Darrell Issa To Use HSR to Bash Obama Administration

Apr 10th, 2012 | Posted by

Darrell Issa, a Republican Congressman from San Diego County, has decided to launch a politically-motivated investigation into the high speed rail project:

Rep. Darrell Issa has launched a probe into the California high-speed rail project, asking for the preservation of documents that relate to federal funding for the project.

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman outlined a range of concerns in a letter Monday addressed to newly installed California High-Speed Rail Authority Chairman Dan Richard. Those questions include whether the $3.9 billion in federal money the project has received has prevented work on other important transportation projects. Issa requested a specific accounting of that money.

Issa’s letter makes it obvious what’s behind this:

“CHSRA has earned high-profile support from the Obama Administration,” Issa wrote to Richard. “But this praise has yet to be matched with tangible results.”

Ever since Solyndra, a Bay Area solar power company that received federal loans, went bankrupt and became the subject of a right-wing manufactured scandal, Republicans have been searching for a “new Solyndra” that can make President Obama’s green energy push again look like wasteful spending. Issa is clearly hoping that California’s high speed rail project will fit that bill.

But it’s about more than perceptions of wasteful spending. Republicans also oppose things like passenger rail and clean energy for ideological reasons. They’ve attacked the Chevy Volt even though it is in high demand, and will attack high speed rail even though it is a proven global success in part because they do not believe it is acceptable for Americans to get around in a way that does not require pouring oil into a tank and lighting it on fire.

Given that this is an election year, crass partisan motivations are also at play here. Issa is trying to generate another possible scandal that can put President Obama, who is enjoying a lead in the polls over likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney, on the defensive.

Issa’s investigation may not produce the results he wants. Criticism of the HSR project isn’t new, and Issa’s letter doesn’t break any new ground. Critics have had so much success getting their points into the media that Issa risks falling on deaf ears unless he can find something truly new.

The investigation’s real impact may be on the debate over releasing the voter-approved high speed rail bond money in the state legislature. Democrats hold large majorities in the legislature, so Republican opposition isn’t a factor. But several Democrats in the State Senate, including Joe Simitian, Mark DeSaulnier, and Alan Lowenthal have made the same criticisms that Darrell Issa is making and have themselves questioned whether the legislature should authorize the funds.

With Issa now leading an attack on HSR that is clearly intended to undermine President Obama’s re-election bid, these Democrats will have to decide which side they’re on. Will they help Issa undermine President Obama? Or will they stand up for California, for the HSR project, and for their president by rejecting the flawed and false attacks on the project that they themselves have aided and abetted for years?

  1. jimsf
    Apr 10th, 2012 at 11:56
    #1

    Not only do we need to make sure Obama wins in November for a number of reasons, we need to make sure that he wins by a clear decisive margin and to make sure that dems take back some seats in the house. That means that all the whiney lefty babies who are mad at Obama because they didn’t get all the lefty stuff they wanted, need to suck it up and get out and vote like reasonable grown ups. If they don’t, and Obama wins with no clear mandate, and with no new seats in the house, or god forbid, the republicans gain even more power, then the blame will lie entirely on democrats who didn’t vote. The republicans are counting on that.

    nslander Reply:

    Please feel free stop hippie-punching at your earliest convenience. Its as divisive as left/right dualism, and even more insidious. But I’m sure it makes you feel good, punching a hippie and all.

    Just pretend this WH never authorized indefinite detention of American citizens. That will ensure your ability to dismiss every valid criticism as “whining”. Which is the most important thing.

    Peter Reply:

    Well, you can vote for Romney then, if you’d like. Be my guest.

    nslander Reply:

    Any criticism of The President = Vote for Romney. Nice.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Vote Cthulhu: Why Choose The Lesser of Two Evils?

    Jonathan Reply:

    Why Cthulhu, when there’s Yog-Sothoth? And Republican Congressional Representatives from Florida who are busily trying to raise the ghost of McCarthyism?

    joe Reply:

    Agreed – Support isn’t STFU and pretend our moderately conservative president is aligned with “hippie” viewpoints. (What ever the hell that really means besides a reference to the 68 Chicago convention).

    Nathanael Reply:

    President Obama is pretty much a lock for re-election anyway because Romney spends his campaign time shooting himself in the foot. In states like California and New York, honestly, Romney has no chance.

    What matters most is the downticket. I think Obama’s been really very much like Bush Jr. — or perhaps like Romney — and with his election a lock anyway, and being in a safe state, my Presidential vote is most useful for a third party. But it *matters* who gets into Congress.

    It would be good to get Darrell Issa out. For example. I can think of a lot of other examples.

    synonymouse Reply:

    California and New York are Democratic machine states the GOP can just forget about.

    It is time for a third party to represent Main Street and the rural areas. On the order of Le Front National in France. They would not have any power but they would have a voice.

    A smarter Blago vs. a dumber Bloomberg. The Republican convention will not be happy campers if Romney’s polling numbers are in the tank.

    If you are registered as a Democrat can you cross over and vote for Paul in California?

    Jonathan Reply:

    Synon,

    Le Front Nationale? Le Pen? _Holocast revisionists_? Are you clinically insane??
    Regardless, Your Fascist, pro-Nazi slip is showing. (And no, that’s _not_ exaggeration.)
    YYou must be thinking more of .. Pat Buchanan (would-be General Franco, caught on tape _almost_ threatening live to be a real right-wing tyrant!) than say, oh, Ross Perot.

    Go on. Tell us that Il Duce made the trains run on time. Go on, do it.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    “Synonymouse” and “JimSF” do see eye to eye sometimes.

    Rick Rong Reply:

    “If you are registered as a Democrat can you cross over and vote for Paul in California?” No, unless you register Republican. For other offices, you don’t have to register Republican.

    Nathanael Reply:

    New York is very far from a Democratic machine state. Look up Joe Bruno.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I don’t know if Obama’s a lock – heavily favored, yes, but a few poor job reports could change that – but yes, downticket is what matters. Obama 2012 is running on roughly the same agenda as Romney 2006 and McCain 2008. Romney 2012 may be much further to the right but only if Boehner et al run the show, and of course Obama with Boehner is just a budget brinksmanship disaster.

    Is your seat at all competitive? I don’t really know how gerrymandered Upstate is, sorry.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The NY state Senate and Assembly are gerrymandered to hell, to the point where the state Senate is actually in violation of the state constitution for the purpose of helping Republicans. We have to hope it gets thrown out by the state courts; then we might have a chance to have a fair vote.

    But the Congressional seats turned out tolerably after redistricting. Still rather gerrymandered, but the result is that the seat in my area is about 51% Democratic, and so is the neighboring seat to the east, and so is the neighboring one to the north. This was as much as the Republicans could manage with the size Congressional districts had to be; they wanted smaller districts to allow for more gerrymandering.

    Peter Reply:

    A lot of Democrats complaining about Obama had delusions that he wasn’t a politician but thought he was the Savior.

    Hell, he stated from the get-go that he was going to bomb Pakistan. Before he had even become the Democratic candidate! Have people forgotten all these things?

    Spokker Reply:

    Who knew that he was going to move as far right as he did?

    http://www.politicalcompass.org/uselection2012

    It’s amazing that so few people are waking up to the fact that there is no real difference besides tone between the Democratic candidate and the presumed Republican candidate.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The political class nowadays all belong to the same elite so it is understandable that their differences are superficial or puffed up. That was Murray’s observation: they only consort with each other and are isolated from the ordinary class.

    The GOP these days more or less adheres to the social mores and strictures of the Catholic Church, so more conservative and traditional than the urban Democratic Party.

    But it is curious that the Obama government is cherry-picking vices and has turned against the stoners in a newly-found anti-drug fervor. In that respect the real contrast now is with the Libertarian-libertines who would seem to advocate some form of open city. I dunno how far towards no laas or pure anarchy they would go.

    Rick Rong Reply:

    Who knew? Probably Obama knew. I think he started to show he would go sideways before the election, which made me cynical. But now, my gosh, he’s gone far beyond what even I expected. I wonder what he was thinking when he decided to accept the Nobel Peace Prize? Was it one more prize for him, one more symbol that he was at the top of the ruling class? The Nobel Laureate, the Constitutional Law Professor. The progressives’ Great Hope.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Who knew? Anybody who read his policy proposals instead of getting lost in flights of rhetoric knew. It may be that lots of people who consider themselves progressive or vaguely left wing allowed themselves into being talked into a happy fantasy because its more emotionally satisfying for someone from the left or center left to work for a campaign while pretending that the candidate is center left than to do so with your eyes open to the fact that its a center right candidate bidding to preside over a center right administration …
    … but at the same time, if you also had a chance to catch up on the radical reactionary agenda for the country, voting for the center right candidate is not a difficult choice at all.

    Nathanael Reply:

    This is not true.

    We knew when Obama first claimed that he would oppose a mandate, then proposed one. We knew when Obama said he opposed the “allow warrantless wiretapping” law, then voted for it, then lied about what he voted for.

    But until he started actually betraying his supporters — which admittedly happened shortly after Hillary Clinton dropped out of the campaign, and well before the November 2012 election — until he started those sellouts and betrayals, it wasn’t obvious at all that he was such a right-wing extremist.

    Heck, he claimed he would close Gitmo, then postponed it for a year, refused to use the military budget money for it (which he could have done at any time), and set up a scam whereby he could blame Congress for keeping it open. He really didn’t give any hint of being that crooked before the election.

    I don’t consider Obama center-right. Thanks to his policies towards whistleblowers, his decision to issue hits on American citizens, his support for mass warrantless spying, his support for torture of prisoners, his decision to use the government to shill for BP, etc., I consider him a fascist. But that’s *still better than the Republicans* — at least he remembers to build infrastructure, like many historical fascists, rather than being a loot-and-destroy-everything end-timer nihilist, like most of the Republican opposition.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The problem is with issues on which Obama just caved inexplicably, or didn’t do enough, based on delusions of bipartisanship. The stimulus was too small, and the administration thought it best to err on the side of lowballing it. The climate bill went nowhere, because once Obama did in fact get bipartisan support, he had no idea how to cultivate it and ended up alienating Lindsey Graham.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If Romney’s polling declines now that Santorum has been forced out look for a third party protest candidacy. Paul-Palin?

    Peter Reply:

    Palin-Bachmann. That would be certain to win the female vote back away from Obama, right?

    BrianR Reply:

    a Bachmann-Palin ticket might win the gay vote back from Obama too considering Bachmann’s gay husband (Marcus) would be America’s first gay “first gentleman” / “first man” (or whatever it would be called). That’s assuming Michelle (“Barbie from hell”) Bachmann would lead the ticket. Palin is still better suited for the VP position or mayor of Wasilla. As president she might have to refrain from chewing gum during important meetings or when addressing the UN. She would not like that.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I’m not too sure about the Toddster either. Long long trips with the fishing fleet get lonely…

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    You say this like there is something wrong with punching hippies…

    nslander Reply:

    I completely understand the appeal, but it’s a curious call for partisan solidarity.

    Jonathan Reply:

    @Paulus Magnus: thank you for making it clear that you’re another George Zimmerman!

    jimsf Reply:

    I was an street marching idealistic hippie when I was in my teens and 20s too. Then I grew up and learned about compromise. The fact is one of two people is going to win. The republican, or the democrat. Any so called “protest vote” or the failure to vote, will be ignored and rendered to the trash heap of irrelevance. That’s just a fact of life whether you like it or not. Its not about the lesser of two evils. Its about accepting a little reality and not cutting off your nose to spite your face ( or holding your breath till you turn blue) No one gets everything they want. So if you are presented two deals, you choose the one that best meets your needs, continue working towards the rest of things on your list. That applies to everything in life. The right absolutely banks on the apathy of the left in order to win elections. Much of the left is made up of younger people and poorer people, both of whom tend to shirk their responsibilities easily. A slim victory will only fuel the divide. Give the dems a mandate then stay in touch with them to make sure they take advantage of it.

    nslander Reply:

    Fair enough. I’ll address a couple of points w/o being too much of a ****.

    Some of this reinforces a frame that helps only Republicans, to wit: “Much of the left is made up of younger people and poorer people, both of whom tend to shirk their responsibilities easily”. This serves no useful purpose. Maybe if you were patronize these groups just a little bit more, they will become less irresponsible. No offense, but I have my doubts. Conservative think tanks must LOVE hearing liberals perpetuate the image of other liberals being disproportionately given to irresponsibility, political or otherwise.

    I’m also baffled by the eagerness with which many dismiss the very possibility some people are capable of holding opposing ideas in their minds at the same time, e.g., criticism of Presidential overreach AND voting decisions based, reluctantly, on political pragmatism. Mindlessly flogging those who express that opposition under the auspices of a Serious Adult Seasoned in Two Party political reality doesn’t mean its not demagoguery. If there’s any evidence that telling people to shut up and clap louder actually works, I’d love to see it. Also implicit in that assumption is that movement politics is pure fantasy and our political responsibilities are limited merely to voting D every 2 years.

    I didn’t need to “grow up an learn about compromise”. I’ve always known how to play ball, but I don’t think so highly of myself such that it qualifies me to coach others. Here’s how many times I’ve cut off my nose by either voting GOP or by not voting at all: Never. Zilch. This many times: 0. But why the f*** do I need to prove my D bona fides to you or anybody else?

    I just think so much of this is unnecessary. Anyway, I’m done with the thread-jack.

    jimsf Reply:

    2010 would not have happened if the people who bothered to vote in 2008 had bothered to vote in 2010. had those people came out like they did in 2008 we wouldn’t be in this ridiculous mess. The republicans are a threat to my livelihood and people who let them gain power don’t sit well with me basically.The left let the tea party walk away with all this power. now its gonna be a huge mess to clean up. I just don’t appreciate it thats all.

    nslander Reply:

    I feel ya.

    Nathanael Reply:

    2010 would not have happened if the Senate Democrats had abolished the filibuster. Period.

    It became obvious to far too many people that the Senate Democrats didn’t particularly care about getting anything done. People knew Democrats had a majority and said “Why aren’t they doing anything about the recession / health care / whatever? I guess Democrats don’t really care.”

    And that made it *really* hard to get marginal or only-sometimes voters to come out and vote.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    2010 would not have happened if the people who bothered to vote in 2008 had bothered to vote in 2010.

    Not exactly, Jim. In 2006 you had many of the Tea Party types staying home because they were unhappy with the Bush Administration’s tacit endorsement of amnesty for illegal aliens. In 2008, you had many of these types vote for Obama as a “post-partisan” figure combined with very high turnout among new voters…

    In 2010, however, your Tea Party vote went 99% Republican (which is consistent given that the establishment was all Democrats) AND the rotten economy and higher immigration enforcement pushed many Latino voters into the cellar. You are correct in assuming that turn out will be decisive for this election because it is so close, but the election is likely to be decided by working class women as opposed to Obama’s rank and file….

    flowmotion Reply:

    > but the election is likely to be decided by working class women

    Yes, but that’s how the presidential election always goes. (And the Dems know it, which is why they are never too concerned about their left flank.)

