December 5, 2010

The high-speed rail boondoggle at its worst — in California.

Via Instapundit, Reason has the nauseating details:
The California High Speed Rail Authority is committed to breaking ground on a leg of the train that will serve passengers between the unincorporated town of Borden and the half-incarcerated town of Corcoran.
Corcoran!
Whether you call it the train from nowhere or the train to nowhere, nobody will be riding it even when it’s done. That’s not libertarian cant: The actual plan for the $4.15 billion leg is that upon completion it will sit idle until other sections of track are completed.
$4.15 billion!
Background: The CHSRA needs to break ground by September 2012 or lose $2.25 billion in federal funds. The U.S. Department of Transportation has for reasons of its own favored the sparsely populated Central Valley for this first leg of the thinly imagined high speed rail project. 
Reasons of its own? Can we get an investigation?

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, we just elected a new governor whose central election promise was to say no to $810 million connect Madison and Milwaukee by high-speed rail:
Scott Walker has made no secret of his aversion to high-speed trains, but before he goes any further with his plans to derail the planned Milwaukee-Madison line, Walker might consider some earlier chapters in Wisconsin's transportation history. They indicate that the governor-elect could be putting his state in reverse.

As long as there has been a Wisconsin, residents have labored mightily to establish connections with each other and with the world beyond the state's borders. Although disputes often arose in working out the details, the general trend was unmistakable....
Connections! We're all about relationships among people.
The idea seems oddly nostalgic at first - why build passenger trains in the 21st century? - but it actually fits an emerging settlement pattern. Not in my lifetime but perhaps in my grandchildren's, and for better or worse, an interconnected megalopolis will sprawl from Benton Harbor, Mich., to Minneapolis-St. Paul. As the empty spaces fill in, there will be a demand for some form of transport that's faster than cars but has more frequent stops (and fewer exasperating waits) than airplanes.
The columnist — John Gurda in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — is imagining a megalopolis in the future and telling us what people then will want. But people don't even want trains now. We drive cars. Or we take planes. There's also the bus. True, a bus doesn't go at a speed in between the speed of a car and a plane, but come on. Pick one. Road or air.

But, anyway, we have a nice train in Madison:



A train and a Christmas tree in the Wisconsin State Capitol.

233 comments:

1 – 200 of 233   Newer›   Newest»
Lincolntf said...

Can there be any question that the "Green" movement is the single largest disaster to ever strike Western economies?

ricpic said...

Megalopolis...
The most beautiful sound I ever heard:
Megalopolis, Megalopolis, Megalapolis, Megalopolis...
All the beautiful sounds of the world in a single word:
Megalopolis...
I'll never stop saying Megalopolis.

edutcher said...

Of course, since it's Green, you're not supposed to be able to call it a boondoggle, but, given that the Greens have always been hard core radicals in Europe and that Greenery hasn't paid off in Europe and even people in Red China are questioning its utility, stuff like this may be the Demos' last gasp.

A.C. McCloud said...

There's nothing wrong with HSR if it's actually HSR, and if it makes sense. Upgrading Amtrak freight routes to 100 mph isn't "HSR", it is something a few private RRs were capable of in the mid 20th century. Private RRs, mind you.

How about we build a world class Proof of Concept bullet train between Washington and New York and see how that goes first before spending billions on segments connecting nowhere to west nowhere.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

California is living proof that you can't stop stupid.

If they want to increase jobs in the central valley, they could just turn the water back on.

deborah said...

"that will serve passengers between the unincorporated town of Borden and the half-incarcerated town of Corcoran."

Great line.

Loren Ibsen said...

Monorail!

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

True, a bus doesn't go at a speed in between the speed of a car and a plane, but come on. Pick one. Road or air.

Oh thank you so much for telling people what they should want and what they should do! Where would we be without such wonderful "thought leaders"?

How'd your last groping by TSA go, BTW? Oh, that's right. You never seem to travel anywhere further than a car ride through barely populated tracts of Midwestern flyover will take you and your fish-eye lens.

And isn't it time to find something new to be against? Your stock opposition issues are starting to get boring and you're running out of decent arguments. Slow Sarah Palin day? Barack Obama didn't do something human enough for you to knock?

Anthony said...

I know everyone is pretty much opposed to the train, but I've always found them convenient, and a great alternative between flying or driving. Why should we have to just one of those two? I currently live in Washington, DC. I don't own a car in DC because it isn't practical. And I wouldn't want to keep one and pay to park it simply for my short trips to see my brother in Richmond, or my college friends in Baltimore, Philly, or NY. I wouldn't pay to fly from DC to Richmond (1.45 hrs by car) Baltimore (45 min), Philly (2.5 hours) or NY (4hrs). MY only option is the train. And I love having it. It's quick, affordable, and convenient.

The same was true when I lived in Indiana. I could take the train from South Bend to Chicago for $20 round trip. It was cheaper and more convenient than driving. I didn't have to pay to park in Chicago, and didn't have to worry about traffic getting to and from Chicago. Depending on traffic, it was also faster than driving. I would have loved to take the train from Madison (where I went to law school) to South Bend where my parents lived. But because there was no train, I endured Chicago traffic every time I wanted to visit my folks, during what could have been a 4.5 drive often into a 6 hour drive, completely eliminating the option of coming home for just a weekend.

Additionally, from an economic standpoint, if I didn't have a train either in Indiana or DC, I would rarely if ever choose to visit those other cities, and I wouldn't spend money in their stores, restaurants, theaters, and hotels.

This has just been my perspective on trains. Other people obviously hate the idea, but I'm inclined to like it.

Hagar said...

Here in New Mexico, it is in the paper this morning that as part of Bill Richardson's half-billion dollar "Railrunner" local rail scheme between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, the State bought the BNSF (Burlington, Northern & Santa Fe) entire line from Belen to the Colorado border, and is now stuck with maintaining 200+ miles of track for the sole use of AMTRAK (US Gov't), which runs two trains a day (the old AT&SF "Super Chief", L.A. to Chicago) over this line.
This is in addition to the "Railrunner" operation itself, which is not self-sustaining and needs a hefty subsidy to continue in operation.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

Sorry Anthony. Teh Voice of Ultimatums has spoken. Either road or air. You must choose one and only one.

The Flyover People have every right to determine your fate. Somehow they think they've earned it. Maybe it was all that incredible infrastructure they came up with or something.

AJ Lynch said...

So Althouse, are you now one of us who thinks fed spending could be cut bigtime rather easily?

Tim said...

Just when one thinks California hit the abyss of willful stupidity in (re)electing Jerry Brown as Governor, California happily jumps up and says "Hah - we have no end to stupid - and we'll prove it to you!"

Jay said...

And isn't it time to find something new to be against?

Isn't it time for you to find something new to be for?

Oh wait, high speed rail is innovative!

We forgot.

edutcher said...

Anthony said...

I know everyone is pretty much opposed to the train, but I've always found them convenient, and a great alternative between flying or driving.

Trains can be great for commuting (I speak as a former strap-hanger), but you need mass populations to make them worthwhile.

This is Green for the sake of patronage.

Jay said...

I know everyone is pretty much opposed to the train, but I've always found them convenient, and a great alternative between flying or driving. Why should we have to just one of those two?

Um, how about you and all your friends who find trains "convenient" get together and start a for profit rail service?

Why does the 90% of America that doesn't ride Amtrak have to subsidize it for you because you like it?

garage mahal said...

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, we just elected a new governor whose central election promise was to say no to $810 million connect Madison and Milwaukee by high-speed rail:

He hasn't quite said no, would still love that money, even spending on other HSR projects would be seem to be worthwhile. He is starting to feel real pressure now from business leaders, even the State Journal who endorsed him are urging him to do a 180, but he couldn't possibly flip and take the wrath from conservative talk radio? What to do??

Jay said...

It's quick, affordable, and convenient.

It is not efficient and it costs taxpayers billions.

Other than that, it is a great idea.

chickelit said...

Choo Choo Ch'Boogie
Asleep At The Wheel (1974)
link

Paul Zrimsek said...

Not in my lifetime but perhaps in my grandchildren's, and for better or worse, an interconnected megalopolis will sprawl from Benton Harbor, Mich., to Minneapolis-St. Paul.

This from Gurda, who also considers the freeways our grandparents built for us to be "destructive"-- but somehow resists the conclusion that building stuff for your grandchildren based on guesses about what they'll need is a fool's errand.

