Sorry Mob, Your Rulers Have Spoken: California Senate Approves Rail Funding

You just lack vision, Californians.

Despite voter polls turning hard against a proposed $68 billion high-speed train from San Francisco to Los Angeles (by way of Fresno and Merced), the state Senate pulled the trigger on the initial funding today.

Four Democratic senators turned against the project, but it wasn’t enough. The final vote tally was 21-16 (with three no-shows). Two of the yes votes came in the last seconds of the roll call.

Here’s an intriguing paragraph from The Sacramento Bee’s breaking coverage that nicely illustrates why legislators would actually go against public opinion in the middle of a massive economic meltdown on an election year while asking the same public to approve a tax hike in four months:

The approval was a major legislative victory for Gov. Jerry Brown. [Senate President Pro Tem Darrell] Steinberg said the Democratic governor "talked to a couple members" ahead of the vote, while Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, reminded colleagues that the project not only had Brown's attention, but also that of President Barack Obama and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

Electorate, what electorate? Obama and Pelosi are the ones who matter.

Or rather, Obama and Pelosi are the ones who matter when you know you don’t have the courage to take on your public unions in Sacramento and are planning to go hat-in-hand to the federal government for a bailout when your state's economy crashes into a grove of fig trees at 200 miles per hour. Prediction: Appeasing the great and powerful O will pay off with federal dollars when weak-willed legislators prove utterly unable to defuse the state’s pension bomb. Also, if Obama wins reelection, perhaps he'll ride in on his unicorn and save California from the education cuts that are almost certainly likely to happen now that Brown's tax initiative is likely doomed.

Read our lengthy coverage of High-Speed Rail here, and be sure to check out our latest issue (August/September) for Reason.com Managing Editor Tim Cavanaugh’s column explaining how funding for rail transportation screws over the poor.

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  • Brutus||

    NB: The fix was in. It always was. They needed 20 votes, and they got 21. They let the few Senators who had to vote no do so, and twisted the arms of the rest. The rest was kabuki.

    Cavanaugh now has years of material for columns.

  • Sevo||

    1) Built with union labor.
    Check
    2) Staffed by union labor.
    Check
    3) Paid for by the reliable dem voters in CA.
    Check
    4) Riders? Who cares?
    Check
    Pass the damn thing; Pelosi's pocket-lint Leno says to.

  • WWNGD?||

    So you are saying it will be over budget in six months?

  • R||

    It's already over-budget, just by existing.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, and:
    "a proposed $68 billion high-speed train from San Francisco to Los Angeles"

    Anyone who believes that $68Bn number has had entirely too much to drink.

  • ZZMike||

    Anyone who believes the "S.F to L.A. number" .....

  • DanD||

    Agreed. I'm guessing the initial Fresno Merced leg comes to $120 billion.

  • flye||

    Anyone who believes "high-speed"...

    This will have too many stops for political reasons, and will very rarely get to the upper speeds for environmental reasons.

  • Banjos||

    The ring came off my pudding can.

  • Anacreon||

    Take my penknife, my good man

  • AuH2O||

    What about us lazy slobs?

  • ||

    MONO...d'oh!

  • ||

    At least we'll be treated to years of internecine conflict between the HSR socialists and the environazies, who are sure to raise a stink at every turn when it's time to break ground.

  • Sevo||

    It'll be amusing, but every legal bill will get paid by those same dem voters. And the rest of us.

  • Paul.||

    Which is why the whole project is a lose-lose-lose for Californians.

    It's a lose because... well, they got the project.

    It's a lose for Californians because the project will be way over budget because mega projects are always over budget and because of the internecine conflicts between the Black September wing of the Environmental movement, and mainstream tax-and-spend Democrats.

    It's a lose because when the project becomes the horrendous mess it was predicted to become, the tax-and-spend Democrats can say, "The whole thing would've worked if it hadn't have been for those meddling envirocrazies" which means that this project will never be used as a cautionary tale for future boondoggles.

  • John C. Randolph||

    They won't blame it on the envirocrazies. They'll blame it on selfish individuals who don't want to ride their fucking train.

    -jcr

  • Paul.||

    You assume the thing will be completed before we're in the grave.

  • Brutus||

    Taxing people for not riding is always an option.

  • ||

    ^^Winner, for being constitutionally sound!

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Since it will never be operational, they are already doing that. I wonder if they had some inside knowledge of Roberts' backflip.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Gerry Brown ca 2014

    It's not a tax, it's a pre-paid fare.