    Maybe someone should start a “Working Women for HSR” group

    Donk Reply:

    Speaking of women and HSR…I don’t personally know many women, if any, who really support HSR. Most women I know (family, friends, work colleagues etc) are lukewarm if not against HSR. The gist of what I have gotten from the discussions I have had about HSR with women is that there are other priorities that are way more important. I don’t mean to over-generalize here, just some observations…

    On the other hand, most men I talk to about HSR are either strongly for or against HSR – this usually simply comes down to whether they are Democrats or Republicans.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    I do. Not counting people I know from the transit blogosphere, which is extremely male, there’s my urban planning grad ex, plus two Bay Area math people who told me about CAHSR without my bringing it up first.

    Andy M. Reply:

    There’s a lot of truth in this. many women care about social and societal things such as education and healthcare but can’t get excited about concrete and steel. Ditto with younger voters

    jimsf Reply:

    Maybe it depends on where you live. LA proper and the inner bay are different worlds. Once you leave those bubbles there’s a different scary world out here.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Not counting people I know from the transit blogosphere, which is extremely male ….

    Alon, the correct term is “sausage fest”.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Bluntly, most women have never heard of HSR. But if they’ve heard of it, most like the idea.

    “Other priorities” is a Republican scam. Sure there are other priorities; none of the real priorities conflict with HSR and all of them complement it.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Tom, I don’t want to even think what this means. Care to elaborate?

    As for priorities, the priorities of nearly all people I know who care about transportation are local transit first, HSR second. The only exception I can think of is one of the aforementioned Bay Area women, who is from Orange County and could really use good intercity transportation.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Alon,

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=sausage+fest

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Precisely, its silly to blame “lefties” for losing the election in 2010, given the low turn-out among the more moderate Democrats and Democratically leaning independents were discouraged from voting and among 2008 first time voters who hadn’t really understood that you always need to vote in the midterms or the radical reactionaries will find a way to roll back any progress that was made after a Presidential election.

    jimsf Reply:

    I blame them all. Including all my friends, none of whom vote because “it doesn’t matter” Most of them feel this way because they have had so little for so long, they don’t feel like part of society in general.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Its harder to feel that state elections matter in California, where the Republicans only need 34% of the legislature to guarantee the government ineffectiveness they are aiming at. Lots of Buckeyes were in a state of mind of “my vote doesn’t matter” in 2010, but after only one year of one party Republican rule, we had a bigger turn-out in the odd-year election than we’ve had in many previous mid-term election.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Then tell your friends to vote third party. It may “not matter”, but it’s the only way they’re ever going to be listened to.

    Nathanael Reply:

    You need to learn more history, jimsf. I’m not kidding.

    I used to be a pragmatic, lesser-of-two-evils voter. Then I realized the sort of situation we were in and I got radicalized. I still vote for the better of two bad candidates for offices in governments which *aren’t* destroying their own legitimacy, but when neither candidate is acceptable and the government is going down the tubes, the *only purpose of voting is protest-voting*; the real work is done in developing compelling options for *after* the government goes down the tubes, and protest-voting can help with that.

    Jonathan Reply:

    … so you voted for Nader? (serious question.)

    nslander Reply:

    I did, twice. CA was safe, voted D down-ticket. A 5% national return would have netted the Greens retroactive general election grant, meaning a non corporate subsidiary might be invited to the debates the following cycle. Of course, that required 5% of similarly situated Ds to put aside the “either/or” blinders and use their votes strategically. Expecting that to happen was far more naive than thinking Nader could actually win.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    More to the point, if you look at the election results, Nader did best in states where Gore won. Everyone thinks Nader cost Gore the election but there’s only two states where Nader did better than the national average that Gore lost: New Hampshire and Alaska. Although winning either state would have been enough to tip the balance, Gore wasn’t going to win against an oil man in Alaska and the Democrats underestimated the degree into which New Hamsphire had become the Orange County of New England….

    Nathanael Reply:

    Nope, because Nader was spreading lies.

    Honestly, Gore was the best Democratic candidate for President I have *ever* seen in my *life*. And the difference between Gore and Bush II was larger than the difference between any pair of Democratic and Republican candidates since Reagan vs. Mondale, and possibly longer.

    I was voting lesser-of-two-evils for Clinton, twice, and frankly it was a mistake.

    Nathanael Reply:

    I was rather fond of Bush I, actually. I only voted for Clinton because he seemed to have better positions on NAFTA. Then those turned out to be lies, pretty much… where were our “environmental side agreements”?

    jimsf Reply:

    I don’t consider Obama to be the lesser of two evils. I like Obama. And most of America is in the middle not on the left.

    ant6n Reply:

    Well, maybe the hippies should start realizing that the democrats think they can freely move as far right as they want, as far as they stay left of the republicans, because democrats can assume every voter who’s left of them will vote democratic anyway.

    nslander Reply:

    Every American needs to realize that.

    James in PA Reply:

    When wandering off to either the far left or far right beware the temptation to build straw-men, preach to the choir, or the seduction of any of a multitude of utopian ideals along the lines of: ‘all would be well if only everybody does… ‘ Utopia fails when it requires that humans change to behave like reasonable adults and stop being selfish.

    Similarly communism was just another utopia. Which reminds me of when Yuri Zivago comes home a war hero to find the 99% have decided he does not deserve his own house.

    Sarah Palin has her own warped version of utopia. Utopia is a worthy goal, just don’t confuse it with reality. The hard part is to be able to identify it in its most subtle forms. I still hold out hope for an efficient HSR system in California but will settle for one that works.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    One doesn’t have to wander into the far left to be on Obama’s left flank ~ those of you who lived through the process have an easier time forgetting how far toward the extreme right wing the Overton Window has been successfully dragged over a successful half century effort to do just that, but I was outside of the US teaching in Australia for a decade, and living outside of the US media bubble for a decade and then coming back inside of it is quite a jolt.

    Part of that strategy has been to use the two-party system to bring things into the mainstream by first pulling the Republican party in that direction, until the modern moderate wing of the party is what used to by the conservative wing, and what used to be the moderate wing are now independents or Hedge Fund Democrats, like the two most recent Democratic presidents.

    jimsf Reply:

    but obama did get historic health care passed. Some of you may not think its a big deal because we didn’t get single payer, but the basics of the plan that include keeping kids on till 26, not being able to deny coverage for pre existing, and not being able to drop you because your condition costs too much….. those are huge deals. HUGE.unless you are one of those people you have know idea what a big deal that is.

    jimsf Reply:

    and he killed osama bin laden. just all in a days work I guess. Oh and he got rid of dont ask dont tell. these are all things I never thought id see happen. Its enough for me. Im not sure what else, besides infrastructure there is to make a big deal about. And infrastructure is the single most important issue and I hope that this is where he puts his focus in the second term.

    Rick Rong Reply:

    Are you saying that you’ll accept anything the government does no matter what it is as long as he delivers on infrastructure, “don’t ask don’t tell,” and bin Laden? Is that it? No matter how much power the executive branch decides to acquire at the expense of personal liberty, no matter how many wars it will decide to launch, no matter how far it goes to suppress a truly open government?

    jimsf Reply:

    I don’t feel my liberty has been threatened. What I care about is quality of life. That means a good job with health care, a living wage, and a good retirement. That means safe inspected food, a good transportation system, and public safety and law enforcement.

    jimsf Reply:

    I don’t care what the rich do as long as someone makes sure they kick down enough to make sure the rest of us, have a decent infrastructure to use. (infrastructure in the broadest not narrowest sense)

    Nathanael Reply:

    Well, Jim, Obama refuses to make your food safe. His administration has now been sued for continuing to allow non-therapeutic antibiotics to be used in livestock. And it will lose.

    As for public safety and law enforcement, the justice system is a wreck and in many places more likely to break down your door by mistake and shoot you than it is to help you; this isn’t Obama’s fault, but he’s not trying to fix it, either.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Obama’s actually gone to extraordinary efforts to push the *right-wing* position on various regulatory — which means safety — issues. There’s a reason why environmental groups have no use for him any more.

    jimsf Reply:

    Im not concerned silly things like the use of non therapeutic antibiotics or whatever. I just want basic food inspection – the kind we’ve always had, and especially for food coming in from other countries. Inspectors to make sure that facilities are sanitary.

    VBobier Reply:

    @ Rick: Are You sure You don’t have anything to hide? The President of the USA is no dictator, Oh truly open has it’s limits when the Speaker of the House Boner shuts TV cameras off that work for C-SPAN when things don’t go the Repugnican way. And Congress makes bills, they can become law by being signed or not, only a Veto Signature will stop a bill from becoming Federal Law.

    @ Nathanael: That is the FDA, Not the President, saying it’s the Presidents fault will not get the FDA to fix this, but Congress could, but so far has only wanted to gut whole agencies with a Fire Axe…

    Now as to anti-biotics in beef, maybe if the animals weren’t kept like they are, then they might not possibly need such stuff that can breed drug resistant bacteria like MRSA, plus from the nih.gov(MRSA)

    And yes I’m for the humane treatment of animals, no I’m not a member of Peta, nor do I want to be, as I eat some meat, wear a leather belt, etc, etc…

    Nathanael Reply:

    Actually, it’s the USDA, VBobier. And Obama does appoint the people who run those agencies, you know.

    Nathanael Reply:

    And Jimsf, we are not discussing a silly thing. Non-therapeutic use of antibiotics is a grave threat to human health in the short term, thanks to antibiotic resistance. It’s looking like antibiotics may simply not work at all in ten years or so.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Killing Bin Laden gained the US nothing, sad to say.

    Oh, the supply lines through Pakistan are closed now, by the way. Only sane thing to do is to get out of Afghanistan, but of course Obama will. not. do. that.

    And Obama tried to keep DADT. People chaining themselves to the White House fence changed that.

    GoGregorio Reply:

    I agree with you completely, and this is where I lose a bit of patience with people who say the Ds and the Rs are the same. I’m as left as they come, and certainly hoped for more from Obama. But it’s not the same as if McCain had been elected.

    As a 25 year-old student, I’d only have access to a campus clinic if McCain had been elected. Instead, I have access to my parents’ top-notch healthcare. As a gay man, I feel this administration has made progress on issues that indirectly affect me far better than McCain would have. DADT doesn’t do anything for me, of course, and Obama’s pokeposition on marriage still hasn’t sufficiently evolved, but gay rights at the federal level have improved since 2008.

    So no, Obama and Romeny aren’t identical. Have I been disappointed by some of the things Obama has done/not done? Absolutely! But I know his administration has also made some positive progress for me personally in the last three years, and that will keep me in the D column for the top of the ticket.

    GoGregorio Reply:

    Still not casting my vote for DiFi, though.

    jimsf Reply:

    The reason to vote for difi is because it is important for our state to have someone experienced, powerful and effective working for us in Washington. California is the most important state and we have to beat our competitors, like ny, fl, and tx. Its good to have someone like difi in there getting our stuff for us. While boxer is able to go more to the left, feinstein has been able to walk a centrist line…. which she must do because she has to represent the great middle. She has to please farmers just as much as she has to protect the coast, she has to keep our big business and industry healthy and also support gay rights and other social issues. Thats her job, and she wins because she has been able to do that. I support that approach.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    DiFi is the most popular Republican in California. She tacks left on social issues making it appear that she is not the in the pocket of every major industry in the State. She’s a female version of Scoop Jackson….

    jimsf Reply:

    No industry. No job. No tax base. I support industry in california.

    Nathanael Reply:

    No, they’re not identical. The national-level Republicans have become unbelievably awful. At this point it’s a question of whether we vote for people who *appease* Republicans or people who *fight* them. them. This matters.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Getting what was previously the Republican version of health care reform passed was indeed something …. nothing in it should have been a big deal, but given how thoroughly corrupted and dysfunctional our Federal government has become, converting the US health care system from a 55 private : 45 public system to a 50 private : 50 public system is not nothing.

    Which is the kind of thing which assures that if you get progressives out to vote for anybody downballot, when it comes to the Presidential race, they’ll likely vote for Obama. Better an effective center-right administration than an ineffective corporate tool happy to pander to radical reactionaries.

    ant6n Reply:

    Wandering too far left… communism… what are you smoking, man?

    There’s no left in the States, there’s just right of centre. You don’t realize that left of the American Spectrum there’s The full Western European Political spectrum (they overlap by like 20%), And The Western European Political Spectrum barely overlaps with the former Eastern European Socialist Countries. And to the left of that is Communism.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    “Hippies” (most of the people in question were never actually hippies, of course) have to realize as the radical reactionaries did back in the 60′s and 70′s that if you wait until the General Election, you’re stuck with the choices made by those who showed up for the primaries. Its amazing how many people on supposedly progressive sites can’t be bothered to think about politics until the mess media starts covering the general election fight, and after sitting idly by on the sidelines for the entire six months leading up to their state primaries, whine and complain in September or October about the choices made available to them by those who do participate.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    and the last actual hippie wandered off to go sell real estate in a Sunbelt exurb a long time ago.
    When progressives do participate you get Joe Lieberman, I-CT.

    Nathanael Reply:

    That was worth it.

    The Free Soilers had a lot of “spoiler” elections before they started winning, but you have to start somewhere.

    Jonathan Reply:

    How long ago did Timothy Leary die, again?

    At least Adirondacker pinned it to “the last actual hippie”.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Changing their name to “Republicans” also worked. Perhaps it’s time for a name change for the “Peace and Freedom” Party…

    BruceMcF Reply:

    But that was more than a name change, since the formation of the Republican Party also included the anti-slavery Whigs that had been purged from the Whig Party and the Know Nothings.

    At least they managed to keep the Know Nothings in the party over the years, even after swapping the Democrats a range of former members of the Republican coalition for Big Oil and the southern racists over the 70′s and 80′s “Southern Strategy”.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Yeah, but the core of the Republican party was free soil, not abolition outright. That’s why the “Radical Republicans” rammed through the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments after Lincoln’s death….

    Nathanael Reply:

    Well, we’re watching some major purges from the Republican Party. Let’s see what happens next.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The problem with hippie punching as an electoral strategy is that while it may impress beltway pundits, there’s not necessarily any electoral advantage to it.

    And, after all, Obama winning in a squeaker and Democrats taking back enough House seats to scare Republicans about pandering to the Take Everything Away party extremists would be more useful for getting things done than Obama winning in a landslide and the Republicans coming back to the House with their majority intact.

    If people to the left of Obama ~

    ~ and he leaves as much or more room to get by him on his left flank as to get by him on his right flank, which is why the radical reactionaries have to work so hard maintaining their fiction of him as a left wing radical ~

    ~ focus on getting some people elected to the House and Senate, and they turn up to vote on election day, its likely most of them are going to vote for Obama rather than Romney, and the few who don’t are going to be throwing their top of the ticket vote away on a third party, and are still doing more good working for and voting for someone down-ballot than if they stayed home.

    The Republicans know that they are in deep trouble in a high turn-out election, which is why they are working so hard to make it difficult for college students, poor people and the elderly to vote.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “And, after all, Obama winning in a squeaker and Democrats taking back enough House seats to scare Republicans about pandering to the Take Everything Away party extremists would be more useful for getting things done than Obama winning in a landslide and the Republicans coming back to the House with their majority intact.”

    Sure would. I’m trying to focus on the legislature. It matters. A lot.