Jay said...

I wouldn't pay to fly from DC to Richmond (1.45 hrs by car) Baltimore (45 min), Philly (2.5 hours) or NY (4hrs). MY only option is the train.

Actually, you can take the bus.

The Chinatown bus goes from DC to NY for about $200 less than Amtrak.

Ann Althouse said...

"... but I've always found them convenient...."

I find it convenient when my husband drops me off at the door of someplace I want to go at exactly the time I want to go and then picks me up again when I text him.

Could the government please do that for everyone?

New "Hussein" Ham said...

But Ann, isn't your governor shortsighted?

Look ... California has figured out something that Wisconsin has not: The federal government will not allow a state to fail.

California is creating jobs for its citizens. Does it really matter where the money came from? Not to the lucky few who get the jobs! There's no downside.

Your governor, on the other hand, is destroying jobs for his constituents. He may well be saving their children money and being fiscally responsible, but that doesn't seem to be very smart.

As long as we live in a country where the State of California (and all the other states) can spend amounts that bear no relation to the amount of taxes they take in from their own citizens, then California has the right approach.

SPEND!

Spend like drunken sailors ... because the stupid fucking schmucks in Wisconsin are picking up the tab (via their federal taxes!)

garage mahal said...

The Flyover People have every right to determine your fate.

Yep, the Nanny State has spoken. They know what's best for us. And if they call me dumb for supporting HSR I think I will cry for days.

Quaestor said...

HSR track from Nowheresville to Nirgendsburg at 67 Megabucks per mile makes perfect sense. Really, it does. Economically blighted Borden will enjoy a boost as Manson Family groupies and murderabilia aficionados flock to her deserted streets, where they'll live until visitation day rolls around when they will ride the brand new bullet train to commune with the stars at Corcoran State Pen. (The term "bullet train" will acquire a whole new cache once the Borden/Corcoran spur opens up)

Besides, everyone knows that those who'll pay (i.e. taxpayers in states with decent fiscal responsibility) and those who'll ride are in non-intersecting sets.

PatCA said...

That's true, DBQ, the government has killed the Central Valley and now they are building a train to nowhere to help them out AND cash in on some federal money.

This is the Soviet Union!

Tyrone Slothrop said...

@Anthony

It's great that rail works well for you, but you're living in what is already Megalopolis. Perhaps you are not familiar with the distances people have to travel in the West. I live in suburban southern California. I would have to drive 30+ miles to get to the nearest Amtrak station. Arriving at the nearest station to my ultimate destination, I would likely have at least that far still to travel. That kind of negates any possible benefit of commuting by rail. Building more feeder lines would never be cost effective.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

So now it's just an issue of the role of government? Christ. Roads would have never been built if you anal retentives had been in charge back then.

Who the hell is the goddamn gummint to tell me I can't purchase property at the intersection of Broadway and W. 42nd and build something right there? Don't worry about the needs of pedestrians and motorists. We'll re-route them. Private property brooks no quarter to compelling public interests, such as being able to travel from point A to point B.

Nice shift from arguing feasibility to arguing rights. Just shift your "concern" as you require. It's like watching an ant running around a shoe that just dropped.

PatCA said...

The saddest thing is that the head of CA HSR is Curt Pringle, a Republican former mayor of Anaheim, who was reputed to be a real low spending, free trade, small government guy.

Guess they were wrong. All those irresistible dollars...

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

Yep, the Nanny State has spoken. They know what's best for us.

It's not like the fact that Althouse just desperately compared rail infrastructure to being chauffeured around by her husband shows a disproportionately "nanny" mentality, on her part, to this or anything.

MB said...

Isn’t that classic! While I am personally in favor of trains, I’ve never seen it done right. The justification is always economic with the reduction of traffic while the deployment is entirely political. Nearly every city I’ve lived in that deployed mass transit used the same justification but when it came to the initial installation, it served the poorer areas where people don’t have cars. Alternatively as in Houston, they go halfway so you still have to drive miles and miles in heavy traffic to a parking lot, then sit outside in the weather to catch a bus or a train.

Since the people who are served don’t have cars to begin with, surprisingly there was no reduction in the traffic. Usually these people do not have the skills needed were the trains go, therefore they don’t have the jobs, ergo problems not solved.

Here’s a couple ideas I had decades ago. Have the commuter trains embark and disembark at a parking lot adjacent to a shopping center/mall with supermarkets, etc. That way I could drive and park at a place that’s relatively convenient and on the way home do my shopping. The other idea is a land ferry. I would love the idea of being able to drive my car to where it is loaded on a train, relax in the train during the commute to another city hundreds of miles away, and at the end have my vehicle available. At the right price, I think this would be very popular, especially for day trips and holidays.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Hey, if places like Benton Harbor, in the slow-growing Midwest, are going to be metropolises in a couple of generations, you've got to figure that the Central Valley will look like Trantor by then.

Clyde said...

I would guess that more people in Wisconsin drive snowmobiles than ride trains. I could be wrong, I could be right.

Clyde said...

Current wv: calsight

Which brings to mind Eric Clapton singing a song called "Calsight to the Blind." Starting with the ones in Sacramento and Washington.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

How about a swap? No more subsidies for big agribusiness and you yokels don't have to subsidize rail infrastructure in the parts of the country that could obviously use it. The populated sections.

I couldn't give a damn if Richie Cunningham and Arthur Fonzarelli don't use high speed rail to hit a gig at Arthur's after a Badgers game. We're talking about development in real places, not phoney, idyllic, pretend American Gothic ones.

bagoh20 said...

It can't both serve the growing megalopolis and be fast. Frequent stops are kind of a drag on the high speed thing. High speed only works for the few hundred on the train going a considerable distance without stopping. The millions of others not doing that will pay for these high speed moochers.

Here in California we are honest. We don't pretend it will work, we just build it in the middle of nowhere, and then don't even turn it on. We no long try to hide our stupidity - we revel in it. If the rest of you across the nation would just follow us, we could all live in the lightworker's new nation as he envisioned it.

Heathens, look to the light and see what you can become!

Jay said...

Roads would have never been built if you anal retentives had been in charge back then.

Yawn.

You do understand roads make sense, and "high speed rail" does not, right?

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

Or whatever. A gig at "Al's".

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

You do understand roads make sense, and "high speed rail" does not, right?

You do understand that declaring something self evident doesn't make it so, right?

Clyde said...

@ PatCA

"This is the Soviet Union!"

In Soviet America, high-speed rail rides YOU!

Jay said...

don't have to subsidize rail infrastructure in the parts of the country that could obviously use it.

Like Corcoran California?

Jay said...

You do understand that declaring something self evident doesn't make it so, right?

I understand you are not that bright and easily misled.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"No more subsidies for big agribusiness and you yokels don't have to subsidize rail infrastructure ..."

How about this. How bout we keep our agribusiness subsidies and you lose your rail project and then you go suck a bag of cocks?

Yeah, that sounds better.

bagoh20 said...

If you want a high speed train that would pay for itself, build it between Tijuana, Mexico and Los Angeles, charge $1000 per one way ticket, and rake in the dough.

AllenS said...

There are 18,706 miles of snowmobile trails in Wisconsin.

WV: atawayou

Atawayou, I'm on my snowmobile!

Jay said...

Nice shift from arguing feasibility to arguing rights.

High speed rail isn't feasible.

Anyone with a map can see this.

bagoh20 said...

Better yet would be Tijuana to Madison. You guys need to get you some diversity up there in crackerville.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

I understand you are...

You don't understand a damn thing. You just declare something self evident and then let all further thought on it dissipate.

It's about as effective as "New Ham's" arguing technique. That knee-slapper about the bag of cocks? Lovely idea, that. What a riot!!!

Jay said...

Perhaps you are not familiar with the distances people have to travel in the West. I live in suburban southern California. I would have to drive 30+ miles to get to the nearest Amtrak station. Arriving at the nearest station to my ultimate destination, I would likely have at least that far still to travel. That kind of negates any possible benefit of commuting by rail.

They don't care.

The "benefit" is they get more union rail operators and they feel good inside.

Utility has nothing to do with it.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

Like Corcoran California?

Jay, you clearly can't discern the strategy of starting the rail project in the middle of bumfuck California.

If they start it there, then the only way it would ever be useful is if they finish it.

