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California Roundup: Would the Bullet Train Be Good for the Jews?

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* We're still Number One at something! California leads the nation in anti-Semitic incidents, according to ADL's 2009 survey.

* Belt-tightening is for people who actually work for a living: AFSCME Local 1902 responds to the state's financial crisis by demanding the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California hike workers' pension payouts by $70 million. (This is on top of a 2 percent pay increase water workers got at the beginning of this year.

Is Notre Dame building the California High Speed Rail Line?

* Believe in the Bullet Train, dammit! California High-Speed Rail Authority hires Ogilvy to produce favorable poll numbers, then heads to Washington to seek another $2.3 billion. Results show 34 percent strong support, and 42 percent support with reservations. Dan Walters explains some of the reservations, including the fact that every study of the project—most recently one from the University of California's Institute of Transportation Studies—shows it to be hopeless. Reason has plenty of coverage of the Rail Authority's tangled leadership, the destruction of property that would result if the train ever got built, and the magical thinking that has kept this vaporware project alive for 14 years.

* More Bell ringing: Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley joins California Attorney General Jerry Brown in investigating voter fraud and conflicts of interest in the troubled City of Bell. Previous Reason coverage.

* My ballot smiles and never frowns: Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association sues A.G. Brown for writing what it calls a misleading ballot description for Proposition 23. The poorly polling initiative would suspend Gov. Schwarzenegger's statewide global warming law until the economy becomes less awful.

NEXT: The Truth About Tibetan Buddhism

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  1. California High-Speed Rail Authority hires Ogilvy to produce favorable poll numbers, then heads to Washington to seek another $2.3 billion.

    “Come in, come in, gentlemen. I just have to run down the hall for a moment to grab a file. The Senator’s meeting is running a little long, but he knows you’re here. Have a seat, there’s mineral water on the table.”

    *leaves, closing door*

    “Man, once he sees these poll numbers he’ll hafta give us the money we need to keep this thing on track.” *winks theatrically*

    *metallic clicking sounds, followed by faint hissing*

    “Dude, what is that smel…..”

    1. shutup everyone wants TRAINS.

      big fast awesome TRAINS!

      TRAINS!
      not some stupid monorail
      TRAINS!!!

  2. California leads the nation in anti-Semitic incidents, according to ADL’s 2009 survey.

    Yeah, but Mel is moving to Australia, so that’s going to cut the numbers way down.

    1. Yeah, but Oliver Stone is done making Wall Street II. With more time on his hands, he should be able to make up for Mel’s departure.

    2. And Reason creeps one line closer to the three day old Oliver Stone story.

      1. “California Roundup: Would the Bullet Train Be Good for the Jews?”

        For me, seeing “Jews”, “roundup” and “train” in the same sentence is kind of creepy.

        “bullet” doesn’t help much either.

  3. 34 percent strong support, and 42 percent support with reservations

    34% know that trains are AWESOME!!!
    42% are pussies!

    TRAINS!!!

  4. I don’t know if anyone else has said this, but I’m loving this regular feature on CA circling the drain. Keep up the depressing work!

  5. Results show 34 percent strong support, and 42 percent support with reservations.

    Yeah, they’ve got reservations, but they won’t get a ride! [laughs hysterically]

  6. California Roundup: Would the Bullet Train Be Good for the Jews?

    Last stop…Madagascar?

    1. It goes straight to the Gibson/Stone People’s Lampshade and Soap Factory.

  7. Results show 34 percent strong support, and 42 percent support with reservations.

    And they’re spinning it as 76% support. This is a classic meaningless poll, with roughly one-third in favor, one-third opposed, and the rest basically in the middle.

  8. Global warning ballot measure:

    Opponents include the Sierra Club, League of Women Voters, PG&E, Google, Applied Materials and SunPower.

    Google?

  9. Google?

    They want to grow up to be a government agency. This is the “join the Jaycees” part of their application-padding to-do list.

    California leads the nation in anti-Semitic incidents, according to ADL’s 2009 survey.

    Since my grandma died, I figured there are no Jews in Michigan anymore. And now I know.

  10. Google can afford the extra five bucks per month for “certified green” electricity.

  11. Dan Walters explains some of the reservations, including the fact that every study of the project — most recently one from the University of California’s Institute of Transportation Studies — shows it to be hopeless.

    They need to make the project even more spectacular and hopalicious then! Throw in some talk about maglev! and running it out to a big Mojave spaceport and Las Vegas!

  12. California leads the nation in anti-Semitic incidents, according to ADL’s 2009 survey.

    Well, given that they have the largest population of any US state (12% of US total, and half-again as many people as second-ranked Texas) it’s unsurprising when Cali ranks first in anything.

    Now, if they had the most anti-semitic incidents per capita you might be on to something.

  13. California is such a fucked-up state that even a right-wing Austrian couldn’t make the trains run on time.

    1. Can anyone say if a purely imaginary train is running on time or not?

  14. California governor declares state of fiscal emergency

    “the state’s already weak credit rating, now hovering just a few notches above “junk” status.”

    This is amusing to me.

  15. A lot of what people assert is wrong with the HSR could be ameliorated by building Personal Rapid Transit first in areas where HSR stations are planned. The PRT systems could function as local area mass-transit/circulators, as well as concentrators/dispersers for HSR traffic to and from the station, allowing the latter to be built in lower-impact, less expensive areas on the outskirts of town.

    I am not a fan of blowing taxpayer money, especially as much as the HSR plan requires, on something we don’t really need. But if the pols are going to spend the money anyway, I want us poor citizens to have something to show for it when all the dust settles. It makes more sense to me to build PRTs first and in turn rely on them as an enabling technology that allows the actual HSR system to be built more straightforwardly and less expensively, if and when it ever is constructed.

    1. Instead of just one highly speculative project done on the public dime we could have a whole bunch!

  16. Interesting article in the Economist explaining how the expansion of high speed passenger could end up disrupting and ruining the profitable rail freight sector. Read it now before it disappears behind the paywall.

    http://economist.com/node/16636101

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