    VBobier Reply:

    Agreed, If there’s a Repugnican on the ballot oppose His or Her insane ass, Vote Democratic, nothing else will do, otherwise the future will be bleak for all…

    You think the weather is too warm now and that Spring was too early, Repugs will make It come earlier and Summer will be longer and the Economy will go into a 2nd Great Depression like under Herbert Hoover…

    So don’t be a Herbert

    BruceMcF Reply:

    That includes the Democratic primaries as well as the general election. We need more politicians like the New Dealers, not a modern version of Grover Cleveland’s Bourbon Democrats.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Absolutely. We have the minor (?) problem that the Bourbon Democrats masquerade as New Dealers when they first run for office. So we have to elect and then turf out a fair number in order to find genuine New Dealers.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Digging into actual policy proposals sometimes helps. Economically, the early policy positions that President Obama put forward marked him as a neoliberal through and through.

    However, without a progressive change coalition built on a broad enough base to command a governing majority in Congress, a far more progressive President that somehow managed to get elected would not accomplish all that much more than Obama has done. In my view, a neoliberal that believes in doing something about a health care system becoming more and more dysfunctional and about dependence of the US economy on imported energy is better than a neoliberal that believes in postponing progress on those issues as long as possible.

    Nathanael Reply:

    It’s true, Obama was clearly an economic neoliberal. It was his national-security-state positions which were a bait-and-switch.

    The disturbing thing is that we had a solid progressive governing majority in the House.

    The Senate gummed that all up. The Senate is an undemocratic institution by design, made worse by the unconstitutional filibuster rules. I’ve always thought it should be abolished, and now I’m sure of it. The US does not need a “House of Lords” with more power than the British one.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Louisiana is the 25th most populous state, at 4,533,372 people. Or 2,266,686 people per senator. Massachusetts, Virginia and New Jersey would get 3. North Carolina, Georgia and Michigan would get 4. Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ohio, 5. Florida and New York get 8. Texas gets 11 and California gets 16. A Senate with 160 Senators.
    If you require a state to have more population than half of Louisiana’s to have two senators that would mean New Mexico, West Virginia, Nebraska, Idaho, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming… would have to vote yes on the Constitutional Amendment to change it it one senator for low population states.

  2. Ben
    Apr 10th, 2012 at 12:11
    #2

    Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office found that the Republican’s favorite governor wasn’t entirely honest about the reasons why he canceled Hudson River tunnel.

    Report Disputes Christie’s Basis for Halting Tunnel
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/10/nyregion/report-disputes-christies-reason-for-halting-tunnel-project-in-2010.html?scp=1&sq=arc&st=cse

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Just following the lead of the Governor of Florida who wasn’t quite honest with the Florida Supreme Court when it came to Florida HSR.

    VBobier Reply:

    Yep, Christie is a LIAR…

    Nathanael Reply:

    No surprise there, is there?

    BrianR Reply:

    not sure if you’ve seen this already but here’s an opinion piece from Paul Krugman on governor Christie’s decision appropriately titled “Cannibalize the Future”:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/13/opinion/krugman-cannibalize-the-future.html?_r=3

    It’s so hypocritical that when any public transit infrastructure project is proposed Republicans, Tea Baggers and all those types start claiming these projects will be at the expense of our “children’s education and welfare” and all sorts of bullshit like that.

    What immediately comes to my mind is “since when do these people ever give a shit about any of that?” Their main credo is usually “starve the beast” and I think they would be more than happy if our public education system collapsed forcing everyone into private schools, home schooling and a “Jesus based eduction model”. The only claim to be defenders of public education if they can leverage it against other public services.

    And then secondly, claiming infrastructure spending will harm “our children’s future” is equally ridiculous. It will always be “about the children” forgetting the fact that those children will become adults, get jobs, need to commute to work, need to address the consequences of global warming and work towards living in a more sustainable manner. All of this infrastructure spending is “for the benefit of our children” (don’t have any children myself but I mean that in the general sense).

  3. Ben
    Apr 10th, 2012 at 12:14
    #3

    And let’s not forget this.

    A Businessman in Congress Helps His District and Himself
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/15/us/politics/15issa.html?pagewanted=all

    thatbruce Reply:

    The article describes several earmarks that Issa made for works at locations within 5 miles of properties he owns (hard to avoid that given how many properties he owns) and directly in front of at least one location. Financial security for HSR in San Diego is assured, just find out which of his properties will be benefited by HSR there, and have him pursue the earmarks to benefit his properties.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    If that’s considered a sign of corruption, one wonders what to make of the vice chair of the board having numerous properties within a quarter mile o the selected Fresno stop…

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    It’s also important to note that Issa would love to see the high speed rail project go down because it was a pet project of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Lest ye forget that Issa bankrolled the recall election in 2003 and tried ever so nicely to tell Ahhnold not to get in the race.

    Not that Mr. Car Thief (I mean Entrepreneur) has any love lost for Jerry Brown or Kamala Harris who is busy suing the daylights out of SANDAG….but still….

  4. unbrainwashed dem
    Apr 10th, 2012 at 12:18
    #4

    Politics aside, the CHSRA is failing at its job. It cannot under the law steer away from the mandates under which it got money from prop 1A. to do so is a violation of law and I dont care who does it, we cannot allow any government agency to side step laws. doing so is called corruption and to turn a blind eye to corruption (the author of this blog included) is to undermine your own argument that the naysayers and anti-HSR folks are being biased beacuse of politics. silence is acceptance and if you say nothing about breaking the law, then you support it and from what ive seen so far from pro HSR people is no mention of any conflicts of interest, or waste by the CHSRA, or the deviation from the mandates, or lack of funding. Instead the pro-HSR activists just point out other instances of waste by the GOP. you dont actually deal with the questions, you sidestep them. I am a democrat, been voting for 20 years and i do not support HSR at this time. Not when Brown cuts education, cuts public safety, cuts fire protection, cuts jobs, lets felons out of prison early, all for “cost reduction” but then says we need to spend billions on a train. i will choose school books over the train any day. as a parent its the responsible choice. some things matter more than political party affiliation and more than high paying tax payer funded jobs for the union workers. You attacking fellow democrats by saying they are helping Issa is a just because they arent giving blind support to HSR is a disgrace if you are even a real democrat or a DINO. Those democrats you denounce were having questions BEFORE Issa made any inquiry, so they arent helping Issa or the GOP, they are simply standing for principle. They have my support. You, Brown and the other blind brainwashed dems do not.

  5. unbrainwashed dem
    Apr 10th, 2012 at 12:39
    #5

    @jimsf.

    he wont win decisively. Romney is Obama-lite and will take alot of independents votes away from him. Im not even sure he will win this time. Against John Mcwar, it was obvious, but this time not so certain. Palin isnt there to make fun of, no joe the unplumber making a fool of himself, i doubt chris matthews will get tingles up his leg this time and nobody is saying “yes we can” anymore. its a new landscape. Obamas health care mandate will most likely get struck down, plus the economy is in the tank, theres the continued war in afghanistan, too big to fail bailouts for the banks, continued patriot act, the internet kill switch, easing assault weapons restrictions, raiding medical MJ shops, no immigration reform and deporting 8 times more illegals than dubya did isnt going to win him more support it actually drains his lefty support and moves them to stay home or vote green or libertarian party. Romney may just win.

    jimsf Reply:

    none of those things matter. What matters is whether americans decide they will be better off going with a break for the rich policy to create jobs or breaks for the working class. It will also depend on the administration geting the health care message out effectively in the coming months to remind poeple just how much is in it for them. Will middle class families vote for repealing the ability to keep their college age kids on their policies? will seniors and others vote for repealing protections for pre existing conditions?

  6. BMF from San Diego
    Apr 10th, 2012 at 12:44
    #6

    In San Diego, Darrel Issa is close to being considered the local village idiot among watchers of local politicians.

    I wonder what DC thinks of him.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Senile versions of local village idiots are responsible for CHSRA planning. With Van Ark gone there is no adult supervision left.

    I still find it hard to believe that BART is going to just swallow Ring the Bay getting whacked by Brown-Richard & co. They just might try to outlast Moonbeam.

    BMF from San Diego Reply:

    BART does not do the planning you constantly speak of. MTC does. BART will do the final fine tuning of an MTC selected corridor.

    synonymouse Reply:

    In the real world BART and MTC have been effectively synonymous. Ditto for BART and PB in the past. BART is a large institution, with input coming from various departments each with their parti pris, the highly politicized Board of Directors, and of course BART lawyers, lobbyists and the unions.

    Still BART policy consistently over the decades is redolent of a manifest destiny which targets the Peninsula as the missing jewel in the crown. The groundwork is laid both at the north and south ends.

    That’s why Richard’s coming down on the side of Caltrain is so incongruous and difficult to take at face value. My gut says the Peninsula wars are not over yet.

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    The current business plan and MOUs strengthen BART’s hand considerably. The “Northern California Unified Service” is a coup for BART.

    And it’s not manifest destiny: it’s more like reunification. Remember that all the counties were going to join but the San Mateo and Marin backed out. The Bay Area Rides Together….

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The “Northern California Unified Service” is a coup for BART.

    In what way?

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Currently, BART doesn’t have much of an argument for expansion trying to connect itself up with the San Joaquins, California Zephyr, and Altamont Corridor Express. Route thousands of more passengers through Livermore, Antioch, Santa Clara and Stockton and there will be nothing to stop them this time.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    So its a coup for the extensive expansion strategy for BART as opposed to the intensive expansion strategy.

    Clem Reply:

    I share your apprehension.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Clem,

    So how can the Dark BARTistas take advantage of the MOU?

  7. ant6n
    Apr 10th, 2012 at 12:58
    #7

    “Those questions include whether the $3.9 billion in federal money the project has received has prevented work on other important transportation projects.”
    Yes, if you spend money on A rather than B, then trivially you can claim that A prevented spending on B. There’s only a finite amount of total transportation funding available.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    If someone who voted for the House Transport Bill was being consistent, they would applaud anything that prevented important transportation projects, because they clearly support the prevention of important transportation projects.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Bruce,

    There _is_ no House Trasportation Bill. There is a House Highway Bill. The House powers-that-be are quite consciously calling it a “Highway Bill:, not a “Transportation Bill”.

    One might conclude that said Powers-That-Be know very well the interests that they serve.
    Or what biases they embody.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Or one might conclude that they’ve done focus groups among swing voters in their districts, and those focus groups fall for the BS better under the “Highway Bill” label.

    The point stands, though: if Issa voted for the “Highway Bill”, he clearly supports avoiding useful investment in transport infrastructure, so complaining about California HSR on those grounds is inconsistent.

  8. Paulus Magnus
    Apr 10th, 2012 at 13:31
    #8

    They’ve attacked the Chevy Volt even though it is in high demand

    Lolwut? 2,289 vehicles sold in March is high demand? Yeah, GM took back the extra week of plant shutdown that they’d added due to low demand for the Volt, but that’s really not high demand. Your average Volt spends 46 days on the lot, cheap high MPG conventional or hybrids are the ones selling like hot cakes (Hyundai Elantra, 3 days on lot, Prius plug-in 4 days, Prius c 6 days).

    and will attack high speed rail even though it is a proven global success in part because they do not believe it is acceptable for Americans to get around in a way that does not require pouring oil into a tank and lighting it on fire.

    Well of course, napalm is the smell of VICTORY!

    More seriously, while it has been a global success (mostly, NS HiSpeed is reportedly losing a good deal of money), it’s worth paying attention to the fact that it’s been deployed so far in nations with a significant base of rail ridership already, typically including all modes, whereas CAHSR is essentially going in blind with essentially zero prior ridership as a percentage of total trips or even of air/rail. There are other issues worth considering as well, for instance the fact that Paris-Lyons had very few flights (~10-14 daily iirc) when the TGV was introduced, which is remarkably different from the LA-SF situation.

    And quite frankly I don’t know why anyone retains such a naive display of unbounded support for the Authority after the issues with the Grapevine report if nothing else.

    nslander Reply:

    Volt sales in March doubled from the previous month, coinciding with a subsidence of talk-radio noise.

    http://www.autoblog.com/2012/04/05/improving-chevy-volt-sales-leads-gm-to-shorten-summer-shutdown/

    Now they are free to fling their frothy mixture at HSR.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    It’s still a crappy number of sales. Like I noted, it simply gt rid of the extended shut down from low demand. It is not a high demand vehicle.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Well, a lot of people are buying the Nissan Leaf instead. Or waiting for the Ford Focus Electric. Or, as you document, buying the Plug-in Prius.

    GM is a somewhat distrusted manufacturer, you know.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Or taking the train.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Well, but that is related to the general decline of *all* car sales (which is happening). If one is comparing the Volt specifically to other autos, one has to find other causes.

    thatbruce Reply:

    More seriously, while it has been a global success (mostly, NS HiSpeed is reportedly losing a good deal of money)

    They gambled on the introduction of a new service (Fyra) and found that where that route overlapped with existing well-provisioned conventional rail over a short distance (Amsterdam to Rotterdam), they didn’t convert as many passengers to the premium service as they had hoped for. They’ve also had 3rd-party delays in the provision of new trainsets to operate all of their Fyra services, as well as signaling issues on the new piece of dedicated HS track to Belgium.

    Their other HS offerings, Thalys and ICE (Amsterdam to Frankfurt) seem to be financially intact.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Also note that the intended rolling stock has not been available (and I think it is just about now that the first units have been accepted). Therefore, they ran a replacement service over the HSR, with loco-hauled stock at maximum speed of 160 km/h (instead of 250 km/h for the intended rolling stock).

    BruceMcF Reply:

    If they aren’t yet an Express HSR service, then we should given them a year operating at 200km/h or above before entering them down as the sole Express HSR service that doesn’t cover its operating costs. If Express HSR keeps expanding, someone is going to end up building a corridor that requires subsidy to run at the frequency that they desire, and they’re going to have to subsidize the service to get that frequency.

    After all, there isn’t a serious claim that all Rapid Rail systems cover their operating costs ~ some do, some don’t.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Bruce, don’t be a Doofus 200 km/hr was high-speed in Europe in the 1960s and 1970s.
    Nowadays that is almost factor of 2 from actual HSR. The quoted 160 km/hr _is_ a factor of 2 — a Joe Simitian “Order of Magnitude” from actual HSR.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Let me see if I have this straight:

    (1) I am a “doofus” for saying that 160km/hr should not be considered Express HSR.

    (2) … because the threshold of 200km/hr is conservative for today’s top speeds.

    I do not see how talking up the threshold in any way undermines the argument that 160km/hr is a bit low to be classed as Express HSR. However I am, as our RainMan constantly informs me, quite dim, and perhaps a hint as to an obvious step in your argument that you passed over would help me see where my argument went astray.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The European standards for HSR are 250 km/h on greenfield track and 200 km/h on existing track.

    Jonathan Reply:

    “Signaling issues”? Signalling issues?? Quoth “CBOSS” and ROTFL!

  9. Ben
    Apr 10th, 2012 at 14:18
    #9

    This is O/T but does anyone know how Amtrak counts the number of its passengers? We hear that only 30M passengers take Amtrak each year while there are 730M enplanements for aviation but I think this is greatly misleading for two reasons.

