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California High Speed Rail to Get You from San Jose to Suburb of Bakersfield Really Fast
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Back in 2008, giddy Obama voters in California approved $10 billion to build a high-speed rail system to get you from downtown Los Angeles to downtown San Francisco in 2 hours and 40 minutes, which would be nice.

The latest announced plan, however, reverses the former notion to start with the difficult Southern California to Central Valley link, and instead now intends to build first from San Jose at the southern end of the Bay Area to the Kern County line north of Bakersfield in the Central Valley. How exactly to get across the massive east-west Transverse ranges between Bakersfield and the San Fernando Valley in Southern California is a can to be kicked down the road.

Whether or not anyone in Silicon Valley wants to actually go to the Kern County line, however, is not discussed.

(Also whiffed on is the less technical but even more political question of whether you can really roar at 220 mph from San Jose to San Francisco through some of the richest, smartest, NIMBYest suburbs in the world.)

Screenshot 2016-02-19 22.36.22

Expandable part of I-5

I’m becoming more interested in the idea of instead adding smart self-driving car lanes to Interstate 5 through the empty west side of the Central Valley. There’s a couple of hundred mile stretch of I-5 between Southern California and Northern California where there’s plenty of room to add lanes. Wikipedia asserts: “The median on I-5 between Wheeler Ridge and Tracy is wide enough to accommodate widening the West Side Freeway to six or eight lanes, should the need ever arise.” Those Central Valley towns are 242 miles apart.

It very hard to get infrastructure additions done in California, but adding special purpose lanes in-between the existing lanes of the I-5 in the Central Valley sounds like just about the easiest since it was designed for expansion a half-century ago.

These new lanes could be reserved for cars that drive themselves with the assistance of electronics built into the lanes. Self-driving cars remain a difficult nut to perfectly crack, but the technology demands of having cars that drive in a straight line on a separated smart highway are pretty easy.

The whole Google Car thing is tricky. The problem is getting to 99.99999% of the time automatic so the driver doesn’t have to be watching the road all the time to intervene on the rare occasions when necessary, which defeats most of the purpose. One solution is to configure certain high volume highways with all the electronics needed to interface with robot cars so drivers could kick back during specific stretches. The long straight section of I-5 through the empty wastes of the Central Valley is near ideal to pioneer this approach.

So if Elon Musk is commuting from Bel-Air in SoCal to Silicon Valley, he could use the I-5 robot lanes to stop steering and get a couple of hours of keyboard work done. A toll of, say, $50 for the privilege of kicking back and taking your eyes and hands off the road for two hours sounds like what a lot affluent people in SoCal and NorCal would be willing to pay, so this modest amount of construction ought to be able to pay for itself.

For Californians as a whole, creating a transportation route catering to futuristic smart cars would encourage what could be a massive California industry of the future.

 
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  1. Big Bill says:

    Sadly, it will more likely be “China’s industry of the future”.

    I doubt that “California” will do much of the design, engineering, or building.

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    • Replies: @Lot
    China has never been able to produce cars beyond low quality copies of out-of-date Western and Japanese design. The high rate of corner cutting just does not work for something as complex as the design and production of new automobiles.

    Part of the reason is also that in this respect China is more capitalistic than the major automakers' home country. Korea, Japan, the USA, Canada and Western Europe all provide very big subsidies to their local auto industry, making it impossible for China to break into the market despite trying for decades. And it is open to Chinese cars if they were any good. Look how fast Korean companies grew. But that was with the fanatic.al support of the Korean government every step of the way.

    There are some specific auto parts where China has a decent market share. This is typically by cutting corners to underprice the OEM parts by 50% or more, and western non-OEM by 25% or more. Now not all of these parts are bad, but it is scary to think of a whole car made from them.

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  2. I know they haven’t started yet, but, how much of the $10B is left ?

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  3. newrouter says:

    stop making sense

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  4. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Any high speed rail in Mexico? If not, why waste money installing it in soon-to-be-Mexico Norte? Sorry your home’s value is about to drop to Detroit levels Steve…sincerely. I took a bath on my house in Victorville myself.

    Also, billionaires don’t drive farther than nearest helo pad for trips of this duration.

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  5. Besides the staggering building costs, the problem here is density. California lacks it. We are not Japan.

    Therefore, high speed rain in California is a nice idea only; since once you reach your destination (unless it’s SF or downtown LA) you still need a ‘personal transport vehicle’ (car) to get around.

    Even in the crowded northeast (between NY and Washington) Amtrak (rail service) loses millions each and every year. Personal vehicles are essential in vast, spread-out, non-urban areas; which describes most of California.

    Then there’s price of completing this green project. Each leg of this Democrat jobs program will consume tens of billions of dollars just to build. Maintenance costs are extra. These immense costs will never be recovered via paying customers.

    Why not simply add dozens of (subsidized) buses (providing a real cost incentive) to all our major highways so that people can roll along in collective comfort while they play with their smart phones and computers? With fracking and emerging hybrid technologies on the rise, fossil fuel-powered vehicles could remain a affordable transportation option for decades to come.

    Ramped-up (and super-cheap cheap) bus service (using the ‘car pool lane’ in existing highways) could save California one hundred billion dollars going forward. With that in mind, let’s put high speed rail back on the shelf where it belongs–at least for now.

    Read More
    • Replies: @ringo starr
    Not true.
    The AMTRAK NE Corridor breaks even. The rest of the routes lose money.
    If Amtrak were run more like a commuter rail system rather than an airline for business types, it would do even better.
    The new trendier Mega and Bolt intercity busses have hurt the intercity rails in the NE (young college types seem to like them, and they don't have the stigma of Greyhound or Trailways), but they may be paving the way for a revival of rail.
    , @JayMan

    Even in the crowded northeast (between NY and Washington) Amtrak (rail service) loses millions each and every year. Personal vehicles are essential in vast, spread-out, non-urban areas; which describes most of California.
     
    Wrong. Amtrak makes a profit on the Northeast Corridor. Where Amtrak loses its money is on the long-distance routes.

    Therefore, high speed rain in California is a nice idea only; since once you reach your destination (unless it’s SF or downtown LA) you still need a ‘personal transport vehicle’ (car) to get around.
     
    Which would work if that was the focus.

    LA-SF and the Northeast Corridor are the only places in the country where high-speed rail improvements make sense. I don't expect either to happen any time soon for various reasons, though.
    , @Ttjy
    Buses are a good idea. The roads are already there so they don't have to build rights of way for new railroads.

    Bus routes can easily be changed if demand shifts, whether it's different times of day or weekend routes, not to mention future demand changes years down the road. A rail line is of course stuck where it is.

    Imagine LA freeways if say 30% of the cars were taken off the road and those people were on a bus. The problem with freeways is rush hour traffic that causes bottlenecks. Buses would eliminate that, while still allowing people who drive for various reasons to drive on less crowded roads. Of course, non-freeways would also have less traffic.

    Car congestion is bad for buses because the bus gets stuck in traffic. Remove a lot of the cars from the road and buses can really be efficient and versatile.


    Buses can be very comfortable too. Google has private buses that take workers from San Francisco to the Google complex.

    There have even been protests of the private buses.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_bus_protests

    Even non- private buses can be comfortable and pleasant to ride in. I've ridden in coaches in England and Switzerland and they are very nice.

    In England coaches go from town to town and buses operate in the town. I took a inter-city coach into London and it was very fast and comfortable, The problem came when we got into London and the car traffic slowed the bus down . Get rid of those cars and it would be super efficient. Or have certain roads that are bus only that the city.
    , @Perspective
    Buses are a good start, though they often lack the "sexiness" of a train. Ensure that highways have bus only lanes to reduce travel times. They recently added bus only lanes in my area and as a result, travel times on the bus are now shorter than traveling by car during rush hour.
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  6. AndrewR says:

    Sailer for governor 2018

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    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson
    Sailer for President 2020.
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  7. Adding self-drive lanes to big roads is a good practical first step. It’s in essence taking people’s private cars and joining them up as units in an ad hoc high-speed convoy.

    Maybe giving this scheme a sexy name that appeals to lefties and evokes their treasured train fantasies would help it to gain popular approval. Maybe something like “Spontaneous High-speed Impromptu Train”.

    Might have to work on the acronym, though.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson
    Fast-Acceleration Excellent Conveyance Affective Escalation Superconductor

    No, wait….. How do I work 'on a stick' or maybe 'on a shingle' into a suffix for that sequence?
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  8. Cracker says:

    If you don’t support High Speed Rail, you’re a racist and hate gays. You heard it here first…

    Read More
    • Replies: @The most deplorable one
    Why are you discriminating against the rest of the LGBT gaggle?
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  9. Jim Sweeney says: • Website

    In truth, there is no plan to build what was presented to the voters. It is all another big lie of Jerry Brown and the Democrat legislature. It will never be completed within 200% of its proposed budget and, if completed at all, will take decades. Even then, it will not be close to reaching it promoted goal of time to distance. What it is is a another financial boondogle, a way for the politicians to repay their donor class. And nothing more.

    It is faster, door to door, to drive from LA to SFO than to fly or to take this dumb train plus you have a car to use when at your destination, leave on your schedule and just chuck stuff into your car.

    Hurry up Donald! And encourage some acolyte to run in California. There are no Republicans here anyway.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hapalong Cassidy
    "It is faster, door to door, to drive from LA to SFO than to fly or to take this dumb train plus you have a car to use when at your destination, leave on your schedule and just chuck stuff into your car."

    On an episode of Mythbusters, they compared driving vs flying for the SFO to LA trip. The flyer beat the driver by only a few minutes.
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  10. As Stuff White People Like pointed out, white people see buses as socially tainted compared to rail. But there’s a way to combat that: marketing.

    Spend a half-billion dollars on marketing a luxury bus service between, say, the San Jose and Burbank airports as what all the cool people are taking.

    Read More
    • Replies: @snorlax
    There's the whole Google bus controversy in SF, which seems like a rather iStevish topic.
    , @Dumbo
    I don't think the problem is "status" or socially tainted, the problem is that Greyhound buses really, really suck.

    Uncomfortable, ugly, smelly, always delayed, only minorities or broke students take them.

    AMTRAK and Via Rail (in Canada) are OK, a relatively comfortable trip, but slow. The AMTRAK train service from NY to Montreal is nice, but only during the day and takes 10-12 hours (!). Couldn't they improve on that?

    As for me, I'd love to see a renaissance of the giant airships/zeppelins cruising the skies between LA and SF at, er, 85 mph? Not much speed, but think of the view.

    , @Inquiring Mind

    As Stuff White People Like pointed out, white people see buses as socially tainted compared to rail. But there’s a way to combat that: marketing.

    Spend a half-billion dollars on marketing a luxury bus service between, say, the San Jose and Burbank airports as what all the cool people are taking.

     

    Steve, are you talking about (when the) Onion (was still funny) High Speed Bus Plan video?

    http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=onion+high+speed+bus+plan&&view=detail&mid=FC9F5BE6762868E64B8DFC9F5BE6762868E64B8D&rvsmid=500699DB8EEB8AB31846500699DB8EEB8AB31846&FORM=VDQVAP&fsscr=0
    , @Anonymous
    There are luxury bus and van lines in the northeast:

    http://www.vamoosebus.com/pages/gold.aspx

    http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/royal-sprinter-latest-luxury-travel-washington-nyc/story?id=23049530

    Prices range from $50 to $90. The regular buses, which are perfectly comfortable coach buses, are from $20 to $30. Note that these luxury lines are cheaper than what Greyhound was charging when it had its near monopoly into the early 2000s. I took Greyhound a few times back then between cities in the northeast, and it was terrible, with bad service and seedy terminals filled with ghetto types and crack and meth heads. It was so bad that I would spend extra to take Amtrak. Then the Chinatown buses came in and crashed the intercity ticket price to $20. And then the corporate bus lines offering comparably low prices with better and more professional service like MegaBus came in, and now we have cheap, high quality intercity bus transport in the northeast.
    , @European-American
    Buses may be becoming cool in Europe.

    Until recently, you couldn't take a city-to-city bus within France, you had to take a train (or drive or fly). Same in Germany until 2013. Now deregulation removed the strict restrictions preventing buses from competing with rail.

    So now there are cool web sites like https://www.flixbus.com/ that offer super-cheap trips on comfortable buses with wifi and power plugs for your devices, something most trains still don't have at five times the price!

    Buses are still pretty slow compared to trains, but who cares when you can be online the whole time or sleep and it doesn't cost you a fortune.

    , @Jimi
    Correct. In NYC its common to see old women on the Upper East Side hop on and off the buses in their mink coats. There isn't the same stigma as elsewhere.

    I discovered this stigma in Miami. I thought it was a no-brainer to take the bus from the airport to my hosts' house for $2. My hosts thought using the bus was extremely tacky.
    , @Reg Cæsar

    As Stuff White People Like pointed out, white people see buses as socially tainted compared to rail.
     
    Paul Weyrich, a rare right-wing rail advocate, made this point explicitly at times. I'm sure he embarrassed the more conventional transit-boosting crowd.

    I once heard a veteran urban planner from Savannah give a talk to our local preservation society. He said bluntly, if only in passing, that keeping up your handsome buildings and residences keeps and attracts white people.

    You can get away with a line like that once in a talk, especially if it comes across as a joke. But people take notes.
    , @Chrisnonymous
    This is exactly correct. When SF's Leap bus service debuted, I remember it was promoted on SWPL websites.

    I took a luxury bus in Burma from Rangoon to Mandalay. A new, straight, smooth highway was built to shuttle the elites from Rangoon to their new super-secret capital, and all the buses to Mandalay used it (or mine did). Since I was relatively rich, I took the highest-cost VIP liner. I was shocked. It had airline service with stewardesses and food carts, huge reclining seats with headphones, etc. Fantastic. I slept and woke up totally refreshed. There's no reason for people not to take buses like this.

    On the other hand, Japan's rail services have not really resulted in an improvement in quality of life as far as I can tell. If you compare a single rail line to a single highway, the rail line is much more invasive for the landscape. The promise of rail travel is not that it's better than highways, but that it will replace/prevent highways, but that doesn't really seem to be the case here. As long as construction is make-work government hand-outs, rails and highways are just built on top of each other.

    Speaking as someone who just a couple months ago drove SF to LA on US 1 and who lives in Japan, I would hate to see the California landscape despoiled by all the overhead lines, raised concrete platforms, crossing signs, new separate stations (yes!), and numerous paraphernalia needed to maintain Japan's shinkansen.

    Furthermore, last year, flying from Osaka to Tokyo was cheaper as well as slightly faster than taking the shinkansen, so there were a lot of people switching over to the flights. Who actually commutes from LA to SF and can't afford to fly?
    , @Brutusale
    Buses=short hops between urban hubs and their neighborhood=majority minority passengers.

    Light rail= longer trips to the outlying urban neighborhoods/suburbs=many more of YT.

    The exception is the express-bus routes from the 'burbs.
    , @granesperanzablanco
    No judgement on cost effectiveness but it is not a marketing issue. Riding buses sucks and HSR is extremely comfortable. HSR is much more comfortable than cramming on airplanes too
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  11. Hubbub says:

    California dreaming.

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  12. snorlax says:
    @Steve Sailer
    As Stuff White People Like pointed out, white people see buses as socially tainted compared to rail. But there's a way to combat that: marketing.

    Spend a half-billion dollars on marketing a luxury bus service between, say, the San Jose and Burbank airports as what all the cool people are taking.

    There’s the whole Google bus controversy in SF, which seems like a rather iStevish topic.

    Read More
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  13. Look on the bright side:

    At least the brain-dead slobs will all be given cushy jobs.

    Read More
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  14. Ezra1 says:

    As the Silicon Valley workforce ages into the family years, there could be a lot of pressure on living costs near the tech firms. High speed rail might allow for the development of commuter suburbs far out into the Central Valley, even if the rail itself never makes it into SF or LA per se.

    I suspect that the benefits will never cover the costs, but given our negative interest rate environment there are a lot less worthwhile things the govt could be doing.

    OT – Fissures in the Democrats coalition

    http://www.adweek.com/news/television/was-moment-larry-wilmore-lost-stephen-colberts-intellectual-appeal-169712

    Read More
    • Replies: @carol
    That's a very good point. Brilliant actually.

    Invest in Kern co land, for the win!
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  15. @Mark Green
    Besides the staggering building costs, the problem here is density. California lacks it. We are not Japan.

    Therefore, high speed rain in California is a nice idea only; since once you reach your destination (unless it's SF or downtown LA) you still need a 'personal transport vehicle' (car) to get around.

    Even in the crowded northeast (between NY and Washington) Amtrak (rail service) loses millions each and every year. Personal vehicles are essential in vast, spread-out, non-urban areas; which describes most of California.

    Then there's price of completing this green project. Each leg of this Democrat jobs program will consume tens of billions of dollars just to build. Maintenance costs are extra. These immense costs will never be recovered via paying customers.

    Why not simply add dozens of (subsidized) buses (providing a real cost incentive) to all our major highways so that people can roll along in collective comfort while they play with their smart phones and computers? With fracking and emerging hybrid technologies on the rise, fossil fuel-powered vehicles could remain a affordable transportation option for decades to come.

    Ramped-up (and super-cheap cheap) bus service (using the 'car pool lane' in existing highways) could save California one hundred billion dollars going forward. With that in mind, let's put high speed rail back on the shelf where it belongs--at least for now.

    Not true.
    The AMTRAK NE Corridor breaks even. The rest of the routes lose money.
    If Amtrak were run more like a commuter rail system rather than an airline for business types, it would do even better.
    The new trendier Mega and Bolt intercity busses have hurt the intercity rails in the NE (young college types seem to like them, and they don’t have the stigma of Greyhound or Trailways), but they may be paving the way for a revival of rail.

    Read More
    • Replies: @gruff
    Have you ever noticed that the Bolt Bus logo is almost identical to the logo of the old British Union of Fascists?
    , @Ed
    Thanks for making the point I was going to make. In a discussion of rail, the claim that Amtrak loses money on the Northeast Corridor is so ignorant as to make me stop reading the rest of the comment. It subsidizes the rest of the system. And you don't even have to know much about transportation to know that.
    , @CJ

    The new trendier Mega and Bolt intercity busses have hurt the intercity rails in the NE (young college types seem to like them, and they don’t have the stigma of Greyhound or Trailways), but they may be paving the way for a revival of rail.
     
    Bolt Bus is owned by Greyhound.
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  16. A toll of, say, $50 for the privilege of kicking back and taking your eyes and hands off the road for two hours sounds like what a lot affluent people in SoCal and NorCal would be willing to pay

    “White privilege!!” they’ll sputter. And “Crabon emissions!!” they’ll sputter yet more.

    Alas, only trains are free from the original sin of Henry Ford and the single-family internal combustion engine.

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  17. I’m not all that familiar with California demographics; but isn’t Bakersfield to San Jose a train ride from one place where White folks don’t want to be to another place where White folks don’t want to be?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Lot
    Lots of whites want to live in and around San Jose. The only reason many have left is that so many asians are happy to pay $1 million and up for an older 1600sf tract house.
    , @dumpstersquirrel
    "I’m not all that familiar with California demographics; but isn’t Bakersfield to San Jose a train ride from one place where White folks don’t want to be to another place where White folks don’t want to be?"

    Actually, it's a ride from a place the wrong sort of White folks like (wary of Diversity because of its proximity) to a place that the correct sort of White folks like (limpwristed SWPLs sheltered from Diversity). The White demographic overlap of Bakersfield and San Jose is zilch.
    , @Kevin O'Keeffe
    Council District 10 ("the Almaden valley") is still a high-status Whitopia, albeit with more than a sprinkling of Asians too. Most of District 1, and much of 9 are still quite nice as well. Also, the Willow Glen neighborhood has some very nice areas (District 6, I think).
    , @Old Palo Altan
    In the '50s and '60s San Jose was utter Dullsville, surrounded by very nice place to the West like Los Gatos and Saratoga, and truly civilised places like Palo Alto and Atherton to the South.
    I understand (not having been back in decades) that the wealth and talent of Silicon Valley has transformed even San Jose into a place of some style and culture.
    The same has definitely not happened to Bakersfield. Perhaps someone knows something we don't and we should all start buying up property there?
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  18. gruff says:
    @ringo starr
    Not true.
    The AMTRAK NE Corridor breaks even. The rest of the routes lose money.
    If Amtrak were run more like a commuter rail system rather than an airline for business types, it would do even better.
    The new trendier Mega and Bolt intercity busses have hurt the intercity rails in the NE (young college types seem to like them, and they don't have the stigma of Greyhound or Trailways), but they may be paving the way for a revival of rail.

    Have you ever noticed that the Bolt Bus logo is almost identical to the logo of the old British Union of Fascists?

    Read More
    • Replies: @BurplesonAFB
    Yes, historically conscious residents of the Eastern Seaboard refer to it as the Mosley bus.

    Steve, a Tesla can already drive itself really well on a freeway. The sensors and computers needed are not very expensive. No need for smart-highway infrastructure boondoggles as was once thought in the 90s.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP7VdxVY6UQ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yCAZWdqX_Y
    , @Another Canadian

    Have you ever noticed that the Bolt Bus logo is almost identical to the logo of the old British Union of Fascists?
     
    OMG it is!
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  19. @AndrewR
    Sailer for governor 2018

    Sailer for President 2020.

    Read More
    • Replies: @tbraton
    "Sailer for President 2020."

    I can envision it already. The Californian, Steve Sailer, going down to the Rio Grande and declaring: "President Trump, tear down this wall." Well, if Reagan, another Californian, can transform himself from an FDR cheerleader to a Barry Goldwater cheerleader and if Richard Nixon, another Californian, can transform himself from the man who brought down the Communist Alger Hiss to the man who opened up Red China, then Steve Sailer, yet again another Californian, can effect a little change. It's not by coincidence that Hollywood is based in California. And it is not by coincidence that California is the home of Bruce Jenner.
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  20. Dumbo says:
    @Steve Sailer
    As Stuff White People Like pointed out, white people see buses as socially tainted compared to rail. But there's a way to combat that: marketing.

    Spend a half-billion dollars on marketing a luxury bus service between, say, the San Jose and Burbank airports as what all the cool people are taking.

    I don’t think the problem is “status” or socially tainted, the problem is that Greyhound buses really, really suck.

    Uncomfortable, ugly, smelly, always delayed, only minorities or broke students take them.

    AMTRAK and Via Rail (in Canada) are OK, a relatively comfortable trip, but slow. The AMTRAK train service from NY to Montreal is nice, but only during the day and takes 10-12 hours (!). Couldn’t they improve on that?

    As for me, I’d love to see a renaissance of the giant airships/zeppelins cruising the skies between LA and SF at, er, 85 mph? Not much speed, but think of the view.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel H
    >>As for me, I’d love to see a renaissance of the giant airships/zeppelins cruising the skies between LA and SF at, er, 85 mph? Not much speed, but think of the view.

    I second that. Zeppelins would be really cool. And what they lack in absolute speed would be compensate for by avoidance of all traffic, and precision. We should be able to land Zeppelins right in the center of our major cities. No need to travel from far off airports on congested highways.
    , @Chrisnonymous
    I would to fly zeppelins everywhere, but I think there are good reasons commuter zeppelins don't exist--something about per performance in cost-to-speed.

    I used to take Greyhound to travel in university. Greyhound is horrible. I used to huddle up next to Amish people to avoid wretched-smelling bag ladies. Recently a relative died, and my mother had to take a Greyhound cross-country. She got off to use the bathroom at one stop, and the driver (guess what gender and color!) left her there. She lost all her luggage and only avoided walking for miles because the state police picked her up. She's in her late 60s.

    Amtrak on the other hand, you have to love. The key is, when traveling in NY, to buy the ticket to Montreal, which gets you onto the special car with extra-large seats. Amtrak has wi-fi now and craft beers, too, which means you can work on your laptop and look out the window at the Hudson or Adirondack mountains while drinking Dogfish Head 90-minute IPA. What's not to love?

    Also, for anyone who's got the time, I advise doing this...
    http://boingboing.net/2014/06/15/36-hours-to-seattle-taking-th.html

    I haven't been able to yet, but I took a sleeper from London to Fort William when I was younger and loved it. I remember waking up, opening my curtains, and seeing a stone wall extending out into the distance. Whether I actually woke up to see the Antonine Wall out my window, I'm not sure, but I will always remember the thrill of thinking so.
    , @a Newsreader
    The Hindenburg was one of the worst marketing disasters of all time.
    , @Ganderson
    Took the bus (Peter Pan, a NE bus co) from Amherst to Boston and back last summer. The trip in in the early morning, was fine- mostly people going to business appointments. The trip back was , err... interesting. All that was missing was the guy with the chicken.
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  21. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Ann Coulter says that she’s not an immigrant but a settler. I heard this kind of argument before, but only from one guy, Samuel p Huntingdon. That’s the first time I’ve ever head someone make this argument in the mainstream. Apparently no one at the view could respond to her.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a7egqkD8wQ

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    • Replies: @TangoMan
    What did I just see? My eyes are bleeding from the stupidity of those hosts. This is what the women of America watch during the day?

    Adios America, we're done for.
    , @Reg Cæsar

    Ann Coulter says that she’s not an immigrant but a settler.
     
    Funny, I thought she was a native. How old is she?

    Anyway, if you plan to read any published genealogies from 75-125 years ago, be prepared to see the phrase "our immigrant ancestor" a lot. The authors would be 100% in agreement with Ann on her "settler" point, but they used the word "immigrant" for that first settler. Just not in the legal sense.
    , @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)
    "Ann Coulter says that she’s not an immigrant but a settler [descendant]."

    It would be nice to hear her explanation of the distinction, but the six-biddies-speaking-at-0nce, crabs-in-a-bucket format of The View does not allow for a take-your-turns discussion.
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  22. @The Last Real Calvinist
    Adding self-drive lanes to big roads is a good practical first step. It's in essence taking people's private cars and joining them up as units in an ad hoc high-speed convoy.

    Maybe giving this scheme a sexy name that appeals to lefties and evokes their treasured train fantasies would help it to gain popular approval. Maybe something like "Spontaneous High-speed Impromptu Train".

    Might have to work on the acronym, though.

    Fast-Acceleration Excellent Conveyance Affective Escalation Superconductor

    No, wait….. How do I work ‘on a stick’ or maybe ‘on a shingle’ into a suffix for that sequence?

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  23. Sutton says:

    The issue with robo-cars is ethics. How to program an emergency. As in who to hit in a fast moving disaster. The elderly on the corner. Or the mother with the carriage. Or a NAM vs whitey.

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    • Replies: @Russell
    The apparent ethical dilema robocars would face is almost entirely theoretical.
    Alnost noone ever faces this choice in real life.

    But don't take my word fot it.
    http://ideas.4brad.com/enough-trolley-problem-already
    , @Anonymous
    Isn't this ethics issue solved by Steve's trying to throw a fat man from a streetcar or something like that?
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  24. @gruff
    Have you ever noticed that the Bolt Bus logo is almost identical to the logo of the old British Union of Fascists?

    Yes, historically conscious residents of the Eastern Seaboard refer to it as the Mosley bus.

    Steve, a Tesla can already drive itself really well on a freeway. The sensors and computers needed are not very expensive. No need for smart-highway infrastructure boondoggles as was once thought in the 90s.

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    The problem is it'll give you back control when it encounters some problem, usually in an emergency, but even if there's no real emergency, you'll be totally caught with your pants down doing something else (or outright asleep) and all you'll have is a fraction of a second to adjust because the car will be driving at 75mph. If you are in the middle of reading a book, not paying attention to the road, then how much time would you need to just make sure you now really have to drive the car (especially if the system was so good it only happened rarely), look around to see what needs to be done, and take action if needed, but avoid sudden action when no such action is needed? (Like suddenly and too forcefully turning the steering wheel or suddenly pressing the brakes with full force thus creating emergencies for other cars who will in turn stun their passengers into becoming drivers in a fraction of a second.)

    It's only useful if it never gives back control to you, which is only possible if the system running it is fully controlling the whole traffic on the highway, much the same way the whole railway traffic is controlled by the same system.

    , @Former Darfur
    The Mosley thunderbolt was also the symbol of Singapore's People's Action Party (the only party with significant power there): it was also incorporated into the sigil of Anton LaVey (his personal logo or stamp, as opposed to that of the organization he founded) and in modified form that of Marilyn (sic) Manson as well.
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  25. JayMan says: • Website
    @Mark Green
    Besides the staggering building costs, the problem here is density. California lacks it. We are not Japan.

    Therefore, high speed rain in California is a nice idea only; since once you reach your destination (unless it's SF or downtown LA) you still need a 'personal transport vehicle' (car) to get around.

    Even in the crowded northeast (between NY and Washington) Amtrak (rail service) loses millions each and every year. Personal vehicles are essential in vast, spread-out, non-urban areas; which describes most of California.

    Then there's price of completing this green project. Each leg of this Democrat jobs program will consume tens of billions of dollars just to build. Maintenance costs are extra. These immense costs will never be recovered via paying customers.

    Why not simply add dozens of (subsidized) buses (providing a real cost incentive) to all our major highways so that people can roll along in collective comfort while they play with their smart phones and computers? With fracking and emerging hybrid technologies on the rise, fossil fuel-powered vehicles could remain a affordable transportation option for decades to come.

    Ramped-up (and super-cheap cheap) bus service (using the 'car pool lane' in existing highways) could save California one hundred billion dollars going forward. With that in mind, let's put high speed rail back on the shelf where it belongs--at least for now.

    Even in the crowded northeast (between NY and Washington) Amtrak (rail service) loses millions each and every year. Personal vehicles are essential in vast, spread-out, non-urban areas; which describes most of California.

    Wrong. Amtrak makes a profit on the Northeast Corridor. Where Amtrak loses its money is on the long-distance routes.

    Therefore, high speed rain in California is a nice idea only; since once you reach your destination (unless it’s SF or downtown LA) you still need a ‘personal transport vehicle’ (car) to get around.

    Which would work if that was the focus.

    LA-SF and the Northeast Corridor are the only places in the country where high-speed rail improvements make sense. I don’t expect either to happen any time soon for various reasons, though.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous

    Where Amtrak loses its money is on the long-distance routes.
     
