September 18, 2010

Ron Paul! You need to come speak at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Yesterday, after the faculty meeting, I walked down Bascom Hill, which was extremely well-posted with student activist posters....

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(Enlarge.)

... including this one, which is horrifying for so many reasons...

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"Fast Trains Are Cool." As if the government should provide us with everything, even coolness. Big Brother loves you, and Big Brother will also supply the coolness that's currently missing in your gray little life. Wow! We can go fast. Train go fast. Student not think about who pay for cool fast train. Ride train. Train cool.

I kept walking, down to library mall, where I was accosted by a guy with a clipboard, a sort of campus character I would normally discreetly evade, but he was part of a group of students I'd noticed earlier, telling people it was Constitution Day, and therefore we ought to sign a petition to bring Ron Paul to campus to speak, so I stop...

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... and even sign the petition. He tells me Ron Paul has said that if students collect 1000 signatures, he'll come to the campus to speak. I ask him if he's finding many conservative or libertarian students on this campus. He admits that there don't seem to be too many, but that he does think the students these days are pretty open-minded and interested in hearing different points of view. Is it possible that the new generation of UW students is more flexible and less rigidly committed to left/liberal ideology? He thought so. I asked if I could take his picture, and I got the picture above, and that sparked this convergence...

P1030185

... and I asked if it was okay if I blogged them, and the answer was "Blog?!" as if it were 2004 again. I felt young. Cool. On my own. Without a fast train or a Big Brother. And I'm thinking: Ron Paul! Come to the University of Wisconsin! I need to blog this to help get Ron Paul to the University of Wisconsin to talk to our possibly really open-minded young people before they get swept too far by the empty promises of cool things. Before they get... railroaded.

130 comments:

peter hoh said...

Choo choo trains derail certain minds.

Just like little starbursts and winks derail other minds.

1jpb said...

"I felt young. Cool."

You're neato and not square!

peter hoh said...

And if you want to see a "cool thing" that makes people "feel good" all at taxpayer expense, while enriching a few already rich people, then I've got a stadium to show you.

Almost Ali said...

Hey kids, make love on a real train...

Jake said...

"Bike Paths are Cool!"

Is that better for you Annie?

BTW, when the high speed train is up and running a few years from now will you then blog about how cool it is?

Anthony said...

Are these guys exempt from the Men in Shorts rule?

Jake said...

I do not hear Ann raising any objections to her "Big Brother" bike trails. Why is that?

garage mahal said...

Fast trains are the first step [or first rail] towards that looming NAFTA SUPERHIGHWAY and AMERO currency system Ron Paul is warning us about. Plans are already underway for this dream Socialist Mega-State, to built by murky Spanish Trans nationalists and a secretive cabal within our government.

“Proponents envision a ten-lane colossus the width of several football fields, with freight and rail lines, fiber-optic cable lines, and oil and natural gas pipelines running alongside. … The ultimate goal is not simply a superhighway, but an integrated North American Union - complete with a currency, a cross-national bureaucracy, and virtually borderless travel within the Union.”

1jpb said...

If Althouse really wants to help these folks she should

1)put down the laptop

2)recruit Meade to the cause (presumably not a difficult task)

3)the two of them get that heavy paper, glitter, scissors, paint, and those big pens.

4)produce the most magnificent 'Paul is against stupid wars' sign

5)give the sign to the kids on campus

6)go home and use left of craft supplies to create a 'Mission Accomplished' sign

Pastafarian said...

I haven't seen any poll numbers on this, but just pulling things out of my ass and throwing them on the wall to see if they stick: I'd be willing to bet that a substantial percentage of today's college students, even at U-dub, will become conservative sooner than college students from previous generations; and that fewer of them remain liberal.

There's a natural progression, from idealistic college student to conservative adult. Any man who's not liberal at 20 is heartless, and any man who's still liberal at 40 is brainless, and all that.

But this Obama economy will force these young people to come to terms with unpleasant realities much more quickly than other generations have had to. There are going to be a whole lot of people who voted for Obama in 2008, and will have graduated from college between then and 2012 and will be without a job (or even prospects for one) who will then vote against Obama in 2012, and will probably never return to their adolescent liberalism.

The Crack Emcee said...

I love that last photo:

School's in again, and there are all those young smiling faces, open to everything - Trains! Ron Paul! Photos! Blogs! - before they discover what's really going on.

You gotta love it. (Teaching has to be a rewarding profession.) I envy you for that.

And you probably only keep saying you're old because you spend time with them. 59 ain't old:

Those kids are just young.

HT said...

Seriously, who else can do this? It's eminent domain writ large.

Yes Jake 12:53, my bet is on "yes."

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Oh Lord! The tyranny of trains, travel and transportation! Any government concerned with such things is on the same road to evil as Eisenhower's administration was.

For the love of God, please get a real policy argument.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

"Fast Trains Are Cool." As if the government should provide us with everything, even coolness. Big Brother loves you, and Big Brother will also supply the coolness that's currently missing in your gray little life. Wow!

That seems to have been part of the reason some people voted for The Zero. By attaching ourselves to someone we think is cool, we become cool ourselves.

You saw something similar during the Kennedy Administration.

... and I asked if it was okay if I blogged them, and the answer was "Blog?!" as if it were 2004 again.

You are a technological colossus, Madame, lighting the path for the younger generation.

PS Nice you get involved with campus life. More profs, conlaw or no, should do it.

PatCA said...

Trains are cool!

PIRG is not!

PIRG, Who Funds Your Org?

Bender said...

Yes, that is the answer -- a return to the 19th century!

Streetcars and railroads, where you are allowed to go where the government says you can go, when the government says you can go there, and at the price that government dictates that you pay, meanwhile taking billions of dollars out of the pockets of taxpayers to pay for an infrastructure that imposes a rigid, static system that guarantees the strangling of authentic growth, which requires dynamic freedom of people to decide where and when and how.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I think Pastafarian meant to say:

"Any man who's liberal at 20 is brainless, and any man who's not liberal at 40 is heartless."

