman's spokesman Wayne Hoffman had an admonishing response, applicable not just to our post but to much of what has been written about Sali's comments.

"Congressman Sali was merely expressing a personal opinion, based on his strong belief in the need to reach out for God’s guidance at the start of each day. That’s all," Hoffman said.

Our take on Sali's remarks was that they were a good deal broader in scope. On Friday, as it turns out, Sali himself removed any doubt about that in an interview with the editorial board of the Nampa Idaho Press Tribune.

By that time, his comments were re-commented on nationally (and even, we've seen in some posts, globally). Sali had ample opportunity to downplay if he chose; but he chose otherwise. The full article gives a clearly flavor, but among the quotes:

“The question is, is multiculturalism good or not? I don’t think the Founding Fathers were multicultural. Multiculturalism is the antithesis of (the motto). . . If we’re going to move away from those principles ... we better consider the blessings of God that have been bestowed on this country and the protective hand of God that’s been over this country . . . Christian principles work, and they show up in a lot of different areas . . . Most of the hospitals in this country have Christian names. If you think Hindu prayer is great, where are the Hindu hospitals in this country? Go down the list. Where are the atheist hospitals in this country? They’re not equal.”

If Hoffman's intent was to pour water on the fire, his boss has followed up with a can of gasoline.

Wildfires: The pattern remains

wildfires

Wildfires nationally (all but two in Califiornia, one in Michigan)

The national fire outlook is largely unchanged from a few weeks ago - still heavily concentrated in the northwest and northern Rockies, and especially in and around Idaho. There are three substantial wildfires in California, one in Michigan - that's about it.

The National Interagency Fire Center's location at Boise looks increasingly apt.