    Amtrak also makes money running Autotrain from basically D.C. to Orlando overnight with sleeper service, bringing your car with you.
    , @Cracker
    True on the NE Corridor. The bets thing is that you end up in Boston, NY, Filthy, etc...and don't have to come from an airport or drive. But out in the Midwest and West? Not like I'll just scoot over to Amarillo from STL... And good luck with high speed rail. Congressfolk will be wanting that train to stop in Podunk on the way to Chicago. Gotta get them votes.
    , @Reg Cæsar

    Wrong. Amtrak makes a profit on the Northeast Corridor. Where Amtrak loses its money is on the long-distance routes.

     

    Most of Amtrak's routes between the coasts are little more than subsidized nostalgia. That is vastly preferable to subsidized dispossession, but let's be honest about it and put it where such things belong: the National Park Service.
    , @Mark Green
    I stand corrected about Amtrak's non-profitability. All of Amtrak was a money-loser when I lived in NY many moons ago. So I'm glad that there is at least some economic improvement there.

    But the cost of these new, high-speed lines is far greater than conventional rail roads. Therefore, the long-term economic viability of multi-billion-dollar rail lines (running between Bakersfield and San Jose, no less) remains doubtful. I see this project as a high-risk, green jobs program; a payback to Gov. Brown's liberal base.

    But for those of us non-Democrats who do not believe in imminent, catastrophic, anthropogenic global warming, adding this 'green' multi-billion-dollar, high-speed rail line is a poor allocation of limited resources.

    Another challenge involving this particular route concerns the demographic incompatibility of the projected customers. San Jose and Bakersfield? Hmm.

    Then again, if the trains move fast enough, the party will be brief. That's important since public transportation tends to attract a lot of un-glamorous people. Needless to say, the smart set must ride as well for this bird to fly.
    , @Yak-15
    If it would have "worked" (been profitable) why aren't private investors stumbling over each other to invest? In this low/negative interest rate, deflationary/low return environment, why isn't the smart money jumping in?

    Money could have bought out political interests to make it happen if it was worthwhile. It always has and always will.

    The only logical reason would be that it is not profitable. Same reason why no private interest has been able to buy out Amtrak.
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  26. @Steve Sailer
    As Stuff White People Like pointed out, white people see buses as socially tainted compared to rail. But there's a way to combat that: marketing.

    Spend a half-billion dollars on marketing a luxury bus service between, say, the San Jose and Burbank airports as what all the cool people are taking.

    As Stuff White People Like pointed out, white people see buses as socially tainted compared to rail. But there’s a way to combat that: marketing.

    Spend a half-billion dollars on marketing a luxury bus service between, say, the San Jose and Burbank airports as what all the cool people are taking.

    Steve, are you talking about (when the) Onion (was still funny) High Speed Bus Plan video?

    http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=onion+high+speed+bus+plan&&view=detail&mid=FC9F5BE6762868E64B8DFC9F5BE6762868E64B8D&rvsmid=500699DB8EEB8AB31846500699DB8EEB8AB31846&FORM=VDQVAP&fsscr=0

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  27. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Self-driving cars remain a difficult nut to perfectly crack, but the technology demands of having cars that drive in a straight line on a separated smart highway are pretty easy.

    Why waste those straight lines of highway on self-driving cars when gas prices are cheap and there are some awesome American muscle cars making a comeback like the Dodge Challenger (stars in some awesome car chase scenes through LA in the Nightcrawler movie with Jake Gyllenhaal from a couple years back) and Dodge Charger Hellcats, both with huge 6.2L supercharged V8s putting out over 700 horses? The Charger Hellcat is the fastest production sedan ever made. Though I think they may actually be made in Canada and Mexico. But at least they’re Dodges.

    What would be awesome is if Trump became president and did whatever it is he does to ensure gas stays cheap and we started churning out big ass V8 muscle cars like we used to.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oicu39lda0E

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  28. @gruff
    Have you ever noticed that the Bolt Bus logo is almost identical to the logo of the old British Union of Fascists?

    Have you ever noticed that the Bolt Bus logo is almost identical to the logo of the old British Union of Fascists?

    OMG it is!

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  29. Ed says:
    @ringo starr
    Not true.
    The AMTRAK NE Corridor breaks even. The rest of the routes lose money.
    If Amtrak were run more like a commuter rail system rather than an airline for business types, it would do even better.
    The new trendier Mega and Bolt intercity busses have hurt the intercity rails in the NE (young college types seem to like them, and they don't have the stigma of Greyhound or Trailways), but they may be paving the way for a revival of rail.

    Thanks for making the point I was going to make. In a discussion of rail, the claim that Amtrak loses money on the Northeast Corridor is so ignorant as to make me stop reading the rest of the comment. It subsidizes the rest of the system. And you don’t even have to know much about transportation to know that.

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  30. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @JayMan

    Even in the crowded northeast (between NY and Washington) Amtrak (rail service) loses millions each and every year. Personal vehicles are essential in vast, spread-out, non-urban areas; which describes most of California.
     
    Wrong. Amtrak makes a profit on the Northeast Corridor. Where Amtrak loses its money is on the long-distance routes.

    Therefore, high speed rain in California is a nice idea only; since once you reach your destination (unless it’s SF or downtown LA) you still need a ‘personal transport vehicle’ (car) to get around.
     
    Which would work if that was the focus.

    LA-SF and the Northeast Corridor are the only places in the country where high-speed rail improvements make sense. I don't expect either to happen any time soon for various reasons, though.

    Where Amtrak loses its money is on the long-distance routes.

    Amtrak also makes money running Autotrain from basically D.C. to Orlando overnight with sleeper service, bringing your car with you.

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  31. Steve , Slightly off topic, but California related. I caught some of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament last week and the course looked lush. Is the draught over or is the political capital of draught fear spent out. It seemed to me that, seeing draught and rain are cyclical, this was the latest sky is falling fear mongering to get the fringe on board with whatever the newest agenda is.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    It's been an average year for rain so far in Northern California, somewhat below average in SoCal. That reduces the crisis (which was worse in NorCal), but it hasn't been a massive El Nino year yet to refill the reservoirs. It still could be, but there are only about two months left before the dry season.
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  32. Cracker says:
    @JayMan

    Even in the crowded northeast (between NY and Washington) Amtrak (rail service) loses millions each and every year. Personal vehicles are essential in vast, spread-out, non-urban areas; which describes most of California.
     
    Wrong. Amtrak makes a profit on the Northeast Corridor. Where Amtrak loses its money is on the long-distance routes.

    Therefore, high speed rain in California is a nice idea only; since once you reach your destination (unless it’s SF or downtown LA) you still need a ‘personal transport vehicle’ (car) to get around.
     
    Which would work if that was the focus.

    LA-SF and the Northeast Corridor are the only places in the country where high-speed rail improvements make sense. I don't expect either to happen any time soon for various reasons, though.

    True on the NE Corridor. The bets thing is that you end up in Boston, NY, Filthy, etc…and don’t have to come from an airport or drive. But out in the Midwest and West? Not like I’ll just scoot over to Amarillo from STL… And good luck with high speed rail. Congressfolk will be wanting that train to stop in Podunk on the way to Chicago. Gotta get them votes.

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  33. I just flew Southwest Airlines round trip from Oakland to John Wayne for $117 total. When considering the time and expense of driving it is no contest. Our Uber ride to the hotel was $5.70 and no tip for two of us.

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  34. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer
    As Stuff White People Like pointed out, white people see buses as socially tainted compared to rail. But there's a way to combat that: marketing.

    Spend a half-billion dollars on marketing a luxury bus service between, say, the San Jose and Burbank airports as what all the cool people are taking.

    There are luxury bus and van lines in the northeast:

    http://www.vamoosebus.com/pages/gold.aspx

    http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/royal-sprinter-latest-luxury-travel-washington-nyc/story?id=23049530

    Prices range from $50 to $90. The regular buses, which are perfectly comfortable coach buses, are from $20 to $30. Note that these luxury lines are cheaper than what Greyhound was charging when it had its near monopoly into the early 2000s. I took Greyhound a few times back then between cities in the northeast, and it was terrible, with bad service and seedy terminals filled with ghetto types and crack and meth heads. It was so bad that I would spend extra to take Amtrak. Then the Chinatown buses came in and crashed the intercity ticket price to $20. And then the corporate bus lines offering comparably low prices with better and more professional service like MegaBus came in, and now we have cheap, high quality intercity bus transport in the northeast.

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  35. Ed says:

    The big problem with new rail projects in the US is actually buried in Steve’s post, in an off hand comment about well heeled people potentially objecting to trains running at 220 MPH through their suburbs.

    People keep thinking that the US is not particularly densely populated or even underpopulated, which probably also drives the enthusiasm for more and more immigration. Yes, if you take the 320 or so million people in the US (which I suspect is an undercount to hide the amount of illegal immigration) and divide it by the total number of square miles, you get a lower person to square mile ratio than in Europe, China, and India. But these three places are the most densely populated places on Earth. And the US is the third or fourth largest country by land area.

    But a good part of the area of the US are places where either people don’t want to live or where it would be absurdly expensive to maintain (and bring water to) dense populations, either mountains or deserts or featureless plains with really bad weather. The vast majority of people live in metropolitan areas, generally the suburban parts. The whole advantage of intercity passenger rail is that it can get you from downtown to downtown, no need to make the trek to/ from the airport way out in the burbs. But the only way to do that is to put tracks through the suburbs where people don’t want it. And enough rail tracks were removed when people thought that everyone would drive everywhere, no problems with traffic (with rails to trails being a particularly egregious bit of stupidity that this is a real problem).

    I’m familiar enough with these projects to know that the San Jose to Bakersfield link is being done first just to get something built, hopefully in time for the politicians currently in office to open it, to show people some tangible result for their tax dollars quickly. Then people will pony up to get the line through the coast mountains to LA. I actually doubt the line will reach downtown San Francisco, given that Amtrak’s normal trains don’t go there, but there are at least CalTrains and eventually BART links to SF.

    I also agree with the earlier commentator that the focus of any passenger rail development in the US should be on commuter rail. High speed intercity rail is a huge distraction that at best should be at the bottom of the list of planned improvements in the area. It you really have to build high speed passenger rail, LA-SF is probably the second place where it should be implemented after NY-DC, though there is a case for prioritizing connecting Chicago with any northeast corridor line instead.

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    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    And enough rail tracks were removed when people thought that everyone would drive everywhere, no problems with traffic
     
    Not all of them. The streetcars were taken out of our city sixty years ago, but the tracks weren't. They were merely (and cheaply) paved over. A recent pothole in a street crossing in front of our local McDonald's exposed about a foot of such a track. Ironically, that crossing was at the neighborhood express bus stop.
    , @Cracker
    FWIW, many feel Jersey could use more rail service. Plenty of rail lines are now trails. Not a joke. For awhile NJ Transit has even pondered bringing back that old service out to PA again:

    http://www.njtransit.com/tm/tm_servlet.srv?hdnPageAction=Project019To

    And this this bridge is cool:

    http://weirdnj.com/stories/paulinskill-viaduct/

    If you visit, bring your spray can!
    , @Ttjy

    I also agree with the earlier commentator that the focus of any passenger rail development in the US should be on commuter rail. High speed intercity rail is a huge distraction that at best should be at the bottom of the list of planned improvements in the area. It you really have to build high speed passenger rail, LA-SF is probably the second place where it should be implemented after NY-DC, though there is a case for prioritizing connecting Chicago with any northeast corridor line instead
     
    .

    Commuter rail has a place,but I still think buses are also an option. You don't need as much density for buses and buses are very versatile, unlike even light rail. You can constantly change bus routes as needed.Chicago has a good commuter rail system to downtown, but so many people in the Chicago area work in places like Rosemont, Schaumburg, Oak Brook, Naperville and other areas. You can't go from suburb to suburb or city to suburb easily.

    If you could get a certain threshold of cars off the expressways at rush hour, buses would even beat out trains going to the Loop. Once you get to the station downtown you either have to walk or take the bus to your office, while a bus from say Schaumburg or Oak Brook could have a few stops around the loop so you wouldn't even have to walk or catch a bus from the train station.
    If there is no traffic jam you can make it from Schaumburg to the Loop in 25- 3o minutes by bus. Metra would take slightly longer and then you still have to go from the station to your office.

    High Speed rail seems like a waste to me for LA to Sf. The amount of infrastructure and rights of way that would have to be built and then kept up would be very expensive. Is a high speed train much less expensive than a 737,especially when there is no worry about building and repairing a rail line?

    Wouldn't high speed rail ruin a lot of nice areas between sf-la or would it go up along the I-5?
    , @Steve Sailer
    Commuter rail in Chicago is a very nice amenity. I can remember taking the train to the north shore and thinking that this is much more civilized than either driving the Kennedy expressway or taking the El. (On the other hand, commuting down Lake Shore Drive isn't bad either.) You can estimate how valuable commuter rail is by looking at the price premium for homes close to commuter rail stations.

    But it's real hard to retrofit commuter rail into a city. Los Angeles, for example, is full of missed opportunities that could have been done a century ago for a reasonable price if anybody had anticipated how valuable the real estate would someday be. But the market didn't anticipate that so it didn't seem worth doing.
    , @Andrew
    "I actually doubt the line will reach downtown San Francisco, given that Amtrak’s normal trains don’t go there"

    Yes it will. It will go straight up the existing Caltrain line, which will have one or two extra tracks added to it and into a new station under the Transbay Terminal..

    It will operate at 100-125 mph in this area and it will eliminate all the grade crossings. Caltrain has been moving in that direction anyway and will soon be electrifying the line.
    , @Andrew
    "But the only way to do that is to put tracks through the suburbs where people don’t want it. And enough rail tracks were removed when people thought that everyone would drive everywhere, no problems with traffic (with rails to trails being a particularly egregious bit of stupidity that this is a real problem)."

    Very few rail lines of any significance or utility were removed through current urban or suburban areas. Most rail to trail schemes that could impact future intercity rail operations are out in rural areas.

    The larger problem with suburbs is that it would be extremely unlikely any new straighter line could be built through them, so the train operation has to accept the curvature and speed limitations that is already present until it can get out about 20-30 miles.
    , @Wally
    "But a good part of the area of the US are places where either people don’t want to live or where it would be absurdly expensive to maintain (and bring water to) dense populations, ..."

    Somewhat false premises.

    For the US west of the Mississippi River, 50% of all land is owned by government.
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  36. Blobby5 says:

    Fl was toying with a similar boondoggle a few years ago, you could travel to Orlando at hundreds of miles per hour then get dropped in a sprawling hot ex-grove with no way to get around.

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  37. Lot says:
    @Big Bill
    Sadly, it will more likely be "China's industry of the future".

    I doubt that "California" will do much of the design, engineering, or building.

    China has never been able to produce cars beyond low quality copies of out-of-date Western and Japanese design. The high rate of corner cutting just does not work for something as complex as the design and production of new automobiles.

    Part of the reason is also that in this respect China is more capitalistic than the major automakers’ home country. Korea, Japan, the USA, Canada and Western Europe all provide very big subsidies to their local auto industry, making it impossible for China to break into the market despite trying for decades. And it is open to Chinese cars if they were any good. Look how fast Korean companies grew. But that was with the fanatic.al support of the Korean government every step of the way.

    There are some specific auto parts where China has a decent market share. This is typically by cutting corners to underprice the OEM parts by 50% or more, and western non-OEM by 25% or more. Now not all of these parts are bad, but it is scary to think of a whole car made from them.

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    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Part of the reason is also that in this respect China is more capitalistic than the major automakers’ home country. Korea, Japan, the USA, Canada and Western Europe all provide very big subsidies to their local auto industry,
     
    Is this true of Sweden? They were quite willing to let Saab die. Unlike the US's treatment of the rest of General Motors.

    "The Swedish government does not run automobile factories." Makes you wonder who the real socialists are.
    , @Steve Sailer
    Chinese marketing: "Real cheap! You buy now!"
    , @Former Darfur
    The Chinese could make a deliberately low tech vehicle copying the best of old American and European tech at an attractive price, but you couldn't sell them as a running motor vehicle in any First World nation. What we are seeing in the "performance aftermarket" is a lot of Chinese made parts built to the exact specs of American hot rod companies, and as long as they have people checking up carefully on them they are doing a good job.

    No one over there knows anything about this stuff, so the companies do not worry about being disintermediated.

    I predict we will see a lot more repro antique and classic and hot rod parts out of China in the future.
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  38. @JayMan

    Even in the crowded northeast (between NY and Washington) Amtrak (rail service) loses millions each and every year. Personal vehicles are essential in vast, spread-out, non-urban areas; which describes most of California.
     
    Wrong. Amtrak makes a profit on the Northeast Corridor. Where Amtrak loses its money is on the long-distance routes.

    Therefore, high speed rain in California is a nice idea only; since once you reach your destination (unless it’s SF or downtown LA) you still need a ‘personal transport vehicle’ (car) to get around.
     
    Which would work if that was the focus.

    LA-SF and the Northeast Corridor are the only places in the country where high-speed rail improvements make sense. I don't expect either to happen any time soon for various reasons, though.

    Wrong. Amtrak makes a profit on the Northeast Corridor. Where Amtrak loses its money is on the long-distance routes.

    Most of Amtrak’s routes between the coasts are little more than subsidized nostalgia. That is vastly preferable to subsidized dispossession, but let’s be honest about it and put it where such things belong: the National Park Service.

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    • Replies: @Andrew
    "Most of Amtrak’s routes between the coasts are little more than subsidized nostalgia. That is vastly preferable to subsidized dispossession, but let’s be honest about it and put it where such things belong: the National Park Service."

    These routes aren't mainly tourist cruise lines, but serve to carry riders on business or vacation or personal travel from small towns to larger cities, or between mid-size cities, especially in areas with no bus service and no air service.

    In other words, they are a basic transportation option for people who cannot or do not want to drive.
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  39. @Buffalo Joe
    Steve , Slightly off topic, but California related. I caught some of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament last week and the course looked lush. Is the draught over or is the political capital of draught fear spent out. It seemed to me that, seeing draught and rain are cyclical, this was the latest sky is falling fear mongering to get the fringe on board with whatever the newest agenda is.

    It’s been an average year for rain so far in Northern California, somewhat below average in SoCal. That reduces the crisis (which was worse in NorCal), but it hasn’t been a massive El Nino year yet to refill the reservoirs. It still could be, but there are only about two months left before the dry season.

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    • Replies: @Formerly CARealist
    The skiing this year is rockin! Sacramento is flat, but when you cross over a freeway and rise up a bit, the view of the snow-blanketed mountains is breathtaking.

    Don't get any ideas down there in SoCal about our water, buster.
    , @Buffalo Joe
    Steve, Thank you. Now if you can find a way to discover lead in your water, the rest of the US will ship you all the bottled water you need, but only to minorities. Whites have there on water lines don't cha know.
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  40. @Ed
    The big problem with new rail projects in the US is actually buried in Steve's post, in an off hand comment about well heeled people potentially objecting to trains running at 220 MPH through their suburbs.

    People keep thinking that the US is not particularly densely populated or even underpopulated, which probably also drives the enthusiasm for more and more immigration. Yes, if you take the 320 or so million people in the US (which I suspect is an undercount to hide the amount of illegal immigration) and divide it by the total number of square miles, you get a lower person to square mile ratio than in Europe, China, and India. But these three places are the most densely populated places on Earth. And the US is the third or fourth largest country by land area.

    But a good part of the area of the US are places where either people don't want to live or where it would be absurdly expensive to maintain (and bring water to) dense populations, either mountains or deserts or featureless plains with really bad weather. The vast majority of people live in metropolitan areas, generally the suburban parts. The whole advantage of intercity passenger rail is that it can get you from downtown to downtown, no need to make the trek to/ from the airport way out in the burbs. But the only way to do that is to put tracks through the suburbs where people don't want it. And enough rail tracks were removed when people thought that everyone would drive everywhere, no problems with traffic (with rails to trails being a particularly egregious bit of stupidity that this is a real problem).

    I'm familiar enough with these projects to know that the San Jose to Bakersfield link is being done first just to get something built, hopefully in time for the politicians currently in office to open it, to show people some tangible result for their tax dollars quickly. Then people will pony up to get the line through the coast mountains to LA. I actually doubt the line will reach downtown San Francisco, given that Amtrak's normal trains don't go there, but there are at least CalTrains and eventually BART links to SF.

    I also agree with the earlier commentator that the focus of any passenger rail development in the US should be on commuter rail. High speed intercity rail is a huge distraction that at best should be at the bottom of the list of planned improvements in the area. It you really have to build high speed passenger rail, LA-SF is probably the second place where it should be implemented after NY-DC, though there is a case for prioritizing connecting Chicago with any northeast corridor line instead.

    And enough rail tracks were removed when people thought that everyone would drive everywhere, no problems with traffic

    Not all of them. The streetcars were taken out of our city sixty years ago, but the tracks weren’t. They were merely (and cheaply) paved over. A recent pothole in a street crossing in front of our local McDonald’s exposed about a foot of such a track. Ironically, that crossing was at the neighborhood express bus stop.

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    • Replies: @Ganderson
    Reg- Fun Fact To Know and Tell: The streetcars used by Twin Cities Rapid Transit were sold to the city of Newark, NJ for their subway lines. And you are right- a lot of the tracks are still there- submerged under concrete and/or asphalt. I think Marshall Ave. in St. Paul was completely re-done- I have one of the original paving stones. I'm guessing they did not use the old tracks to construct the University Avenue Boondoggle, err Lightrail line .
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  41. Cracker says:
    @Ed
    The big problem with new rail projects in the US is actually buried in Steve's post, in an off hand comment about well heeled people potentially objecting to trains running at 220 MPH through their suburbs.

    People keep thinking that the US is not particularly densely populated or even underpopulated, which probably also drives the enthusiasm for more and more immigration. Yes, if you take the 320 or so million people in the US (which I suspect is an undercount to hide the amount of illegal immigration) and divide it by the total number of square miles, you get a lower person to square mile ratio than in Europe, China, and India. But these three places are the most densely populated places on Earth. And the US is the third or fourth largest country by land area.

    But a good part of the area of the US are places where either people don't want to live or where it would be absurdly expensive to maintain (and bring water to) dense populations, either mountains or deserts or featureless plains with really bad weather. The vast majority of people live in metropolitan areas, generally the suburban parts. The whole advantage of intercity passenger rail is that it can get you from downtown to downtown, no need to make the trek to/ from the airport way out in the burbs. But the only way to do that is to put tracks through the suburbs where people don't want it. And enough rail tracks were removed when people thought that everyone would drive everywhere, no problems with traffic (with rails to trails being a particularly egregious bit of stupidity that this is a real problem).

    I'm familiar enough with these projects to know that the San Jose to Bakersfield link is being done first just to get something built, hopefully in time for the politicians currently in office to open it, to show people some tangible result for their tax dollars quickly. Then people will pony up to get the line through the coast mountains to LA. I actually doubt the line will reach downtown San Francisco, given that Amtrak's normal trains don't go there, but there are at least CalTrains and eventually BART links to SF.

    I also agree with the earlier commentator that the focus of any passenger rail development in the US should be on commuter rail. High speed intercity rail is a huge distraction that at best should be at the bottom of the list of planned improvements in the area. It you really have to build high speed passenger rail, LA-SF is probably the second place where it should be implemented after NY-DC, though there is a case for prioritizing connecting Chicago with any northeast corridor line instead.

    FWIW, many feel Jersey could use more rail service. Plenty of rail lines are now trails. Not a joke. For awhile NJ Transit has even pondered bringing back that old service out to PA again:

    http://www.njtransit.com/tm/tm_servlet.srv?hdnPageAction=Project019To

    And this this bridge is cool:

    http://weirdnj.com/stories/paulinskill-viaduct/

    If you visit, bring your spray can!

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    • Replies: @tbraton
    "And this this bridge is cool:"

    Totally agree. A marvelous looking structure. I notice it was built in 1908, during the midst of the Beaux-Art movement in the U.S., which produced many marvelous structures throughout the U.S. Among those was Union Station, built in 1907, one of my favorite buildings in Washington, D.C. from the time I was a child. After being allowed to decay with the decline of rail traffic, it was fully and beautifully restored in the 1980's while being converted essentially to a "visitors' center."
    , @tbraton
    Compare that lovely bridge in NJ built in 1907 with Francis Scott Key Bridge, completed in 1923, which connects Georgetown in Washington, D.C. with Rosslyn, Virginia on the other side of the Potomac. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_Bridge_(Washington,_D.C.) (scroll down for more photos). When I saw the picture you posted, I immediately thought of Key Bridge, which was my favorite of the four bridges connecting D.C. to Virginia. Wikipedia refers to Key Bridge as "The Classical Revival[27] bridge." The Beaux-Arts movement was the last phase of the Classical Revival Movement, which was responsible for the design of many of the public buildings built from the beginning (e.g., the U.S. Capitol) and culminating in the Lincoln Memorial (1923) and the U.S. Supreme Court building (1935).
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  42. Lot says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...
    I'm not all that familiar with California demographics; but isn't Bakersfield to San Jose a train ride from one place where White folks don't want to be to another place where White folks don't want to be?

    Lots of whites want to live in and around San Jose. The only reason many have left is that so many asians are happy to pay $1 million and up for an older 1600sf tract house.

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  43. wren says:

    Musk’s Hyperloop seems to be moving forward on a number of fronts.

    Since it would compete directly with high speed rail, it always seemed like it could knock the plans for rail off the rails if it had a few successful test runs.

    It seems that may happen within the year.

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    • Replies: @Andrew
    "Musk’s Hyperloop seems to be moving forward on a number of fronts. Since it would compete directly with high speed rail, it always seemed like it could knock the plans for rail off the rails if it had a few successful test runs."

    Musk's Hyperloop will be impossibly costly to construct and pay for via the fare charges. Only someone without any idea of the cost of tunnelling and bridges and heavy civil construction could think this is a great scheme on which to spend money. For example, the pressurized tube steel required looks to be 1/2 ton per foot if we assume a 1" wall thickness to hold the pressure. The tolerances on its finish will be incredible, so we can assume it will be quite costly per ton - probably around $1500 per ton. Each 50 to 100 ft. section will require a high precision electric flash-butt weld to join to the next section and hold pressure. Just the material cost for two tubes for his proposed segment would be $2.5 billion, which would double or triple to reach an installed cost accounting for transportation, manpower, and erection costs. If we assume it is 20 ft. up in the air in the Central Valley, the foundation and support pier costs will run around $7.5 billion per tube on his first segment. Tunnelling is required through the San Gabriel's. Kaching, kaching. The Hyperloop requires enormous amounts of compressors, linear induction motor lines, electric cabling, substations, safety systems, and more. Musk has not yet even begun to address passenger safety in case of an emergency. How do you get out of the sealed tube if there is a fire in the middle? NFPA says you need an egress passage every 300 ft. in a tunnel? Does the Hyperloop somehow get a pass on fire safety because Musk is "special?"

    The Hyperloop is premised on essentially having no curvature at all in the route vertically or horizontally. That will be almost impossible at the desired speeds, and the necessary construction tolerances will be unachievable in the field, especially with the American construction labor force.

    The vehicles are preposterously small (slightly wider than a passenger car) and uncomfortable in proposed size. You cannot stand up and there is no restroom. Since they are tiny, they can only carry a few people. That means low revenue unless you run lots of vehicles at once, which presents the safety issue of pod spacing and safe braking distance separation.

    And it faces the urban area problem - namely how and where to build in the places where people live. Rail doesn't face that problem - the rail lines already exist in urban and suburban areas. Musk's solution is to stop on the extreme outskirts of major areas in places like Sylmar and Hayward. Not helpful if you want to get to Orange County or Marin County or even San Francisco or Pasadena.
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  44. @Lot
    China has never been able to produce cars beyond low quality copies of out-of-date Western and Japanese design. The high rate of corner cutting just does not work for something as complex as the design and production of new automobiles.

    Part of the reason is also that in this respect China is more capitalistic than the major automakers' home country. Korea, Japan, the USA, Canada and Western Europe all provide very big subsidies to their local auto industry, making it impossible for China to break into the market despite trying for decades. And it is open to Chinese cars if they were any good. Look how fast Korean companies grew. But that was with the fanatic.al support of the Korean government every step of the way.

    There are some specific auto parts where China has a decent market share. This is typically by cutting corners to underprice the OEM parts by 50% or more, and western non-OEM by 25% or more. Now not all of these parts are bad, but it is scary to think of a whole car made from them.

    Part of the reason is also that in this respect China is more capitalistic than the major automakers’ home country. Korea, Japan, the USA, Canada and Western Europe all provide very big subsidies to their local auto industry,

    Is this true of Sweden? They were quite willing to let Saab die. Unlike the US’s treatment of the rest of General Motors.

    “The Swedish government does not run automobile factories.” Makes you wonder who the real socialists are.

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  45. CJ says:
    @ringo starr
    Not true.
    The AMTRAK NE Corridor breaks even. The rest of the routes lose money.
    If Amtrak were run more like a commuter rail system rather than an airline for business types, it would do even better.
    The new trendier Mega and Bolt intercity busses have hurt the intercity rails in the NE (young college types seem to like them, and they don't have the stigma of Greyhound or Trailways), but they may be paving the way for a revival of rail.

    The new trendier Mega and Bolt intercity busses have hurt the intercity rails in the NE (young college types seem to like them, and they don’t have the stigma of Greyhound or Trailways), but they may be paving the way for a revival of rail.

    Bolt Bus is owned by Greyhound.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Marketing!
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  46. @Steve Sailer
    As Stuff White People Like pointed out, white people see buses as socially tainted compared to rail. But there's a way to combat that: marketing.

    Spend a half-billion dollars on marketing a luxury bus service between, say, the San Jose and Burbank airports as what all the cool people are taking.

    Buses may be becoming cool in Europe.

    Until recently, you couldn’t take a city-to-city bus within France, you had to take a train (or drive or fly). Same in Germany until 2013. Now deregulation removed the strict restrictions preventing buses from competing with rail.

    So now there are cool web sites like https://www.flixbus.com/ that offer super-cheap trips on comfortable buses with wifi and power plugs for your devices, something most trains still don’t have at five times the price!

    Buses are still pretty slow compared to trains, but who cares when you can be online the whole time or sleep and it doesn’t cost you a fortune.

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    • Replies: @Andrew
    "So now there are cool web sites like https://www.flixbus.com/ that offer super-cheap trips on comfortable buses with wifi and power plugs for your devices, something most trains still don’t have at five times the price!"

    Amtrak trains generally have WIFI and every pair of seats has two wall plugs.

    What trains are you talking about? Commuter trains and subways?
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  47. @JayMan

    Even in the crowded northeast (between NY and Washington) Amtrak (rail service) loses millions each and every year. Personal vehicles are essential in vast, spread-out, non-urban areas; which describes most of California.
     
