Jerry Brown Continues His Strong Support of HSR – So Do Californians

May 16th, 2014 | Posted by

Governor Jerry Brown met with reporters and editorial writers at the San Francisco Chronicle today and continued to back the high speed rail project:

Brown was most passionate in his defense of a high-speed rail plan connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco, a 520-mile project expected to eventually cost $68 billion. The projected outlay has drawn scathing criticism from Republican gubernatorial candidates Assemblyman Tim Donnelly and former Treasury official Neel Kashkari, who has dubbed it the “Crazy Train.”

Calling the bullet train a crucial test of “our capacity as a state,” Brown asked: “Can we be bold – or are we all just going to shrink back into our Lilliputian faintness of heart?

“I get very concerned in America (that) we’re losing the capacity to make decisions, to be unified as a nation and have a vision, and move forward to make it happen,” he said. “I’m going to build great things, I’m going to do big things, and I’m not going to be intimidated by these fears of things that are part of life.”

‘We can build it’

Brown also dismissed concerns about the cost, difficulty and scope of the project, saying that this is the state that helped construct the transcontinental railroad and such huge infrastructure projects as BART.

“We can build it. We can link the north to the south. We can reshape the land use in the Central Valley, where land prices are cheaper,” he said. “We can do it in an elegant way.

“It’s cheaper than more highways … and it’s better for greenhouse gases. We can do it with renewable energy … and it will be a model for the country.

All of this is correct, and those truths have never changed. The media does not find those facts terribly interesting, since acting to stop climate change or invest in the future are not part of their journalistic model, whereas breathless reporting of supposedly wasteful government spending is.

But Carla Marinucci, a reporter I like and respect, gets something very wrong in her article, which opens with this:

Preparing for looming budget battles with the Democratic-controlled Legislature, Gov. Jerry Brown warned Friday that lawmakers must balance “desire and need” for expensive social programs – even as he defiantly doubled down on support for the increasingly unpopular high-speed rail system, saying it remains emblematic of his passion to “build great things” in his final term as governor.

But that’s not true. Public support for high speed rail is increasing. That’s what PPIC found in their March 2014 poll. In a comment to a post on this site, John Burrows explained those numbers are an increase over 2013:

In 2013— 48% of all voters favored the project—50% opposed——In 2014—53% of voters in favor—42% opposed (an increase in support of 5 percentage points among all voters)

In 2013—43% of likely voters favored the project—54% opposed——In 2014—45% of likely voters in favor—50% opposed (an increase in support of 2 percentage points, a decrease in opposition of 4 percentage points)

What this tells me is that support for high speed rail in California has increased over the past year, particularly among those less likely to vote. As the economy in California continues to recover, it seems likely that voter support for high speed rail will increase further.

Californians like high speed rail. They want high speed rail. Their governor knows this. And it’s one reason why those Californians are going to reelect their HSR-loving governor by a huge margin this fall over whichever clown the Republicans put up against him.

If only the media would acknowledge that this strong public support exists. I don’t mind them reporting the controversies. I don’t mind them quoting critics. But they do need to be clear on the facts – HSR is increasingly popular in California.

  1. joe
    May 16th, 2014 at 23:22
    #1

    We are fortunate that Brown’s made HSR a signature issue he wants to defend in this election cycle.

    So now the table is set this election.
    The GOP will run against the “crazy train” and reporters will badger the Gov on HSR. It;s going to be a “controversy just like as prop30 was a controversy.

    Brown’s got weak opposition so he has ample time and energy to push back, advocate for CA’s HSR system and strengthen public support. Brown is going to win hands down so let the media make HSR a signature issue.

  2. Donk
    May 16th, 2014 at 23:44
    #2

    Jerry Brown’s the man. It’s refreshing to have a politician who has vision and is passionate about the best interests of the state, not just his next job.

  3. Travis D
    May 17th, 2014 at 02:17
    #3

    Indeed Brown has won me over with his adept leadership this time around as governor.

    Slightly off topic but does anyone know just when ground is being broken on construction near Fresno? I know they are currently in demolition mode but when will actual construction begin?

    joe Reply:

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/04/07/3865619/valley-high-speed-rail-construction.html
    The first will be a viaduct.

    Gov. Brown will not hold any ceremony until after the budget is decided – assuming he has secured funding for the project.

  4. 202_cyclist
    May 17th, 2014 at 06:56
    #4

    Brookings hosted an event about high-speed rail yesterday that included former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and the Japanese ambassador to the United States. The audio discussion is available online.

    High-Speed Train Technology: A New Frontier in U.S.-Japan Relations?

    “The United States lags behind many other countries in harnessing the potential of high-speed rail to improve connectivity among metropolitan areas, diminish the economic and social costs of traffic congestion, and renovate an aging transportation infrastructure. Japan, on the other hand, has been a global leader in high-speed rail since the introduction of the first “bullet trains” half a century ago, and now, through magnetic levitation (maglev) technology, has developed one of the fastest trains in the world…”

    http://www.brookings.edu/events/2014/05/14-japan-high-speed-train-technology

    Chad Brick Reply:

    I live in Japan, within 100 yards of a bullet train track and a 10 minute walk from the station. Our company exclusively uses it for business trips between here and Tokyo (~70 miles) or anything along the Tokaido line all the way down to Kansai (we have a lab in Kobe that is ~350 miles away, and is regularly day-tripped from here!). The shinkansen make so many trips that would be impossible or impractical any other way completely possible. Not only that, but they have a 99.9% on time rate, so you don’t have to leave a huge fudge factor just in case traffic is bad or your flight is delayed. If you are meeting a client at 10am and their office is a 10 minute walk from the station, you can be completely comfortable arriving on the 9:45 train. It is obvious to me that bullet trains aide our business immensely.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    I’m waiting for all of the objections that trains can’t possibly work that well, that we like driving in traffic congestion, that we like airport delays, that we like to fly to different cities the day before, but there’s no way someone could tolerate living 100 yards from the track, and that America is special.