Heart and brain, Ladies and Gents. They can only mature one at a time.

1jpb said...

Ritmo,

That guy was a Kenyan anti-colonialist, commie.

Sheesh. Kids just don't know there history anymore. I blame the librul professors, and their railroading ways.

lemondog said...

...but that he does think the students these days are pretty open-minded and interested in hearing different points of view.

Does that mean that he is close to achieving 1000 signatures?


re: Fast Trains Are Cool, AMTRAK is government owned. 'Coolness' aside since most anything government touches becomes corrupted and uncool, it does seem a logical progression to FTAC.

There's a natural progression, from idealistic college student to conservative adult.

Particularly as they struggle to pay off their student loans.

1jpb said...

there, their

whateva

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I have no problem hearing someone argue (as opposed to emoting) that high-speed rail doesn't serve much purpose in a place as depopulated as central Wisconsin.

On the Northeast and in California, OTOH, we sure could use it. Nearby Chicago, as well. Any place with a regional rail system is likely to benefit, and from what I noticed, the Windy City isn't bitching about MetraRail.

There is a cozy medium between short-distance travel in autos and long-distance travel in planes. It might have passed the attention of some, but sitting in congested traffic and maintaining a bloated and overtaxed air travel system do not benefit the country.

But keep on keeping on with the just as mindless sloganeering against it.

Ann Althouse said...

"59 ain't old..."

I'll be 60 in less than 4 months. It's less alarming turning 60 than turning 50 for some reason. When you're younger you really have a distorted idea of what it will be like to be this old. But it is old. I wouldn't say "59 ain't old," I'd say: old isn't bad. There are plenty of things that may happen to you when you are old that are bad, but they are mostly things that can happen when you are young too. The chances may be different, but each of us is an individual, and we're all lucky to be here at all.

Jake said...

Bender, change below to Federal highways and you will realize how stupid you sound...

Bender wrote "where you are allowed to go where the government says you can go, when the government says you can go there, and at the price that government dictates that you pay, meanwhile taking billions of dollars out of the pockets of taxpayers to pay for an infrastructure that imposes a rigid, static system that guarantees the strangling of authentic growth, which requires dynamic freedom of people to decide where and when and how."

Also,

Train stations are usually in highly populated cities. I.e., where a lot of people have already decided to live and work.

AJ Lynch said...

High speed rail...save the whales..big business is corrupt... share the wealth...damn the answers to our problems seemed so much esier when we were young.

wv = unbog [leave Scoland?]

AJ Lynch said...

Patca:
I noticed that [WISPIRG] too. Cripes if the feds eliminated all the big bucks grants that fund these non-profits, how much could we cut spending? I bet by $50 Billion a year easy.

AJ Lynch said...

Jake:
With the way you stalk Althouse re bike paths, you should see a psychiatrist.

Big Mike said...

Train stations are usually in highly populated cities. I.e., where a lot of people have already decided to live and work.

Madison and Milwaukee are "highly populated cities"? Which part of rural Appalachia do you come from?

Ritmo Brasileiro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pastafarian said...

Ritzy, you're alive! Thank FSM (sbuh). I thought The Man got you when you took over the Discovery Channel office buildings a few weeks ago.

Anywho...how do you explain the fact that liberalism is more popular among the young, and yet it doesn't become more popular overall?

Doesn't that indicate that many more people move from liberalism at a young age to conservatism later?

And wouldn't this put your philosophy in the same category as XBox 360, goth fashion, and Lady Gaga?

Big Mike said...

BTW, I was really surprised to see that Wisconsin still has wrestling. I thought that was the first sport to fall to Title IX on every campus. OTOH, the guy doesn't have cauliflower ears, so he probably isn't a wrestler.

Big Mike said...

FWIW, I think that bike paths really are useful, at least when the cyclists actually use them and stay off the roads.

Cleaning blood off the fenders is a pain in the butt, not to mention cleaning body parts and miscellaneous bike parts out of your grill.

Michael said...

Man that high speed train is going to be so great. You can drive to the station on one end and buy your ticket and wait for the train. Just like in Europe. Then you can ride on the train which will go at very high speeds, perhaps over one hundred miles per hour. Perhaps you will enjoy a latte on the train, the high speed train, just like a European would do. Then when you arrive at the other end you can just jump in a cab to go where you want to go. Your friends who decided to drive will be at your destination when you arrive but they will not have had the ultra cool, European, experience of riding a high speed train.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I dunno, Pasta. I think we are being too generation-specific, ourselves, with these ideas. Younger people these days are more conservative than older cohorts on a whole host of things. That seems to be, after all, exactly what Althouse is hoping to be the case in the post.

As has been observed, there are 40-year cycles representing political shifts. I think this makes sense. One generation is politically aligned in a direction different from the one that preceded it, and vice versa.

I just think it's short-sighted to focus on this being an age-related phenomenon. Younger people are more idealistic, but they might be just as idealistically conservative as idealistically liberal. It's generations that change one from the other moreso than age categories.

Fred4Pres said...

Talking of Ron Paul, he has something in common with an up and comer:

"But the national electoral dynamic this year isn’t about O’Donnell; it’s about changing course. And in making their choice, the Republican voters in Delaware showed a perfect comprehension many senior conservatives haven’t. A vote for Mike Castle was, in fact, a vote for the status quo. The voters knew what they were voting for — and many of them would have said that the kind of strategic voting urged on them by pundits and political professionals is exactly what has produced the status quo."

What O'Donnell really represents

We have seen this before, with Ron Paul and Ross Perot. I recognize Christine is not a committed libertarian fiscal conservative like Ron Paul, but she definitely has more in common with Paul than Mike Castle. And because Christine is not in a presidential race, she has a shot.