    Wrong. Amtrak makes a profit on the Northeast Corridor. Where Amtrak loses its money is on the long-distance routes.

    Therefore, high speed rain in California is a nice idea only; since once you reach your destination (unless it’s SF or downtown LA) you still need a ‘personal transport vehicle’ (car) to get around.
     
    Which would work if that was the focus.

    LA-SF and the Northeast Corridor are the only places in the country where high-speed rail improvements make sense. I don't expect either to happen any time soon for various reasons, though.

    I stand corrected about Amtrak’s non-profitability. All of Amtrak was a money-loser when I lived in NY many moons ago. So I’m glad that there is at least some economic improvement there.

    But the cost of these new, high-speed lines is far greater than conventional rail roads. Therefore, the long-term economic viability of multi-billion-dollar rail lines (running between Bakersfield and San Jose, no less) remains doubtful. I see this project as a high-risk, green jobs program; a payback to Gov. Brown’s liberal base.

    But for those of us non-Democrats who do not believe in imminent, catastrophic, anthropogenic global warming, adding this ‘green’ multi-billion-dollar, high-speed rail line is a poor allocation of limited resources.

    Another challenge involving this particular route concerns the demographic incompatibility of the projected customers. San Jose and Bakersfield? Hmm.

    Then again, if the trains move fast enough, the party will be brief. That’s important since public transportation tends to attract a lot of un-glamorous people. Needless to say, the smart set must ride as well for this bird to fly.

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  48. pyrrhus says:

    Satire, I assume? $50 tolls, sure….

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    That's $25 per hour for, say, Disney employees on a trip to Pixar.
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  49. Ttjy says:
    @Mark Green
    Besides the staggering building costs, the problem here is density. California lacks it. We are not Japan.

    Therefore, high speed rain in California is a nice idea only; since once you reach your destination (unless it's SF or downtown LA) you still need a 'personal transport vehicle' (car) to get around.

    Even in the crowded northeast (between NY and Washington) Amtrak (rail service) loses millions each and every year. Personal vehicles are essential in vast, spread-out, non-urban areas; which describes most of California.

    Then there's price of completing this green project. Each leg of this Democrat jobs program will consume tens of billions of dollars just to build. Maintenance costs are extra. These immense costs will never be recovered via paying customers.

    Why not simply add dozens of (subsidized) buses (providing a real cost incentive) to all our major highways so that people can roll along in collective comfort while they play with their smart phones and computers? With fracking and emerging hybrid technologies on the rise, fossil fuel-powered vehicles could remain a affordable transportation option for decades to come.

    Ramped-up (and super-cheap cheap) bus service (using the 'car pool lane' in existing highways) could save California one hundred billion dollars going forward. With that in mind, let's put high speed rail back on the shelf where it belongs--at least for now.

    Buses are a good idea. The roads are already there so they don’t have to build rights of way for new railroads.

    Bus routes can easily be changed if demand shifts, whether it’s different times of day or weekend routes, not to mention future demand changes years down the road. A rail line is of course stuck where it is.

    Imagine LA freeways if say 30% of the cars were taken off the road and those people were on a bus. The problem with freeways is rush hour traffic that causes bottlenecks. Buses would eliminate that, while still allowing people who drive for various reasons to drive on less crowded roads. Of course, non-freeways would also have less traffic.

    Car congestion is bad for buses because the bus gets stuck in traffic. Remove a lot of the cars from the road and buses can really be efficient and versatile.

    Buses can be very comfortable too. Google has private buses that take workers from San Francisco to the Google complex.

    There have even been protests of the private buses.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_bus_protests

    Even non- private buses can be comfortable and pleasant to ride in. I’ve ridden in coaches in England and Switzerland and they are very nice.

    In England coaches go from town to town and buses operate in the town. I took a inter-city coach into London and it was very fast and comfortable, The problem came when we got into London and the car traffic slowed the bus down . Get rid of those cars and it would be super efficient. Or have certain roads that are bus only that the city.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Maybe they should import the word "coach" from Britain for long distance buses?

    The unpopularity of bus travel in California seems more like a marketing problem.

    , @Reg Cæsar

    Bus routes can easily be changed if demand shifts, whether it’s different times of day or weekend routes, not to mention future demand changes years down the road. A rail line is of course stuck where it is.
     
    Yes, but the permanence of a rail station is an attraction in itself to business and residents. The fact that a bus line could disappear at whim makes them nervous.

    And disappear they can: the other day, a Metro Transit mechanic in South St Paul was running late for work when he locked his keys in the car at a convenience store. But lo and behold, in the store was a bus driver, who'd left her vehicle running at the stop outside. So the mechanic took it for himself.

    Metro Transit is "exploring his employment":

    http://www.inforum.com/news/3952399-metro-transit-mechanic-was-late-work-so-he-stole-bus-charges-say
    , @bomag
    Imagine LA freeways if say 30% of the cars were taken off the road and those people were on a bus.

    "Build it, and they will come" has a corollary here, "give them space, and they will fill it."

    The usual suspects are bent on filling the country to capacity. Any open space on commuter highways will be filled with Syrian refugees et al.
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  50. Dee says:

    Leftys will never agree to an alternative of self driving cars. Lots of the attraction on a train is you have to adjust to its schedule; a car still lets you go when and where you want. That kind of freedom just drives the average lefty out of their mind. THEY know better than the rest of us, dammit.

    Southwest flys to 4 airports in Nor Cal and at least that many in So Cal. Stupid choo-choo won’t go to half of those. And you can fly it tomorrow, not in 20 years….

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    And I-5 gets you over the Ridge Route and 4200' Tejon Pass since 1970.
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  51. Why link San Fran and LA by any means at all? Just because they’re in the same state? I live near SF and though I travel a fair amount, I haven’t been to LA in 25 years. I’d rather have a fast train to Lake Tahoe. As for Los Angelenos, I’ll bet they’d find a fast train to Las Vegas more useful.

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    • Replies: @Marty
    "Why link San Fran and LA by any means at all?"

    Silly, so the executives at Security Pacific can caucus.
    , @Marty
    "Why link San Fran and LA by any means at all?"

    Silly, so the executives at Security Pacific can caucus.
    , @Steve Sailer
    People have been talking for years about a Los Angeles-Las Vegas train so that Vegas visitors could start getting drunk on the train instead of driving. The mountain pass between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is less severe than the mountain pass between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay. And Las Vegas is incredibly concentrated for visitors, while the San Francisco Bay area is highly diffuse due to having a bay in the middle of it, which makes having a car much more useful.

    But nothing has happened regarding a Vegas train.
    , @Chrisnonymous
    This is a fantastic idea. I just drove LA to LV a couple months ago. Leaving LA on a Friday night, it took me about 3 hours bumper-to-bumper stop-and-go traffic just to get out of LA. We reached LV way late strung out on coffee. The whole interstate between LA and LV on Friday night was packed. I was amazed.

    If I lived in LA and there were a train to LV, I would go maybe once every 3-4 months I think. I've heard some people go more like once every 2 weeks.
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  52. jb says:

    Whenever I hear someone talking about a 220 mph passenger train filled with rich people, I always hear this quiet little voice in the background whispering “derail me!” Does anybody else hear that little voice, or is it just me?

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    • Replies: @Discard
    I used to work the Bakersfield-Roseville route on the Southern Pacific. Got glass in my eye once from a shattered windshield. Once knocked a kid down when the tie plate he set on the rail shot out at him. What's to keep the little beasts from dicking with the high speed train?
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  53. TangoMan says:
    @Anonymous
    Ann Coulter says that she's not an immigrant but a settler. I heard this kind of argument before, but only from one guy, Samuel p Huntingdon. That's the first time I’ve ever head someone make this argument in the mainstream. Apparently no one at the view could respond to her.




    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a7egqkD8wQ

    What did I just see? My eyes are bleeding from the stupidity of those hosts. This is what the women of America watch during the day?

    Adios America, we’re done for.

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    • Replies: @SFG
    Yeah, they had Bernie Sanders on and he tried a pint of the ice cream named after him. I guess he had to, but Ben and Jerry's always did make good ice cream, whatever their politics.

    Hey, I thought it was funny.

    , @Kevin O'Keeffe
    "What did I just see? My eyes are bleeding from the stupidity of those hosts. This is what the women of America watch during the day?"

    The women of America are at work during the day. This is crap for welfare mammies.
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  54. Ed says:

    I have a better idea of how to do this.

    I just found out -don’t ask me why I was looking this up- that the center of population for California happens to be in Bakersfield.

    So instead of spending money to build high speed rail, spend the money on relocating the state capitol to Bakersfield, to place the legislature closer to where most state residents live.

    Once you do that, there will be demand for a quick commute from both SF and LA to Bakersfield, and there will be no problem in getting funding for high speed rail and with dealing with the NIMBYs.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    One thing that's struck me is how little a typical state capital goes upscale. Austin is the big exception to the rule, and Sacramento is nicer than other Central Valley cities (although one reason is that it's weather is nicer due to more sea breezes), but plenty of state capitals are only a little more prosperous that other small cities in the state. You'd probably be better off with the state flagship university (e.g., Ann Arbor, Michigan) than the state capital (Lansing, Michigan).
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  55. Jimi says:
    @Steve Sailer
    As Stuff White People Like pointed out, white people see buses as socially tainted compared to rail. But there's a way to combat that: marketing.

    Spend a half-billion dollars on marketing a luxury bus service between, say, the San Jose and Burbank airports as what all the cool people are taking.

    Correct. In NYC its common to see old women on the Upper East Side hop on and off the buses in their mink coats. There isn’t the same stigma as elsewhere.

    I discovered this stigma in Miami. I thought it was a no-brainer to take the bus from the airport to my hosts’ house for $2. My hosts thought using the bus was extremely tacky.

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    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    I spent a week in Miami, then went back to visit a girlfriend for 3 weeks.

    During the first week, I used buses until a drunk black guy got on one and just vomited onto the floor in front of himself casually like you or I would cough. Everyone acted like it was normal. When I back later to visit my girlfriend, I didn't use buses.
    , @Flip
    Year ago I was on a Chicago city bus going downtown sitting near Donald Rumsfeld when he was out of office in the private sector. Nobody else seemed to recognize him. You'd think he'd have a limo. :)
    , @Stan Adams
    I rode the Metrobus (the Miami bus system) every day for years. Others might have thought it was tacky, but they weren't the ones living on a college student's budget.

    I was lucky enough to live not too far from a stop for an express bus that came every ten minutes during the morning and evening rush hours. Most of the riders were commuters heading to or from work, so it wasn't that bad.

    That bus connected with the Metrorail, an elevated-train system that has long been criticized for not going anywhere useful.

    The system began operating in 1984, but the airport station (Intermodal Center) did not open until 2012. At the main downtown station (Government Center), there is a ghost platform for a western line that was planned and promised but never built.

    Fortunately, the place where I needed to go every day was near a Metrorail stop. So it wasn't too bad of a commute.

    Within two years, you'll be able to catch Amtrak trains from Intermodal Center. (Tri-Rail, a tri-county service, began operating from that station last year.) You'll also be able to catch a private high-speed Miami-Orlando train from a station next to Government Center.
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  56. @Anonymous
    Ann Coulter says that she's not an immigrant but a settler. I heard this kind of argument before, but only from one guy, Samuel p Huntingdon. That's the first time I’ve ever head someone make this argument in the mainstream. Apparently no one at the view could respond to her.




    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a7egqkD8wQ

    Ann Coulter says that she’s not an immigrant but a settler.

    Funny, I thought she was a native. How old is she?

    Anyway, if you plan to read any published genealogies from 75-125 years ago, be prepared to see the phrase “our immigrant ancestor” a lot. The authors would be 100% in agreement with Ann on her “settler” point, but they used the word “immigrant” for that first settler. Just not in the legal sense.

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    • Replies: @Ganderson
    "Settler" is a term used by folks ginning themselves up for a bout of genocide. You hear the Boers in South Africa referred to as settlers- even though they have been there since the 1600's. Much land that is occupied (another genocidal trigger word) by Afrikaners has been lived on continuously by whites for nearly 400 years. That's some settlement!
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  57. AKAHorace says:

    Steve,

    you never have an open threads so I am posting this here although it is unrelated to the thread topic. The behavior of social justice warriors seems self defeating to outsiders, their unwillingness to compromise, their intolerance of the slightest dissent even within themselves to the slightest deviation from the party line. This should not work and yet it seems to be successful. Nicholas Taleb presents an argument that may explain, counter intuitively (to me at least) their tactics are rational and will work over the long run.

    http://fooledbyrandomness.com/minority.pdf

    Sorry for the derailment.

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    • Replies: @SFG
    Oh, I think they'll win. They have the kids, and they have the universities and media.
    , @Chrisnonymous

    Sorry for the derailment.
     
    Yuk, yuk, yuk...

    This is an interesting read. Thanks. It explains quite well why libertarianism is not nor ever will be a dominant ideology in any society.

    But beyond that, I think Taleb has failed--or at least a shallow reading of his essay fails--to explain adequately. Because the intolerant minority does need a support group and also needs an indulgent majority. Germans speak English in the presence of 1 non-German-speaker because they are today the kind of people who will let a flood of Syrians into their country... and because the non-German-speaker cannot speak German...

    Gays got a lot of power in this country not just because they wouldn't shut up, but because the nice Christians didn't torture, beat, and murder them when they wouldn't shut up... and because if they did get beaten, they were living in big cities around other gays whose shoulder they could cry on.

    In converse, iSteve is full of intolerant readers, but we aren't having much impact, are we? I live in Japan and all the expats I know think Trump is Hitler. If I let out that they're crazy, I have nowhere to go...

    So it's more complicated than intolerant minorities.
    , @res

    http://fooledbyrandomness.com/minority.pdf

     

    Interesting. Thanks for passing this along. More chapters from Taleb's (upcoming?) Skin In the Game book:
    http://fooledbyrandomness.com/SITG.html
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  58. Marty says:
    @International Jew
    Why link San Fran and LA by any means at all? Just because they're in the same state? I live near SF and though I travel a fair amount, I haven't been to LA in 25 years. I'd rather have a fast train to Lake Tahoe. As for Los Angelenos, I'll bet they'd find a fast train to Las Vegas more useful.

    “Why link San Fran and LA by any means at all?”

    Silly, so the executives at Security Pacific can caucus.

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  59. @Steve Sailer
    As Stuff White People Like pointed out, white people see buses as socially tainted compared to rail. But there's a way to combat that: marketing.

    Spend a half-billion dollars on marketing a luxury bus service between, say, the San Jose and Burbank airports as what all the cool people are taking.

    As Stuff White People Like pointed out, white people see buses as socially tainted compared to rail.

    Paul Weyrich, a rare right-wing rail advocate, made this point explicitly at times. I’m sure he embarrassed the more conventional transit-boosting crowd.

    I once heard a veteran urban planner from Savannah give a talk to our local preservation society. He said bluntly, if only in passing, that keeping up your handsome buildings and residences keeps and attracts white people.

    You can get away with a line like that once in a talk, especially if it comes across as a joke. But people take notes.

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  60. @Dee
    Leftys will never agree to an alternative of self driving cars. Lots of the attraction on a train is you have to adjust to its schedule; a car still lets you go when and where you want. That kind of freedom just drives the average lefty out of their mind. THEY know better than the rest of us, dammit.

    Southwest flys to 4 airports in Nor Cal and at least that many in So Cal. Stupid choo-choo won't go to half of those. And you can fly it tomorrow, not in 20 years....

    And I-5 gets you over the Ridge Route and 4200′ Tejon Pass since 1970.

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  61. Anon • Disclaimer says:
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  62. @Ttjy
    Buses are a good idea. The roads are already there so they don't have to build rights of way for new railroads.

    Bus routes can easily be changed if demand shifts, whether it's different times of day or weekend routes, not to mention future demand changes years down the road. A rail line is of course stuck where it is.

    Imagine LA freeways if say 30% of the cars were taken off the road and those people were on a bus. The problem with freeways is rush hour traffic that causes bottlenecks. Buses would eliminate that, while still allowing people who drive for various reasons to drive on less crowded roads. Of course, non-freeways would also have less traffic.

    Car congestion is bad for buses because the bus gets stuck in traffic. Remove a lot of the cars from the road and buses can really be efficient and versatile.


    Buses can be very comfortable too. Google has private buses that take workers from San Francisco to the Google complex.

    There have even been protests of the private buses.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_bus_protests

    Even non- private buses can be comfortable and pleasant to ride in. I've ridden in coaches in England and Switzerland and they are very nice.

    In England coaches go from town to town and buses operate in the town. I took a inter-city coach into London and it was very fast and comfortable, The problem came when we got into London and the car traffic slowed the bus down . Get rid of those cars and it would be super efficient. Or have certain roads that are bus only that the city.

    Maybe they should import the word “coach” from Britain for long distance buses?

    The unpopularity of bus travel in California seems more like a marketing problem.

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  63. @pyrrhus
    Satire, I assume? $50 tolls, sure....

    That’s $25 per hour for, say, Disney employees on a trip to Pixar.

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  64. @CJ

    The new trendier Mega and Bolt intercity busses have hurt the intercity rails in the NE (young college types seem to like them, and they don’t have the stigma of Greyhound or Trailways), but they may be paving the way for a revival of rail.
     
    Bolt Bus is owned by Greyhound.

    Marketing!

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  65. Marty says:
    @International Jew
    Why link San Fran and LA by any means at all? Just because they're in the same state? I live near SF and though I travel a fair amount, I haven't been to LA in 25 years. I'd rather have a fast train to Lake Tahoe. As for Los Angelenos, I'll bet they'd find a fast train to Las Vegas more useful.

    “Why link San Fran and LA by any means at all?”

    Silly, so the executives at Security Pacific can caucus.

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  66. Retired says:

    I’ve gone Galt, pay no income tax and fly Southwest to Socal. Stew in it, latte libs.

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  67. @Jim Sweeney
    In truth, there is no plan to build what was presented to the voters. It is all another big lie of Jerry Brown and the Democrat legislature. It will never be completed within 200% of its proposed budget and, if completed at all, will take decades. Even then, it will not be close to reaching it promoted goal of time to distance. What it is is a another financial boondogle, a way for the politicians to repay their donor class. And nothing more.

    It is faster, door to door, to drive from LA to SFO than to fly or to take this dumb train plus you have a car to use when at your destination, leave on your schedule and just chuck stuff into your car.

    Hurry up Donald! And encourage some acolyte to run in California. There are no Republicans here anyway.

    “It is faster, door to door, to drive from LA to SFO than to fly or to take this dumb train plus you have a car to use when at your destination, leave on your schedule and just chuck stuff into your car.”

    On an episode of Mythbusters, they compared driving vs flying for the SFO to LA trip. The flyer beat the driver by only a few minutes.

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  68. Wilkey says:

    Sorry if this has already been mentioned in any of the comments, which I haven’t read through, but maybe the real purpose is to see to it the the rich coastal cities can live far, far away from their gardeners and maids.

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  69. Ttjy says:
    @Ed
    The big problem with new rail projects in the US is actually buried in Steve's post, in an off hand comment about well heeled people potentially objecting to trains running at 220 MPH through their suburbs.

    People keep thinking that the US is not particularly densely populated or even underpopulated, which probably also drives the enthusiasm for more and more immigration. Yes, if you take the 320 or so million people in the US (which I suspect is an undercount to hide the amount of illegal immigration) and divide it by the total number of square miles, you get a lower person to square mile ratio than in Europe, China, and India. But these three places are the most densely populated places on Earth. And the US is the third or fourth largest country by land area.

    But a good part of the area of the US are places where either people don't want to live or where it would be absurdly expensive to maintain (and bring water to) dense populations, either mountains or deserts or featureless plains with really bad weather. The vast majority of people live in metropolitan areas, generally the suburban parts. The whole advantage of intercity passenger rail is that it can get you from downtown to downtown, no need to make the trek to/ from the airport way out in the burbs. But the only way to do that is to put tracks through the suburbs where people don't want it. And enough rail tracks were removed when people thought that everyone would drive everywhere, no problems with traffic (with rails to trails being a particularly egregious bit of stupidity that this is a real problem).

    I'm familiar enough with these projects to know that the San Jose to Bakersfield link is being done first just to get something built, hopefully in time for the politicians currently in office to open it, to show people some tangible result for their tax dollars quickly. Then people will pony up to get the line through the coast mountains to LA. I actually doubt the line will reach downtown San Francisco, given that Amtrak's normal trains don't go there, but there are at least CalTrains and eventually BART links to SF.

    I also agree with the earlier commentator that the focus of any passenger rail development in the US should be on commuter rail. High speed intercity rail is a huge distraction that at best should be at the bottom of the list of planned improvements in the area. It you really have to build high speed passenger rail, LA-SF is probably the second place where it should be implemented after NY-DC, though there is a case for prioritizing connecting Chicago with any northeast corridor line instead.

    I also agree with the earlier commentator that the focus of any passenger rail development in the US should be on commuter rail. High speed intercity rail is a huge distraction that at best should be at the bottom of the list of planned improvements in the area. It you really have to build high speed passenger rail, LA-SF is probably the second place where it should be implemented after NY-DC, though there is a case for prioritizing connecting Chicago with any northeast corridor line instead

    .

    Commuter rail has a place,but I still think buses are also an option. You don’t need as much density for buses and buses are very versatile, unlike even light rail. You can constantly change bus routes as needed.Chicago has a good commuter rail system to downtown, but so many people in the Chicago area work in places like Rosemont, Schaumburg, Oak Brook, Naperville and other areas. You can’t go from suburb to suburb or city to suburb easily.

    If you could get a certain threshold of cars off the expressways at rush hour, buses would even beat out trains going to the Loop. Once you get to the station downtown you either have to walk or take the bus to your office, while a bus from say Schaumburg or Oak Brook could have a few stops around the loop so you wouldn’t even have to walk or catch a bus from the train station.
    If there is no traffic jam you can make it from Schaumburg to the Loop in 25- 3o minutes by bus. Metra would take slightly longer and then you still have to go from the station to your office.

    High Speed rail seems like a waste to me for LA to Sf. The amount of infrastructure and rights of way that would have to be built and then kept up would be very expensive. Is a high speed train much less expensive than a 737,especially when there is no worry about building and repairing a rail line?

    Wouldn’t high speed rail ruin a lot of nice areas between sf-la or would it go up along the I-5?

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    • Replies: @Andrew
    "High Speed rail seems like a waste to me for LA to Sf. The amount of infrastructure and rights of way that would have to be built and then kept up would be very expensive. Is a high speed train much less expensive than a 737,especially when there is no worry about building and repairing a rail line?"

    The premise is to remove those 737's from the airport and free up space for longer flights rail coudl never be competitive with, instead of building more runways and terminals. Airports and terminals are not maintenance free either.

    "Wouldn’t high speed rail ruin a lot of nice areas between sf-la or would it go up along the I-5?"

    You need to define your concept of ruin. Does US 101 ruin a lot of nice areas? How about El Camino Real? Does the existing Caltrain and Metrolink rail lines ruin these areas? The high speed train will be running on those.
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  70. Wilkey says:

    The primary, which is to say only, advantage to light rail is that people know where the rail line is located because they see it all the time, so everyone has it drilled into their memory where they can go on it. That’s cool, but we now live in an era where even the poorest among us carry around a device that makes it quite easy to know what time it is, and to find a bus route that can take us from A to B, which effectively kills even that advantage.

    So we have technologies – smart phones and airplanes – that make it possible to pretty much abolish some insanely expensive, dedicated infrastructure needed for one form of public transit, and yet we still want to blow hundreds of billions on said infrastructure.

    Mind-boggling.

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  71. @Ttjy
    Buses are a good idea. The roads are already there so they don't have to build rights of way for new railroads.

    Bus routes can easily be changed if demand shifts, whether it's different times of day or weekend routes, not to mention future demand changes years down the road. A rail line is of course stuck where it is.

    Imagine LA freeways if say 30% of the cars were taken off the road and those people were on a bus. The problem with freeways is rush hour traffic that causes bottlenecks. Buses would eliminate that, while still allowing people who drive for various reasons to drive on less crowded roads. Of course, non-freeways would also have less traffic.

    Car congestion is bad for buses because the bus gets stuck in traffic. Remove a lot of the cars from the road and buses can really be efficient and versatile.


    Buses can be very comfortable too. Google has private buses that take workers from San Francisco to the Google complex.

    There have even been protests of the private buses.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_bus_protests

    Even non- private buses can be comfortable and pleasant to ride in. I've ridden in coaches in England and Switzerland and they are very nice.

    In England coaches go from town to town and buses operate in the town. I took a inter-city coach into London and it was very fast and comfortable, The problem came when we got into London and the car traffic slowed the bus down . Get rid of those cars and it would be super efficient. Or have certain roads that are bus only that the city.

    Bus routes can easily be changed if demand shifts, whether it’s different times of day or weekend routes, not to mention future demand changes years down the road. A rail line is of course stuck where it is.

    Yes, but the permanence of a rail station is an attraction in itself to business and residents. The fact that a bus line could disappear at whim makes them nervous.

    And disappear they can: the other day, a Metro Transit mechanic in South St Paul was running late for work when he locked his keys in the car at a convenience store. But lo and behold, in the store was a bus driver, who’d left her vehicle running at the stop outside. So the mechanic took it for himself.

    Metro Transit is “exploring his employment”:

    http://www.inforum.com/news/3952399-metro-transit-mechanic-was-late-work-so-he-stole-bus-charges-say

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  72. The California High Speed Rail Plan is rather infuriating. The traffic bottleneck in California is not the highway from the Tejon Pass to San Jose. In fact, this is the one stretch of road where the freeways basically work as a high speed means of transit.

    What Southern California really needs is high speed rail from San Bernardino to Downtown LA, Mid-City Wilshire, Century City and Santa Monica. There needs to be a corresponding high speed rail connecting Newport Beach, Orange, Anaheim and Long Beach to Downtown LA. There should also be a high speed network in the San Fernando Valley up through Palmdale. A means of daily commuting from far flung suburbs to the centralized job centers is what is critical for the long term economic future of Los Angeles. Due to the decentralized nature of LA, the Google Smart Cars should not be for connecting Bakersfield to San Jose, but for the daily commuter from San Bernardino to get to her job in Beverly Hills from the high speed rail station in Century City.

    http://museumsanfernandovalley.blogspot.com/2011/02/red-car-celebrating-100-years-of-van.html

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  73. Russell says:
    @Sutton
    The issue with robo-cars is ethics. How to program an emergency. As in who to hit in a fast moving disaster. The elderly on the corner. Or the mother with the carriage. Or a NAM vs whitey.

    The apparent ethical dilema robocars would face is almost entirely theoretical.
    Alnost noone ever faces this choice in real life.

    But don’t take my word fot it.

    http://ideas.4brad.com/enough-trolley-problem-already

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  74. TangoMan says:

    OT – Identity politics run amok. If you think that the Redskins debacle is crazy, check out what’s happened at the University of North Dakota:

    • The university’s 2007 settlement agreement with the NCAA requires the school to protect trademarks of the controversial logo. This is so the school can keep exclusive rights to license it. The NCAA required that so UND would have control over the logo, thereby blocking others from using it willy-nilly and allowing it to proliferate freely in a hockey jersey shop near you.

    • To maintain the trademark, however, UND must produce and sell merchandise bearing the logo. Sort of a use-it-or-lose-it angle to trademark law. Failure to do so could cause the school to lose the trademark, allowing others to swoop in and cause the unfettered proliferation of Fighting Sioux hockey jerseys.

    • So although UND is now known by its new Fighting Hawks nickname, the school must continue to produce and sell Fighting Sioux merchandise to satisfy the NCAA’s demand that it get rid of the nickname and logo.

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  75. SPMoore8 says:

    O/T, but this is the kind of article that would have appeared in a true satirical journal, if there was such a thing:

    http://www.browndailyherald.com/2016/02/18/schoolwork-advocacy-place-strain-on-student-activists/

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    • Replies: @res

    O/T, but this is the kind of article that would have appeared in a true satirical journal, if there was such a thing:

    http://www.browndailyherald.com/2016/02/18/schoolwork-advocacy-place-strain-on-student-activists/

     

    Is that or is that not satire?! I was sure it was satire after reading this passage:

    Justice Gaines ’16, who uses the pronouns xe, xem and xyr, said student activism efforts on campus are necessary. “I don’t feel okay with seeing students go through hardships without helping and organizing to make things better.”

    In the wake of The Herald’s opinion pieces, Gaines felt overwhelmed by emotions flooding across campus. Students were called out of class into organizing meetings, and xe felt pressure to help xyr peers cope with what was going on, xe said. Gaines “had a panic attack and couldn’t go to class for several days.”
     
    but the comments are taking it seriously. The second most upvoted comment is "It's increasingly difficult to create effective satire, because reality is clearly more absurd than any fiction imaginable."
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  76. Lot says:

    David Brooks is misusing statistics to attack Trump and downplay the fact that hispanic crime rates are higher than non-hispanic whites, whether you are talking about hispanics as a whole, or just the three big groups, Mexican-Americans, Central Americans, and Caribbean Hispanics.

    He makes some of the same errors of Unz in this regard. Specifically, Unz argues that incarceration rates, with his own adjustments to the rates, are a good method to compare crime rates. The flaw of this is that (1) hispanic career criminals are often deported so do not stay in US prisons long compared to career white and black criminals (2) hispanics have shorter tenure in the USA even within each age group.

    Unz next looks at the overall crime rate in cities compared to their hispanic population. He finds that quite often heavy hispanic cities have very low crime rates, such as majority hispanic Santa Ana and El Paso, and large minority hispanic San Diego.

    This is an important finding since some on the alt right do overstate the hispanic/white crime gap, which is just a fraction of the black white crime gap.

    However, the problem is that this method cannot, by definition, work if hispanics are more likely to move to areas with low-crime white populations versus high-crime white populations. And indeed, hispanics are much more likely to move to areas with highly educated and low-crime white populations, like California and Colorado’s, than to areas with poorer and more criminal white populations, like West Virginia.

    The other problem is that, while certain hispanic cities have very low crime rates, other have very high rates, higher than any extremely white cities. And likewise, even these low crime hispanic cities have high crime rates compared to the most exceptional white and white/asian cities. Yes, El Paso and Santa Ana are pretty low crime, but they are much more criminal than Simi Valley, Laguna Beach, Del Mar, Marin County, or the many upper middle class exurban areas around most large American cities.