    Why would you tease us with a description of a transportation system that can only be fantasy, that we must never allow ourselves to finish building and make use of?

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    How can you live within 100 yards of a bullet train track?
    Your home should have been detroyed.. by all the noise, vibration, dust, riff-raff, etc. from the bullet trains or your home should have been taken by emminent domain. Then there is the 100 foot high, 100 foot wide, concrete freeway-like track structure with ugly industrial electrification structures towering another 50 feet above that. And then there are no trees within that 100 yards since they have all been cut down….

    jonathan Reply:

    My Irony-O-Meter needs recalibrating, after that.

    swing hanger Reply:

    You forgot to add that our children can’t learn due to the disruptions of high speed trains rushing by within 100 meters of their classrooms…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Well their grandparents did it in the same high school with those much quieter and cleaner steam locomotives passing by and we all know how that turned out.

    swing hanger Reply:

    Yes, and everybody knows caltrain diesels are just much more quiet and cleaner than electric trains with their dastardly wires and poles.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    And how can you milk the cows?

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Not possible, because the cows are so scared from high speed trains, they no longer produce milk.

    Zorro Reply:

    Jeff do you have a citation for that? As I used 2 search engines and I came up empty.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Well that’s relief, it means the lightener at Barstucks won’t curdle from being near those high voltage lines. There won’t be any.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Sorry I don’t have a citation for it. I just recall seeing it here on this blog some time ago in regards to HSR running through/near farms in the central valley. It was probably anti-rail blather from Boondoggle or CCHSR.

    joe Reply:

    Yes the impact of HSR on milk production and bees were both King Co generated environmental impacts

    joe Reply:

    http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/09/11/2987804/high-speed-rail-agency-seeks-to.html

    SACRAMENTO — Will high-speed trains blow away honeybees? Will the state’s proposed rail system throw a monkey wrench into ag irrigation systems up and down the Valley? Will the roaring trains stress out cows so much they’ll produce less milk?

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    My Bad, I forgot to mention that children can’t learn… I guess that means the children of Japan and Eruope are uneducated due to high speed rail disruption.

    Then there is the latest from the peninsula bastion of ignorance, is that cutting trees down will deprive us of oxygen because they produce all our oxygen (recent letter to editor of one of the peninsula throwaways).

    Alon Levy Reply:

    In Europe and Japan, they ask if their children is learning more often than in the US.

    Eric Reply:

    I can’t tell if you are trying to make a Bush joke or not.
    http://politicalhumor.about.com/cs/georgewbush/a/top10bushisms.htm

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Don’t misunderestimate the power of sarcasm.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Well the people who live within a 100 yards of the track aren’t Real Americans(tm) so they don’t count. Whether are in Japan or California.

    Chad Brick Reply:

    Admittedly, I (but not my wife) can feel the bullet trains go by. We are on the top floor of our apartment block, and the vibration is just enough that I can notice it. She didn’t believe me until I showed her the train schedule. We can’t hear them, though.

    My last apartment was between two local lines, about 50 yards from one and 60 yards from the other. The trains were a non-issue compared to noise from other vehicles (with trucks, motorcycles, and emergency vehicles being the core of the problem, not passenger cars). While we could hear the trains, the gradual increase and decrease of the sounds made them easy to ignore.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Don’t tell that to Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, or Burlingame….

    Derek Reply:

    If we didn’t prefer traffic congestion over our other alternatives, then traffic congestion simply wouldn’t exist. So the existence of traffic congestion is proof that we like driving in it.

    “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” Yogi Berra

  5. John Burrows
    May 17th, 2014 at 12:20
    #5

    Without the passionate support of Jerry Brown there would be no high speed rail project in California. Without the help of the three governors preceding Brown I doubt if there would have been a high speed rail project for Brown to support. And this is hard to believe—Two of those three governors were Republican. Pete Wilson signed off on the creation of the California High Speed Rail Authority in 1996. Arnold Schwarzenegger put Prop 1-A on the ballot in 2008.

    Fortunately for high speed rail the chances of Brown being re elected are almost 100%, meaning that we can count on a governor pushing hard for high speed rail until 2019.

    And also fortunately for high speed rail, the economy of California is improving, unevenly perhaps, but still improving at a faster rate than the country as a whole. And as the economy improves I would hope that we become less “bummed out” and a bit more willing to “build great things”.

    Eric Reply:

    It’s a little sad that we think it should take 18 years for a rail project to progress to the point that this one has.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    This brings it in the league of the first Neubaustrecke (Hannover – Fulda) in Germany…

    Andy M Reply:

    The Channel Tunnel took quite a bit longer.

  6. Keith Saggers
    May 17th, 2014 at 15:35
    #6

    http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/traction-rolling-stock/single-view/view/stadler-wins-gotthard-base-tunnel-high-speed-train-contract.html

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    550mm low floor level boarding.

    Super FLIRT!

    http://www.stadlerrail.com/en/news/2014/05/09/stadler-rail-wins-tender-for-nrla-trains/

    The world’s first single-decker low-floor high-speed train complies in full with the terms of the Act on the Elimination of Discrimination against People with Disabilities.

    http://www.sbb.ch/en/group/media/press.newsdetail.2014-5-0905_2.html

    Three rolling stock manufacturers – Alstom, Stadler Rail and Talgo – submitted bids for this major order. The decision was preceded by a lengthy procedure in accordance with the Swiss federal law and ordinance on public procurement. The evaluation criteria were listed in the public invitation to tender at simap.ch. According to the legal stipulations, the proportion of added value in Switzerland was not a criterion.