  • Sevo||

    John C. Randolph|7.6.12 @ 8:36PM|#
    "They won't blame it on the envirocrazies. They'll blame it on selfish individuals who don't want to ride their fucking train.
    -jcr"

    And the two remaining Team Reds in the legislature.

  • califernian||

    And the total domination of free market capitalist thinking that pervades our society.

  • Sevo||

    And DEREGULATION!
    Why, there are still un-regulated ways of traveling! People can still *drive* between SF and LA!

  • Sevo||

    Well, sort of OT:
    You can still drive between the two in far less than a day, assuming you use that evil petroleum to power your ride.
    Wanna take your new Tesla? Plan on two or three days (with plug ins at government provided stations in between)
    "That said, even if the Model S reliably topped 200 miles in real-world driving it would be an impressive feat. We got 189 miles out of a fully-charged Roadster with a promised range of 244 miles, so it wouldn’t be surprising if a Model S could manage more than that."
    http://www.wired.com/autopia/2.....300-miles/
    Hey, if the traffic isn't bad and you don't use the AC, you might take a round trip from Palo Alto to the wine country in one day!
    But I'll bet the last 50 miles means clenched jaws, careful battery management and a paid-up AAA card.

  • JW||

    That's assuming you don't brick your Tesla before setting off on the trip.

    Tesla Motors will only charge you $40,000 to replace the battery.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    (Confidently awaits the first "road trip" report on Model-S going the distance between SF and LA, with perhaps a leg-stretching and "top-off" charging stop in San Luis Obispo.)

  • amelia||

    They'll need a scapegoat and it won't be environmentalists, that much is sure.

  • JW||

    It will be everybody except the goons who actually deserve to be scapegoated.

  • ||

    The whole point of this exercise is NOT to build . The point is to spend money. Whatever gets NOT build isn't even remotely important.

  • Paul.||

    The approval was a major legislative victory for Gov. Jerry Brown.

    Isn't getting elected multiple times across two generations victory enough? It's not like there are any secrets here.

    I mean, if we elected George W. Bush twice, and now are about to elect Obama twice, and Biden in 2016... can we really blame anyone but ourselves?

  • WWNGD?||

    I will give you Obama in November, but I can't believe Biden in 2016. Another democrat maybe but Biden... will we slip that far?

  • mr simple||

    Were you trying to prove your first sentence, You just lack vision, Californians., by not writing a headline that rhymes?

  • James Otis||

    Does anyone else smell ham?

  • Paul.||

    I hear laughter. But I don't live in California. Have fun in Fresno.

  • zanne||

    I smell toast.

  • Sheldon J. Plankton||

    Heh! Heh! Heh! (rubs hands with glee) The collapse is coming along nicely.

  • ZZMike||

    I can hardly wait for the mad rush of investors from all over the world desperate to buy those bonds.

  • Brutus||

    They'll be right there on the shelf, next to Greece's bonds.

  • Banjos||

    That was my first thought. Who the fuck are going to buy these bonds?

  • ||

    Savvy investors who know that when Cali defaults, they'll get bailed out, so the bonds are close to a sure-thing.

  • mr simple||

    What else are they going to do, pay Uncle Sam to hold onto their money?

  • Sevo||

    (no authority on bonds, but)
    They can get traded multiple times at far below junk under the 'greater fool' assumption, and each trade yields some profit.
    Until the last one, when there's no chair left as the music stops...

  • johnl||

    How do you profit when a bond you own gets downgraded? And then then you sell it for less than you paid for it?

  • Sevo||

    When a bond gets 'downgraded', the supposed return goes up, making it supposedly more valuable.
    Repeat process until that last note comes around on the guitar...

  • johnl||

    No. This does not happen at all. When a bond is downgraded, it keeps paying the same amount it always did, but it becomes harder to sell. So to a new buyer, it pays a higher effective rate, because he can buy it for a discount. The holders take a paper loss of the amount of that discount. If they sell the bond, then it's not a paper loss.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Who the fuck are going to buy these bonds?

    Big bro Barack and uncle Ben.

  • Jeff Dermer||

    If the bonds are exempt from the Obamacare interest-income surcharge then people will buy them. But yeah, foreclosing on a never to be completed bit of rail right of way in the middle of nowhere.... unless you get the oil rights in which case buying those bonds in distress may be a good play. Lots of black gold under CA.