    City-Data Crime Index / Hispanic%/White%/Asian%
    Santa Ana 200.6 77.6/10.7/10.1
    El Paso 211.1 80.0/14.4/1.1
    Bell Gardens 194.5 95.7/2.7/0.5

    And other majority hispanic cities do not look so hot.

    Merced 362.9 53.2/27.8/13.5
    South Gate 322.7 94.8/3.4/0.7

    Some California cities with low hispanic populations:

    Irvine 89.6 11.8/44.3/38.6
    Simi Valley 104.9 25.8/63.0/8.6
    Palo Alto 117.5 27.8/57.7/27.8
    Sunnyvale 125 13.7/36.7/42.1

    Going outside of CA, here are the cities with populations between 60K and 100K with the lowest violent crime rates, the their hispanic share:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_cities_by_crime_rate_%2860,000%E2%80%93100,000%29

    Carmel, IN 2.5%
    Fishers, IN 3.4%
    Flower Mound, TX 8.4%
    Greenwich, CT 13.8%
    Palatine, IL 18%
    Orem, UT 14.8%
    Johns Creek, GA 5.2%
    Arlington Heights, IL 4.5%

    Now the lowest violent crime rates in the 100 to 250K city range:
    Irvine, CA 11.8%
    Murrieta, CA 25.9%
    Amherst, NY 2.3%
    Frisco, TX 12.4%
    Colonie, NY 1.9%
    Cary, NC 7.7%
    Naperville, IL 4.2%
    Temecula, CA 24.7%

    On average, the safest cities are far less hispanic than the state or region they are in is.

    Here’s Brooks in his latest column:

    Trump plays up the alleged threat of crime committed by immigrants. But the overall evidence is clear. Immigrants make American streets safer.

    This is not true, but even the fake open boarders statistics has to lump our chaotic, unregulated illegal illegal immigrant population and Third World chain migration immigrants in with our imperfect but functioning skill based and First World immigration to come up with “immigrants make America safer.” But restrictions like Trump don’t think we need to keep out highly skilled scientists and the like, and we know Trump personally favors immigration from Europe.

    Among native-born men without a high school diploma, about 11 percent are incarcerated. Among similarly educated Mexican, Guatemalan and Salvadoran men here, only 2 or 3 percent get incarcerated.

    The problem here is that not too many Mexican, Guatemalan, and Salvadorian immigrants have 12 years of primary education. Comparing the incarceration of the dumbest/most impulsive 10% of native born Americans (who themselves are heavily black) with roughly the average Salvadorian is not really Apples to Apples, is it?

    Numerous studies have shown that a big share of the drop in crime rates in the 1990s is a result of the surge in immigration.

    This is not true, and unlike a lot of the claims, no citation to support it.

    Trump plays up the threat of terrorism. But the real threat is that our border agencies spend so much time tracking down people who want to be gardeners that they don’t have the resources to track down the people who want to be suicide bombers.

    Trump’s “shut down Muslim immigration” would have stopped 100% of the mass terrorist attacks committed by immigrants in the USA. I agree it would be nice if we did not have to support a massive, liberty-destorying, very expensive and wasteful internal security state to protect us from ISIS. But that is the unavoidable price of having a Muslim immigrant population. I agree we should not have to pay that price.

    The bulk of the evidence shows that immigrants have a hugely positive effect on total American G.D.P

    Annexing Yemen, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Somalia would also increase “total GDP.” Hmm, maybe that is not such a good statistic to evaluate policy.

    Second, by 2044, America will be a majority-minority country. This is a very different America than the one people who grew up in the 1960s were used to. It’s a historical transformation that is bound to raise very legitimate concerns.

    Stopping what Brooks calls the “browning of America” is not one of the legitimate concerns. We are only allowed to make sure that the browning-bringers are “properly vetted.”

    Donald Trump’s G.O.P. is a rear-window party pining for a white America that is never coming back.

    So let’s enact policies that speed its demise!

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    • Replies: @bomag
    Thanks for the analysis.

    Brooks and company have to tell us how good things are because it sure isn't evident from our personal experience.

    Another trick here is to not use federal incarceration data; since most illegal aliens get shunted into the federal system, that allows a lot of illegal immigrants to not be included in the data. Something like 25% of federal incarcerations are of illegal immigrants.

    From my anecdotal experience, the data here doesn't capture the increase in petty property crime that drags down civic life: think Victor Davis Hanson's chain saw getting stolen. When our area loaded up with gardeners from Mexico, the low level thefts that fell under the radar of prosecution went way up. Sure, the newcomers aren't going to kill you, but they'll help themselves to anything not tied down that they can get away with. Thus an increase in locks and fences; and the aggravated residents needing to be told by Brooks et al that they should just lie back and enjoy a massive increase in GDP.

    , @Whiskey
    A White America that is never coming back. Hmmm ...

    Didn't various Albanian nationalists and Muslim triumphalists say the same thing around 1989 in Yugoslavia? How did that one work out again?

    Diversity status signaling among upper class Whites has diminishing returns. Brooks may be secure, but places like Github are purging White males (and females):
    ---------
    In February 2015, Sanchez wrote an article for USA Today entitled “More white women does not equal tech diversity,” and during a diversity training talk Sanchez even stated that technology was “not work for white folks to lead” and that “some of the biggest barriers to progress are white women.”
    ...
    “Don’t think we’ll succeed teaching white, male middle managers empathy and compassion anytime soon. So let’s limit their scope of damage,” wrote Campos in one tweet.
    --------
    A cynic, OK me, would say that Github believes they have reached a monopoly, all competitors seen off, and wishes to milk the company as a cash cow with no investments, thus dumping high cost White male engineers who know what they are doing and replacing them with low skill H1-Bs at a fraction of the cost to maintain an aging, never updated again codebase.

    This is the reason behind the driving force of adoption of Diversity for Corporate entities.

    Dumping high cost White men for low cost H1-Bs, and wrapping it up in the religious dogma of Diversity.

    ABC has just appointed a Black female head of programming. The first such (Black and Female) ever appointed. The ratings are down 13%. As cord cutting accelerates due to spiraling costs of cable/satellite -- ratings are going to be even more important as carriage fees from just being carried on say Direct TV go down as fewer people subscribe.

    Worse, Advertisers love Diversity. In commercials. But they don't want an audience made up Moesha and Home Boys in Outer Space fans. The Pew Hispanic Trust estimated that media household net assets in 2010 was 135K, 5K, and 6K for White, Black, and Hispanic households respectively. MEDIAN. That means half are below that number. Big Ticket items won't be bought by Black households in any appreciable numbers, given that Blacks are 12.5% of the population and half have less per household than 6K in net assets, let alone liquid free cash/income.

    The religious assumptions of diversity have been riding on the free margin of built up White wealth from the post War era, including but not limited to Ike's interstate freeway system, the military derived satellite communications system, etc.

    That margin is being eroded rapidly due not only to burning up wealth by religious idiotic assumptions, but by foreign (Chinese) competition.

    Brooks is reliably wrong -- Trump's message is likely even heard among the SWPL fired for being White so some incompetent Latino/Latina can be Upper Middle Management and some incompetent H1-B is hired to do the actual work.

    I've never heard it explained how Whites don't rebel, in various nasty ways, when they are shut out of nearly all opportunities save those connected and already powerful.
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  77. @BurplesonAFB
    Yes, historically conscious residents of the Eastern Seaboard refer to it as the Mosley bus.

    Steve, a Tesla can already drive itself really well on a freeway. The sensors and computers needed are not very expensive. No need for smart-highway infrastructure boondoggles as was once thought in the 90s.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP7VdxVY6UQ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yCAZWdqX_Y

    The problem is it’ll give you back control when it encounters some problem, usually in an emergency, but even if there’s no real emergency, you’ll be totally caught with your pants down doing something else (or outright asleep) and all you’ll have is a fraction of a second to adjust because the car will be driving at 75mph. If you are in the middle of reading a book, not paying attention to the road, then how much time would you need to just make sure you now really have to drive the car (especially if the system was so good it only happened rarely), look around to see what needs to be done, and take action if needed, but avoid sudden action when no such action is needed? (Like suddenly and too forcefully turning the steering wheel or suddenly pressing the brakes with full force thus creating emergencies for other cars who will in turn stun their passengers into becoming drivers in a fraction of a second.)

    It’s only useful if it never gives back control to you, which is only possible if the system running it is fully controlling the whole traffic on the highway, much the same way the whole railway traffic is controlled by the same system.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Have corporate jets been able to downsize to just one pilot or do they still have a copilot in case the pilot has a heart attack?
    , @Busby
    It's funny how we still fall for the same old extravagant claims. Atomic power was going to provide us electricity so cheap we wouldn't need to meter usage. Supersonic transports would get you from New York to LA in a few hours. In my industry we have futurists predicting the end of truck drivers. Claims made by people who have clearly never experienced the joy of unclustering five 53 foot trailers trying to occupy the same space at the same time.
    My points are two.
    1. Trains move freight cheaply. People costly. It took us 50 years and lord knows how many railroad bankruptcies and mergers to figure that out. I guess we are going to have to spend billions over the next 50 years teaching government the same lesson.
    2. Self driving cars are a solution, but what's the question? I'm sorry, maybe I'm just slow, but the whole self driving Google networked Uber on demand common car taxi thing seems like a tissue of desires where hope triumphs over human experience. Does the term "installed base" mean nothing?
    Maybe I'm just skeptical because we were promised flying cars and I'm sill waiting.
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  78. @reiner Tor
    The problem is it'll give you back control when it encounters some problem, usually in an emergency, but even if there's no real emergency, you'll be totally caught with your pants down doing something else (or outright asleep) and all you'll have is a fraction of a second to adjust because the car will be driving at 75mph. If you are in the middle of reading a book, not paying attention to the road, then how much time would you need to just make sure you now really have to drive the car (especially if the system was so good it only happened rarely), look around to see what needs to be done, and take action if needed, but avoid sudden action when no such action is needed? (Like suddenly and too forcefully turning the steering wheel or suddenly pressing the brakes with full force thus creating emergencies for other cars who will in turn stun their passengers into becoming drivers in a fraction of a second.)

    It's only useful if it never gives back control to you, which is only possible if the system running it is fully controlling the whole traffic on the highway, much the same way the whole railway traffic is controlled by the same system.

    Have corporate jets been able to downsize to just one pilot or do they still have a copilot in case the pilot has a heart attack?

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  79. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Don’t be stupid is the population density in the central valley lower than the population density between Paris and Marseille or Lyon or Strasbourg, or between moscow and saint Petersburg? Or between Madrid and barcelona? Remember that the first tgv line was between Paris and Lyon, which is like constructing a line between LA and fresno.

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  80. @Ed
    I have a better idea of how to do this.

    I just found out -don't ask me why I was looking this up- that the center of population for California happens to be in Bakersfield.

    So instead of spending money to build high speed rail, spend the money on relocating the state capitol to Bakersfield, to place the legislature closer to where most state residents live.

    Once you do that, there will be demand for a quick commute from both SF and LA to Bakersfield, and there will be no problem in getting funding for high speed rail and with dealing with the NIMBYs.

    One thing that’s struck me is how little a typical state capital goes upscale. Austin is the big exception to the rule, and Sacramento is nicer than other Central Valley cities (although one reason is that it’s weather is nicer due to more sea breezes), but plenty of state capitals are only a little more prosperous that other small cities in the state. You’d probably be better off with the state flagship university (e.g., Ann Arbor, Michigan) than the state capital (Lansing, Michigan).

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    • Replies: @Andrew
    "One thing that’s struck me is how little a typical state capital goes upscale. Austin is the big exception to the rule, and Sacramento is nicer than other Central Valley cities (although one reason is that it’s weather is nicer due to more sea breezes), but plenty of state capitals are only a little more prosperous that other small cities in the state. You’d probably be better off with the state flagship university (e.g., Ann Arbor, Michigan) than the state capital (Lansing, Michigan)."

    Actually, you are better off having both, like Austin, Madison, Eugene, Boise, Columbus, and Boston. And having a paucity of NAM's.

    And sometimes state capital's do go upscale. Raleigh, Annapolis, Nashville, Des Moines, Salt Lake City, Denver, Santa Fe.

    Perhaps its just random if your capital goes upscale, remains podunkville (Tallahassee, Dover, Pierre, Olympia, Montpelier, Concord, Augusta), or becomes a NAM infested hellhole (Harrisburg, Trenton, Hartford, Indianapolis, Richmond).
    , @Spotted Toad
    My theory about this is that places like Trenton basically have a resource curse problem like oil states: the state government pays big wages and throws around money in general, which keeps a sufficient portion of the population in a rentier state and stops more competitive businesses from moving in. Public services get showered with dough (Trenton schools get over $22,000 per kid) but are terribly administered because the local pols have enough cash to be secure in their jobs without any kind of accountability (until the feds belatedly show up to indict them.) Poor people stay or even move in, because of the endless availability of poor people stuff, but you don't get the stabilizing influence of working two-parent families or the creative influence of gentrification, because of the available of better suburbs and more interesting cities just around the bend.

    Oddly enough, both Scalia and Alito were more-or-less from Trenton, as is (despite his Brooklyn claims), Jay-Z.

    DC proper (as opposed to the Maryland/VA suburbs) until recently was an example par excellence of this, though thanks to the growth of Big Deep State, it has pulled out of its perennial funk and just become a place for rich young people with a lot of dangerous spots.

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  81. @International Jew
    Why link San Fran and LA by any means at all? Just because they're in the same state? I live near SF and though I travel a fair amount, I haven't been to LA in 25 years. I'd rather have a fast train to Lake Tahoe. As for Los Angelenos, I'll bet they'd find a fast train to Las Vegas more useful.

    People have been talking for years about a Los Angeles-Las Vegas train so that Vegas visitors could start getting drunk on the train instead of driving. The mountain pass between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is less severe than the mountain pass between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay. And Las Vegas is incredibly concentrated for visitors, while the San Francisco Bay area is highly diffuse due to having a bay in the middle of it, which makes having a car much more useful.

    But nothing has happened regarding a Vegas train.

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    • Replies: @Sgt. Joe Friday
    A LA-Las Vegas train is a great idea, but it's not going to be time competitive with driving, because the route profile includes several steep climbs and descents. Even with a "high speed" train I don't think anything under a 6 hour timing is realistic. There's also track capacity issues, even though the LA-Salt Lake route is not as busy a freight corridor as the Sunset Route, which is LA-Yuma-Tucson.

    Here is something that a lot of people miss: no form of public transportation pays its own way. Not buses, not airplanes, not trains. All involve some degree of public subsidy whether it's highways, public airports, or Amtrak. Back when private railroads ran their own trains, they were paying high union wages, maintaining their own infrastructure and paying property taxes on it, and were told by regulatory agencies what they could charge for fares. A typical overnight train required a crew of 20 or more to run it (engineer, fireman, conductor, brakeman, car attendants, dining car staff). It was basically a hotel on wheels. What surprises me is that they did not lose more money offering that service.
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  82. @Lot
    China has never been able to produce cars beyond low quality copies of out-of-date Western and Japanese design. The high rate of corner cutting just does not work for something as complex as the design and production of new automobiles.

    Part of the reason is also that in this respect China is more capitalistic than the major automakers' home country. Korea, Japan, the USA, Canada and Western Europe all provide very big subsidies to their local auto industry, making it impossible for China to break into the market despite trying for decades. And it is open to Chinese cars if they were any good. Look how fast Korean companies grew. But that was with the fanatic.al support of the Korean government every step of the way.

    There are some specific auto parts where China has a decent market share. This is typically by cutting corners to underprice the OEM parts by 50% or more, and western non-OEM by 25% or more. Now not all of these parts are bad, but it is scary to think of a whole car made from them.

    Chinese marketing: “Real cheap! You buy now!”

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  83. @Ed
    The big problem with new rail projects in the US is actually buried in Steve's post, in an off hand comment about well heeled people potentially objecting to trains running at 220 MPH through their suburbs.

    People keep thinking that the US is not particularly densely populated or even underpopulated, which probably also drives the enthusiasm for more and more immigration. Yes, if you take the 320 or so million people in the US (which I suspect is an undercount to hide the amount of illegal immigration) and divide it by the total number of square miles, you get a lower person to square mile ratio than in Europe, China, and India. But these three places are the most densely populated places on Earth. And the US is the third or fourth largest country by land area.

    But a good part of the area of the US are places where either people don't want to live or where it would be absurdly expensive to maintain (and bring water to) dense populations, either mountains or deserts or featureless plains with really bad weather. The vast majority of people live in metropolitan areas, generally the suburban parts. The whole advantage of intercity passenger rail is that it can get you from downtown to downtown, no need to make the trek to/ from the airport way out in the burbs. But the only way to do that is to put tracks through the suburbs where people don't want it. And enough rail tracks were removed when people thought that everyone would drive everywhere, no problems with traffic (with rails to trails being a particularly egregious bit of stupidity that this is a real problem).

    I'm familiar enough with these projects to know that the San Jose to Bakersfield link is being done first just to get something built, hopefully in time for the politicians currently in office to open it, to show people some tangible result for their tax dollars quickly. Then people will pony up to get the line through the coast mountains to LA. I actually doubt the line will reach downtown San Francisco, given that Amtrak's normal trains don't go there, but there are at least CalTrains and eventually BART links to SF.

    I also agree with the earlier commentator that the focus of any passenger rail development in the US should be on commuter rail. High speed intercity rail is a huge distraction that at best should be at the bottom of the list of planned improvements in the area. It you really have to build high speed passenger rail, LA-SF is probably the second place where it should be implemented after NY-DC, though there is a case for prioritizing connecting Chicago with any northeast corridor line instead.

    Commuter rail in Chicago is a very nice amenity. I can remember taking the train to the north shore and thinking that this is much more civilized than either driving the Kennedy expressway or taking the El. (On the other hand, commuting down Lake Shore Drive isn’t bad either.) You can estimate how valuable commuter rail is by looking at the price premium for homes close to commuter rail stations.

    But it’s real hard to retrofit commuter rail into a city. Los Angeles, for example, is full of missed opportunities that could have been done a century ago for a reasonable price if anybody had anticipated how valuable the real estate would someday be. But the market didn’t anticipate that so it didn’t seem worth doing.

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    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    But it’s real hard to retrofit commuter rail into a city.
     
    Actually, the great commuter rail suburbs fit the lines so well because they were built by the railroads themselves, which made more on the real estate than on fares. (Assuming they made anything on fares at all!)

    London is a classic case. Parliament banned railroad involvement in real estate, but the Metropolitan Railway wangled an exemption, saying they were a really small, insignificant suburban line where the effect wouldn't be large. They lied. When they got their dispensation, they went whole hog, or great guns as they say.

    (I knew an Oxfordshire girl who said "great guns" all the time. Is it still legal to do so?)

    You might retrofit by finding a string of abandoned industrial areas along an existing freight line, and turning those into high-density luxury housing. But freight pays more than passengers, and the appeal of ex-factories is highly dependent upon the nature of the materials once used there, so good luck with that project.

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  84. Discard says:
    @jb
    Whenever I hear someone talking about a 220 mph passenger train filled with rich people, I always hear this quiet little voice in the background whispering "derail me!" Does anybody else hear that little voice, or is it just me?

    I used to work the Bakersfield-Roseville route on the Southern Pacific. Got glass in my eye once from a shattered windshield. Once knocked a kid down when the tie plate he set on the rail shot out at him. What’s to keep the little beasts from dicking with the high speed train?

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  85. Discard says:

    Every politician in the legislature will want the train to stop in his town, or some big, unneeded infrastructure payoff. This will cost far more than anyone will admit. I really had thought that Gov. Jerry Brown had more sense than this. A high speed train to nowhere.

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  86. bomag says:
    @Ttjy
    Buses are a good idea. The roads are already there so they don't have to build rights of way for new railroads.

    Bus routes can easily be changed if demand shifts, whether it's different times of day or weekend routes, not to mention future demand changes years down the road. A rail line is of course stuck where it is.

    Imagine LA freeways if say 30% of the cars were taken off the road and those people were on a bus. The problem with freeways is rush hour traffic that causes bottlenecks. Buses would eliminate that, while still allowing people who drive for various reasons to drive on less crowded roads. Of course, non-freeways would also have less traffic.

    Car congestion is bad for buses because the bus gets stuck in traffic. Remove a lot of the cars from the road and buses can really be efficient and versatile.


    Buses can be very comfortable too. Google has private buses that take workers from San Francisco to the Google complex.

    There have even been protests of the private buses.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_bus_protests

    Even non- private buses can be comfortable and pleasant to ride in. I've ridden in coaches in England and Switzerland and they are very nice.

    In England coaches go from town to town and buses operate in the town. I took a inter-city coach into London and it was very fast and comfortable, The problem came when we got into London and the car traffic slowed the bus down . Get rid of those cars and it would be super efficient. Or have certain roads that are bus only that the city.

    Imagine LA freeways if say 30% of the cars were taken off the road and those people were on a bus.

    “Build it, and they will come” has a corollary here, “give them space, and they will fill it.”

    The usual suspects are bent on filling the country to capacity. Any open space on commuter highways will be filled with Syrian refugees et al.

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  87. Daniel H says:
    @Dumbo
    I don't think the problem is "status" or socially tainted, the problem is that Greyhound buses really, really suck.

    Uncomfortable, ugly, smelly, always delayed, only minorities or broke students take them.

    AMTRAK and Via Rail (in Canada) are OK, a relatively comfortable trip, but slow. The AMTRAK train service from NY to Montreal is nice, but only during the day and takes 10-12 hours (!). Couldn't they improve on that?

    As for me, I'd love to see a renaissance of the giant airships/zeppelins cruising the skies between LA and SF at, er, 85 mph? Not much speed, but think of the view.

    >>As for me, I’d love to see a renaissance of the giant airships/zeppelins cruising the skies between LA and SF at, er, 85 mph? Not much speed, but think of the view.

    I second that. Zeppelins would be really cool. And what they lack in absolute speed would be compensate for by avoidance of all traffic, and precision. We should be able to land Zeppelins right in the center of our major cities. No need to travel from far off airports on congested highways.

    Read More
    • Replies: @unit472
    Airships have weather, payload and speed constraints that can't really be overcome. However, Kaman Aerospace, the designer of US drone aircraft, is working on a 737 sized VTOL 'tiltrotor' aircraft that would have similar costs per seat mile as a 737 and travel at 90% of the speed of a jet.
    , @Cracker
    Part of the Empire State Bld. design. Having kraut zeppelins dock, but with the Hindenburg, that whole industry crashed and burned.
    , @Discard
    The Empire State building still has a mooring mast for dirigibles.
    , @FactsAreImportant
    I would like to see Zeppelins get really popular to the point where there would be huge Zeppelin traffic jams -- I want to see hundreds of Zeppelins bumping into each other during rush hour. Entertainment value: 8/10.
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  88. tbraton says:
    @Charles Erwin Wilson
    Sailer for President 2020.

    “Sailer for President 2020.”

    I can envision it already. The Californian, Steve Sailer, going down to the Rio Grande and declaring: “President Trump, tear down this wall.” Well, if Reagan, another Californian, can transform himself from an FDR cheerleader to a Barry Goldwater cheerleader and if Richard Nixon, another Californian, can transform himself from the man who brought down the Communist Alger Hiss to the man who opened up Red China, then Steve Sailer, yet again another Californian, can effect a little change. It’s not by coincidence that Hollywood is based in California. And it is not by coincidence that California is the home of Bruce Jenner.

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  89. bomag says:
    @Lot
    David Brooks is misusing statistics to attack Trump and downplay the fact that hispanic crime rates are higher than non-hispanic whites, whether you are talking about hispanics as a whole, or just the three big groups, Mexican-Americans, Central Americans, and Caribbean Hispanics.

    He makes some of the same errors of Unz in this regard. Specifically, Unz argues that incarceration rates, with his own adjustments to the rates, are a good method to compare crime rates. The flaw of this is that (1) hispanic career criminals are often deported so do not stay in US prisons long compared to career white and black criminals (2) hispanics have shorter tenure in the USA even within each age group.

    Unz next looks at the overall crime rate in cities compared to their hispanic population. He finds that quite often heavy hispanic cities have very low crime rates, such as majority hispanic Santa Ana and El Paso, and large minority hispanic San Diego.

    This is an important finding since some on the alt right do overstate the hispanic/white crime gap, which is just a fraction of the black white crime gap.

    However, the problem is that this method cannot, by definition, work if hispanics are more likely to move to areas with low-crime white populations versus high-crime white populations. And indeed, hispanics are much more likely to move to areas with highly educated and low-crime white populations, like California and Colorado's, than to areas with poorer and more criminal white populations, like West Virginia.

    The other problem is that, while certain hispanic cities have very low crime rates, other have very high rates, higher than any extremely white cities. And likewise, even these low crime hispanic cities have high crime rates compared to the most exceptional white and white/asian cities. Yes, El Paso and Santa Ana are pretty low crime, but they are much more criminal than Simi Valley, Laguna Beach, Del Mar, Marin County, or the many upper middle class exurban areas around most large American cities.

    City-Data Crime Index / Hispanic%/White%/Asian%
    Santa Ana 200.6 77.6/10.7/10.1
    El Paso 211.1 80.0/14.4/1.1
    Bell Gardens 194.5 95.7/2.7/0.5

    And other majority hispanic cities do not look so hot.

    Merced 362.9 53.2/27.8/13.5
    South Gate 322.7 94.8/3.4/0.7

    Some California cities with low hispanic populations:

    Irvine 89.6 11.8/44.3/38.6
    Simi Valley 104.9 25.8/63.0/8.6
    Palo Alto 117.5 27.8/57.7/27.8
    Sunnyvale 125 13.7/36.7/42.1

    Going outside of CA, here are the cities with populations between 60K and 100K with the lowest violent crime rates, the their hispanic share:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_cities_by_crime_rate_%2860,000%E2%80%93100,000%29

    Carmel, IN 2.5%
    Fishers, IN 3.4%
    Flower Mound, TX 8.4%
    Greenwich, CT 13.8%
    Palatine, IL 18%
    Orem, UT 14.8%
    Johns Creek, GA 5.2%
    Arlington Heights, IL 4.5%


    Now the lowest violent crime rates in the 100 to 250K city range:
    Irvine, CA 11.8%
    Murrieta, CA 25.9%
    Amherst, NY 2.3%
    Frisco, TX 12.4%
    Colonie, NY 1.9%
    Cary, NC 7.7%
    Naperville, IL 4.2%
    Temecula, CA 24.7%

    On average, the safest cities are far less hispanic than the state or region they are in is.

    Here's Brooks in his latest column:

    Trump plays up the alleged threat of crime committed by immigrants. But the overall evidence is clear. Immigrants make American streets safer.
     
    This is not true, but even the fake open boarders statistics has to lump our chaotic, unregulated illegal illegal immigrant population and Third World chain migration immigrants in with our imperfect but functioning skill based and First World immigration to come up with "immigrants make America safer." But restrictions like Trump don't think we need to keep out highly skilled scientists and the like, and we know Trump personally favors immigration from Europe.

    Among native-born men without a high school diploma, about 11 percent are incarcerated. Among similarly educated Mexican, Guatemalan and Salvadoran men here, only 2 or 3 percent get incarcerated.
     
    The problem here is that not too many Mexican, Guatemalan, and Salvadorian immigrants have 12 years of primary education. Comparing the incarceration of the dumbest/most impulsive 10% of native born Americans (who themselves are heavily black) with roughly the average Salvadorian is not really Apples to Apples, is it?


    Numerous studies have shown that a big share of the drop in crime rates in the 1990s is a result of the surge in immigration.
     
    This is not true, and unlike a lot of the claims, no citation to support it.


    Trump plays up the threat of terrorism. But the real threat is that our border agencies spend so much time tracking down people who want to be gardeners that they don’t have the resources to track down the people who want to be suicide bombers.
     
    Trump's "shut down Muslim immigration" would have stopped 100% of the mass terrorist attacks committed by immigrants in the USA. I agree it would be nice if we did not have to support a massive, liberty-destorying, very expensive and wasteful internal security state to protect us from ISIS. But that is the unavoidable price of having a Muslim immigrant population. I agree we should not have to pay that price.


    The bulk of the evidence shows that immigrants have a hugely positive effect on total American G.D.P
     
    Annexing Yemen, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Somalia would also increase "total GDP." Hmm, maybe that is not such a good statistic to evaluate policy.


    Second, by 2044, America will be a majority-minority country. This is a very different America than the one people who grew up in the 1960s were used to. It’s a historical transformation that is bound to raise very legitimate concerns.
     
    Stopping what Brooks calls the "browning of America" is not one of the legitimate concerns. We are only allowed to make sure that the browning-bringers are "properly vetted."

    Donald Trump’s G.O.P. is a rear-window party pining for a white America that is never coming back.
     
    So let's enact policies that speed its demise!

    Thanks for the analysis.

    Brooks and company have to tell us how good things are because it sure isn’t evident from our personal experience.

    Another trick here is to not use federal incarceration data; since most illegal aliens get shunted into the federal system, that allows a lot of illegal immigrants to not be included in the data. Something like 25% of federal incarcerations are of illegal immigrants.

    From my anecdotal experience, the data here doesn’t capture the increase in petty property crime that drags down civic life: think Victor Davis Hanson’s chain saw getting stolen. When our area loaded up with gardeners from Mexico, the low level thefts that fell under the radar of prosecution went way up. Sure, the newcomers aren’t going to kill you, but they’ll help themselves to anything not tied down that they can get away with. Thus an increase in locks and fences; and the aggravated residents needing to be told by Brooks et al that they should just lie back and enjoy a massive increase in GDP.

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    • Replies: @Lot
    The increase in low level and unreported crime with hispanic immigration is absolutely real.

    1. Is Unz/Brooks going to say with a straight face that hispanic immigrant areas don't have higher rates of graffiti and littering? How about DUI and driving without a license and insurance?

    2. The people to justify sanctuary cities and amnesty always tell us that illegals are afraid to report crimes to the police. This is no doubt true to some extent.

    So, isn't it the case that the more illegals there are, the more crime will be under-reported? Even legal hispanic immigrants may have illegals in the household, or not speak enough English to want to call the police. So the underreporting goes beyond just illegals.

    Your point about the MSM having to tell us our own eyes are lying is absolutely right, Here is just another boring, typical article from San Diego that did not get an ounce of national coverage: a 69 year old white woman cleaning graffiti off a wall was killed by a 23 year old hispanic with "road rage" doing some sort of drunk street racing in a residential neighborhood.