    … As well as the additional 29 trains now ordered, SBB is securing contractual options on up to 92 more. ….

    http://www.stadlerrail.com/media/tmp/catalogue/exterior_total__jpg_960x350_crop_upscale_q95.jpg

    Perfect for the first 15-25 years of California intercity type service, as the costs associated with operating speeds much above 200kmh can’t possibly be justified until the full SF-LA high speed route (not “ICS”, not “IOS”, not “Phase 1″) is completely in place. Until then, stupid high speed stupid premium cost trains are a total waste of money.

    jonathan Reply:

    Old news. I also read that the FLIRT has poor ride qualities. Poor yaw-damping.

    Richard Mlynarik Reply:

    Top input!
    Stadler is an engineering-based organization.
    I’m sure they’ll value your contributions to the yaw damping problems that you read about somewhere.

    joe Reply:

    Top input!
    I’m sure the Governor values your contributions towards dictating the first 15-25 years of California intercity type service. After all it’s a total waste of money to not follow any of your “suggestions”.

    You know they’ll buy 200km+ trains for several reasons including the establishing domestic manufacturing (in CA) and to meet special requirements for the US market.

    Clem Reply:

    760 mm, not 550. Sort-of-low floor.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Blasphemer! It’s Swiss. It’s the best thing ever. It’s Swiss. If the lowest things can go in Switzerland is 760 mm then 560 mm is extra low. Or super low. or too low.

    swing hanger Reply:

    “the best wrist watches are Swiss wrist watches”: say that fast three times.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Actually, there are supposed to be two or three doors at 550 mm (which is the Swiss standard platform height). These doors ensure accessibility according to the ADA equivalent regulations in Switzerland. 760 mm is a compromise for use in Italy and Germany.

    Clem Reply:

    Imagine that! The Swiss have compromised on level boarding by providing doors at two different levels to serve multiple platform heights! At most doors, boarding from 550 mm low platforms is accomplished by the use of a retractable step. Somewhere, a purist shudders.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    Actually, a train in this category (249 km/h maximum speed) could be a viable successor of loco hauled Acela regionals. Because it is (could be) well motorized, it can accelerate fast, and with that reduce the time spent on slow running.

  7. synonymouse
    May 17th, 2014 at 20:59
    #7

    http://www.theamericanmonorailproject.com/routes/california-high-speed-monorail-system

    Tech sucks but gratifyingly flips the bird to Moonbeam over Mojave.

  8. Trentbridge
    May 18th, 2014 at 10:07
    #8

    From Bloomberg: Siwss Voters Reject Order ofr Fighter Jets from Sweden.

    “The fighter plane’s supporters said neutral Switzerland needs the Gripen to defend its airspace. That claim got undermined in February with the forced landing of an Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise plane in Geneva. The hijacked plane had to be escorted by French and Italian jets as the Swiss air force doesn’t operate to protect the country’s airspace outside of business hours.”

    Obviously the USA has the wrong approach to defense spending – we should only operate during business hours..and maybe not on weekends – think of the savings! No wonder they can afford the Gotthard Base Tunnel!

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Smart people the Swiss.

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

    Stay neutral, take the money from anyone, no matter how despicable, and now let your neighbors protect you while looking down your nose at all those countries that take sides.

    No wonder Alon admires them so much

    joe Reply:

    They’re quite similar to Young Republicans looking for a PAC money gig to defend the troops from liberals.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    How so.

    The young republicans don’t claim to be neutral. They don’t take money from anyone, just conservatives, and they don’t count on others to protect their way of life.

    I don’t see the similarity at all.

    You see joe, you can’t just reflectively react to every post with “republicans suck more” and get away with it. The post was on the Swiss using other peoples military to defend their country. It’s not a GOP issue

    Alon Levy Reply:

    But they are neutral. They’re also armed-neutral – they have low peacetime military spending, but they have conscription and are highly militaristic about it. What a hijacked plane has to do with actual invasions is unclear.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    If that high jacked plane was instead a cruise missile or bomber on route to take put military or civilian targets how would they stop them.

    This is not 1940, the land force is not the key to military defense. If a country was to launch a Saturday strike that takes out all the planes (all 2 dozen modern fighters) then that militia can sit and get bombed with impunity. Ask the Iraq military how well no air cover worked for them?

    Bonus, since they are neutral, they have no official allies to defend them.

    But we all know that is not actually true. We know that NATO would spring to their defense. So they can free ride off everyone else’s defense spending, It’s a real smart “game theory” kind of move because they know that NATO would not let them get attacked without response

    joe Reply:

    “If that high jacked plane was instead a cruise missile or bomber on route to take put military or civilian targets how would they stop them.”

    Oh boy.
    Which neighboring nation would allow an airstrike to pass unmolested through their airspace ?
    Italians? Germans? French?

    And apparently the Swiss will send this air-force over foreign airspace in violation of international law to intercept this attack or maybe they’ll have to wait until the attackers pass into Swiss airspace which is so small as to be ineffective time to do anything useful.

    Skittles and hoodie.

    jonathan Reply:

    Lichtenstein.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    And if the striking nation was France, Italy, or Germany?

    What would stop them? The Swiss are not part of NATO. They have no more allies than the Ukraine and we see how that worked for them.

    jonathan Reply:

    and if the attacking nation was not in NATO? (see above re: Lichtenstein)
    A third-party launching missiles (cruse or unguided rockets) from there, seems a tad more plausible, granted.

    As for Ukraine: ask yourself why Switzerland survived so well as a neutral during the Second World War. (hint: conquest requires ground-forces: how are the ground-forces gong to get in??)

