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I've barely heard any Pope jokes


Two exceptions being:


1. This is the first time anyone's given up being Pope for lent.


2. In his new position as Emeritus Pope, Benedict XVI will no longer have teaching or research duties, but he still might attend some of the papal talks and parties.


Help me out here, people.

The way I found out:


The pope has just announced he's resigning. No reason given but unofficial sources claim it's so he can spend more time with his children.

The Onion


It Takes a Minute, But that IS Funny...nt



Jokes? Here? You need to ask for puns.


I mitre have a few of those.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Cardinal offence, puns on popes.

mmghosh's picture


freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Decades of buggering little boys and then covering it up

HankP's picture

has kind of taken the humor out of the situation for me.


I blame it all on the Internet

How's this?


Fun Mental Activity Of The Day

M Scott Eiland's picture

Take a few minutes and ponder the long list of things that we consider as outright ancient that happened after the last time before today that a Pope resigned rather than die in office. Some of the obvious ones:

printing of the Gutenberg Bible: around 1450
first voyage of Christopher Columbus: 1492
births of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo: 1452 & 1475, respectively
foundation of the House of Tudor: 1485
death of Joan of Arc: 1431
Forbidden City completed in Beijing: 1420

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

That is fun ...


... to think in terms of the Pope breaking with a tradition older than Europeans colonizing the Americas. 

A Rather Good Tradition To Break, I Would Think

M Scott Eiland's picture

I see no particular virtue in Popes being trapped into having to emulate the last kings of Numenor rather than handing off power to their successors while they retained their reason and dignity.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

The problem


with resigning due to oncoming dementia is that it's an implicit admission that the pope's pronouncements, even those made ex cathedra, are the product of his own thoughts rather than divine revelation.

Eeyn, this doesn't make sense


The case is either A) the pope makes decisions that do not call for a routine of divine inspiration, in which case resigning at the onset of dimentia is an overall good and within the limits of orthodoxy. Or B), every decision the pope makes is devinely inspired which would include the decision to abdicate.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

I think the point is that if the power of the great lord creator


of the universe is being channelled through the speach of a human it would hardly matter if his brain was a bit addled or his hip a bit gammy or his past a little Hitler-youthy; the word would come through unmolested by the flesh.

"either"??????? you keep using that word....

brutusettu's picture

C) The RCC hierarchy wanted to scoot a man with dementia away from the authority of the chair before he makes so called infallible proclamations from the authority of the chair, because they know that regardless of dementia or not, those infallible proclamations (and much more) are just commentary from the man with the authority of the chair.




But perhaps I'm just wording "A)" a b it differently and they're the same at the core, just with different wrapping.



'Either' is correct depending on how one interprets


'implicit admission'.  I had assumed Eeyn meant that sort of disconnect many of us have between our stated beliefs and our actions rather than 'sh*t we just ain't told nobody yet.'  That is, the belief in papal infallibility is sincere but the actions don't match.  I'm stating the actions do match the belief.  If OTOH, Eeyn meant that the church thinks it's all BS then yes, there are a host of reasons for the resignation.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Ah, looking through the Church's scope is foggy w/o guides

brutusettu's picture

It now seems like they don't want to risk the grand chance they would have with a dementia suffering Pope,  they appear more worried about whatever kind of damage dementia could have on non-ex cathedra Pope duties.



The Pope is backing out of an optional ox burning test that was put on the schedule by God.  a la 1 Kings 18:25

As usual nyoos


states my position better than I could myself.


You do have a good counterargument.... one could argue that the resignation itself was itself the result of divine revelation.

Oh dear me...


here in Europe we've been arguing that sort of thing for 496 years, generally by sticking rusty spikes into one-another at the maximal attainable rate, and we still haven't sorted it out.

Oh what a tangled web we weave


when first we practice to deceive

I don't think direct divine revelation to the Pope is

mmghosh's picture

serious modern Catholic doctrine (or so I was told in my Catholic schooling period).

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency



Well, it was only invented in 1870, so it's pretty much as modern as things get in the HRCC (though I agree that it is rarely used).


I think the faithful try to play it down as much as they can because, like the doctrine on contraception, most can see what a liability it is.


Although of course they are ignoring the greater problems in the church by focussing on the slightly embarassing nature of some of the magical beliefs. Here are 2 letters from the Paper of Record of the Holy Roman Republic of Ireland today, a day like any other:



Sir, – The resignation of Pope Benedict will be welcomed most, perhaps, by those who can remember the articl (Patsy McGarry, March 2nd, 2009), which stated: “In June 2001, every diocesan bishop in the Catholic Church was written to, in Latin, by the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict. They were instructed that, where complaints of clerical child sex abuse were concerned, these were first to be referred to Rome and it would decide how they were to be dealt with.


“The Congregation document was accompanied by a letter, also in Latin, stipulating that the instruction was to be kept secret.”


These letters were sent out eight years before the same man, as Pope, publicly expressed his shock and horror about the harm done to children, by his priests, around the world. – Yours, etc



Sir, – Almost 20 years ago, the bodies of 22 women were exhumed from private land. The identity of these women is still not known and no attempt has been made by the State or by the religious institution who interred these women, stripping them not only of their names but of their identity and of their existence, to find out who they were.


On the discovery of the 22 bodies on the grounds of High Park convent in Drumcondra, home to the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge, the Irish State responded in a way which epitomises the utter disregard they had and have for women. The Department of Environment issued a licence allowing the nuns to have the remains of the additional 22 women removed to Glasnevin for cremation, no investigation, no questions, no vigil, nothing.


Mary Raftery wrote about this travesty of justice, this unspeakable crime against women by both church and State almost 10 years ago. It is indicative of the apathy of the Irish people and state that 10 years since Mary Raftery wrote this article, exposing the criminal nature of State-church collusion, we are still waiting for an apology for the enslavement and brutal treatment of Irish women.


It is not up to Enda Kenny alone to apologise but to us, as a nation, to show true remorse and come together to recognise and remember these forgotten women. – Yours, etc,

Such a pity. When they speak on matters of social justice they can sometimes even make sense.

You skipped the best part

HankP's picture

which was that any reports made to local authorities would be grounds for instant excommunication.