California has outstmarted the rest of the nation of suckers!

Why shouldn't California use its political muscle to take your federal tax dollars and employ Californians with those dollars?

Wisconsin's governor stupidly refuses to employ Wisconsonites using Californian's federal tax dollars!

Jay said...

You don't understand a damn thing.

I understand "high speed rail" is not practical for 95% of America.

I understand you don't understand this.

I also understand you are an idiot.

garage mahal said...

There are 18,706 miles of snowmobile trails in Wisconsin.

I hope I ain't paying for the machinery and manpower needed to constantly groom all these trails. I don't even ride snowmobiles! I wonder if it costs me 13 cents per year, the same amount I would pay for the HSR line?

Clyde said...

One further thought: According to this article in the USA Today from 10/27/09, "U.S. taxpayers spent about $32 subsidizing the cost of the typical Amtrak passenger in 2008, about four times the rail operator's estimate, according to a private study." And no matter who was right, either way, the taxpayers are subsidizing Amtrak. It's not profitable. Is there any reason to expect that high-speed rail would be, either?

miller said...

The key thing for me is this: do I stand out in the rain and snow waiting for a bus or train or trolley that might arrive at some point, waiting and getting cold and being miserable, standing because there's three seats on a concourse with 2000 people - or do I go to the parking garage, underground, out of the rain and snow, and get in my car, and turn on my radio or iPod, turn on the heater, listen in blissful apartness, warm and dry, and in control of when I leave and where I want to go?

If a train/trolley/bus can get to that point - then OK. But for now, the bus planners seem to think I want to stand on the curb as traffic goes by spraying me with mist and water, and that I want to get on a bus that starts at an inconvenient point and drops me off at an inconvenient point, where I can walk through rain and snow to get to my office.

No thanks.

Clyde said...

Oops, here's the link:

Amtrak subsidies total $32 per passenger, private study says

Chef Mojo said...

@Ritmo:

You're continuing unraveling is quite amusing.

How about a swap? No more subsidies for big agribusiness and you yokels don't have to subsidize rail infrastructure in the parts of the country that could obviously use it. The populated sections.

How 'bout this, moron: We yokels stop sending you food. After all, what are we uncultured yokels good for anyway.

You need food. We don't need HSR. Pretty simple, really.

AJ Lynch said...

New Ham:

I'd say Corcoran is more like double bumfuck.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

Jay,

You are not worth arguing with. There's no debate to be had. You would obviously fail a high school course on the subject, but hey - what the hell? Why listen to an idiot when you can come up with bullshit to fall flat on your face with on your own?

Like the 95% figure, for instance. Which part of your ass did you pull that out of? The part that has never been anywhere near the northeast corridor?

Trust me, you fuckwads are better off making this an issue of regional priorities. For some instance you think that individuals can decide every thing for themselves but that communities and regions outside of the flyover need to be dictated by the flyover.

Go fuck a cow. I'll escort you to one personally. Her name's "Daisy" and her udders are as purdy as the spots on her coat.

Jay said...

wonder if it costs me 13 cents per year, the same amount I would pay for the HSR line?

Hysterical.

Hey dum-dum, can you tell us the last time the cost estimate for a government program or project, came in on the budget estimate?

Like, the big dig for example. Did that exceed cost estimates?

Or medicare. When that program was enacted, how did the estimates work out?

AJ Lynch said...

Is "Trickle down" the new & improved Ritmo?

MayBee said...

I wouldn't pay to fly from DC to Richmond (1.45 hrs by car) Baltimore (45 min), Philly (2.5 hours) or NY (4hrs). MY only option is the train. And I love having it. It's quick, affordable, and convenient.

Another option is renting a car. That has the added benefit of not requiring others to tote you around upon arrival.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

Chef Mojo is unraveling the conservative credo quite nicely. Apparently cons love to argue that food doesn't require central planning or price controls and therefore neither should healthcare. 'Cept when Chef Mojo says it does.

Thanks for the socialism, Stalin. Go back to your politburo meeting and leave the farming to the farmers.

Jay said...

Like the 95% figure, for instance

Um, want to guess the number of passengers that ride Amtrak each year?

OH, wait, it is 28.7 million people last year.

Want to extrapolate the #'s by repeat riders then divide that by 300 million, clown?

Keep flailing. Your spittle flecked meltdown is fun to watch.

Jay said...

Like the 95% figure, for instance. Which part of your ass did you pull that out of? The part that has never been anywhere near the northeast corridor?


28.7 million people rode Amtrak last year.

There are more than 300 million people in America.

I knew this, you obviously do not.

Your beclowning never ends.

Michael said...

OH NO!! The Chinese are rethinking the need for their high speed trains!! http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/12/AR2010111206538.html

Seems that they have concluded the ridership is inadequate to justify the expense, even with tickets at twice the price of regular trains.

The Chinese are being spoil sports with this. Perhaps it is because the Chinese do not like lattes and being cool like in Europe. Maybe they are just practical.

roesch-voltaire said...

Actually John Gurda is a knowledgable historian who has focused on Milwaukee and Wisconsin history so his his notion of settlement patterns is not just fancy. I have one small example of this: my neighbor, and active football fan, traveled to the Michigan/Wisconsin game via the train out of Chicago instead of his usual drive. He reported a quick, hassle free ride and plans on using the train in the future.While it is nice to think in narrow terms of the Meade delivery system, this ignores the huge costs of automobile use from health issues, to continued support of corrupt governments.

Jay said...

For some instance you think that individuals can decide every thing for themselves but that communities and regions outside of the flyover need to be dictated by the flyover.

Um, 95% of people in America do not use Amtrak.

That is not "flyover" bozo.

You are not worth arguing with. There's no debate to be had.

Parody.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

I'd prefer to watch Jay dribble baby food all over his bib when proposing that dismantling Amtrak will have no effect on the economies of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and D.C.

You know. Minor places. Not as important as Arkansas and Wisconsin when it comes to U.S. GDP.

You are a fool. Why revel in revealing that? You cannot just improvise these things and you obviously lack a lobbyist to spoon-feed you the right talking points.

Chef Mojo said...

@AJ Lynch:

Is "Trickle down" the new & improved Ritmo?

So it would appear. "Trickle down" his mamma's leg for all the intelligence he can muster on this issue.

wv: choler - of the 4 humours, this most resembles Ritmo; yellow bile. Peevish. Irascible temperament.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

Those 5% of people are sure a small constituency that the country can do without. Right, "Jay"?

What about the wealthiest 1%, Jay? Minor constituency whose economic concerns also have no bearing on the country?

You are a moron.

bagoh20 said...

You will never improve over the individually operated transport vehicle (car).

You can leave whenever you want without advanced planing. You can take with you: much more than you can carry, your pet, your children for free, whatever you want to buy at the other end, liquor, drugs, explosives, firearms and women who can't be discovered on credit card bills, etc. You can do this all at a moment's notice, anytime of day, and choose your company.

The only advantage of a train is that you don't have to do ALL the driving, and it might occasionally work out to a faster trip...maybe.

I'll keep my truck for short trips and use planes for long ones. Only cogs ride on trains and buses.

vet66 said...

The map of the proposed route is very kind considering the geography of the area. The route appears to follow the old Southern Pacific Line from Burbank to Sylmar then up the canyon to Vincent/Palmdale over the Tehachapi mountains (4500 ft. elevation) then down to Bakersfield where it will eventually meet up with Santa Fe line.

As you may well know, the proposed hi-speed line will have to contend with the San Andreas fault from Sylmar to Palmdale. I would hate to be on that train during any earthquake because the track would turn into an "S" curve and still indicate clear signals.

I assume there will be no pesky endangered species along the new right-of-way which, coincidentally, runs real close to the area currently denied water for irrigation. Follow the money and it will inevitably discover a gigantic land grab worth of the old days with Crocker, Huntington, et al and the Central Pacific. Railroads are notorious for real estate deals that use rail as a cash cow. Once the train ends up near a BART station it will max out that line's capability to handle the amount of passenger traffic it would take to make Hi-Speed rail cost effective.

Given the financial situation in California, the number of people who could afford to use it declines every month as smart money leaves the state. Which leaves a huge number of illegal aliens currently populating the San Joaquin Valley as the only large group of people who could possibly benefit from it. Unless the racists in charge HI-Ball all the stops from Bakersfield to Stockton or Sacramento.