    EJ Reply:

    Wait, I thought Switzerland was freeloading off NATO for protection from… whoever wants to invade Switzerland. Now they need protection from NATO countries? Good grief, Switzerland is perched on the edge of a knife. However do they sleep at night?

    EJ Reply:

    Also, you do know that Switzerland is legally a confederacy, right? If, for some reason, after over 400 years, the French cantons want to join France, and France will have them, they can just vote to do so. No invasion needed.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Since you like World War II analogies so much how long did it take to bomb Britain into submission?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    and how did neutrality work out for the Swiss and Swedes….

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    How did it work? They let Nazi Germany run rampant across Europe without lifting a finger to stop them. As a bonus the Swiss kept the Nazi’s money safe. That’s how it worked. They must be very proud.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    The first mission of any government and nation is its own survival. The Swiss could have committed suicide but what would that have achieved?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    “all that is required for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing”

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Patriots of the country that waited until the end of 1941 to join the war should not throw stones.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    If you are Swiss or Swedish it worked out very well. Nobody fucks with the Swiss or the Swedes because they know that if someone crosses the border it isn’t going to be pretty.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You read the part about this not being 1940 anymore right?

    It is entirely possible to bring a nation and military to its knees with air power alone, especially if you are willing to go “total war”

    The US Air Force and navy could embargo a country and starve it to death with air power alone.

    jonathan Reply:

    John, wake up and look at a map. Switzerland is not part of NATO. But it’s surrounded by NATO members (France, Germany, Italy); strong NATO allies (Austria); and Lichtenstein.

    Switzerland is land-locked. You cannot embargo it, without active support from key NATO members and Austria. *All* those countries have a significant fraction of their GDP traveling within Europe, a fair chunk of it across Swiss borders.

    Paul Druce Reply:

    It is entirely possible to bring a nation and military to its knees with air power alone, especially if you are willing to go “total war”

    The USAF has repeatedly tried this. It has a perfect record of failure.

    Joe Reply:

    Someone didn’t get the anology behind Star Wars.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Okay it’s not 1940 any more. How does dropping a bomb from a propeller airplane differs significantly from dropping from a jet airplane escapes me. Tell us just how well did our air superiority work out in Iraq?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Ask Japan if air superiority works. Complete and total surrender, never put a boot on the main island. So your claim of never working is wrong already.

    And air superiority worked just fine in Iraq and Afganistan.

    1st Iraq war…see highway of death…no ground troops involved
    In Afganistan was able to overthrow the government with a few special forces and air strikes.
    In Libya US air power turned back the fall of Bengazi without any ground troops

    The difference is that smart bombs can precisely take put things without carpet bombing. The difference is the targeting.

    But I agree, NATO members would never attack the Swiss. They are safe with no military if they choose. Which is why they keep decreasing the troop count and now only keep bankers hours. They can free ride off NATO which is my original point

    Alon Levy Reply:

    John, you’re overblowing the importance of the US in Libya, as is typical of Americans in any war. The war was won in a series of battles, around Misrata and Tripoli; US air power contributed, which is not the same as saying it could win a war.

    Likewise, in Afghanistan you’re ignoring the importance of Northern Alliance troops on the ground, because they’re not American so the US media doesn’t talk about them much anymore.

    Even Japan, which is the closest thing to an air power victory, was actually facing crippling sanctions, extremely overstretched troops (per unit of area it was trying to occupy it had one sixth as many troops as Nazi Germany), and island hopping; by 1945 the US had a credible threat of invasion, and that was achieved with sea power rather than air power.

    joe Reply:

    You can write multiple comments explaining japan’s surrender and not mention the use of two nuclear weapons. Then you try to explain that crippling sanctions predominately brought their unconditional surrender but you also concurrently complain sanctions don’t work today and want to use violence.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Japan was willing to surrender, on the condition that the emperor remain in place, even beforehand. The nukes brought unconditional surrender, upon which the US let the emperor remain in place.

    Also, where do I complain sanctions don’t work and want to use violence?

    joe Reply:

    I know of no such bargaining. The war was waged with the goal of unconditional surrender. It was fought that way on both sides. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Okinawa

    Strikes me as revisionism conspiracy and accuses the US of using Nucs and then lets the Emperor stay in place. It basically says we used the Nucs needlessly.

    The text they signed:
    “We hereby proclaim the unconditional surrender to the Allied Powers of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters and of all Japanese Armed Forces and all Armed Forces under Japanese control wherever situated.

    The authority of the Emperor and the Japanese Government to rule the State shall be subject to the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, who will take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate these terms of surrender.”

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    my statement was that the US could embargo a country today and bring them to their knees without the use of troops. Go ahead to look back up in this string…i will wait.

    So Alon you agree with me, a country can be forced to surrender without putting troops on the ground…which means a land army can be rendered useless (especially if they have no way of attacking the other country). Which was my original point, so thanks for agreeing.

    And for the record, the Japanese were not willing to surrender if the emperor was left in place. that is a myth. They tried to overthrow the emperor just to keep fighting even after the nukes showed that resistance was futile.

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

    Also for the record, without US (and NATO) air power the rebels lose. That is an undisputed fact. They were about to lose the last city when the US finally intervened and took out the government convoy.

    In Afghanistan, those same northern forces had been fighting the government for decades and had 10% of the country. With air power they had control in 1-2 months. so how does that overstate the importance.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    The US did in fact use nukes needlessly. Does it make you uncomfortable?