I blame it all on the Internet

The other best part is the reason those women


were dug up was to allow a developer to build flats and houses on the grounds of the convent netting him and the nuns a bucket of cash. Any investigation might have slowed down the pay day.

Yeah, seeing the last few years of JPII


I often wished he would/could*step down.  If Benedict has Alzheimers or any other mentally debilitating diease, then I think he made the right, responsible decision.

*I actually didn't know a pope could resign.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

According to St. Malachy

HankP's picture

the next pope will be Petrus Romanus, last of the popes and the harbinger of the end times.


I blame it all on the Internet

I think St Malachy was putting everyone on


I can tell because he was Irish and not once does he name an Irish Pope.  Scots do the same thing, nothing under the sun exists without an Irishman/Scot having had a hand in it or so they say.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

There will never be an Irish pope

HankP's picture

I'm pretty sure that was one of the secrets of Fatima.


I blame it all on the Internet

You'd think by now that there would be an Irish pope


I mean the Irish do two miracles very well; turn water into wine whiskey and turn whiskey into water. 

There is some controversy over the third revelation of Fatima and I'm going with the longshot that it really says Paddy I's day is coming.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

You left out their biggest skill

HankP's picture

which is turning every bar into a WWE free for all. Also, you guys get too damn weepy when talking about Ireland.


I blame it all on the Internet

That must be Nyoos' people


Mine are all from County Mayo where one must actually make an effort to get to the local watering hole.  As such, public drinking establishments are considered to be nearly on par with hallowed ground.  One dare not start or partake in a commotion for fear that the source rereshment be damaged.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

He was having us on alright.


Read the prophecy



"In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit [i.e., as bishop].
Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations:
and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed,
and the terrible judge will judge his people.
The End."



Now I've written enough essays in school to recognise this pattern. Up to the many tribulations Malachy was working away knocking out the latin and didn't have anotion of the time. Then there was a knock on the door of the cell and wasn't it just St Ursus and St Galus who were on their way over to the tavern. So, Malachy wrapped it up with the old standard "and then Rome burn to the ground and everybody died. The End." Thinking to himself that if it was good enough for John then it was good enough for him.

An edition of: Tyler Cowen, overrated


From The Economist's Ryan Advent:


TYLER COWEN is quick to link to pieces calling into question the extent to which austerity plans have been austere. Here is the latest example...


But ... then why is a bank like Goldman Sachs ... warning of an ongoing, significant decline in federal government spending? ...


... total federal government outlays were 25.2% of GDP in 2009, 24.1% of GDP in 2011, and 22.8% in 2012. ... the CBO indicates that in current-dollar terms total outlays fell from 2011 to 2012 (by about $50 billion). CBO reckons outlays will fall again, also in nominal terms, from 2012 to 2013.


... federal government employment ... dropped by 31,000 jobs in 2011 and 45,000 jobs in 2012. ...


Cowen has consistently deflected austerity's role in the slow recovery by claiming there hasn't been any. His work isn't the product of an honest and flexible intelligence, he's overrated.

Science rocks!

Bird Dog's picture

After a hard, sweaty workout, few things taste better than a good cold one. In my mind, how could something taste so good yet be bad for you? Because it's not bad for you, IMO. And now the research affirms it. I love science!

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

My roommate and I had beers over the weekend after running


The last half marathon I ran in San Diego had beer at the end of the race.


It's really satisfying and I'm also not surprised it's good for your muscles. 

I can't do that.


I've tried beer before, during and after running.  It's never sat right with me.  That's reason #2 I don't do hash runs.  After an hour or so I'm game but to hit a brew while I still have my sweat on just turns my guts over.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Tight oil and natural gas mean


that in the near future, not only will we have the nukes, the bombs, and the flying robot assassins, but we'll also be energy independent as well. And that will mean that we're pretty much holding all the cards.

Very true, but how will those cards be played?

mmghosh's picture

In your opinion, does the history of the utilisation of the great natural resources of the USA from the 19th century onwards give us hope that these newly developed resources will be utilised with wisdom?


Human nature has not changed much in the past 2 centuries.  But we have the benefit of experience of environmental degradation.  You do realise that a significant proportion of these carbon-based fuels should be left in the ground?  CO2 emissions have fallen recently partly because of the recession - a pickup in the global economy can only lead to emission increases.


Mr Ambani is a poor example of a responsible oil industry baron.

If you burned everything in the inventories of Russia's Lukoil and America's ExxonMobil, for instance, which lead the list of oil and gas companies, each would release more than 40 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.



We have five times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn. We'd have to keep 80 percent of those reserves locked away underground to avoid that fate. Before we knew those numbers, our fate had been likely. Now, barring some massive intervention, it seems certain.


Yes, this coal and gas and oil is still technically in the soil. But it's already economically aboveground – it's figured into share prices, companies are borrowing money against it, nations are basing their budgets on the presumed returns from their patrimony. It explains why the big fossil-fuel companies have fought so hard to prevent the regulation of carbon dioxide – those reserves are their primary asset, the holding that gives their companies their value. It's why they've worked so hard these past years to figure out how to unlock the oil in Canada's tar sands, or how to drill miles beneath the sea, or how to frack the Appalachians.


If you told Exxon or Lukoil that, in order to avoid wrecking the climate, they couldn't pump out their reserves, the value of their companies would plummet. John Fullerton, a former managing director at JP Morgan who now runs the Capital Institute, calculates that at today's market value, those 2,795 gigatons of carbon emissions are worth about $27 trillion. Which is to say, if you paid attention to the scientists and kept 80 percent of it underground, you'd be writing off $20 trillion in assets. The numbers aren't exact, of course, but that carbon bubble makes the housing bubble look small by comparison. It won't necessarily burst – we might well burn all that carbon, in which case investors will do fine. But if we do, the planet will crater. You can have a healthy fossil-fuel balance sheet, or a relatively healthy planet – but now that we know the numbers, it looks like you can't have both.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Oh, there's definitely some downsides to tight oil


starting from the toxic chemicals that get into the ground water and going up to the issue of what too much CO2 will do to the air. But for a few years in the earlier part of the twenty-first century, America will have more leverage vis-a-vis the rest of the world than we do now. Good for America's diplomatic standing. Not necessarily sure if it's good for the rest of the planet...