    A community activist was painting over graffiti in a San Diego neighborhood when she was struck by a suspected drunk driver who police say was involved in a road rage altercation.

    Police said 69-year-old Maruta Gardner died after being hit in the Mission Beach area Friday when the driver of a Toyota Corolla passed a Ford Mustang and went onto the shoulder. After striking Gardner, the driver sped away but was arrested a short distance away.

    Police said the hit-and-run was the result of a road-rage altercation. The Toyota driver - 23-year-old Jonathan Domingo Garcia - was booked for investigation of vehicular manslaughter, DUI and hit and run.
     
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  90. @Jimi
    Correct. In NYC its common to see old women on the Upper East Side hop on and off the buses in their mink coats. There isn't the same stigma as elsewhere.

    I discovered this stigma in Miami. I thought it was a no-brainer to take the bus from the airport to my hosts' house for $2. My hosts thought using the bus was extremely tacky.

    I spent a week in Miami, then went back to visit a girlfriend for 3 weeks.

    During the first week, I used buses until a drunk black guy got on one and just vomited onto the floor in front of himself casually like you or I would cough. Everyone acted like it was normal. When I back later to visit my girlfriend, I didn’t use buses.

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  91. unit472 says:
    @Daniel H
    >>As for me, I’d love to see a renaissance of the giant airships/zeppelins cruising the skies between LA and SF at, er, 85 mph? Not much speed, but think of the view.

    I second that. Zeppelins would be really cool. And what they lack in absolute speed would be compensate for by avoidance of all traffic, and precision. We should be able to land Zeppelins right in the center of our major cities. No need to travel from far off airports on congested highways.

    Airships have weather, payload and speed constraints that can’t really be overcome. However, Kaman Aerospace, the designer of US drone aircraft, is working on a 737 sized VTOL ’tiltrotor’ aircraft that would have similar costs per seat mile as a 737 and travel at 90% of the speed of a jet.

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  92. @International Jew
    Why link San Fran and LA by any means at all? Just because they're in the same state? I live near SF and though I travel a fair amount, I haven't been to LA in 25 years. I'd rather have a fast train to Lake Tahoe. As for Los Angelenos, I'll bet they'd find a fast train to Las Vegas more useful.

    This is a fantastic idea. I just drove LA to LV a couple months ago. Leaving LA on a Friday night, it took me about 3 hours bumper-to-bumper stop-and-go traffic just to get out of LA. We reached LV way late strung out on coffee. The whole interstate between LA and LV on Friday night was packed. I was amazed.

    If I lived in LA and there were a train to LV, I would go maybe once every 3-4 months I think. I’ve heard some people go more like once every 2 weeks.

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  93. @Steve Sailer
    As Stuff White People Like pointed out, white people see buses as socially tainted compared to rail. But there's a way to combat that: marketing.

    Spend a half-billion dollars on marketing a luxury bus service between, say, the San Jose and Burbank airports as what all the cool people are taking.

    This is exactly correct. When SF’s Leap bus service debuted, I remember it was promoted on SWPL websites.

    I took a luxury bus in Burma from Rangoon to Mandalay. A new, straight, smooth highway was built to shuttle the elites from Rangoon to their new super-secret capital, and all the buses to Mandalay used it (or mine did). Since I was relatively rich, I took the highest-cost VIP liner. I was shocked. It had airline service with stewardesses and food carts, huge reclining seats with headphones, etc. Fantastic. I slept and woke up totally refreshed. There’s no reason for people not to take buses like this.

    On the other hand, Japan’s rail services have not really resulted in an improvement in quality of life as far as I can tell. If you compare a single rail line to a single highway, the rail line is much more invasive for the landscape. The promise of rail travel is not that it’s better than highways, but that it will replace/prevent highways, but that doesn’t really seem to be the case here. As long as construction is make-work government hand-outs, rails and highways are just built on top of each other.

    Speaking as someone who just a couple months ago drove SF to LA on US 1 and who lives in Japan, I would hate to see the California landscape despoiled by all the overhead lines, raised concrete platforms, crossing signs, new separate stations (yes!), and numerous paraphernalia needed to maintain Japan’s shinkansen.

    Furthermore, last year, flying from Osaka to Tokyo was cheaper as well as slightly faster than taking the shinkansen, so there were a lot of people switching over to the flights. Who actually commutes from LA to SF and can’t afford to fly?

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  94. tbraton says:
    @Cracker
    FWIW, many feel Jersey could use more rail service. Plenty of rail lines are now trails. Not a joke. For awhile NJ Transit has even pondered bringing back that old service out to PA again:

    http://www.njtransit.com/tm/tm_servlet.srv?hdnPageAction=Project019To

    And this this bridge is cool:

    http://weirdnj.com/stories/paulinskill-viaduct/

    If you visit, bring your spray can!

    “And this this bridge is cool:”

    Totally agree. A marvelous looking structure. I notice it was built in 1908, during the midst of the Beaux-Art movement in the U.S., which produced many marvelous structures throughout the U.S. Among those was Union Station, built in 1907, one of my favorite buildings in Washington, D.C. from the time I was a child. After being allowed to decay with the decline of rail traffic, it was fully and beautifully restored in the 1980′s while being converted essentially to a “visitors’ center.”

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  95. SFG says:
    @TangoMan
    What did I just see? My eyes are bleeding from the stupidity of those hosts. This is what the women of America watch during the day?

    Adios America, we're done for.

    Yeah, they had Bernie Sanders on and he tried a pint of the ice cream named after him. I guess he had to, but Ben and Jerry’s always did make good ice cream, whatever their politics.

    Hey, I thought it was funny.

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  96. @Dumbo
    I don't think the problem is "status" or socially tainted, the problem is that Greyhound buses really, really suck.

    Uncomfortable, ugly, smelly, always delayed, only minorities or broke students take them.

    AMTRAK and Via Rail (in Canada) are OK, a relatively comfortable trip, but slow. The AMTRAK train service from NY to Montreal is nice, but only during the day and takes 10-12 hours (!). Couldn't they improve on that?

    As for me, I'd love to see a renaissance of the giant airships/zeppelins cruising the skies between LA and SF at, er, 85 mph? Not much speed, but think of the view.

    I would to fly zeppelins everywhere, but I think there are good reasons commuter zeppelins don’t exist–something about per performance in cost-to-speed.

    I used to take Greyhound to travel in university. Greyhound is horrible. I used to huddle up next to Amish people to avoid wretched-smelling bag ladies. Recently a relative died, and my mother had to take a Greyhound cross-country. She got off to use the bathroom at one stop, and the driver (guess what gender and color!) left her there. She lost all her luggage and only avoided walking for miles because the state police picked her up. She’s in her late 60s.

    Amtrak on the other hand, you have to love. The key is, when traveling in NY, to buy the ticket to Montreal, which gets you onto the special car with extra-large seats. Amtrak has wi-fi now and craft beers, too, which means you can work on your laptop and look out the window at the Hudson or Adirondack mountains while drinking Dogfish Head 90-minute IPA. What’s not to love?

    Also, for anyone who’s got the time, I advise doing this…

    http://boingboing.net/2014/06/15/36-hours-to-seattle-taking-th.html

    I haven’t been able to yet, but I took a sleeper from London to Fort William when I was younger and loved it. I remember waking up, opening my curtains, and seeing a stone wall extending out into the distance. Whether I actually woke up to see the Antonine Wall out my window, I’m not sure, but I will always remember the thrill of thinking so.

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  97. SFG says:
    @AKAHorace
    Steve,

    you never have an open threads so I am posting this here although it is unrelated to the thread topic. The behavior of social justice warriors seems self defeating to outsiders, their unwillingness to compromise, their intolerance of the slightest dissent even within themselves to the slightest deviation from the party line. This should not work and yet it seems to be successful. Nicholas Taleb presents an argument that may explain, counter intuitively (to me at least) their tactics are rational and will work over the long run.


    http://fooledbyrandomness.com/minority.pdf

    Sorry for the derailment.

    Oh, I think they’ll win. They have the kids, and they have the universities and media.

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    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Oh, I think they’ll win. They have the kids, and they have the universities and media.
     
    In what sense do they "have the kids"? Not by birthing them, at least until their 40s. They get others' kids at kindergarten, but as the Jesuits used to say, let us have the boy until he's seven, and you may do as you wish with him. It won't matter.

    And SJWism is a white thing, like democracy and "marriage equality". Whites are already a minority of children born here. Non-white participation is never by conviction, it's always bought. It will be a very expensive future for the SJWs.

    Prohibition, an earlier SJW obsession, had Protestants going Islamic, but only lasted a decade and a half. That's what going against nature does.

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  98. The problem is the state. A true free market (which has yet to exist) in a private-property society would never germinate boondoggles. Market efficiency would prevail in the absence of state-generated moral hazard and its clouding of price discovery. Entrepreneurs would research potential markets to determine, for example, “Whether or not anyone in Silicon Valley wants to actually go to the Kern County line . . .” as the much-vaunted President-Elect Steve “Beach-Boy” Sailer has asked.

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    • Replies: @Former Darfur
    The problem is the state. A true free market (which has yet to exist) in a private-property society would never germinate boondoggles.

    You are correct, a true free market has never existed.

    And it never will.

    It is as chimerical as the opposite, the New Soviet Man, which Marxist-Leninists claimed would come along and usher in Communism.

    There never was a Communist country, by the definition of Communists. The Soviet Union and its satellite states (all of which and only which were nation-sized prisons with razor wire, walls, machine gun stations and occasional sally ports for tourists, the nomenklatura, and foreign subsidies from Armand and his ilk) were not Communist countries, by their own standards. They were Socialist countries, Socialism being the intermediate step between bourgeois capitalism and Communism, a state where the organs of the state wither away because they would be unneeded in dealing with the New Communist Man.

    At least the Marxist-Leninists were honest insofar as they admitted they didn't live up to their ideal. Yet.

    Capitalists however pretended they had capitalism when in fact they had mercantilism or state corporatism. Pure capitalism is a state where in effect the noneconomic bonds of society wither away from disuse and all human interactions are measured in money. It has never existed, and if it hasn't existed by now we can predict it won't, for the same reason the Soviet Union imploded far before it got to authentic Communism. It's contrary to reality.

    Businesses don't really want "pure capitalism", they want protection from competition on some level or another. And to an extent this is healthy and necessary, ironically. Multilevel marketing, as explained in the superb Vandruff article (written, ironically, by fundamentalist Christians because they correctly saw MLM as wrecking, among other things, churches) fails precisely for this reason. The number of Wal-Marts, McDonalds, or what have you has to be finite or all will fail. (Radio Shack, which would have worked fine as a destination store, is another example: there were way too many.) For a business to survive it has to have a controlled level of competition.
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  99. @AKAHorace
    Steve,

    you never have an open threads so I am posting this here although it is unrelated to the thread topic. The behavior of social justice warriors seems self defeating to outsiders, their unwillingness to compromise, their intolerance of the slightest dissent even within themselves to the slightest deviation from the party line. This should not work and yet it seems to be successful. Nicholas Taleb presents an argument that may explain, counter intuitively (to me at least) their tactics are rational and will work over the long run.


    http://fooledbyrandomness.com/minority.pdf

    Sorry for the derailment.

    Sorry for the derailment.

    Yuk, yuk, yuk…

    This is an interesting read. Thanks. It explains quite well why libertarianism is not nor ever will be a dominant ideology in any society.

    But beyond that, I think Taleb has failed–or at least a shallow reading of his essay fails–to explain adequately. Because the intolerant minority does need a support group and also needs an indulgent majority. Germans speak English in the presence of 1 non-German-speaker because they are today the kind of people who will let a flood of Syrians into their country… and because the non-German-speaker cannot speak German…

    Gays got a lot of power in this country not just because they wouldn’t shut up, but because the nice Christians didn’t torture, beat, and murder them when they wouldn’t shut up… and because if they did get beaten, they were living in big cities around other gays whose shoulder they could cry on.

    In converse, iSteve is full of intolerant readers, but we aren’t having much impact, are we? I live in Japan and all the expats I know think Trump is Hitler. If I let out that they’re crazy, I have nowhere to go…

    So it’s more complicated than intolerant minorities.

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  100. @Jus' Sayin'...
    I'm not all that familiar with California demographics; but isn't Bakersfield to San Jose a train ride from one place where White folks don't want to be to another place where White folks don't want to be?

    “I’m not all that familiar with California demographics; but isn’t Bakersfield to San Jose a train ride from one place where White folks don’t want to be to another place where White folks don’t want to be?”

    Actually, it’s a ride from a place the wrong sort of White folks like (wary of Diversity because of its proximity) to a place that the correct sort of White folks like (limpwristed SWPLs sheltered from Diversity). The White demographic overlap of Bakersfield and San Jose is zilch.

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  101. @Jus' Sayin'...
    I'm not all that familiar with California demographics; but isn't Bakersfield to San Jose a train ride from one place where White folks don't want to be to another place where White folks don't want to be?

    Council District 10 (“the Almaden valley”) is still a high-status Whitopia, albeit with more than a sprinkling of Asians too. Most of District 1, and much of 9 are still quite nice as well. Also, the Willow Glen neighborhood has some very nice areas (District 6, I think).

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    • Replies: @Prof. Woland
    I grew up in the Almaden valley. I am sure it has changed a lot but one thing that has not is it's geographic isolation. There were only two ways in and out, one at each end of the valley so it kept the riff raff and non-drivers out. It always gave it a small town feel even though it was part of greater San Jose.
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  102. CAL says:

    Part of the problem with trains is the constant start/stop you have to handle for each location. I always wondered if it would be feasible for a non-stop load/unload car at the end of the train? You want to get on the train running from NY to CHI at Toledo. So you get on a car at the Toledo station. That car is accelerated to catch the train as it goes by while it drops it’s unload car at Toledo. Reverse the process to get off. The point though is the train gets to maintain speed while still dropping people off.

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  103. Sue D. Nim says: • Website

    WWT : Tranny v Tranny

    Winner of national transgender beauty pageant stripped of her title because she was ‘not transgender enough’

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/12165845/Winner-of-national-transgender-beauty-pageant-stripped-of-her-title-because-she-was-not-transgender-enough.html

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    • Replies: @candid_observer
    How do you stop the fraying of The Fringes?
    How do you catch a moonbat in your hand?
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  104. @TangoMan
    What did I just see? My eyes are bleeding from the stupidity of those hosts. This is what the women of America watch during the day?

    Adios America, we're done for.

    What did I just see? My eyes are bleeding from the stupidity of those hosts. This is what the women of America watch during the day?

    The women of America are at work during the day. This is crap for welfare mammies.

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  105. Andrew says:
    @Ed
    The big problem with new rail projects in the US is actually buried in Steve's post, in an off hand comment about well heeled people potentially objecting to trains running at 220 MPH through their suburbs.

    People keep thinking that the US is not particularly densely populated or even underpopulated, which probably also drives the enthusiasm for more and more immigration. Yes, if you take the 320 or so million people in the US (which I suspect is an undercount to hide the amount of illegal immigration) and divide it by the total number of square miles, you get a lower person to square mile ratio than in Europe, China, and India. But these three places are the most densely populated places on Earth. And the US is the third or fourth largest country by land area.

    But a good part of the area of the US are places where either people don't want to live or where it would be absurdly expensive to maintain (and bring water to) dense populations, either mountains or deserts or featureless plains with really bad weather. The vast majority of people live in metropolitan areas, generally the suburban parts. The whole advantage of intercity passenger rail is that it can get you from downtown to downtown, no need to make the trek to/ from the airport way out in the burbs. But the only way to do that is to put tracks through the suburbs where people don't want it. And enough rail tracks were removed when people thought that everyone would drive everywhere, no problems with traffic (with rails to trails being a particularly egregious bit of stupidity that this is a real problem).

    I'm familiar enough with these projects to know that the San Jose to Bakersfield link is being done first just to get something built, hopefully in time for the politicians currently in office to open it, to show people some tangible result for their tax dollars quickly. Then people will pony up to get the line through the coast mountains to LA. I actually doubt the line will reach downtown San Francisco, given that Amtrak's normal trains don't go there, but there are at least CalTrains and eventually BART links to SF.

    I also agree with the earlier commentator that the focus of any passenger rail development in the US should be on commuter rail. High speed intercity rail is a huge distraction that at best should be at the bottom of the list of planned improvements in the area. It you really have to build high speed passenger rail, LA-SF is probably the second place where it should be implemented after NY-DC, though there is a case for prioritizing connecting Chicago with any northeast corridor line instead.

    “I actually doubt the line will reach downtown San Francisco, given that Amtrak’s normal trains don’t go there”

    Yes it will. It will go straight up the existing Caltrain line, which will have one or two extra tracks added to it and into a new station under the Transbay Terminal..

    It will operate at 100-125 mph in this area and it will eliminate all the grade crossings. Caltrain has been moving in that direction anyway and will soon be electrifying the line.

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  106. Andrew says:
    @Ed
    The big problem with new rail projects in the US is actually buried in Steve's post, in an off hand comment about well heeled people potentially objecting to trains running at 220 MPH through their suburbs.

    People keep thinking that the US is not particularly densely populated or even underpopulated, which probably also drives the enthusiasm for more and more immigration. Yes, if you take the 320 or so million people in the US (which I suspect is an undercount to hide the amount of illegal immigration) and divide it by the total number of square miles, you get a lower person to square mile ratio than in Europe, China, and India. But these three places are the most densely populated places on Earth. And the US is the third or fourth largest country by land area.

    But a good part of the area of the US are places where either people don't want to live or where it would be absurdly expensive to maintain (and bring water to) dense populations, either mountains or deserts or featureless plains with really bad weather. The vast majority of people live in metropolitan areas, generally the suburban parts. The whole advantage of intercity passenger rail is that it can get you from downtown to downtown, no need to make the trek to/ from the airport way out in the burbs. But the only way to do that is to put tracks through the suburbs where people don't want it. And enough rail tracks were removed when people thought that everyone would drive everywhere, no problems with traffic (with rails to trails being a particularly egregious bit of stupidity that this is a real problem).

    I'm familiar enough with these projects to know that the San Jose to Bakersfield link is being done first just to get something built, hopefully in time for the politicians currently in office to open it, to show people some tangible result for their tax dollars quickly. Then people will pony up to get the line through the coast mountains to LA. I actually doubt the line will reach downtown San Francisco, given that Amtrak's normal trains don't go there, but there are at least CalTrains and eventually BART links to SF.

    I also agree with the earlier commentator that the focus of any passenger rail development in the US should be on commuter rail. High speed intercity rail is a huge distraction that at best should be at the bottom of the list of planned improvements in the area. It you really have to build high speed passenger rail, LA-SF is probably the second place where it should be implemented after NY-DC, though there is a case for prioritizing connecting Chicago with any northeast corridor line instead.

    “But the only way to do that is to put tracks through the suburbs where people don’t want it. And enough rail tracks were removed when people thought that everyone would drive everywhere, no problems with traffic (with rails to trails being a particularly egregious bit of stupidity that this is a real problem).”

    Very few rail lines of any significance or utility were removed through current urban or suburban areas. Most rail to trail schemes that could impact future intercity rail operations are out in rural areas.

    The larger problem with suburbs is that it would be extremely unlikely any new straighter line could be built through them, so the train operation has to accept the curvature and speed limitations that is already present until it can get out about 20-30 miles.

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  107. Andrew says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Wrong. Amtrak makes a profit on the Northeast Corridor. Where Amtrak loses its money is on the long-distance routes.

     

    Most of Amtrak's routes between the coasts are little more than subsidized nostalgia. That is vastly preferable to subsidized dispossession, but let's be honest about it and put it where such things belong: the National Park Service.

    “Most of Amtrak’s routes between the coasts are little more than subsidized nostalgia. That is vastly preferable to subsidized dispossession, but let’s be honest about it and put it where such things belong: the National Park Service.”

    These routes aren’t mainly tourist cruise lines, but serve to carry riders on business or vacation or personal travel from small towns to larger cities, or between mid-size cities, especially in areas with no bus service and no air service.

    In other words, they are a basic transportation option for people who cannot or do not want to drive.

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    • Replies: @Ed
    "These routes aren’t mainly tourist cruise lines, but serve to carry riders on business or vacation or personal travel from small towns to larger cities, or between mid-size cities, especially in areas with no bus service and no air service.'

    I got into lengthy discussion of this on another blog. Amtrak is down now to running four trans-continental routes through sparsely populated areas out West that lose lots of money for them. I forget the official names of the trains, but one runs between Chicago and Seattle, one between Chicago and Sacramento (the original trans-continental route), one between Chicago and LA, and the fourth between New Orleans and LA.

    My proposal was to cut the most northern and the most southern of these routes and go down to two, the Chicago-Sacramento and Chicago-LA routes. I think its a good idea to keep at least one trans-continental route, and both of these connect with several large cities out west and would be the logical ones to retain. I would still run trains between New Orleans, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, but nothing between San Antonio and LA where the line mostly runs through desert.

    I was interested to learn that the Chicago-Seattle line, I think its called the Empire Builder, was being used at the time to bring workers to the shale heavy parts of North Dakota to work on the fracking operations, and halting it would cause problems with fracking. Apparently there is not much in the way of nearby airports, and its too far from anything for driving to be a good idea. Take that for what its worth.

    A number of Amtrak lines that would otherwise be cut have now effectively been taken over by the governments of the states they run in. That should be done as much as possible with the network.
    , @Former Darfur
    As subsidized nostalgia, Amtrak sucks.

    There are several tourist and scenic rail operations in the US, some using really impressive vintage rolling stock and steam or diesel locomotives, and UP famously offered excursion runs behind its famous 844 for many years.
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  108. Felix. says:

    I hope the day when self-driving lanes/cars become an option is far, far away. The sooner the day comes when not driving your own car is an option, the sooner the day will come when driving your own car is not an option.

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  109. @Steve Sailer
    It's been an average year for rain so far in Northern California, somewhat below average in SoCal. That reduces the crisis (which was worse in NorCal), but it hasn't been a massive El Nino year yet to refill the reservoirs. It still could be, but there are only about two months left before the dry season.

    The skiing this year is rockin! Sacramento is flat, but when you cross over a freeway and rise up a bit, the view of the snow-blanketed mountains is breathtaking.

    Don’t get any ideas down there in SoCal about our water, buster.

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  110. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:
    @Cracker
    If you don't support High Speed Rail, you're a racist and hate gays. You heard it here first...

    Why are you discriminating against the rest of the LGBT gaggle?

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  111. @Steve Sailer
    Commuter rail in Chicago is a very nice amenity. I can remember taking the train to the north shore and thinking that this is much more civilized than either driving the Kennedy expressway or taking the El. (On the other hand, commuting down Lake Shore Drive isn't bad either.) You can estimate how valuable commuter rail is by looking at the price premium for homes close to commuter rail stations.

    But it's real hard to retrofit commuter rail into a city. Los Angeles, for example, is full of missed opportunities that could have been done a century ago for a reasonable price if anybody had anticipated how valuable the real estate would someday be. But the market didn't anticipate that so it didn't seem worth doing.

    But it’s real hard to retrofit commuter rail into a city.

    Actually, the great commuter rail suburbs fit the lines so well because they were built by the railroads themselves, which made more on the real estate than on fares. (Assuming they made anything on fares at all!)

    London is a classic case. Parliament banned railroad involvement in real estate, but the Metropolitan Railway wangled an exemption, saying they were a really small, insignificant suburban line where the effect wouldn’t be large. They lied. When they got their dispensation, they went whole hog, or great guns as they say.

    (I knew an Oxfordshire girl who said “great guns” all the time. Is it still legal to do so?)

    You might retrofit by finding a string of abandoned industrial areas along an existing freight line, and turning those into high-density luxury housing. But freight pays more than passengers, and the appeal of ex-factories is highly dependent upon the nature of the materials once used there, so good luck with that project.

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    • Replies: @Ed
    All the points Reg Caesar makes are excellent.

    On LA, there is a big push now to reclaim the river. The Amtrak lines going into the city from the east already run along it (you can get a good view of the "river" if you take them), and that is a potential commuter rail corridor. Though East LA on the whole is fairly densely populated, there are still alot of industrial corridors without many people there. The problem is running lines through the western areas. To get a train to Bakersfield, I would go east first, to San Bernardino, then run north through the desert. Btw, there already is commuter rail that feeds into Union Station, but I suspect the existing lines tend to run east and Steve wouldn't be using them.

    The other point is good that freight is always more profitable than passengers. The federal government used to subsidize intra-city passenger rail by paying the freight railroads to carry mail in return for them providing passenger service, and for some reason in the 1960s a decision was made to stop doing that and passenger service collapsed (Amtrak was created mostly to assume the pension obligations of the freight railroads and I'm not sure if anyone expected it to still be a going concern forty years later). For this reason, along with the inevitable pressure to hold down fares and the high capital costs, passenger rail pretty much has to be something the government does if its done at all. The UK has tried to fight this but the result has been something of a mess.
    , @Discard
    The appeal of ex-factories or warehouses for luxury housing is limited only by the imagination of real estate hucksters. Call it "loft living" and you can double the rents.

    And factories built to support heavy machinery are not made of cheap materials.
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  112. Cracker says:
    @Daniel H
    >>As for me, I’d love to see a renaissance of the giant airships/zeppelins cruising the skies between LA and SF at, er, 85 mph? Not much speed, but think of the view.

    I second that. Zeppelins would be really cool. And what they lack in absolute speed would be compensate for by avoidance of all traffic, and precision. We should be able to land Zeppelins right in the center of our major cities. No need to travel from far off airports on congested highways.

    Part of the Empire State Bld. design. Having kraut zeppelins dock, but with the Hindenburg, that whole industry crashed and burned.

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    • Replies: @Daniel H
    >>Part of the Empire State Bld. design. Having kraut zeppelins dock, but with the Hindenburg, that whole industry crashed and burned.

    I know. I always thought that it wast crazy having passengers disembark 1200" in the air. Disaster waiting to happen, just as did happen when a helicopter crashed on the teleport of the old Metlife building on Park Avenue, killing a bunch of pedestrians on the ground. They could just as easy disembark in a huge parking lot, such as Shea Stadium's. From there it is a short subway ride into Manhattan. Or they could build a platform on the shore of the East River or something. Everything doesn't have to be high tech and crazy.

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  113. @SFG
    Oh, I think they'll win. They have the kids, and they have the universities and media.

    Oh, I think they’ll win. They have the kids, and they have the universities and media.

    In what sense do they “have the kids”? Not by birthing them, at least until their 40s. They get others’ kids at kindergarten, but as the Jesuits used to say, let us have the boy until he’s seven, and you may do as you wish with him. It won’t matter.

    And SJWism is a white thing, like democracy and “marriage equality”. Whites are already a minority of children born here. Non-white participation is never by conviction, it’s always bought. It will be a very expensive future for the SJWs.

    Prohibition, an earlier SJW obsession, had Protestants going Islamic, but only lasted a decade and a half. That’s what going against nature does.

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    • Replies: @bomag
    Non-white participation is never by conviction, it’s always bought.

    The SWPLs largely sit astride the vast wealth flowing into the treasury from the machine and computer age. They are buying a lot of mercenaries. The race is on between rising expectations and the ability of the modern world to keep the wheels rolling.
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  114. Andrew says:
    @wren
    Musk's Hyperloop seems to be moving forward on a number of fronts.

    Since it would compete directly with high speed rail, it always seemed like it could knock the plans for rail off the rails if it had a few successful test runs.

    It seems that may happen within the year.

    “Musk’s Hyperloop seems to be moving forward on a number of fronts. Since it would compete directly with high speed rail, it always seemed like it could knock the plans for rail off the rails if it had a few successful test runs.”

    Musk’s Hyperloop will be impossibly costly to construct and pay for via the fare charges. Only someone without any idea of the cost of tunnelling and bridges and heavy civil construction could think this is a great scheme on which to spend money. For example, the pressurized tube steel required looks to be 1/2 ton per foot if we assume a 1″ wall thickness to hold the pressure. The tolerances on its finish will be incredible, so we can assume it will be quite costly per ton – probably around $1500 per ton. Each 50 to 100 ft. section will require a high precision electric flash-butt weld to join to the next section and hold pressure. Just the material cost for two tubes for his proposed segment would be $2.5 billion, which would double or triple to reach an installed cost accounting for transportation, manpower, and erection costs. If we assume it is 20 ft. up in the air in the Central Valley, the foundation and support pier costs will run around $7.5 billion per tube on his first segment. Tunnelling is required through the San Gabriel’s. Kaching, kaching. The Hyperloop requires enormous amounts of compressors, linear induction motor lines, electric cabling, substations, safety systems, and more. Musk has not yet even begun to address passenger safety in case of an emergency. How do you get out of the sealed tube if there is a fire in the middle? NFPA says you need an egress passage every 300 ft. in a tunnel? Does the Hyperloop somehow get a pass on fire safety because Musk is “special?”

    The Hyperloop is premised on essentially having no curvature at all in the route vertically or horizontally. That will be almost impossible at the desired speeds, and the necessary construction tolerances will be unachievable in the field, especially with the American construction labor force.

    The vehicles are preposterously small (slightly wider than a passenger car) and uncomfortable in proposed size. You cannot stand up and there is no restroom. Since they are tiny, they can only carry a few people. That means low revenue unless you run lots of vehicles at once, which presents the safety issue of pod spacing and safe braking distance separation.

    And it faces the urban area problem – namely how and where to build in the places where people live. Rail doesn’t face that problem – the rail lines already exist in urban and suburban areas. Musk’s solution is to stop on the extreme outskirts of major areas in places like Sylmar and Hayward. Not helpful if you want to get to Orange County or Marin County or even San Francisco or Pasadena.

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    • Replies: @wren
    That may all be true, or it may not -- I don't know.

    What is impressive to me is the speed at which we ought to figure it out. A number of feasibility studies have already been done, and testing should start this year.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperloop

    Even though this is not Musk's project, it can't be denied that other projects he has taken on are close to success.

    SpaceX is launching satellites, and may go to Mars. Tesla does build nice cars.

    Time will tell.

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  115. Yak-15 says:
    @JayMan

    Even in the crowded northeast (between NY and Washington) Amtrak (rail service) loses millions each and every year. Personal vehicles are essential in vast, spread-out, non-urban areas; which describes most of California.
     
    Wrong. Amtrak makes a profit on the Northeast Corridor. Where Amtrak loses its money is on the long-distance routes.

    Therefore, high speed rain in California is a nice idea only; since once you reach your destination (unless it’s SF or downtown LA) you still need a ‘personal transport vehicle’ (car) to get around.
     