SMGalbraith said...

Neat picture.

In China, the Poltiburo orders those fast trains and they're delivered in 48 hours.

My Friedman impersonation.

Tom, not Milton.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

This is where I got the idea of 40-year shifts, (from that author, anyway... I'm not sure if his book goes into that detail.

But it's obvious. If you look at 1968 - 2008, 1928 - 1968, and 1888 - 1928, each one was dominated by one party, at least when it comes to 7 out of 10 of those presidential administrations.

Pastafarian said...

Ritzy, I'll have to get some demographics to back this up, rather than pulling it out of my butt, but I'm willing to bet that:

The percentage of people who self-identify as liberal is, and always has been, higher among 18-to-24 year olds than it is among, say, 36-to-42 year olds.

And yet you can't blame this on an overall shift of society because the overall percentage of self-identifying liberals remains fairly constant (with periodic fluctuations, but always hovering around the same number).

Let's assume that the numbers bear out this conventional wisdom. Why do you suppose that this would be true, that younger people are more liberal?

If by idealism you mean "a lack of experience in the real world", then I guess I'd agree with you. And this doesn't really cast liberalism in the best light, does it?

somefeller said...

Doesn't that indicate that many more people move from liberalism at a young age to conservatism later?

Partially. It also can indicate that, at least on some issues, today's conservatism is often yesterday's liberalism. Also, different generations have different political outlooks, even in their youth. For example, members of Generation X (the generation after the baby boomers, not Billy Idol's old band) tended to be more conservative / pro-GOP in their youth than the generation that has come after them. More than a few GOP analysts have expressed concern about how people under 30 are more liberal / pro-Democratic than their predecessors were at the same age.

AJ Lynch said...

SM Galbraith:
That was funny. In fact, mocking Tom Friedman should be a high growth industry. I wish I could buy stock in it.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

But you're picking and choosing which of my ideas you'll use to further your own argument, and which you won't.

I'm sure there are generic shifts over the course of one's lifetime, but the larger shifts from generation to generation matter more.

What it means to be "liberal" or "conservative" changes, as well.

And I also disagree with the over-simplified generalization that younger people are stupider and more caring than older people. Less experienced, ok. But I don't see why age is seen as always making someone wiser. It can make people stodgy, uncreative and incapable of dealing with new challenges. I also hate the idea that age necessarily makes people less caring. I don't think it does.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

What somefeller said.

ndspinelli said...

Of course the students of 2010 are more open minded and less likely to follow the lemming path to socialism. We baby boomers reacted to our parents more conservative leanings by steering left. Our kids see wide-eyed liberalism for what it is and many reject it and steer right. They have to keep their mouths shut in class w/ the overwhelming majority of liberal teachers and profs. But, that just helps solidify their belief that they have to think for themselves. I have been optimistic about whatever we call this generation that is currently matriculating. As I've said previously, they may cut us off of social security, but in some ways I could abide that.

info said...

Did you tell them they will soon have to buy insurance they don't want or there are no jobsfor them...thanks in part to your "cool" vote?

James said...

Nah, they can stay on their parents' insurance plans until they are 26...of course they will also still be living in their parents' basements.

Pastafarian said...

Somefeller, Ritzy -- that's a good point: There are quite a few people who now call themselves conservative and once called themselves liberals not because they've changed, but because the philosophies have.

They didn't leave the Democrat party, it left them. Our hostess would probably be included in this group, although I've never heard her say as much.

But does this mean...in 20 years, you'll vote for a Republican?

somefeller said...

There are quite a few people who now call themselves conservative and once called themselves liberals not because they've changed, but because the philosophies have.

The same is true for people on both sides. There was no shortage of former Republicans voting for Obama, and more than a few people who considered themselves libertarian/moderate Republicans in the 80s and 90s no longer do so. It's silly and vain to suggest that the changes over time only go in one direction.

As far as me voting for the GOP in 20 years, we'll see. In the early to mid 90s I was a (socially liberal/libertarian) Republican and was pretty active in GOP/Federalist Society circles. It probably wouldn't take too much effort for me to get back in the game on that side of the line, I know enough people to do so. If the GOP is 2030 looks like the GOP of people like David Frum or David Brooks, maybe. If it's the GOP of Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh, not a chance.

1jpb said...

Y'all may scoff at Jake, but it's not just cool trains that motivate the Kenyan anticolonialist commies:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is warning voters that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's policies, particularly his efforts to boost bike riding, are "converting Denver into a United Nations community."

"This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed," Maes told about 50 supporters who showed up at a campaign rally last week in Centennial.

Maes said in a later interview that he once thought the mayor's efforts to promote cycling and other environmental initiatives were harmless and well-meaning. Now he realizes "that's exactly the attitude they want you to have."

"This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms," Maes said.


We're on to you Althouse.

edutcher said...

Bender said...

Yes, that is the answer -- a return to the 19th century!

Streetcars and railroads, where you are allowed to go where the government says you can go, when the government says you can go there, and at the price that government dictates that you pay, meanwhile taking billions of dollars out of the pockets of taxpayers to pay for an infrastructure that imposes a rigid, static system that guarantees the strangling of authentic growth, which requires dynamic freedom of people to decide where and when and how.


Nice diatribe, but once people got off the train or streetcar, they walked; people weren't as wussy about walking back then. And trains and streetcars went a lot more places, also.

HT said...

There is no Democrat Party

mesquito said...

We have an even faster system of public transportation that uses airplanes. Somehow that's not cool. Probably because it's not run bt the government. Nor is it compulsory.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Mesquito seems unaware of the fact that commercial air travel originated with the government, as well.

Come on, guys. Let's try to get a single argument through accurately.

mesquito said...