You sidestepped the question!

mmghosh's picture

What do you think America will do with its dominance?  Don't mistake me, I would  rather American dominance than possibly any other.  But what should we expect?  

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

I'm actually not entirely sure


I hope it's a relatively benign dominance, but as the last decade showed us, rather a lot depends on the make up of Congress and the White House.


Ideally, I'd like us to refuse to do business with illiberal regimes and promote human rights and trade. Realistically... well, I don't know.

Not entirely on topic


but I'm reminded of Aaron Sorkin telling his TV audience that the US is not the world's greatest country.

This is a future projection question...


I'm reminded of the ending of the Season one... The greater fool... 

Generation Y might change the world... If we let them and give them a choice... 

Ask courageous questions. Do not be satisfied with superficial answers. Be open to wonder and at the same time subject all claims to knowledge, without exception, to intense skeptical scrutiny. Be aware of human fallibility. Cherish your species and yo

OK, Da. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .stop playing with the time machine.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Except for Our Burdens of History and Psychology...nt



Why aren't banks getting less favorable treatment?


Corruption is the obvious explanation, but the finance sector didn't support the current leaders of the executive branch in the last election:



From the hedge fund and private equity industries, more than 82% of the donations went to Romney, $5.7 million. From commercial banks, roughly $4.2 million, or 75% of donations, went to the Republican candidate.


So the finance sector bet massively against Obama and lost but there aren't any consequences? I don't understand this on a political level. Obama has spent political capital shielding these folks from prosecutions and his DoJ has helped cut them very favorable deals on various settlements. There's no incentive to support Democrats in future if Wall Street can just throw money at a losing Republican candidate with very little hedging and expect the same privileges. 


Why isn't a D admin punishing these guys for throwing almost all of their money behind its opponent?

It Might Help With Labeling

M Scott Eiland's picture

Having "change" now refer to "open corruption and abuse of prosecutorial authority" as opposed to "denying corruption and abuse of prosecutorial authority." It's always nice to know where The State is coming from without masks.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Bush family hacked--   One


Bush family hacked--


One e-mail reported that George H. W. Bush's condition was so perilous in late December that his chief of staff informed the former president's adult children that "your dad's funeral team is having an emergency meeting at 10 a.m. just to go through all the details." The Bush aide, Jean Becker, went on to say the former president's health status "fell under the broadening category of things NOT TO TELL YOUR MOTHER."


A self portrait by W was also part of the downloaded content:



(deleted, if you want to see the painting, google it)


The internet is a dangerous place.  So much of our, and our family's, personal information is now stored in it.  When publicly revealed it can be financially and emotionally damaging.  Should the Secret Service protection of former presidents include internet security?  For whom?  The people hacked were W's sister, among others.  I don't know but I assume the big secrets the Presidents know are protected in some way or another.  Perhaps I'm naive, though.


I do know this -- these family secrets/stories are embarrassing and not meant for public consumption.  Regardless of your opinion of W and his family, these sorts of things should bother you.  Protect your information or it may be your goofy paintings or grandpa's ICU stay released to the goons on 4chan.

People are always surprised

HankP's picture

that I do very little that's important online. It's because I know exactly how insecure the entire internet infrastructure is.


I blame it all on the Internet



This is bullish!t. But the paintings are pretty amusing.

I don't know if I'd call them


I don't know if I'd call them amusing.  His time is past, I don't think we'll hear much of him for quite a while.  I say let him make his paintings and enjoy his life.  Just as we'd all want.

Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Even Al Gore have Very Public Lives



...after they left politics. Each very influential in their unique style of adding to the public discourse and public weal...but George...Nothing; very odd when you think about it.


But then Cheney pretty much disappeared too.


At least Bush the Elder was a good man.


George's paintings are embarrassingly bad. Seriously.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Bush II had a 25% approval rating during the '08 election


Only Nixon had a lower approval rating at 24% when he left office. I think that clears up the mystery.


Cheney has been much more vocal in the media on policy issues. And he's been busy behind the scenes as well. In 2011 he tried to cancel Christmas.

For wagster


Here's Krugman saying that long-term he'd like to lower the debt/GDP ratio. My recollection is that he's been consistent on the idea that he'd like to run a short-term deficit while the economy's depressed but reduce the deficit when it's not:


While it’s true that we will eventually need some combination of revenue increases and spending cuts to rein in the growth of U.S. government debt, now is very much not the time to act.



You're right


The disagreement probably isn't substantial... it's tactical, and the tactics he (and I suppose you) have chosen lead to a different emphasis in expression.


But tactically... I do think it's good politics to talk a tough game on debt reduction. I don't think Dems should be desperate for a deal. But they should be open to a deal.


Why? There's a chance that Republicans might moderate their views, and Dems might get a better deal 5 or 10 years from now. I'll grant that. On the other hand, I think it's also possible that Marco Rubio wins in 2016 and puts up a roadblock to a more progressive solution to the debt problem well into the 2020s. Now, I think Dems have got a pretty strong hand... there's a chance, with all the dissension in the Republican party that the leadership will just throw the Hastert Rule out the window, and an informal coalition of Dems and non-Tea Party Republicans could effectively rule the House, at least on select issues like immigration.


Perhaps our biggest substantive difference might be that you think entitlement cuts are out of the question. Look at this Kevin Drum blog post.... why should older generations be the only ones who's income is going up? Why is that it's the young that always have to sacrifice, with fewer education opportunities and an infrastructure that is crumbling to badly to serve them? It's just not fair.



"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

So the idea is to help young people


* by making older people less likely to retire and thus reducing the number of openings in the labor market


* by reducing young people's retirement security, which they will especially need if the class war keeps being won by the wealthy


I'm fairly young and looking for work and don't want any part of this. Older folks paid for their social security, 1/3rd have no other retirement income lined up, they should have their benefits and more. If we're worried about spending money on the older generation's healthcare, fix the system already, don't just cut their benefits.


You're still framing this issue as if agreeing to cuts now will forestall future attempts by Republicans to transfer money from poorer people upwards under the guise of deficit and debt reduction. I reject that assumption and encourage you to do same. Republican politicians are a predatory class, not people you strike "grand bargains" with.


