Debt

Bullet Train Brings America Up to Date, Like Spain

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I don't support tax-funded high-speed rail (HSR) initiatives, but if I did I'd be pretty steamed by the poor arguments supporters have put together in favor of HSR – a field so abysmal that even the anti-classic "Believe in the Bullet Train" holds up better than most. 

From the last time Spain mattered as a country.

In fact, I'm steamed even now, because I worry that one day I'll hear a more credible-sounding case for the bullet train, but my cross-examination skills will have atrophied from practicing on weak targets. The high-speed rail initiative in my neck of the western desert has not managed to put together routes, ridership or fiscal projections in its nearly 15 years of existence. One non-partisan survey after another has revealed inattention and poor planning shocking enough to bring on heart, nerve and bowel complications. 

So I was hopeful that Michael Scott Moore might make a strong case for high-speed rail with this article comparing Spain and Texas. Texas nixed its HSR project during the Ann Richards administration. In Moore's telling, Southwest Airlines stands accused of pointing out flaws in the plan put together by Texas TGV Consortium, which failed to meet its fundraising goals and went out of business in 1994. 

The Kingdom of Spain, meanwhile, went ahead with a plan to upgrade its slow-moving train network with the Alto Velocidád Española (AVE), which apparently is the finest HSR network in Europe. 

Moore leaves it to the reader to figure out how this puts King Juan Carlos ahead of Gov. Rick Perry. In an economic head-to-head, Texas wallops Spain almost as handily as did the entire United States during the McKinley Administration. Spain's population, at 45.9 million, is nearly twice as large as the 24.7 million population of Texas. (Further research is needed to determine which polity has more fluent speakers of Spanish.) But the Lone Star State's $44,534 per capita GDP is more than a third higher than Spain's $31,808. [In an earlier version of this post I said Texas' total GDP is higher than Spain's. Spain's total GDP, according to World Bank figures, is $1.46 trillion. Texas', according to Bureau of Economic Analysis, is $1.1 trillion. I erred by using a GDP figure for California rather than Texas. Thanks to commenter Pietro for the correction.] 

While Texas has lately joined the ranks of states facing budget shortfalls, the state's 1 percent-of-GDP deficit is dwarfed by Spain's, which this year is targeted at 6 percent of GDP, though it's more likely to come in at 6.3 percent. Texas is also leading the other 49 U.S. states in job creation, and its 8 percent unemployment rate is far more attractive than Spain's 20.3 percent jobless rate. 

This is not to say the bullet train is causing Spain's economic collapse – though this Cristina Vázquez story notes that building train infrastructure has been a drain on the flailing national economy. Moore also acknowledges the AVE's burden on Spanish (and European) taxpayers: 

The dark side of the story is that Spain over-invested in high-speed rail. To pay for the system, the government took out loans based on ballooning property values, which deflated in 2008-09. "That a country like Spain has more kilometers of AVE than any other nation aside from China makes no sense," Ramón Lopez de Lucio, a professor from the Architecture School of Madrid, told the AFP news wire in January.

But that's another way of saying that high-speed rail is expensive, so building it requires wisdom and restraint.

Moore notes that the real value of the train is in "relief to the atmosphere." This gets us into the very young science of measuring "carbon footprint" – a global burden to which, as I understand it, you and I contribute every time either of us exhales. It's true that Texas generates nearly twice as much carbon dioxide (630 million metric tons) as Spain (359 million metric tons). But since their respective Goofus/Gallant decisions on the bullet train, Texas has reduced its carbon footprint, having cut emissions by 40 million metric tons since 2003. Spain's carbon footprint, on the other hand, has increased 30 percent in the last ten years. 

I don't mean to pick on Moore, who is a good journalist and no more guilty of worrying America's mass-transit inferiority complex than many other people. But soon the curious argument that the U.S.A. is somehow falling behind in a global HSR race will no longer hold any water at all. 

This dismal Caixin Weekly report [pdf] on China's HSR initiative –the envy of bullet-train buffs the world over – shows why. Liu Zhijun, the putative "Father of High-Speed Rail" was removed from office and arrested earlier this year, and early investigation of the Ministry of Rail reveals many of the vices I've been uncovering in California: extremely murky budgeting (with some parts of the initiative costing two or three times as much as projected), low ridership (after only two months of operation, the Beijing-Fuzhou line shut down for lack of passengers last year), and a consistent bias for wealthier fancypants customers over people who actually use mass transit. In China, too, it appears that rich people like swanky trains in the hypothetical, but don't bother to ride them in reality. HSR-related debt rose from 77.1 billion yuan in 2007 to 1.68 trillion last year. 

Caixin argues that these problems were the result of undue haste: 

Why did Liu and the rest of the ministry apparently put high-speed rail projects ahead of costs, passengers and safety concerns?

"Rail currently has a favorable, opportune moment for low-cost development," Liu once wrote. "With rapid economic and social development, resource shortages will become increasingly prominent, and land acquisition and relocation costs, material prices and labor costs will grow higher.

"This is an irreversible trend. So the earlier we carry out large-scale railway construction and the faster we push it forward, the lower our costs will be," he said. "Seize the opportunity, build more railways, and build them fast."

Internationally, HSR is looking less like a futuristic ride Americans are missing out on than an unsustainable bubble Americans would do well to avoid:

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  1. tim could you stop beating round the bush and tell me how you really feel

    1. Yeah. TC has been on fire for a while.

    2. Hey, I want to travel from Houston to Dallas for more money than it would cost me to fly there in less time. Why are you crushing that dream?

      Plus,these train cars would be way less croweded than those SWA flights, so I could stretch out and ride in comfort. Why shouldn’t my fellow citizen help support my dream?

  2. i mean really stop making sense you fuckhead are you really trying to kill my grandma that is all

    1. Punctuation. Is, your friend.

      I mean, really. Stop making sense. You! Fuckhead, are you? (I’m) Really trying to kill my grandma; that is all.

      1. “Punctuation. Is, your friend.”

        I “sentence” you to punctuating the following until it makes sense. Begin:

        if but were but and and and
        were but but but and and would be and
        and but

        1. if ‘but’ were ‘but’, and, ‘and’, ‘and’
          were ‘but’, but ‘but and and’ would be ‘and
          and but’

  3. timmeh!

    Also, another Cavanaugh alt-text win. Thanks for the lulz, Tim – have a good weekend!

    PS The lulz make up for the hair-pulling, bloospressure-raising substance of your articles, which leave me foaming at the mouth and ready to kill…hence my appreciate for the diversionary lulz…well done, El Jefe

    1. From the last time Spain mattered as a country

      Nuh uh! We had The Olympics??? in 1992! Did Portugal have The Olympics???? Did Ireland? No, they did not.

    2. Thanks for your kind words, and best wishes to all your countrymen in Almania, the loveliest duchy in all the Carpathians.

    3. Goddamn. Go back to 4chan, dipshit. Get the fuck out of here with your infantile “lulz” bullshit.

      1. It is my understanding that there are no rules in anarchy. Yes? No?

          1. Well this isn’t anarchy dipshit. This is an internet based discussion and unless you are going to leave meaningful or thought provoking comments or at least come up with something that doesn’t come across reflecting you as another dumb American you have the option of leaving. Also, If you aren’t the person I am directing this at I am very sorry that you had to read this. Ok thank you.

          2. Well this isn’t anarchy dipshit. This is an internet based discussion and unless you are going to leave meaningful or thought provoking comments or at least come up with something that doesn’t come across reflecting you as another dumb American you have the option of leaving. Also, If you aren’t the person I am directing this at I am very sorry that you had to read this. Ok thank you.

  4. I’ve been to Spain. Pretty boring place. Everything shuts down in the middle of the afternoon for siesta. The tapas were good though.

    1. Did they point out that Francisco Franco is still fucking dead?

      1. There’s a statue of Chevy Chase in The Plaza Mayor.

  5. Spain’s population, at 45.9 million, is much larger than the 24.7 population of Texas. […] But the Lone Star State has a higher GDP, at $1.93 trillion, than does Spain, at $1.46 trillion.

    Just as an aside, the next time Texas wants to leave the Union? We should let them.

    America could have done just as well without George W. Bush, Lyndon Johnson and the Dallas Cowboys.

    And they’d do fine on their own!

    I’m just sayin’.

    1. @Ken – But the Cowboys are America’s Team…

      1. Which many are convinced is behind the new fervence for gay rights. nttawwt.

      2. If America has a team? It’s the one in the nation’s capital.

        The Redskins are certainly the team of the South. We’re the only team that’s ever had “Dixie” in our fight song…

        Half of Texas isn’t even in the South. …and the part that is? Roots for Houston.

        1. Fight on, Fight on’Till you have won. Sons of Wash-ing-ton. Rah! Rah! Rah!

    2. Our plan is to get Perry elected then secede, this is the only way for us to get rid of him.

    3. W was from fucking Connecticut.

  6. Really, Tim, you can’t list the faults of California rail without mentioning helpless waste of money. I ride the Caltrain regularly, and continue to be amazed that a busy service required a bailout.

    1. And somehow always seems to lose more money the more people ride it. Explain that one.

      1. Happens eastward, too. I have to wonder if the AMTRAK policy is to blow any money that might take them into the black on hookers and eight balls – because it’s a fucking mystery how trains cram packed with riders manage to keep losing money. . .

        1. If you love America, you love its Money Hole. SAVE the Money Hole!

        2. Amtrak holds the contract to operate Captain, so that explains the similarity.

          1. Caltrain. Dang sneaky spell correction.

        3. No mystery. The reason the trains are packed is because they lose money, by not charging enough. Charge enough to cover costs, and the train empties out.

        4. About a year ago, there was a story that illustrated how Caltrain managers just don’t think like for-profit business owners.

          They have a special car with space for bicycles at the end of every train. The cars were starting to become overcrowded because they were wildly popular. So, the directory wanted to solve the problem by discontinuing the accommodations for bicyclists.

  7. Yeah… I got nothin’.

    1. Compare Texas to China.

      Bring on the laffs.

  8. In Moore’s telling, Southwest Airlines stands accused of pointing out flaws in the plan put together by Texas TGV Consortium, which failed to meet its fundraising goals and went out of business in 1994.

    The main “flaws” being that:
    1) SWAir could move passengers much cheaper and way faster than HS rail.
    2) If something happened to one SW aircraft it wouldn’t shut down the whole system.
    3) If ridership patterns changed SWA could reroute aircraft a lot easier TGV could reroute 500 miles of RR track.

    1. but a strike at SW would not bring down the system, as other airlines would fill the gap

      so your proposal does not expand union power, which is the goal

  9. “This is an irreversible trend. So the earlier we carry out large-scale railway construction and the faster we push it forward, the lower our costs will be,”

    What is particularly nerve-wracking about this statement, is it’s the exact same sales pitch Seattle and the state of Washington uses to build its rail boondoggles.

    “Every year we wait, it just gets more expensive.”

    1. Which is kind of theopposite for a how a new technology works. The initial purchasers are always the ones who get soaked on costs.

  10. Takeaway line. “This is an irreversible trend.” Fab. Even Tim Cavanaugh can not parody, only quote.

    Tim Lau She, can we ask for currency conversions? Obviously H&R readers can be expected to do that for themselves. But on the off chance this story goes off the reservation, say to my mom, this yuan business is not going to make any sense. Xie xie nin lao she.

    1. 1.66 tr RMB = 256 bn USD

      That sounds kind of expensive.

  11. My parents fit in with the “swanky passengers” category. They’re retired, live in downtown Baltimore, believe in the “romance of the rails,” and regularly pop up to NY for musicals and such.

    Baltimore’s Penn Station is just a $5 cab ride away from their condo, and they can certainly afford Acela, but they don’t take the train anymore.