There was commercial airline travel before 1937, Genius.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

So, you're referring to air travel before it was sufficiently widespread and developed to be called "public transportation", right?

But that's not what your comment said, Genius.

Michael Haz said...

Ron Paul ride spaceship. Ron Paul cool. Ron Paul like legal weed.

ricpic said...

"I'll be 60 in four months...it is old."

Ha ha. I'm way past 60. Am I old? Same highs, same lows, same particular problems that go with my particular personality as 20 or 40 years ago. Same energy thrown away on neurotic deadends, same energy when focused and directed positively. Possibly less tolerance for my own bullshit. What is old? I don't know.

ricpic said...

Why couldn't high speed rail work as well in the Boston - New York - Washington corridor here as it works in the Paris - Lyon - Marseilles corridor in France?

Michael said...

ricpic: Why do you think our Boston to D.C. trains are inferior to the French? Not very cheap, rotten rail bed, dated cars, surly employees, nasty terminals, slowish (see road bed comment). Fix those things and add latte and, voila, you will be in transportation France!! We have very good ridership in the NE corridor but the problems listed above are limiting.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

The Acela doesn't have a dedicated line and, therefore, only travels at speeds in excess of 150 mph (thereby erroneously qualifying it as "high speed") for very short stretches of track.

But make no mistake. If the political clout were available for a true high-speed line from Boston to Washington, it would happen. The Acela, as shitty as it is when compared to French or Japanese mag-lev lines, has the demand - if not the right cost, service or speed.

In the meantime, the cognoscenti will stick to Bolt Bus. A relative study in sloth and antiquity compared to what we could have, but a step up nonetheless. At least for the squares among us.

El Pollo Real said...

Ritmo said: Any government concerned with such things is on the same road to evil as Eisenhower's administration was.

As you apparently know, Eisenhower specifically hastened the demise of rail, so while you may be correct in general, you're wrong about trains.

I frequently ride the Coaster commuter train in San Diego county and have since 1998 or so. Some of the most loyal riders are government employees who get ridership subsidy. Imagine that

TosaGuy said...

Perhaps they should make college hard so there would be less time for drinking, spending money along State Street and faux activism.

Maguro said...

The main reason high speed rail can't work here like it does in Japan is that our rail lines are already being used for freight. Laying new, dedicated track for passenger rail would be prohibitively expensive and politically problematic due to NIMBY-driven lawsuits and such.

dbp said...

I've considered Acela when traveling from Boston to DC or NYC. Each time I check, it is the same thing: Flying is faster and cheaper to DC. As for NYC, the car is faster, cheaper and way more convenient.

For NYC, the equation might change if I lived right in Boston rather than the suburbs and if my business was right in the city rather than (as it always has been) out in the suburbs.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Well, obviously not everyone prefers six hours of driving or an hour preflight check-in time with metal detectors and shoeless body scans to other modes, Mr. Pecchia. I don't think I'd prefer Acela to the Bolt Bus, but something substantially faster and more convenient would do the trick.

As it stands, Amtrak is being propped up by the profitability of Acela. Make it faster and more convenient and I certainly don't think that demand goes away. Ridership on Bolt is young (if you're into looking at trends and all that) and I'd be willing to bet that the bulk of us would be no less inclined to take a true high-speed line. Acela seems structured to the commuting needs of rich jerky businessman types, but I don't see why they or a true high-speed line couldn't find a service-cost structure that works more broadly.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I'm not that familiar with metropolitan public transportation in SoCal, but surely you're familiar with this, Chicklet.

I don't think it's going away. Distances between major urban centers of less than 600 miles (an hour flight) and greater than 60 miles (an hour driving) will surely benefit from a high-speed line.

Magnetic levitation works at speeds of up to and greater than 300 mph. I dare you to tell me that this technology wouldn't take a substantial chunk of business away from all the SEPTA and NJ transit routes from Philadelphia to Penn Station, and then add some. A lot. Who wants to drive two hours over a congested megalopolitan corridor when a twenty-minute trip between two major cities on the East coast could wisp you right past all the traffic on the Lincoln Tunnel and GWB?

If you build it they will come.

Michael said...

Ritmo: The problem with trains in the U.S. is that the city centers are not necessarily the destination of the riders. Thus a 60 mile trip might beat the time to make it in a car, one still has to get to and from the stations on both ends, parking on at least one, etc. The train proponents are generally more interested in having people alter their lifestyles, move from the suburbs to a denser urban area, morph into Europeans. Won't work here except in the noted areas and only then with a huge revamping of roadbed and capital equipment. And since it doesn't pencil financially the folks in Wyoming are going to have to chip in so that the cool trains can run.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Following the implosion of the McMansion craze (another irresponsible installment of the Boomers' ongoing contributions to America), life in cities is looking more and more attractive. For anyone who somehow finds the all the retail, cultural and historical attractions of Philadelphia, Boston, D.C. or Manhattan somehow inadequate, there are tons of car rental agencies willing to contribute to the day-to-day demands of your day tripping needs.

Contrary to 60 years of bad planning marketed to you by political and cultural luddites, cities are not becoming obsolete.

AJ Lynch said...

Ritmo:
Your example suggest everyrider lives near the high speed station in Phila or NY to benefit from your 20 minute train ride fantasy.

Most big city area residents would have at least a 30 minute to one hour commute to get to your fantasy high speed station. So they won't save as much time versus driving between the two cities.

Big Mike said...

Funny you should mention that, Ritmo. Just up the road a piece, the voters in DC had an opportunity to continue the educational reforms begun by Adrian Fenty and Michelle Rhee. They chose instead to revert to the status quo ante, meaning kids graduating high school unable to read and write.

I wouldn't move into the city of Washington; I don't hate my kids enough.

AJ Lynch said...