In addition, Railroads, fast or slow, make fine soft targets for terrorists.

Jay said...

"U.S. taxpayers spent about $32 subsidizing the cost of the typical Amtrak passenger in 2008, about four times the rail operator's estimate,

Yes, but in liberal land that equals profit!

A one-way ticket on the Acela from DC to NYC is $135 and you get there in 2:42

A one way ticket from Dulles to JFK on Jet blue is $70 and you get there in an hour and five minutes (tops).

Of course liberals prefer Amtrak.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

Keep socializing the food supply, Chef Mojo. Maybe you can orchestrate tours of Monsanto's facilities, in the form of a Potemkin Village.

Desperate fools.

Jay said...

I'd prefer to watch Jay dribble baby food all over his bib when proposing that dismantling Amtrak will have no effect on the economies of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and D.C.

Ah, you've gone from disputing my figures to attacking something I've never said.

Gee, why do you think you're doing that?

Keep beclowning.

Julius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jay said...

ou are a fool. Why revel in revealing that? You cannot just improvise these things and you obviously lack a lobbyist to spoon-feed you the right talking points.

The spittle flecked meltdown is fun to watch.

Jay said...

when proposing that dismantling Amtrak will have no effect on the economies of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and D.C.

Yes, because pointing out that high speed rail has no utility in America means "dismantling Amtrak"!!

Keep going bozo.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

In other words, "Jay" has no argument.

vet66 said...

The map of the proposed route is very kind considering the geography of the area. The route appears to follow the old Southern Pacific Line from Burbank to Sylmar then up the canyon to Vincent/Palmdale over the Tehachapi mountains (4500 ft. elevation) then down to Bakersfield where it will eventually meet up with Santa Fe line.

As you may well know, the proposed hi-speed line will have to contend with the San Andreas fault from Sylmar to Palmdale. I would hate to be on that train during any earthquake because the track would turn into an "S" curve and still indicate clear signals.

I assume there will be no pesky endangered species along the new right-of-way which, coincidentally, runs real close to the area currently denied water for irrigation. Follow the money and it will inevitably discover a gigantic land grab worth of the old days with Crocker, Huntington, et al and the Central Pacific. Railroads are notorious for real estate deals that use rail as a cash cow. Once the train ends up near a BART station it will max out that line's capability to handle the amount of passenger traffic it would take to make Hi-Speed rail cost effective.

Given the financial situation in California, the number of people who could afford to use it declines every month as smart money leaves the state. Which leaves a huge number of illegal aliens currently populating the San Joaquin Valley as the only large group of people who could possibly benefit from it. Unless the racists in charge HI-Ball all the stops from Bakersfield to Stockton or Sacramento.

In addition, Railroads, fast or slow, make fine soft targets for terrorists.

edutcher said...

Jay said...

I know everyone is pretty much opposed to the train, but I've always found them convenient, and a great alternative between flying or driving. Why should we have to just one of those two?

Um, how about you and all your friends who find trains "convenient" get together and start a for profit rail service?

Why does the 90% of America that doesn't ride Amtrak have to subsidize it for you because you like it?


A lot of the time, when it comes to Lefties, it isn't that they like it, they just like the idea of it.

Makes them feel as if they're smarter than everyone else.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

How about a swap? No more subsidies for big agribusiness and you yokels don't have to subsidize rail infrastructure in the parts of the country that could obviously use it.

How many Demos vote for agribusiness?

bagoh20 said...

HSR from L.A. to Vegas would make sense. There is nothing in between to stop for, nobody wants to drive it and often can't due to hangover, the users are all in hurry going both ways, and the demand is pretty high.

When I drive to Vegas, I lock my cruise control at it's maximum (95 mph) and it takes about 4 hours. I get passed the whole way, by the more adventurous. The 30 miles getting out L.A. at the beginning takes over an hour, then it's high speed truck. I would however take that train. You don't need a car in Vegas.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

"Demos" like Chef Mojo, for instance?

Factory farming is not a liberal cause and if you want to have Republicans take up the banner for agriculture subsidies, by all means. You can have it. It will go well with all your Tea Party sloganeering about earmarks.

How twisted, like a pretzel, you have become.

Chef Mojo said...

I really like it when Vet66 shows up for the choo-choo threads, because here's a guy that knows what the hell he's talking about.

Blows Ritmo to shreds every time.

And Ritmo, as regards subsidies for agriculture? You, of course, continue to miss the point.

Which is this: You snot nosed elitists in the NE corridor need the food those yokels - yokels you hold in contempt - produce far more than they need to pay for the convenience of you being able to justify a money losing transportation scam.

In the end, their food is far more important than any service you elitists can possibly come up with. I mean, what the fuck do you people even produce anymore that even means something? You gotta have food. Everything else is a luxury. Remember that next time you spit on the yokels.

Julius said...

Reasons of its own? Can we get an investigation?

What hubris you display, Professor! Why should the government share its reasoning with you. You have no right to know. And it has no obligation to explain its actions.

Congressman Dennis Cardoza suffers from the same overblown sense of entitlement as you do, complaining about the details of this plan being released the day before Thanksgiving when there was little attention being paid and then being quickly adopted before anyone could object. But he's just a fucking Congressman! Why should the Administration and its little-sister California agency allow him to attempt to derail its plan?

Look at this PDF file of beautiful dreamy photos... the image with the train called "FLY California" speeding through a landscape of green-energy windmills is just dreamy!!! YAY Team Obama!

You conservatives have been banging the drum ever since 9/11 for increased government secrecy. Well, here 'ya go... Enjoy what you wrought!

Clyde said...

@ edutcher

"Why does the 90% of America that doesn't ride Amtrak have to subsidize it for you because you like it?"

Because they're "saving the Earth" by not driving. Gaia, everyone knows that!

Julius said...

From the San Diego Union-Tribune article that is linked at the link:

Federal officials said last month they wanted the $4.3 billion to go toward a project that can be completed and operational by 2017.

Uh... let's see... "completed and operational by 2017" means "just about completed and almost operational" by November 2016... What's in November 2016?

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chef Mojo said...

@Ritmo:

Factory farming is not a liberal cause(...)

LOL! Tell that to Tom Harkin. Or Al Franken. Or Amy Klobuchar. Lessee here; how 'bout Pat Leahy and Bernie Sanders? Evan Byah, perhaps?

And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head at the moment.

Liberals all. Voting for Agri subsidies like there's no tomorrow.

wv: worin - Al Franken ain't worin bout factory farmin'...

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

Every weekend I can walk right down the street and frequent farmers markets worked by families a few miles down the road. There are rooftop gardens that grow the produce for restaurants on the ground level. Whole Foods supports increased efforts at procuring locally supplied produce - within a 100 - 200 mile radius at most. This all occurs in a large, major urban city on the East Coast. This is what healthy attitudes and ideas regarding how to live together and make the best use of our resources have brought us. But no, Chef Mojo wants to lecture me about the importance of socializing the flyover.

You can take your "spit" and "snot" and talk of yokels and elitism and go somewhere else with it. Given that you list your occupation as "chef", I'm not sure that such talk leads me to give you any credibility about clean, healthy, hygienic cuisine, let alone good policy ideas about how to make it economically viable.

So in other words, please screw off. For now at least. And when you want to bring something intelligent and productive to the conversation, you can try then. Hopefully I might see a real reason for being willing to listen.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quaestor said...

Big Trickle wrote: You do understand that declaring something self evident doesn't make it so, right?

If the soi disant "progressives" who post here would take this advice to heart we'd read nothing from them.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head at the moment.

And that's just because you're too much of a disingenuous talking point-regurgitating fuck to "think of" all the Republicans who support the same.

Get back to me when you find your integrity.

Jay said...

Those 5% of people are sure a small constituency that the country can do without. Right, "Jay"?

Hey dum-dum, why don't you 5 percenters get together and build a for profit rail line?

I mean, it should be easy right? You obviously know so much about the topic and the NE corridor is obviously demanding Amtrak!

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

Hey dum-dum, don't forget the supposed "boondoggle" of public libraries! Public resources are a myth!!!

Big Mike said...

I'm still trying to understand why a high speed train is considered "green." Train cars weigh 56 to 70 tons, and seat 84 people when full. Thus each train car weighs as much as 32 average-sized automobiles. If the average number of people per automobile is two (yes, there will be a lot of one-passenger vehicles, but there will also cars with families) then each train car has to be at least 3/4 full before it represents a savings in the ratio of passengers carried to overall weight.