    And John, stop digging. Your comment was that air power could win wars. In no example have you shown that it does. There’s a very large difference between ground troops backed by air support, and pure air power. Libya was a ground war with some air support, and the same is true of Afghanistan. In WW2, a) Japan had imperial ambitions rather than pure regime survival, and b) the US had a credible threat of ground invasion, backed by sea power.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The US did not use the needlessly, they saved the lives of the people who would have invaded. The myth that japan would have surrendered without the nukes is just that, a myth made up by the anti-nuke crowd to try and make the US feel guilty. There was (and is) no credible evidence that Japan was gearing up to surrender. Just speculation. The fact they should have been ready to surrender is irrelevant, they were not ready to surrender. Even after both bombs the war council wanted to keep going. You are an educated man Alon, you know this.

    joe Reply:

    I’m with John on this one. What a fucktared thing to write.

    Revisionism like this encourages wars and killing. The suggestion the mass killings and ending a war with unconditional surrender was avoidable just encourages more killing in the future because it pushes the lie that wars can be ended easily.

    A good analogy is fight – you avoid them at all costs because they are nasty and violent and can serious hurt someone – suggesting fights can be started and end easily stopped encourages fighting.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Dead Japanese are just as dead if they died in an atomic bomb blast in August of 1945 or in one of the carpet bombing raid undertaken in late 1945. Or the famine in 1946. It was the option with the less dead people.

    nslander Reply:

    “Japan was at the moment seeking some way to surrender with minimum loss of ‘face’. It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”

    -Somebody who might know.

    joe Reply:

    It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face’. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude…” – Dwight Eisenhower,

    Eisenhower was supremer commander in the West. He was not responsible to know about the War in the Pacific. He even fought with the pacific commanders for resources. “Admiral Ernest J. King fought with Eisenhower over King’s refusal to provide additional landing craft from the Pacific.”

    Eric Reply:

    I think it’s good that nukes were used once in history. Without having seen Hiroshima, we might have been (and be) less reluctant to use them later on.

    And in terms of the nuclear death toll, it was much smaller than in the conventional bombing raids of WW2, so the outrage seems selective.

    nslander Reply:

    “It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.”
    – Admiral William Leahy, Truman’s chief military advisor.

    The Ike quote I cited was from 1963. Given that period of reflection and his specific credentials, his opinion carries more weight in my mind than Internet Guy. At a minimum, categorically dismissing differing opinions on a decision of such a moral gravity as the as the ramblings of a “fucktard” are completely inappropriate.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    On the other hand, with having seen Hiroshima, some people (I think MacArthur was one of them) seriously pushed for a first strike on the USSR before Stalin got nukes.

    And yes, the biggest Tokyo firebombing killed more people than Nagasaki (the range of death toll estimates overlaps with that of Hiroshima, though). However, there are two distinctions, apart from raw death tolls. First, in August, Japan was already willing to surrender on a precondition that the US ended up meeting anyway; in March, it wasn’t. And second, the resources required for firebombing are enormous – there were thousand-bomber raids on Germany, and the biggest firebombing of Tokyo involved three hundred bombers; atomic age warfare is something entirely different.

    joe Reply:

    “The Ike quote I cited was from 1963. Given that period of reflection and his specific credentials, his opinion carries more weight in my mind than Internet Guy. ”

    Not Internet Guy. It is history showing a consensus that it was necessary to save American lives – as was allowing the Russians enter the war. It’s a Summer 1945 decision, not a 1963 decision.

    I don’t know of any peace offering the Japanese made that we spurred – anything ?

    Even after the Bomb the Mil wanted to fight.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyūjō_Incident

    “The Kyūjō Incident was an attempted military coup d’état in Japan at the end of the Second World War. It happened on the night of 14–15 August 1945, just prior to announcement of Japan’s surrender to the Allies. The attempted coup was put into effect by the Staff Office of the Ministry of War of Japan and by many from the Imperial Guard of Japan in order to stop the move to surrender.”

    Japan would have not been allowed to surrender after a blockade because the Mil was in charge.

    What set of Japanese held territories surrendered after being isolated by a blockade?

    We have examples like Okinawa and what the Mil would have done to civilians in Japan.

    It’s four years after pearl harbor and 1945 not 2014 in Vancouver or 1963 in the middle of the cold war and Cuba Missile crisis and 18 years of cold war and nuclear fear.

    1945 and there’s a decision to use the bomb or not. That’s the point where you made the evaluation.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Dead Japanese are just as dead if they died in an atomic bomb blast in August of 1945 or in one of the carpet bombing raid undertaken in late 1945. Or the famine in 1946.

    It wasn’t a choice between having an atomic bomb work, declaring peace and going home. It was an awful choice to have to make but they picked one that had fewer dead people.

    Your objection is that it was too cheap to kill them and we should have spent more money on conventional bombing and conventional invasion? That would have killed more people?

    Alon Levy Reply:

    My objection is that the US killed them when it didn’t have to to achieve its war aims, and it should have accepted the condition that the emperor stay given that it eventually let him stay anyway. The cheapness/ease argument is just one reason people talk more about Hiroshima and Nagasaki than about the conventional bombing of Tokyo. The basic issue is that firebombing Tokyo was just more firepower, whereas the nuclear strikes were a new weapon and sent a message to Stalin about who’s boss. More firepower is unimpressive; everyone can do that. But a new technology is something to be feared, and the postwar US establishment loved parading nuclear technology for every reason, even leveling mountains to ease road construction.

    nslander Reply:

    “1945 and there’s a decision to use the bomb or not. That’s the point where you made the evaluation.”

    Exactly. And in August of 1945, Admiral Leahy disagreed with that evaluation. Check his diary. Fair and contextual moral/ethical/strategic analyses of that decision simply do not fall within the definition of “historical revisionism”, and it’s lazy to suggest otherwise.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The Japanese made no overtures towards surrender before the bombs. Even after the first bomb they made no communications. There was no offer. There was no communication to negotiate. There was no acceptance of surrender. It did not exist. There was no offer from them that they would surrender if the emperor was left in charge.