  • sloopyinca||

    Not from Fresno to Merced, there isn't. But FYI, it isn't the "middle of nowhere." It's extremely productive Ag land, which makes the decision all the more absurd. If they wanted to do it in a more sensible location (assuming there is such a thing), they would have done it from Coalinga north to Los Banos or south to Lost Hills. At least there it would be on the land the state EPA has destroyed the value of by taking the water away from the farmers. Keeping it on the east side of the valley means they not only are running it in more densely populated areas, which mean they will have to run it more slowly, but it means they will also be destroying the most productive farmland in the nation. Not to mention the people of the central valley are dead set against it and the ridership here will be almost nonexistent.

    Fucking morons, every one of them.

  • ||

    It's a feature you see. Take money we don't have. Pave over productive farm land so we will have less food, which creates more hungry voters. Destroying wealth to create dependents, classic Tax'n'Spend playbook.

  • TomD||

    This young libertarian(ish) girl could use some defending. She's being attacked with about 10 tons of smug:

    http://gawker.com/5923731/meet.....ian-lolita

  • VG Zaytsev||

    news of that seventeen year old Georgia kid's public defection from the right wing conspiracy got me thinking: could the radical right's time-honored Tween Indoctrination traditions actually start to backfire? Because if so, here's a worthy nomination for the next big victim of "Krohn's Syndrome": Dorian "Libertarian Lolita" Gomberg a.k.a. Dorian Electra...

    Libertarians have apparently infiltrated the public school system and are indoctrinating helpless tweens.

    Or something.

  • Sevo||

    "news of that seventeen year old Georgia kid's public defection from the right wing conspiracy got me thinking: could the radical right's time-honored Tween Indoctrination traditions actually start to backfire?"

    Yep, that ol' "vast right-wing conspiracy". Sneaking up of lefties since, oh, uh,...
    And this guy claims to be "thinking"!

  • JeremyR||

    Well, it's like in the same sense that the main stream media is conservative, despite basically them being partisan Democratic hacks (except Fox News). It's just to the people on the far left, people on the left are "right".

  • Coeus||

    They hate it when anyone escapes their own indoctrination net.

  • Bacon_Is_King||

    Wait, people still read Gawker?

  • AuH2O||

    There are some people worth arguing with. Their minds can be changed, or they can at least be satisfyingly put in their place.

    You do not find such people on Gawker and Jezebel. They think the right thoughts, thought by other right thinking people in places like MSNBC and The New York Times. Ergo, they too are right.

    Facts, figures, reality... it is all irrelevant to them. They

  • AuH2O||

    Damn it!

    They wear the cloak of goodness and righteousness, and anyone disagreeing with them must be either stupid or evil, or both.

  • Tulpa the White||

    A taste of where H+R is headed if you fail to heed my warnings.

  • ||

    HAHAHAHAHA, they used her real name in the article. THEY OUTED HER!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  • Brett L||

    Honestly, I expected the "Libertarian Lolita" to be a 12 year old Somali whore explaining why roads are bad.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Even if Obama wins relection and the dems hold the senate, I don't know how CA thinks it's going to get a bailout approved. What congressman from anywhere but CA is going to want to run for re-election as the guy that gave all your money to California.

  • Dylan||

    Probably the same congressmen who bailed out Chrysler, Bear Sterns, Franny, Freddie, Goldman Sachs, AIG, Citigroup, GMC, Chrysler again, AIG again, Bank of America, etc.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Yeah, but there are people who own stock in or have accounts with or who work for those companies in many states. There government of California is only in California.

  • WWNGD?||

    No, McCotter resigned today.

  • Cytotoxic||

    A bunch of those cpngressmen got the boot.

  • Dylan||

    During the next crash every state government will probably be in debt. They will all get bailed out. The state with the most debt wins!

  • Scott S.||

    I would recommend reading Gene Healy's piece on the president's ability to declare disasters if you haven't already.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    You just say that California is too big to fail.

    Or you roll it up in a bill with thousands of pages and 2 good lines and say you just voted for those two lines.

  • mr lizard||

    Congratulations Cali, you are officially stoopider than Florida by a factor of 10. And our state already owned the right-of-way for our HSR clusterfuckathon.

  • Rich||

    (with three no-shows)

    Sheesh, even Obama voted "Present".

  • AuH2O||

    So, Reason, it looks like soon we will need to organize our own railroad, perhaps an underground one, to smuggle out those of us still trapped in California.

  • sloopyinca||

    Are you back in California, Goldwater? San Diego, I presume?

  • AuH2O||

    I am actually in Colorado. I meant to say, "Those of you"

    But seriously, sloopy, you're having a kid. Think of the child(ren)!

  • sloopyinca||

    We'll be gone in 6 years. We're gonna have a huge spread off the grid in northern Nevada or northern Arizona and a big-ass sailboat parked in the Pacific. Homeschool the kids while we sail the central American coast part of the year and farm the rest.