    First, if a passenger flies from LA to Boston via O’Hare, this counts as two enplanements if the passenger’s flight from O’Hare to Boston has a new flight number. Although I assume most Amtrak travel is point-to-point, does it count as two boardings if the passenger changes trains en-route to his/her destination?

    Second, travel on commuter rail to access Amtrak is not counted on an Amtrak trip. With aviation, there is extensive use of regional aircraft to feed passengers to larger hubs. Thus, if a rail passenger travels from New Haven to Penn Station on Metro North commuter rail and then takes Amtrak to DC, this is only one Amtrak trip. On the other hand, if a passenger flies from Akron to O’Hare on a regional aircraft and then a trunk route to LAX, this is counted as two separate enplanements. This likely significantly underestimates rail trips at the expense of other modes (while perhaps inflating the number of annual transit trips).

    Hence, the 30M Amtrak passengers vs. 730M air passengers is misleading.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    This is O/T but does anyone know how Amtrak counts the number of its passengers? We hear that only 30M passengers take Amtrak each year while there are 730M enplanements for aviation but I think this is greatly misleading for two reasons.

    Ticket collection and no it isn’t misleading. It provides the same boarding and trip information as airlines. Commuter rail is not Amtrak, but do feel free to count up commuter rail boardings alongside Amtrak for rail trips. It is still less than airline boardings, significantly so.

    Ben Reply:

    I understand that commuter rail isn’t the same as Amtrak but my point is valid– if we’re comparing the number of intercity trips by passenger rail versus aviation, we should have similar definitions of what we are comparing. Connecting passengers make up more than thirty percent of all aviation enplanements.

    Of course the number of intercity rail trips is still less than airline enplanements. This is exactly what you would expect when we have subsidized low-density suburban sprawl and highways for five decades at the expense of passenger rail and have spent more federal money on highways last year than we have spent on Amtrak during it’s forty year history combined. Approximately one-third of FAA’s annual roughly $15B budget comes from the general fund, two to three times what Amtrak receives every year.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    But there are very few intra-metro enplanements, it still should be restricted to intercity connecting rail (to both Amtrak and to airports), not connections using local rail transport for intra-city transport. And is the number of intercity rail connections going to shift the needle?

    It actually might not be too hard to track down. Offhand, it seems like most routes that make non-Amtrak intercity travel even feasible would be in the Northeast, so if the operators of those routes break their ridership down appropriately, it could prove to be a relatively simply adjustment to make.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Amtrak also counts trip segments separately.

    The difference is that a typical plane trip has three, maybe only two, segments, while a typical rail trip has one, occasionally two. There actually are relatively few people using connecting trains.

    If you want unique passenger numbers, you can’t get them (neither Amtrak nor the airlines compute them), but it is true that you should probably divide air ridership numbers by two or three to get roughly comparable numbers.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Wait, what? There are tons of O&D statistics for airlines. The Office of Aviation Statistics’ Consumer Airfare Report is O&D; that gives you each city pair in the Lower 48 with at least 10 passengers per day.

    Going by the report, total domestic O&D air traffic is about 350 million.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Those are estimates. Nobody can stop people from booking flights separately from connecting flights, and people do it all the time to save money.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    4%? Sounds right to me.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If you only look at O&D, it’s marginally less than 30 million vs. (I believe) 400 million. But so what? On average, Bill Gates and I have a net worth of $30 billion. Amtrak owns the airlines on the shorter-distance segments of the NEC (i.e. ones not going through New York), is mildly competitive on the medium-distance segments and on some corridors, such as New York-Albany and CV-SF, and doesn’t exist as serious transportation elsewhere.

    James in PA Reply:

    Que Adirondacker New England based rail response in 5,4,3,2,…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Adirondacks are in New York. The Berkshires, Green, etc are in New England.

    James in PA Reply:

    And Graton is on Arastadero Creek. I still remember freight deliveries to Ross Road Lumber and the cannery in Graton.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Okay, you win the thread drift award.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Ah the scent of apples permeating everything during the season. Pity they’ve been ripping out the orchards to plant grapes. I wonder if the kiwi farm out along Green Valley Road is still there or if it’s succumbed too. And if they have paved over all the tracks in Sebastopol. Cousins have told me that Fiesta is now a Whole Foods. I hope Andy’s is still there….

    James in PA Reply:

    Ground zero for me. I grew up watching the short line operation in Sebastopol since Kindergarten. And have felt the pain of watching the line, as well as other short line rail in California wither and die. I understand it is now mostly hiking and biking trails. Was once electric and before that steam.
    Yes grapes. California ships wine by the truckload. But you can still buy Gravenstein applesauce in the store.

    I can’t wait for California to restore more rail connections along with HSR.

    synonymouse Reply:

    AFAIK the P&SR line from Petaluma to Sebastopol was built as an electric interurban by the MnNear family in 1903. They sold it to the NWP in 1932, who then abandoned passenger service and then ripped down the wire in 1946.

    Michael Reply:

    Fiesta is still Fiesta They have an amazing BBQ/grilling operation in the parking lot. Whole Foods is downtown across from the original Safeway. The old Powerhouse for the P&SR has been various brewpubs for about a dozen years, the latest, very nice including a music venue, from Dean Biersch, the other half of Gordon-Biersch. Finally, Andy’s is still there and going strong.

    jimsf Reply:

    don’t forget the whites in new hampshire.

  10. Jack
    Apr 10th, 2012 at 15:13
    #10

    Well with Obama’s re-election assured (Christian Right is not going to vote for a Mormon, will not happen). Looks like we can count on more federal funding, rendering this investigation a waste of time.

    I can hardly wait for the groundbreaking!! Should we start planning the celebrations now?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Cronyism and corruption infest both parties. The more of a monopoly they have on power the worse the graft and sleaze, as per Lord Acton.

    What a pathetic election “card” to present: a smarter Blago vs. a dumber Bloomberg

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Republicans think cronyism and corruption infest all parties. It’s projection – they think all parties are like theirs.

    synonymouse Reply:

    They would be correct in that projection.

    In Italy apparently all the political parties, from right to left, once they are in office set up sinecures and take care of their own. Corruption has become embedded in the fabric of the culture.

    Why don’t we just make the anointed in office for life functionaries living gods, like Caesar Augustus?

    Neville Snark Reply:

    Were Caesar the man charge now, Didiron Intergalactic couldn’t shake a stick at what he would have built …

    synonymouse Reply:

    viae, aquaducti et amphitheatra

    the pricey permanent path of Pelosiism:

    http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/bre83a0td-us-italy-politicians/

    Neville Snark Reply:

    Do you think it’s possible to favour HSR (in California, in some form such as Altamont-Tejon) , even though you know it is playing into the hands of Pelosianna?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Sure, ’cause Pelosi will not endorse Altamont-Tejon. She has no more clue than Moonbeam.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Either they are all powerful potentates with mind bending abilities or they are village idiots, they cant’ be both, take your pick.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Historically you will find all powerful potentates who were village idiots.

    Say Gaius, nicknamed Caligula. George III Donald Trump

    You don’t have to be a brainiac to be a ward-healer or influence peddler. Look at Willie Brown.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Caligula actually was pretty smart until the fever.

    Jonathan Reply:

    Fever should’ve killed syphilitic spirochetes, which IIRC were introduced to Europe from (IIRC) the WEst Indies. Until then, Scrofula was The Big Evil.

    Even relatively early sources in Gaius’ reign come down harshly on him. When was the fever you refer to?

    Nathanael Reply:

    It’s the point when he starts acting completely NUTS. The first half of his reign was, well, workmanlike. Then he was seriously sick. Afterwards, he was ENTERTAINING.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Similar observations were made with regard to Nero, who seemed quite promising in the beginning.

    But Gaius Petronius is the entertaining one at Nero’s court.

    Donk Reply:

    The only thing that can screw Obama are high gas prices. I love the campaign speech Romney gives about how Obama is to blame for the high gas prices. Same with how he talks about how many jobs were lost since Obama took office, like he was to blame for the job losses in 2009.

    Romney really sounds like a fool when he goes on the attack – people are going to get real tired of these lines when they have to hear them over and over again for the next 6 months.

    VBobier Reply:

    And now unemployment is down to 8.2%, so much for jobs lost…

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The latest jobs numbers are not as good news as the previous three months ~ total employment is up 728,000 when seasonally adjusted it would be expected to be up 759,000, so there’s no sign of the double dip recession that the Republicans have been cheering for, but not a very robust recovery either.

    However, the sluggish recovery does mute the recessionary impact of a crude oil price shock, since the modest impact of a 20% increase in US crude oil production combined with the more substantial impact of a modest decline in consumption, which is a combination of economic activity remaining so far below capacity and some modest increases in consumption efficiency, means that our crude oil imports are down, and the fewer barrels we import, the smaller the recessionary impact of each $1 per barrel increase in crude oil prices.

    Nathanael Reply:

    “Unemployment rate” is a useless artificial number. It goes down when people stop reporting that they are looking for a job (perhaps because their unemployment benefits have run out; they have to announce that they are looking for a job while getting benefits, afterwards why bother to tell the government?).

    The employment/population ratio is the number to watch. We’re basically flatlined in a Depression. Great Depression II: Electric Boogaloo, someone called it.

    Without the stimulus package, we would be worse than flatlined; we’d be dropping further.

    Paul H. Reply:

    The thing is… we are going to see record gas prices this summer. Its about as close as certain as one can get with this kind of thing. If it gets past $150 a barrel of oil, we will likely see another Wall St. crisis right before the election, and then who knows what happens in November. Romney may still not be able to win given how he is probably the weakest Presidential candidate in a generation, but we’ll see. I’d say spring of 2012 is gonna be looked back as the ‘calm before the storm’ so to speak. The $7 trillion we’ve poured into Wall St. likely bought Obama 4 years, but if he does win re-election, he’s gonna have one hell of time keeping this thing together. The winner of the 2012 election will have one of the worst terms since the great depression, because we are very likely headed towards the second great depression. We are NEVER paying off $16+ trillion in debt (or the $50+(!) trillion in state/municipal/private/corporate debt).

    The numbers are horrifying. We are risking the dollar in a major way, but Obama (nor Romney) will not address the debt-based dollar. It’ll just inflate and inflate, killing the lower classes of society. We’ve really got to just end the two-party system and start again politically, but it’ll take a major shock to the system to wake people up (dollar collapse/doubling overnight of oil prices, something along those lines).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You forgot the line about how if we were still on the gold standard none of this would be a problem.

    Paul H. Reply:

    If we were still tied to the gold standard we likely would not have seen the kind of economic growth we’ve seen over the last 30 years. The U.S. dollar itself was considered ‘worth’ something all over the planet because of the perception of the strength of the U.S. economy… Once a majority of people believe the U.S. economy is on a permanent decline, they will flee the dollar (already happening) and our fiat currency will be worthless (which it truly is, since its not tied to anything ‘real’). I do have to say that the only reason the U.S. dollar is surviving today is because it’s the reserve currency used in petroleum trade. Once the dollar loses its reserve currency status, it will likely inflate into the nether and we’ll either be going towards a new ‘global’ currency, or to decentralized ‘local’ currencies. I’d say we’re headed towards local currencies, but the elite class in America will try its damnedest to implement a global currency if the dollar fails.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    You do realize that the doomsayers have been chanting this since Nixon took us off the gold standard? If the US economy tanks so bad that the world economy stops taking dollars we have much bigger problems than the price of gold. And if it’s tanked that badly…. you can’t eat gold.

    Paul H. Reply:

    Yeah, but if gold were just laying on a table, SOMEBODY would take it. That may not always be the case for the dollar. There is only so much gold on the crust, but the dollar can be continuously printed. Gold will likely always have a monetary value of some kind, the dollar may collapse because of the enormity of the debt that is attached to it.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If the economy has tanked so badly that nobody wants to take dollars in trade the dollar is more useful than the gold, I can burn dollars. The only reason I’d want the gold was to cast bullets so I have more ammo for the gun I’m using to protect my stash of food and dollar bill fuel.

    Paul H. Reply:

    I don’t think the dollar will completely collapse in our lifetime, but it’ll will inflate significantly. Gold will be a much better investment in the long-run then most other investments. All material nonrenewable resources will be more valuable than they are today, because we are headed into resource depletion worldwide. What do you think China has been doing for the last twenty years? They’ve pulled out the magic checkbook and have been buying the biggest known deposits of major nonrenewable resources.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The goldbugs have been yammering on about the threat of it inflation for at least 40 years.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Gold is useful for, basically, electronics and jewelry. And that’s not a large demand.

    The commodities which are really going to rise in value… require rather large warehouses to store them in financially significant quantities. If I *had* a warehouse I’d warehouse copper. I don’t and warehouse rental fees will eat your profits.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Price gets high enough and the recyclers will come out of the woodwork. I can see it now, after the “bring your old coins and jewelry to our pawn shop” ad on local TV, the ad for the electronics recyclers who wants to sell it off to a copper salvage company. Who also make a tidy profit salvaging the gold, other metals and rare earths along with the copper, from the electronics.

    Gold and other commodities, along with warehousing expenses, don’t pay dividends.
    Price of gold was fixed at 34 dollars an ounce when that dastardly Communist FDR made it illegal to hold gold. The DOW was well under 100. Today gold is selling for 1673. The DOW is 12000. If you had bought DJIA mutual fund in 1934, if such a thing existed, you would have been collecting dividend checks since. So if grandpa had stashed gold coins in 1934 and you had them today you and grandpa would have made a profit of roughly 5000 percent. Or if grandpa had turned in the gold and bought stocks you would have a profit of 12000 percent. And dividend checks. If I did the arithmetic correctly grandpa would have done better putting the money in the bank at 2 percent interest.

  11. morris brown
    Apr 10th, 2012 at 15:45
    #11

    Robert writes:

    “Ever since Solyndra, a Bay Area solar power company that received federal loans, went bankrupt and became the subject of a right-wing manufactured scandal… “

    Boy Robert, the BS can sure flow from your computer. The Solyndra fiasco / scandal is purely the result of Obama and his administration — they created the scandal not any “right-wing” person or group. Pray tell how did any “right-wing” group have anything to do with funding that company? Please keep from trying to re-write history (again).

    This issue is certainly not about “undermining Obama” ; it most certainly is about the numerous conflicts of interest and curious activities that have plagued this project, even before 2008.

    Link to letter sent by Issa to Richard.

    http://images.politico.com/global/2012/04/calihsr.html

    Tony D. Reply:

    “The Solyndra fiasco / scandal”…THERE WAS NO @#$%& SOLYNDRA FIASCO/SCANDAL!! It all existed in the childish minds of the right-wing and Teahadist cult!!
    “numerous confilicts of interest and curious activities that have plagued this project”…WTF!? Again, only in the childish minds of the right-wing, Teahadists AND NIMBY’S!

    jimsf Reply:

    funny, with all the wackiness on the right, they actually have not come up with any real scandal to pin on obama so far.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Could an Obama win be a sure thing? I never say something is a sure thing, but here is a fellow who thinks Obama will win, barring several reversals in what he calls “keys” to a presidential election:

    http://www.informs.org/ORMS-Today/Public-Articles/June-Volume-38-Number-3/Election-2012-The-13-keys-to-the-White-House

    http://ww2.gazette.net/stories/05272011/policol193154_32542.php

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Lichtman

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Of course, not everybody is convinced this is a sure thing, and for that matter, that includes me:

    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/31/despite-keys-obama-is-no-lock/#

    But we do have a response, here:

    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/12/keys-to-the-white-house-historian-responds/

    Robert’s spoken of “white knuckles” before; I’m going to have them for who knows how long now. . .