    After 70 years there is no proof whatsoever that the Japanese were prepared to surrender. Many people regret dropping the bomb, but it was the least worst option when faced with an array of bad options.

    The Japanese wee beat…they were neve going to win in 1945. They were blockaded and defenseless to air and naval power. They should have surrendered long before that. But the sad fact is they did not and were not preparing to surrender. The choices were starve and bomb them out. Invade. Or drop the bombs and show them we had the power to anahilate them without any possibility of being stopped. Those are the real facts

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    So now the American war aims were to kill as many Japanese as possible with conventional bombs and starvation? With a touch of hypothermia thrown in? Except for the ones that die of disease that spreads and kills more effectively when it sweeps through an almost starved population? And kill as many Americans as possible achieving that end?

    joe Reply:

    “dmiral Leahy disagreed with that evaluation. Check his diary. Fair and contextual moral/ethical/strategic analyses of that decision simply do not fall within the definition of “historical revisionism”, and it’s lazy to suggest otherwise.”

    No it’s not lazy. Surprise that the Navy arguing to win the war with a large powerful navy. How moral of the Admiral to make the sacrifice of having a larger overfull navy win the war.

    He makes a counter-factual argument for an solution which is contradicted by facts.

    They failed to win one island by attrition and the lesson of Okinawa is the military gets fed and the civilians starve, then given means to commit suicide. And the military still attempted military coup d’état in Japan at the end of the Second World War after the atomic bombs.

    He’s full of shit.

    joe Reply:

    wikipedia

    “”Once it had been tested, President Truman faced the decision as to whether to use it. He did not like the idea, but he was persuaded that it would shorten the war against Japan and save American lives. It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons… My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make wars in that fashion, and that wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”[7]”

    He was okay with conventional air raids which killed many civilians since Japan had a dispersed manufacturing base.

    Toyko alone:

    “The figure of roughly 100,000 deaths, provided by Japanese and American authorities, both of whom may have had reasons of their own for minimizing the death toll, seems to me arguably low in light of population density, wind conditions, and survivors’ accounts. With an average of 103,000 inhabitants per square mile (396 people per hectare) and peak levels as high as 135,000 per square mile (521 people per hectare), the highest density of any industrial city in the world, and with firefighting measures ludicrously inadequate to the task, 15.8 square miles (41 km2) of Tokyo were destroyed on a night when fierce winds whipped the flames and walls of fire blocked tens of thousands fleeing for their lives. An estimated 1.5 million people lived in the burned out areas.[16]

    The Operation Meetinghouse firebombing of Tokyo on the night of 9/10 March 1945 was the single deadliest air raid of World War II;[2] greater than Dresden,[17] Hiroshima, or Nagasaki as single events.

    War kills people. Now they are killed matters not.

    EJ Reply:

    Oh good, glad we have a wise, strong daddy to tell all about how weak and silly those Europeans are.

    jonathan Reply:

    next thing you know, that Wise Strong Daddy will be telling us what horrible restrictive gun-laws those weak, silly Europeans have :)

    EJ Reply:

    I’m guessing you already know that firearm ownership in Switzerland is almost as high as the US, mainly due to their maintenance of a well-regulated militia. :-)

    Alon Levy Reply:

    If by “almost as high” you mean “half as high,” then indeed.

    Max Wyss Reply:

    The main task of the Swiss Air Force is nowadays police work. That means, for example intercepting and/or escorting hijacked aircraft.

    Now, there are mutual agreements with the neighboring airforces that for such tasks they are allowed to enter the other country’s airspace. In fact, that Ethiopian plane was escorted to Genève, where the airport is partially in France. So technically, the French fighters did not really have to touch Swiss airspace.

    About this vote today, there is a real need to replace parts of the fleet, and this will now be delayed.

    joe Reply:

    You complain about the Swiss “freeloading” – it takes a big man to advocate other people sacrifice.
    http://pattillmanfoundation.org

    Why would any Swiss neighbor want them to have an active and paranoid air force? Cruise missiles and bombers attacking at any moment means an alert and armed air force patrolling the borders of their neighbors. How the hell is that in anyone’s interest but a keyboard commando that wants the world to man up and get tough.

    How about Mexico arm up and stop freeloading off us? Maybe send some troops to the border to be sure some nutty NRA kook doesn’t attack them with a fertilizer bomb.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So you admit they are free riding. It’s easy to be neutral when someone else does all the heavy lifting. But I am glad to see your comments are at least on point rather than the usual “GOP sucks worse”.

    And for the record I would love to see Mexico get a stronger military and police force. Every citizen of every country deserves to live without crime and fear. The citizens are using vigalantee patrols to try and drive down crime. It’s obvious their government has let them down on one of its basic functions

    Alon Levy Reply:

    There are multiple countries for whom the best way they could live without fear is if the US collapsed. For example, Yemen, where parents have taken to threatening their children that if they don’t behave, the US will kill them with a drone.

    Eric Reply:

    Yemen has been a failed state for far longer than the US has been using drones.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Eh. There are levels of state failure, and Yemen’s no Afghanistan or DRC or Sudan or Iraq.

    Afghanistan’s indeed been a failed state for decades – thanks, USSR – but it was actually doing better on development metrics like fall in child mortality in the 1990s, under both the Northern Alliance (better) and the Taliban (worse), than after 2001.

    In Pakistan it’s different – the government asks the US to drone-bomb people it dislikes, and then screams in opposition to the US foreign policy that it invited. Basically the US is committing the human rights abuses Pakistan wants to commit itself, except if Pakistan committed them it’d be facing more domestic unrest about it whereas if the US does, there’s nothing disgruntled Pakistanis could do about it.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    So it is your assertion that Yeman would be better off as a protectorate of Iraq or Iran? Because without the US that is what they would be.