    Too much of a pain getting out from under Madison Square Garden, waiting for a cab there, etc. So when they go to NY, my dad drives.

    I know Acela’s still pretty much packed, at least between DC-NY, and will be until real spending cuts start happening in the District, but, man, that was a shocker.

  12. To be consistent with their promotion of the slow food movement, shouldn’t liberals be all for slow train movement?

    1. Danger slow server movement.

  13. To be consistent with their promotion of the slow food movement, shouldn’t liberals be all for slow train movement?

  14. To be consistent with their promotion of the slow food movement, shouldn’t liberals be all for slow train movement?

  15. To be consistent with their promotion of the slow food movement, shouldn’t liberals be all for slow train movement?

    1. Hey, someone left this echo effect on.
      *turns it off*

  16. I hate to make generalizations about generations. No, not everyone in the World War II generation was a Normandy or even supported the war. Not everyone in the baby boom was a greedy hippie commie turned yuppie who supported the policies that screwed everyone in the future. And no not everyone in the Gen X/Millennial is a self entitled deadbeat child. But this guy and the comenters who defend him makes you think there are more of them than there should be.

    Consider the case of Ellie Mystal. He goes to Harvard undergrad and Harvard Law School and unsurprisingly runs up a lot of debt. But, it is not all bad. He got a marketable degree from a world famous school and is able to land a big firm associate job. But low and behold Elie wants to get married. And he can’t just go to the JOP or get married on a nearby beach. Nope, he has to have a big wedding. And so he puts his loans into forbearance for a year and blows a year’s worth of payments on the wedding. Now he owes 150K.

    That is a lot of money. But, it is no more than the price of an average house in most places. And he has a big firm law job, which had to have paid upwards of 200K a year. So, he should be okay.

    But no. You see being a big firm lawyer was hard. They expected him to work really hard for that money. And Ellie was really unhappy. So one day he competes in and wins the “Above the Law Idol Contest”. So, he quits his high paying big firm job and takes a low paying job snarking at people on the internet.

    But oh, what about the loans? Well, Elie just decided he wasn’t going to pay those so he went into default. And has now written this article about how defaulting on your loans isn’t so bad after all.
    http://abovethelaw.com/2011/06…..s#comments

    Now understand this guy literally makes a living telling anyone and everyone how anyone who didn’t go to a top law school is a fool and a lower class person. Third tier trash is what they are called on Above the Law. And now it is revealed that he is nothing but a lowlife, self entitled deadbeat.

    God works in mysterious ways. Maybe we are having this depression (and it increasingly looks like a depression) to knock Elie and the millions of other spoiled overgrown children like him upside the head and teach them what life is really like and how to be a grown adult.

    1. Elie been’s knocked, but I don’t perceive that he’s getting the picture yet.

    2. It takes a pretty impressive level of stupid to avoiding making payments on nondischargeable debt. It’s safe to say he’s paying for every last bit of it.

      Love the comments, though. “Education should be free to everyone.” Yes, because what we really need is more people with law degrees.

      Also, important financial point here: everything has a cost. If you want your student loans to be dischargeable in bankruptcy, you would have to pay a higher cost. As is, they aren’t, which lowers premiums for everyone.

      1. Considering our higher education bubble, we probably would be better off having them be dischargable. Yes, that would increase the cost of going to college. But, it would perhaps supress the demand a bit, which would be a good thing.

        1. Sure, however. Either way, there’s a cost.

          I, personally, would rather have them non-dischargeable for myself, as the cost of college was minimal for me, I got a professionally relevant degree and I have good work. Some people may not feel that way and want something different. No matter what, though, my point is that if you want something cheaper you have to take on risk.

          Retards like those who think student loans should be given terms that secure the lowest interest rate possible and then have those terms rewritten when it suits a deadbeat borrower — and as a side effect feeding the education bubble — should be kept far, far away from the levers of power.

      2. education is free for everyone. it’s called a public library. he wants degrees and credentialing free for everyone.

  17. I don’t support tax-funded high-speed rail (HSR) initiatives…nor HC, roads, fire dept., art, science, little old ladies (unless it is to purchase a wheelchair to send them over the cliff…..

    1. teh childrens, teh old people, Somalia, roadesssss!!!!

      Thus sayeth the lament of dying liberalism.

      1. try living without them

        1. Because the government could perhaps do some things, objecting to the government doing any particular thing is the same as objecting to it doing anything.

          I would hope you would understand what an obvious logical fallacy that is.

          1. No, the government should not do all but services that were previously handled through family, and community have been subject to personal abdication, and the government has filled the gap.

            Old people should live with their families, and die at home. I even think kids were better off playing than going to daycare but somehow the majority has decided otherwise, and it is financial, and socially de rigueur to follow.

            Is it the governments fault? I don’t think so

            1. Is it the governments fault?

              Yes it is. It was the government who crowded those things out by taking taxes and reducing people’s ability to provide those things themselves.

              1. John, an advocate of personal responsibility, blames “the system”. Nicely down, whiner.

                1. I am not blaming the system. I am noting reality. If you tax the shit out of people to fund social programs people have fewer resources to help each other. They also have a ready built excuse not to help people because their taxes are supposed to take care of those things.

            2. Old people should live with their families, and die at home.

              That worked pretty well when we had forty-year-old kids taking care of sixty-year-old parents. Now that sixty-year-old kids have eighty-year-old parents and hundred-year-old grandparents, not so much.

        2. And also rather, I have lived my entire life without visiting Somalia and have done quite well thank you. 😉

  18. http://www.nypost.com/p/news/i…..oto_num=20

    You have to love Italians. If only we had protestors like this rather than the dirty hippies we usually get.

    1. Russians do it by force
      http://rctlfy.wordpress.com/20…..ut-a-kiss/

      1. You are such a blogwhore. I link to a picture a woman with a rear end so outstanding that even a pair of granny panties can’t make it look bad. And you link to some story about kissing police in Russia. Bad trade.

        1. Watch the video. It is kinda hot when one of the female cops resists, and then her face ‘tells’ that she loved it.

          1. my firewall is blocking the video. My apologies.

            1. Watch it later
              -alone 🙂

              1. I will in my bunk. 😉

                1. Hmm, a lot of little boys in their bunks this morning. The hits are lighting up my States board. East coast is hornier than West. LOL

                  1. Now if I referred to women as “little girls” you would call that sexist rather.

                    1. I was under the impression only little boys masturbate in their bunks; whereas men sit at the computer 😉

                    2. No it is little girls who do it in their bunks.

                    3. Honey, that’s what the bathub is for

                  2. The hits are lighting up my States board

                    Your blog is a great success, no?

              2. You are a sick woman rather. What do you also post Steve Smith videos?

                1. I sit at my computer, LIKE A MAN. Eh, I’ll be in my bunk.

                  1. your blog has got to be the weakest fap material I’ve ever seen. D+ for effort I suppose. If you tried a little harder you might get more of those little boys you lust after. More tits, less STEVE SMIT?H.

                    1. My Alt-text is an international hit, and my blog is more intellectual masturbation but feel free to google Japanese anime porn

                    2. MY BLOG IS SO AWESOME LOVE MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

                    3. I love retards!

  19. I’ve taken a lot of trains in Europe – including a high-speed train from Madrid to Sevilla – and I have to say they’re pretty cool.

  20. Cops taser innocent cow. Insert dog joke here.

    http://boston.cbslocal.com/201…..r-furious/

    1. From the surprisingly (considering it is Massholes we are talking about here) anti cop comments

      irishmare

      Dateline Bar Harbor/last week: Car deer collision leaving wounded deer. Stay with me on this! A couple of the local guys were there when the rookie cop shows up and admits he’s not sure what to do. The locals say get in close behind the ear and shoot him with your pistol. Splat, splatter, gross?blood and brain matter everywhere since he has hollow points!!!

      Barney Fife in person.

    2. Insert dog joke here

      Dog joke? Let’s see…

      Rather walks into a bar with a chihuahua…

      1. …and tells ‘Funny Every Time’
        Hell, no! My dog won’t even fuck you!!!

        1. Don’t be so hard on yourself rather. My dog would totally fuck you.

          1. You said “hard on.”

            1. Why do I feel I’m doing a Weiner when I reply to you?
              http://www.politico.com/blogs/…..ml?showall

          2. John, no wonder your work place has porn filters

            1. You walked into that one rather. It was too easy

    3. What makes you so sure the cow was innocent?

      Bad cows, bad cows . . .

    4. Tasers are just modified cattle prods. WTF do they think it’s going to do? Make the cow compliant and listen to their commands? Stupid cops are stupid.

  21. I think this (safe for work) video would have been far more appropriate for illustrating the article, not some reason.tv stuff.

  22. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/1ed7…..z1Oy8qhGv4

    Wow is Arundhati Roy stupid.

    1. Ah yes, but witness the full force of my favorite fool, Friedman, on display:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06…..edman.html

      1. My God that man is stupid and evil. No growth, but he gets to keep his mansion and lavish lifestyle while the rest of us go back to subsistence farming and forced population control.

        1. He’s the archetype of the movement. “If only a billion or so not like me would die, the world would be great again.” Fucker. Anyone calling for people to die, which he is, is worthless fuck who has nothing to add to the conversation.

          1. we’re not stupid, just evil.

      2. I thought the earth was flat, not full. Friedman finds one note and plays it over and over until it has all the harmony of a fire alarm. Why this font of elitist sewage gets a national pulpit is beyond me.

    2. Roy, another romantic communist. Reminds me of Che.

    3. John|6.11.11 @ 8:16AM|#

      http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/1ed7…..z1Oy8qhGv4

      Wow is Arundhati Roy stupid.

      While I am not a big fan of her politics, to call her stupid is, well, stupid. Her fiction is outstanding. And, whether you agree with her proposals/positions on the issues she advocates for, she is pretty savvy about identifying real problems and getting people to notice.

      1. She thinks Maoism is a good idea. Calling her stupid is being charitable since the althernative is to say she is evil.

  23. “Internationally, HSR is looking less like a futuristic ride Americans are missing out on than an unsustainable bubble Americans would do well to avoid”

    But what’s going to replace the housing bubble, which replaced the dotcom bubble, which…..

    1. “Green jobs”, higher education, car prices, and anything hypermanipulated by the government lately.

  24. http://blogs.the-american-inte…..the-shark/

    when government jumps the shark

  25. Well considering that almost any data that you read in this article is true, well guys if you want continue living in a bubble, keeg going. Here the correcction:

    1. GDP of Spain is hight than Texas, no way Texas is 1.93, the last data released talks of 1.23…

    2. Unemployement rate? well let’s continue in fantasy world, everybody knows abroad(outside Republican fantasy world, of course) that unemployment is more than 20% in the states, so compare American statistics and European statistics are like comparing apple and oranges, here why:
    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/b…..Ci537pucaJ

    3. Spain has the largest black economy in the Europen Union, almost 25% so this 20% unemplooyment rate is probably 13%-14% according European commision, whoever has visited Spain can noticed this walking the streets.

    4. I am a Italian residing in Texas for about a year (job project) and I encorauge you guys go to SPain, specially outside large cities and then return to Texas and do the same. I did this last March and I felt in Texas as I was in a third world country.

    5. Texas would dream having a quality of life like any of the Europen state have, just get a plane ticket spend one month travelling across the continent, and you will see what I am talking about. Spain has quality of life and social development far higher than Texas, no way guys.

    For having such a pretintious name “reason”, at least you should add factual information, don’t you think?

    1. Pierto,

      Spain is going bankrupt. It is one step ahead of its creditors and will look like Greece before too long.

      And the “real unemployment rate” in the US is at 15% and that is even if you count everyone who is not participating in the labor market as “unemployed”. Our unemployment rate is high, but it is not 20%.