  • Teaching Student||

    Keep it alive for me... stuck in California until I can convince the wife to leave...

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I'm not ready to give up on CA yet, but I'm really close.

  • ||

    No offense, but those of us not living there gave up on it decades ago. It's a beautiful place, but I despise all it stands for and I won't set foot there.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    It's paradise, except for the government.

    The weather's great. The people / culture is great. Natural beauty is good. The economy was great until the state government went insane.

    I've got family in seven different states and there's not one that I prefer.

    The only problem is that the fucking socialists in Sacramento want to turn us into Cuba west.

  • Teaching Student||

    Socialists in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, increasing in number in San Diego....

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Born here. Not ready to abandon it to the socialist idiots. Agree with pretty much everything VGZ says above. How can we eject the frakkin socialists from Sacramento? If we're going to close borders, I say close the borders not to West (boat people) and south, but to the immigrants from north and east who hate liberty.

  • Coeus||

    Policeone reaction to pot store raid where the cops went on a smash fest. Surprisingly, not all of the comments are horrible this time.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    At least half the cocksuckers posting there said some verion of "disabling a camera should be the first thing you do on a raid"

    Yeah, cause you don't want any actual evidence of what you're about to do.

    Fucking assholes, they all deserve capital punishment.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Disable the camera? I was told that all good cops want to be on camera to prove their awesomeness.

  • mr simple||

    all good cops

    That guy retired last year after being on desk duty the last 20.

  • Len Bias||

    I came to California two years ago under the naive assumption that CA would turn itself around somehow. Then, it proceeded to elect Brown who decided to go full-retard ahead on turning the state into Detroit.

    I can't believe I'm contemplating going back to Oklahoma, where unemployment is 5% and growth is robust.

    Can't believe in the times of the Grapes of Wrath, people LEFT Oklahoma to seek economic opportunity in California. Then again, I can't really picture that Detroit was ever a nice place.

    People I know outside of California are guessing CA expects a bailout. People I know in California are not clear-headed enough to know they need a bailout. They have no idea how close their state is to the brink.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I'm a long time CA resident and I definitely don't want the state government to get bailed out.

    The thing CA needs most is for the state government to disappear entirely and barring that to shrink as much as possible. The absolutely fucking last thing we need is for Jerry's kids to get bailed out and keep up their destructive ways.

  • ||

    Not going to happen. Thanks to Jerry Brown 35 years ago, California's government workers got unionized. It's been downhills since.

  • np||

    I think before the bailout what will happen as the bonds reach maturity, they'll panic and try to tax, or propose to tax the shit out of everyone. Only when people start to get fed up, then they'll realize they'll have to go to the Feds. But the Feds will also use that opportunity to impose conditions, like with highway funds.

  • Coeus||

    This one is just like you'd expect:
    Policeone reaction to the Houston woman arrested for warning of a speed trap.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    "I think I'd have LMAO at her, and continued the mission..."

    The mission. Running a speed trap is a "mission." W. T. F.

    Every fucking time someone posts a link to that shithole I promise myself I won't look, but I always do.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    You can get arrested for telling people not to speed?

  • sloopyinca||

    Does this remind anybody else of a Philip K Dick story?

    Holy motherfucking shit, is this infuriating. Where's Buckaroo Banzai to tell us it's A-OK?

  • Mumu Bobby||

    Laugh now because you'll ride our train when we close highway 5.......for your own good.
    the management

  • Teaching Student||

    Good point....

  • Ken Shultz||

    Electorate, what electorate? Obama and Pelosi are the ones who matter.

    Tip O'Neill didn't know what he was talking about.

    In California, all local politics is national.

    What California does has nothing to do with what's happening locally and everything to do with what's going on in Arizona, Alabama, and Washington DC.

    Makes me want to puke.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    There's a lot of truth to that, and I blame the structure of CA's government - specifically "non partisan" local elections.

    The result of that progressive nugget, along with public employee unionization, has been to completely eliminate the non-statist or even less statist farm team from politics.

    Every budding politician, of whatever party, has to come to terms with the public employee union octopus. Specifically the teachers unions, cops unions, fire fighters unions or prison guards unions.

    Which culls out almost every non statist at the the school board, city council level. The only groups that can compete with the public employee unions are religious wackos and environmental wackos.

    So, local politics are a disgusting mix of blatant corruption on national strawmen.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's more than that.

    If California thinks that childhood obesity is a national problem, then there's a chunk of them that want to ban happy meals from their local McDonalds.