Finally, it's extremely stupid tactics to gin up a generational warfare when we've got a class war that is 10x the problem, and, moreover, is such that addressing our class warfare problem even partway would obviate any need to pit younger against older.

I think you know my position well enough to not caricature it


You're still framing this issue as if agreeing to cuts now will forestall future attempts by Republicans to transfer money from poorer people upwards under the guise of deficit and debt reduction.

I don't say or think that. I think we've been through this. It won't stop Republicans from being Republicans. But it will help get the debt under control. I say you can't start any new progressive projects -- broadening access to education, investing in infrastructure, universal day care -- without getting the debt under control. Of course it would be great to protect old people and increase their income. I'd love to do that. What you have to argue is that it's more important than those other priorities. You're not doing that. 


Or maybe you think that we might be able to raise revenue later on to fund those priorities? Maybe you see another politically viable and likely path to deficit reduction? Let's stop being scratched records and get to the nub of the disagreement, which is a tactical one largely. If not now, when? And how? Why do you think we'll have a stronger hand later? Or are the glories of 20th century liberalism the hill for us to die on, with no hope or expectation for further ground?

Older folks paid for their social security

Actually, the average SS recipient gets more than he puts in, even accounting for a modest amount of interest.



"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

I don't understand your tactics


We must implement bad, conservative policy today in order to get good, liberal policy down the road.


Except that the bad deficit reduction Obama is prioritizing today ties the federal government's hands for precisely the period when the debt-to-GDP ratio stabilizes and allegedly would create the opportunity for good policy. Then this deficit reduction doesn't significantly offset the increased ratio down the road b/c it doesn't address rising health care costs. 


Increasing SS payments right now would be excellent, stimulative policy. It would create jobs and opportunities for young people. We have the stingiest retirement benefits in the developed world and are faced with the problem of retirees burdened by the 401k debacle. Expanding SS is a valid liberal goal right up there with the goals of increased infrastructure and education spending.


Mainly I see you rationalizing rolling back past accomplishments. I don't see any reason to pretend this will facilitate liberal ends when its more likely to facilitate rightward drift by centrist Ds. The tactical situation is that failing to discipline Ds today for drifting rightward merely encourages them to drift further rightward in future. The last thing we should be considering is cutting SS and medicare in return for vague promises of 21st century progressivism once the debt is reduced.


My girlfriend who works for the federal government just got her employer retirement contribution slashed by more than 2/3rds last week. I would tell her it's the beginning of great things, but the truth is she's just getting screwed.


You must've misread your link. It says that the average SS recipient who turned 65 in 2010 paid $294,000 in SS taxes and will receive on average $265,000 in SS lifetime benefits. Of course recipients should be receiving much more than they paid in, but we may thank the Greenspan Commission for that.

It's not only that

HankP's picture

it's also what Republicans have done for the past 30 years -


1. screw up the economy, grow the deficit while giving away tax breaks to the wealthy


2. insist that the Democrats fix it without raising taxes, which of course means cutting spending on domestic programs - especially those that assist poor people


3. rinse and repeat


how many times does the football have to get snatched away before people realize this?


I blame it all on the Internet

A predatory class? (I Like it!)...nt



It's a generalization


It doesn't explain why there's a current debate among Republicans over breaking up the banks, or why they're making themselves unpalatable to women voters, etc. 


But the defining feature of Republican politicians is preying on the middle and lower classes, especially co-opting and dismantling public institutions in order to distribute wealth upwards and decrease social mobility.

One thing about that Drum post is kind of deceptive

HankP's picture

which is that people under 40 always seem to be on a track to poverty in old age because most asset accumulation and the effects of compound interest on savings and investments don't really start to show up until people are in their 40s and 50s.


I blame it all on the Internet

"We need gun control to stop me from killing people!"

Bird Dog's picture

Paraphrasing Chris Dorner, the pro-Obama, pro-gun control nut who is currently on a killing spree in southern California.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

He's proving it true

HankP's picture

which is rather a problem for the "good guy/bad guy" simpletons.


I blame it all on the Internet

Yeah but the well-trained professionals


are taking a steamer on the 'well-trained professionals' simpletons as well. 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 


Bird Dog's picture

He is proving true the our national problem with the violent mentally ill.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

So, Dr. Bird Dog-


Do you know what this guy's diagnosis is? If he has a psychiatric diagnosis, does it fall on axis I or II? Maybe it's PTSD, or maybe this guy is just really really pissed off and wants revenge on his colleagues.


You don't know, so please don't make yourself look foolish by parroting NRA talking points.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

Perhaps you could you read his manifesto...

Bird Dog's picture

...and make your own diagnosis. You're the self-proclaimed expert, after all. As for the rest of your comment, bad faith. Go waste somebody else's time.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Don't whine.


I never said I was an expert in psychiatry. That doesn't mean I don't know more about it than you do, just as you know a lot more about real estate and real estate law than I do. Christopher Dorner may well be stark raving mad, but he may be just really pissed off at the LAPD. And if Dorner is one of the "violent mentally ill," then what does that make the rest of the LAPD? They haven't managed to kill any innocent civilians yet, but it's not for a lack of trying. If you own a pickup truck in LA, it appears you're in greater danger from the police than you are from Dorner.


My point here is that the "violent mentally ill" argument is a sham being perpetrated by the NRA. Yes, there are violent mentally ill people, but they're a small subset of the population in general. If you want to distract people from the debate over how easy it should be to buy guns, or what sort of military weapons the general public should have access to, yell "Look! Crazy People!"

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

Hard To Find It

M Scott Eiland's picture

Given that our tireless servants in the MSM have decided we don't need to read the parts of it making it clear he's a fan of a lot of lefty types. Of course, I'm sure they checked it first to make sure they couldn't tie him to conservatives/Tea Partiers* in some way before deep-sixing the incriminating parts.

* Of course, Dorner did give Tim Tebow some career advice, albeit some blatantly obvious career advice. Tim, it's a bad state of affairs when an insane moonbat serial killer has a better handle on what's good for your career than you have had.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

Did you have any actual evidence, MSCOTT?


There is zero credible evidence of any MSM outlet censoring the guy's manifesto in your links.