      And the fact that Spain has just incredibly stupid laws that it drives its economy underground is hardly an endorsement. Jesus son, do you even listen to yourself. “Sure we have a 20% official unemployment rate, but lots of people are working illegally and taking money under the table so it is okay” is hardly and endorsement.

      And I have spent lots of time in Europe inclusing Spain and lived in Texas for most of five years. And your claim that Texas is a third world country compared to Spain is just not true. The average poor person in Houston has more “things” and a higher standard of living than your average Spanard. And the Houstonian has a job and isn’t on welfare.

      But lets look at the facts.

      Spain, average income in US dollars in 2010, 29,600

      Texas it is over 38000

      Also understand that Texas absorbs millions of mexican immigrants and still has a higer income than Spain. If Spain started taking huge numbers of immigrants from Africa its numbers would be much lower.

      You are just a bigoted moron. And have provided us with a living example of why Europe is dying. Thanks.

    2. http://www.google.com/publicda…..e+in+texas

      Current UE rate in Texas is 7%.

      http://www.google.com/publicda…..e+in+spain

      Current UE rate in Spain 20%. But they are all really working. it is just under the table.

      Jesus. Spain is doomed if you are a typical Spainard. No wonder Spain hasn’t mattered since the age of Louis XIV

      1. pietro, you have only been here a year, and it takes longer to get into the Texas state of mind.

        Texas is one of those weird cultures where the richest person in the room is wearing the jeans.

    3. Oh, you are Italian. I missed that. Since things actually work in Texas and the police don’t drive by your house demanding a bribe once a week and the city won’t let you put a family of five on a vespa (the Vespa is the family sedan of Napples) no wonder it confuses you.

      1. LOL but they have great food 🙂

    4. Pierto,

      Having lived in Texas and travelled all over Europe, you are full of shit. You live in tiny apartments full of junky furniture, many places with questionable power sourcing and no A/C. That’s the middle class. In Texas, those not living in abject poverty have bigger rooms, more stuff, and more choices. Hell, even a lot of the government housing is nicer than some of the flats I’ve visited. Sorry, but it doesn’t measure up.

      1. We are so much wealthier than Spaniards. Keep your trains, I’ll keep my AC, 1000sf of personal space, automobile, and my job. Thank you.

      2. Obviously you only visited cities in EUrope. Europeans live in apartment because they don’t want to spend one hour everyday in a car for communting to their job. It is a matter of living in neighbourhood with nothing (no cafes, no stores…) versus having everything just a couple of minutes walking, you don’t understand this, but also you probalby don’t know that outside large cities almost anyone lives in houses like here, Spain and Italy included, A/C, we don’t need it,it is not the dessert, we just open the window.

        It is a joke you compare the quality of life in Texas and Europe, a bad joke, certainly.

        1. Absolutely. In Texas, they pay strapping young men specifically to put on tight spandex and fondle each other’s bodies in public. Euros prefer the little short shorts, and tut tut tut! No touching!

          Universe of difference.

    5. You’re right about Texas GDP. I mistakenly used California’s. The post has been corrected. Thanks for pointing that out.

  26. “Wonderful” official statistics of Texas:
    1. Texas is 9th among the states in the percentage of people living in poverty
    2.16.9% of Texans live in poverty against a national average of 13.3%
    3. Texas is 8th of 51 in for the worst percentage of children living in poverty
    4. 74% of uninsured Texans are citizens, and Texas has the “national honor” of having the less rate of people with health care insuarance. 25% of children in Texas are uninsured and they don’t have acces to regular medical screening.

    5.Texas is #49 in verbal SAT scores in the nation and #46 in average math SAT scores (502). Texas is #36 in the nation in high school graduation rates.

    Yes, there are a lot of jobs here, 4$/hour and no regulation, just like in China! how wonderful!

    All these statistics are US official (state of Texas, deparment of Education, a federal agencies).

    The first requiriment for living in a free society is having free information and that’s exactly (as a European momentarely living in the US) if not, you leave in a mental prison not much different that the one people suffered in the Soviet Union.

    Get a plane ticket and spend 3 weeks in Spain, get a bullet train and then return to “the advance” Texas, this is the best information you can get about this issue. Believe me is a life changing moment.

    I found this article simply outregeous and sincerely I feel bad of this poor poor journalism where they “cook” the information for keeping the good Americans unaware of how is the world abroad.

    1. Well, Pietro, feel free not to move to Texas.

      The first requiriment for living in a free society is having free information

      I think, what with the intertubes, we’ve got that covered.

      Unless by “free information”, you mean “agreeing with pietro”, in which case I’ll chalk it up to an English as second language thing.

      1. But Texas was where the opportunity was! (Hmmmm . . .)

    2. Your statistics about poverty and low educational scores are a complete misrepresentation. Adjust for ethnicity, and texas’s test scores are some of the highest in the US.

      1. In fact, fuck you. You are a master of manipulating statistics. I’ve lived in several part of the US, including Fort Worth, Texas, which is outside of the place that you mentioned, and although Fort Worth isn’t very densely populated, so that I’m sure it appears “third world” to you, Fort Worth’s citizens enjoy a considerably high quality of life. I’ve recently moved to the west coast, and I’m shocked at the hovels people work their asses off for on the west coast. Most of them would be considered shitty houses in texas.

      2. http://www.nationsreportcard.g…..sContainer

        In fact, check out the data for all of the races. All races do better in Texas than in most other states. Texas simply has a low straight average due to the diverse population.

  27. I found this article simply outregeous and sincerely I feel bad of this poor poor journalism where they “cook” the information for keeping the good Americans unaware of how is the world abroad.

    Eurofag troll is eurofag.

    Texas is such a horrible shithole billions of people around the world would not hesitate to trample your mangled corpse to get there.

    1. Yes, all the third world illiterate people want to move to a second-third world country to wait tables, that’s the reality.

      Europe also receives illiterate people but another factual data is that receives more educated people than you guys, besides the flux and rate of Americans living in Europe versus Europeans living in the states is 3:1,
      why not so many Europeans come to the States?

      1. pietro,

        yes, Texas does receive more illiterates but they come here because they know even within their lifetime they can move into the middle-class, and their children can be the President of the US.

        Europe is still prejudicial toward their immigrants with restrictive employment, and residential ghettoizing

      2. why not so many Europeans come to the States?

        Because we already got all your good ones, during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

        1. The truth is that it is harder to get a visa if you come from Europe.

          Further, [a]s of 2006, the United States accepts more legal immigrants as permanent residents than all other countries in the world combined

  28. Spain has the largest black economy in the Europen Union

    I wonder why.

  29. For having such a pretintious name “reason”, at least you should add factual information, don’t you think?

    BEBE!

  30. Yes, Italian living for 14 months and traveling all around Texas. Thirld world country as soon as you get out of Houston, Austin or Dallas downtown. Get a plane a travel anywhere in Europe, Spain included of course.

    Spain GDP per capita 30,000$ as a absolute number means nothing. Guinea Ecuatorial one of the poorest countries in earth has a 44,000…well just 3 guys has all the wealth. There is other variables to consider as several more complex studies show and for example Italy my coutnry, but also Spain ranked better than US: Health: Life expectancy at birth (in years).
    Family life: Divorce rate (per 1,000 population),Community life: Variable taking value 1 if country has either high rate of church attendance or trade-union membership;
    Material well being: GDP per person, at PPP in $.
    Political stability and security:
    Climate and geography: Latitude, to distinguish between warmer and colder climates; Unemployment rate (%.)
    Political freedom: Average of indexes of political and civil liberties.
    Gender equality: Measured using ratio of average male and female earnings.

    Again, if you want to continue living in your own “bubble”, you are entitle to live your live in a mental prison created through this kind of infantile articles, or simply I recommend to travel. For the guy that talks about Houston, well if you only go to the nice area of Houston, and then you go to the nice area of Austin, and keep going connecting wealthy spots, well you definelty don’t know your own state. Just take a ride for the deep East Austin, I did…THIRD WORLD. We don’t have this poor communities in Eurppe and this is the pattern as soon as you leave this specific wealthy spots.

    Reality vs fantasy.

    1. You’re fucking insane. Having lived in Bilboa for a summer I saw the way people lower/middle class Spaniards live. We have insane material wealth that extends to the poorest person. In Spain everything is way, way more expensive than here. Only the wealthy can afford things we consider basic (high speed internet, air conditioning, a big fucking room to yourself). Hell, in Spain I couldn’t afford half the wonderful goods and services I take advantage of every day.

      If you really think the USA is in any way 3rd world know that the people who live like hillbillies in WV or swamp rats in LA usually choose that lifestyle. If they want to pack up and head for a city and a job, they can. I know choice and individual responsibility are foreign concepts to Eurotrash, but hey welcome to the land of the free.

      1. I’ve lived in Spain too, for 2 years, and another factual data, the connexion to high speed in Spain is higher than US.
        Your reasoning is totatally wrong, here you have acces to Iphone (as Spaniards and Europeand have), but you can afford to go an emergency room in a hospital, because you fear going broke.

        You chose a bad, bad example, Bilbao, a city in the Basque Country has a GDP per capita 30% higher than the European Union. You obviously were this typical American that didn’t speak a single word in the native language(and even you didn’t bother) to check out where you were…

        Jerk, you are not free since you get wrong factual information inside the country you live in, but also ANY ANY international statistic you show me, US is in the bottom of any industrialized country, another absolute fact, the matter you live confortability doesn’t mean the 90% of Americans live like you (typical right wing blidness). US is the richest third world country in the world, like China, why? because all your resources go to protect (military and police) this 1% of Americans than owns the 90% of the wealth, exactly what it happens in third world country, and this is exactly a matter of choice: US decided to be like this.

        the European Union (by the way the first economy by global GDP) decided to be in debt (as US has) but building, highways, bullet trains, giving acces to health care to everybody, schools…again, they decided to be in debt for the 99% of the people that owns the 80% of the wealth. do you catch the concept?

        1. I suppose in the coming decades we’ll see who got a better return on investment. It’s like a morbid race to see which nations will be crushed under their debt first. So who’s it gonna be, European Union or United States?

          Honestly don’t see high speed rail tipping the scales against the USA. It’s not a winner, winners get sold, not subsidized.

        2. “…but you can afford to go an emergency room in a hospital, because you fear going broke.”

          Absurd.

          Our emergency rooms are chock full of people who can’t afford to pay.

          No one is excluded from any emergency room in the U.S. because of their inability to pay.

          As for the economy?

          GDP per capita in Spain was about $30,000 in 2010. In the U.S., it was about $47,000.

          The average American has a lot more consumer discretionary income sloshing around in his or her pockets than the average Spanish person does.

          Our unemployment rate is high by recent standards at about 9%–but that’s nothing compared to Spanish unemployment at 21%. Our unemployment rate barely went that high during the Great Depression!

          1. they are convincing Obama to loot the already-empty USA treasury to provide a multi-billion dollar bailout to busted Spain.

            1. We should leave that to Germany–no really.

              1. You know who else sent money and capital to Spain…

                1. Angela Merkel?

                2. Moctezuma

          2. He has a point about hospital care. If you are vagrant, or fall below the poverty line you will be treated, the taxpayer’s fund only emergency coverage, chronic care, and not necessarily a cure.

            If you go to the hospital, and you only have adequate coverage, you can easily fall into bankruptcy. Further, non-emergency care will be denied till you arrange financing.

            Europe has beat on health care.

            1. Europe has beat *us* on health care.

              1. If healthcare is relatively unavailable vis a vis Europe? It’s because inner city hospitals that disproportionally rely on Medicaid (and that program reimbursing below cost) has driven dozens of inner city hospitals to close.

                …which means Medicaid, etc. is the problem, and expanding it like ObamaCare basically does–just makes the problem worse.