    If California thinks that greenhouse gasses are a national problem, then they want to implement a local version of the Kyoto treaty, regardless of whether their little effort has any impact on global warming at all--from an alarmist perspective!

    Maybe you've seen that bumper stickier, "Think globally, Act locally"?

    They're serious about that.

    If the people in Arizona and Alabama are showing up in the national news seemingly (to California) bashing gay marriage and illegal immigrants?

    Then there's a huge chunk of Californians who want to do the opposite of that.

    They didn't vote against Meg Whitman because they wanted Jerry Brown; they voted for Jerry Brown becasue he was a slap in the face of the Tea Party. ...not that there was much of a Tea Party presence in California!

    They were just reacting to what was going on nationally.

    If we could get the Republicans in the South to shut up about culture war wedge issues for two election cycles, Californians might start paying attention to their own best economic interests and what's going on in Sacramento. Until then?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    If California thinks that childhood obesity is a national problem, then there's a chunk of them that want to ban happy meals from their local McDonalds.

    If California thinks that greenhouse gasses are a national problem, then they want to implement a local version of the Kyoto treaty, regardless of whether their little effort has any impact on global warming at all--from an alarmist perspective!

    Maybe you've seen that bumper stickier, "Think globally, Act locally"?

    They're serious about that.

    The they in that phrase are politically motivated douche-bags who represent, maybe, 5% of the overall population.

    They have free run because of the factors that I mentioned. IE there is no organized opposition that can say hey dumbshits if you do that you won't have any jobs and your property values will collapse let alone personal liberty issues.

    To re-iterate the problem is structural, in that it subsidizes organization by the political left and precludes it for the non politically interested overwhelming majority.

    Any attempt to fix the state must begin with addressing that issue. And the thing is that it can be done in a pro-politician, non partisan way. Which is to say that it is achievable.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    They didn't vote against Meg Whitman because they wanted Jerry Brown; they voted for Jerry Brown becasue he was a slap in the face of the Tea Party. ...not that there was much of a Tea Party presence in California!

    Bullshit.

    They voted for Jerry Brown over Meg Whitman because he was and is a better politician. Which is the same reason that BO will probably beat Mitt.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Fucking squirrels.

    Meg and Mitt may be great business leaders but that does not make either of them even good politicians.

    Maxine Walters is a good politician, (despite being batshit crazy) and no one thinks that she would be a good applicant for a business management position. The skill sets for the two positions have very little overlap, as demonstrated by the fact that few successful businessmen rise in politics and most successful politicians sinking in business.

    Look, I've been anti-politician for decades and have come to realize the foolishness of that position. The fact is that politicians succeed in politics and we need to groom politicians that support our views. Transplanting a businessmen into politics at a mid-high level is almost always a certain loss/

  • Ken Shultz||

    Meg Whitman was run over because the headlines were all about what was going on with the Tea Party that election cycle.

    Meg Whitman lost, in part, because of the stupid shit Tea Party candidates in Delaware and Minnesota were saying.

    Part of the reason Meg Whitman lost, in part, was because of the lousy things that Sarah Palin supposedly said--many attributed to Palin that she never actually said!

    Meg Whitman lost, in part, because of what Arizona did with its immigration bill...

    The reasons eMeg lost had nothing to do with:

    1) People really wanting Jerry Brown driving the bus.

    2) Anything that was going on in California

    3) Meg's lack of politician expertise

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Bull

    Whitman lost because she wasn't a politician. Same reason that Fiorina lost. Same reason that McMahon lost in CT.

    Republicans have this fantasy that a non ideological successful business person can swoop into marque races and when based on private sector experience.

    It's never happened and never will happen.

    The few times that businessmen have won mid level and higher races is when they run as ideologues and even those examples are few and far between.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Does the name Arnold Schwarzenegger mean anything to you?

    What about Ronald Reagan?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Both were movie stars, not businessmen and both ran as ideologues.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    I was feeling pretty smug (in a schadenfreude sort of way) when Missouri voted for a dead guy for Senator, against the Constitution, and kicked out John Ashcroft, inflicting him on us as GWB's AG. Then California voted -- not technically against our term limits laws, but certainly against their spirit -- to give Jerry Brown a third crack at destroying the State.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Californians don't care as much about getting screwed by their own politicians in Sacramento as much as they care about stickin' it to the Westboro Baptist Church.

    Does that sound crazy? Like it doesn't make any sense?

    Sometimes the truth doesn't make any sense. Sometimes not making any sense is just the way it is.

    It is what it is.

  • JeremyR||

    You're giving them too much credit.