You linked to some hysterical internet post by SooperMexican accusing mainly local FOX news outlets of refusing to cover the guy's Democratic-supporting politics:


* The page where FOX News LA had the manifesto is now deleted. Comments don’t mention the manifesto at all.


* KTLA also has the abbreviated manifesto, with this parenthetical: “KTLA has removed the names of a number of officers out of respect for their privacy.”


* FOX News reposted the manifesto, with all the names redacted as the authorities asked, but it still doesn’t have the second half.


* ABC 7 has also posted a redacted half version of the manifesto. 


Yeah, sure. Right below the EL Sooper Mexican's tweets were links by local ABC affiliates to Dornan's entire manifesto. All the supposedly censored parts were in there when I clicked on it. Doubtless they've now come clean after being exposed for lying!!!!


Feel free to present some real evidence. I was willing to look at it. What I got instead was an amateur hour whine regarding fabricated conservative victimization, as chronicled by Soopermexican.

How are Dorner's politics relevant to his acts?


If he leans left, does that make him more evil? If it does, does the fact that Timothy McVeigh leaned right make him less evil in your eyes? Both are bad guys: their politics are irrelevant. Or do you contend that liberals are somehow responsible for Dorner's actions? If that's true, then conservatives are responsible for Oklahoma City, a position that you and I would agree is absurd.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

How Were The Other Shooters' Politics Relevant To Their Acts?

M Scott Eiland's picture

Every single damned time, the MSM went crazy trying to prove a connection to the Tea Party, then pretended they hadn't when no connection was found--and there were plenty of apologetics for that effort here and elsewhere. I'm not inclined to grant any mercy to liberals because the nut in this case (and Floyd Corkins in the FRC shooting case) made it quite clear that they *had* been influenced by moonbat propaganda without the MSM trying to get it out of them (indeed, with them actively covering up the connection. Maybe they'll sue for mercy on this tactic and mean it from now on after getting a bloody nose from this one.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).

It's an entirely fair point about Dornan


that he was a Democratic supporter and if we have an evenly balanced # of domestic shooters and bombers by both left and right, it would be fine to conclude that neither ideology is currently associated with more violence and perhaps that neither is causally related to domestic violence in any meaningful way.


My understanding, however, is that right wing groups and ideology are significantly more associated with domestic terrorism currently. As one terrorism expert who testified recently before Congress put it:


“The threat from domestic terrorism motivated by extremist ideologies is often dismissed and overlooked in the national media and within the U.S. government,” he said at a Senate Judiciary hearing. “Yet we are currently seeing an upsurge in domestic non-Islamic extremist activity, specifically from violent rightwing extremists. While leftwing attacks were more prevalent in the 1970s, today the bulk of violent domestic activity emanates from the rightwing.”


Of course, this former Department of Homeland Security domestic terrorism analyst is obviously, as you can see from his picture below, a radical leftist hippy who would love to smear mainstream Republicans:


oh those darned facts and


oh those darned facts and their leftie bias.

Ha ha, yeah good luck with


Ha ha, yeah good luck with that.  And I mean that in both political and practical terms.  But sarcastically.

Yeah, right...


But in Connecticut, the mother owned the weapons, and she was not mentally ill.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Well then,


let's get started on a national database of those with or expected of having mental illness. Obama should put this into action, and appoint some kind of governmental committee to decide who's in and who's out. Of course, we'll have to determine at a federal level what exactly constitutes a mental illness. Anxiety? Depression? Paranoid schizophrenia? Fox news viewer? Out, out out and OUT.


Once this is all paid for by tax cuts, this conservative governmental plan will ensure that only the RIGHT people have access to shootin' arns like it says in the Bible.


Bird Dog's picture

Because it's better to do nothing on mental health and focus all our energies on gun control. Thank you for confirming my earlier comment.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

You and the NRA seem to be making the argument that


all gun violence is caused by the mentally ill having access to guns. The facts don't support that argument. If you want to increase funding for mental health programs, great. If you think there needs to be less stigma attached to mental illness, or that involuntary commitment should be easier, that's a starting point for an intelligent discussion. But if your contention is that behind every gun crime is a crazy person, then you're flat out wrong.



"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

Just out of idle curiosity


Has there ever been a conservative effort to improve the nation's metal health treatment capabilities?


They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...
-- General John B. Sedgwick, 1864

Yeah, this is all pretty sad.


Yeah, this is all pretty sad.  It is transparent political points scoring.  The sadder part is, the gun safety group (of which I'm a part and purposefully use the rather silly "safety" language myself) is willing to thump the right for their hypocrisy but unwilling to tackle the legit issue of mental health.  More politics as usual.  We should take the opportunity to make the wingers put their money where their mouth is -- propose an increase in public mental health spending at both Fed and State levels.  Ah, I'm in a weird mood.

You bet

HankP's picture

Reagan privatized and block granted mental health funding, resulting in a huge decrease in mental health funding and treatment. The fact that it didn't improve anything won't stop Republicans, though. They'll call it a success and change the subject.


I blame it all on the Internet

Half story

Bird Dog's picture

Supreme Court cases in 1975 and 1979 raised the bar significantly for involuntary commitment, which drastically altered treatment methods. Reagan did cut funding and he did block-grant monies to the states. You'll have to tell me how he privatized it, or why privatization is somehow wrong or evil. Also unmentioned is how states have also cut mental health, notably in Connecticut and Virginia under Democratic governors, both states where crazy people committed mass murder. And perhaps you can explain how increased federal mental health funding would have helped Adam Lanza, the son of well-to-do parents with full access to all kinds of health care. Or Jared Loughner, residing in a comfortably middle class two-parent household.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009


HankP's picture

means moving from government funding to expecting private insurance to handle the problem of funding and private clinics to handle the actual treatment. Which you'll recall has been the big Republican strategy for the past 30 years, whether it works or not.


And I don't have to explain anything, I'm just pointing out that Reagan severely damaged the mental health care system in our country and it hasn't recovered yet. No half truths, just ones Republicans don't like to hear or deal with.


I blame it all on the Internet

The question was:


Has there ever been an effort by conservatives to improve treatment of mental health? What kind of laws or treatment guidelines would a modern USA republican support?


how 'bout those Ravens, huh?