    Which would work if that was the focus.

    LA-SF and the Northeast Corridor are the only places in the country where high-speed rail improvements make sense. I don't expect either to happen any time soon for various reasons, though.

    If it would have “worked” (been profitable) why aren’t private investors stumbling over each other to invest? In this low/negative interest rate, deflationary/low return environment, why isn’t the smart money jumping in?

    Money could have bought out political interests to make it happen if it was worthwhile. It always has and always will.

    The only logical reason would be that it is not profitable. Same reason why no private interest has been able to buy out Amtrak.

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  116. Andrew says:
    @European-American
    Buses may be becoming cool in Europe.

    Until recently, you couldn't take a city-to-city bus within France, you had to take a train (or drive or fly). Same in Germany until 2013. Now deregulation removed the strict restrictions preventing buses from competing with rail.

    So now there are cool web sites like https://www.flixbus.com/ that offer super-cheap trips on comfortable buses with wifi and power plugs for your devices, something most trains still don't have at five times the price!

    Buses are still pretty slow compared to trains, but who cares when you can be online the whole time or sleep and it doesn't cost you a fortune.

    “So now there are cool web sites like https://www.flixbus.com/ that offer super-cheap trips on comfortable buses with wifi and power plugs for your devices, something most trains still don’t have at five times the price!”

    Amtrak trains generally have WIFI and every pair of seats has two wall plugs.

    What trains are you talking about? Commuter trains and subways?

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    • Replies: @European-American
    European trains.
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  117. Andrew says:
    @Ttjy

    I also agree with the earlier commentator that the focus of any passenger rail development in the US should be on commuter rail. High speed intercity rail is a huge distraction that at best should be at the bottom of the list of planned improvements in the area. It you really have to build high speed passenger rail, LA-SF is probably the second place where it should be implemented after NY-DC, though there is a case for prioritizing connecting Chicago with any northeast corridor line instead
     
    .

    Commuter rail has a place,but I still think buses are also an option. You don't need as much density for buses and buses are very versatile, unlike even light rail. You can constantly change bus routes as needed.Chicago has a good commuter rail system to downtown, but so many people in the Chicago area work in places like Rosemont, Schaumburg, Oak Brook, Naperville and other areas. You can't go from suburb to suburb or city to suburb easily.

    If you could get a certain threshold of cars off the expressways at rush hour, buses would even beat out trains going to the Loop. Once you get to the station downtown you either have to walk or take the bus to your office, while a bus from say Schaumburg or Oak Brook could have a few stops around the loop so you wouldn't even have to walk or catch a bus from the train station.
    If there is no traffic jam you can make it from Schaumburg to the Loop in 25- 3o minutes by bus. Metra would take slightly longer and then you still have to go from the station to your office.

    High Speed rail seems like a waste to me for LA to Sf. The amount of infrastructure and rights of way that would have to be built and then kept up would be very expensive. Is a high speed train much less expensive than a 737,especially when there is no worry about building and repairing a rail line?

    Wouldn't high speed rail ruin a lot of nice areas between sf-la or would it go up along the I-5?

    “High Speed rail seems like a waste to me for LA to Sf. The amount of infrastructure and rights of way that would have to be built and then kept up would be very expensive. Is a high speed train much less expensive than a 737,especially when there is no worry about building and repairing a rail line?”

    The premise is to remove those 737′s from the airport and free up space for longer flights rail coudl never be competitive with, instead of building more runways and terminals. Airports and terminals are not maintenance free either.

    “Wouldn’t high speed rail ruin a lot of nice areas between sf-la or would it go up along the I-5?”

    You need to define your concept of ruin. Does US 101 ruin a lot of nice areas? How about El Camino Real? Does the existing Caltrain and Metrolink rail lines ruin these areas? The high speed train will be running on those.

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    • Replies: @Ttjy
    A true HSR needs a totally separate grade if it is going to go 160+. You can't have any streets crossing it to my understanding.

    I would say any expressway damages an area. Expressways going through cities are unsightly and noisy. I wouldn't want to live near one.

    Lake Shore Drive in Chicago ruins the lakefront with a busy road right next to it. The beaches are nice ,but it would be better without LSD. LSD is really an expressway on the lake, not ideal.

    I think Highway 1 in Ca also damaged the coast. There shouldn't be any road parallel to the ocean. If you want a town that is one thing, but the main roads should be perpendicular to the coastal city. The coast should be kept as a park with no roads near it or at least have housing on it, but there should be no road. Highway 1 leaves the beach right next to a noisy road. The main north-south road should be at least 4 or 5 miles inland. You would have a town and then the inlet to the town would be on the east side of the town. You would have to drive east and then connect to the main n-s road.

    Below is a picture of Hwy 1. It 's a nice drive, but imagine that area with no road, just a pristine area for hiking or camping etc. That's probably wishful thinking but ideally that is what it should be.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=highway+1+california&espv=2&biw=1509&bih=753&tbm=isch&imgil=aUUHJ8Ir9hBbWM%253A%253B9hmo16V8OIDCMM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.dangerousroads.org%25252Fnorth-america%25252Fusa%25252F384-pacific-coast-highway-usa.html&source=iu&pf=m&fir=aUUHJ8Ir9hBbWM%253A%252C9hmo16V8OIDCMM%252C_&usg=__LhgxmRL_sAidJ6moOIRUxhCXqTw%3D&ved=0ahUKEwjhu_3HmofLAhXFGz4KHcp2AD4QyjcIJQ&ei=E9DIVqHmJcW3-AHK7YHwAw#imgrc=aUUHJ8Ir9hBbWM%3A
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  118. @Anonymous
    Ann Coulter says that she's not an immigrant but a settler. I heard this kind of argument before, but only from one guy, Samuel p Huntingdon. That's the first time I’ve ever head someone make this argument in the mainstream. Apparently no one at the view could respond to her.




    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a7egqkD8wQ

    “Ann Coulter says that she’s not an immigrant but a settler [descendant].”

    It would be nice to hear her explanation of the distinction, but the six-biddies-speaking-at-0nce, crabs-in-a-bucket format of The View does not allow for a take-your-turns discussion.

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  119. As some other poster said – why would anyone want to travel between San Fran and LA? What would be the reason. I drove that route once as a sight-seer in the late ’80s. Aside from the rare vacation or to visit family, I can’t see much demand. I suppose there is some business travel, but hardly enough to justify a $20 – $50B+ (?) train project.

    Fortunately for me, I don’t like to commute or travel. My work place, shopping, family, the beach, and all amenities are w/i 2 miles of my house. Most weekends, my car doesn’t leave the garage.

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    • Replies: @Ttjy
    I looked up busiest air routes and LA to Sf is the 2nd busiest at 3.6 million a year. NY to Chicago is first at 4 million. I still don't think HSR is a good idea between sf and la.

    That's on average 10000 people a day. An Airbus a380 can hold 853 people, so that would be only 11 flights a day. However, The airlines like to offer many different flights at different times so they increase the amount of flights

    It would be more efficient to have 6 flights per day each way with 853 people instead of the many flights they offer now. Or maybe 20 flights.

    I did also read that the rail is also competing with cars, not just planes. I think a lot of the plane passengers will keep flying.

    Most people are still going to need to rent a car when you get to the destination ..

    I still don't think the high speed rail would be worth it. I don't know what the route would be , but I think it could be pretty intrusive.

    They aren't going to be able to go 160 mpg is all sections of the line. Intermediate stops also slow the travel time down.
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  120. res says:
    @AKAHorace
    Steve,

    you never have an open threads so I am posting this here although it is unrelated to the thread topic. The behavior of social justice warriors seems self defeating to outsiders, their unwillingness to compromise, their intolerance of the slightest dissent even within themselves to the slightest deviation from the party line. This should not work and yet it seems to be successful. Nicholas Taleb presents an argument that may explain, counter intuitively (to me at least) their tactics are rational and will work over the long run.


    http://fooledbyrandomness.com/minority.pdf

    Sorry for the derailment.

    http://fooledbyrandomness.com/minority.pdf

    Interesting. Thanks for passing this along. More chapters from Taleb’s (upcoming?) Skin In the Game book:

    http://fooledbyrandomness.com/SITG.html

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  121. Andrew says:
    @Steve Sailer
    One thing that's struck me is how little a typical state capital goes upscale. Austin is the big exception to the rule, and Sacramento is nicer than other Central Valley cities (although one reason is that it's weather is nicer due to more sea breezes), but plenty of state capitals are only a little more prosperous that other small cities in the state. You'd probably be better off with the state flagship university (e.g., Ann Arbor, Michigan) than the state capital (Lansing, Michigan).

    “One thing that’s struck me is how little a typical state capital goes upscale. Austin is the big exception to the rule, and Sacramento is nicer than other Central Valley cities (although one reason is that it’s weather is nicer due to more sea breezes), but plenty of state capitals are only a little more prosperous that other small cities in the state. You’d probably be better off with the state flagship university (e.g., Ann Arbor, Michigan) than the state capital (Lansing, Michigan).”

    Actually, you are better off having both, like Austin, Madison, Eugene, Boise, Columbus, and Boston. And having a paucity of NAM’s.

    And sometimes state capital’s do go upscale. Raleigh, Annapolis, Nashville, Des Moines, Salt Lake City, Denver, Santa Fe.

    Perhaps its just random if your capital goes upscale, remains podunkville (Tallahassee, Dover, Pierre, Olympia, Montpelier, Concord, Augusta), or becomes a NAM infested hellhole (Harrisburg, Trenton, Hartford, Indianapolis, Richmond).

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  122. res says:
    @SPMoore8
    O/T, but this is the kind of article that would have appeared in a true satirical journal, if there was such a thing:

    http://www.browndailyherald.com/2016/02/18/schoolwork-advocacy-place-strain-on-student-activists/

    O/T, but this is the kind of article that would have appeared in a true satirical journal, if there was such a thing:

    http://www.browndailyherald.com/2016/02/18/schoolwork-advocacy-place-strain-on-student-activists/

    Is that or is that not satire?! I was sure it was satire after reading this passage:

    Justice Gaines ’16, who uses the pronouns xe, xem and xyr, said student activism efforts on campus are necessary. “I don’t feel okay with seeing students go through hardships without helping and organizing to make things better.”

    In the wake of The Herald’s opinion pieces, Gaines felt overwhelmed by emotions flooding across campus. Students were called out of class into organizing meetings, and xe felt pressure to help xyr peers cope with what was going on, xe said. Gaines “had a panic attack and couldn’t go to class for several days.”

    but the comments are taking it seriously. The second most upvoted comment is “It’s increasingly difficult to create effective satire, because reality is clearly more absurd than any fiction imaginable.”

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  123. Whiskey says: • Website
    @Lot
    David Brooks is misusing statistics to attack Trump and downplay the fact that hispanic crime rates are higher than non-hispanic whites, whether you are talking about hispanics as a whole, or just the three big groups, Mexican-Americans, Central Americans, and Caribbean Hispanics.

    He makes some of the same errors of Unz in this regard. Specifically, Unz argues that incarceration rates, with his own adjustments to the rates, are a good method to compare crime rates. The flaw of this is that (1) hispanic career criminals are often deported so do not stay in US prisons long compared to career white and black criminals (2) hispanics have shorter tenure in the USA even within each age group.

    Unz next looks at the overall crime rate in cities compared to their hispanic population. He finds that quite often heavy hispanic cities have very low crime rates, such as majority hispanic Santa Ana and El Paso, and large minority hispanic San Diego.

    This is an important finding since some on the alt right do overstate the hispanic/white crime gap, which is just a fraction of the black white crime gap.

    However, the problem is that this method cannot, by definition, work if hispanics are more likely to move to areas with low-crime white populations versus high-crime white populations. And indeed, hispanics are much more likely to move to areas with highly educated and low-crime white populations, like California and Colorado's, than to areas with poorer and more criminal white populations, like West Virginia.

    The other problem is that, while certain hispanic cities have very low crime rates, other have very high rates, higher than any extremely white cities. And likewise, even these low crime hispanic cities have high crime rates compared to the most exceptional white and white/asian cities. Yes, El Paso and Santa Ana are pretty low crime, but they are much more criminal than Simi Valley, Laguna Beach, Del Mar, Marin County, or the many upper middle class exurban areas around most large American cities.

    City-Data Crime Index / Hispanic%/White%/Asian%
    Santa Ana 200.6 77.6/10.7/10.1
    El Paso 211.1 80.0/14.4/1.1
    Bell Gardens 194.5 95.7/2.7/0.5

    And other majority hispanic cities do not look so hot.

    Merced 362.9 53.2/27.8/13.5
    South Gate 322.7 94.8/3.4/0.7

    Some California cities with low hispanic populations:

    Irvine 89.6 11.8/44.3/38.6
    Simi Valley 104.9 25.8/63.0/8.6
    Palo Alto 117.5 27.8/57.7/27.8
    Sunnyvale 125 13.7/36.7/42.1

    Going outside of CA, here are the cities with populations between 60K and 100K with the lowest violent crime rates, the their hispanic share:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_cities_by_crime_rate_%2860,000%E2%80%93100,000%29

    Carmel, IN 2.5%
    Fishers, IN 3.4%
    Flower Mound, TX 8.4%
    Greenwich, CT 13.8%
    Palatine, IL 18%
    Orem, UT 14.8%
    Johns Creek, GA 5.2%
    Arlington Heights, IL 4.5%


    Now the lowest violent crime rates in the 100 to 250K city range:
    Irvine, CA 11.8%
    Murrieta, CA 25.9%
    Amherst, NY 2.3%
    Frisco, TX 12.4%
    Colonie, NY 1.9%
    Cary, NC 7.7%
    Naperville, IL 4.2%
    Temecula, CA 24.7%

    On average, the safest cities are far less hispanic than the state or region they are in is.

    Here's Brooks in his latest column:

    Trump plays up the alleged threat of crime committed by immigrants. But the overall evidence is clear. Immigrants make American streets safer.
     
    This is not true, but even the fake open boarders statistics has to lump our chaotic, unregulated illegal illegal immigrant population and Third World chain migration immigrants in with our imperfect but functioning skill based and First World immigration to come up with "immigrants make America safer." But restrictions like Trump don't think we need to keep out highly skilled scientists and the like, and we know Trump personally favors immigration from Europe.

    Among native-born men without a high school diploma, about 11 percent are incarcerated. Among similarly educated Mexican, Guatemalan and Salvadoran men here, only 2 or 3 percent get incarcerated.
     
    The problem here is that not too many Mexican, Guatemalan, and Salvadorian immigrants have 12 years of primary education. Comparing the incarceration of the dumbest/most impulsive 10% of native born Americans (who themselves are heavily black) with roughly the average Salvadorian is not really Apples to Apples, is it?


    Numerous studies have shown that a big share of the drop in crime rates in the 1990s is a result of the surge in immigration.
     
    This is not true, and unlike a lot of the claims, no citation to support it.


    Trump plays up the threat of terrorism. But the real threat is that our border agencies spend so much time tracking down people who want to be gardeners that they don’t have the resources to track down the people who want to be suicide bombers.
     
    Trump's "shut down Muslim immigration" would have stopped 100% of the mass terrorist attacks committed by immigrants in the USA. I agree it would be nice if we did not have to support a massive, liberty-destorying, very expensive and wasteful internal security state to protect us from ISIS. But that is the unavoidable price of having a Muslim immigrant population. I agree we should not have to pay that price.


    The bulk of the evidence shows that immigrants have a hugely positive effect on total American G.D.P
     
    Annexing Yemen, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Somalia would also increase "total GDP." Hmm, maybe that is not such a good statistic to evaluate policy.


    Second, by 2044, America will be a majority-minority country. This is a very different America than the one people who grew up in the 1960s were used to. It’s a historical transformation that is bound to raise very legitimate concerns.
     
    Stopping what Brooks calls the "browning of America" is not one of the legitimate concerns. We are only allowed to make sure that the browning-bringers are "properly vetted."

    Donald Trump’s G.O.P. is a rear-window party pining for a white America that is never coming back.
     
    So let's enact policies that speed its demise!

    A White America that is never coming back. Hmmm …

    Didn’t various Albanian nationalists and Muslim triumphalists say the same thing around 1989 in Yugoslavia? How did that one work out again?

    Diversity status signaling among upper class Whites has diminishing returns. Brooks may be secure, but places like Github are purging White males (and females):
    ———
    In February 2015, Sanchez wrote an article for USA Today entitled “More white women does not equal tech diversity,” and during a diversity training talk Sanchez even stated that technology was “not work for white folks to lead” and that “some of the biggest barriers to progress are white women.”

    “Don’t think we’ll succeed teaching white, male middle managers empathy and compassion anytime soon. So let’s limit their scope of damage,” wrote Campos in one tweet.
    ——–
    A cynic, OK me, would say that Github believes they have reached a monopoly, all competitors seen off, and wishes to milk the company as a cash cow with no investments, thus dumping high cost White male engineers who know what they are doing and replacing them with low skill H1-Bs at a fraction of the cost to maintain an aging, never updated again codebase.

    This is the reason behind the driving force of adoption of Diversity for Corporate entities.

    Dumping high cost White men for low cost H1-Bs, and wrapping it up in the religious dogma of Diversity.

    ABC has just appointed a Black female head of programming. The first such (Black and Female) ever appointed. The ratings are down 13%. As cord cutting accelerates due to spiraling costs of cable/satellite — ratings are going to be even more important as carriage fees from just being carried on say Direct TV go down as fewer people subscribe.

    Worse, Advertisers love Diversity. In commercials. But they don’t want an audience made up Moesha and Home Boys in Outer Space fans. The Pew Hispanic Trust estimated that media household net assets in 2010 was 135K, 5K, and 6K for White, Black, and Hispanic households respectively. MEDIAN. That means half are below that number. Big Ticket items won’t be bought by Black households in any appreciable numbers, given that Blacks are 12.5% of the population and half have less per household than 6K in net assets, let alone liquid free cash/income.

    The religious assumptions of diversity have been riding on the free margin of built up White wealth from the post War era, including but not limited to Ike’s interstate freeway system, the military derived satellite communications system, etc.

    That margin is being eroded rapidly due not only to burning up wealth by religious idiotic assumptions, but by foreign (Chinese) competition.

    Brooks is reliably wrong — Trump’s message is likely even heard among the SWPL fired for being White so some incompetent Latino/Latina can be Upper Middle Management and some incompetent H1-B is hired to do the actual work.

    I’ve never heard it explained how Whites don’t rebel, in various nasty ways, when they are shut out of nearly all opportunities save those connected and already powerful.

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  124. carol says:
    @Ezra1
    As the Silicon Valley workforce ages into the family years, there could be a lot of pressure on living costs near the tech firms. High speed rail might allow for the development of commuter suburbs far out into the Central Valley, even if the rail itself never makes it into SF or LA per se.

    I suspect that the benefits will never cover the costs, but given our negative interest rate environment there are a lot less worthwhile things the govt could be doing.

    OT - Fissures in the Democrats coalition
    http://www.adweek.com/news/television/was-moment-larry-wilmore-lost-stephen-colberts-intellectual-appeal-169712

    That’s a very good point. Brilliant actually.

    Invest in Kern co land, for the win!

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  125. Flip says:
    @Jimi
    Correct. In NYC its common to see old women on the Upper East Side hop on and off the buses in their mink coats. There isn't the same stigma as elsewhere.

    I discovered this stigma in Miami. I thought it was a no-brainer to take the bus from the airport to my hosts' house for $2. My hosts thought using the bus was extremely tacky.

    Year ago I was on a Chicago city bus going downtown sitting near Donald Rumsfeld when he was out of office in the private sector. Nobody else seemed to recognize him. You’d think he’d have a limo. :)

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  126. Ed says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    But it’s real hard to retrofit commuter rail into a city.
     
    Actually, the great commuter rail suburbs fit the lines so well because they were built by the railroads themselves, which made more on the real estate than on fares. (Assuming they made anything on fares at all!)

    London is a classic case. Parliament banned railroad involvement in real estate, but the Metropolitan Railway wangled an exemption, saying they were a really small, insignificant suburban line where the effect wouldn't be large. They lied. When they got their dispensation, they went whole hog, or great guns as they say.

    (I knew an Oxfordshire girl who said "great guns" all the time. Is it still legal to do so?)

    You might retrofit by finding a string of abandoned industrial areas along an existing freight line, and turning those into high-density luxury housing. But freight pays more than passengers, and the appeal of ex-factories is highly dependent upon the nature of the materials once used there, so good luck with that project.

    All the points Reg Caesar makes are excellent.

    On LA, there is a big push now to reclaim the river. The Amtrak lines going into the city from the east already run along it (you can get a good view of the “river” if you take them), and that is a potential commuter rail corridor. Though East LA on the whole is fairly densely populated, there are still alot of industrial corridors without many people there. The problem is running lines through the western areas. To get a train to Bakersfield, I would go east first, to San Bernardino, then run north through the desert. Btw, there already is commuter rail that feeds into Union Station, but I suspect the existing lines tend to run east and Steve wouldn’t be using them.

    The other point is good that freight is always more profitable than passengers. The federal government used to subsidize intra-city passenger rail by paying the freight railroads to carry mail in return for them providing passenger service, and for some reason in the 1960s a decision was made to stop doing that and passenger service collapsed (Amtrak was created mostly to assume the pension obligations of the freight railroads and I’m not sure if anyone expected it to still be a going concern forty years later). For this reason, along with the inevitable pressure to hold down fares and the high capital costs, passenger rail pretty much has to be something the government does if its done at all. The UK has tried to fight this but the result has been something of a mess.

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  127. Discard says:
    @Daniel H
    >>As for me, I’d love to see a renaissance of the giant airships/zeppelins cruising the skies between LA and SF at, er, 85 mph? Not much speed, but think of the view.

    I second that. Zeppelins would be really cool. And what they lack in absolute speed would be compensate for by avoidance of all traffic, and precision. We should be able to land Zeppelins right in the center of our major cities. No need to travel from far off airports on congested highways.

    The Empire State building still has a mooring mast for dirigibles.

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  128. Discard says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    But it’s real hard to retrofit commuter rail into a city.
     
    Actually, the great commuter rail suburbs fit the lines so well because they were built by the railroads themselves, which made more on the real estate than on fares. (Assuming they made anything on fares at all!)

    London is a classic case. Parliament banned railroad involvement in real estate, but the Metropolitan Railway wangled an exemption, saying they were a really small, insignificant suburban line where the effect wouldn't be large. They lied. When they got their dispensation, they went whole hog, or great guns as they say.

    (I knew an Oxfordshire girl who said "great guns" all the time. Is it still legal to do so?)

    You might retrofit by finding a string of abandoned industrial areas along an existing freight line, and turning those into high-density luxury housing. But freight pays more than passengers, and the appeal of ex-factories is highly dependent upon the nature of the materials once used there, so good luck with that project.

    The appeal of ex-factories or warehouses for luxury housing is limited only by the imagination of real estate hucksters. Call it “loft living” and you can double the rents.

    And factories built to support heavy machinery are not made of cheap materials.

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  129. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    …Actually, the great commuter rail suburbs fit the lines so well because they were built by the railroads themselves…

    I think much of Texas was populated by the railroad companies. Their advertising was not always exactly accurate about the lushness of the land and so on.

    Much of California (the cities) was laid out explicitly by the railroad companies. Reno is where it is because that’s where the railroad engineer/architect decided he needed a town, and so on. Coalinga is famously actually “Coaling, A”.

    The railroads were built first, the state followed.

    Stanford was rich enough to build his school because he owned the California railroads that laid out and populated the state, not to mention running California (governor):

    Leland Stanford:

    “…governor of California… eight years as senator from the state…

    …As president of Southern Pacific Railroad and, beginning in 1861, Central Pacific, he had tremendous power in the region and a lasting impact on California.”

    (Building part of the transcontinental railroad was a big factor in Stanford’s wealth and power.)

    “…The other point is good that freight is always more profitable than passengers.”

    Yep. The US might have lousy passenger rail, but we have the best freight rail infrastructure in the world. Easy to forget. One problem for US passenger rail is the freight lines own all the railroad track, but freight is most efficient at slower speeds that discombobulate passenger trains. So maybe what makes the “high-speed rail boondoggle” high-speed is simply not running freight trains on it?

    I think I recall that perhaps the single biggest energy saving in the US in the last decade or so has come about because old tunnels on freight lines were enlarged so that double-stack intermodal freight trains (double-decker container trains) could go through them. This enabled large freight trains to travel shorter routes (more direct) to their destinations, saving a lot of fuel on the continental transport infrastructure.

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    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    You might look at this
    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/companies/texas-pacific-land-trust/index.html
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  130. @Kevin O'Keeffe
    Council District 10 ("the Almaden valley") is still a high-status Whitopia, albeit with more than a sprinkling of Asians too. Most of District 1, and much of 9 are still quite nice as well. Also, the Willow Glen neighborhood has some very nice areas (District 6, I think).

    I grew up in the Almaden valley. I am sure it has changed a lot but one thing that has not is it’s geographic isolation. There were only two ways in and out, one at each end of the valley so it kept the riff raff and non-drivers out. It always gave it a small town feel even though it was part of greater San Jose.

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  131. Busby says:
    @reiner Tor
    The problem is it'll give you back control when it encounters some problem, usually in an emergency, but even if there's no real emergency, you'll be totally caught with your pants down doing something else (or outright asleep) and all you'll have is a fraction of a second to adjust because the car will be driving at 75mph. If you are in the middle of reading a book, not paying attention to the road, then how much time would you need to just make sure you now really have to drive the car (especially if the system was so good it only happened rarely), look around to see what needs to be done, and take action if needed, but avoid sudden action when no such action is needed? (Like suddenly and too forcefully turning the steering wheel or suddenly pressing the brakes with full force thus creating emergencies for other cars who will in turn stun their passengers into becoming drivers in a fraction of a second.)

    It's only useful if it never gives back control to you, which is only possible if the system running it is fully controlling the whole traffic on the highway, much the same way the whole railway traffic is controlled by the same system.

    It’s funny how we still fall for the same old extravagant claims. Atomic power was going to provide us electricity so cheap we wouldn’t need to meter usage. Supersonic transports would get you from New York to LA in a few hours. In my industry we have futurists predicting the end of truck drivers. Claims made by people who have clearly never experienced the joy of unclustering five 53 foot trailers trying to occupy the same space at the same time.
    My points are two.
    1. Trains move freight cheaply. People costly. It took us 50 years and lord knows how many railroad bankruptcies and mergers to figure that out. I guess we are going to have to spend billions over the next 50 years teaching government the same lesson.
    2. Self driving cars are a solution, but what’s the question? I’m sorry, maybe I’m just slow, but the whole self driving Google networked Uber on demand common car taxi thing seems like a tissue of desires where hope triumphs over human experience. Does the term “installed base” mean nothing?
    Maybe I’m just skeptical because we were promised flying cars and I’m sill waiting.

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    • Replies: @Former Darfur
    Trains moved people economically and safely when people wanted to travel by train. They quit wanting that when the places trains went to were no longer clean and safe to walk around.

    Passenger service on trains was not unprofitable. It was less profitable than freight and more trouble for officials, so they chose to do whatever it took to get out of it.

    The exact same thing is why it was "no longer profitable" to make small airplanes that union blue collar workers and lower end white collar ones could afford to fly. Corporate jets were more profitable and military subcontracts for pieces of bigger aircraft more profitable yet, so the MBAs endeavored to do what it took to get rid of the light aircraft.
    , @unpc downunder
    Yer I can't really see the big point of cars that drive themselves either. The biggest problem with modern transportation is the traffic jam, followed by passenger cars having to share roads with large trucks and buses. The later problem is even bigger in other new world countries like Canada and New Zealand where population densities are even lower and there is little rail infrastructure for freight.

    I guess self-driving cars might reduce road rage, since people could text, read etc while stuck in heavy traffic, but that's about it. Most people are quite happy to drive themselves when they are cruising along for a few hours on a highway.

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  132. Daniel H says:
    @Cracker
    Part of the Empire State Bld. design. Having kraut zeppelins dock, but with the Hindenburg, that whole industry crashed and burned.

    >>Part of the Empire State Bld. design. Having kraut zeppelins dock, but with the Hindenburg, that whole industry crashed and burned.

    I know. I always thought that it wast crazy having passengers disembark 1200″ in the air. Disaster waiting to happen, just as did happen when a helicopter crashed on the teleport of the old Metlife building on Park Avenue, killing a bunch of pedestrians on the ground. They could just as easy disembark in a huge parking lot, such as Shea Stadium’s. From there it is a short subway ride into Manhattan. Or they could build a platform on the shore of the East River or something. Everything doesn’t have to be high tech and crazy.

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    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    You are forgetting the 34th St Heliport.

    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/companies/texas-pacific-land-trust/index.html

    Pan Am used to fly Business/1st passengers there from JFK
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  133. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    I fully support the self-driving car, but the problem is that the accident-prone morons who need them most will probably refuse to use them.

    These are 1) drunk drivers and 2) young men who love to hot rod recklessly down the street. You can’t cure these people of their noxious personalities, and they will still make roads dangerous for other people.

    However, self-driving cars would be great for all those people who text and drive. They can now use their cars as a mobile office.

    But there’s another pair of big problems down the line. There may come a point when cities decide to let people who can’t drive at all use self-driving cars. If these people need to intervene in case of an emergency, they’re not going to have the skills or reflexes to do it.

    Another problem is an entire morning commute filled with pushy personalities all of whom are nudging their self-driving car to go illegally 20 mph over the speed limit and who think they can get away with it if they don’t see a cop. These people will be a problem if they force average traffic speeds up to 90 mph or over. Don’t think they won’t try it, because they will if they’re convinced that self-driving cars are ‘safe.’

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  134. Ed says:
    @Andrew
    "Most of Amtrak’s routes between the coasts are little more than subsidized nostalgia. That is vastly preferable to subsidized dispossession, but let’s be honest about it and put it where such things belong: the National Park Service."

    These routes aren't mainly tourist cruise lines, but serve to carry riders on business or vacation or personal travel from small towns to larger cities, or between mid-size cities, especially in areas with no bus service and no air service.

    In other words, they are a basic transportation option for people who cannot or do not want to drive.

    “These routes aren’t mainly tourist cruise lines, but serve to carry riders on business or vacation or personal travel from small towns to larger cities, or between mid-size cities, especially in areas with no bus service and no air service.’