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Its never a sure thing this far out, because the recovery is still a bit dicey, and a double dip between now and November could overcome the multiple advantages handed to the Obama campaign by the Republican primary season.

    There’s also always the chance that there’s a foreign policy crisis and Obama’s run of good results on that front comes to an end at the wrong time … but its mostly the economy. If there are one or two more fitful lurches in the recovery direction, the Obama campaign is on the inside track to re-election, but if there is a lurch in the other direction, it could shake things up in the favor of Etch-A-Sketch.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The only way Obama could lose would be if the election were stolen. This is a serious possibility.

    Oh, OK: also perhaps if a popular, famous person of the right sort entered as a third party candidate. I can’t think of anyone popular enough and famous enough, though. The Ghost of Steve Jobs, perhaps.

    Even economic collapse would be hard for Romney to benefit from because *he’s Romney* and *he’s a Republican*, two massive black marks. The evangelicals will stay home, pet lovers will make a point of voting against him, and a large number of women will never consider voting for someone who supports the party of forced vaginal probes, a.k.a. legally mandated rape.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    No, given an economic collapse, the “Its Obama’s Fault” ads get a lot of traction. Just as in the Ohio Gubernatorial Election of 2010, the odds are that the large majority of the pro-Romney ads would never have to mention Romney at all. They’d just hammer home a “Time’s Up, Barack”.

    All they need is to depress Obama voter enthusiasm a bit, and that, combined with the voter suppression laws passed on a large number of the swing states, could well be enough to tip the balance.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The counter ads with the videos of “Corporations are people” “I like firing people” etc might have a dampening effect on Mr. Romney’s numbers.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Indeed. Though Bruce, it is of course true that *stealing* the election could win it for Romney. WE saw that in 2000.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It sure looks to me like an election that will turn off a lot of voters.

    Fox is claiming that Romney polls ahead of Obama, but I think they are making it up. Obama is unpopular but so is Romney. It is all spin and bs.

    I hope Ron Paul runs as a third party candidate so the disaffected can give a middle finger to the elite and the entrenched establishment.

    Believe it, the likes of Moonbeam, Villa and Nancy P. would throw you in a dungeon as a political enemy just as fast as Cheney. They are all villains

    Nathanael Reply:

    Obama seems to be a total straight arrow when it comes to money He’s done some really nasty things like kidnapping people and locking them up without trial, but he seems to have done absolutely nothing in the “funnelling money to buddies” category, unlike Dick Cheney, who did it all the time.

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Was there a “scandal” with Solyndra? Maybe–and maybe not. . .

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/24/opinion/the-phony-solyndra-scandal.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/07/opinion/krugman-here-comes-solar-energy.html?_r=1

    Hmm, let’s see, how might this apply here?

    I think I might have an idea. . .

    Much of what drives technological change can be what happens to the competition. For instance, railroads turned to coal when wood became harder and more expensive to find. Ditto for kerosene in home lighting; this fossil fuel, also called “coal oil” or “rock oil” because it came from the ground, replaced whale oil as whales became harder to find, and thus more expensive to hunt. Note that the whales didn’t completely disappear, nor did the forests, they just became expensive enough that people were looking for alternatives.

    In rail, we could see this as a combination of oil getting too expensive, both for automotive and aviation use, combined with someone having the guts to shoot for electrification on a main line railroad, and even for passenger service (see the recent news on the FEC). Social changes (reduced desire for younger people to drive) enter into this, too. And of course, we have in rail superior levels of comfort, speed, and safety when compared to driving.

    For now, though, it’s that agonizing white-knuckle wait. . .

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Even an editorial that’s highly critical of the Obama administration says this isn’t a scandal as such–and somehow, to my mind, undermines its own arguments, i.e., noting that China is getting further ahead with its industrial policy than we are. Maybe unfettered capitalism has some faults, maybe some things we don’t have the time for the capitalists to figure things out. . .

    http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-10-06/news/30265122_1_green-energy-solyndra-clean-energy

    On we go:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-matzzie/solyndra-scandalmongering_b_980860.html

    http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/09/daily-show-on-solyndra-scandal-its-not-easy-being-green-video.php

    I don’t consider myself liberal–heck, I’m Catholic and I’m the most old-fashioned person I know, and I was even registered as a Republican for 10 years–but the current party of the Repugnant Ones can only be described as nuts. What else can you call them when, along with other things, two members at the state level in Alaska and Wisconsin (I think, I’d have to look it up to be sure) would not back resolutions congratulating the Girl Scouts for 100 years of service because they thought the GSofA was a promoter of liberal, lesbian, socialist society.

    Come on, the Girl Scouts? Sheesh!!

    VBobier Reply:

    Agreed, the Repugnant Ones are Nuts, My Dad and Grandpa were Republicans, they would be aghast at the present day goings on, Dad said don’t be afraid of New Ideas or New foods, so I’m not, although on some Foods like Escargot I’ll pass.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Industrial policy works. This is one of the dirty little secrets which free-market free-trade types don’t like to admit.

    Now, bad industrial policy (“let’s focus all our efforts on the buggy whip business!”) works badly, obviously. But competent industrial policy *works*.

    The Girl Scouts were originally a radical organization — I mean, girls going out in the woods? Girls were supposed to be corseted and locked up!…. well, anyway, the entire society got so much more liberal after the Victorian period that they’re not very radical any more. But the Republicans want to go back to well before the Victorian period, so of *course* they hate any institution which is socially more progressive than the norm of circa 1860….

    Alan Reply:

    The right-wing whines about Solyndra and tries to manufacture a scandal out of it, hoping that people will forget about Haliburton…

    D. P. Lubic Reply:

    Hadn’t thought about Haliburton in a while, thanks for the reminder.

    And in turn, let us recall that Haliburton has moved its headquarters to Dubai; it’s no longer even a nominally American firm.

    Nathanael Reply:

    The really crooked part of Halliburton was “Kellogg Brown Root”. They were spun off from the actual oil services company (the one now in Dubai). One should keep an eye on what happened to KBR, which is a nest of scum and always has been. I have not kept track of it….

  12. joe
    Apr 10th, 2012 at 18:42
    #12

    GAO

    TRENTON, N.J. — Independent congressional investigators are raising questions about why New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie scrapped the Hudson River rail tunnel project in 2010.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2012/04/10/bloomberg_articlesM29NSN6K50YM01-M29X6.DTL

    April 10 (Bloomberg) — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie inflated cost estimates in 2010 when he killed construction of a Hudson River rail tunnel, saying his state couldn’t afford it, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report.

    joe Reply:

    GAO inquiry may backfire on Issa. It sure did contradict Christies explanation. For apparently bogus political posturing, NJ lost an opportunity to reduce commuter congestion and foster economic growth.

    http://thehill.com/blogs/transportation-report/railroads/215213-gao-to-review-calif-high-speed-rail

    The GAO confirmed to The Hill it would look into reports that emerged last fall that the cost of building the line would increase from $33 billion to $98 billion at the request of both a group of Republicans that include Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and John Mica (R-Fla.) and a group of Democrats that includes Reps. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and Corrine Brown (D-Fla.).

    “The work is just getting started so we don’t have an anticipated completion date as of yet,” a spokesman for the GAO said in an email. “Among the issues we plan to look at are how reliable are the rail authority’s estimates of the project’s construction cost and financing, their estimates of passenger traffic and revenues and the estimates of the project’s economic impacts.”

    Peter Baldo Reply:

    Reading about the Hudson River tunnel plan, I was struck by how difficult and expensive it is to layer new infrastructure over, under, and around existing infrastructure. Not to mention all the compromises that are forced in design, and eventual performance and convenience.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    And yet, in Paris, in Hong Kong, in Zürich, in São Paulo, in Berlin, in Stockholm, in Seoul, in Barcelona, in Vienna, in Santiago, …

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    … Stuttgart 21 on the other hand…

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    By George, you’re right, yet again! No existing infrastructure in Stuttgart. None at all.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Compared to midtown Manhattan, not much. If Wikipedia is to be believed someplace between 4.5 billion Euros and 18.7.

    Nathanael Reply:

    This is why it’s so important to do greenfield routes right; it has huge advantages for hundreds of years. If you’re not doing greenfield, eh, you can’t expect to get it right, it’s not really possible.

  13. Reality Check
    Apr 10th, 2012 at 19:31
    #13

    Dianne Feinstein praises Jerry Brown’s high-speed rail plan

    Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/04/dianne-feinstein-praises-jerry-browns-high-speed-rail-plan.html#storylink=cpy

    Feinstein said Brown has “done the right thing” by focusing on a building a high-speed rail line down the center of the state that would then connect to high-population centers such as Los Angeles and San Francisco. That so-called “blended approach” would rely on some existing infrastructure in urban areas.

    “You’re really not going to bring, in my view, those high-speed trains into either population area,” she said.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Translation: PAMPA “nimbys” win; – cheerleaders – deal with it.

    jimsf Reply:

    No, the don’t win. Of course the high speed trains will run up the catrain row and into the transbay center. There just won’t be—for the time being mind you– a completely separate set of high speed tracks in addition to caltrain tracks. Instead there will be —for now — upgraded electrified higher speed (90-110-125?) caltrain tracks that will integrate caltrains trains and hsr trains in a blended schedule. There were never plans, even with two separate systems – to run anything above 125 up the caltrain row anyway. The only thing that has changed is that there will be a few sections with two tracks instead of four…. for the time being.

    synonymouse Reply:

    On the contrary this is not the CHSRA waiting out nimbys but nimbys waiting out the CHSRA. PAMPA is getting richer and more powerful every day.

    Wait until the taxpayers get a load of mostly empty hsr trains meandering up at the Loop:

    http://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=11910

    average 36 paying trains a day on single track. Roundabout hsr? – anyone’s guess knows how many losing trains a day.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    PAMPA’s influence isn’t really the strategic challenge that the NIMBYs face ~ rather, its maintaining influence in PAMPA once the HSR starts running.

    synonymouse Reply:

    That is just so peripheral to the health of the CHSRA. As Clem has pointed out the Dumbarton provides another whole entree into the northern Peninsula.

    PAMPA accrues power every day whilst the CHSRA bleeds supporters.

    The mountain crossing is so much more central to hsr viability. Hopefully Issa(not at all one of my preferred pols)will have the unlikely smarts and moxie to blow open the Tehachapi scandal.

    Tejon is the central, direct, versatile punch-thru to the San Joaquin Valley. Whence you can proceed to the west, central, or even the east sides of the Valley Astounds me the foamers cannot grasp this.

    The key issue here is real estate values. The Tejon Ranch Co. understands their property alongside the Grapevine corridor is vastly more valuable than on the Tehachapi side. It doesn’t want to give up its best holdings cheap. Nor should it but it cannot impede use of a natural and virtually unique transport corridor.

    What does it tell you about the future of Sin City when Adelson is sending so much of his fortune overseas?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    If the HSR comes in through Dumbarton, then PAMPA NIMBY’s will instead get rolled on some of those HSR running through to San Jose. If they dither away their time of greatest leverage, then they are on track to minor footnote status.

    However, you do raise a vital point that Tejon gives you the versatility of putting the HSR both where you’d want to put an intercity passenger rail corridor and where you wouldn’t. I believe that you should stress this more heavily in the week ahead.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    One thing you can say for “NIMBYs”: they generally have some sort of rough understanding of just where their back yards might be, as opposed to the dimmer sort of blog commenter who can’t every quite seem to grasp that, say, it is Milpitas, not Atherton, that lies between Fremont and San José, The Capital of Silicon Valley.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Depends on which way they decide to get from Fremont to San Jose doesn’t it?
    If they decide to go directly south they will be going through Milpitas. If they decide to go west over the shiny new bridge they’ll have to go through Atherton. There’s always the option of “they have BART to Fremont or Caltrain to Redwood City, that’s good enough.”

    Clem Reply:

    That’s not even a choice. BART would be faster than west-bay rail, and east-bay rail would be faster than BART. The notion of reaching San Jose from Fremont via Menlo Park doesn’t even need to be considered, although it is often raised as a straw man.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Sure, ~ if “they” decide to get off the main corridor in Fremont instead of at the Caltrain Peninsula, then it’ll be southeast bay NIMBY’s opposed to that alignment who’ll get rolled.

    @RM ~ I see what you did there ~ you expressed scorn in an argument ad hominem in order to distract attention from your shifting the question at hand to an issue where you are convinced of your own personal brilliance. Clever. But please don’t share that technique with anyone else, or else sooner or later there will be thousands of people using it on the internet.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The notion of reaching San Jose from Fremont via Menlo Park doesn’t even need to be considered

    So those great big thundering herds of commuters that will be using the Dumbarton Bridge won’t be going south? All of them will be going north? Or are they going to turn the Dumbarton commuter trains at Sana Clara? Everything south of Redwood City running local on the two tracks so you can interweave the Dumbarton commuter trains and the San Francisco commuter trains all headed towards San Jose?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    BART would be faster than west-bay rail, and east-bay rail would be faster than BART.

    And as we have seen, the fastest alignment independent of other factors, is always chosen … ?

    The certainty that they will choose what you view as the right alignment to get to Silicon Valley and San Jose is contradicted by your certainty that they chose the wrong alignment to get from the central valley to San Francisco.

    Anyway, with the two existing east bay alignments about 50% and 40% more efficient than the existing west-bay alignments, likely fastest to downtown San Jose. Not faster to Stanford, for instance.

    Tony D. Reply:

    “PAMPA accrues power every day whilst the CHSRA bleeds supporters.” LOL! That was a good one! Please explain that “fact” in detail Mitt Romney…I mean, syno!

    jimsf Reply:

    once people in the pampa mt view and rwc area are able within 15 minutes of an hsr station and able to board a train with departures every 30 minutes that will deliver them to within 30 minutes of the majority of the states population, in busniess and first class comfort with a little pre planning and zero hassle, the nimbies will be irrelevant.

    Nathanael Reply:

    And if at some point the people in those areas have no HSR station *but people in LA and Bakersfield do*, they’re gonna start saying “Why can’t I get me one of those”? While the jobs move to Bakersfield. (It could use ‘em.)

    jimsf Reply:

    and if a merced to socal segment goes into revenue operation before connecting to the bay area…. you can be sure the bay area will demand service immediately up to and including voting to tax themselves to get it.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Ah, I see you said what I said. :-)

    J. Wong Reply:

    No one will ride the trains? Really, @syn, that’s a pretty stupid claim. Actually, wait until NIMBY’s see HSR trains running on the Peninsula, or wait, was that Caltrain? They mostly won’t notice the distinction, and when grade separations and 4 track is proposed for better service of both Caltrain and HSR, everyone will be in favor.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    4 track is proposed for better service of both Caltrain and HSR

    Not by anybody — anybody — at Caltrain, CHSRA or of their consultants.

    The quad tracking is purely for HSR Flight Level Zero Airline.