Ritmo said:

"As it stands, Amtrak is being propped up by the profitability of Acela. "

I doubt AMTRAK tracks profit & loss by product line. I do know that Amtrak gets a subsidy from the govt that comes out to more than $50 for each paying passenger. I am skeptical that even the most creative accountant known to man [Trooper York] could make a case that the Acela makes a profit.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

The fact that you contributed your genes to them demonstrated hatred enough, Big Mike. ;-)

I kid. I kid.

Anyways, what does education have to do with any of this? We're talking about transportation and planning needs. The more people who care about education that live in cities, the more demand there will be on improving public education there.

But as all of us autodidacts know, the idea that the teacher and learning environment are more important than the kid's basic faculties, inherent motivation and his family's emphasis on learning, is one of the biggest conceits of them all.

Any politician who says otherwise is a giant douchebag. Which must be why they all do.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

"The Acela Express is one of the few Amtrak lines to operate at a profit; the two train lines generate more than half of Amtrak's total revenue."

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

A.J., you just made an incredibly strange argument for placing a highway or airport right next to everyone's home.

People figure in the time it takes to reach a station when it comes to long distance travel. And for air travel, again... Why does the hour to two-hour check-in get chopped off from your analysis? Talk about an annoying chunk of transit time, not to mention the security hassle. Some of us would rather spend a half-hour productively reaching a station than wandering around aimlessly in an airport. Either way, the time issue in itself does not work out in your favor.

AJ Lynch said...

Ritmo:
I can drive to NYC in two hours. It would take me an hour by public transit to get to your central Phila hi-speed station. So your high speed line does not save me time and it won't save many others any time when compared to driving.

Got it?

AJ Lynch said...

And Wikipedia is not a real credible source to support your claim that the Acela is profitable.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

It will, however, save you the hassle of a pressure ulcer forming on your butt and the boredom of not being able to read or do something more productive in the meantime.

I grew up in Detroit. IMO, driving was meant to be fun. When you go cross-country on a scenic road trip: Fun. When you go from Philly to NYC, not usually as fun. Sometimes, yes. But most of us take that route for the utility of having to do so. Not because we have nothing better to do than to listen to a fracking radio station on the New Jersey Turnpike for a couple hours on a Saturday.

And they can do much better than an hour. If we were ever progressive enough to get the real deal, the mag-lev tracks, that would go 300 mph. You can't be serious when you tell me that a 20 minute trip from NY to Philly wouldn't massively increase use of that route (and many, many others) by any mode of travel.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

The cite (which is all that matters) is from Amtrak itself. If you disbelieve it, cite a credible rebuttal. Deciding to just not believe a citation just because, and without any evidence to the contrary, is a way to nitpick, not to take part in a productive conversation or determine the truth of an issue.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bender said...

Of course, you are lucky if the train is even running.

If it is the wrong time of night, screw you, train's not running.

If it has snowed and there is too much snow on the tracks, screw you, train's not running.

If it has rained, and the water has gotten into the wiring, screw you, train's not running.

If it is too hot, and the rails have started to warp, screw you, train's not running.

If the facilities at the platform are out-of-order, like elevators or escalators, screw you, station is closed.

If the unionized government employee who is operating the train or the station wants to take his damn sweet time, screw you, the train will get there whenever the hell he decides, not you.

To hell with you, the traveler. You want to go somewhere? Too damn bad. Instead you will go nowhere. You will be stuck at home or you will be stranded away from home.

You are at the mercy of the government.

And if you prefer the FREEDOM to go where you want when you want and how you want, it is you who will be called stupid.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

When I drive through the slow tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike, my very first thought is how free from government I am.

Well actually, it isn't. But I have a feeling this is what A.J. wants me to think.

Bender said...

DETROIT!!

And then if you have a city that desparately wants to die, that has people running for their lives out of that hell-hole, you will still be pumping ZILLIONS of dollars into that abyss because you have built up all of that infrastructure there. You will attempt "renaissance" after renaissance trying to bring the city back, when all it wants to do, and all it would do if nature were allowed to take its course, is die.

People and groups of people who congregate into communities are dynamic, they move to one area, that area grows for a while, then people move away to somewhere else. Like a living organism, there is a birth, growth, a period of stability, and then decline and then death. But not if you've built up all these railroad boondoggles to that place. Then you are stuck. Then you will be forced to go bankrupt trying to keep that zombie on life-support, all because that's where the rail lines go. Money that would be better spent by the people themselves being allowed to live and travel where they wanted when they wanted.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

The whole reason Detroit died in the first place is that it was unable to recover from the riots and white flight of the 1960s.

Every other city recovered. Wonder why? (Of course you don't, but I'll tell you anyway). Every other city had a system of PUBLIC transportation linking the core city to the suburbs and therefore lacked the option of getting two ethnically, geographically and financially stratified populations from writing each other off and giving each other the finger. The suburbs prospered, until the engineers working for the Big Three realized that Toyota and Honda could do a much better job than their bosses were willing to do. After all, why would American auto companies care about making something with global appeal that can be exported abroad when they've got a bunch of short-term thinking idiots who will drive up profits on SUVs long enough until the next Middle Eastern war comes around?

OTOH, if it weren't for Detroit, you wouldn't have had the "Automobile as a Statement of Lifestyle" political ethic that A.J. and the others here are clinging to. Detroit set the standard for a world-class product and the envy of the world - from about 1950 to 1967. Afterward, not so much. But we've been over that.

So in other words, go bend your head out from the inside of your anus and get a clue, Bender. Life is sometimes more complex than you know or care to know. Or stay bent. Your choice.

former law student said...

As if the government should provide us with everything,

Well, if if Wisconsinites have a choice between high speed rail and more lawyers I'd pick the trains.

