America, America, Where the Streets Are Paved with Cheese

If you guessed that this headline references An American Tail, the animated epic story of Fivel and his Mousekewitz family, who embark on a dangerous journey from Russia to the States in search of equal parts American Dream and undying love, then congratulations: you've just won a new bridge, carpool lane, or median strip guardrail. Zounds!As part of the old American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (haven't you heard?), President Obama delivered billions (love that B!) of dollars to the states on Tuesday for transportation initiatives. Fun fact: Each state gets to determine how it uses its share of the cash-money. The Times has a state-by-state rundown of underway proposals here as well as this to say:There is nothing monumental in President Obama's plan to revive the economy with a coast-to-coast building spree, no historic New Deal public works. The goal of the stimulus plan was to put people to work quickly, and so states across the country have begun to spend nearly $50 billion on thousands of smaller transportation projects that could employ up to 400,000 people, by the administration's estimates.For some states, this new found right to choose has resulted in quarreling and road blocks. But others are getting down to shovel-ready business. The plan that Maryland has proposed seems to make a good deal of sense. It's opting to fix its existing infrastructure rather than building a bunch of new roads. Maryland's transportation secretary, John D. Porcari, offered this delightful simile (which, in this case, is also kind of a synecdoche) as explanation:"It's like maintaining your car: if you neglect the relatively easy periodic maintenance, you're building up to a very big bill - and eventually replacing it," Mr. Porcari said. "Instead of having one or two or three megaprojects, we have literally dozens and dozens of projects in every corner of the state, which maximizes the ability of local firms to compete for them."I recommend you investigate how your state plans to use the money, just in case your state legislature isn't familiar with something like induced demand syndrome-sometimes called the Atlanta Effect-or another, equally unfortunate folly. At the very least, you can learn how much cheese it takes to pave your street.
via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

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For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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via / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

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The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

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