    There is zero benefit to Caltrain (or to anybody except those paid to “plan” and build this inutile bullshit.)

    Caltrain plans (“plans”) to operate only local and skip-stop service, forever, with no Caltrain ever overtaking any other Caltrain, and no Caltrain running any route other than SF to SJ. One train following after another, from one end of the line to the other. Futuristic!

    America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals, on the job.

    If anybody tells you that triple-tracking or quad-tracking is for the benefit of Caltrain, Caltrain riders, or Peninsula residents then that person is simply lying.

    (Things didn’t and don’t have to be that retarded way, of course. Strategic passing tracks could be of immense benefit to regional service, as anybody with a room temperature IQ would know. But it’s not going to be that way if any of America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals are in any way involved.)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    anybody with a room temperature IQ

    Since when do you use Fahrenheit?

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    Metric is heresy!

    VBobier Reply:

    PC Computer Users refer to Celsius all the time when It comes to a PC’s cpu or video card, it’s normal.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Fahrenheit is one I can’t even fake.
    I do sort of “know” what an inch and a mile and a pound might be, even if I don’t think that way natively, but all I know about °F are (a) -32 * 5 / 9 and (b) -40 = -40. Crazy, crazy stuff.
    PS You win the thread drift award.

    dejv Reply:

    Fahrenheit is one I can’t even fake.

    The same here. Leading to an interesting question: didn’t your second name spell Mlynárik or Mlynařík at some time? Your name without accents looks similarly weird to my eyes as acute-less San José to yours. ;)

    BruceMcF Reply:

    4 track is proposed for better service of both Caltrain and HSR

    Not by anybody — anybody — at Caltrain, CHSRA or of their consultants.

    This seems to be quite correct. The benefit to the Caltrain corridor seems like it will have to be imposed upon the people responsible for operating trains on that corridor.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Caltrain plans (“plans”) to operate only local and skip-stop service, forever, with no Caltrain ever overtaking any other Caltrain, and no Caltrain running any route other than SF to SJ. One train following after another, from one end of the line to the other. Futuristic!

    I’m surprised that you don’t know @Richard, Caltrain is already operating overtakes. The #281 limited gets overtaken by the #383 bullet at Bayshore Station.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    They’re already operating overtakes, but the original plan was to leverage these existing four-track segments for HSR, so that Caltrain would be reduced to two tracks everywhere.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    I thought the original plan was to build 300 foot wide Berlin Wall through the bucolic splendor of the Peninsula cutting off communities that had been separated by railroad tracks since they were settled.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    They did that in the 1950s. It’s called 280.

    But anyway, the unblended plan is to have SFFS tracks with no Caltrains using the express tracks to overtake slower trains, and separate platforms at HSR stations.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    J. Wong,

    Irrelevant.

    Here’s what is relevant:

    * http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/assets/0/152/256/265/87445132-b018-45f6-8651-70433e682206.pdf (PDF pages 45-48, from the horse’s mouth.)

    * http://www.caltrain.org/Assets/Caltrain+Modernization+Program/Documents/Final-Caltrain-California+HSR+Blended+Operations+Analysis.pdf

    The World’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals — who, amazingly enough, have graced our own little quiet backwater of the world with their presence — have determined that one train overtaking another is a difficult and troublesome business that has no place in the bright Six Trains Per Hour and Electrifimicated Future of a World Class Commuter Railroad like Caltrain. So it must not just be avoided, but prohibited.

    They propose to cast this World Class decision about the future of all service along the corridor into $5 billion worth of concrete. No Caltrain overtakes, ever NO CROSS PLATFORM TRANSFERS, ever. One train per hour, peak!!!, service to some stations.

    World Class.

    Where do they even manage to find this intellectual quality of human being?

    egk Reply:

    That was mean. I’d never seen these fantasy time tables. They are terrible

    Service to Palmdale four times an hour? At, but at times like 7:40, 7:59, 8:02, 8:11, 8:15. A whole series of Limiteds that save less than 15 minutes on the entire four hour end-to-end trip? Another whole set of limiteds that are hardly differentiated? No rational operator run a train schedule like that. 8 Trains an hour? (And if you want to get to Anaheim from Burbank at 10am meeting you have to leave at 8:45 – despite the fact that the trip is only half an hour.)

    Have the planners really never seen a normal European time table?

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Richard

    Isn’t this getting close to BART? Are they going to stop at all stations too?

    Jon Reply:

    The most appalling thing is that they are going to terminate all trains at 4th & King during off-peak hours, when there are far less capacity constraints on Transbay than during peak, when they will at least be taking some trains to Transbay. What possible justification can there be for that?

    morris brown Reply:

    @ Reality Check

    What an amazing statement from Senator Feinstein.

    “You’re really not going to bring, in my view, those high-speed trains into either population area,” she said.

    Is she now going to extract the $400 million that she ws respoinsible for granting to the TBT from ARRA HSR funds?

    joe Reply:

    No.

    Clem Reply:

    I think she speaks of high-speed rail (as many people do in California) as a conflation of tracks and trains. See frequent references to “the rail” in current affairs. Most people’s minds are blown when you tell them that a high-speed train can actually leave the high-speed tracks and use regular old tracks… Hence the great suspicion about the “blended” idea.

    flowmotion Reply:

    Well, to be fair, this was originally presented to the public as an all-or-nothing proposition.

    Donk Reply:

    Maglev is the all-or-nothing of all-or-nothing propositions. Thank god Maglev got shitcanned, with Harry Reid dumping Vegas Maglev and SCAG pulling the plug on SCAGLEV a couple months ago.

    -US Maglev-
    —-RIP—-
    2000-2012

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART is also every bit as all or nothing as maglev. Totally stand alone, walled off operation. Intentionally.

    YesonHSR Reply:

    NO she is speaking of those 140 year old tracks that you and ever other PA Nimby moved next to as a means to arrive in the CITY of SAN FRANCISCO…We also own those tracks..dear arrogant Menlo/PA

  14. StevieB
    Apr 11th, 2012 at 00:27
    #14

    A California State Senate report determines that monies to repay the High Speed Rail bonds need not come from the General Fund so do not compete with other uses such as education.

    a staff report from the state Senate’s Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review implies that repayment of the already-authorized bonds doesn’t have to burden the state budget nearly as much as some have complained.
    Current estimates place the yearly bond repayment burden at about $700 million, although the actual amounts will vary according to the rating of California bonds at the time these are sold. Of course, it will be several years before all the voter-approved state bonds are sold, and repayment amounts will be lower until then.
    But the Senate report notes that $915 million yearly in truck weight fees is available right now for debt service on transportation bonds. If the Legislature wants, it could use all that money for these bonds without touching the rest of the general fund budget.
    But it will never need all the truck money, which the report notes has never been ticketed solely for road maintenance — a common misconception.

    Thomas D. Elias presents financial information mentioned in federal hearings by the State Legislative Analyst but which I have not before seen in print. The Mercury News article“Doses of reality put high-speed rail project back on track” is very upbeat.

    VBobier Reply:

    Sounds good to Me, I like this idea as It keeps HSR/T away from the General Fund.

    J. Wong Reply:

    Woo-hoo! It’s happening. The Legislature will authorize sale of bonds and disbursement to the Authority this year. The initiative petition to counter Prop 1A will not make the ballot in 2012, and likely not even in 2014, by which time construction will be underway.

    Rick Rong Reply:

    One of the interesting things about the article is how it begins and how it ends. Not that you can believe whatever you read in the papers, but consider the following two statements, with emphasis added:

    “It’s beginning to look like California will get bullet trains after all, but IT WON’T BE quite as grandiose a system as what the California High-Speed Rail Authority at first wanted or WHAT VOTERS APPROVED IN THE 2008 PROPOSITION 1-A.”

    “All of which leaves high speed rail just about where it should be at this time: free to proceed if legislators let it, UNLESS LAWSUITS SOMEHOW STOP IT — AND SO FOR THERE ARE NONE LOOKING POTENT ENOUGH TO DO THAT.”

    Maybe what he means is that none of the existing lawsuits address the deviation he describes between the new plan and “what votes approved in . . . Proposition 1-A.” Of course, maybe he’s wrong about the new plan not being what voters approved in 2008. I don’t know. The plans keep changing and it’s hard to keep up with them.

    jimsf Reply:

    What the voters approved in prop 1a is still going to happen. the blended plan just gets service started sooner rather than later. Its not like once the blended approach starts running that no more improvements will be made. Of course upgrades will continue and eventually we will have a full hsr system. Teh blended approach just gets initial construction started and makes initial operation possible sooner and cheaper rather than waiting for full build out.

    Why is this so hard for people to grasp?
    highway 99 was started with a bond in 1910. They are still upgrading it. They didnt wait until 2012 to do the whole thing at once.

    Rick Rong Reply:

    What you say may be true, although I doubt that whatever bonds were issued to finance initial construction of Highway 99 and later improvements had the kind of restrictions associated with Prop 1A and the $9 billion in bonds that it provides. I don’t think that distinction should be too hard to grasp.

    jimsf Reply:

    But when the dust settles, most of us, at least everyone I know, understands how things actually happen… its always a long drawn out step by step political process. It just surprises me when people act all “oh no the sky is falling” over everything. We are still waiting for a 4th bore for teh caldecott tunnel. We still don’t have a “southern crossing” (mission bay 280 to alameda 880) bart was two decades from idea to construction, the states freeway system is ever evolving, the golden gate bridge went through all kinds of design and political hell, I mean its just the way things are done. How can anyone not know that?

    Tony D. Reply:

    Way to give Mr. Wrong the slapdown Jim! This is awesome news! Oh, and the NIMBY’s, naysayers continue to weep…

  15. Nadia
    Apr 11th, 2012 at 10:36
    #15

    O/T for those following the Business Plan, Rita Wespi of CARRD has been pestering the Authority to release the back up documents for the Business Plan (which are referenced throughout the document) since last week to no avail.

    Yesterday we posted the following: http://www.calhsr.com/uncategorized/latest-business-plan-wheres-the-beef/ – making it clear that NOT posting these document is a real problem from a process standpoint.

    This morning – the documents were finally posted – less than 24 hours before the board vote.

    Those looking closely will note that the Ridership document was completed YESTERDAY as noted by the date on the document and it is marked DRAFT! That document alone is 250 pages. There are a total of 10 new documents posted.

    Happy Reading

    Peter Reply:

    *Shrug*

    Due process is all about what you are required to do, not what some people think it would be nice for you to do.

    Rick Rong Reply:

    She didn’t say “due process.” She said “process.” There is a difference.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Want choo choo! Safe choo choo made of soft rubber stamps! Choo choo now! WANT!

    Peter Reply:

    What?

    Tony D. Reply:

    R.M.,
    You’ll either by pushing up daisies or forgetting everything/everyone when this train is up and running on the Peninsula; why do you even care?! Oh well, continue with you childish rants if you please. (they’re actually quite humorous)

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Got the memo, Tony D.! So … not living to see useful improved regional and inter-regional transportation service is now a good thing. But during the not-yet-dead phase, be paying taxes that go into the pockets of people who aren’t improving anything, and living in a constantly degrading environment, but I shouldn’t “care” about that because one day I will in fact be dead. By extension, the longer they do less than nothing, the less to care about. Do I have that right? Your ideas are intriguing to me and …

    Tony D. Reply:

    Well, based on this latest incoherent post R.M., it appears your well into the “forgetting everything/everyone” phase of life (modernized Caltrain/blended HSR = paying taxes you don’t like and a constantly degrading environment?). I’m sorry…and I’ll leave you alone (for now).

    Rick Rong Reply:

    Tony, maybe you should get someone to explain it to you. Richard’s post is quite clear. He may say it in a unique way, but it is easy for most people to understand. Not all, obviously, but most.

    Joe Reply:

    Send your newsletter to the GAO.

    The GAO is reviewing the project and you have first hand knowledege that billions ate being wasted on HSR corruption, incompetence and cronyism.

    You would have to be a major chichen shit to let this golden opportunity you pass up.
    Once in a lifetime vindication.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Richard, why don’t you move to LA, which is actually going to get decent trains while you are alive? It’s still legal to move between locations within California.

    Only half kdding.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    SF’s transit mode share, ex Silicon Valley, is 15%. LA’s, ex Inland Empire, is 6%.

    ComradeFrana Reply:

    “SF’s transit mode share, ex Silicon Valley, is 15%.”

    To be precise, San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont MSA has 15% transit mode share and SF itself has approx. 32%.

    Peter Reply:

    Ok, then how about

    *Shrug*

    The term ‘Process’ is vague enough that it can mean anything she wants it to mean.

    I hazarded a guess at what she wanted to say, even if it wasn’t completely correct in terms of legal terminology.

    Rick Rong Reply:

    Instead of hazarding a guess, which can leave a person with egg on his face, try taking a look at the link Nadia posted. For the benefit of those who don’t know how to click on links, here is an excerpt that sums up CARRD’s concerns. They are worth considering:

    “This plan is going to a board vote in less than 48 hours, yet presumably board members – and certainly the public – do not have access to these important additional materials. Without them it is impossible to accurately evaluate the Business Plan. We reiterate our concern about the board voting on a multi-billion dollar project without access to supporting information. It is difficult to have confidence in their vote under these conditions.

    “There is also the obvious transparency problem of not making these materials available to the public in a timely manner. CARRD has repeatedly made this request to you and to the Chair and select board members, and cc’d our state reps. It is troublesome that we find ourselves continuously in this role of asking for a minimum level of transparency that should need no prodding. The board’s rushed vote with incomplete data is equally disturbing. ”

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    What part of “draft” are you having difficulty understanding? The D part? The R part? maybe it’s the AFT part? Drafts get revised. If they weren’t expecting to revise it they wouldn’t have called it a draft.
    It’s the starting point of a discussion not the end.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The way things actually work in the real world.

    1. Staff produces a Fraft XXX out of a hat a day before a “public” meeting.

    2. Engaged and probing Board approves staff proposal after detailed scrutiny with a unanimous vote. Once again!

    3. Staff — just following orders! — untick the “print with the overlaid word `draft’ ” option in their document processing system.

    4. Draft XXX is now XXX. It was perfect to begin with, but now it’s even more perfect. America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals are vindicated once again!

    5. Thank you for your Participation in the Open Public Process. Your contributions are valuable to us.

    joe Reply:

    http://www.gao.gov/fraudnet/fraudnet.htm

    http://issa.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=597&Itemid=73

    Shit or get off the pot so to speak.

    File a complaint. The GAO is waiting. Darrell Isssa wants YOU! Finally – someone is listening!!

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Joe

    How do I sign LaMalfa’s petition?

    joe Reply:

    With a crayon.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Of course, you’re wrong, Richard. Perhaps you’ve never followed a single Draft XXX -> Final XXX process in your entire life.

    Actually, major changes get made. Sometimes for the better. Sometimes for the worse (see Denver Union Station). ALWAYS based on (1) what appears to be popular with the public or (2) what will be allowed by other government agencies or (3) what’s cheaper

    Get an effing clue, Richard.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    When the public only gets 24 hours, the draft becomes final.