                Regardless, there are very few people in the U.S. who don’t have access to emergency medical care because they can’t pay. And if they’re bankrupted because they seek care? It’s because private pay patients have to pay–not just for themselves! They have to pay both for themselves and they have to make up for all the costs Medicaid doesn’t reimburse hospitals for too.

                Medicaid reimburses hospitals for pennies on the dollar. That’s why it costs so much for private pay patients to get an x-ray. Private pay patients have to make up for all the money hospitals lose on Medicaid patients–and they’re not allowed to exclude patients on Medicaid.

                Meanwhile, the overwhelming majority of Americas have no problems with access in private hospitals. The fact is that the average American has more access to their doctor than people get in a nationalized system like in the UK–where they suffer from queues and rationing constantly.

                1. Regardless of the why, HC in the US is a three-tiered system.

                  Bandaged care for the poor, bankrupt care for the self-pay/uninsurable, and cadillac care for the overly-insured

        3. ANY ANY international statistic you show me, US is in the bottom of any industrialized country

          GDP PPP per capita

          1. Qatar – 91,379
          2. Luxembourg – 83,759
          3. United Arab Emirates – 57,744
          4. Norway – 55,672
          5. Singapore – 50,633
          6. United States – 45,989

          Human Development Index

          1. Norway 0.938
          2. Australia 0.937
          3. New Zealand 0.907
          4. United States 0.902

          Fortune 500 companies

          1. United States 139
          2. Japan 71
          3. China 46
          4. France 39
          5. Germany 37

          Oh, and how does Spain fare regarding unemployment?

          Fuck off. You know why you’re in the US. If you don’t like it, leave. And double fuck you for being Spanish. You idiots spent a ton of money building out a national rail system and tried to rub it in our faces, all while coming hat in hand for a bailout.

          And if you adjust for ethnicity many of the statistics the US does “poorly” in look even better. Texas, for example, has a very difficult cohort to manage, including many poor immigrants from Mexico who can’t speak English.

    2. You are so full of shit. A average small town in Texas is richer and better run than anything but a vacation resort in Spain. I have been to both places. You are just seeing what you want to see.

      Look man, I am sorry the women (or men if that is what you are into)in Texas don’t go for arrogant whinny Italian socialists.

      1. You obviousy never spent 3 weeks riding the roads of any Italian, French or Spanish rural village. Again 500$ plane ticket. Leave the FOX lie new aside and free yourself of your own prison where you live in.

        1. I lived in Europe for over a year, in a small Turkish dominated town in Gernmany. I travled existensively. And I also spent two summers there in college. There are few places on the continent I haven’t been.

          I am not your typical American. And unlike NYT reading Americans who have never been anywhere, I see through you bullshit.

          Try somewhere else doofus.

        2. No true Spanish Village fallacy?

    3. “Material well being: GDP per person, at PPP in $.”

      Well, according to the world bank, the adjusting for PPP still means that the average american is more than 50% wealthier than the average spaniard.

    4. pietro- Wow. You seem to hate Texas.

      And yet, and here’s the funny thing- you work there. You work there, rather than in Europe, with it’s awesome quality of life and bidets. I wonder why? Hmmmmmmmm…..

      Just so you know, no one is forcing you to stay in the USA. I mean, if you hate it so much, you are more than welcome to leave.

      Oh? What’s that? Can’t? Or won’t? Well then, I have a treat for you, a true American delicacy: A nice, big old cup of shut the fuck up.

    5. I hope I’m too late, but for posterity’s sake, here’s my anecdotal experience:

      I’ve been to Italy 3 times in the last two years to work at a site about an hour southeast of Rome. Definitely not urban. We have stayed in hotels 30 minutes away from the highway in a resort town. On one of the trips, a colleague of mine who came that one time remarked that it was cool being in Italy and all, but it wasn’t very nice. In fact, the way he described it was perfect. He said it was like the 70’s. So yeah, Italy is 40 years behind the US. That’s my jackass retort based on being outside big cities in Italy.

  31. A medieval Pope would sell his soul to live like a Texan.

    And-

    Somebody should take little Tommy Friedman on their lap and read him the parable about the three blind men and the elephant. What a crypto-Malthusian maroon.

  32. Fuck trains. If there’s such overwhelming demand, let private enterprises build and operate them. If not, don’t build them. Let people do whatever the hell they want to do, and admit, Mr. Statist, that it’s none of your fucking business.

    FFFFFFFFFFFF*RANTFFFF*FFFFFFFFFFFFF

    1. “Fuck trains.” …Res Publica Americana

      Without freight trains, you are %*@#ed.
      1) how are you going to eat? (are you a farmer?)
      2) how are you going to purchase a vehicle? (hitchhike to Detroit?)
      3) how are you going to survive the cost of everthing shipped by truck or plane?

      The railroad system in this country came by incredible subsidies from the US government, including much forest land ‘donated’ to private railroad companies. Those ‘enterprises’ were less than ‘private’. Some would call it colusion. Still, you are %*@#ed without it.

      1. Had the government not subsidized all of those rail lines in the 1800’s, the US wouldn’t have so many unnecessary rural communities sprawling between the major cities. Fixed capital would have simply been arranged differently. There is no evidence that the US would have been poorer without government subsidization of rail.

        1. The government actually required some railroad lines to avoid existing populated areas as a condition of the land grants. As a result, we ended up with many podunk communities and redundant railroad lines that are unable to take advantage of more centralized populations, which further encourages the need to use less efficient transportation and distribution methods.

      2. “Fuck [government subsidized passenger] trains.”

        And, the government “donating” unsettled, unowned land to railroad companies for their exclusive control was very wrong. A much more productive, rational transportation network would have been constructed without government involvement.

      3. Saw a study years ago that said that if we hadnt gone the train route, canals would have entirely handled the transportation needs of the US.

        Of course, they probably would have been subsidized too, so that is a wash. But we wouldnt have been fucked* without them.

        *you appear to have gotten off home row when you typed “fucked”. Either that or you keyboard is screwed up. You should look into it.

        1. I don’t understand why people can’t simply live in the areas that make sense. You know, along major rivers and coastlines. Why do we need to subsidize people’s right to live in the middle of nowhere?

          1. “I don’t understand why people can’t simply live in the areas that make sense. You know, along major rivers and coastlines” tkwelge|6.12.11

            The same logic that cause big rivers to flow by big cities also causes…..

  33. Krugabe speaks.

    At least one of us doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about.

    What lies behind this trans-Atlantic policy paralysis? I’m increasingly convinced that it’s a response to interest-group pressure. Consciously or not, policy makers are catering almost exclusively to the interests of rentiers ? those who derive lots of income from assets, who lent large sums of money in the past, often unwisely, but are now being protected from loss at everyone else’s expense.

    Of course, that’s not the way what I call the Pain Caucus makes its case. Instead, the argument against helping the unemployed is framed in terms of economic risks: Do anything to create jobs and interest rates will soar, runaway inflation will break out, and so on. But these risks keep not materializing. Interest rates remain near historic lows, while inflation outside the price of oil ? which is determined by world markets and events, not U.S. policy ? remains low.

    Tell me, Professor (if you would be so kind), why the fuck would people who LEND money object to higher interest rates?

    1. Damn you for that link, P Brooks.

      Even by The Doctor’s standards, that was an incoherent column:

      We are indeed bankrupting the Treasury to avoid the wage and price deflation that is begging to be allowed to happen. How is that a case of listening to the “Pain Caucus” rather than the pain-avoidance caucus? And how is forcing banks to give free home equity to deadbeats not an extraordinary effort to prop up real estate prices? You’ve had the Fed doing quiet buys of Treasury bonds for years now, in a desperate effort to keep interest rates down, and that is somehow designed to help creditors?

      The Doctor is out…of his mind!

  34. Krugabe is also apparently baffled by the fact that “we” are not simply tearing up mortgage contracts left and right:

    And debt relief for homeowners ? which could have done a lot to promote overall economic recovery ? has simply dropped off the agenda. The existing program for mortgage relief has been a bust, spending only a tiny fraction of the funds allocated, but there seems to be no interest in revamping and restarting the effort.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Krugnuts is the same asshole, mind you, that promoted creating a housing bubble in the first place. Keep that in mind whenever he talks about debt forgiveness in this context.

  35. How, exactly, would “debt relief for homeowners” promote overall recovery? By freeing up cash flow for a return to the good old days of rampant consumerism? Your colleague Friedman would like a word with you.

    I’m pretty much opposed to debt, but even I recognize a banking system in which half down is the norm is going to have a pretty adverse effect on the overall economy.

  36. I’m not evil, just stupid.

  37. More on the urban apocalypse from the New York Times.

    It’s not preservation that’s at fault, but rather the weakness, and often absence, of other, complementary tools to manage urban development, like urban planning offices and professional, institutionalized design review boards, which advise planners on decisions about preservation and development.

    It’s that lack, and the outsize power of private developers, that has turned preservation into the unwieldy behemoth that it is today.

    Won’t somebody think of the top men?

    1. I guess the First Amendment means Los Tiempos is still allowed to opine about architecure and land use after spending $1 billion building a plug-ugly Renzo Piano headquarters, then having to sell half of it at a fire-sale price within two years. But isn’t there some other Amendment that says nobody has to listen to it?

      1. Here we have, “Mr. Facts”, no wonder American journalism is such a joke…

        1. I see at least two “facts” there; that the NYT spent a billion on an ugly heaquarters and the they then had to sell half of it at a loss.

          Both those things are true. My wife is Italian. Your embarassing her people. I guess all the smart ones came to the US back in the day. The gene pool definitely took a hit if you are any indication.

          1. Monica Bellucci.

        2. WWII and you’re still smug, doo dah do dah! History loves fascist thugs, all the doo dah day.

          Eye-tie likes to speak…high-speed rail is neat…bet those trains will run on time all the doo dah day

          Duce into Africa, doo dah, doo dah…next stop Ethiopia, all the doo dah day

          Eye-tie likes to speak…high speed rail is neat…bet those trains will run on time, all the doo dah day

          Your free press is such a drag, doo dah, doo dah, you might want a state-run rag all the doo dah day

          eye-tie has a beef, uconcerned is he, how stupid it might sound to us – his lecture about trains

  38. Instead of bashing preservation, we should restrict it to its proper domain. Design review boards, staffed by professionals trained in aesthetics and urban issues and able to influence planning and preservation decisions, should become an integral part of the urban development process. At the same time, city planning offices must be returned to their former, powerful role in urban policy.

    Right.

    1. Wow. That reads like something from Iowahawk or The Onion. And they published it without irony? That is amazing. trained in aesthetics and urban issues We need to make sure only people who are properly trained make these calls. If the proles like something that doesn’t mean it is any good. Those people are just sickening.

  39. Hey, you silly skeptics! The Soviets made sure their trains and public transportation were popular — and all they had to do was make sure nobody could afford anything for themselves, like a car — I think America is headed the right way!!!1

  40. One metric potentially more useful than overall carbon output or total GDP is carbon emission per GDP. Or, potentially, carbon emissions per GDP per capita.

    Spain:
    GDP: $1.46 trillion
    Population: 45.9 million
    GDP per capita: $31,808
    Carbon: 359 million metric tons
    Carbon / GDP: 245.9 (million metric tons per trillion dollars)
    Carbon / GDP per capita: 11.29 (thousand metric tons per dollar)

    Texas:
    GDP: $1.1 trillion
    Population: 24.7 million
    GDP per capita: $44,534
    Carbon: 630 million metric tons
    Carbon / GDP: 572.7 (million metric tons per trillion dollars)
    Carbon / GDP per capita: 14.15 (thousand metric tons per dollar)

    On both counts Spain is more carbon efficient than Texas.

    1. So what? Texas is a big spread out state. You are going to emmit more carbon per capita if you have people living spread out over a large area in low density. They only way to fix it is to forcibly make people move closer together, something I am sure lot of the sick bastards in the green movement would love to do. But that isn’t going to happen.