Note that this is not taking into account the power units. The current Amtrak HHP-8 electric locomotives weigh 110 tons apiece.

Yes, high speed rail uses non-polluting electricity (the Japanese Shinkansen trains use 25,000 volt AC), but how much pollution is generated in producing that electricity?

Maguro said...

So, for roughly $80 billion, we get a high-speed rail line from SF to LA so that people can take a 4 hour train ride instead of a 1 hour plane flight.

What is the benefit of this project, exactly? Is it supposed to save the planet or something? Do we all become cool like the Europeans after it's built?

Michael said...

"Whole Foods supports increased efforts at procuring locally supplied produce - within a 100 - 200 mile radius at most.


Ah, the local foods movement. Small farmers hauling small amounts of produce short distances in small vehicles. Bad carbon footprint. Contradictory hippie think. Think again.

Jay said...

By the way, I love the bon-mots from our classy, intelligent (just ask her) progressive:

Go fuck a cow.

and,

Desperate fools.

and,
Trust me, you fuckwads

and,

You are a moron.


and,
you're too much of a disingenuous talking point-regurgitating fuck

The meltdown continues...

Julius said...

@Maguro-

So, for roughly $80 billion, we get a high-speed rail line from SF to LA so that people can take a 4 hour train ride instead of a 1 hour plane flight.

No. Read the details. It DOESN'T go directly from SF to LA. It goes between SF and Anaheim, and then if you want to get to LA you have to take a separate Anaheim-LA route.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

Don't you have some mortgage-backed securities and other schemes to lure people with, Michael? This is clearly not your thing.

Chef Mojo said...

@Ritmo:

Lecture this:

The only reason that local, organic luxury farming is even possible is because we have factory farming to fall back onto.

Remove factory farming from the picture for a minute for the sake of argument. We get all our food from pretty, family owned, organic, co-op and local producers.

Then there's a drought.

Tell me, Ritmo, what happens then?

As far as my being a chef? I've been one for over 25 years, specializing in fine dining with an emphasis on Slow and the use of local, organic and sustainable ingredients. People pay very big money to eat in my small dining room in the oldest home in Charlottesville, Virginia.

I am, however, under no illusion that the Slow Food philosophy is realistic on its own in a modern society. The only reason people can dabble in local and organic is because they have the means to fail and not starve to death. This is an undeniable truth when it comes to farming. Scoff at Monsanto all you want - and I do, frequently - but when was the last time Americans starved to death due to crop failure?

Jay said...

It goes between SF and Anaheim

Yes!

The 40 people riding it per day are certainly worth the 7 billion of federal tax dollars.

Profit!

Green jobs!

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

when was the last time Americans starved to death due to crop failure?

Call me crazy, but I'd bet it was long before trademarked Terminator Seeds hit the market, or their parent company itself.

Everything starts small and builds until it is thought of as a norm. At some point, what was a luxury becomes a necessity, and I see no reason to disbelieve that that holds true for new farming practices and agricultural economics any less than it once did for factory farming.

Chef Mojo said...

@Ritmo:

And Ritmo fails miserably!

Factory farming is not a liberal cause(...)

And so I list liberal US Senators who vote to subsidize factory farming...

And he responds:

And that's just because you're too much of a disingenuous talking point-regurgitating fuck to "think of" all the Republicans who support the same.

But, that was not the point of argument, Ritmo, you dumb, ignorant fuck.

The point of argument, made by your dumb, ignorant self was that liberals don't support factory farming subsidies. I refuted it, and you decided to move the goalposts.

Pathetic and amateurish.

Jay said...

I refuted it, and you decided to move the goalposts.

Of course.

Given the level of ignorance on display, there simply is nothing else to do.

AJ Lynch said...

In 10-20 years after California has gone into bankruptcy, a conservative version of Michael Moore will make a docudrama about this boondoggle and viewers will ask WTF were liberals thinking in building this railroad?

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

But I had "moved the goalposts" long before you set your sights on them, Mojo. Check out the 12:23 post. Politicians do not not define the ideology of their supporters - except when it came to the Republicans once upon the time.

Subsidy-supporters with a (D) after their name will not make or break this issue, that's a fact. Let the right adopt the socialism that they see fit to adopt, and claim it as their own. As they have done with entitlements. And defense. And 2/3rds of the entire budget.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

The point of argument, made by your dumb, ignorant self was that liberals don't support factory farming subsidies.

Which farming subsidy did I claim to support?

Which farming subsidy are Democratic senators required by "liberal constituencies" to support?

Are you capable of distinguishing between different people or do they all just blur together as one, unformed mass - based on your generic disagreements with them?

Do try to keep your peas and carrots straight, Chef.

Chef Mojo said...

@Ritmo:

Call me crazy, but I'd bet it was long before trademarked Terminator Seeds hit the market, or their parent company itself.

That doesn't answer the question I asked: (...)when was the last time Americans starved to death due to crop failure?

I also mentioned that I frequently scoff at Monsanto. Want to know why?

I don't particularly like the whole Terminator Seed thing myself. So, on that we can agree.

But regarding small farming in densely populated nations, you couldn't be more wrong. The only reason city populations can exist at all is because of those huge harvesting combines migrating endlessly from north to south. Without them, whether you like it or not, we starve. It isn't farms in upstate NY or Vermont that are feeding NYC, it's those yokels in flyover land. And whether you like it or not, again, those factory farmers are feeding you, either directly, or indirectly by allowing boutique farms to exist.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

But, the United States is not a densely populated nation.

Alex said...

Can there be any question that the "Green" movement is the single largest disaster to ever strike Western economies?

Self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head of Western civilization. They are like a cancer on the body.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

Chef,

I'm not arguing that factory farms shouldn't exist. I'm arguing that their displacement by a small proportion of other agricultural arrangements is a good thing. If it will change and pressure the less ethically and biologically defensible practices, then so much the better. My problem is not with their output, or even with their existence as an option among others.

The alternatives we have now are a good enough start. How that will impact the future of the industry is anyone's guess. But I can only assume that it will be in good ways. And a diverse number of good ways, at that.

chr1 said...

As a resident of Seattle, I can tell you that it hasn't been able to adequately solve the traffic problem: too many people moving here, not enough roads. So there's a vast project underway to build light rail. It's probably $2 bi over budget and still hasn't got the ridership it needs (and they already have a North Korea/Disneyland 50's monorail that runs a mile). LIke the Space Needle, it points to the future, you've just got to get everyone on board.

So yes, the desire to be a "community," to do your part for the whole,to be ecologically friendly, to be vaguely civilized and European...all trump you freedom to make those choices for yourself and solve the problems we actually have.

It's a lefty wet dream, and if you get enough leftists in your area, or in high office. Watch out...the monorail's coming on your dime.

California, Boston (Big Dig),Madison...Seattle...Maybe the next one will connect all the organic farms in Vermont.

Alex said...

Christ. Roads would have never been built if you anal retentives had been in charge back then.

Way to go on your mission to "win friends and influence people" jerkoff.

Alex said...

Actually factory farms are needed to produce "cheap enough" meats for the middle and under class to afford. The upper middle to wealthy can easily afford "organic" meats from non-factory farms. So to oppose factory farming is to basically piss all over the poor.

Chef Mojo said...

@Ritmo:

But, the United States is not a densely populated nation.

But, it is, Ritmo, where you live. Y'know? The part that counts? The part where all the GDP is created? The population centers are very dense. The rest of the country - Red State/flyover - is pretty much farmland supporting the population centers. That, and energy production.

Chef Mojo said...

@Ritmo:

Just so you know, I'm dead set against agricultural subsidies in any shape or form. Just as I am against transportation subsidies.

Robert R. said...

The Wisconsin HSR is potentially justified as the route is essentially the Hiawatha extended with Chicago being the primary source/destination. Extending successful routes isn't "green". Not to mention the benefits from upgrading state owned freight lines.

But, then, it's not an engineering issue, but a political issue. There are reams of engineering reports on the Wisconsin HSR, which have never been part of the debate. Because, who cares about engineering pro or con, when one can craft a convenient sound bite, pro or con.

