Friday, December 30, 2016

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Traffic Lights Cause Car Accidents!

That's the opinion of the Minnesota's Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough in a controversy over local residents' request for a traffic signal at a busy intersection on St. Paul's east side: "He said Ramsey County found that a four-way signalized intersection could actually lead to an increase in the number of crashes because drivers speed up to beat the lights. . . . "A light will not make that intersection safer. It will cause more harm than anything else.” Further information on this interesting situation can be found here.

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If this is indeed true, then why are traffic signals needed at any intersection? The locals feel that the county's logic is being influenced by financial considerations. It's said that a traffic signal at the intersection would cost about $300,000. That's difficult to believe, a third of a million bucks for a traffic signal? Let's see a breakdown of the budget for such a project. In fact, if that were the case, wouldn't the traffic lights in even a mid-size city like St. Paul be worth about a zillion total dollars?

Monday, December 12, 2016

Miami FBI Headquarters

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This building is the headquarters of the Miami office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to the FBI itself:

 Located at 2030 SW 145th Avenue, Miramar, FL, 33027 on a 20 acre site, the new building complex will achieve initial operating capability this week and be fully operational by the start of the new year. Beginning today, the new main line phone number to FBI Miami will be (754) 703-2000. The 330,000 square foot facility can seat more than 1,000 employees and includes surface and enclosed parking for 1,075 vehicles. It is LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environment Design, a green building certification program) certified gold for its interiors and a top-rated platinum for its core and shell. The move consolidates a number of local FBI facilities into one central location that provides FBI Miami employees with a state-of-the-art work place.

Designed by Chicago architecture firm Krueck+Sexton and constructed by Colorado-based Hensel Phelps Construction Co, its cost was said to be $156 million.

Additionally, a $750,000 wood sculpture by  German artist Ursula von Rydingsvard installed in the structure was found to have caused a dozen employees to be hospitalized for allergic reactions. Removing it to Maryland raised the total bill for the artistic end of the project to $1.2 million.

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"Cedrus", the 3/4 million dollar sculpture that became Kryptonite for the FBI.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Each Vote In 2016 Election Cost $13.16

According to these people, Mrs. Bill Clinton and her allies spent $1.2 billion on her failed attempt at winning the presidency and Mr. Donald J. Trump and his supporters spent $600 million to garner the most electoral votes. This site says that the total number of votes cast in the election  were 136,737,920. That means that in aggregate each vote cost $13.16. The individual cost would be slightly larger in view of the small amount spent by fringe candidates like Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, whose votes are included in the total.

Of course the individuals voting didn't receive the money. It was spent on television time, marketing, polls, signage, newspaper ads, etc. A quadrennial  Keynesian fiscal stimulus that goes right to the bottom line of the media, since they don't need to pay the actors.