Why not close down UWis law school and let the free market provide whatever lawyers people feel they need?

former law student said...

since most anything government touches becomes corrupted and uncool

To avoid being corrupted and stigmatized as uncool, Althouse must in good conscience reject the portion of her pay that represents sums extorted from the populace by the power of the State of Wisconsin.

former law student said...

There was commercial airline travel before 1937, Genius.

Early airlines relied on government mail contracts for survival.

garage mahal said...

Madison and Milwaukee are "highly populated cities"? Which part of rural Appalachia do you come from?

Milwaukee Five-County Metro Area: 1.7 million

Dane County 491,357

Big Mike said...

Early airlines relied on government mail contracts for survival.

Quite right, but so what?

At least the airlines were providing a useful service; high speed rail between Milwaukee and Madison will be mostly empty trains moving across the countryside at taxpayer expense.

Big Mike said...

@garage, are you attempting to assert that those population densities are sufficient to support high speed rail?

AJ Lynch said...

Ritmo- you have no evidence that Acela makes a profit. Just because Amtral claimed it somewhere. Show me where you saw it.

Jake said...

If Althouse had any ethics she would reject 90% of her government funded salary given that she seems to be on a constant vacation.

Maybe government would work better if there were not freeloaders and abusers like Ann?

dbp said...

If I lived right next to South Station in Boston and had business in Penn Station NYC, Acela can get me there in 3 1/2 to 4 hours at a cost of $95. I can drive there in 4:10 at a cost of $30.

In reality, I don't live next to South Station (most people in the Boston area don't either) and it is highly unlikely that I would need to be in the exact vicinity of Penn Station either. It takes me 45 minutes to drive to South Station and one would have to add some time at the NYC end as well.

Bottom line: It costs more and takes more time. This is especially true for leisure travel. If my family of 5 (or 7 if the in-laws come)were to travel by train, it would be $95 each, as compared to the same $30 for gas as if I was driving alone.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

I have no idea what "Amtral" is but I know what "Amtrack's" statements are regarding their own operating expenses and revenues.

Where is the evidence for your claim that they are wrong? Oh, that's right. You have none.

Most people don't find that a lack of evidence is made more credible by mere paranoia. If you want to disbelieve Amtrack, go ahead and disbelieve Amtrack.

But don't expect me or anyone else who doesn't receive regular indoctrination by anti-government propagandists to think this is a credible way to discuss something.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Pecchia: If you don't like Acela, don't take Acela. I don't think I would like it or find it all that advantageous myself, all things considered. (I've taken it once). But Amtrack's got the numbers to prove that you're not the only potential customer - or at least, one would think they do were it not for a lone, anonymous web commenter with the avatar of Eric Cartman who takes exception to that for no reason other than his own, personal incredulity.

From what I remember, there seem to be a lot of executives who don't mind taking a high-speed rail line from Southern Connecticut to the Big Apple or Northern New Jersey. Given the amount of other things you can do while sitting in a train than driving through the traffic, I don't find that all that surprising. But perhaps you must be a more productive businessman than any of them. Perhaps you have the sort of business that can stand 8 hours of idle time.

MadisonMan said...

Obama economy

I call the unfinished hotel at Regent/Monroe/Bike Path the Obama Economy Hotel. But lately I've noticed activity there -- placards inside requesting job applicants, etc., so maybe things are moving.

Still a very ugly building however. I keep hoping (in vain, I think) that they'll finish off the exterior and make it look nice.

AJ Lynch said...

Ritmo:

Yes I had a typo and spelled it Amtral [the l is next to the k on the keyboard].

But you stupid fuck, it's spelled Amtrak not Amtrack!

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Good. All the more reason for you to know how their "true" ledger sheet reads, Cartman.

Big Mike said...

You're right, AJ, but how about taking a chill pill?

Ritmo is hung up on the notion that everybody should live in big cities and that money is infinite, ergo we ought to build high speed rail because despite however much money we need to spend to do the the other things that will need doing, there's always enough for boondoggles.

Of course, if all us suburbanites move into the cities and do without things like lawns and shrubs in favor of crime and incompetent government services, then where would the poor folks go? The Ritmos of the world don't want to answer that.

Personally, I'd rate the need for an all-weather bridge from downtown Ketchikan, AK, to its airport on Gravina island well ahead of high speed rail from Milwaukee to Madison, but that's just me.

dbp said...

My point is that for most people, the train is useless. Here in the NE is the best place in the country for trains and they cannot compete with cars and roads. The thought that a Madison to Milwaukee train is anything other than a wasteful use of resources is crazy.

And yes, it is true that people do ride these things. Who knows why? Maybe their employer subsidizes it, or they don't own a car. sometimes it actually makes sense to ride in terms of pure Dollars: I took the commuter train into Boston back when I lived walking distance to a station, the train stop was a few blocks from the medical center and a one month pass cost about the same as a month's parking in the city. So, sometimes it works. The problem is that it never works for enough people to make the system efficient.

Southern CT riders are commuters. Essentially the train allows these fat cats to live even further away from Manhattan than they could if they had to drive through that crazy traffic. Do you think Madison will become effectively a suburb of Milwaukee or vice-versa if only there was a train?

Big Mike said...

A friend of mine once described his sailboat as a hole in the ocean you shovel money into. Regardless of whether high speed rail in the Boston-Washington corridor makes a profit, there is no way that high speed rail between Milwaukee and Madison will ever be anything but an endless money pit.

Acela from Washington to New York, or vice versa, makes sense for the business traveler. Factoring in the time to get to the airport, go through TSA, and get from the other airport to downtown, you're time ahead -- and money ahead as well. But the cities in the Boston to Washington corridor are large and relatively close together, and there are no mountains to cross or significant changes in elevation to deal with. That doesn't hold anywhere else in the US. You might get rail travel from New York to Chicago down to six or eight hours following the old New York Central "water level route," but why bother when air travel is only about two hours?

Ralph L said...