    I got into lengthy discussion of this on another blog. Amtrak is down now to running four trans-continental routes through sparsely populated areas out West that lose lots of money for them. I forget the official names of the trains, but one runs between Chicago and Seattle, one between Chicago and Sacramento (the original trans-continental route), one between Chicago and LA, and the fourth between New Orleans and LA.

    My proposal was to cut the most northern and the most southern of these routes and go down to two, the Chicago-Sacramento and Chicago-LA routes. I think its a good idea to keep at least one trans-continental route, and both of these connect with several large cities out west and would be the logical ones to retain. I would still run trains between New Orleans, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, but nothing between San Antonio and LA where the line mostly runs through desert.

    I was interested to learn that the Chicago-Seattle line, I think its called the Empire Builder, was being used at the time to bring workers to the shale heavy parts of North Dakota to work on the fracking operations, and halting it would cause problems with fracking. Apparently there is not much in the way of nearby airports, and its too far from anything for driving to be a good idea. Take that for what its worth.

    A number of Amtrak lines that would otherwise be cut have now effectively been taken over by the governments of the states they run in. That should be done as much as possible with the network.

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  135. How’s construction on the LA subway going?

    Seems like the subway could provide some useful information on how these types of infrastructure projects tend to work out.

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  136. @Andrew
    "So now there are cool web sites like https://www.flixbus.com/ that offer super-cheap trips on comfortable buses with wifi and power plugs for your devices, something most trains still don’t have at five times the price!"

    Amtrak trains generally have WIFI and every pair of seats has two wall plugs.

    What trains are you talking about? Commuter trains and subways?

    European trains.

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  137. @Sue D. Nim
    WWT : Tranny v Tranny

    Winner of national transgender beauty pageant stripped of her title because she was 'not transgender enough'


    www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/12165845/Winner-of-national-transgender-beauty-pageant-stripped-of-her-title-because-she-was-not-transgender-enough.html

    How do you stop the fraying of The Fringes?
    How do you catch a moonbat in your hand?

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  138. wren says:
    @Andrew
    "Musk’s Hyperloop seems to be moving forward on a number of fronts. Since it would compete directly with high speed rail, it always seemed like it could knock the plans for rail off the rails if it had a few successful test runs."

    Musk's Hyperloop will be impossibly costly to construct and pay for via the fare charges. Only someone without any idea of the cost of tunnelling and bridges and heavy civil construction could think this is a great scheme on which to spend money. For example, the pressurized tube steel required looks to be 1/2 ton per foot if we assume a 1" wall thickness to hold the pressure. The tolerances on its finish will be incredible, so we can assume it will be quite costly per ton - probably around $1500 per ton. Each 50 to 100 ft. section will require a high precision electric flash-butt weld to join to the next section and hold pressure. Just the material cost for two tubes for his proposed segment would be $2.5 billion, which would double or triple to reach an installed cost accounting for transportation, manpower, and erection costs. If we assume it is 20 ft. up in the air in the Central Valley, the foundation and support pier costs will run around $7.5 billion per tube on his first segment. Tunnelling is required through the San Gabriel's. Kaching, kaching. The Hyperloop requires enormous amounts of compressors, linear induction motor lines, electric cabling, substations, safety systems, and more. Musk has not yet even begun to address passenger safety in case of an emergency. How do you get out of the sealed tube if there is a fire in the middle? NFPA says you need an egress passage every 300 ft. in a tunnel? Does the Hyperloop somehow get a pass on fire safety because Musk is "special?"

    The Hyperloop is premised on essentially having no curvature at all in the route vertically or horizontally. That will be almost impossible at the desired speeds, and the necessary construction tolerances will be unachievable in the field, especially with the American construction labor force.

    The vehicles are preposterously small (slightly wider than a passenger car) and uncomfortable in proposed size. You cannot stand up and there is no restroom. Since they are tiny, they can only carry a few people. That means low revenue unless you run lots of vehicles at once, which presents the safety issue of pod spacing and safe braking distance separation.

    And it faces the urban area problem - namely how and where to build in the places where people live. Rail doesn't face that problem - the rail lines already exist in urban and suburban areas. Musk's solution is to stop on the extreme outskirts of major areas in places like Sylmar and Hayward. Not helpful if you want to get to Orange County or Marin County or even San Francisco or Pasadena.

    That may all be true, or it may not — I don’t know.

    What is impressive to me is the speed at which we ought to figure it out. A number of feasibility studies have already been done, and testing should start this year.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperloop

    Even though this is not Musk’s project, it can’t be denied that other projects he has taken on are close to success.

    SpaceX is launching satellites, and may go to Mars. Tesla does build nice cars.

    Time will tell.

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  139. Wally says: • Website
    @Ed
    The big problem with new rail projects in the US is actually buried in Steve's post, in an off hand comment about well heeled people potentially objecting to trains running at 220 MPH through their suburbs.

    People keep thinking that the US is not particularly densely populated or even underpopulated, which probably also drives the enthusiasm for more and more immigration. Yes, if you take the 320 or so million people in the US (which I suspect is an undercount to hide the amount of illegal immigration) and divide it by the total number of square miles, you get a lower person to square mile ratio than in Europe, China, and India. But these three places are the most densely populated places on Earth. And the US is the third or fourth largest country by land area.

    But a good part of the area of the US are places where either people don't want to live or where it would be absurdly expensive to maintain (and bring water to) dense populations, either mountains or deserts or featureless plains with really bad weather. The vast majority of people live in metropolitan areas, generally the suburban parts. The whole advantage of intercity passenger rail is that it can get you from downtown to downtown, no need to make the trek to/ from the airport way out in the burbs. But the only way to do that is to put tracks through the suburbs where people don't want it. And enough rail tracks were removed when people thought that everyone would drive everywhere, no problems with traffic (with rails to trails being a particularly egregious bit of stupidity that this is a real problem).

    I'm familiar enough with these projects to know that the San Jose to Bakersfield link is being done first just to get something built, hopefully in time for the politicians currently in office to open it, to show people some tangible result for their tax dollars quickly. Then people will pony up to get the line through the coast mountains to LA. I actually doubt the line will reach downtown San Francisco, given that Amtrak's normal trains don't go there, but there are at least CalTrains and eventually BART links to SF.

    I also agree with the earlier commentator that the focus of any passenger rail development in the US should be on commuter rail. High speed intercity rail is a huge distraction that at best should be at the bottom of the list of planned improvements in the area. It you really have to build high speed passenger rail, LA-SF is probably the second place where it should be implemented after NY-DC, though there is a case for prioritizing connecting Chicago with any northeast corridor line instead.

    “But a good part of the area of the US are places where either people don’t want to live or where it would be absurdly expensive to maintain (and bring water to) dense populations, …”

    Somewhat false premises.

    For the US west of the Mississippi River, 50% of all land is owned by government.

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  140. Anon • Disclaimer says:
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  141. Ttjy says:
    @E. Rekshun
    As some other poster said - why would anyone want to travel between San Fran and LA? What would be the reason. I drove that route once as a sight-seer in the late '80s. Aside from the rare vacation or to visit family, I can't see much demand. I suppose there is some business travel, but hardly enough to justify a $20 - $50B+ (?) train project.

    Fortunately for me, I don't like to commute or travel. My work place, shopping, family, the beach, and all amenities are w/i 2 miles of my house. Most weekends, my car doesn't leave the garage.

    I looked up busiest air routes and LA to Sf is the 2nd busiest at 3.6 million a year. NY to Chicago is first at 4 million. I still don’t think HSR is a good idea between sf and la.

    That’s on average 10000 people a day. An Airbus a380 can hold 853 people, so that would be only 11 flights a day. However, The airlines like to offer many different flights at different times so they increase the amount of flights

    It would be more efficient to have 6 flights per day each way with 853 people instead of the many flights they offer now. Or maybe 20 flights.

    I did also read that the rail is also competing with cars, not just planes. I think a lot of the plane passengers will keep flying.

    Most people are still going to need to rent a car when you get to the destination ..

    I still don’t think the high speed rail would be worth it. I don’t know what the route would be , but I think it could be pretty intrusive.

    They aren’t going to be able to go 160 mpg is all sections of the line. Intermediate stops also slow the travel time down.

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  142. @BurplesonAFB
    Yes, historically conscious residents of the Eastern Seaboard refer to it as the Mosley bus.

    Steve, a Tesla can already drive itself really well on a freeway. The sensors and computers needed are not very expensive. No need for smart-highway infrastructure boondoggles as was once thought in the 90s.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP7VdxVY6UQ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yCAZWdqX_Y

    The Mosley thunderbolt was also the symbol of Singapore’s People’s Action Party (the only party with significant power there): it was also incorporated into the sigil of Anton LaVey (his personal logo or stamp, as opposed to that of the organization he founded) and in modified form that of Marilyn (sic) Manson as well.

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  143. Ttjy says:
    @Andrew
    "High Speed rail seems like a waste to me for LA to Sf. The amount of infrastructure and rights of way that would have to be built and then kept up would be very expensive. Is a high speed train much less expensive than a 737,especially when there is no worry about building and repairing a rail line?"

    The premise is to remove those 737's from the airport and free up space for longer flights rail coudl never be competitive with, instead of building more runways and terminals. Airports and terminals are not maintenance free either.

    "Wouldn’t high speed rail ruin a lot of nice areas between sf-la or would it go up along the I-5?"

    You need to define your concept of ruin. Does US 101 ruin a lot of nice areas? How about El Camino Real? Does the existing Caltrain and Metrolink rail lines ruin these areas? The high speed train will be running on those.

    A true HSR needs a totally separate grade if it is going to go 160+. You can’t have any streets crossing it to my understanding.

    I would say any expressway damages an area. Expressways going through cities are unsightly and noisy. I wouldn’t want to live near one.

    Lake Shore Drive in Chicago ruins the lakefront with a busy road right next to it. The beaches are nice ,but it would be better without LSD. LSD is really an expressway on the lake, not ideal.

    I think Highway 1 in Ca also damaged the coast. There shouldn’t be any road parallel to the ocean. If you want a town that is one thing, but the main roads should be perpendicular to the coastal city. The coast should be kept as a park with no roads near it or at least have housing on it, but there should be no road. Highway 1 leaves the beach right next to a noisy road. The main north-south road should be at least 4 or 5 miles inland. You would have a town and then the inlet to the town would be on the east side of the town. You would have to drive east and then connect to the main n-s road.

    Below is a picture of Hwy 1. It ‘s a nice drive, but imagine that area with no road, just a pristine area for hiking or camping etc. That’s probably wishful thinking but ideally that is what it should be.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=highway+1+california&espv=2&biw=1509&bih=753&tbm=isch&imgil=aUUHJ8Ir9hBbWM%253A%253B9hmo16V8OIDCMM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.dangerousroads.org%25252Fnorth-america%25252Fusa%25252F384-pacific-coast-highway-usa.html&source=iu&pf=m&fir=aUUHJ8Ir9hBbWM%253A%252C9hmo16V8OIDCMM%252C_&usg=__LhgxmRL_sAidJ6moOIRUxhCXqTw%3D&ved=0ahUKEwjhu_3HmofLAhXFGz4KHcp2AD4QyjcIJQ&ei=E9DIVqHmJcW3-AHK7YHwAw#imgrc=aUUHJ8Ir9hBbWM%3A

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  144. Mr. Anon says:

    In America today, plans for “public transportation” seem to only address the transportation needs of the more well-heeled part of the public.

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  145. @Busby
    It's funny how we still fall for the same old extravagant claims. Atomic power was going to provide us electricity so cheap we wouldn't need to meter usage. Supersonic transports would get you from New York to LA in a few hours. In my industry we have futurists predicting the end of truck drivers. Claims made by people who have clearly never experienced the joy of unclustering five 53 foot trailers trying to occupy the same space at the same time.
    My points are two.
    1. Trains move freight cheaply. People costly. It took us 50 years and lord knows how many railroad bankruptcies and mergers to figure that out. I guess we are going to have to spend billions over the next 50 years teaching government the same lesson.
    2. Self driving cars are a solution, but what's the question? I'm sorry, maybe I'm just slow, but the whole self driving Google networked Uber on demand common car taxi thing seems like a tissue of desires where hope triumphs over human experience. Does the term "installed base" mean nothing?
    Maybe I'm just skeptical because we were promised flying cars and I'm sill waiting.

    Trains moved people economically and safely when people wanted to travel by train. They quit wanting that when the places trains went to were no longer clean and safe to walk around.

    Passenger service on trains was not unprofitable. It was less profitable than freight and more trouble for officials, so they chose to do whatever it took to get out of it.

    The exact same thing is why it was “no longer profitable” to make small airplanes that union blue collar workers and lower end white collar ones could afford to fly. Corporate jets were more profitable and military subcontracts for pieces of bigger aircraft more profitable yet, so the MBAs endeavored to do what it took to get rid of the light aircraft.

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    • Replies: @Discard
    It is my understanding that the aircraft builders' liability costs were driven so high by lawsuits that they could not sell a modestly priced aircraft. A little two place plane with a four banger engine shouldn't cost any more than a Toyota, but if the manufacturer has to pass along a quarter million in insurance costs, who will buy it?
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  146. @Andrew
    "Most of Amtrak’s routes between the coasts are little more than subsidized nostalgia. That is vastly preferable to subsidized dispossession, but let’s be honest about it and put it where such things belong: the National Park Service."

    These routes aren't mainly tourist cruise lines, but serve to carry riders on business or vacation or personal travel from small towns to larger cities, or between mid-size cities, especially in areas with no bus service and no air service.

    In other words, they are a basic transportation option for people who cannot or do not want to drive.

    As subsidized nostalgia, Amtrak sucks.

    There are several tourist and scenic rail operations in the US, some using really impressive vintage rolling stock and steam or diesel locomotives, and UP famously offered excursion runs behind its famous 844 for many years.

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  147. Brutusale says:
    @Steve Sailer
    As Stuff White People Like pointed out, white people see buses as socially tainted compared to rail. But there's a way to combat that: marketing.

    Spend a half-billion dollars on marketing a luxury bus service between, say, the San Jose and Burbank airports as what all the cool people are taking.

    Buses=short hops between urban hubs and their neighborhood=majority minority passengers.

    Light rail= longer trips to the outlying urban neighborhoods/suburbs=many more of YT.

    The exception is the express-bus routes from the ‘burbs.

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  148. @Jus' Sayin'...
    I'm not all that familiar with California demographics; but isn't Bakersfield to San Jose a train ride from one place where White folks don't want to be to another place where White folks don't want to be?

    In the ’50s and ’60s San Jose was utter Dullsville, surrounded by very nice place to the West like Los Gatos and Saratoga, and truly civilised places like Palo Alto and Atherton to the South.
    I understand (not having been back in decades) that the wealth and talent of Silicon Valley has transformed even San Jose into a place of some style and culture.
    The same has definitely not happened to Bakersfield. Perhaps someone knows something we don’t and we should all start buying up property there?

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    • Replies: @Former Darfur
    To this day"San Jose" makes most people in the Midwest think of the Burt Bacharach song. He wrote it with the San Jose of back then firmly in mind, a quiet backwater.
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  149. @Busby
    It's funny how we still fall for the same old extravagant claims. Atomic power was going to provide us electricity so cheap we wouldn't need to meter usage. Supersonic transports would get you from New York to LA in a few hours. In my industry we have futurists predicting the end of truck drivers. Claims made by people who have clearly never experienced the joy of unclustering five 53 foot trailers trying to occupy the same space at the same time.
    My points are two.
    1. Trains move freight cheaply. People costly. It took us 50 years and lord knows how many railroad bankruptcies and mergers to figure that out. I guess we are going to have to spend billions over the next 50 years teaching government the same lesson.
    2. Self driving cars are a solution, but what's the question? I'm sorry, maybe I'm just slow, but the whole self driving Google networked Uber on demand common car taxi thing seems like a tissue of desires where hope triumphs over human experience. Does the term "installed base" mean nothing?
    Maybe I'm just skeptical because we were promised flying cars and I'm sill waiting.

    Yer I can’t really see the big point of cars that drive themselves either. The biggest problem with modern transportation is the traffic jam, followed by passenger cars having to share roads with large trucks and buses. The later problem is even bigger in other new world countries like Canada and New Zealand where population densities are even lower and there is little rail infrastructure for freight.

    I guess self-driving cars might reduce road rage, since people could text, read etc while stuck in heavy traffic, but that’s about it. Most people are quite happy to drive themselves when they are cruising along for a few hours on a highway.

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    • Replies: @Former Darfur
    Airplanes that fly themselves are probably more useful than cars that drive themselves, and we have had those for decades. The thermodynamics and physics of light personal aircraft have been favorable for years: the politics have been prohibitive. My guess is when drones become big enough people will one day decide that they want one big enough to ride, and then a massive reordering of suburbia could occur. It won't happen until the state can't stop it, which means not in our lifetimes, but it's certainly technically feasible.
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  150. @Bard of Bumperstickers
    The problem is the state. A true free market (which has yet to exist) in a private-property society would never germinate boondoggles. Market efficiency would prevail in the absence of state-generated moral hazard and its clouding of price discovery. Entrepreneurs would research potential markets to determine, for example, "Whether or not anyone in Silicon Valley wants to actually go to the Kern County line . . ." as the much-vaunted President-Elect Steve "Beach-Boy" Sailer has asked.

    The problem is the state. A true free market (which has yet to exist) in a private-property society would never germinate boondoggles.

    You are correct, a true free market has never existed.

    And it never will.

    It is as chimerical as the opposite, the New Soviet Man, which Marxist-Leninists claimed would come along and usher in Communism.

    There never was a Communist country, by the definition of Communists. The Soviet Union and its satellite states (all of which and only which were nation-sized prisons with razor wire, walls, machine gun stations and occasional sally ports for tourists, the nomenklatura, and foreign subsidies from Armand and his ilk) were not Communist countries, by their own standards. They were Socialist countries, Socialism being the intermediate step between bourgeois capitalism and Communism, a state where the organs of the state wither away because they would be unneeded in dealing with the New Communist Man.

    At least the Marxist-Leninists were honest insofar as they admitted they didn’t live up to their ideal. Yet.

    Capitalists however pretended they had capitalism when in fact they had mercantilism or state corporatism. Pure capitalism is a state where in effect the noneconomic bonds of society wither away from disuse and all human interactions are measured in money. It has never existed, and if it hasn’t existed by now we can predict it won’t, for the same reason the Soviet Union imploded far before it got to authentic Communism. It’s contrary to reality.

    Businesses don’t really want “pure capitalism”, they want protection from competition on some level or another. And to an extent this is healthy and necessary, ironically. Multilevel marketing, as explained in the superb Vandruff article (written, ironically, by fundamentalist Christians because they correctly saw MLM as wrecking, among other things, churches) fails precisely for this reason. The number of Wal-Marts, McDonalds, or what have you has to be finite or all will fail. (Radio Shack, which would have worked fine as a destination store, is another example: there were way too many.) For a business to survive it has to have a controlled level of competition.

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    • Agree: reiner Tor
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  151. Lot says:
    @bomag
    Thanks for the analysis.

    Brooks and company have to tell us how good things are because it sure isn't evident from our personal experience.

    Another trick here is to not use federal incarceration data; since most illegal aliens get shunted into the federal system, that allows a lot of illegal immigrants to not be included in the data. Something like 25% of federal incarcerations are of illegal immigrants.

    From my anecdotal experience, the data here doesn't capture the increase in petty property crime that drags down civic life: think Victor Davis Hanson's chain saw getting stolen. When our area loaded up with gardeners from Mexico, the low level thefts that fell under the radar of prosecution went way up. Sure, the newcomers aren't going to kill you, but they'll help themselves to anything not tied down that they can get away with. Thus an increase in locks and fences; and the aggravated residents needing to be told by Brooks et al that they should just lie back and enjoy a massive increase in GDP.

    The increase in low level and unreported crime with hispanic immigration is absolutely real.

    1. Is Unz/Brooks going to say with a straight face that hispanic immigrant areas don’t have higher rates of graffiti and littering? How about DUI and driving without a license and insurance?

    2. The people to justify sanctuary cities and amnesty always tell us that illegals are afraid to report crimes to the police. This is no doubt true to some extent.

    So, isn’t it the case that the more illegals there are, the more crime will be under-reported? Even legal hispanic immigrants may have illegals in the household, or not speak enough English to want to call the police. So the underreporting goes beyond just illegals.

    Your point about the MSM having to tell us our own eyes are lying is absolutely right, Here is just another boring, typical article from San Diego that did not get an ounce of national coverage: a 69 year old white woman cleaning graffiti off a wall was killed by a 23 year old hispanic with “road rage” doing some sort of drunk street racing in a residential neighborhood.

    A community activist was painting over graffiti in a San Diego neighborhood when she was struck by a suspected drunk driver who police say was involved in a road rage altercation.

    Police said 69-year-old Maruta Gardner died after being hit in the Mission Beach area Friday when the driver of a Toyota Corolla passed a Ford Mustang and went onto the shoulder. After striking Gardner, the driver sped away but was arrested a short distance away.

    Police said the hit-and-run was the result of a road-rage altercation. The Toyota driver – 23-year-old Jonathan Domingo Garcia – was booked for investigation of vehicular manslaughter, DUI and hit and run.

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    • Replies: @Lot
    More about one of Marco's New and Improved Americans

    Jonathan Domingo Garcia, 23, accused of killing a 68-year-old community activist removing graffiti in Mission Beach pleaded not guilty Thursday to eight charges, including gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony hit-and-run.

    Deputy District Attorney Steve Schott told Judge Jay Bloom that at about 3 p.m. Friday -- three hours before the crash -- Garcia and a friend were seen slashing tires on cars.

    About three hours later, the car Garcia was driving rear-ended a Ford Mustang, and he failed to stop, the prosecutor said.

    The driver of the Mustang pulled in front of Garcia's Toyota Corolla, authorities said. Garcia then made an illegal right turn in a 15-mph zone, and struck the victim, who was on the road's shoulder, Schott said. Gardner died the next day.

    "The defendant didn’t stop. He actually drove down and parked, exited his vehicle and checked for damage on his car. He spent 5 minutes doing that," said Schott. "He then returned to the area and an officer tried to flag him down. Once again he did not stop. And instead continued to drive, actually struck another vehicle. Did not stop. Before the officer finally made contact with him."

    “Instead of asking about the person he just struck on the roadway, he asked when he could get his car back,” said Schott.

    Three hours after the accident, Garcia's blood-alcohol level was measured at .06 percent, Schott said. Alcohol, marijuana and depressants were found in the defendant's system

    “I think the defendant is an extreme danger to the community by his callousness by the act itself plus he’s a flight risk," the judge said. "If he’s going to do hit and runs there’s no guarantees he’ll come back. So bail is set at $550,000 and waiving bail review.”

    Garcia faces 15 years in prison if he’s convicted. His next court appearance will be March 10.

    Gardner, a former principal at Mission Bay High School, was honored by the San Diego City Council last year, which declared Nov 3 "Maruta Gardner Day.'' Gardner would have celebrated her birthday this Saturday.
     
    http://fox5sandiego.com/2016/02/18/550k-bail-for-man-accused-in-road-rage-death-of-graffiti-activist/

    Does David Brooks's "immigrants are good for the economy" account for the violent death of Mrs. Gardner and others like her? For the $400,000 in taxes we will pay to house the man who killed her in prison? For the tires he slashed and the two vehicles he hit and ran that same day?

    Economics can be complicated, but you don't need to engage in complicated research to know that importing random poorly educated people from poor, violent countries will make America dumber, poorer, and a worse place to live for the natives.
    , @bomag
    And the drugs. The drugs. Open borders; the industrial production of illicit drugs; and a large segment of the population susceptible to addiction. Good grief.
    , @Discard
    All over So Cal, the more readily accessible freeway signs are festooned with concertina wire to keep Mexicans with spray paint at bay.
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  152. bomag says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Oh, I think they’ll win. They have the kids, and they have the universities and media.
     
    In what sense do they "have the kids"? Not by birthing them, at least until their 40s. They get others' kids at kindergarten, but as the Jesuits used to say, let us have the boy until he's seven, and you may do as you wish with him. It won't matter.

    And SJWism is a white thing, like democracy and "marriage equality". Whites are already a minority of children born here. Non-white participation is never by conviction, it's always bought. It will be a very expensive future for the SJWs.

    Prohibition, an earlier SJW obsession, had Protestants going Islamic, but only lasted a decade and a half. That's what going against nature does.

    Non-white participation is never by conviction, it’s always bought.

    The SWPLs largely sit astride the vast wealth flowing into the treasury from the machine and computer age. They are buying a lot of mercenaries. The race is on between rising expectations and the ability of the modern world to keep the wheels rolling.

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  153. Lot says:
    @Lot
    The increase in low level and unreported crime with hispanic immigration is absolutely real.

    1. Is Unz/Brooks going to say with a straight face that hispanic immigrant areas don't have higher rates of graffiti and littering? How about DUI and driving without a license and insurance?

    2. The people to justify sanctuary cities and amnesty always tell us that illegals are afraid to report crimes to the police. This is no doubt true to some extent.

    So, isn't it the case that the more illegals there are, the more crime will be under-reported? Even legal hispanic immigrants may have illegals in the household, or not speak enough English to want to call the police. So the underreporting goes beyond just illegals.

    Your point about the MSM having to tell us our own eyes are lying is absolutely right, Here is just another boring, typical article from San Diego that did not get an ounce of national coverage: a 69 year old white woman cleaning graffiti off a wall was killed by a 23 year old hispanic with "road rage" doing some sort of drunk street racing in a residential neighborhood.

    A community activist was painting over graffiti in a San Diego neighborhood when she was struck by a suspected drunk driver who police say was involved in a road rage altercation.

    Police said 69-year-old Maruta Gardner died after being hit in the Mission Beach area Friday when the driver of a Toyota Corolla passed a Ford Mustang and went onto the shoulder. After striking Gardner, the driver sped away but was arrested a short distance away.

    Police said the hit-and-run was the result of a road-rage altercation. The Toyota driver - 23-year-old Jonathan Domingo Garcia - was booked for investigation of vehicular manslaughter, DUI and hit and run.
     

    More about one of Marco’s New and Improved Americans

    Jonathan Domingo Garcia, 23, accused of killing a 68-year-old community activist removing graffiti in Mission Beach pleaded not guilty Thursday to eight charges, including gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony hit-and-run.

    Deputy District Attorney Steve Schott told Judge Jay Bloom that at about 3 p.m. Friday — three hours before the crash — Garcia and a friend were seen slashing tires on cars.

    About three hours later, the car Garcia was driving rear-ended a Ford Mustang, and he failed to stop, the prosecutor said.

    The driver of the Mustang pulled in front of Garcia’s Toyota Corolla, authorities said. Garcia then made an illegal right turn in a 15-mph zone, and struck the victim, who was on the road’s shoulder, Schott said. Gardner died the next day.

    “The defendant didn’t stop. He actually drove down and parked, exited his vehicle and checked for damage on his car. He spent 5 minutes doing that,” said Schott. “He then returned to the area and an officer tried to flag him down. Once again he did not stop. And instead continued to drive, actually struck another vehicle. Did not stop. Before the officer finally made contact with him.”

    “Instead of asking about the person he just struck on the roadway, he asked when he could get his car back,” said Schott.

    Three hours after the accident, Garcia’s blood-alcohol level was measured at .06 percent, Schott said. Alcohol, marijuana and depressants were found in the defendant’s system

    “I think the defendant is an extreme danger to the community by his callousness by the act itself plus he’s a flight risk,” the judge said. “If he’s going to do hit and runs there’s no guarantees he’ll come back. So bail is set at $550,000 and waiving bail review.”

    Garcia faces 15 years in prison if he’s convicted. His next court appearance will be March 10.

    Gardner, a former principal at Mission Bay High School, was honored by the San Diego City Council last year, which declared Nov 3 “Maruta Gardner Day.” Gardner would have celebrated her birthday this Saturday.

    http://fox5sandiego.com/2016/02/18/550k-bail-for-man-accused-in-road-rage-death-of-graffiti-activist/

    Does David Brooks’s “immigrants are good for the economy” account for the violent death of Mrs. Gardner and others like her? For the $400,000 in taxes we will pay to house the man who killed her in prison? For the tires he slashed and the two vehicles he hit and ran that same day?

    Economics can be complicated, but you don’t need to engage in complicated research to know that importing random poorly educated people from poor, violent countries will make America dumber, poorer, and a worse place to live for the natives.

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  154. bomag says:
    @Lot
    The increase in low level and unreported crime with hispanic immigration is absolutely real.

    1. Is Unz/Brooks going to say with a straight face that hispanic immigrant areas don't have higher rates of graffiti and littering? How about DUI and driving without a license and insurance?

    2. The people to justify sanctuary cities and amnesty always tell us that illegals are afraid to report crimes to the police. This is no doubt true to some extent.

    So, isn't it the case that the more illegals there are, the more crime will be under-reported? Even legal hispanic immigrants may have illegals in the household, or not speak enough English to want to call the police. So the underreporting goes beyond just illegals.

    Your point about the MSM having to tell us our own eyes are lying is absolutely right, Here is just another boring, typical article from San Diego that did not get an ounce of national coverage: a 69 year old white woman cleaning graffiti off a wall was killed by a 23 year old hispanic with "road rage" doing some sort of drunk street racing in a residential neighborhood.

    A community activist was painting over graffiti in a San Diego neighborhood when she was struck by a suspected drunk driver who police say was involved in a road rage altercation.

    Police said 69-year-old Maruta Gardner died after being hit in the Mission Beach area Friday when the driver of a Toyota Corolla passed a Ford Mustang and went onto the shoulder. After striking Gardner, the driver sped away but was arrested a short distance away.

    Police said the hit-and-run was the result of a road-rage altercation. The Toyota driver - 23-year-old Jonathan Domingo Garcia - was booked for investigation of vehicular manslaughter, DUI and hit and run.
     

    And the drugs. The drugs. Open borders; the industrial production of illicit drugs; and a large segment of the population susceptible to addiction. Good grief.

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  155. @anonymous
    ...Actually, the great commuter rail suburbs fit the lines so well because they were built by the railroads themselves...

    I think much of Texas was populated by the railroad companies. Their advertising was not always exactly accurate about the lushness of the land and so on.

    Much of California (the cities) was laid out explicitly by the railroad companies. Reno is where it is because that's where the railroad engineer/architect decided he needed a town, and so on. Coalinga is famously actually "Coaling, A".

    The railroads were built first, the state followed.

    Stanford was rich enough to build his school because he owned the California railroads that laid out and populated the state, not to mention running California (governor):

    Leland Stanford:


    "...governor of California... eight years as senator from the state...

