California Train to Nowhere, Postcards from Hell, and Cancer Treatment

California Train to Nowhere, Postcards from Hell, and Cancer Treatment

Today in the News
June 21, 2011

California Train to Nowhere

CEI has filed a FOIA request request to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), seeking communications and records pertaining to congressional liaison and the Central Valley High-Speed Rail Corridor, dubbed California's "Train to Nowhere."

Policy Analyst Marc Scribner, who filed the request on behalf on CEI, explains why these records are of interest.

"With the recent highly critical reports of both the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office and the Independent Peer Review Group on the questionable future of high-speed rail in California, Californians and the rest of America have many questions that merit answers. The need for increased transparency is even more apparent after the Department of Transportation rejected attempts by the California High-Speed Rail Authority to secure more flexibility in where to construct and operate the first segment.”

 

Postcards from Hell

Foreign Policy recently released their "Postcards From Hell" feature on the worst failed states, according to their "Failed States Index."

Research Associate Will Tew responds to the feature.

"The confusion about failed states in FP’s list comes from its imprecise name. The state didn’t fail in many cases. Most states learn quickly how to extract money from their people, how to use it to finance everything from wars to junkets to bottles of rare cognac (if you happen to be a certain short, round North Korean madman), and how to suppress dissent and discontent. I don’t think FP would call the Third Reich a failed state. However, it’s unlikely they would be comfortable calling Stalin’s regime a success, even considering his industrialization of the USSR. So what, beyond blood and dying, makes all these countries similar? A general disrespect for the individual links each 'failed state.' Economically, property rights are rarely enforced, often with the government perpetrating the most flagrant offenses. Increased state power isn’t the obvious or immediate solution — usually it’s the problem."

 

Cancer Treatment

In The Wall Street Journal this week, Senior Fellow Greg Conko explains why breast cancer patients are anxious for the FDA to allow the drug Avastin onto the market.

"Last year, the FDA began the process of revoking Avastin's approval for breast cancer. Some leading oncologists applauded the decision, arguing that, for the average patient, Avastin doesn't work very well and has significant side effects. Patient advocates and thousands of women who credit their survival to Avastin argue that it's unfair for the FDA to remove one of the few available options for patients diagnosed with terminal cancer. They're right."