Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Obama may give cities more say-so with federal money; repeats vow to expand rural broadband

How will Barack Obama, the first thoroughly urban president since John F. Kennedy, deal with the often competing interests of urban, suburban and rural areas? Perhaps by giving cities more authority, but making them coordinate more with suburbs. And rural areas should get more high-speed Internet access.

Timothy Farnam reports in The Wall Street Journal that mayors will gather in Washington Monday to ask the administration to "distribute funds directly to cities" rather than through state agencies, which often have disproprtionately rural influences. "Tom Cochran, executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which is organizing Monday's event, said the next administration has signaled that it will coordinate financing for projects for an entire metropolitan area instead of dealing with cities and suburbs separately."

Farnam suggests that Obama owes more to cities and suburbs than to rural areas. Despite his "campaign rhetoric of bridging the country's divides, the 2008 election actually saw a widening in the gap between urban and rural voters, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of the returns. Mr. Obama won 56 percent of the vote in metropolitan areas, up from the 51 percent that voted Democratic in the previous two presidential elections. But he won only 42 percent of votes in exurbs and rural areas, a much-smaller advance over his predecessors." (Read more) To illustrate the point, the Journal ran this map showing county margins in North Carolina, which hadn't voted Democratic for president since 1976.

For rural voters, Obama's most common promise was more access to broadband, and he repeated his focus on that in his Saturday broadcast address. "It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption," he said. "Here, in the country that invented the Internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they’ll get that chance when I’m President – because that’s how we’ll strengthen America’s competitiveness in the world." For Obama's full remarks, click here.

Expanding broadband in many rural areas should be cheaper and easier because the Federal Communications Commission voted, ironically on Election Day, "to open the unused radio airwaves between broadcast TV channels for wireless broadband service," reports David Ho of Cox Newspapers. "Supporters say these airwaves are ideal for broadband because they can penetrate walls and carry more data over greater distances than wi-fi can." Michael Dell, chief executive of Dell Computer, told Ho, "The applications of this spectrum are nearly limitless. There will be more expansive Internet access available in all communities, urban and rural, with laptop computers and other wireless devices." (Read more) Hat tip: Daily Yonder

1 comment:

Vernon Malcolm said...

Now that the anti-science, superstition-based initiative presidency ends, we need several public works science Manhattan projects to make us great again and boost us out of this Grotesque Depression. First we must provide free advertising-based wireless internet to everyone to end land line monopolies. Then we must criscross the land with high speed rail. Because bovine flatulence is the major source of greenhouse gases, we must develop home growable microbes to provide all of our protein. Then we must create microbes which turn our sewage and waste into fuel right at home. This will end energy monopoly by putting fuel in our hands. We must address that most illness starts from behavior, especially from parents. Since paranoid schizophrenia is the cause of racism, bigotry, homelessness, terrorism, ignorance, exploitation and criminality, we must provide put the appropriate medications, like lithium, in the water supply and require dangerous wingnuts who refuse free mental health care to be implanted with drug release devices. CHurches should be licensed to reduce supersition and all clergy dealing with small children should be psychiatrically monitored to prevent molesting. Osama bin Laden and Timothy McVeigh were the ultimate superstition based initiatives. Widen navigation straits (Gibraltar, Suez, Malacca, Danube, Panama and Hellspont) with deep nukes to prevent war. In order to fund this we must nationalize the entire financial, electrical and transportation system and extinguish the silly feudal notion that each industry should be regulated by its peers. Technology mandates a transformation of tax subsidies from feudal forecloseable debt to risk sharing equity. Real estate and insurance, the engines of feudalism, must be brought under the Federal Reserve so we may replace all buildings with hazardous materials to provide public works. Insects, flooding and fire spread asbestos, lead and mold which prematurely disables the disadvantaged. Disposable manufactured housing assures children are not prematurely disabled and disadvantaged. Because feudalism is the threat to progress everywhere, we must abolish large land holdings by farmers, foresters or religions and instead make all such large landholding part of the forest service so our trees may diminish greenhouse gases. We must abolish executive pay and make sure all employees in a company are all paid equally. We must abolish this exploitative idea of trade and monopoly and make every manufactured disposable cottage self sufficient through the microbes we invent.