For example:
http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/projects/recovery/docs/rail-grant-8.pdf

http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/projects/recovery/docs/rail-grant-8-appendices.pdf

ftp://dotd1t:rfv56TAW@ftp.dot.state.wi.us/MKE-MSN-PE/10-ServiceNEPADocumentation/

ftp://dotd1t:rfv56TAW@ftp.dot.state.wi.us/MKE-MSN-PE/9-PreliminaryEngineering/

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

I doubt it would break the bank for a middle class person to grow some tomatoes and tend to a few chickens of their own. Or to sell. Besides, I thought $250,000 annually has now become "middle class", according to the Tea Party at least. In any event, why we persist in maintaining an unnecessary distinction between consumer and producer is anyone's guess.

virgil xenophon said...

Who was the wag right after California voted in Jerry Brown and an entire Democrat slate who asked the question: "What is the difference between the passengers on the Titanic and the citizens of California? ANS: The passengers of the Titanic didn't vote to purposely hit the ice-burg."-----to which I would only add: "And throw away their life-vests and hole the life-boats."

AJ Lynch said...

Virgil- good one!

Roger J. said...

Arguments full of sound and fury signifying nothing--I suspect there are a few population centers that might benefit from HSR--as always, these are empirical questions--when the supporter present me with their mathematic proofs I might consider them.

As for agribusiness--I am philosophically opposed to subsidies of any kind, but again, empirical questions--for now, I am quite happy as a consumer to take advantage of cheap pork and chicken and other products produced by agribusiness than pay the prices charged by local farmers who can produce only limited products because of growing seasons in their terroirs.

Me? I like being able to buy relartively inexpensive products irrespective of its country or origin. As far as the nutritional value? can someone point me to a study that says south american asparagus is less nutricious than washington state or nj grass?

Roger J. said...

oops--please assume I spelled ev everything correctly in my last post--hate to be critiqued based on grammar or spelling :)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Why the train is absolutely useless for those of us in 'fly over country'.

The closest Amtrack station to me is 75 miles away. If I want to go from there to Seattle, which I will need to do in February, I have to first.

Drive 75 miles.
Train departs at 3:45 AM!!
Arrives in Seattle 8:45 PM. 17 1/2 hours on the train! plus 1 1/2 hours of driving time.

Then..... once in Seattle, I have to rent a car to get around.

Going home...reverse the process: except, I get to arrive in the middle of the night at my home station and drive another hour and half to get home.

Screw it. I can drive for slightly more than the cost of the train trip and have my own transportation at the destination.

Plus if I drive from my home, instead of going to the train station, I eliminate 3 hours of driving back and forth.

It only takes about 12 hours to drive from here to Seattle. I've done this many times and usually break the trip up into two days so I can sight see, get some rest overnight, eat a meal in a good restaurant and generally take my time.

The train sucks for transportation unless you live in the urban cesspools that Ritmo so loves.

Have all the trains you want in those areas, just build and support them yourselves and keep the rest of us out of it.

BTW: before the government built roads and bridges, there were toll roads, toll bridges and ferries build by enterprising business people.

Roger J. said...

As DBQ has pointed out, the individual benefits accruing from HSR or any other such projects can be reduced to individual cost analyses--this, of course, assumes those performing the analyses know basic math

Quaestor said...

Big Trickle wrote: I'm not arguing that factory farms shouldn't exist. I'm arguing that their displacement by a small proportion of other agricultural arrangements is a good thing.

It'll be a good if and only if Ritmo and his ilk are among the starving masses that will result. Stalin tried this crap back in the 1930s -- fucking with a productive and efficient system of food production for reasons other than the improvement of availability of food. THE LEFT WON'T EVER LEARN, BECAUSE THEY DON'T FUCKING CARE HOW MANY DIE TO REALIZE THEIR PIPE DREAMS.

deborah said...

That's snow machine to you, Allen.

deborah said...

Once, during my 3-year hitch in the Army, I took Amtrak from San Antonio to San Francisco. Really a cool jaunt through the mountains. I need to get around to scanning all my old skool pics to digital.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

BTW: The latest brain fart from the Obama administraion, the Food Safety bill they just passed will kill small agribusiness and put the hurt on organic farmers.

But no problems. Less food means that maybe all those fat kids will lose their behinds, when the price of food goes through the roof.

See...win win. Kill off the family farm, starve the population into a more acceptble body mass and THEN we can pack more people onto trains going nowhere.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

This tyrannical law puts all food production (yes, even food produced in your own garden) under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security. Yep — the very same people running the TSA and its naked body scanner / passenger groping programs.

This law would also give the U.S. government the power to arrest any backyard food producer as a felon (a “smuggler”) for merely growing lettuce and selling it at a local farmer’s market


So much for Ritmo's pipedream yuppie trendy uber cool urban farmer's market. Watch out!! Those tomatoes and arugula may be illegal.

GMay said...

BGTDY said: "Oh thank you so much for telling people what they should want and what they should do! Where would we be without such wonderful "thought leaders"?

And isn't it time to find something new to be against? Your stock opposition issues are starting to get boring and you're running out of decent arguments. Slow Sarah Palin day? Barack Obama didn't do something human enough for you to knock?"


What in Gaia's name keeps you coming back to this blog if it's so boring and the blogger clearly doesn't meet your blogging needs?

GMay said...

Hmmmm, torpedoing his/her own arguments and leaving a trail of destroyed strawmen. I know I've been away for awhile, but BGTDY seems awfully familiar. Time to look over the rest of the comments...

Oh yeah, innundating the thread with many posts about nothing other than little hobgoblins summoned from his little mind. All the signs of a Ritmo infestation.

Looks like the only improvement is he's cut down his word count just a smidge.

So what happened to the Ritmo hash?

Roger J. said...

Quite possibly because there are no hits on his blog and he feels posting on this blog may gain him some hits on his blog--but that is pure speculation on my part. Blogging may actually be a valid model for a market approach to blogging--who knew.

Roger J. said...

free markets can be a real bitch sometimes

traditionalguy said...

The payoffs to the contractors who design, construct, acquire the ROW from land recently purchased in straw men, buy the rail cars, hire the administrators and the peons is ALL this Toy Train Fantasy is about. To move the riders it would be cheaper to pay a limousine service to do it.

Paddy O said...

It DOESN'T go directly from SF to LA. It goes between SF and Anaheim, and then if you want to get to LA you have to take a separate Anaheim-LA route.

In major league baseball, Anaheim is considered Los Angeles.

Plus, who would want to go to LA anyhow? Disneyland is in Anaheim. Nobody goes to LA when they go to, or live in, LA. Los Angeles, the city, is just the name given to all the other gathered collections of nearby towns which people do want to go to.

The Crack Emcee said...

I don't believe you people (actually, I don't believe anything) how can you be talking about trains in California or Wisconsin - or anything else - when CURTIS GOT SLAPPED BY A WHITE TEACHER!?!

Your priorities are all screwed up.

The Crack Emcee said...

Can there be any question that the "Green" movement is the single largest disaster to ever strike Western economies?

Well, if that's the way you feel, I Want You To Go To Your Window, Lean Out, And Scream At The Top Of Your Lungs "I'm Mad As Hell And I'm Not Going To Take It Anymore!"

deborah said...

DBQ, to take your extended-family-joining-in-times-of-need idea, think of the families pulling together in their gardens, harvesting and canning fruits and vegetables. I feel a 'fall of civilization' novel coming on...

Attention Althouse Nation Food Network (ANFN): I just sucessfully made my first Hershey powder fudge in a zillion years. I got to thinking that using skim milk was the culprit for all of my failed batches, so I used pet milk prepared 1:1 with water. Bingo!

BJM said...

@BigGOVT/SIS

And isn't it time to find something new to be against? Your stock opposition issues are starting to get boring and you're running out of decent arguments.

BUHAHAHAHA! Just read your profile...nothing boring there, no siree, all leftie cant, all the time.

BTW- if you're sooo bored, do us all a favor and push off.

BJM said...

Of course the HSR has to be built in the middle of nowhere, the greenies wouldn't allow it to be built in Southern CA or the SF Bay Area...where we enjoy 2-3-4 hour commutes, often one way.

Of course since so many are unemployed and large tracts in commuter land are in foreclosure our congestion has eased up a tad.