    ...As president of Southern Pacific Railroad and, beginning in 1861, Central Pacific, he had tremendous power in the region and a lasting impact on California."

     

    (Building part of the transcontinental railroad was a big factor in Stanford's wealth and power.)



    "...The other point is good that freight is always more profitable than passengers."

    Yep. The US might have lousy passenger rail, but we have the best freight rail infrastructure in the world. Easy to forget. One problem for US passenger rail is the freight lines own all the railroad track, but freight is most efficient at slower speeds that discombobulate passenger trains. So maybe what makes the "high-speed rail boondoggle" high-speed is simply not running freight trains on it?

    I think I recall that perhaps the single biggest energy saving in the US in the last decade or so has come about because old tunnels on freight lines were enlarged so that double-stack intermodal freight trains (double-decker container trains) could go through them. This enabled large freight trains to travel shorter routes (more direct) to their destinations, saving a lot of fuel on the continental transport infrastructure.
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  156. @Steve Sailer
    It's been an average year for rain so far in Northern California, somewhat below average in SoCal. That reduces the crisis (which was worse in NorCal), but it hasn't been a massive El Nino year yet to refill the reservoirs. It still could be, but there are only about two months left before the dry season.

    Steve, Thank you. Now if you can find a way to discover lead in your water, the rest of the US will ship you all the bottled water you need, but only to minorities. Whites have there on water lines don’t cha know.

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  157. Mr. Anon says:

    “A number of feasibility studies have already been done, and testing should start this year.”

    There is little that is of less value than studies of that kind. There are probably thousands of filing cabinets stuffed to over-flowing with such studies.

    Just what kind of testing is going to start this year (excuse me, “should” start this year)? And is it actually relevant to building a 400 mile long vacuum chamber with a a man-rated coil-gun inside of it?

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  158. @Daniel H
    >>Part of the Empire State Bld. design. Having kraut zeppelins dock, but with the Hindenburg, that whole industry crashed and burned.

    I know. I always thought that it wast crazy having passengers disembark 1200" in the air. Disaster waiting to happen, just as did happen when a helicopter crashed on the teleport of the old Metlife building on Park Avenue, killing a bunch of pedestrians on the ground. They could just as easy disembark in a huge parking lot, such as Shea Stadium's. From there it is a short subway ride into Manhattan. Or they could build a platform on the shore of the East River or something. Everything doesn't have to be high tech and crazy.

    You are forgetting the 34th St Heliport.

    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/companies/texas-pacific-land-trust/index.html

    Pan Am used to fly Business/1st passengers there from JFK

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  159. @Steve Sailer
    People have been talking for years about a Los Angeles-Las Vegas train so that Vegas visitors could start getting drunk on the train instead of driving. The mountain pass between Los Angeles and Las Vegas is less severe than the mountain pass between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay. And Las Vegas is incredibly concentrated for visitors, while the San Francisco Bay area is highly diffuse due to having a bay in the middle of it, which makes having a car much more useful.

    But nothing has happened regarding a Vegas train.

    A LA-Las Vegas train is a great idea, but it’s not going to be time competitive with driving, because the route profile includes several steep climbs and descents. Even with a “high speed” train I don’t think anything under a 6 hour timing is realistic. There’s also track capacity issues, even though the LA-Salt Lake route is not as busy a freight corridor as the Sunset Route, which is LA-Yuma-Tucson.

    Here is something that a lot of people miss: no form of public transportation pays its own way. Not buses, not airplanes, not trains. All involve some degree of public subsidy whether it’s highways, public airports, or Amtrak. Back when private railroads ran their own trains, they were paying high union wages, maintaining their own infrastructure and paying property taxes on it, and were told by regulatory agencies what they could charge for fares. A typical overnight train required a crew of 20 or more to run it (engineer, fireman, conductor, brakeman, car attendants, dining car staff). It was basically a hotel on wheels. What surprises me is that they did not lose more money offering that service.

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    • Replies: @Stan Adams
    President Reagan's budget director, discussing the exorbitant operating deficit of a city's federally-funded elevated-train system, once said that the government would save gobs of money by shutting down the train and buying every single rider his own private car.
    , @Busby
    Airlines didn't lose money until after 1979 and the closure of the CAB.
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  160. I’m sure this has already been said, but the train has never been — primarily at least– about moving people from one place to another, it is about moving money from one set of pockets to another.

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  161. @unpc downunder
    Yer I can't really see the big point of cars that drive themselves either. The biggest problem with modern transportation is the traffic jam, followed by passenger cars having to share roads with large trucks and buses. The later problem is even bigger in other new world countries like Canada and New Zealand where population densities are even lower and there is little rail infrastructure for freight.

    I guess self-driving cars might reduce road rage, since people could text, read etc while stuck in heavy traffic, but that's about it. Most people are quite happy to drive themselves when they are cruising along for a few hours on a highway.

    Airplanes that fly themselves are probably more useful than cars that drive themselves, and we have had those for decades. The thermodynamics and physics of light personal aircraft have been favorable for years: the politics have been prohibitive. My guess is when drones become big enough people will one day decide that they want one big enough to ride, and then a massive reordering of suburbia could occur. It won’t happen until the state can’t stop it, which means not in our lifetimes, but it’s certainly technically feasible.

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  162. @Old Palo Altan
    In the '50s and '60s San Jose was utter Dullsville, surrounded by very nice place to the West like Los Gatos and Saratoga, and truly civilised places like Palo Alto and Atherton to the South.
    I understand (not having been back in decades) that the wealth and talent of Silicon Valley has transformed even San Jose into a place of some style and culture.
    The same has definitely not happened to Bakersfield. Perhaps someone knows something we don't and we should all start buying up property there?

    To this day”San Jose” makes most people in the Midwest think of the Burt Bacharach song. He wrote it with the San Jose of back then firmly in mind, a quiet backwater.

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  163. @Mark Green
    Besides the staggering building costs, the problem here is density. California lacks it. We are not Japan.

    Therefore, high speed rain in California is a nice idea only; since once you reach your destination (unless it's SF or downtown LA) you still need a 'personal transport vehicle' (car) to get around.

    Even in the crowded northeast (between NY and Washington) Amtrak (rail service) loses millions each and every year. Personal vehicles are essential in vast, spread-out, non-urban areas; which describes most of California.

    Then there's price of completing this green project. Each leg of this Democrat jobs program will consume tens of billions of dollars just to build. Maintenance costs are extra. These immense costs will never be recovered via paying customers.

    Why not simply add dozens of (subsidized) buses (providing a real cost incentive) to all our major highways so that people can roll along in collective comfort while they play with their smart phones and computers? With fracking and emerging hybrid technologies on the rise, fossil fuel-powered vehicles could remain a affordable transportation option for decades to come.

    Ramped-up (and super-cheap cheap) bus service (using the 'car pool lane' in existing highways) could save California one hundred billion dollars going forward. With that in mind, let's put high speed rail back on the shelf where it belongs--at least for now.

    Buses are a good start, though they often lack the “sexiness” of a train. Ensure that highways have bus only lanes to reduce travel times. They recently added bus only lanes in my area and as a result, travel times on the bus are now shorter than traveling by car during rush hour.

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  164. @Lot
    China has never been able to produce cars beyond low quality copies of out-of-date Western and Japanese design. The high rate of corner cutting just does not work for something as complex as the design and production of new automobiles.

    Part of the reason is also that in this respect China is more capitalistic than the major automakers' home country. Korea, Japan, the USA, Canada and Western Europe all provide very big subsidies to their local auto industry, making it impossible for China to break into the market despite trying for decades. And it is open to Chinese cars if they were any good. Look how fast Korean companies grew. But that was with the fanatic.al support of the Korean government every step of the way.

    There are some specific auto parts where China has a decent market share. This is typically by cutting corners to underprice the OEM parts by 50% or more, and western non-OEM by 25% or more. Now not all of these parts are bad, but it is scary to think of a whole car made from them.

    The Chinese could make a deliberately low tech vehicle copying the best of old American and European tech at an attractive price, but you couldn’t sell them as a running motor vehicle in any First World nation. What we are seeing in the “performance aftermarket” is a lot of Chinese made parts built to the exact specs of American hot rod companies, and as long as they have people checking up carefully on them they are doing a good job.

    No one over there knows anything about this stuff, so the companies do not worry about being disintermediated.

    I predict we will see a lot more repro antique and classic and hot rod parts out of China in the future.

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  165. @Jimi
    Correct. In NYC its common to see old women on the Upper East Side hop on and off the buses in their mink coats. There isn't the same stigma as elsewhere.

    I discovered this stigma in Miami. I thought it was a no-brainer to take the bus from the airport to my hosts' house for $2. My hosts thought using the bus was extremely tacky.

    I rode the Metrobus (the Miami bus system) every day for years. Others might have thought it was tacky, but they weren’t the ones living on a college student’s budget.

    I was lucky enough to live not too far from a stop for an express bus that came every ten minutes during the morning and evening rush hours. Most of the riders were commuters heading to or from work, so it wasn’t that bad.

    That bus connected with the Metrorail, an elevated-train system that has long been criticized for not going anywhere useful.

    The system began operating in 1984, but the airport station (Intermodal Center) did not open until 2012. At the main downtown station (Government Center), there is a ghost platform for a western line that was planned and promised but never built.

    Fortunately, the place where I needed to go every day was near a Metrorail stop. So it wasn’t too bad of a commute.

    Within two years, you’ll be able to catch Amtrak trains from Intermodal Center. (Tri-Rail, a tri-county service, began operating from that station last year.) You’ll also be able to catch a private high-speed Miami-Orlando train from a station next to Government Center.

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  166. Discard says:
    @Former Darfur
    Trains moved people economically and safely when people wanted to travel by train. They quit wanting that when the places trains went to were no longer clean and safe to walk around.

    Passenger service on trains was not unprofitable. It was less profitable than freight and more trouble for officials, so they chose to do whatever it took to get out of it.

    The exact same thing is why it was "no longer profitable" to make small airplanes that union blue collar workers and lower end white collar ones could afford to fly. Corporate jets were more profitable and military subcontracts for pieces of bigger aircraft more profitable yet, so the MBAs endeavored to do what it took to get rid of the light aircraft.

    It is my understanding that the aircraft builders’ liability costs were driven so high by lawsuits that they could not sell a modestly priced aircraft. A little two place plane with a four banger engine shouldn’t cost any more than a Toyota, but if the manufacturer has to pass along a quarter million in insurance costs, who will buy it?

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    • Replies: @Former Darfur
    Product liability was as much a pretext as anything else. Had it been the fundamental problem, of course, the aircraft manufacturers would have judgmentproofed themselves and fought every case to the end in court. They settled out of court with secret payoffs and bought more insurance for twenty years. Finally the premiums got too high and during an insurance industry tight market they announced that they "could no longer" make light aircraft.

    The real reason they abandoned the market was that military subcontracts and corporate jets were much more profitable for a given outlay of capital. Figure out the square footage of plant floor space a Skyhawk ( Cessna, not the A-4 Scooter) takes up and the amount a Citation does, the number of labor hours, the pounds of aluminum, and figure how much they make on a Citation vs. a Skyhawk. Something had to give and it was general aviation, because without the low end, only athletes, actors, rock stars and the idle rich could even get started.

    It was exactly like the "sue and settle" scam liberal school administrators and so forth use.

    In a "truly free market" of course, new startups would have satisfied the market. But Silicon Valley was promising 20% ROI and no one else got capital: plus, light aviation had been centered in the fundamentalist crap-pit of Wichita, Kansas for years, and no one with any sense or better opportunity goes there from anyplace nicer. (It's slightly better than Youngstown, Ohio and probably worse than Akron: crummy weather, NO nightlife, and a long way from anywhere. )

    Probably the most successful new light airplane company is Cirrus, located in Minnesota. Staying out of Wichita was probably their best decision.
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  167. Discard says:
    @Lot
    The increase in low level and unreported crime with hispanic immigration is absolutely real.

    1. Is Unz/Brooks going to say with a straight face that hispanic immigrant areas don't have higher rates of graffiti and littering? How about DUI and driving without a license and insurance?

    2. The people to justify sanctuary cities and amnesty always tell us that illegals are afraid to report crimes to the police. This is no doubt true to some extent.

    So, isn't it the case that the more illegals there are, the more crime will be under-reported? Even legal hispanic immigrants may have illegals in the household, or not speak enough English to want to call the police. So the underreporting goes beyond just illegals.

    Your point about the MSM having to tell us our own eyes are lying is absolutely right, Here is just another boring, typical article from San Diego that did not get an ounce of national coverage: a 69 year old white woman cleaning graffiti off a wall was killed by a 23 year old hispanic with "road rage" doing some sort of drunk street racing in a residential neighborhood.

    A community activist was painting over graffiti in a San Diego neighborhood when she was struck by a suspected drunk driver who police say was involved in a road rage altercation.

    Police said 69-year-old Maruta Gardner died after being hit in the Mission Beach area Friday when the driver of a Toyota Corolla passed a Ford Mustang and went onto the shoulder. After striking Gardner, the driver sped away but was arrested a short distance away.

    Police said the hit-and-run was the result of a road-rage altercation. The Toyota driver - 23-year-old Jonathan Domingo Garcia - was booked for investigation of vehicular manslaughter, DUI and hit and run.
     

    All over So Cal, the more readily accessible freeway signs are festooned with concertina wire to keep Mexicans with spray paint at bay.

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  168. @Sgt. Joe Friday
    A LA-Las Vegas train is a great idea, but it's not going to be time competitive with driving, because the route profile includes several steep climbs and descents. Even with a "high speed" train I don't think anything under a 6 hour timing is realistic. There's also track capacity issues, even though the LA-Salt Lake route is not as busy a freight corridor as the Sunset Route, which is LA-Yuma-Tucson.

    Here is something that a lot of people miss: no form of public transportation pays its own way. Not buses, not airplanes, not trains. All involve some degree of public subsidy whether it's highways, public airports, or Amtrak. Back when private railroads ran their own trains, they were paying high union wages, maintaining their own infrastructure and paying property taxes on it, and were told by regulatory agencies what they could charge for fares. A typical overnight train required a crew of 20 or more to run it (engineer, fireman, conductor, brakeman, car attendants, dining car staff). It was basically a hotel on wheels. What surprises me is that they did not lose more money offering that service.

    President Reagan’s budget director, discussing the exorbitant operating deficit of a city’s federally-funded elevated-train system, once said that the government would save gobs of money by shutting down the train and buying every single rider his own private car.

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    • Replies: @Ganderson
    I've seen the same argument about public funding of stadia- for the price of a new crib for an NFL team the government could buy every household in the state a big-screen TV and the NFL package for 10 years!
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  169. @Daniel H
    >>As for me, I’d love to see a renaissance of the giant airships/zeppelins cruising the skies between LA and SF at, er, 85 mph? Not much speed, but think of the view.

    I second that. Zeppelins would be really cool. And what they lack in absolute speed would be compensate for by avoidance of all traffic, and precision. We should be able to land Zeppelins right in the center of our major cities. No need to travel from far off airports on congested highways.

    I would like to see Zeppelins get really popular to the point where there would be huge Zeppelin traffic jams — I want to see hundreds of Zeppelins bumping into each other during rush hour. Entertainment value: 8/10.

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  170. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Sutton
    The issue with robo-cars is ethics. How to program an emergency. As in who to hit in a fast moving disaster. The elderly on the corner. Or the mother with the carriage. Or a NAM vs whitey.

    Isn’t this ethics issue solved by Steve’s trying to throw a fat man from a streetcar or something like that?

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    http://takimag.com/article/killing_chip_to_save_tyrone_steve_sailer/print#axzz40ekezS4o
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  171. @Anonymous
    Isn't this ethics issue solved by Steve's trying to throw a fat man from a streetcar or something like that?
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  172. @Discard
    It is my understanding that the aircraft builders' liability costs were driven so high by lawsuits that they could not sell a modestly priced aircraft. A little two place plane with a four banger engine shouldn't cost any more than a Toyota, but if the manufacturer has to pass along a quarter million in insurance costs, who will buy it?

    Product liability was as much a pretext as anything else. Had it been the fundamental problem, of course, the aircraft manufacturers would have judgmentproofed themselves and fought every case to the end in court. They settled out of court with secret payoffs and bought more insurance for twenty years. Finally the premiums got too high and during an insurance industry tight market they announced that they “could no longer” make light aircraft.

    The real reason they abandoned the market was that military subcontracts and corporate jets were much more profitable for a given outlay of capital. Figure out the square footage of plant floor space a Skyhawk ( Cessna, not the A-4 Scooter) takes up and the amount a Citation does, the number of labor hours, the pounds of aluminum, and figure how much they make on a Citation vs. a Skyhawk. Something had to give and it was general aviation, because without the low end, only athletes, actors, rock stars and the idle rich could even get started.

    It was exactly like the “sue and settle” scam liberal school administrators and so forth use.

    In a “truly free market” of course, new startups would have satisfied the market. But Silicon Valley was promising 20% ROI and no one else got capital: plus, light aviation had been centered in the fundamentalist crap-pit of Wichita, Kansas for years, and no one with any sense or better opportunity goes there from anyplace nicer. (It’s slightly better than Youngstown, Ohio and probably worse than Akron: crummy weather, NO nightlife, and a long way from anywhere. )

    Probably the most successful new light airplane company is Cirrus, located in Minnesota. Staying out of Wichita was probably their best decision.

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  173. @Dumbo
    I don't think the problem is "status" or socially tainted, the problem is that Greyhound buses really, really suck.

    Uncomfortable, ugly, smelly, always delayed, only minorities or broke students take them.

    AMTRAK and Via Rail (in Canada) are OK, a relatively comfortable trip, but slow. The AMTRAK train service from NY to Montreal is nice, but only during the day and takes 10-12 hours (!). Couldn't they improve on that?

    As for me, I'd love to see a renaissance of the giant airships/zeppelins cruising the skies between LA and SF at, er, 85 mph? Not much speed, but think of the view.

    The Hindenburg was one of the worst marketing disasters of all time.

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  174. Ganderson says:
    @Dumbo
    I don't think the problem is "status" or socially tainted, the problem is that Greyhound buses really, really suck.

    Uncomfortable, ugly, smelly, always delayed, only minorities or broke students take them.

    AMTRAK and Via Rail (in Canada) are OK, a relatively comfortable trip, but slow. The AMTRAK train service from NY to Montreal is nice, but only during the day and takes 10-12 hours (!). Couldn't they improve on that?

    As for me, I'd love to see a renaissance of the giant airships/zeppelins cruising the skies between LA and SF at, er, 85 mph? Not much speed, but think of the view.

    Took the bus (Peter Pan, a NE bus co) from Amherst to Boston and back last summer. The trip in in the early morning, was fine- mostly people going to business appointments. The trip back was , err… interesting. All that was missing was the guy with the chicken.

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    • Replies: @Brutusale
    Well, you WERE going to Amherst. Monday, you'll find Bernie there!
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  175. Ganderson says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    And enough rail tracks were removed when people thought that everyone would drive everywhere, no problems with traffic
     
    Not all of them. The streetcars were taken out of our city sixty years ago, but the tracks weren't. They were merely (and cheaply) paved over. A recent pothole in a street crossing in front of our local McDonald's exposed about a foot of such a track. Ironically, that crossing was at the neighborhood express bus stop.

    Reg- Fun Fact To Know and Tell: The streetcars used by Twin Cities Rapid Transit were sold to the city of Newark, NJ for their subway lines. And you are right- a lot of the tracks are still there- submerged under concrete and/or asphalt. I think Marshall Ave. in St. Paul was completely re-done- I have one of the original paving stones. I’m guessing they did not use the old tracks to construct the University Avenue Boondoggle, err Lightrail line .

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  176. Ganderson says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Ann Coulter says that she’s not an immigrant but a settler.
     
    Funny, I thought she was a native. How old is she?

    Anyway, if you plan to read any published genealogies from 75-125 years ago, be prepared to see the phrase "our immigrant ancestor" a lot. The authors would be 100% in agreement with Ann on her "settler" point, but they used the word "immigrant" for that first settler. Just not in the legal sense.

    “Settler” is a term used by folks ginning themselves up for a bout of genocide. You hear the Boers in South Africa referred to as settlers- even though they have been there since the 1600′s. Much land that is occupied (another genocidal trigger word) by Afrikaners has been lived on continuously by whites for nearly 400 years. That’s some settlement!

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  177. Ganderson says:
    @Stan Adams
    President Reagan's budget director, discussing the exorbitant operating deficit of a city's federally-funded elevated-train system, once said that the government would save gobs of money by shutting down the train and buying every single rider his own private car.

    I’ve seen the same argument about public funding of stadia- for the price of a new crib for an NFL team the government could buy every household in the state a big-screen TV and the NFL package for 10 years!

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  178. Busby says:
    @Sgt. Joe Friday
    A LA-Las Vegas train is a great idea, but it's not going to be time competitive with driving, because the route profile includes several steep climbs and descents. Even with a "high speed" train I don't think anything under a 6 hour timing is realistic. There's also track capacity issues, even though the LA-Salt Lake route is not as busy a freight corridor as the Sunset Route, which is LA-Yuma-Tucson.

    Here is something that a lot of people miss: no form of public transportation pays its own way. Not buses, not airplanes, not trains. All involve some degree of public subsidy whether it's highways, public airports, or Amtrak. Back when private railroads ran their own trains, they were paying high union wages, maintaining their own infrastructure and paying property taxes on it, and were told by regulatory agencies what they could charge for fares. A typical overnight train required a crew of 20 or more to run it (engineer, fireman, conductor, brakeman, car attendants, dining car staff). It was basically a hotel on wheels. What surprises me is that they did not lose more money offering that service.

    Airlines didn’t lose money until after 1979 and the closure of the CAB.

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  179. Brutusale says:
    @Ganderson
    Took the bus (Peter Pan, a NE bus co) from Amherst to Boston and back last summer. The trip in in the early morning, was fine- mostly people going to business appointments. The trip back was , err... interesting. All that was missing was the guy with the chicken.

    Well, you WERE going to Amherst. Monday, you’ll find Bernie there!

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    • Replies: @Ganderson
    Prius traffic jam!
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  180. @Steve Sailer
    As Stuff White People Like pointed out, white people see buses as socially tainted compared to rail. But there's a way to combat that: marketing.

    Spend a half-billion dollars on marketing a luxury bus service between, say, the San Jose and Burbank airports as what all the cool people are taking.

    No judgement on cost effectiveness but it is not a marketing issue. Riding buses sucks and HSR is extremely comfortable. HSR is much more comfortable than cramming on airplanes too

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Is it easier to read on rail than on bus? Do trains shake less than buses?
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  181. @granesperanzablanco
    No judgement on cost effectiveness but it is not a marketing issue. Riding buses sucks and HSR is extremely comfortable. HSR is much more comfortable than cramming on airplanes too

    Is it easier to read on rail than on bus? Do trains shake less than buses?

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    • Replies: @granesperanzablanco
    Full disclosure that I am a mild train nerd but HSR is amazing in this regard because there is very little friction on the tracks. For conventional rail it is better too but less noticeable. I get motion sickness reading on buses

    I can ride trains in a place like Japan or Switzerland though for fun
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  182. I can actually hear the train from my house along the Pennisula south of San Francisco so this is an interesting topic for me

    My view is different than most but first I would advocate for more investments in intra-city commuter rail which we need much more of in the Bay Area and I’m sure LA too

    Second would be a revival of something like the Day Starlight which used to run between SF and LA and is very scenic. There are conflicts with different authorities and freight conflicts and in some places the rail is single tracked but there is a market for this with tourists and college kids. The Surfliner from SLO to San Diego is does pretty well despite having poor slow service

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coast_Daylight

    We don’t need HSR but a modern rail line would be nice

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  183. @Steve Sailer
    Is it easier to read on rail than on bus? Do trains shake less than buses?

    Full disclosure that I am a mild train nerd but HSR is amazing in this regard because there is very little friction on the tracks. For conventional rail it is better too but less noticeable. I get motion sickness reading on buses

    I can ride trains in a place like Japan or Switzerland though for fun

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Thanks. This sounds like an important difference and might help explain the stereotypes of trains being for smart people, buses for dumb people.
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  184. @granesperanzablanco
    Full disclosure that I am a mild train nerd but HSR is amazing in this regard because there is very little friction on the tracks. For conventional rail it is better too but less noticeable. I get motion sickness reading on buses

    I can ride trains in a place like Japan or Switzerland though for fun

    Thanks. This sounds like an important difference and might help explain the stereotypes of trains being for smart people, buses for dumb people.

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    • Replies: @Ttjy
    I've ridden on Eurostar and on 120 mpg trains in England, and those trains do sway a bit, even Eurostar. I've found coaches in England to be have a very smooth ride. I think rail is noisier too. A stop and go city bus would be less comfortable and less smooth of a ride, but that would be compared to subway.

    I do like trains too and have even subscribed to train magazines.

    , @The Last Real Calvinist
    I've used both public buses and trains (mostly underground) for over 25 years in Hong Kong. Trains here are a bit smoother, but not really much quieter, as there's plenty of noise bouncing around in subway tunnels once a train gets moving fast.

    One major difference between riding a train and taking a bus is so obvious it's easy to miss: you can't see anything out the windows of an underground train, and even above-ground urban trains often run through ugly 'back-of-house' areas blighted by neglect, decay, graffiti, etc. Looking out the windows on a bus ride is usually much more interesting because you're right out on the city's streets. And riding one level up, i.e. on the top decks of the double-decker buses used here, is actually quite fun.

    This may also help to explain why people read more on trains than buses; I know it's one reason I do.

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  185. Ttjy says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Thanks. This sounds like an important difference and might help explain the stereotypes of trains being for smart people, buses for dumb people.

    I’ve ridden on Eurostar and on 120 mpg trains in England, and those trains do sway a bit, even Eurostar. I’ve found coaches in England to be have a very smooth ride. I think rail is noisier too. A stop and go city bus would be less comfortable and less smooth of a ride, but that would be compared to subway.

    I do like trains too and have even subscribed to train magazines.

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  186. Ganderson says:
    @Brutusale
    Well, you WERE going to Amherst. Monday, you'll find Bernie there!

    Prius traffic jam!

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  187. @Steve Sailer
    Thanks. This sounds like an important difference and might help explain the stereotypes of trains being for smart people, buses for dumb people.

    I’ve used both public buses and trains (mostly underground) for over 25 years in Hong Kong. Trains here are a bit smoother, but not really much quieter, as there’s plenty of noise bouncing around in subway tunnels once a train gets moving fast.

    One major difference between riding a train and taking a bus is so obvious it’s easy to miss: you can’t see anything out the windows of an underground train, and even above-ground urban trains often run through ugly ‘back-of-house’ areas blighted by neglect, decay, graffiti, etc. Looking out the windows on a bus ride is usually much more interesting because you’re right out on the city’s streets. And riding one level up, i.e. on the top decks of the double-decker buses used here, is actually quite fun.

    This may also help to explain why people read more on trains than buses; I know it’s one reason I do.

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  188. @Steve Sailer
    One thing that's struck me is how little a typical state capital goes upscale. Austin is the big exception to the rule, and Sacramento is nicer than other Central Valley cities (although one reason is that it's weather is nicer due to more sea breezes), but plenty of state capitals are only a little more prosperous that other small cities in the state. You'd probably be better off with the state flagship university (e.g., Ann Arbor, Michigan) than the state capital (Lansing, Michigan).

    My theory about this is that places like Trenton basically have a resource curse problem like oil states: the state government pays big wages and throws around money in general, which keeps a sufficient portion of the population in a rentier state and stops more competitive businesses from moving in. Public services get showered with dough (Trenton schools get over $22,000 per kid) but are terribly administered because the local pols have enough cash to be secure in their jobs without any kind of accountability (until the feds belatedly show up to indict them.) Poor people stay or even move in, because of the endless availability of poor people stuff, but you don’t get the stabilizing influence of working two-parent families or the creative influence of gentrification, because of the available of better suburbs and more interesting cities just around the bend.

    Oddly enough, both Scalia and Alito were more-or-less from Trenton, as is (despite his Brooklyn claims), Jay-Z.

    DC proper (as opposed to the Maryland/VA suburbs) until recently was an example par excellence of this, though thanks to the growth of Big Deep State, it has pulled out of its perennial funk and just become a place for rich young people with a lot of dangerous spots.

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  189. Haven’t lived in California in years, but perhaps somebody can explain why the High Speed Rail route has been chosen along the coast following the 101?

    I’m sure it would be difficult to get right of way for construction along a more densely populated area. But the more attractive and densely populated regions along the coast would be more feature than bug because it would offer more ridership and commuting opportunities to those communities and it would open up these areas to additional tourism by rail. Tourism by rail to Bakersfield and Madera, California are unlikely no matter how convenient and competitive the rail connections are made.

    I’ll preemptively answer my question partially… I would expect that the denizens of the coastal areas would rather keep it as inconvenient as possible for outsiders to come pass through because they aren’t very enthusiastic about growth. So much for solidarity in that leftopia… so unwilling to share their natural treasures.

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  190. tbraton says:
    @Cracker
    FWIW, many feel Jersey could use more rail service. Plenty of rail lines are now trails. Not a joke. For awhile NJ Transit has even pondered bringing back that old service out to PA again:

    http://www.njtransit.com/tm/tm_servlet.srv?hdnPageAction=Project019To

    And this this bridge is cool:

    http://weirdnj.com/stories/paulinskill-viaduct/

    If you visit, bring your spray can!

    Compare that lovely bridge in NJ built in 1907 with Francis Scott Key Bridge, completed in 1923, which connects Georgetown in Washington, D.C. with Rosslyn, Virginia on the other side of the Potomac. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_Bridge_(Washington,_D.C.) (scroll down for more photos). When I saw the picture you posted, I immediately thought of Key Bridge, which was my favorite of the four bridges connecting D.C. to Virginia. Wikipedia refers to Key Bridge as “The Classical Revival[27] bridge.” The Beaux-Arts movement was the last phase of the Classical Revival Movement, which was responsible for the design of many of the public buildings built from the beginning (e.g., the U.S. Capitol) and culminating in the Lincoln Memorial (1923) and the U.S. Supreme Court building (1935).

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  191. Why would California build high-speed rail to Bakersfield? That would be blowing a few billion dollars that could be spent better on many other things. Who wants to go to Bakersfield?

    It is obvious that California has not done a cost/benefits study on this project. They may get 5 riders a month out to Bakersfield.

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