Take It Up With Hank

M Scott Eiland's picture

He's the one who answered Wombaticus' original question with butthurt whining about Reagan's response to the liberal judiciary blowing up the existing system without an alternative being in place (as BD correctly pointed out in response to the typical liberal convenient amnesia on the topic). Crazy people on the streets was their doing.

. . .and Don Mattingly must be fired (bye Ned--don't let the door hit you in the @$$ on the way out!).


HankP's picture

yes, somebody else's comment gets you off the hook for answering the question. Rather a pathetic and transparent rhetorical gambit.


I blame it all on the Internet

Relevant, yet false


Liberal judiciary? O'Connor v Donaldson was a unanimous decision, with a great many Republican-appointed justices on the bench.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

That wasn't the true part.


The true part was that the SC did make those rulings.


And it's not relevant to the mass shooter phenomenon. I don't think a single major mass shooter, at least in the last couple of decades, had been released from a mental institution, much less as a result of the SC rulings.


And, while we are here, those rules were the result of systematic abuse of mental patients combined with opaque rules allowing people to keep them detained indefinitely with little or no justification. The status quo was unacceptable, and I'd like to see Scott argue that this wasn't the case.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

True, yet irrelevant


There was an explosion of mentally ill homeless people in the early 1980s or so. This is true. 


Unfortunately none of the school shooters fall in this category. It turns out that mentally I'll homeless people don't have much capacity to collect and store large weapons and ammunition in quantity.


So while it is a topic worth discussing, it is orthogonal to Sandy Hook and Columbine.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.



We all know He had an AR-15:

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

The NRA proposed screens would have filtered him out?

brutusettu's picture

afaik the guy's record would have been clean for a mental illness screen.


Does that mean that anyone who was in the same boat as him a few days ago should automatically be allowed to legally buy some firearms without background checks, or buy large magazines are the type of firearms not generally used to hunt or target shoot?


Once shootings start, isn't it a little late for mental illness or any other background checks or to make it virtually illegal for civilians to own the type of guns that make mass shootings easiest to pull off for the laymen?


side note: a few LAPD officers have shot at the people in 2 different trucks that were Nissan's somewhat similar to the one the guy on the lam has.  i.e. "friendly fire" from trained armed personnel.




Since I haven't said anything about the NRA,

Bird Dog's picture

I don't know what you're talking about.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Don't frighten cops

brutusettu's picture

"Three innocent people shot at by cops (so far) in LAPD manhunt; suspect still at large"


2 separate shootings by the LAPD at the wrong people, one was near a cop's home that was named in the manifesto, another truck was near reports of gunfire, that to the cops, looked like the truck they were after.



There had been multiple reported sightings in the Big Bear area on Thursday of Dorner’s truck, sources said. Dorner was last seen wearing military fatigues and has a military ID. Coincidentally, at the Bear Mountain and Snow Summit ski resorts, customers who wore their military uniforms on Thursday could purchase a discounted $38 lift ticket.



You mean insanity can be apolitical?

mmghosh's picture

Hard to believe.

freedom is a fundamental value that does not need to be justified in terms of some other value like efficiency

Train board games

TXG1112's picture

Looks like someone wants to play Ticket to Ride on grand scale.

--- I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own.

A Nice BBC Review, Rail in Europe, The Alps Tunnel, Stimulus....


...spending on big infrastructure.




All in a quick 2:44 minutes.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Too Much


High speed rail is good for dense areas, like the Northeast.


You could even argue for the whole East Coast and rust belt out to Minneapolis through Chicago.


A West Coast line could also work. And if you were ambitious and costs were a lot lower, a Gulf coast line from Jacksonville to Austin and San Antonio, through Houston and New Orleans.


But the rest of it is plainly fantasy. A line from Seattle to Salt Lake City through Boise? Really? What is that, 800 miles? That's millions of tons of steel and concrete and gravel. You would never recoup the carbon footprint of that thing. And it goes on, to Kansas City, through Denver.


Who would ride that? Anybody on business would still fly. High speed rail simply is not that fast.


The United States is not Europe. I don't mean the culture. The geography. It just doesn't work. Rail is very resource intensive when you count the infrastructure required. It pays back over short, dense routes, but not over long thin routes.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Sure, Salt Lake City to Seattle looks not too probable


Most of the 2030 lines look unlikely and inefficient. A lot of the 2025 lines too, though LA to Las Vegas and Atlanta to Nashville don't seem crazy.


However, you have to factor in that we're in an economic situation, going on 5 yrs., where spending on even entirely useless projects would be better than not spending. Plus we're spending on many projects that decrease efficiency, such as airport security theater.


In that context, building a HSR line from Salt Lake through Boise to Seattle is better than not building one. Personally it sounds like a fun ride with great views.

I can't say I agree about spending.


There are too many things to do around the country that need doing, for the government to be spending money on things that don't need to be done.


That, and the carbon footprint of a useless railroad is far too high.


This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

I was making the general Keynesian point


that right now having the government build the tracks and then immediately tear them down would be better for the economy than not building them. 


I don't pretend to know about the carbon footprint, I'll take your word for it.

Ain't gonna happen


Haven't seen the tracks in California or the Rust Belt,  but those green 220 mph lines from Dallas to Houston and San Antonio aren't going to happen in 2015.   It would take longer than that just to get through the paperwork and lawsuits,  much less the construction.


In any case the lines in TX and most of the south aren't that useful, because you get off the train and there's not  public transport to take you anywhere.


The lines in the Rust Belt aren't useful because those are permanently declining areas we shouldn't be investing in.  There's no good reason for anyone to go there,  and people aren't going to use 220 mph HSR to leave with their belongings.


I'll concede Boston-NY-DC,   and SF-LA.

The Rustbelt isn't in permanent decline


More than 10% of the jobs added since 2010 have been in manufacturing. Ohio has a lower unemployment rate than the national average.


It's true the US's manufacturing base has been hollowed out the past two decades. But it's hardly written in stone that we must have a $550 billion annual trade deficit.


For all we know, a Democratic majority might seek to close it some in future, and the most likely way it'll get closed is by adding manufacturing jobs back in the Rust belt.