    Don’t believe me? See if you can find English-language information about the Arrangements Law in Israel. In short, the finance ministry gets to review the budget, scrub items it thinks will raise the deficit too much (public housing, free preschool, and other things that aren’t as important as military waste or tax cuts), and send hundreds of amendments to the Knesset three days before it needs to vote on them. There’s no public debate on the amendments. The one time in the last 20-25 years when the government did not pass an Arrangements Law together with the budget, in the Rabin administration, the finance ministry had a fit and the government went to standard neo-liberalism the next year.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Dear Nathanael,

    That’s nice.

    Did you learn all that in your mandatory Principles of Democracy indoctrination classes at school? Or perhaps on the back of a cornflake packet?

    The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag is a solid guarantee that staff draft reports will never be rubber stamped as Final Reports without Due Process and Diligent Review by all Three Branches of Government: The Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary, in full accordance with the Constitution as handed down on Mount Sinai to the Founding Fathers of the Republic. So halp me Gaaaaaaaaahhhd!

    joe Reply:

    Fire off a complaint to Issa’s Committee and the GAO. Time to stop trolling and man up.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Richard, you will concede that rubber stamping the staff/consultant report is a different problem from releasing a draft report and it’s supporting documentation the day before a body accepts – not approves – a draft report?

    Nathanael Reply:

    No, Richard, I’ve been FOLLOWING these things. Obviously you haven’t.

    Nadia Reply:

    Yes, I’m aware it is a draft. The draft plan is based on data. This data is referenced throughout the document. This data, which substantiates their plan to commit billions of dollars to a plan AND which is different from the data for the plan released only 6 months ago, was unavailable until this morning.

    This means: 1) The public – and groups like CARRD, who actually read the numbers and verify the calculations supporting their conclusions and plans, have no access to the information.
    2) The board members, who presumably want to really understand the details in-depth before voting on a multi-billion dollar project, also, don’t have access to this information – and thus are voting on this with no real in-depth knowledge
    3) For an agency that is supposed to be working on improving their transparency and accessibility – NOT posting these documents is a major step backwards which undermines their work.

    Joe Reply:

    The CAHSRA is not going away and any substancial issues are relevant the day after the meeting as they are before.

    This is an issue over process and implication that the material is embargoed from review.

    I urge CARRD to directly contact the GAO with any and all concerns since the plan is under GAO review. You can even level charges that the CAHSRA is not transparent and accessible.

    Let us once snd for all settle the phoney baloney accusations.
    I also suggest CARRD explain the congressional testimoney the project is 100 miles too long. The GAO is waiting.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Richard, Design, Announce, Defend is well known around the world. Since California is so exceptional I’m sure none of the solutions people have come up with to counteract Decide, Announce, Defend would work.

    Nadia the process has been refined over the past forty years of legislation and litigation. If you don’t like it, get the laws changed. But then spreading FUD is so much easier and more fun.

    Yes, I’m aware it is a draft. The draft plan is based on data. This data is referenced throughout the document. This data, which substantiates their plan to commit billions of dollars to a plan AND which is different from the data for the plan released only 6 months ago, was unavailable until this morning.

    And six months ago your complaint was that the data was flawed. So the big old mean nasty Authority went out out and got new, presumably better data. It’s absolutely awful that they did what you wanted them to do.

    This means: 1) The public – and groups like CARRD, who actually read the numbers and verify the calculations supporting their conclusions and plans, have no access to the information.

    Yes you do, they released it this morning. Unless I’m reading “until this morning” incorrectly.

    2) The board members, who presumably want to really understand the details in-depth before voting on a multi-billion dollar project, also, don’t have access to this information – and thus are voting on this with no real in-depth knowledge

    They don’t need in depth knowledge to accept a draft document. Draft documents are subject to changes. They will have time to study them, ask questions, make changes and someday accept a final document, which will be, in theory, somewhat different than the draft. If the process is was Richard describes having information isn’t going to help much.

    3) For an agency that is supposed to be working on improving their transparency and accessibility – NOT posting these documents is a major step backwards which undermines their work.

    They posted them this morning. Unless I’m reading “until this morning” incorrectly.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Boards never review underlying data. They may not even be competent to. Have you thought about what it is they actually pay staff members to do? Yeah, that is what they pay staff members to do.

    So the board doesn’t care about seeing the underlying data. If they get suspicious that it isn’t being analyzed correctly, they don’t look at it… they ask someone else to. If they decide it isn’t being analyzed correctly, they sack the staff and hire new staff.

    This is how it generally works.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Nadia, remind us again how long a state agency has to collect documents and deliver them when a request is made.

    Peter Reply:

    They get 10 days to make a determination whether the request seeks copies of disclosable public records.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So is “Last week” less than ten days? If it is why have they been pestering?
    Ah the smell of FUD in the afternoon!

    Rick Rong Reply:

    Maybe, adirondacker, because they would like a meaningful opportunity to review the documents before the meeting so that they, and other members of the public, will have a chance to make meaningful comment.

    Nathanael Reply:

    That would be nice. Since they don’t usually make meaningful comments themselves, it’s very thoughtful and considerate of them to think of the rest of the public.

    I’m actually serious here, that is considerate.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Pretty straightforward.

    1. Revised version of Draft Business Plan released with substantial changes after, for instance, the Governor’s office convenes a variety of parties together to hammer out new arrangements.

    2. CHSRA Board meeting postponed so all the revisions to the supporting appendices can be put into a form suitable for release.

    3. CARRD complains that the material is not released on the same day as the Business Plan.

    4. The appendices are released in time for the meeting which had been originally rescheduled to when it was thought they would be available.

    5. CARRD declares victory in forcing the CHSRA to do what they were going about doing anyway.

    Nadia Reply:

    In this case, the laws of Bagley-Keene govern what the Authority must release for their board meetings (this isn’t treated like a FOIA request).

    The law states: “When materials are provided to a majority of the body either before or during the meeting, they must also be made available to the public without delay, unless the confidentiality of such materials is otherwise protected.”

    So – if the board had already received them – they should be made public otherwise it is a Bagley-Keene violation. If they didn’t – they have a hell of a lot of reading to do – which is probably why Richard Mlynarik is mentioning rubber stamps

    Tony D. Reply:

    You people at CAARD are really, really, really beginning to REACH now. I guess that’s all you got left. One of these days you people should really look in the eyes of Peninsula folks <40 years of age (especially the children); perhaps you'll then find yourself asking "what the hell am I doing?"

    thatbruce Reply:

    @Tony D.:

    Read what Nadia has written. Essentially, she has correctly pointed out that referenced materials, which should have been made available around the same time as the business plan, weren’t made available until just now.

    Even for those who are gung-ho boosters of the project (as Richard puts it, choo-choo!), the fact that the underpinnings to the business plan either weren’t released to the public at the same time as the business plan, or worse, weren’t completed until now, should be cause for alarm.

    If you’re going to bash CARRD, try to differentiate between watchdog-like activity, and thinly-disguised NIMBYism.

    Tony d. Reply:

    Like I said, a complete reach. “Now that this project is looking more real and garnering increased support, lets look for technicalities to try and stop this thing! The hell with the people!”

    Arthur Dent Reply:

    This conversation is mind boggling and exposes people for what they are. CARRD shakes loose the remainder of the Business Plan documents, posted where the public can see them, and the crowd throws stones. Tony d & others – have you read any of the docs? Or do you view those in search of facts rather than blind faith blasphemous. Deniers!

    How dare CARRD ask the Authority to embarrass themselves by posting their docs!

    Now let’s have a hearty conversation about the word ‘draft’ so we can avoid discussing the business plan or what’s in those docs.

    Peter Reply:

    Uhhh, you do realize that these documents were going to be posted anyway, right? They always post these documents just before the Board meeting, or sometimes a day or so later. Giving CARRD the credit is REALLY reaching.

    Rick Rong Reply:

    Uhhhhhh, do you realize what the problem is with posting them “just before the Board meeting”?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No I don’t understand what the problem is with posting a draft document just before the meeting where they accept the draft document, is held.

    Rick Rong Reply:

    Evidently you don’t understand the role public comment is supposed to play. It is legally required, at least in California, if not where you live. And public comment may just end up being used to let people vent while they are essentially ignored, as probably happens, but it is meant to be a way for the public to have meaningful input into the process.

    The draft document may very well be approved at that meeting and if that happens it is no longer a “draft,” it is the final and operative document. In order for anyone to be able to intelligently offer comment as to what he thinks the board should do, he needs to have reasonable access to that document. Having that document posted just before the meeting does not give anyone meaningful access to the document, in which case “public comment” is rendered meaningless.

    Joe Reply:

    Watchdog activity is too generous. CARRD has a right to make demands on CAHSRA. It is not a watchdog, implying nefarious and rubber stamp inuendo is pure political Spin and speculation.

    Peter Reply:

    Cool, so CARRD is back to accusing the Authority of violating laws without proof?

    Peter Reply:

    By the way, Nadia, not that you don’t know this, but “DRAFT” means it hasn’t been officially adopted by the Authority yet. Every page of the business plan is branded that way, too.

    Rick Rong Reply:

    Look, I understand that people with legal expertise can come up with all sorts of interpretations, but there is a basic point some people may be missing, and it is rooted in common sense. Whether it is stamped “draft” or not, and particularly in the case of a project as big as this one, getting information out to the public sooner rather than at the last minute is a good thing. As for the business plan, if the draft is being presented for board approval, then it is in the final form to be reviewed by the board, subject to changes the board might make at the meeting, at which the public has a right to comment. Consequently, they should have the opportunity to see what it is the board will be evaluating so that they can comment on it.

    Mac Reply:

    THANK YOU NADIA AND RICK……….it IS simple common sense. Why is THAT so hard to grasp?

    Joe Reply:

    Sorry but draft material changes and CARRD in particular has used changes to disparage the project.

    Common sense tells me local nimbys want to disparage HSR, not see draft material to help/watch dog in the broader public interest.

    Rick Rong Reply:

    Okay, let me try it this way. Let’s say a “draft” document is posted publicly the day before the meeting, and that at that meeting the board will be approving it as presented or with some modifications. Let’s also say the background information is being posted at the same time, and that the materials consist of a significant number of pages. Finally, let’s assume you are interested in the subject matter and would like to communicate with the board or its staff and make comment on the documents and you want to encourage the board to take a certain action, whether it is to approve the draft as presented or to change it in a certain way or to delay acting on it. Whatever. How do you manage to do that intelligently if you don’t have access to it until just before the meeting? Or do you even care?

    As “thatBruce” put it very nicely, “If you’re going to bash CARRD, try to differentiate between watchdog-like activity, and thinly-disguised NIMBYism.”

    Peter Reply:

    They do take comments outside of Board meetings. Make a phone call. Send an email. Write a letter. They are actually surprisingly responsive. I’ve never had a problem getting information from them. I also don’t expect them to act as if my question or comment is the most important thing in the world, so I don’t expect a response that day, or even the next day.

    Rick Rong Reply:

    When does one make comment? After the decision has been made? You are confusing getting some sort of response from the agency with the ability to make public comment at the meeting, during consideration of the item, and before a decision is made. I think the latter is the issue Nadia is raising.

    Peter Reply:

    Send them an email before the board meeting tomorrow as a public comment.

    I know the difference between making a comment and getting info, I was just using the latter as an example of how you can reach them. I should have left it out, because it confused the issue.

    joe Reply:

    Contact the California High-Speed Rail Authority
    To submit a question, comment or request to the Authority, please use the form below.

    http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/contact.aspx

    Operators are standing by.

    joe Reply:

    Let me try this … WTF is so special about comments made at a meeting as opposed to another time?

    Being locked out? Let me help…here are some venues:
    http://issa.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=597&Itemid=73

    And the GAO is looking at the Business Plan right now.
    http://www.gao.gov/fraudnet/fraudnet.htm

    WTF do accusations of sandbagging reference material before a meeting have to do with actually commenting on the yet-to-be named problems? Who is silenced?

    You can even file a complaint about the CAHSRA process.

    Maybe another CARRD member can testify before Congress – again. Like somehow someone is being suppressed. Congressional testimony, a GAO investigation and Congressional Chairman of the gov Oversight Committee.

    Pathetic.

    Tony d. Reply:

    Thank you Joe for bringing sanity and reality back to the discussion. No laws are being broken! But go ahead and continue CAARD with your broken record reaching and searching for technicalities.

    joe Reply:

    Who knows if laws are being broken? Let’s let the chicken-shit whiners DO SOMETHING for once while the GAO and Issa are investigating the CAHSRA.

    Why are these concerned trolls/citizens wasting time on this blog when they can be filling in a web form on Issa’s and the GAO website.

    VBobier Reply:

    Where they will be promptly ignored if their not in praise of the SOB’s political stunts against the legally elected President of the United States of America…

    Rick Rong Reply:

    Joe, you say, “WTF is so special about comments made at a meeting as opposed to another time?” Well, the reason is, that the decisions are supposedly made at the meetings, and the law requires that the agency allow for public comment.

    As the law puts it,

    “It is the public policy of this state that public agencies
    exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business and the
    proceedings of public agencies be conducted openly so that the public
    may remain informed.
    In enacting this article the Legislature finds and declares that
    it is the intent of the law that actions of state agencies be taken
    openly and that their deliberation be conducted openly.
    “The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the
    agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do
    not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for
    the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people
    insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the
    instruments they have created.”

    Anyone who has a problem with the concept expressed in the law, or who thinks supporting the idea of open government and open deliberation is somehow “insane” or “unreal,” should let his legislator know.

    And just to make things as clear as possible, I’m not saying the business plan (the latest or any of its predecessors) is good or bad. I’m just trying to support the idea that things should be done openly, with members of the public having a meaningful chance to address the decision-makers before they make their decisions.

    Or would you just prefer letting the rich “kick down enough to make sure the rest of us, have a decent infrastructure to use”? But then they’ll decide what’s decent and useful, not you or me or any member of the general public. I guess some people think that that’s the way it is already, and maybe they’re right.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    The only law that is sacrosanct is Prop 1A.

    The rest of that legal mumbo jumbo is just NIMBY obstructionist future-denialism, starting with the Magna Carta.

    Rick Rong Reply:

    Thanks. Now I understand.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why are you finding it so difficult to grasp the concept of “draft”, a document you can make comments on to your hearts content. It will cut into the time you spend on concern trollery but everyone has to make hard decisions.

    Rick Rong Reply:

    My apologies. I forgot the Red Queen’s Rule: First the execution, then the trial. Likewise, first the decision, then the deliberation, then the public comment.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Since they aren’t executing anyone I guess that rule doesn’t apply.

    joe Reply:

    Fire off a complaint to the GAO and tell them you were unable to intelligently comment on the Business Plan because reference material was withheld.

    You can even complain CAHSRA is not following CA Law and even if you haven’t a single gripe about the Business Plan you still object to the law not being followed.

    Do it today.

    joe Reply:

    Please cut and paste this complaint on the Issa Web site and GAO website. Be sure you properly attribute the violations to the CAHSR Project.

    If you wait, and the GAO finished their analysis it will be too late to impact heir report so please don’t delay.