    In the eyes of a liberal, the government can never screw people over by spending too much money. They believe when the government spends it, it's somehow magical and produces more money in benefits.

    It's like a belief in a perpetual motion machine. When it stops running, they just look for another one, not realizing that it's impossible.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'm giving us Californians too much credit?

    They don't care about spending any more or less than your average American cares about spending, either. Congress is spending like the State of California--even worse, prolly--and who really cares?

    A few of us libertarians?! And how much of an impact have we had on the budget debate? That's how it works in California, too. Nobody wants a busted budget, but nobody cares enough to do what it takes to change course--they're certainly not about to slash spending.

    Social conservatives are the same way! They vote on social issues, too--rather than the budget. They're happy to talk about lower deficits so long as someone else is in power, but they vote on wedge issues.

    Who cares if George W. Bush blows the roof off the budget on a prescription benefit plan--so long as he's stickin' it to the anti-Iraq War activists! Do you want Al Qaeda to come here and make all of our hot chicks wear a burka?

    Huh? Well, do ya?!

  • Ken Shultz||

    If there's anyone stupider than a Californian who will vote for a financial disaster like Jerry Brown just to stick it to social conservatives? It's so called fiscal conservatives, who somehow think treating gay people like second class citizens is more important than fiscal conservatism...

    Fiscal conservatives who vocally advocate government discrimination against gay people are America's stupidest people. Because, you know, gay people are just gonna keep on sucking and fucking each other anyway. There's nothing social conservatives can do to stop that!

    All they end up doing is driving swing voters into the arms of the socialists. So get the model straight in your head--people would rather vote for socialists if the fiscally conservative alternative is also associated with hot button socially conservative issues.

    It works that way in California. It works that way nationally.

    Believe me, Obama didn't come out in support of gay marriage out of the warmness of his heart. He did it because it will help him win reelection, and the people who run the Republican Party (who don't really care about fiscal conservatism anyway) are tied down by their stoopid supporters--and couldn't do the smart thing with swing voters even if they wanted to.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    It's so called fiscal conservatives, who somehow think treating gay people like second class citizens is more important than fiscal conservatism...

    Bad example.

    Civil Unions have broad support in CA and give gay people the same rights in the state as married people. So there is no second class status.

    Same sex marriage here, is entirely symbolic for the people that would chose it, as it will not provide any further benefits to them. However, it will enable activists to sue people and organizations that they hate, ie religious organizations.

    And anyways, the issue has failed at the polls everytime it has been voted on so you can't really say that SSM is hurting the republicans here. If anything, it may be helping them.

    And Obama publicly supported SSM because of fundraising not because he thought it would net him votes.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Civil Unions have broad support in CA and give gay people the same rights in the state as married people. So there is no second class status.

    Have broad support with whom?

    Not with swing voters!

    Being against gay marriage has strong support in the African-American and Latino communities. You think those are swing voters?! They wouldn't vote for a Republican if she was the only candidate on the ticket.

    Do you know what a swing voter is?

    The bulk of swing voters are people who would always vote for the Democrats--if only they weren't associated with higher taxes and more spending. They're also people who would always vote for the Republicans if only they weren't associated with immigrant bashing, bible-thumping, homophobia.

    That's why [insert lefty politician] is always bashing the Republicans for being immigrant bashing, bible-thumping homophobes.

    ...and what is the Republican response?

    Illegal Aliens are destroying the American way of life! Marriage is between a man and a woman...

    Prop 187 had broad support to--and after conservatives one that battle? They lost the war with swing voters for two generations. Then the dumbshit social conservatives doubled down on their loss with Prop 8.

    52% to 47%--and now the swing voters think the Republicans are homophobes?

    How's that a win for fiscal conservatism?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    52% to 47%--and now the swing voters think the Republicans are homophobes?

    How's that a win for fiscal conservatism?

    It's a win for legacy media propagandists seeing as lower income democrat voters are the most homophobic demographic in the state.

    Do you really think that green cosmos are going to vote republican if only they came out in favor of gay marriage?

    Yeah neither do I, seeing as how they hate libertarians even more than team red.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Just because Jerry Brown, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama tell Republicans what to say? Doesn't mean the retards in the Republican Party always have to say what they're told!

    Seriously. When Barack Obama tells you as a conservative to bash on immigrants and gay people--it is okay to disobey him! If you're a real conservative and you want to slash our budgets, stop saying everything Barack Obama tells you to say.

    All Nancy Pelosi has to do is hold a press conference and say something stupid--and all the conservatives in earshot run straight to the nearest swing voter and start spout immigrant bashing or homophobia. All the social conservatives are at her beck and call.