The Economic Policy Institute suggests the following:


Global currency manipulation is one of the most important causes of growing U.S. trade deficits, and of unemployment and slow economic growth in the United States and Europe. Currency manipulation distorts international trade flows by artificially lowering the cost of U.S. imports and raising the cost of U.S. exports. This leads to goods trade deficits that displace U.S. jobs, particularly in the manufacturing sector. The U.S. goods trade deficit could be reduced by between about $190 billion and $400 billion over the course of three years (modeled in this paper as having started in 2011) by eliminating global currency manipulation. Without any increase in federal spending or taxation, the United States would reap enormous benefits. As this paper explains, over three years a reduction in the U.S. goods trade deficit of this magnitude would:



* Create between 2.2 million and 4.7 million U.S. jobs (equal to between 1.4 percent and 3.0 percent of total nonfarm employment)
* Reduce the national unemployment rate by between 1.0 and 2.1 percentage points
* Create about 620,000 to 1.3 million manufacturing jobs (27.5 percent of all jobs created by eliminating currency manipulation)
* Increase U.S. GDP by between $225.0 billion and $473.7 billion (an increase of between 1.4 percent and 3.1 percent)
* Shrink the federal budget deficit by between $78.8 billion and $165.8 billion (reductions that would continue as long as the trade balance remained stable), as growth in output expands tax receipts and reduces safety net payments



There are plenty of lawsuits to stop pipelines in Texas, but they don't get stopped, so that's not a real problem.


The Texas triangle could work with mid speed rail and car carriers. Drive your car to the train, load it, and let it whisk you at 150 MPH while you have lunch or dinner or get some work done. Get there and your car is with you. It's a good value prop over driving.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

An interesting point


That Felix Salmon recently made was whether driverless cars might make HSR harder to justify.


If driverless, electric cars pick you up from your home and drop you off at your destination, automatically matching you with car pool partners, and the traffic flows faster and smoother than our current traffic because of less congestion and coordination features of the driverless technology... you're starting to get a very attractive and very green transportation option that might well trump the speed advantages of HSR.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

But It's Not Green


I love electric cars, but they are not green except compared to other cars. Compared to a seat on a rail car, they are power hogs, and driverless would not change that.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

I think that's far from clear


First of all, we don't know what the driverless cars will be... they might be single occupancy, but they might also be like a shuttle bus. The computerized matching of passengers and originations to routes and destinations makes a difference.


Second, we don't know what the carbon profile of electricity will be in 10 or 20 years.


And third, how do we factor the carbon costs of building the rail system, as opposed to using existing roads?

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Not to mention

HankP's picture

that if driverless cars worked well enough and moved people away from owning a car or two to just requesting one when needed it would make a huge impact on the carbon footprint. Think of all those cars that are parked from 8 - 5 all day. Or the huge acreage of parking lots at malls. All gone.


I blame it all on the Internet




In any case the lines in TX and most of the south aren't that useful, because you get off the train and there's not  public transport to take you anywhere.

That explains why there are no airports or bus stations in the south and TX.



“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Not the point, nilsey

Jay C's picture

I think eeyn's point is that in a lot of cities in this country - Texas is just a handy example - the transportation "network" - such as it is - is set up to be mainly automobile-oriented: and that even if you have a high-speed rail running between, say, Dallas and Houston: once you get there you still need to rent/borrow/use a car to get around pretty much anywhere outside of the downtown business zones (where the train stations are usually located). And since most airports are  set up to be car-centric as well, more-or-less negates a lot of the advantages of HSR for inter-city travel. This argument gets trotted out a lot - and while myself, I don't think it's the end-all excuse for foregoing rail development, it can't be ignored completely. For some regions, like the Northeast, rail makes a great of sense. For Arizona? Not so much....


And btw, that map is a about as fantasy-based as charts of Middle-Earth: HSR by 2015? That's just two years from now: California (just to name one) will be lucky to have a hundred miles graded....

sure, i suppose that right


but restricted transportation possibilites led to tehdevelopment of high density like much of the north east and parts of europe. unless we begin to deal with reality that cross country car travel (or even air travel) may not be econimically feasible in teh not too diostant (50 years?) future... will we have a lot of isolated communities without any infrasturcture for improvemnt of eonomic development.


i guess my point is, how (and when) did high density areas come about? how did low density areas come about? what does teh future look like? and finally, there can be no economic developemtn without infrastructure development.


so to say "why would *i* go to houston by rail?" is not the correct question. its "why should houston be HSR connected in 50 years?"


also i agree about the time spans here.... i took the HSR from chicago to st louis last december. the HSR aspect is a joke. we went to a high speed of 120mph (actually 115 according to my GPS) for about 10 minutes on a 15mile stretch. thats a start, and thats about it.


i've been on a maglev train going 260mph (shanghai), on TGV doing 150 or whtever they do (paris-irun)... and we can't get it together here to do 115 for 10 minutes. depressing.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

How did high density areas come about?


Large population of people too poor to own a horse.  Seriously.   You look at mid/upscale neighborhoods, even pre-automobile age, and the density is not that high.


I really liked riding the TGV, but part of what made it great is things I'm not sure we can easily replicate here.  First off,  you buy your ticket and you get on the train when you want,  usually without standing in line,  without "papers please",  without a restrictive list of things you can't bring on the plane, without the B&W nude photography, and without the feel-up.  We have an agency here in the US that is pressing to put airport-type security on rail travel.  That's going to cancel a lot of the convenience.


Second,  you get off the TGV and right then and there - literally in or right outside the same building, and usually in less than 10 minutes - you can get onto another conveyance that will take you within 100 yards of where you want to go.


I think the priorities are backwards.  Places like Dallas need public transport that (a) passes any given location downtown no less than once every 15 minutes,  and anyplace in the suburbs no more less than once every 30 minutes,   (b) gets you within 200 yards of anyplace downtown and 1/4 mile anyplace in the suburbs, and (c) is either free or has some kind of pass system so that 10 people can board in 20 seconds.   That's what it would take for me to stop using a car to get from place to place.

Once you have that the HSR makes sense.

Do you have any idea how big...


...the DFW metro area is? Your 15/30 minute formula is not doable with anything like the current density and configuration of the place.


The best that can be done there is to bring in electric cars, put in a few monorails along selected corridors with drive and ride friendly parking, some electric busses in the downtowns, and bike lanes or even bike highways, if they were covered to protect from the heat in summer.