I'm sure Acela makes more money for AMTRAK than it costs to operate. You just have to ignore the train purchases and integration costs.

Are these guys exempt from the Men in Shorts rule?
It helps if you're good looking and have a nice rack. What's with the pigeon-toed guy?

I rode the train last month for the first time in 35 years. I walked 5 minutes to the station (in what was an 1855 NC Railroad shop building) across the tracks from my grandmother's birthplace (now the middle of Webb Avenue). The trip to Alexandria was supposed to take 7 hours but took 9. I drive it in 4 and a half, including stops.

former law student said...

Maybe government would work better if there were not freeloaders and abusers like Ann?

I'm sure the professor puts in a full day's work for a full day's pay. The question is the comparative utility of a production operator like Althouse in a government-operated factory that produces lawyers.

Chip Ahoy said...

frequently ride the Coaster commuter train in San Diego county

Now there's an idea for you, one I would support whole-heartedly. Roller coaster trains. It would make commuting a thrill a minute. Yay!

AJ Lynch said...

Big Mike:

Chill out? How about you butt out? Nitwit Ritmo points out I misspelled Amtrak as Amtral then he shows he thinks the correct spelling is Amtrack! Do you know I won a spelling bee in 4th grade by spellling antidisestablishmentarianism? Heh. And Ritmo is still a dumb fuck. Not sure why I even respond to his crap.

HT said...

I've taken Amtrak probably six times in six months. The long hauls. 18 hours on paper. Up to 24 in reality. I feel like I've said this before, but when it's good, it's great. Yes, it's expensive - I get a sleeper. But it's pleasant. I enjoy the journey and meeting people and just relaxing. My nerves can no longer take regular plane travel.

When Amtrak is bad, it's the pits of the world. And all that Amtrak hatred comes out. I hear that it's because of the sharing of the tracks. One time this winter a train ahead of us (freight) derailed, and we all had to be bused in the rest of the way. It was awful. Our bus driver wanted to stop for food, but I said HELL no.

That's when it feels like you are a participant in Amazing race. Except there's no amazement and there's certainly no speed.

Kirk Parker said...

garage,

Ahem. 1.7 million people spread out over 5 counties is not dense.

AJ Lynch said...

Kirk:
Garage is a true believer. He will probably make a multi-million dollar donation to the mass transit doofus fund in Wisconsin.

dick said...

So, Ritmo, you think the trains are a good defense against invasion and foreign attack then. That was the original purpose of the interstate highway system. Good to know.

roesch-voltaire said...

I am old enough to have been a part-time agent for the old North Shore line between Milwaukee and Chicago, which did okay until the link between the Edens and the loop was built. And as noted by many here the interstate combined with cheap air fare pushed out the trains. But with years, I have discovered history has a way of cycling. Given all the delays I've put up with in the Minneapolis air port, thanks to Delta, I found taking the train back to Madison faster. And these days I find taking the bus to Chicago easier, and cheaper than driving and parking. I won't go on about how I find the TVG cool, or how fast and efficient the Shinkansen train makes traveling in Japan because of course that is "other" than the American experience, but clearly fast trains have a future here. And I think students, especially those who have studied abroad, are aware that our infrastructure and modes of transportation are out-dated, whether they identify as conservative or liberal. What they find cool is the challenge to make it better.

Titus said...

As someone who has been on many high speed trains I think they are kind of cool. They are fast (vroom, vroom) kind of sleek and remind me of a really hot hard hog.

I love it when they insert/probe into a tunnel going so fast. So hot, so sexual, so stimulating.

Now on the East Coast and many other fab congested Euro cities they make perfect sense. It is better than taking a plane in many cases.

Madison to Milwaukee...please. First, not fab and second, why?

It is Monroe Cheese Fest Days this weekend and something called weird name festival in Wisconsin Dells.

I went to Cimarollis in Portage, by my parents cottage this weekend. The place was hopping.
The place opens at 4:00 and by 4:30 there is a 30 minute wait.

My parents have a cottage on Lake Delton, a home in Arizona, a ranch in Montana, a hunting lodge in Bruce Wisconsin a farm in Lodi, Wisconsin, a home in Waunakee Wisconsin and 12 apartments in Middleton. They also have 5 gravel pits where my pop gets around 100k a year from gravel taken out of these "pits". I shoveled gravel with him this weekend. We put it in my moms rock garden at the cottage on Lake Delton. He told me I was a good "wheel barrel man". He loves gravel. I also fished and got a crappie and 2 perch and 4 blue gill and a walleye and we ate them for dindin-they were fab. The bait was just your old fashioned night crawlers. The rare clumbers were going crazy when I showed them the fisheys.

Tits.

Titus said...

I hope none of those "bike Paths" Meadsy pooh is using are government or state parks because if it is it would be very commie, alarming and upsetting.

Start your own bike paths!

garage mahal said...

garage,

Ahem. 1.7 million people spread out over 5 counties is not dense.


I googled the pop of Mlke and that figure was right there and I thought it was appropriate. I don't know, it took me an hour to drive 5.6 miles home from the Badger game today, about the same time I could have rode a nice zoomy train back from a Brewer game 77 miles away in about the same amount of time. Doyle, Walker, and everyone in the legislature are all want to ink a minimum 1 billion, 1 lane widening, 50 mile swath of highway between Madison and the IL border, without a blink of any eye. Why not a train instead?

HT said...

Ugh. The road builders are the worst Garage. There's a radio station here (fox) who advertises, "The longer your commute, the smarter they are." and they do not give a flying eff that long commutes are stupid.

Byrd has ruined w va with his roads.

Ralph L said...

He told me I was a good "wheel barrel man"
I hope he said "wheelbarrow," or have you gotten fat since you got hitched?

AST said...