The geniuses at CalTrans (who close lanes on the Wed. before Thanksgiving for routine maintenance) finally finished the connector from the S&M bridge to the central valley in time for the massive foreclosures...of course it was massively under designed so we're still sitting in traffic in the local loop. Or the magnificent freeway extension from the congested, potholed 880 to Oakland International Airport. 8 lanes - pick any you wish, it's mostly empty 24x7 cuz Oakland only offers limited city commute, JetBlue cross-country, red eye service daily to Guadalajara Mx and summer service to Portugal...yup that's the international part...but man we have a slick freeway right up to the one-lane terminal entry.

And don't even get me started on the new $5.487 fucking billion Bay Bridge...or that CalTrans is still working on post 1989 quake retrofitting of freeways and other area bridges.

Yep... Morons R. Us pretty much sums up our state & local govt.

/rant

garage mahal said...


But, then, it's not an engineering issue, but a political issue.


Or an economic one. Taxpayers in Wisconsin will end up paying more canceling the project than building it. The money taxpayers have already paid for the project will just go to another state, losing those jobs, that revenue, and cost of unemployment benefits. I guess to a Republican this all makes perfect sense. Kill jobs and pay more and receiving less.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"Every weekend I can walk right down the street and frequent farmers markets worked by families a few miles down the road."

God, can you really be that fucking stupid Bender?

You're only able to do that because farmers across America produce the bulk of the food that your neighbors eat (and the world eats).

If they didn't, then that farmer's market wouldn't be there. Because that farmer would be feeding his own family with that food and not selling it at exorbitant prices to morons like you.

You would starve.

God, I hope it happens. To every single one of you.

AllenS said...

garage,

There is a good possibility that you are wrong, based on past performances of guessing.

garage mahal said...
Ok, I'm predicting Repubs pick up 18 seats in the House, and 3 in the Senate. There, I'm on record.

5/20/10 3:28 PM

New "Hussein" Ham said...

"he money taxpayers have already paid for the project will just go to another state, losing those jobs, that revenue, and cost of unemployment benefits."

Garage is right.

As long as the federal government exists, Garage will be right. As long as Barack Obama can take money from Americans in Wisconsin who do not vote for him and give that money to illegal aliens and unions in California who do vote for him ... that's what he will do.

Of course, we don't have to keep that system in place.

We could eliminate that system on the theory that it is inherently unfair for Barack Obama to steal from Americans in Wisconsin and give it to Mexicans here illegally.

We could do away with that power.

garage mahal said...

I'm not guessing. The science is in.

It will cost more to cancel than to build. Knowing that, if you still support canceling the project you're just a selfish fucking asshole.

former law student said...

Is it so strange to build the first segment of high speed rail somewhere where land is cheap and flat, and not too many NIMBYs will stand in your way? A place where you could actually run your train at 225 mph?

Consider the first paved "seed mile" to demonstrate the wonders of the hair-brained lunatic scheme later known as the Lincoln Highway, was built in the middle of nowhere, not too far from De Kalb, Illinois, decades before it became a western suburb of Chicago.

I mean who the hell would ever want to drive across the country when driving meant you needed to bring a mechanic along as part of your breakdown gear (which included two full sets of tires), and gasoline was sold only in drugstores, by the gallon? Who would not rather ride in a smooth comfortable train than to have to wear goggles and a duster to protect against the mud constantly being thrown against the motorist?

AllenS said...

Tell me, garage, is that train going to do me any good? If it was built, how much would it cost me every year to subsidize? Something that nobody where I live in WI will ever use.

garage mahal said...

It will cost you 13 cents per year. The roads up by you don't do me any good either. I'll probably never drive on them.

AllenS said...

fls,

Just think, before the trains we had the wagon trains. Or you could walk, or ride a horse. Maybe a team of oxen.

AllenS said...

garage,

You have your roads that I don't use, I've got roads around here that you don't use. Same - same.

Kirk Parker said...

DBQ,

17 1/2 hours on the train!

Ummm, you do realize that's just their opening bid, right?

AllenS said...

Do you have a cite for that 13¢ claim?

mesquito said...

You people know damn well that government exists to do those things that we wouldn't do ourselves. Like build see-through trains that spped from nowhere to nowhere.

garage mahal said...

Allen
It will take 133 yrs for Scott Walker's decision to kill the project to pay off. On what planet does that make sense?

AJ Lynch said...

Garage:
Haven't you heard? It's a new day and Joe Biden is no longer the sheriff in charge of wasteful dumbass spending. And very few believe Obama is competent or briliant anymore. Please ry to keep up.

former law student said...

There is no LA anyway. Only lawyers, members of Dr. Gene Scott's church, and similar weirdoes are to be found in downtown LA. If you take Amtrak to Union Station you end up at Olvera street -- some tacky souvenir shops and so-so restaurants.

In fact it's a lot like Little Italy in NYC. Where's troop?

former law student said...

garage, please read up on the Sunk Cost Fallacy.

Frankly I see no point to 90 mph rail to Madison, Wisconsin. Who the hell goes to Madison, Wisconsin? Let them ride behind a Winnebago.

garage mahal said...

Do you have a cite for that 13¢ claim?

Here is one.

AllenS said...

garage,

Do you have a cite for the claim that it will take 133 yrs for Scott Walker's decision to kill the project to pay off?

Michael said...

Garage: "Or an economic one. Taxpayers in Wisconsin will end up paying more canceling the project than building it."

Perhaps. But then there is the detail of operating the train at a loss on a permanent basis.

virgil xenophon said...

Well, fls, that only works in places like Illinois (where I was born & raised, btw) where 75% is flat as a pancake. Ever looked at a topographical map of Cali? The odds that it is EVEN TECHNICALLY POSSIBLE to construct a line of sufficiently even grade to allow for the speeds necessary to make the trip from LA-SF anywhere ball-park competitive with air travel (not to mention the astronomical costs it will require to build, let alone operate--costs that will make the Boston "Big Dig" look like a bargain) are stratospheric. I'd make book if I thought I'd live long enough to see it built to completion.

garage mahal said...

Frankly I see no point to 90 mph rail to Madison, Wisconsin. Who the hell goes to Madison, Wisconsin? Let them ride behind a Winnebago.

It's not just Madison-Mlkwe. It would connect to the extremely popular standing room only Hiawatha Chicag-Mlkwe leg, and also to the entire Amtrak system.

Michael said...

Garage: Standing room only? So the train runs over one hundred percent full? Statements like this tend to subtract from credibility.

garage mahal said...

Do you have a cite for the claim that it will take 133 yrs for Scott Walker's decision to kill the project to pay off?

It's going to cost the state 100+ million, at minimum, just to repay the Feds. The state would be on the hook for 750k per year to operate it. As they say, do the math.

garage mahal said...

Michael:

Source - BizTimes:

In recent years, additional cars were added to the Hiawatha trains because they had been, at times, filled to standing-room-only capacity, Magliari said. The Hiawatha Service is the ninth-most popular corridor for Amtrak.

“The good news is each time we add capacity to the trains, the cars fill up,” he said.

virgil xenophon said...

PS: In case anybody's interested in how well Californians manage "light-rail" projects, they ought to check out the cover story of the latest issue of "LA Weekly" Mag (avail online) entitled: "L.A.'s Light-Rail Fiasco." (The cover artwork on the hard-copy mag is a huge Dollar-sign made by vert. RR tracks and an "S" made up of rail cars. LOL!)

Big Mike said...

Well, garage, I followed your link and the figure of 13¢ turns out to be based on the following:

"Walker says the state cannot afford the estimated $7.5 million annual operating costs for high-speed rail. However, the latest estimate by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation says a federal formula could reduce the state's share of the annual operating costs to $750,000." [emphasis mine]

So there's a federal formula that could, maybe, perhaps, in some alternate universe where the federal government is not itself broke, pick up 90% of the annual operating cost, and that's guaranteed for as long as the trains run. Any details on this magic formula that may apply in Wisconsin's case. Or is this more wishful thinking by a bunch of people who want to play choo-choo with other people's money?

The same article is replete with maybe's, perhapses, and other fudge words. Perhaps Talgo will leave Milwaukee (and perhaps they won't). Perhaps the rail line wouldn't be a boondoggle after all (and perhaps pigs can fly).

Garage, I think you and the columnist you linked to both need to offload some gullibility.

virgil xenophon said...

PPS: Should have added that the sub-title is; "How the Rail-Line to the Westside Jumped Offtrack." by Gene Maddaus.

former law student said...

