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  • pennelk2 5:21 pm on 2015-12-12 Permalink  

  • pennelk2 11:11 am on 2015-12-04 Permalink  

    I enjoyed reading “The Big Roads” by Earl Swift and looked forward to sharing the wealth of both human characters and big Ideas offered by this complex and exhaustive examination of the development of the U.S Highway System. Insightful biography includes racing pioneers like Carl g. Fisher, who championed for good new roads for the detailed automobile boom that far exceeded anyone’s expectations at the turn of the previous century.
    Engineers like Thomas Harris MacDonald, the “Chief” and single greatest contributor to the highway effort, and Frank Turner- a progressive Texan that always let the facts guide the decision making process. Then, of course, there is Dwight Eisenhower who really is only the namesake of the highway system. I have lost any respect that I may have had for this President after learning how detached from reality he was based on the stories in this book. Powerful men like Al Gore Sr, who whittled and country danced his way through law school, and men like Joseph Wiles, from Rosemont Baltimore that helped their community find a common voice against a system of roads that was both unjust and unjustified.
    This book traces the highway system as we know it back to Indian trails and Iowa “Gumbo”– from Ike’s truck convoy from Washington D.C. that struggled to cross the Utah salt flats and reach the west coast to the first attempt at a national route which was known as the “Lincoln Highway”. How states all had different standards for their roads, and the relationship between the states and federal government had not been established as such today. Swift very confusingly asks the question that was at hand: “Would there be a system of national roads, or a national system of roads?”
    With all the best intentions, these men and women created a system of roads that is now inextricably linked to our nation’s defense and commerce but- the environmental and human consequences have been regrettable. I looked at google maps of “The Ditch” and “the Stub” of I-70 that was set to ruin Gwynn Falls park in Baltimore- and it clear that things were happening that did not really have the benefits intended. This reminds me how Lansing blacks used to get sold houses in the impending 496 corridor, the plans were on the public record- so the realtors hands were clean.
    Highways have fundamentally changed life in the U.S. in the last century, and comprise a government building expenditure grander than anything in history of the world- the power behind the push is exampled by the “Project Carryall” plan to use nuclear warheads to build roads in the west– narrowly averted by a nonproliferation treaty with the USSR.

    Swift brought me back to “South of the Border” on I-95 towards Myrtle Beach. I wondered about that place………
    Also, anybody who likes “Route 66” is positively required to read this book. See you where it ends on Santa Monica Pier!

  • pennelk2 5:37 pm on 2015-11-07 Permalink  

  • pennelk2 5:34 pm on 2015-11-07 Permalink  

  • pennelk2 9:23 pm on 2015-10-27 Permalink  

    How many bricks make “The Brickyard” in Indianapolis?
    The answer is on page 27 of “The Big Roads” by Earl Swift.
    Impress your Open Wheel friends this juicy trivia tidbit and more when you read:
    “The untold story of the engineers, visionaries, and trailblazers who created the American Superhighways”

  • pennelk2 9:13 pm on 2015-10-27 Permalink  


  • pennelk2 9:12 pm on 2015-10-27 Permalink  

    I have a general safety class at LCC West and we just covered the h1n1 global flu pandemic of 1918. Scary stuff- I was wondering if it was something cooked up in a chemical warfare lab, but it turns out to be believed to have originated in a burning Kansas manure pile. This drop in population of about 500k in the U.S. alone may have an important effect on my life- grandpa red came over from england in 1920 for the numerous jobs available for strong young men. Turns out- the h1n1 flu killed mostly young adult men because the disease evoked a greater discharge of fluids from healthy lung tissues causing suffocation.
    Red drove Oldsmobile car carriers for Howard Sober Trucking in Lansing before the advent of our modern highway system….

  • pennelk2 2:56 pm on 2015-10-10 Permalink  

    This one is clean and educational:

  • pennelk2 10:28 am on 2015-10-10 Permalink  

    (politically incorrect and bad language very NSFW)

  • pennelk2 10:21 am on 2015-10-10 Permalink  

    Ok- so a corporation is an entity owned by individual shareholders that also exists as a “person” with the right to free speech. As recently determined by the SCOTUS- this free speech can be expressed in the form of very large cash political donations.
    So- if corporations are people clearly being owned by other people- then why doesn’t this violate the 13th amendment?
    I thought that the “corporations are people too” logic bomb was cooked up by bush inc. around 2000, turns out that this is an older way to separate people from being responsible for their actions in business and the consequences for the citizenry.

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