Yeah, they're cool. For a while. Then you notice that they're dirty and not really all that convenient, and they cost a lot, not including what other taxpayers are chipping in for your cool ride.

Why don't all the people who want one take up a collection to build and operate one. Maybe that would demonstrate how cool--and feasible--it really is.

But you know what would be even cooler? Air cars! Everybody should have one, and the government should provide them!

Cue Donald Fagen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqUU-GCuppo

former law student said...

Why don't all the people who want one take up a collection to build and operate one.

I felt the same way about the Iraq invasion. Instead, my ggrandchildren will be paying that off.

HDHouse said...

Ann Althouse said:
"Ron Paul to the University of Wisconsin to talk to our possibly really open-minded young people before they get swept too far by the empty promises of cool things. Before they get... railroaded."

I gather being "sold down the river" is preferable to being railroaded nes pas?

Michael said...

FLS: The Iraq was cost a tiny fraction of the current deficit. The "stimulus" comes to mind when worthless causes are tallied up.

LucienNicholson said...

Where can I sign? Really.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Here in the NE is the best place in the country for trains and they cannot compete with cars and roads.

Not at an average speed of 80 mph, Don. And that's just the Acela, which is profitable.

True high speed velocities are triple to quadruple that speed. If this is truly how you feel, please admit to me you think that traveling the same distance you drive or Acela goes in 1/3 to 1/4 the time is a wasted ploy for those of us heavily utilizing the Northeast corridor. I don't think it is, but that seems to be what you're driving at.

kentuckyliz said...

The most hot-heated upset customers on the Amtrak are the young Greens who think they're being really environmental and cool...

...and they don't know yet that Amtrak arrival and departure times have a margin of error of plus or minus 24 hours.

That's why the poster doesn't say "Trains Are Cool"

Here, I have a petition for you to sign. End Women's Suffrage! Surely you want to put a stop to women's suffrage, don't you?

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

Dont blame HD, blame the guy he copied talking points from.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...

Oh well. Now the Kentuckians are weighing in on the timeliness of train schedules. Such an advanced people, those from Kentucky. All of us in the Northeast should just sit down and shut up and take pointers on where the advances in transportation are going from those in Daniel Boone country. AKA the place whose other most famous son is Larry Flynt.

Q. What do you call a guy with his hands up a horse's ass?

A. An Amish mechanic.

former law student said...

The Iraq was cost a tiny fraction of the current deficit.

Tell it to Stiglitz.

The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict by Linda J. Bilmes (Author)and Joseph E. Stiglitz, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics.)

The Crack Emcee said...

"Joseph E. Stiglitz, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics."

So was that fool, Paul Krugman. He was also an "Enron Adviser", as James Taranto likes to remind us.

So was Al Gore - for global warming.

The Nobel Prize doesn't mean shit.

Michael said...

Fls: No, you tell it to Stigliz. Have a conversation with him and return and tell US what "the true" means when lefty Nobel Prize winners make up and selectively use numbers to make their points.

He could probably give you "the true" costs of cool high speed trains that you would find very appealing.

shoutingthomas said...

All of us in the Northeast should just sit down and shut up and take pointers on where the advances in transportation are going from those in Daniel Boone country. AKA the place whose other most famous son is Larry Flynt.

Oh Jesus, Stupid Ritmo! You're making a complete ass out of yourself again.

I will never refer to you without inserting Stupid before your name.

Once again, you have brought new meaning and depth to the term "stupid."

Stupid Ritmo! New and improved Stupidity!

You keep getting stupider, Ritmo. I'd ask you how you do it, but of course you're too stupid to know.

C R Krieger said...

Here at UMass Lowell Mass PRIG has the same "Train Poster".  The problem is that here in the US we are NOT talking "High Speed Rail" or, what would be better, rail even faster than the current European and Asian (real) High Speed Rail.  Government incentives to build real High Speed Rail wouldn't bother me.  That is how the transcontinental railroads were built.  But, pouring taxpayer money into a second rate rail program does bother me, a lot.

Regards  &mash;  Cliff

traditionalguy said...

Considering the location of Wisconsin, the real cool way to travel would be a new invention called High Speed River Boats to the great metropolises of St Louis, Kansas City, Memphis, and New Orleans with branch lines to serve Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and Louisville. These really cool new ideas are proof of the progressive minds in the political establishment

Kirk Parker said...

Garage,

Seriously, what's up with your comprehension? You and I disagree on lots and lots of issues, but at least you're usually coherent.

I did not dispute your figure as being a reasonable approximation of the current population of the greater greater Milwaukee area. What I disagreed with was your characterization of that as dense. Try NYC dense, Boston dense, DC dense--what you've got in WI is a whole order of magnitude less, a difference big enough to swallow oceans of expensive subsidies forever.

Sofa King said...

I just don't get why trains are so expensive.

The proposed Milwaukee-Madison rail connection would use normal railroad technologies. That means gravel grade, wooden ties, and steel rail, technology that hasn't materially advanced in 100 years, and can be created today with a fraction of the labor cost, and cheaper materials as well. Rail lines should be much cheaper than highways. Yet, to run steel rails from Milwaukee to Madison, a scant 70 miles of grade, tie, and rail, the government plans to spend $800 million.

$800 million! That's more than $10 million a mile! That's more than the entire transcontinental railroad cost, adjusted for inflation! That's more than the Hoover Dam cost, adjusted for inflation? Does anybody seriously think this line will produce as much social benefit as the transcontinental railroad or the Hoover Dam? Of course not.

I have no inherent objection to the government building works of infrastructure like this one, but only if the costs are in the same universe as the projected benefit. This rail line might be worth $80 million. But what is sure to be a billion dollars after overruns, with a certain never-ending operating deficit, simply so that some latte-sipping yuppies don't have to suffer the inconvenience of driving a car, is so outrageous a price that the proponents should be embarrassed of themselves.