EVEN TECHNICALLY POSSIBLE to construct a line of sufficiently even grade to allow for the speeds necessary to make the trip from LA-SF anywhere ball-park competitive with air travel

High speed rail isn't bound by the grade limitations imposed by steam locomotives. Have you ever driven from LAX to Anaheim at rush hour btw?

garage mahal said...

So there's a federal formula that could, maybe, perhaps, in some alternate universe where the federal government is not itself broke, pick up 90% of the annual operating cost, and that's guaranteed for as long as the trains run.

Did you even tread the article?

However, both candidates have said they support continuing state subsidies for the existing Amtrak Hiawatha Service between Milwaukee and Chicago. This year, the cost to operate the Hiawatha line between Milwaukee and Chicago is $5.5 million. But the federal government pays for most of the operating costs for the Hiawatha line, and Wisconsin’s share of the operating subsidy for the Hiawatha this year is only $520,000, Renlund said.

AllenS said...

Who in Madison or Milwaukee would be a daily rider? How many daily riders would there be? How many people commute between the cities on a daily basis now? It might be a nice convenience for you garage, if you decided to go to some Brewer games, but the rail line hardly makes any sense. Certainly not worth the money.

former law student said...

how well Californians manage "light-rail" projects

What's the relevance of urban transit (light rail) to high speed intercity travel? Might as well compare a razor scooter to a Gold Wing.

Michael said...

Garage: Thanks for the cite. The operative words, of course, were "at times." Architects love to design churches for Easter Sunday.

garage mahal said...

Allen
The answers are out there. Many on the Wisc DOT site. But if you don't know these things how can be so solidly against it? How does it benefit Wisconsin to send that money and those jobs to another state?

Michael said...

FLS:
"High speed rail isn't bound by the grade limitations imposed by steam locomotives."

Grade, gravity if you will, does "bind" HSR. Very steep grades require curves in the tracks or switchbacks in extreme cases. Any curves implicate HSR.

AllenS said...

I went to see an old girlfriend some years ago who lived outside of Straudsburg, PA. It's right on freeway #80 which runs directly to NYC. A distance of about 70 miles. A lot of people in the area worked in NY, because there is a bus service that had a fleet of about 8 buses that made the run every day. I doubt if there will be that many people going from Madison to Milwaukee every day. If there was there would have been a bus service already. The bus service didn't lose money either.

former law student said...

How does it benefit Wisconsin to send that money and those jobs to another state?

garage: Fuck Wisconsin. It's in the death spiral. Get out now while you still can.

The people of Wisconsin just elected as Senator a "manufacturer" who runs a company of 120 people that his father in law gave to him so he could support his daughter. The company is even named for his brother-in-law. It's "Tail-Gunner Joe" all over again, except that McCarthy actually was an aircraft gunner.

Maguro said...

Greyhound already has Madison-Milwaukee service. Presumably that is what garage's choo-choo will be competing against.

Big Mike said...

@garage, of course I read the article, idiot. How else could I quote from it? And can you cite where, precisely, the federal government has agreed to a commitment to provide the same level of financial support that it already does to money-losing Amtrak lines?

Can you get it through your rock-thick skull that high speed rail is a luxury, and right now the federal government needs some austerity? Did your parents spoil you so badly that you never heard the phrase "we can't afford it"?

@FLS, while light rail can handle gradients as steep as 12%, high speed rail is much more restricted. The steepest gradient on any high speed line I could find is 4% (Cologne to Frankfurt, in Germany). The minimum radius on that line is 3.35 kilometers (slightly more than 2 miles). With a lot of work California may be able to reuse some of the Caltrain tracks from south of San Jose up to San Francisco, but those tracks will have to be welded and the roadbed reworked. And that assumes that the minimum radius is already okay. But even so they're going to have to climb some serious mountain ranges, without using tight switchbacks.

Big Mike said...

And, FLS, don't be so petulant just because your candidates lost.

Jay said...

"High speed rail isn't bound by the grade limitations imposed by steam locomotives."

Hysterical.

Yes, gravity need not apply.

Profits too!

Jay said...

It will cost you 13 cents per year.

You are a liar.

garage mahal said...

Can you get it through your rock-thick skull that high speed rail is a luxury, and right now the federal government needs some austerity? Did your parents spoil you so badly that you never heard the phrase "we can't afford it"?

The money is spent. It either goes to Wisconsin, or another state. States are already lining up for the grant funds awarded to Wisconsin. Pay more, receive nothing. Makes perfect sense.

Michael said...

Garage: I am reminded of the two old Wisconsin farmers who shared a two holer outhouse. When one finished his business and stood up a quarter fell out of his pocket down into the hole. Without blinking he pulled out a fifty dollar bill and dropped it in the latrine. His buddy said, What the hell are you doing? And the farmer answered: You don't think I'm going down there for twenty five cents do you?

Joe said...

Many of the arguments here miss the point. If high speed rail is so valuable to California, let them pay for it. I don't see why I should pay for it anymore than someone from California should pay for our damn light rail.

BJM said...

@fls

Is it so strange to build the first segment of high speed rail somewhere where land is cheap and flat, and not too many NIMBYs will stand in your way? A place where you could actually run your train at 225 mph?

Have you google mapped the Borden area? There is no there, there. There is no future urban area which to connect...unlike your example in IL. It's out in the south eastern central valley, almost a wasteland, except for some agribusiness and a few local farmers and of course the prison. Why do you think they built a super Max prison there? IT'S VERY ISOLATED!!

No one will ride it in Madera County and we, the taxpayers will support it until it withers away or a quake takes it out...cuz ya see Borden is also in one of CA's most seismically active areas (ever hear of the Long Valley Caldera?), which was a bone of contention when the prison was proposed.

Nothing like a HSR in earthquake country for that secure ride at 225 mph, eh?

Boondoggle is putting it kindly.

Chef Mojo said...

@Michael at 5:29:

FTW.

MadisonMan said...

I'm not sure if I'd take the train from Madison to Milwaukee (Madison to Lambeau? Definitely! Hate that drive). I would more likely take it Madison to Chicago via Milwaukee. Parking in Chicago is an expensive bitch.

GMay said...

"The money is spent."

Oh well hell, the money is spent. Nevermind everyone, you can stand down. The money is spent. This is clearly much ado about nothing.

(If there's any wonder why we're all so boned, look no further than this four word summation of Federal/State appropriation philosophy.)

Michael said...

Chef Mojo: Thanks. An old deep south joke. I wonder if they know what a two hole outhouse is in Wisconsin?

garage mahal said...

I'm sure you were similarly distraught over the billions we sent into the Iraq Reconstruction shithole, right Gmay? Or did you think building rail lines in Iraq made more economic sense?

BJM said...

@BigGovt/Sis

There are rooftop gardens that grow the produce for restaurants on the ground level.

Ah, but therein lies the rub in many states, even in foodie ground zero, the Bay Area area restaurants must be supplied by commercial operations, no backyard or rooftops gardens need apply. Restaurants are not even allowed to grow their own herbs.

Uncle Sugar just this week ruled that food sources must be accredited and FDA inspected.

BJM said...

@garage

So throwing good money down this stupid HSR project rathole after bad makes sense to you?

How about we just fucking stop spending money before we know what the fuck we're doing with it?

virgil xenophon said...

fls/

The light-rail art I cited was for purposes of pointing out financial management/contractor bidding fiascos and the high likely-hood same could be repeated on the HS rail project as the push will be on to do things quickly before the Fed $ spigot is turned off if the go-ahead is ever given in the first place.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

I'd love to see what Althouse's blog would say if it were around in the 1860's.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

Fuckwads like New Ham and Quaestor should be infuriated to know that the "free" market doesn't agree with them on which is the most "efficient" (i.e. profitable in terms of growth) sector of agriculture.

Here's a hint, fuckwads. Take it before you get confused and start cursing consumers of this wonderful, free market for ruining your master plan.

As for GMay, I suppose using avatars and accessible profiles as clues might be, you know, above his pay grade.

And Roger should know better. I doubt his blog is any more profitable than mine, not that I care or would care - monetizing it is not my concern. But calling out bullshit peddled by willfully ignorant and dishonest people who have every means to know better? Priceless.

Big Gov't Trickling Down on You said...

BTW, good job with wishing starvation on people you can't best in a debate. That's a pretty convincing way to go. Desperate as hell and revelatory of your inability to reason effectively, but I'm sure it must be convincing as well. To morons.

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