    Go ahead Alon, tell how without US protection, the Iraq army (or Iran) would not own that whole peninsula and be subject to a brutal didctator who was willing to gas civilians that were not of his ethnic background.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    …Yemen as a protectorate of Iraq? Iran? What the hell are you talking about?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    yes, Yemen as a protectorate, because without US support of Saudi Arabia and Yeman (and Qatar) would be taken over by the bullies.

    What do you think happens when no one stands up for the other countries….Hint…ask Ukraine.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Iran isn’t taking over Turkey, which while technically in NATO has a cool relationship with the US lately. Yemen’s smaller, but farther and less important.

    As for Ukraine… yes, what about it? So far Russia is overstretched there. It will probably keep Crimea, but it’s unclear whether it’ll keep anything else.

  9. Keith Saggers
    May 18th, 2014 at 12:03
    #9

    http://www.sfcta.org/delivering-transportation-projects/van-ness-avenue-bus-rapid-transit-home

    Joey Reply:

    How simple a project how many decades in the making? And hasn’t even broken ground?

    Clem Reply:

    Like Caltrain electrification, it is located in a right-of-way “reserved for BART”

    synonymouse Reply:

    If you ever have had any experience with Van Ness Avenue you would recognize that it is hopeless and that the current arrangement is about as good as you are going to get.

    In terms of spending priority, ergo cost-benefit ratio, Geary tops the list but here I agree IBG is holding up any real improvement.

    You have to wonder what is going on down at TWU 250A ghq, as Amalgamated is going to steal all their jobs.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    The approvals of the environmental document are the culmination of years of multi‐agency collaboration at the local, state, and federal levels to develop BRT along Van Ness Avenue, which also operates as Highway 101 through the city.

    2008 Draft Environmental Studies
    2015 Construction
    2018 Revenue service
    One decade

    synonymouse Reply:

    Please come on over and walk up and down Van Ness. The biggest change happened after the war when they bustituted the H streetcar and moved from stopping in the middle of the street at the traffic lights and moved to trolley buses stopping at the curb after going thru the lights.

    And the institution of one-way coupled streets, in particular, Franklin and Gough Sts. There was a plan for a tunnel linking the Central Freeway with the Marina proposed by a Supervisor named Blake but it did not materialize and more recently the Central Freeway was truncated.

    Reducing the auto carrying capacity of Van Ness does not make much sense. Better to spend the money on Geary straightaway but those idiots have been corrupted by BART.

    Joey Reply:

    Please. The Central Subway, orders of magnitude more complex, worked on a similar timeline. Van Ness BRT is simple and should have happened years ago.

    joe Reply:

    But taking a car lane away from Business Route 101 is an order of magnitude harder than a subway.

    Joey Reply:

    It’s politically difficult, but there hasn’t really been much backlash. It isn’t that NIMBYs are fighting to have the project canceled, it’s that the SFMTA just hasn’t been pushing the project very quickly.

    Joe Reply:

    You think there’s no meaningful opposition by automobile drivers or locals?

    Joey Reply:

    I do, I just don’t think it’s why the project is taking so long.

    Joe Reply:

    Locals, predominately businesses, are objecting to the loss of parking and capacity. Bus riders, they fear, cannot buy big things and carry them home.

    Also Caltrans is contributing to delays with their car centric requirements. Van Ness is 101 which means they want 12 ft lanes. That removes pedestrian protections along the route.

    SF wants Caltrans to revise standards for urban projects. So this project us breaking new ground as far as Caltrans is involved.

    Joey Reply:

    CAHSR has been delayed by NIMBYs so far as there have been lawsuits – not the case on Van Ness. And of course CalTrans’s insane requirements complicate things a bit, but it’s still orders of magnitude simpler than, for instance, designing the construction of an underground station cavern which won’t collapse on itself.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Nobody bought things and took them home before there cars. They all just sat around naked, in the dark starving to death because they couldn’t carry clothes or fuel or food home.

    synonymouse Reply:

    @ Joe in re 12 ft. lanes

    Throw open a parked car door in front of a GGT bus and see what happens.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Throw open a car door in front of a Morris Mini and see what happens. People who park in cities are bright enough to look in the sideview mirror before they open the door.

    synonymouse Reply:

    been there, seen that. Takes the door right off with a pretty good “bam”.

    Joey Reply:

    An parked cars should affect the width of the non-rightmost lanes why?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Not everybody’s thrilled with business as usual in no-show land:

    http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/local/2-investigates-tolls-creep-bridge-painters-caught-/nfkyJ/

    jonathan Reply:

    Synon,

    You’ve never given actual *evidence* for your “no-shows” claim. Your own repeated assertions don’t count as evidence.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Who has a copy of the Muni-TWU 250A contract-MOU?

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Stubway a disaster and now the idiots want to add on curves and gradients and damn few passengers. Utter lack of any of the most basic planning whatsoever.

    Reducing auto capacity on Van Ness is dumb and shunts the environmental impact onto adjacent streets. The City is fortunate that so many rich people want to be there as other cities could not afford to pull up the gangplank.

    The whole idea is enclaves anyway. Get really rich and then you can get into one too.

    jonathan Reply:

    It could be worse. They could be trying to add switchbacks.

    synonymouse Reply:

    What is really dumb and dumber is that the City is planning to add more auto traffic to Van Ness all the while reducing the number of lanes. They plan to high-rise out the whole thing.

    I see mostly empty buses on Van Ness every time I take the bus to the City. Geary is the major project crying out for spending. There is no cheap place for storing transit equipment any more in SF; even Dogpatch is valuable now so fuggedabout selling off Geary Carhouse-Presidio Yard and radically expand it instead. Convert the #38 to trolley coach straightaway.