    It's pathetic.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    All the social conservatives are at her beck and call.

    Yes, low income minorities support dems like Nanny Piglosi no matter what.

    How, exactly, do you think that conservatives or libertarians can break through to them?

  • Ken Shultz||

    There are plenty of soccer moms who vote Obama becasue they think conservatives are mean to immigrants, minorities and gays.

    We can start with them.

    And the first thing to do to make them think we're not immigrant bashing, minority hating homophobes? Is to not be immigrant bashing, minority hating homophobes.

    Stop the anti-immigration baloney. Soccer moms throughout California use illegal immigrants for daycare and lawn care.

    At least the anti-immigration baloney has some impact on fiscal policy, but denying gay people the right to get married is pointless from a fiscal policy perspective.

    So drop it.

    Find some civil rights issues that DO have some economic consequences--and become an advocate for them. Let the California Republican Party be at the forefront of the fight to legalize marijuana.

    Do it for the immigrants, who suffer at the hands of the narco/human traffickers. Do it for the minorities, who are incarcerated for drug crimes at a disproportionate rate. Do it for the fiscal health of California--we spend so much money on enforcing those laws...

    That's the way you rebrand the Republican Party in California. Swing voters in California don't think of the Republicans as the party of fiscal conservatism--they think of them as the party of immigrant bashing and homophobia.

    The Republicans haven't rebranded in California since Pete Wilson won with Prop 187--now add Prop 8? The swing voters learn from our mistakes--maybe we should too!

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I was against prop 180 and predicted at the time that it would harm the reps long term.

    At this point, I don't see a lot of CA reps bashing immigrants or gays. I haven't seen that for a long time.

    So we're back to where we started with your observation that CA voters project media created strawmen onto local republican candidates.

    Your solution of getting the national republicans to change their image is entirely out of the control of CA locals and ignores the possibility that those media created strawmen will be replaced with other strawmen.

    My solution is to build a statewide party and to that requires running candidates for low level offices - school boards, city councils, water districts etc and move up from there. Something that would be more practicable with a repeal of the prohibition on 'partisan' involvement in local races.
    And those are things that are within the control of people locally.

  • Marty Feldman's Eyes||

    I blame the adoption of California auto emissions standards outside California. That seems to have given politicians here a pompous grandiosity about leading the country, and now they think whatever brain farts they issue will be followed elsewhere.

  • Ken Shultz||

    By the way, could somebody give this libertarian some good news?

    It's been nothing but bad news--and getting worse--since the Supreme Court stabbed us in the back.

    I'm a look for the pony kinda guy, but I've been through the whole pile of crap--I'm not seein' any daylight anywhere.

    I'm the first one to tell people that politics aren't the solution to our problems--but, Jesus, I was hopin' to be wrong about that!

    Is there anything good happening for libertarians anywhere in the world, right now?

    I hear Costa Rica got rid of their military and called an end to the Drug War--but that was a long time ago.

    Somebody give us some good news for libertarians, please?

    Somebody tell me please that somewhere there are politicians running things who aren't completely insane.

  • sloopyinca||

    I wish I could oblige you, Ken, but I'm drawing a blank.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The only good news right now is that the political world has hit an unsustainable level of absurdity.

    Which admittedly ain't much today, but give hopes for the ear future.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Concerning Costa Rica: there's really nothing libertarian about eliminating the military and they have not ended their drug war and they have tons of cops there with lots of power.

    This is good news: http://online.wsj.com/article/.....TopStories

    Turns out many states took advantage of the SCOTUS ruling on Obamacare. Specifically the repeal of barriers against state cuts to medicare. Maine cut 20,000 people. This is very interesting. It suggests entitlement reform is not impossible at all and is actually happening at light speed right now.

  • Ken Shultz||

    That is good news.

    It's something.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Estonia and Sweden (!) cutting government and balancing their budgets. When they start growing and leaving the other Western nations behind, it will be evidence that massive government doesn't help anyone other than those who govern.

  • H. Protagonist||

    As Wash so eloquently put it: Tai kong suo you de xing qiu sai jin wo de pi gu.

    Roughly translated: Shove all the planets in the 'Verse up my ass.

  • Archduke PantsFan||

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    There's plenty of time to watch a crapton of TV, swim, play outside, or whatever while also studying some informal logic, math, Latin, and economics.

  • Brett L||

    Informal logic? Is that a law school class?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Informal logic being the study of rhetoric, as opposed to formal logic which is a branch of mathematics.