It would be too costly to make car free life possible there. Too energy costly as well.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Completely agree


that it is unrealistic.  Which is why it isn't going to happen.  But of course there are cities with such systems.  Dijon, where we spent last summer, was in that category.  I didn't bother to learn the bus schedules because the error in arrival time (+/- 5 minutes) was comparable to the time between arrivals (every 15 minutes),  and never had to walk more than three short blocks from a stop to where I wanted to go.


They have "a few" light rails systems in DFW and "a few" buses.  Once I arrived there without a car.  I blew about 6 hours getting from the Greyhound station in downtown DFW to an address in Arlington,  via light rail and buses, and that was after finally breaking down and spending $30 on a taxi for the last 10 miles.   In principle I could've got closer using buses,  but it would have been several hours more,  most of which is spent waiting 1+ hours for each transfer.


IMO it's all or (almost) nothing.  A "few" things doesn't help.  Texas cities will have something line two or three bus runs in the morning and two or three bus runs in the afternoon to bus stops spaced 1-2 miles apart.  That only helps people who have one unscheduled thing to do each day, e.g. retired people visiting a friend at no particular time, or an unemployed guy going to the disability office. 







Smartphones can make thin transit systems far more viable. You don't need to check a schedule as such. Just a map with you, the nearest stop, and the time at which the next ride is going to be there. It could even tell you how full it was, and when you should head towards the stop.


Very little or no wait, even with less than strict schedule keeping, bad weather, and so on.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Pre-automobile densities

Jay C's picture

The relative densities of non-urban areas developed before the automotive era (which, in the US, is pretty much since WWI) are still fairly tight compared to the post-(WWII)war auto era: in most areas there was a fairly comprehensive rail network to tie urban and suburban areas together (as there still are in some areas - Paris and London are typical, also) - it seems that the US is anomalous is pretty much forgoing (if not actively destroying - as in postwar Los Angeles) rail development.


And I second your comments re train travel - it's (IMO) a national disgrace that we have what is basically a Third World passenger rail system - even as American freight networks work better than they ever have....

Better than they ever have, but not cheaper than available


alternatives in many cases. In fairly recent history I needed 170 rail cars. In every aspect, cost, response time, delivery time and delivery assurance, contracting 340 semis was better.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

What were you transporting?

Jay C's picture

Assuming that releasing that information would not necessarily result in prosecution or execution for anyone, what were you transporting, and where? Yeah, rail, we know, is superior to road for a lot of stuff (bulk cargo, say): it just seems really counterintuitive (if only on fuel costs) that twice the number of trucks was a better choice than X number of rail cars.  

Hookers, blow and poached condor meat.


Mainly equipment and a few containers using flatcars.  When you can cube out, say with grain or coal, I think rail wins.  But a huge factor is transfers.  If you are going from major rail yard to major rail yard, say Chicago to Kansas City, rail is going to beat a lot of competition but say you are going from Paducah, KY to Atchison, KS rail rates skyrocket while wheel rates don't.  I was moving stuff from Fayetteville, NC to Leesville, LA.  I could get 80 feet of flat bed (2 x semis) for about 90% of the cost of rail.

So, bottom line, rail can be cheaper depending on the circumstances, but not universally so.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

A Carbon Tax Would Fix That


There were some interesting proposals for new transfer systems back in the 1980's, especially for containers, where heavy container loading equipment was no longer needed and the process was quite streamlined. But there was some capital expense required that could not be justified with falling fuel prices.


Trucks are cheap because they get a subsidy. The tear up the highways and beat up on structures but pay much less than their share of the build and maintenance cost through fuel taxes and tolls.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Actually, I think trucks are cheaper because they


can deliver point to point with little additional cost.  Rail simply can't do that unless the point of origin and destination are located near rail hubs.  Spur to a mainline to a spur is little more than operating cost over time.  Spur to a mainline or hub, build a train, move on mainline to another hub, break the train, move to a secondary line x times, to a spur racks up costs quick.  A truck just moves.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 


HankP's picture

I have a client that's right on the tracks, and they say rail is by far the cheapest for clients who are also on a rail line. But anywhere off the line and transfers and scheduling starts to become a problem.


I blame it all on the Internet

That's True, But


Trucks use more energy, have tires that wear, require more humans per ton being driven around, etc.


The problem with rail is that trains are built almost the same way as a century ago, and containers don't move easily from train to train, truck to train, or train to truck.


But in a world of driverless cars, a modern container hub could work the same way, with containers driving themselves from one place to the other, on electric cabs. It would be more like a physical packet switching network, and trucks would be the last mile of that network.


Taking trucks out of highways would save a lot of money in highway maintenance and improve safety. Accidents involving trucks are lethal to cars of any size because the mass difference is so great.


But allocating capital to these "packet switching" hubs would require a business case that just isn't there as long as trucks underpay the wear they cause.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

too poor to own a horse


yeah, thats what i was getting at.


And we are heading back in that direction, slowly but surely, haha... gas ain't cheap, its not getting any cheaper, and automobile ownership/usage among the young is declining every year.


in 50 years it won;t make sense economically to own a car. we were "lucky" to live in an era where cheap fuel and subsidized roads etc made car ownership a part of the culture. thats receding i think. not like next decade but....


so... i think you'll get that wish for better public trans. or at least teh places that think that way will flourish, those that don't, won't.


i dunno. maybe. wildly speculating here.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

The Real Deficit


There really is no more reason to be talking about the budget deficit than the output deficit, and in fact there's a good case for believing that the latter is more important to close in the short term than the former:



Political commentators have made a big deal of the budget deficit falling under $1 trillion for the first time in half a decade. But this is the real trillion dollar deficit: A $1 trillion gap between what America is capable of and what it is actually producing.

It gets worse! The $1.01 trillion output gap is higher than it has been in more than a year. In the third quarter, that gap was only $914 billion (this is the flip side of last week’s disappointing GDP number). In other words, this deficit is getting worse, not better. And under CBO’s projections, it will widen again this year, as the economy grows at something below its potential: What is now a $1 trillion output gap will become a $1.2 trillion output gap, as the economy slows down due to fiscal tightening enacted as part of the 2011 debt ceiling deal and 2012 fiscal cliff deal.