      And lastly, AGW is a fucking cult so who gives a rat’s ass about carbon emmissions?

    2. I don’t believe I claimed otherwise ? only that Spain has become less so since building its HSR network and Texas has become more since not building its own.

      1. You chose to look at % increase in total carbon output without respect to changes in GDP and GDP per capita over the same period. Perhaps Spain’s carbon output rose because of increased economic activity? (I’ve no idea if that’s the case, but it would explain the increase in total carbon output.)

        Maybe I’m reading more into what you’ve said than you intend, but it certainly seems as if you’d like to point to Spain’s increase in total carbon output (and Texas’s reduction) as evidence that HSR doesn’t work (for the purposes of reducing carbon output). It’s easy to imagine a scenario in which changes in carbon output are driven by factors that have nothing to do with HSR, so I’m not sure drawing conclusions about HSR’s effectiveness based on total national carbon emissions is warranted.

    3. Not sure I understand what he’s trying to get across completely, but given the economic disparity between Texas and Spain, with Texas enjoying a broad, higher GDP per capita, it seems to me that poverty is an unacceptable trade off for being greener.

      I think that’s the essential “problem” of environmentalism–that environmentalists are trying to solve, isn’t it?

      Spain’s unemployment rate is three times higher than the unemployment rate in Texas. Would Texas be greener if it tripled its unemployment rate?

      I suspect so.

      Is that a sustainable solution?

      I doubt it.

      How can poverty be an acceptable alternative to carbon emissions? If Texas were as poor as Spain, it might throw less carbon into the atmosphere, but what responsible government pursues poverty as an environmental strategy?

      That would be a novel pitch for high speed rail, though–use it to rationalize other transportation related environmental regulation that make people poorer!

      “Triple Texas unemployment by 2020–together we can do it!”?

      1. Not sure I understand what he’s trying to get across completely, but given the economic disparity between Texas and Spain, with Texas enjoying a broad, higher GDP per capita, it seems to me that poverty is an unacceptable trade off for being greener.

        That’s why I also computed carbon emissions per GDP per capita, with GDP per capita being a measure of wealth. This narrows the gap between Texas and Spain, but Spain still comes out looking more efficient.

        1. How does your analysis incorporate Spain having an unemployment rate that’s almost three times higher than Texas?

          1. It doesn’t, except insofar as having a high unemployment rate is bound to impact GDP and thus GDP per capita.

  41. From instapundit.

    BLOG COMMENT OF THE DAY: “The Washington Post thinks it’s ‘harassment’ to request Michael Mann’s files from the University of Virginia (their Memorial Day editorial) but it’s cool with requesting and obtaining and asking for citizen-journalists to go through 24,000 of the State of Alaska’s emails involving Sarah Palin.”

    That is good point.

    1. The pouring over Palin’s emails is silly at best, concerning at worst. But FOIA laws were always primarily intended for executives and decision makers.

      The idea is that the public needs this info for democratic decision making on the executive. As has been pointed out here, the executive has access to rank and file employee’s records to keep them in order.

      1. “Poring,” PhD gai…no bitch nor j’accuse, just looked wrong.

      2. No. FOIA is designed for public entities to be open and accountable to the public. The public has every right to Palin’s email. And the WAPO has every right to induge theirs and their readers bizzare obsession with Palin through them. But saying that only those we don’t like are subject to such scurtiny and other people do like are not, is pathetic.

        And as I have said on other threads, if complying with FOIA is so hard for scientists, why aren’t other scientists, many of whom have worse political enemies than Mann, complaining.

        By defending Mann on this MNG, you are basically admitting he has something to hide and the AGW is a fraud. If you honestly believe that crap, you should be screaming for Mann to turn everything over to prove how wrong the critics are.

  42. Spain is more carbon efficient than Texas.

    Crows are smaller than elephants.

  43. I live next to a major east-west rail line, and a virtually uninterrupted flow of freight trains passes through here. Freight trains are efficient and cost-effective.

    Passenger rail makes almost no sense at all. High speed passenger rail, even less.

  44. isn’t there some other Amendment that says nobody has to listen to it?

    The Eighth, maybe.

  45. HSR rail lines are very expensive. So it makes sense that, if they are established at all, then they should be established only where they can have the most positive impact (and potentially recoup costs or run a surplus due to high ridership). Everywhere else, we would be better off to pursue complementary alternatives.

    Now operating at Heathrow Airport is one implementation of a potential alternative — the Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) idea: Small, 3-4 person vehicles run at moderate street speed (25-45 mph, say) on a dedicated, elevated guideway that connects a two-dimensional network of low-footprint, low-cost “stops” (most of them more like covered bus-stops, than conventional rail or light-rail “stations”). All stops are offline, so loading and unloading of passengers never impedes through traffic.

    All trips are on demand, rather than according to a pre-set schedule: A passenger arriving at a PRT stop will usually find vehicles ready and waiting. If not, one will be ready for boarding within a minute or two after being summoned. The passenger goes directly from the point of system entrance to the point of destination, without intervening stops — unless the passenger him- or herself requests otherwise, while en route.

    PRT networks can be configured in many ways, but the method that best exploits and illustrates the strength of the concept is to criss-cross the guideway in a grid over the service area, with lines spaced 1/2 mile apart. For a square mile region, that means approximately six miles of guideway, spread out far enough that people don’t perceive themselves as being “under a grid.” This level of coverage can be established for around $90M, given current costs of construction, as demonstrated at Heathrow. Given such a system, nobody within the service area would ever be more than 1/4 mile away from a point of system entry or exit.

    PRT systems would serve well as local circulators and as attractive short-haul transportation options within a particular region. They could also serve as “feeders” and “drainage” for any HSR system that served the region, helping to make HSR more cost-efficient and convenient, especially by allowing HSR terminals to be placed in less-expensive, less-congested, outlying areas of a city region.

    Finally, for those who shy away from what they may think is just another boondoggly way to consume tax revenues, consider that simulations, based on reasonable assumptions and backed by real-world data, show that PRT can charge a fare similar to those now charged by buses, and from the farebox and normal operating revenues (e.g., advertising) alone, can recoup its operating costs and eventually (within a 20-40 year timespan) repay the capital construction costs as well. That is to say, PRT systems, properly designed, constructed, and operated, shouldn’t require any taxpayer subsidy, much less the immense subsidy, upon which most if today’s bus or rail systems depend. That’s the message that has come out of data from Heathrow so far, and within a few years, there will probably be similar data from other PRT systems that are now being considered or are under construction, in places such as Sweden, Korea, and India, to name a few.

    It seems feasible that PRT systems could be built and operated as private enterprises, where the local regulatory scheme weren’t so restrictive as to preclude that option. In most places in the US and elsewhere in the world, however, the regulatory thicket is so dense and confining that the government is the only entity that CAN start and run a new transportation service — at least private interests must have one or more public partners to “run interference” and eliminate regulatory and legal obstacles. But even in this typical situation, and even if taxpayers ultimately have to shell out, their level of contribution will be much lower, and their “return on investment” much higher, than were they expected to write the check for bus or various flavors of conventional rail service. At worst, the PRT approach gives taxpayers a big break, and at best, it lets them off the hook entirely.

    If any of the above interests you, then you’ll find a wealth of good information about the technology and history of PRT at this website: http://kinetic.seattle.wa.us/getonboard.html

    1. Personal Rapid Transit: Its called a car.

      The Heathrow thing is as complicated and maintenance intensive as high speed rail.

      1. Give google a few more years and we will have the self driving car system, which is the way to go over the PRT system. I thought that well before google start working on it.

        The thing is, if it worked, the PRT system fixes the problems I have with current rapid transit systems – flexibility. If a system cant get your drunk ass home from the bar district at 4 AM then it is worthless.

        Of if I get a 2 AM emergency call and need to be at the data center in the next 20 minutes.

        1. “The thing is, if it worked, the PRT system fixes the problems I have with current rapid transit systems – flexibility.” It does work. Check it out. Heathrow has been keeping a low profile because they have been burned before and are being careful to dot every i and cross every t. But the system is performing well by any measure published so far.

          I am in awe of the Google self-driving car project. But one of the key features of PRT is to take transport traffic OFF the surface streets, where pedestrians, pets, cyclists, skateboarders, commercial trucks, etc., all get to mingle — in many places, along with buses, light rail, and even heavy rail. PRT has the potential to take cars off the road AND improve the safety of roadways. From what I have seen, even Google self-driving vehicles can’t promise that.

      2. And your basis for saying this, Colonel, is what? Pooh-poohing is easy. Coming forth with the facts is hard.

    1. DO NOT CLICK ON ABOVE LINK

      1. ^^^^^Do you really want to see grandma in her underwear? If so, click away, above ^^^^^

        1. My links lead to actual news stories, not the insane mutterings of a drug-addicted menstruating chimp.

          1. I love you too SIV

  46. Alta Velocidad Espa?ola, not Alto

  47. I’ve never been a fan of the liberal obsession with high speed rail. People don’t like public transportation. Maybe we should have built our infrastructure to foster that instead of the way we did which fosters individual transportation, but we did, and now people, myself included, don’t want to travel with a bunch of other people. That ship has sailed, or rather that train has passed.

    But even more importantly, even if the obsession was a good one, NOW, when governments and taxpayers are broke, would NOT be the time to indulge it!!!

  48. Tuesday, a unicycle; holy fuck, je suis incoh?rent.

    1. He wrote it in French, and then used a computer, not human translator.

      Don’t fucking read it.

      1. BH Levy should’ve used a drug-addled chimp on the rag to translate it. Speak French rectal? Maybe you can get off the SSI and work for a living.

  49. Interesting reactions of ignorance, isolationism, roughness (when there is not factual arguments to use). The title of this article is wrong for many reasons:

    1. Spain is at any social indicator far more advance than any state in United States (longevity, education, access to health care, infraestructure…) and this in only 35-40 years since a right-wing fascist dictator died the country has changed totally, totally the opposited of what it happened in America when right-wing ideoligy started to operated in the goverment, any social indicator you choose (specially the ones that are not “cooked”) doesn’t stand any comparison with any industrialized world, included Spain, one of the countries with higher quality of life in the world (and I’ve live in England, Germany, Italy and now US).

    2. Economy? well here is what Americans don’t get it. GDP per capita is just one of the idicators for quality of life but this one isolated means nothing, again the example of Ecuatorial Guinea but several other Petro-countries with an outstanding GDP per capita but third world life and services. As soon as you leave some neighborhoods in some cities Texas everything seems falling apart (roads, bridges, houses…), and people live in a kind of condition that you don’t see on any country of Western Europe: people here struggles for many things that Europeans we don’t even think about it. Yes, you can buy (with credit) an stupid electronic device but you struggle for the things that in first world countries (Western Europe, Canada and Astrualia) people don’t,

    3. Tiny aparments, let’s play funny games, I would say “toy houses”, “movie set houses”, as soon as we European see how a house is built here in Texas (and I figure is kind the same the rest of the country), it is shocking: plastic, premanufactured, structure made of a few wood post!! and everything to have the appareance you live “in a house”, poor poor constrution. This kind of construction are not allowed in European standars but what people don’t understand of Europe is that you can have a house, real house when you only move to the suburbs, but again people see stupid to commute two hours to travel, besides people enjoy more the streets becase they prepared for this. probably get robbed. Here don’t dare to do that.