  • Archduke PantsFan||

  • Archduke PantsFan||

  • Anomalous||

    Will Jerry Brown make the trains run on time?

  • dcnj||

    and I thought Jersey was bad...LOL California!

  • John||

    Fuck California. They elected those bastards. Maybe mindlessly voting for the same people very election has engendered some contempt among their rulers. Gee you think?

    What are the voters in California going to do about this? Vote Republican? Vote Libertarian? Ha. Fuck them. They created their one party oligarchy. They deserve every thing they get. I am happy to see this.

  • califernian||

    I didn't vote for them.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Nor I.

  • Lyle||

    Should 18th Century Tea Property damage be done against the rail line to stop the project?

  • johnl||

    Impossible. There will be nothing to damage but environmental impact reports for years.

  • Lyle||

    Ha.. lets hope.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    I really never thought the whole HSR thing would get this far -- and I still think that environmental and other obstructionist lawsuits will doom it -- but if they are bound and determined to blow through billions of taxpayer dollars, I certainly would like us to get something worthwhile out of the financial orgy. They need to examine carefully the opportunity presented by Personal Rapid Transit. A good practical example of the approach is the Heathrow Pods system at the airport in London. A system similar to this one could be built to serve every town that is supposed to get an HSR station. The idea would be for a functioning PRT system to cover several square miles around the point in the city where the HSR station WOULD have been, and then use that system to feed/drain the ACTUAL HSR station, built on a less expensive parcel, in the easier-to-access, less politically controversial and legally contentious outskirts of town.

    (continued in reply message)

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    (continued from previous msg)

    The benefits would include:

    1. Quicker, less expensive construction of stations.
    2. Easier and less expensive acquisition of route right-of-way overall.
    3. Fewer and more easily settled lawsuits (less money spent in litigation, quicker progress)
    4. HSR station towns would get good local-area transportation, whether or not (or regardless of when) HSR finally arrived at their locations.
    5. PRT would be introduced to millions, who, if liking it, would press for expansion of existing systems or establishment of new ones.
    6. Less disruption of city life due to HSR-related construction and operations.
    7. Less political pressure to add HSR stops to the route and so reduce the average speed of the line. Instead, the HSR-feeder PRT systems can be built out to encompass more cities, further improving local and regional mobility.
    8. HSR stations can be kept busy without creating huge traffic jams around them.

    Laid out in a grid, with guideways 1/2 mile apart, PRT can guarantee that nobody within the service area will ever be more than 1/4 mile away from a system access point, or ever need to exit the system more than 1/4 mile away from their intended destination point. A square mile of such coverage today costs around $90M to construct (corresponding to six linear miles of main guideway, rolling stock, and system-access point/stop infrastructure).

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    A town such as mine, 13 sq. mi. (land area) Santa Cruz CA, would probably need $1B for pervasive PRT coverage; that seems unlikely to happen, unless a billionaire wants to use us as a philanthropic test case. On the other hand, a similarly sized area in San Francisco or San Jose might be able to justify the expense due to higher-density population and greater traffic flow. The point is that, within a PRT service area, you wouldn't need buses or other trains, and the only people who would need cabs would be those who, for whatever reason, could not take the short walk to or from the nearest PRT access point. That is to say, the majority of people in the service area could often or regularly use PRT to their benefit. If PRT were on the HSR route, however (or for those towns, of similar or slightly larger size, that are), the HSR aggregator function would keep the system busy, and the local people would benefit from having a good transit option.

    An excellent website that covers the history of PRT, the concept in the abstract, and several of the modern practical approaches to implementation is at http://kinetic.seattle.wa.us/getonboard.html.

    The website belonging to the specific implementation of PRT used at Heathrow is here: http://www.ultraglobalprt.com/

    If the HSR folks concentrated on building the aggregators first, the project could produce lasting benefits even if the high-speed trains themselves never rolled.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Not the pee pods again! The ones at Morgantown reek like Sam Kineson after asparagus risoto. Are you an investor, JAM?

  • Rhywun||

    I certainly would like us to get something worthwhile out of the financial orgy

    Regarding the routing - I recall there was never any intention to start with a viable route. It was stated at the beginning that the first route would be a "trial run", which is why all the candidates they floated made no sense. (Sensible routes would follow later.) A "trial run" was needed because we can't just use off-the-shelf components; we have to "buy American" and build them more unnecessarily tank-like than anywhere else - a nice benefit for labor unions and certain politicians, if no one else.

    Since California took the bait, I haven't heard any more talk of this being a "trial run" - perhaps because it has become apparent that "trial run" conveys the idea that something else will follow it.

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