The Military Budget as Cookies

This excellent animation from TrueMajority shows in graphic detail (using Oreo cookies) how ridiculously, large the military budget is, and how we could solve many domestic problems with a modest 12% cut. A must-see. (watch it now)

How to Not Get
Hit by Cars

An illustrated guide for bicyclists. Might save your life.

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Cheap Airfares

How to find the
Cheapest Airfare

Everything you wanna know.

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Battery Guide

Which battery is best? We cover rechargeable and alkaline batteries to show you what's hot, what's not, and the best way to charge them. (visit now)

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Cleveland rocks with tourist line
by Ken Hoffman, Austin American-Statesman, June 7, 2000
CLEVELAND -- The Waterfront Line of Cleveland's light rail system plays connect-the-dots.
The route begins in the heart of downtown and winds its way 2.2 miles west by the Cuyahoga River and north along the Lake Erie shore.
Passengers hop on and off, visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Great Lakes Science Center, Gund Arena, the Flats restaurant row, the renovated Warehouse District, the new football stadium and the world's biggest rib cook-off.
Three hundred thousand people attended the rib feast last week. When the smoke cleared, former Beatle Ringo Starr performed in concert at the pigout.
The Waterfront Line was built in 1996 to celebrate the city's bicentennial. Cleveland officials didn't even ask for federal money. The Waterfront Line is relatively short and inexpensive, and they wanted it completed before Cleveland's tricentennial.
Sometimes the wheels turn slowly in Washington. Cleveland is seeking federal money for future projects, however. It's easier to sell rail to local taxpayers when Washington kicks in.
The Waterfront Line is one of four light rail paths in Cleveland. Other routes include the ironically less colorful Blue, Green and Red lines, which primarily get commuters to their jobs on time.
The Waterfront Line already has done a lot to ease car and bus traffic in Cleveland's main tourist area. The city is gung-ho on cleaning up its environment. And electric-powered trains send a clear message to visitors.
Thirty years ago, Cleveland became a national laughingstock when the Cuyahoga River caught fire, and fish in Lake Erie were giving each other the Heimlich maneuver.
Now the Cuyahoga is clean and Lake Erie is swimmable. No more "Mistake by the Lake."
My first stop on the Waterfront Line was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, or as they call it around here, the Rock Hall. Admission is $15, but you get $3 off with a Waterfront Line ticket. That's another way Cleveland encourages people to ride rail. Discounts are all over the place in restaurants and museums. Everybody's on the same page.
The Rock Hall has incredible artifacts. They have John Lennon's grade school report card. In another case, preserved under glass, is Bruce Springsteen's notification from his draft board in 1969 that he was 4-F. I'm sure this greatly disappointed the Boss.
He's probably still doing cartwheels.
Nearly every stop on the Waterfront Line drops tourists in front of another attraction, theater or restaurant complex. The areas between stops are considered "opportunity zones."
If that's the case, Houston's proposed train route down Main Street between the Medical Center and downtown, is the Land of Opportunity.
That's the way it happens. Light rail reacts to growth and stimulates more growth.
Tickets are $1.50 for a ride on the Waterfront Line. The cars are so clean you could eat off the floor, except nobody dares drop any crumbs down there. Transit cops regularly patrol the trains, and they're serious about enforcing ordinances against eating, drinking and littering. If you're caught, it's a fourth-degree misdemeanor and a sure $100 fine.
It's been years since there's been any physical crime against a passenger.
The transit police chief told me they enforce the little stuff so they won't have to enforce the big stuff.
I left the Rock Hall and walked down Ninth Avenue to Jacobs Field, which opened in 1995. It's a beautiful downtown ballpark like our Enron Field. There are a couple of differences between the teams, however.
The Indians stunk up the American League for decades before moving into their new park. Now they've won five division titles in a row. Every game ever played in Jacobs Field has been a sellout. The game I attended was packed house No. 396.
The Astros, on the other hand, won three straight titles before moving into Enron and now, well ... we're in last place and there are empty seats.
Sometimes we do things backward.
Sometimes, like when Washington won't send us money to build light rail, we have help doing things backward.
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