    4. I lived in Spain for 2 years and unlike American that see unemployement benefits a matter of “lazy people”, there another cultural aspect doesn’t get it. In Spain, but also Italy wher I come from, we pay more direct taxes (overall taxes, surprisely are similar) a big chunk of our income, and we never complain, why? we have a return from this taxes (education, transportatio, health care ) that here you only would dream. Here is a matter of choice, all you taxes are placed to created the largest military budged to fight against people that live in “caves” (aircraft carrier? supersonic aircraft, supermodern tanks?), yes we are in debt, AS YOU GUYS ARE, for serving the needs for the 99% of the people. You guy pay taxes in order to protect the 1% of the people that owns 90% of the wealth. Smart choice…no way some people here are mad about taxation.

    6. Redistribution? I would say, fair distribution of wealth, I am sorry but you guys want to be like China (large producer, large contamination, poor quality of life for the overall of the people, no regulations, low taxes). The different between rich and advanced countries respect third world countries is how much taxes they pay, but I would add, how they spend their taxes. If you feel comfortable living in a feudalistic society where 1% of people owns something and the rest live in poverty, certainly, it is your choice, I hope not being here of this moment of the US history.

    7. I highly recommend the writer of this article one month traveling through Spain, but not only the wealthy spots, please, go to remote areas, small rural villages, there is something called EURORAIL, for a flat rate you can get as many trains you want during 30 dyas, I am 100 % positive you will change your silly comparison between US and Spain.

    1. Never reflect, just accuse. Psssst…your little fascist wars should have caused embarrassment, but like typical nihilist Eurotrash, you’ll just keep blathering about the benefits of state control of industries. Keep on it, you self-unaware Eye-tie, keep on it.

      Two World Wars you won’t shut up, doo dah doo dah…

      1. Did you take something?

        I am for free enterprise, reasonable taxes, free property and not state control of industry , the opposite of a Socialist ( so when yo talk about statistic you mean of Bush bailouts of industry and banks?). Here we are talking about modernity vs feudal society (in America The wealthiest 1 percent of Americans already have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent, like in medieval times…)

        I guess relativism and more accurated picture only is applied when concerns American statistics (poverty, education, health…) but not when is applied to other countries.

        Guys, I did in the last year two trips by car in a deep inmmersion, Spain and US, it was a shocking revelation even for me that I always consider myself pro-American society…I encorauge that you guys do the same, rent a car and do a DEEP INMERSION into the real America and real Spain, get secondary roads, visit remote areas, small cities… if you still approach life on the same way, it may be a problem related with delusion.

        1. Feudalism? You might like this website…

          http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com/

          Peace and goodwill, my man. Just remember: When citizens of former fascist states start criticizing America for a lack of central planning — considering how many of our grandfathers and fathers died in those wars that y’all started — you’ll get a few goons’ dander up. This isn’t American bellicosity, it’s on you guys to STFU a bit. You sorta had your time to figure out a new way.

          1. Feudalism is when 1% of the population controls almost the whole wealth of a country, like Equatoril Guinea (Africa), GPD per capita (44,000$) similar to the States but they don’t have roads and eveything is through charity, I guess this would be a paradise for libertarians…there is a lot of low taxes too.
            A modern society is not a matter of big or small government, it is a matter of the right goverment. Simplistic thoughts here on this forum.

            1. We’re not a feudal system in anything but the most tortured sense. Be sure to visit the site I pointed to, they might agree with you because they’re consequentialists. The means of passing and taking property titles are radically different, as is the origin of the property rights. Inequality =/= feudalism. Results =/= systems.

              Again, you seem to lack the self-awareness when you use words like “modern society” and “right government.” Someone who is arguing for the superiority of formerly fascist states should be awfully careful about that, and you’re just oblivious to it.

              And I’m done. If you were a troll, well…you got your lulz.

            2. YOur arrogant bullshit can take a fucking hike. YOu made no argument!

              “Texas is a third world country!”

              No argument to support this. Life expectancy in texas is 78 and meanwhile it is 81 in Spain. WOw, living in Texas is just like living in Somalia! Old looking buildings and roads? So the fuck what? That is hardly the collapse of civilization. Every poor stoner in Texas owns a flat screen with a satellite dish, broadband internet, and a fucking car. Texans live in the biggest houses in the United States, and no, it is not just people in a few cities. EVERY city in texas has houses that would make my new friends on the west coast weep.

              1. Really, you aren’t making any argument, you are just making broad generalizations.

              2. Factor out car crashes and murders in both Texas and Spain and I wonder what happens to life expectancy. Further, factor out premature kids who don’t make it in Texas but wouldn’t have even been born in a European country and what would happen to the comparative life expectancies? I lived in Texas for a few years when I was a kid, it’s not a bad place, though Texans sure do love them some Texas in a kind of creepy way.

                1. I just take issue with the idea that texas is a third world country. That’s not a criticism, that’s just racism.

    2. Interesting reactions of ignorance, isolationism, roughness

      We should be civilized enough to elect fascists and socialists, of course. Wait! I see it! It’s…The Leader! Everybody run to The Leader like the Eye-ties and the Spaniards did! And then never reflect upon state control of industry. We’ll just keep insisting the wrong structure was in place! And then go bankrupt and beg for bailouts!

      You’re the pathetic and provincially ignorant joke, dude.

  50. If you can’t live better as an American of modest means than you could as a close-to-wealthy European, you aren’t doing it right. Europe’s great if you’re rich, not so great if you’re middle class or poor, and absolutely awful if you’re an immigrant. Social democracy creates a permanent underclass. There is grinding poverty in Europe, it is certainly not a good place to be if you’re a woman (the patriarchy in Europe makes even the most conservative parts of the US look like feminist paradises).

  51. This article match pretty well with my travelings through US (“the country is literally falling apart the opposite perception of traveling through Spain even remote areas). Tim, bad bad choice to compare Texas with Spain…

    “The United States by every measure is hanging on by a thread to its First World status. Saddled by debt, engaged in wars on multiple fronts with a rising police state at home, declining economic productivity, and wild currency fluctuations all threaten America’s future.

    The general designations of the ranking system for world status date back to the 1950s, and have included countries at various stages of economic development. Since the Cold War, the definition has come to be synonymous with repressive countries where a wealthy class of ruling elites segment society into the haves and have-nots, many times capitalizing on the conditions that follow an economic crisis or war.

    While much of the world is still mired in poverty, the reduced cost of innovative tools such as computing and connectivity ironically puts traditional Third World countries at the forefront of a new lean-and-mean economy that is based on ideas of empowerment for the disenfranchised. For better or worse, the world is leveling due to Globalism. However, America and other over-leveraged countries face this re-balancing of the globe at a time when they have dwindling resources. We can speculate about who and what is to blame for America’s fantastic fall, but for the purposes of this article we shall focus on the obvious signs that the United States is beginning to resemble a Third World country.

    30,000 Section 8 wait for 455 vouchers
    1. Rising unemployment and poverty: Unemployment numbers, food stamps, and home foreclosures continue to reach new record highs. The ugly reality of those numbers was recently on display when 30,000 people showed up to apply for public housing in East Point, GA for 455 available vouchers. Fights broke out, people were fainting from the heat while in line, and riot police showed up to handle the angry poor.

    2. Economic dependence: The United States finished 2009 with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 85%, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The current trend projects the United States to finish 2010 at 94% and 2011 at 98%. The 90% level has become the IMF’s make-or-break point for countries hoping to grow their way out of debt. If the government debt load climbs above 90% of GDP, economic growth slows so much that growth is no longer a viable solution for reducing that debt, and the IMF insists on austerity measures. Surpassing this debt threshold has also caused China’s lead credit rating agency to cut America’s credit rating.

    3. Declining civil rights: Everyday freedoms are often a casualty of a society in collapse. As the anger of the populace mounts in response to declining economic conditions and political corruption, the government counters by increasing draconian measures that restrict the political rights and civil liberties of its citizens.

    America is becoming a country like China, which has one of the lowest scores according to Freedom House. In America, private discussions and movements are monitored, free speech is corralled, the freedom to assemble for protest is by government decree, and independent thought that questions the political system is increasingly looked upon with suspicion. A final indicator is when the government insists upon secrecy for its own actions, while new laws and systems are created to put the individual under nearly constant surveillance.

    4. Increasing political corruption: When political corruption becomes the accepted norm, as opposed to the exception, then there’s a good bet your country resembles the Third World. Congress and all major institutions face a growing crisis in confidence, where a record-low 11% of the population believe Congress is doing a good job. It now seems obvious to all observers that big corporations directly control the agenda in Washington — much like typically corrupt Third World countries.

    5. Military patrolling the streets: The rise of a militarized police state is a hallmark of most Third World countries, particularly in times of rapid economic collapse. America’s declaration of the War on Terror has created a constant threat to National Security that has allowed for the military to be deployed on American soil. Building upon the War on Drugs, this has created a fusion between the military and local police, where military-grade weapons and tactics are being used against American citizens in a cascade of violent confrontations over non-violent offenses. Military checkpoints are moving farther inland, away from meaningful border control functions, and a full-blown military presence in American cities has been planned by the U.S. Army War College.

    6. Failing infrastructure: As 46 of 50 states are on the verge of bankruptcy, cities are going dark, asphalt roads are returning to the stone age, and nationwide budget cuts are leaving students without teachers, supplies, or a full-time education. These are common features one will see as they travel through the poorest of Third World countries.

    7. Disappearing middle class: During the last presidential debate season, they argued that a family income of $250K was solidly middle-class. Well, Census data shows less than 15% of families make over $100K, and only 1.5% of families make over $250K. The income gap between the rich and poor has increased at a staggering pace, while many more middle-class folks join the ranks of the poor every day. Cavernous income gaps may be what Third-World nations are best known for.

    U.S. Dollar Monetary Base
    8. Devalued currency: The value of the Federal Reserve Note (U.S. dollar) has declined 96% since the inception of the Federal Reserve in 1913. The value of the dollar is based on its supply in circulation and, to a lesser extent, the demand for those dollars. For the last three years, the monetary base has spiked literally off the charts. It can be argued that the dollar has become America’s top export as the world’s reserve currency, and if the volatile dollar is scrapped, which the U.N. and IMF now suggest, then demand will plummet, killing the currency.

    9. Controlling the media: A government-influenced media that censors information is a key component of Third World countries. In some countries it is openly owned by the State. In America, privately-owned major media is not as balanced or as diverse as it seems; the concentration of ownership has led to censorship when national and corporate interests have sometimes overlapped. The persecution of high-profile investigative journalists such as WikiLeaks is set amid a backdrop of the proposed Internet censorship of bloggers who wish to remain anonymous. The end of net neutrality creates a pay-to-play system that can lead to further corporate and government control of information and opinion. Cybersecurity initiatives are the final nail in the coffin, as the entire free flow of information can be vetted in a China-style system of “identity management.” On the street, the police state and media control have converged in the recent rise of arrests for those who videotape the police. This is a huge blow to First Amendment rights and the role of photojournalists who wish to document public police behavior.

    10. Capital Controls: Many nations have enforced capital controls as their economies collapse. It most recently happened in Argentina and Venezuela as they sought to keep the remaining wealth within their borders. The SEC already has adopted policies to allow money market funds to suspend withdrawals during a financial crisis, while the recent HIRE bill (HR 2487) puts restrictions on Americans moving capital to foreign countries. Some economists suggest that the national debt has gotten so high that the government must now force investment of private capital into U.S. Treasury debt.

    Key economic indicators point to a situation potentially worse than the Great Depression. The land of opportunity for so many is devolving into a system of government corruption, corporate looting, and military rule that threatens to sink the American Dream. The capital flight from America has left a dwindling middle class holding an empty bag. This style of underinvestment in the foundation of society is similar to what already has led to the exodus from the rural Midwest. Now, there are ominous signs of a silent exodus of young, intelligent professionals seeking opportunities to realize their dreams outside of America; they are becoming known as Generation Xpat. Lastly, many skilled immigrants have returned to their home countries to seek a better quality of life, which might be the scariest indicator of all.