    Rick Rong Reply:

    Joe, are new to the art of “reading”? As I said, “And just to make things as clear as possible, I’m not saying the business plan (the latest or any of its predecessors) is good or bad. I’m just trying to support the idea that things should be done openly.” But maybe you can read and just don’t care. Richard Mlynarik is right, for some people only Prop 1A is “sacrosanct.” Or maybe I have failed the ideological litmus test.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It is not Prop 1A that is sacrosanct per se, but the Triumvirate’s particular(subject to regular change as politics dictate)interpretation of Prop 1A. LA, Fresno, and SJ are just more equal. God loves them the most.

    datacruncher Reply:

    In the conspiracy world you live in it looks like its a Quadrumvirate. You need to revise your thinking to keep up with the info being uncovered. The return of building north of the Wye to Merced shows that area’s ties to San Jose in the conspiracy and the real reason they are keeping your I-5 route off the table.

    In the Quadrumvirate’s conspiracy San Jose/Merced and Los Angeles/Palmdale are paired by developers to create housing for SJ and LA. Fresno just happens to be along the path thru Pacheco then south from Merced to Palmdale/Los Angeles via Tehachapi. But Fresno was also convenient to keep you from uncovering the real backroom deal they were trying to keep triple secret.

    You are just a pawn to the Quadrumvirate helping them hide their plan.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Joe, are new to the art of “reading”?

    Maybe someone should acquaint you with dictionary, where you can look up the meaning of the word draft.

    I’m just trying to support the idea that things should be done openly

    What part wasn’t done openly? If yon can’t cite specifics all I see is concern trollery.

    Jon Reply:

    Wow, they really have nixed LA – Anaheim. The cost changes document specifies that $510m will be available for grade separations to to improve Amtrak and Metrolink, and that’s it.

    VBobier Reply:

    LA to Anaheim is just not in Phase 1, just as it should be, as last I looked Anaheim doesn’t exist between SF and LA & it never will, don’t like that? That’s reality for Ya…

    morris brown Reply:

    @VBobier:

    You don’t what you are talking about Mr. VBobier. (not unusual) You better look again becuase Anahem is hard coed into Phase 1.

    Anaheim is in a super position to legally contest being left out — mush betten than Palmadae was

    morris brown Reply:

    Make that hard coded into Phase 1. …

    synonymouse Reply:

    I like that, Morris. Anaheim exercising the same veto right that LA did over Palmdale.

    Honestly where do I find LaMalfa’s peitition? Is he serious or just blowing off?

    Tom McNamara Reply:

    Since they can’t use paid signature gatherers, you will probably have to get into your 1973 Plymouth Duster and take a drive to go here where you just might find a member of his immediate family asking people to sign it on their way inside….

    VBobier Reply:

    Actually the language according to Ballotpedia.org says Anaheim is a part of the route, just not when, so Anaheim does not need to be a part of Phase 1 as the word Phase is not mentioned in the language at all, nor are phases prohibited either.

    The train will run between San Francisco and Los Angeles, with Anaheim, California, designated as the southern terminus of the initial segment of the high-speed train system. Estimates are that the train system would be completed in 2030, and that it would take passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in about 2 hours and 40 minutes.

    Rick Rong Reply:

    It may not be between SF and LA, but Anaheim is in phase 1, according to Prop 1A:

    “Phase 1 of the high-speed train project is the corridor of the high-speed train system between San Francisco Transbay Terminal and Los Angeles Union Station and Anaheim.”

    Maybe it’s just a typo, but that’s what Prop 1A says.

    VBobier Reply:

    Would You care to share a link to that Rick? Ballotpedia.org has no mention of the word Phase in the Prop 1a language from 2008. I’ve shared what I found, now care care to share Yours??

    BruceMcF Reply:

    From that site, click on the official voter’s guide link. From there, the Text of Proposed Law is given.

    That includes the Article 2, 2704.04, part (b), clause (2):

    (2) As adopted by the authority in May 2007, Phase 1 of the high-speed train project is the corridor of the high-speed train system between San Francisco Transbay Terminal and Los Angeles Union Station and Anaheim.

    … whether there’s any “Prop1a money” left by the time that SF to LA Union Station is finished is something that ought to have been sorted out by sometime in the late 2020′s. If all the “Prop1a money” has been exhausted on Phase 1 projects before they get to Anaheim, then the Phase 1 / Phase 2 distinction doesn’t matter.

    VBobier Reply:

    Never mind, It’s AB3034 that Yer quoting, of course Prop 1a still has no mention of Phase, AB3034 can unlike Prop 1a be amended by the legislature with a simple majority, No Repugnican need apply.

    Rick Rong Reply:

    VBobier, Okay, you’ve posted the correct link to AB 3034. Section 9 of AB 3034, which includes the definition of “Phase 1″ that includes Anaheim, was the portion of AB 3034 that was submitted to the voters as Prop 1A. Not all of AB 3034 was in Prop 1A, but Section 9 was.

    See the following sections of AB 3034:

    SEC. 10. Section 9 of this act shall take effect upon the adoption
    by the voters of the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond
    Act for the 21st Century, as set forth in Section 9 of this act.
    SEC. 11. (a) Section 9 of this act shall be submitted by the
    Secretary of State to the voters at the November 4, 2008, general
    election, notwithstanding the requirements of Sections 9040, 9043,
    9044, and 9061 of the Elections Code or any other provision of law.

    Now, another way you can check this out is to go to the Streets and Highways Code, where the phase 1 definition was put, by us the voters, specifically to section 2704.04(b)(2), which contains the definition of Phase 1. Here is a link to that part of the code:

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=shc&group=02001-03000&file=2704.04-2704.095

    Now, as for amending AB 3034, the way I understand it, the Legislature can amend those parts of AB 3034 that did not require voter approval. But Section 9 of AB 3034, which as I’ve pointed out basically was Prop 1A, was approved by the voters and can only be amended by the voters.

    DavidM Reply:

    At the Board meeting today, as they were approving the plan, Chairman Richard said that he had heard from the OC business community in support of HSR, and from his staff who said a 1-seat ride is feasible (didn’t get any details). The Board added some language affirming support for a 1-seat ride into the plan.

    Paulus Magnus Reply:

    All you need is interoperable PTC and electrification to continue the one-seat ride. There’s really no reason that the IOS couldn’t actually stretch to Irvine as a result.

    EJ Reply:

    I doubt very much the FRA would issue any kind of waiver for non-compliant equipment between LAUS and Fullerton. BNSF runs about 80 freight trains per day on that segment.

    So even if there were capacity for greatly expanded passenger train operations on the existing track (which there isn’t), you’d have to operate heavy Acela-type equipment. All the existing plans for this segment have totally separated HSR tracks on this line.

    Donk Reply:

    It is great how many posts there are here in response to Nadia’s pointless blathering.

  16. Brandi
    Apr 11th, 2012 at 12:17
    #16

    Darrel Issa is a fraud. He complains about waste while wasting tons of government time and money in useless politically motivated investigations.

    joe Reply:

    I welcome his opposition.

    It galvanizes the mushy Pols who want to have it both ways: support rail but still court the hot-headed NIMBY voters.

    Remember, ISSA gave us the “birth control controversy” that resulted in the massive blowback; Rush losing his advertisers and defection of women voters from the GOP.

    Nathanael Reply:

    Actually I think Issa is an idiot rather than a fraud.

    He actually ended up on the *correct side* of an issue not long ago — Internet censorship by Hollywood. Someone, somehow, miraculously, managed to explain the actual situation to him. It only took 10 years or so (he’s been voting the wrong way over and over).

    So I think he’s sincere and just really dumb.

    Nathanael Reply:

    So: if you can manage to explain to him why his investigations are a waste, I think he might stop them. But it’s gonna be really, really hard to get that idea through his thick skull.

    VBobier Reply:

    He’s much worse, He’s a Luddite…

  17. Reedman
    Apr 11th, 2012 at 13:48
    #17

    Northern California Train News
    —————————————

    (04-11) 09:19 PDT SAN LEANDRO — A 77-year-old Oakland woman died Tuesday night when her daughter accidentally drove their Toyota Prius onto railroad tracks in San Leandro and a freight train plowed into the car, police said.

    Pei Chuan Haung’s 56-year-old daughter escaped from the car before the train hit it and tried to save her mother, but failed, authorities said.

    The daughter was driving east on Williams Street when she made a right turn onto the tracks that parallel San Leandro Boulevard, Sobek said. It was raining at the time, and the woman apparently thought she was turning onto a street, police said.

    The Prius became stuck on the tracks. The daughter fled the car and tried to get her mother out, but couldn’t, Sobek said.

    The southbound train crashed into the Prius, killing Haung and pushing the car about a quarter-mile. The daughter’s name was not released.

    swing hanger Reply:

    How is this relevant to high speed rail?

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Not all that clear. Maybe that its something less likely to happen on a corridor that has been upgraded to allow HSR operations?

    Spokker Reply:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Williams+St+%26+San+Leandro+Blvd,+San+Leandro,+Alameda,+California+94577&hl=en&ll=37.718378,-122.158057&spn=0.000497,0.00071&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=45.822921,93.076172&t=h&geocode=FQ-KPwIdrwW4-A&hnear=Williams+St+%26+San+Leandro+Blvd,+San+Leandro,+Alameda,+California+94577&z=21&layer=c&cbll=37.718378,-122.158057&panoid=XQN6FzOwbwf7j3qc8-eyOw&cbp=12,64.69,,0,10.28

    Driving is soooooo hard.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Looks like a confused 77 year old driver would have been less likely to turn onto that railroad track if that was a level crossing with a gate, and would have found it even harder to do that if it was grade separated.

    So, yeah, obviously an example about why we should welcome HSR.

    Spokker Reply:

    The driver was 56. The level crossing is gated.

  18. lexluth
    Apr 11th, 2012 at 16:12
    #18

    PALO ALTO & MENLO PARK TO FILE SUIT AGAINST CHSRA

    http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/show_story.php?id=24981

    VBobier Reply:

    A waste of scarce tax payer money in My opinion, but hey their rich, let people in Palo Alto pay for it.

  19. lexluth
    Apr 11th, 2012 at 19:43
    #19

    democrat senators decide to put the brakes on fast tracking high speed rail…
    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-bullet-budget-20120412,0,7920645.story

    VBobier Reply:

    Oh I’m so scared, not. It’s just Smitty, It’s not like He’s in control or is Governor…

  20. synonymouse
    Apr 11th, 2012 at 21:57
    #20

    MTC dumps idea for hike in gas tax:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/11/BAA11O20M9.DTL

    unhappy voters – Jerry’s stealth tax increases on the ordinary people may be in trouble despite the propaganda blitzkrieg.

    lexluth Reply:

    if san francisco bay area wont support a slight gas tax, its highly unlikely brown will get his tax increase in november. the bay area is browns stronghold

    mike Reply:

    You do realize that a statewide tax requires 50% vote and a local tax requires a 67% vote, right? I’m not making a prediction one way or the other, but this comparison is apples-to-oranges.

    lexluth Reply:

    actually no….SF is the most liberal and blue county in CA. If even SF super lefties cant come to support a gas tax, why would they or more moderate fiscal conservative dems in the valley and L.A./San Diego support an income tax?

    VBobier Reply:

    We will see in November won’t we?

    Peter Reply:

    Or, after taking off our tin foil hats, we can reasonably conclude that MTC simply decided that there were too many tax measures on this ballot for this one to pass.

    lexluth Reply:

    so your suggesting that theres no chance that people from every party are tired of being taxed? they cant wait to hand over their hard earned dollars to the government so they can go on junkets and luncheons? maybe the people , including dems, have simply decided they would rather keep their money to feed their kids than give to the government to waste

    jimsf Reply:

    That’s ridiculous. In the bay area, as soon as the economy comes back full swing transportation improvements will be at the top of the list. They always are. With the current slow down there aren’t enough people sitting in enough traffic to make it urgent enough for a tax.

    lexluth Reply:

    exactly. they wont support the tax, not even in SF is my point. they dont want to hand over more money while the economy is in the tank. so given that you understand that fact, tell me why we should spend 100 billion on a train right now instead of waiting until the economy to come back?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Would you rather spend 100 billion when they crowd out private investment or when they use labor that would otherwise be unemployed?

    jimsf Reply:

    yes we should spend it right now. One its cheaper now than it will be later. two, you get it ready and in place before the need becomes over whelming… its called good planning ahead, and three, if you have a home and you owe 250k on a 30 year mortgage, and you have typical expenses, and your home needs upkeep, repairs, and improvments – landscaping, paint etc, do you invest in those things or do you say, let me wait till its crumbling and wait 25 more years before I do the work and after the loan is paid off? of course not.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If they want lower taxes they should vote Democratic. Democrats are the ones that lower taxes.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Not true, both Democrats and Republicans impose excessive taxes on the ordinary people.

    The Demos are such spending addicts they tax welfare to pay for welfare.

    The Republicans actually believe the masses need to be taxed so they will feel the pain of the rich.

    They are both elite parasites.

    lexluth Reply:

    lefty democrats are the kings of tax and spend.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    as opposed to the Republicans who love to borrow and spend.

    lexluth Reply:

    they both spend but dems want to raid my paycheck more than repubs. we dont need a stimulus, we need across the board tax cuts, and tax breaks to businesses and abolish capital gains tax and the CRV and give our veterans tax breaks. more money in consumers hands will translate into consumer confidence which means more buying power which becomes sales tax generated which goes back to the state and local govs for public safety, parks and everything else.

    nslander Reply:

    And trees cause smog.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    The estimate of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center is that 98% of across the board capital gains tax cuts go to the top 20% on the income ladder, and 75% go to the top 1% on the income ladder ~ which is why capital gains tax cuts perform so miserably as stimulus to consumer spending, since so little goes to people who’s consumer spending is constrained by their disposable income.

    Indeed, the modern very low capital gains tax rates only date to 1997, so the George W Bush business cycle was the first full business cycle for which they were in effect ~ and it was the worst business cycle for real mid-level income growth since WWII, with a decline in real mid-level income as opposed to the previous business cycles that had experienced rising incomes.

    nslander Reply:

    So what you’re saying is if tax cuts actually worked as advertised, we wouldn’t be living this nigtmare.

    But, but, but Cutting Taxes! Freedom! 9-9-9!

    BruceMcF Reply:

    Yes, if they worked as advertised, instead of working as expected, things would be wonderful.

    The fact that the advertising doesn’t line up with the expectations is to be expected when you design the product in the interests of a few large funders, and then develop the advertising after the fact based on what line sells the best in focus groups.

    BruceMcF Reply:

    If a large portion of your paycheck is in the $250,000+ range, or is carried interest as hedge fund manager income granted the right to pretend that its capital gains, yes, indeed, the Democrats do want to restore your taxes to the level paid on those incomes under Clinton.

    If a large part of your income is under $200,000, and treated as regular income under the taxt code, its the Republicans who want to raid your paycheck, by creating more ways to channel your taxes into profits for private corporations.

  21. Andrew
    Apr 12th, 2012 at 10:19
    #21

    The Italo, Europe’s first private venture hsr line, to open in Italy April 28:

    “Many rail mavens believe that the open-access model, as implemented by Italo, will be the model for future rail operations everywhere.”

    Nathanael Reply:

    To clarify: this is a private train running on public tracks.

    Peter Reply:

    With brand spanking new high speed AGV trainsets, no less.

Comments are closed.