    Here is a question for the smart engineers amongst the posters: is the differential between 4′-8 1/2″ and 5.5′ enough for dual gauge? Let’s re-invent and reform BART. That will give Tutor and PB something harmless to do.

    jonathan Reply:

    There isn’t enough room between 1435mm and 1676mm to do dual-gauge on the same centerline, or even on three rails. The difference is 241mm; call it 9 inches (9.488 for the picky). For shared-centerline, that’s a difference of 120 mm each side. Standard UIC-60 rail (60kg/m; call it 120lb/yard) is 150 mm wide. So you don’t have even enough room to clear the *foot* of the BART-gauge rail, before you need to see the head of the standard-gauge rail.

    Sharing a rail gets you 241mm between the inner rail-head of the broad-gauge, and the inner rail-head of the standard gauge. That’s enough to fit the foot of the standard-gauge rail, but IMHO there isn’t room for two sets of standard,, Pandrol-style track fasteners in the remaining 90mm. That’s under 2 inches for each rail. Oh, I suppose one could contract for special custom m dual-sided fastener plates. But turnouts would be impossible.

    You might save 10mm or so in the width of the foot (flange) by using US rail with 5.5in wide foot, but that doesn’t make much difference: 5mm on each side of the rail head.

    Some narrow-gauge, light-axle-load railways with a similar absolute difference may be able to do dual-gauge with three rails. But the foot of those rails is *much* narrower (as the rails are much lighter). UIC-60 rail has a foot which is 150mm wide; *half* the

    synonymouse Reply:

    I’ll have to take my tape measure down to SMART and look at the gauntlet trackage.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The freight cars are trying to miss the platform not meet the platform.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Academic, supposedly there isn’t enough room in BART tunnels for pantographs and no one is going to let anyone build third rail anywhere near pedestrians days.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The trick is to build the high rises next to the fast frequent mass transit and then the people in the high rises don’t need cars. If they don’t have cars they can’t cause automobile congestion.

    synonymouse Reply:

    It does not work that way with a high-rise hospital.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The mortality rate for people arriving at Bellevue is awful because the operating theaters aren’t on the ground floor.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hospitals_in_New_York_City#Manhattan

    synonymouse Reply:

    The Jack Tar Hotel at Geary and Van Ness is being replaced with a high-rise hospital which likely will be quite expensive. Don’t think visiting families will be riding the Van Ness bus.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The families that will use the hospital, many of them don’t have cars. And the people who will work there. Just because you lead a sheltered suburban life where everyone has their very own personal car and drives everywhere doesn’t mean all people every where do the same.

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    The Oakland City Council voted unanimously – again – to enter into agreements with AC Transit to advance Bus Rapid Transit along International Boulevard. There are still some details to be worked out, but we are hopeful that the project will soon be cleared to receive funding awarded through the Federal Transit Administration’s Small Starts program…

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Tranform

    Keith Saggers Reply:

    Transform

    Joey Reply:

    No one else can get a simple transit project done, so why should we?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Salt Lake City and Charlotte are doing reasonably well, apparently.

    Hell even the LA we used to make fun of so mercilessly did not get screwed with IBG.

  10. datacruncher
    May 18th, 2014 at 15:33
    #10

    OT – The Bakersfield newspaper posted a series of articles on its website related to proposed increases in oil trains operating to several different locations in that area and the safety related issues.

    Increased oil train traffic raises potential for safety challenges
    “First responders think of the rail yard by Bakersfield High School when they envision the worst-case scenario in Kern County’s drive to become a major destination for Midwestern oil trains.”
    ………
    “While the potential for such an accident has sparked urgency around the state and the country, it has attracted little notice locally — despite two ongoing oil car offloading projects that would push Kern from its current average of receiving a single mile-long oil train delivery about once a month, to one every six hours.”
    http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/business/oil/x1372326354/Increased-oil-train-traffic-raises-potential-for-safety-challenges

    Projects would boost crude shipments to Kern
    “Dallas-based Alon USA Energy Inc. has proposed an oil car offloading facility at the company’s Rosedale Highway refinery. A similar facility by Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline LP is under construction near Taft.”

    “Neither plan has received much local public discussion, though the quiet surrounding Alon’s project may soon be over. An environmental review of its proposed offloading facility is expected to be released any day. It will likely call for the company to make new safety investments in the county.”

    “Local officials say they know little about Alon’s plans, and less about the Plains All American project, which was approved more than a year ago without an environmental review or much public notice.”

    “Several city and county representatives declined to comment on the Alon project or its safety risks, saying they hesitated to pre-judge the proposal before the release of its environmental review. Some noted regulation of interstate rail shipments is a federal responsibility, not a local one.”
    http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/business/oil/x1372326360/Projects-would-boost-crude-shipments-to-Kern

    Graphic showing locations in that area planning to receive oil trains and the rail lines in the Bakersfield area.
    http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/archive/x1372326511/file?nodisp=1

    Other related articles in the series posted:
    http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/business/oil/x1372326358/A-patchwork-of-agencies-responsible-for-oil-train-safety
    http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/business/oil/x1372326356/Recent-rail-accidents-involving-light-crude-oil

    jonathan Reply:

    this was mentioned on KQED., about 10-12 days ago.

    synonymouse Reply:

    If you worry about Bakken crude via rail exploding don’t build TehaVegaSkyRail immediately adjacent to class ones.

    http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/regulatory/refiners-lobby-says-dot-111-is-fine%E2%80%9D-for-shipping-bakken-crude.html

  11. jimsf
    May 19th, 2014 at 09:11
    #11

    most refreshing statement

    “I get very concerned in America (that) we’re losing the capacity to make decisions, to be unified as a nation and have a vision, and move forward to make it happen,” he said. “I’m going to build great things, I’m going to do big things, and I’m not going to be intimidated by these fears of things that are part of life.”

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