    1. Yo, fuck walls of text.

    2. First world- NATO
      Second world- Soviets
      Third World- Everyone else

      They didn’t teach you this in geography or history? And people complain about American education.

    3. First World: Nato
      Second World: Soviet
      Third World: Everyone else.

      Did they not teach you this in Europe’s superior geography or history classes?

    4. So having a bullet train will fix all of this?

    5. Who’s your PM again? Berlusconi? Of Bunga-Bunga party fame? Yeah?

      Quiet child, the adults are speaking.

      PROTIP: Don’t move to another country, live there for 13 months, and then shit all over it. No matter what country, the denizens of said state will be pissed.

      1. I just found funny you live in such a informative bubble, that’s all, not shitting anything or anyone, if you guys want to returnt to the times of karts and horses, it is your choice, I didn’t insult anyone here, only I just tried to give some culture perspective because I found really offensive to use a country Spain, that obviously you don’t know anything about.

        1. Y’know, now I have to wake up, on my fucking Sunday morning, read your posts, and pull quotes to prove you wrong.

          Sunday is my, “No pants” time, so y’know, if anyone else wants to volunteer, I’d be happy. And pantless.

          1. Au H20, Weiner pick, or BS

            1. So, you and Epi having trouble at home, huh? Well, I for one will not be a party to your cheating.

              1. but epi wanted it for his collection! 🙁

        2. FUck you! You said that Texas was like a third world country. Go fuck yourself.

      2. Think of it this way goldster: pietro really hates Texas but is stuck there if he wishes to remain employed.

        I hope he has to work in a empty strip mall office on the ghetto-ized outskirts of Dallas for the next 5-10 years.

        His rants probably stem from being away from his mother and actually being expected to treat people from other cultures with respect and as equals.

        1. Ah, I forgot, Italian men walk around with major Oedipal concepts.

    6. Okay, you’re really in the right place. So how exactly is central planning going to solve this?

      1. Yeah, its like he agrees with libertarians on most issues, but once you mention Spain and trains, he gets all bitchy and pretends that we are Republicans when he insults us. Once he attacks these straw men, he declares himself the winner. What a fucking moron.

  52. You guys should stop being so mean to pietro, you know how them Italians get when they’re away from their mothers.

  53. I make more than 150K a year, I live in a beautiful house (paid for my company), but you know, I prefer to drive a normal car in Italy where everywhere you go is beautiful than driving a Ferrari in a third world country where you only see fast food chains everywhere. This is just my leissure time guys since I broke my leg and I have to be at home. That’s the reality.

    1. So your complaints are really just aesthetic. You don’t like the scenery and you don’t like fast food chains. Okay.

    2. I prefer to

      Then do these things you prefer.

      Here’s the thing: if you want fast food in the US you can get it, and if you don’t we have grocery stores (including good organic ones), a wide range of restaurants, and everything else you’d need to eat. We spend 10% of our income on food. Italy spends 17%. Nothing’s stopping you from closing that gap.

      If you want a house, you don’t have to spend much to buy one. Housing is not restricted to the wealthy. In Italy, the average home costs over 6 times average annual salary, whereas in the US it costs 3 times. If it doesn’t look twice as nice, you aren’t getting your money’s worth. What’s more likely is that Texas has some crummy homes, but a good number cost less than they do in Italy and look nicer.

    3. Face it. You had to come to the US to work because your broke dick country can’t produce any decent jobs. Now like a petulent teenager, you hate the hand the feeds you. Take your nuerosis elsewhere.

    4. “This is just my leissure time guys since I broke my leg and I have to be at home. That’s the reality.”

      Oh, really?!

      …’cause the rest of us are doing this professionally!

      Thanks for stooping to enlighten us, you big European genius, you!

    5. Every one of your complaints is aesthetic or marginal. You make a mountain out of every molehill and treat the mere presence of old building, fast food chains, and people in jeans as “proof” of a third world countries status.

      Die or fuck off back to Europe. Nobody here is defending American exceptionalism. We were simply discussing whether or not Texas should follow in Spain’s footsteps and follow similar policies. You jumped off on this penis measuring bitch fest. FUck you Pietro. I had very little opinion about Europeans before I read your post, but all of you Eurofags can just die. Even if we agree on a lot of issues, you people are just too horrible to listen to. Words cannot even describe how utterly annoying you people can be.

      1. “as “proof” of a third world countries status.”

        Should say,

        “as “proof” of third world country status.”

        oops

    6. …why so many Americans call you Eurotrash?

  54. I’m a third generation American of partial Italian descent, and finally got to visit the old country for the first time a few years ago.

    It is truly a gorgeous country with many wonderful aspects to it, but I quickly realized I would never want to live there. Most Italians appear to live in apartments that aren’t much bigger a postage stamp, and I have a sneaking suspicion that if they weren’t for their thriving tourism industry, it would probably be close to a third world country.

    P.S.: while every glass of wine I had was truly outstanding, I was disappointed to discover that the food in Italy isn’t nearly as good as most people think. The food in your typical New York City Italian restaurant is three times better.

  55. I’m sorry, but you guys just got trolled by Pietro. Judging from his arguments, he seems to have been another 20-something detritus from the Gawker commenter crowd. You can always spot them by the wall of cut-and-paste idiocy that always invariably concludes that Europe is sooooo awesome.

    It’s one thing to compare the standard of living between Scandinavia and the US, but for someone to bring their A-game employing Spain and Italy as exemplars? Are they serious? I’ve been to these two countries; outside their lightly populated and shrinking city centers, the vast majority of them live in sub-standard high-rise hovels cobbled around halfbuuilt or unbuilt autostradas and rail tracks (not stations, just along the lines, only the best places get stations). Spain is the worst of all, since by nearly all measure of quality-of-life, it ranks low among the world’s developed countries. Name a statistic, Spain is dangling at the bottom end of EU countries, and concurrently, the worst of Indian reservations in the US.

    1. 1.Spain,world Leader in Solar energy.

      2.SPain, world leader in organ transplants per capita.

      3. ->9th largest economy in the world, with average growth much higher than the EU (4th largest economy in the EU).(IFM source)

      ->7th-ranked exporter and 9th-ranked importer of business services.

      http://www.investinspain.org/i….._0,00.html

      4.
      ->Spain is ranked 2nd in Europe in quality of life by expatriates.

      -> Three Spanish business schools appear among the top 20 in the ranking by the Financial Times: Global MBA ranking 2010.

      5.
      -> One of the longest life expentacy of the world (US is close to Sierra Leona, Africa)

      6. Spain has two of Europe’s largest airports, Madrid and Barcelona. 250 airlines operate in our country at 47 airports.Spain ranks 3rd in Europe in passenger traffic.

      ->Three of the ten largest container ports in Europe are in Spain (Valencia, Algeciras and Barcelona).

      -> Spain’s ratio of freeways/divided highways to total highways (5.9%) is higher than the average for the EU (1.2%), U.S.A. (1.4%) and Japan (0.6%).

      -> 4th largest rail network among UE-15 countries, 13,353 km.

      -> Spain has become, after China, the 2nd country in the world and the 1st in Europe in kilometers of high-speed in operation, with 2,665 kilometers, ahead of countries like Japan with 2,452 kilometers and France with 1,870 kilometers. (Specially for Tim).

      -> Spain’s high-speed rail service has the fastest commercial speed in the world (221.05 kilometers/hour), putting it ahead of Japan (218.8 kilometers/hour).

      -> In addition, Spain’s AVE service ranks 2nd in on-time service. 98.54% of Spanish high-speed trains arrive at their destination on time, behind Japan (99% punctuality).

      http://www.investinspain.org/i….._0,00.html

      Well, they have now economical problemas now, high debt certainly, but they spent the money exactly for having this, the opposite of what US did in the last 40 years, putting all its resources in creating the best military force of the world, yes, here you guys are WORLD LEADERS, yes wonderufl dronas, and outstanding aircraft carriers but you can’t make a call properly from Austin to Dallas, and in winter (like it happened in my house in Austin), I was two days without electricty.

      FACTS ARE FACTS.

      1. “2.SPain, world leader in organ transplants per capita.”

        OK.

        No seriously. You’re fucking retarded.

      2. “-> 4th largest rail network among UE-15 countries, 13,353 km.”

        Golf clap. The EU-15’s second largest country only has the 4th largest rail network.

        You really are retarded.

      3. ->Three of the ten largest container ports in Europe are in Spain (Valencia, Algeciras and Barcelona).

        Did you know all of America’s top ten largest port is in America? DID YOU KNOW THAT?!!

      4. 6. Spain has two of Europe’s largest airports, Madrid and Barcelona. 250 airlines operate in our country at 47 airports.Spain ranks 3rd in Europe in passenger traffic.

        You have the two largest airports, but only 3rd in Europe in passenger traffic.

        You’re fucking retarded.

      5. “-> One of the longest life expentacy of the world (US is close to Sierra Leona, Africa)”

        Proof positive that EMPLOYMENT, something that imperialist pigdog Spanish fascists will never have to worry about, will reduce life expectancy. If you had a job, you’re life will be short too.

  56. Most of the drawbacks of HSR contracts, could have been made about highways, which have had enormous waste, in their development, and to this day.

  57. nick knight|6.12.11 @ 6:58PM|#
    “Most of the drawbacks of HSR contracts, could have been made about highways, which have had enormous waste, in their development, and to this day.”

    Please try your comment in English.

  58. pietro|6.12.11 @ 12:32AM|#
    “I make more than 150K a year, I live in a beautiful house (paid for my company),”
    Right. On the web, no one knows you’re a dog.

    “but you know, I prefer to drive a normal car in Italy where everywhere you go is beautiful than driving a Ferrari in a third world country where you only see fast food chains everywhere.”
    No we know we found a dog.
    First, $150K/annum will get you a clapped-out 308 or maybe a 328; Fiats.
    Secondly, the mezzo giorno ain’t so beautiful to the folks who live there, but the enjoyment of others’ poverty is common to libs.
    Finally, having just driven some 1800 miles in the western US, any claim that “…you only see fast food chains everywhere.” has to be made by someone who hasn’t.
    Hey, pietro! You’re full of shit.

    1. I think we’re just dealing with somebody who believes everything he reads in the papers or something.

      It’s the wishful thinking of most of the world–that America’s freedom and commercialism will someday destroy us.

      They want to believe it so bad. …sprinkle in a little confirmation bias and voila!

      You get guys like this.

      Either that or fast food restaurants really are indicative of some incurable flaw in American culture.

      1. I believe in free market, private property, free enterprise,the correct amount of taxes that makes me feel I am living in a first world country, low goverment but stong enough to keep me safe from guys that only believe in short term profits that destroy the middle class (motor and heart of any country)…do I have to continue?

        1. I’d say I’m sorry if some of our companies made a profit by charging prices so cheap we drove some companies in your country broke, but I wouldn’t mean it.

          All those poor people in Spain and Italy should thank us for keeping their cost of living so low.

          The profitability of companies isn’t the source of any problem–anywhere in the world.

  59. Ken Shultz|6.12.11 @ 10:36PM|#
    …”Either that or fast food restaurants really are indicative of some incurable flaw in American culture.”

    First, they’re not. Try finding a clean restroom in Italy by comparison. You may not like a Mickey D burger, but the restroom won’t cause diseases, and that’s the same place you find clean restrooms in Italy.
    pietro is comparing a drive from say Florence to Rome to a drive from say SF to Salt Lake City (Italy is a one-by-nothing country). If you stay on the Autostrada, I’d bet you’d find more in Italy (eighth in the world by outlet/population):
    http://www.nationmaster.com/gr…..estaurants
    What’s more is that the *government* promotes Mickey’s:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..40430.html
    pietro is nothing other than a sleazy troll.

    1. First, they’re not.

      Of course they’re not.

      How could they be?

      He’s just trying to impress people with class snobbery.

