May 28, 2008
March of Folly
In 1984, Barbara Tuckman wrote March of Folly. It should be required reading for all wielders of power, you know, incumbents. She talks of "wooden-headedness" (WH), the source of self-deception, playing a remarkably large role in government. What is WH? Well it "consists in assessing a situation in terms of preconceived fixed notions while ignoring or rejecting any contrary signs. It is acting according to wish not the facts...and the refusal to benefit from experience."
And she never met Frank Busalacchi, our Secretary of Transportation, a misnomer if there ever was one. We should call that job "Dispenser of Pork." From 1992-2007 Wisconsin has spent $19.2 billion on highways and a mere $2.2 billion on mass transit. Why? More money flows to campaign coffers from, as I lovingly call them, the "Highway Boys," than from any other source. And, when you couple wooden-headedness with campaign dough, you come up with a plan to expand I-94 by two lanes from Milwaukee to Illinois. 35 miles. Cost? Only $1.9 billion--if all goes well!
This is the dumbest idea put forward by the Doyle administration, from our point of view, but it ensures that he will have quite the bankroll for terms 3, 4, 5 and 6.
Mayor Tom Barrett opposes this boondoggle on grounds it will quash public transit. Will two more lanes permit shorter drive time to Illinois? No. Who says? DOT! Will the two lanes fill up with huge trucks within 24 hours? Yes. Who says? Common sense and experience.(Read the story in JS.)But DOT (DOP) will act on hope not fact; self-interest not experience. The public interest? Forgeddaaboutit.
After incumbents read Tuckman's book, they should be required to watch "The Gods Must be Crazy."
The Clinton Surge: On the 31st, the Rules Committee of the Democratic party will meet in D.C. and be surrounded by Clinton supporters demanding that the Rules Committee change into the Anarchy Committee, discard the rules, and give Hillary Clinton all the Michigan votes in the contest that didn't happen. Yikes! This will be a show. I'll be speaking in New Richmond on Sunday. Plenty to talk about.
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