      …and it’s fake class snobbery at that. Trying to score political points by mocking the food choices of poor and lower middle class people is pathetic.

      He’s bragging about a country that has three times as much unemployment as Texas–and topping it off with fake class snobbery.

      Are we supposed to think America’s working poor would be better off if they were three times as unemployed–like they are in Spain–and didn’t have access to fast food restaurants?

      The whole thing is pathetic.

  60. Relax guys, I am not trying to insult anyone here as I am being insulted. I was just describing my experince in Texas after two years in Spain, I feel I am in a kind of third world territory: my cellular and internet doesn’t work properly here, in the capital of the state!, water pipes spillings everwhere, bridges falling apart (Waco, recently), roads and streets plenty of hole because of low maitainance, homeless at any corner, people self-medicating because they fear to visit a doctor, buses that take 2 hours to comple 10 miles route, houses made of plastic and cheap material.

    Sorry, I didn’t have anything of this whn I was in Spain…why do I have to say the opposite?

    Ah, and yes, I cross on a trip 6 states from Texas to Alabama and in Mexico I felt riding better roads, specially in Arkansas I spent two hours in a major road bouncing like a ball because of the bumps, the funny thing is that I got a tourist flier at a gas station and the governor presented the state as “welcome to ride onne of the better roads in America…”. Pathetic.

    Get a plane and rent a car for 3 weeks, it should be enough, get this route, Spain, France or Italy (like Texas to Alabama) and then do the same here,if after this you bullshit me…you problem is serious, serious.

  61. 1.Spain,world Leader in Solar energy.

    2.SPain, world leader in organ transplants per capita.

    3. ->9th largest economy in the world, with average growth much higher than the EU (4th largest economy in the EU).(IFM source)

    ->7th-ranked exporter and 9th-ranked importer of business services.

    http://www.investinspain.org/i….._0,00.html

    4.
    ->Spain is ranked 2nd in Europe in quality of life by expatriates.

    -> Three Spanish business schools appear among the top 20 in the ranking by the Financial Times: Global MBA ranking 2010.

    5.
    -> One of the longest life expentacy of the world (US is close to Sierra Leona, Africa)

    6. Spain has two of Europe’s largest airports, Madrid and Barcelona. 250 airlines operate in our country at 47 airports.Spain ranks 3rd in Europe in passenger traffic.

    ->Three of the ten largest container ports in Europe are in Spain (Valencia, Algeciras and Barcelona).

    -> Spain’s ratio of freeways/divided highways to total highways (5.9%) is higher than the average for the EU (1.2%), U.S.A. (1.4%) and Japan (0.6%).

    -> 4th largest rail network among UE-15 countries, 13,353 km.

    -> Spain has become, after China, the 2nd country in the world and the 1st in Europe in kilometers of high-speed in operation, with 2,665 kilometers, ahead of countries like Japan with 2,452 kilometers and France with 1,870 kilometers. (Specially for Tim).

    -> Spain’s high-speed rail service has the fastest commercial speed in the world (221.05 kilometers/hour), putting it ahead of Japan (218.8 kilometers/hour).

    -> In addition, Spain’s AVE service ranks 2nd in on-time service. 98.54% of Spanish high-speed trains arrive at their destination on time, behind Japan (99% punctuality).

    http://www.investinspain.org/i….._0,00.html

    Well, they have now economical problemas now, high debt certainly, but they spent the money exactly for having this, the opposite of what US did in the last 40 years, putting all its resources in creating the best military force of the world, yes, here you guys are WORLD LEADERS, yes wonderufl dronas, and outstanding aircraft carriers but you can’t make a call properly from Austin to Dallas, and in winter (like it happened in my house in Austin), I was two days without electricty.

    FACTS ARE FACTS.

    1. “1.Spain,world Leader in Solar energy.”

      Good for Spain. Comparative advantage is a wonderful thing.

      “2.SPain, world leader in organ transplants per capita.”

      This either means that Spaniards have a higher rate of organ failure than the rest of the world or that organs are simply more available for transplant. You need to post more information on this.

      “3. ->9th largest economy in the world, with average growth much higher than the EU (4th largest economy in the EU).(IFM source)”

      GDP statistics become a lot less rosy when you realize that the only way for GDP to rise is for prices to rise, meaning that countries with higher GDP growth simply have higher inflation. After all, if deflation and inflation was truly factored out of real GDP (they’re simply “depressed”) then real GDP would remain constant.

      I couldn’t even get through the rest of your post. Spain has a 20.7% unemployment rate; America has 8.7%. Inflation in Spain is 3.8%; in America it’s somewhere in the area of 2%. These statistics all become worse when you look at “real” unemployment or “real” inflation. I really don’t see why you fetishize Spain except out of some misplaced sense of nationalism.

  62. All I can say about trains is that the last time I took one to a business meeting, Metrolink didn’t bother to show up for the return ride home. Had to wait three hours for Mrs TWC to come fetch me from the station.

    Now *that* is some oil saving efficiency, lads.

  63. “Overall, the underground economy is worth 23 percent of GDP, according to Gestha. Funcas, the research arm of Spain’s savings-bank association, puts the number at about 17 percent and says there may be around 4 million undeclared jobs. Friedrich Schneider, a professor at the University of Linz in Austria, who studies underground activity, estimates Spain’s shadow economy at 19 percent of GDP last year, compared with 25 percent in Greece and 22 percent in Italy.

    Spain is home to 18 percent of the euro region’s 500-euro bills, which are habitually used for unrecorded cash transactions, although the Spanish economy accounts for 12 percent of the region’s output, according to data from the Bank of Spain and European Central Bank.”

    So if we add 4 million of underacled workers to a labor force of about 20, we are seeing that the real unemployment number of this country is estimated of 13-14 %. We also have to add that the real GDP per capita and global is 25% of the official statistics. This is something we all know in Europe and you can see traveling through Spain, they are the intangibles and variables to apply everytime you analize a different country, each reality is more complex than appears to be.

    I have the opposite sensation and experiences living in Texas, the “official” numbers are low unemployement, but again, as we all know in Europe you Americans cook your number to cheat and here the explanation:

    “The official unemployment index, based on a monthly survey of sample households, counts only people who reported looking for work in the past four weeks. It doesn’t account for part-time workers who want to work more hours but can’t, given the tight job market. And it doesn’t include those who have given up trying to find work. ”

    http://articles.moneycentral.m…..-rate.aspx

    So we have this real picture, official Spain numbers, 20% unemployment (real 13-14%), US official 10% (real about 17%)…uhmmm when somebody in my country do “tricks” to adapt the reality to their views, we call them “cheaters”.

    We all know in Europe how you guys mangage the numbers, the reason why when you guys pass a international test of anything, you scored in the bottom of any quality of life indicator.

    China is a big producer, soon the first economy in the world, but still a third world country> Get the analogy, to be a big producer can take you to have a high quality of life standards but only if this wealth is not manage for only a few hands. Middle class is what really matters.

  64. OH yeah, we gotta be cool like Spain lol.

    http://www.complete-privacy.no.tc

  65. I like how Pietrotard keep insisting that we take 3 weeks (not more, not less) to go to his Mediterranean sewers. If you stayed longer, you’d pretty much conclude that what others have–the Mediterranean outside northern Italy is a a 3rd world country with a first-world currency.

  66. Why the people here is so mean with me what I just tried to point out that Texas is similar to a third world country that’s, based on my experience, I am very respectful with the people here (except some wealthy spot, little certainly compared with the total). U thought it was something interesting hear…

    Do I need the say the opposite when it is what I am experience living and working on this state? Do you feel much better if I lie?

    I work with a multinacional and even though I wasn’t young (53yo) when I applied for this 18 months in Texas and since I am single, I though I was going to find a very different realiy of what I got, sorry.

    Do I need to repeat why?

    1.I can make a proper call while traveling on my car even inside the city (I tried three different ones).

    2. Despite living in a wealthy neighborhood my internet service is falling almost every week, or changing the speed I have on my country, first ATT and now Time Warner.

    3. 2 days without electricity in winter because of the selective blackout operated by the state because they can supply energy to 20 milion people???

    4. Anywhere you go, bumps on the street.

    5. Bus takes 2 hours to complete 10 miles.

    6. Homeless everywhere, I guess they were lazy, until one friend Psyquiastrist told me that there is no money and almost half of them are mental patients, I guess they are lazy for being sick…

    I didn’t have this in 26 months in Spain. I don’t know about GDPS or unemployement rates but this is my reality, but surprisinly the same comment I am getting from other foreigners (not only Europeans but also Canadians and Australians…)

    I think US only looks great in the movies…

  67. Sorry for some ENglish mistakes but I just have less than I year of formal English education… I hope you catch the idea.

  68. This whole article is based on two big fallacies that keep the people in their fantasy world:

    1) “Spain has a 20.7% unemployment rate; America has 8.7%” (what we were told)

    Here the American “statistics” and how they are made:
    “The official unemployment index, based on a monthly survey of sample households, counts only people who reported looking for work in the past four weeks. It doesn’t account for part-time workers who want to work more hours but can’t, given the tight job market. And it doesn’t include those who have given up trying to find work.
    When the underemployed and the discouraged are added to the numbers, the unemployment rate rises to 16.6%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, a unit of the Labor Department, began tracking this alternative measure — known as the U-6 for its department classification — in 1995 after economists lobbied for a method comparable to the way Japan, Canada and Western Europe count their unemployed.

    2. “Spain has a lower GDP per capita”

    Spain is a really really bad example to make some silly comparison like the one made on the title of this article, why? he is a very peculiar country.

    “Overall, the underground economy is worth 23 percent of GDP, according to Gestha. Funcas, the research arm of Spain’s savings-bank association, puts the number at about 17 percent and says there may be around 4 million undeclared jobs. Friedrich Schneider, a professor at the University of Linz in Austria, who studies underground activity, estimates Spain’s shadow economy at 19 percent of GDP…”

    http://www.businessweek.com/ne…..yment.html

    Interesting because these two analysis match pretty well with my own personal sensation, US falling apart, Spain doing just fine but much better.

  69. People put the bullet train in the desert to get quickly through the vast barren wastelands, not to build up the deserts economic vitality…The rich wont ever add much to the bullet trains bottom line as they scoot about in thier private jets…The population doubles every 20 years…Investment in infrastruture aside from the oil industry will always come up against this political wall… Good luck protecting all that property derived wealth when all future innovation is stiffeled…They love the bullet trains in Europe because it gets the people quickly to their endevors, moving fast through what does not concern them…Just like the wealthy zipping along as fast as possible to their matters at hand…Time travelers…So will America then become a permanently stagnating, backward thinking, forever depressed economic nightmere…No more future American progressions that would allow for investment in crumbling infractures?.. Must we cut every expenditure that leads to progressing away from fossil fuels stagering off the balance sheet costs?..Coal fired cancers profit margins excede the upward mobility of average American workers…Common sense would no doubt dictate the logic that having the University systems more accessible to the population centers attached to the industrial sectors would be in the competitive intrests of America…Way too many American regions fight blindly cannabilizing themselves and thier suburbs instead of collectively working together regionally to compete with the world…Progress is often slow and painfull…Think of all the horrible presidential administrations we have been subjected to in the last thirty to fourty years…were has it all lead to?..Greedy infighting and the ignoring of complicated realities to the point where we must admit that closing our doors on the worlds problems and locking ourselves inside our closeminded ideologies is what is wrong with our collective society…We are all invested in oil…Like england in the 1700’s invested in sugar…The true costs of which is much more stagering than the per unit market price…The time for federalist property over the people empires has long since past, we must collectively band together for american survival what ever its costs…We can justify dropping bombs on the heads of innocent children in shock and awe oil wars but we cant justify facilitating the movement of our own citisenry in a more productive manner…Are we all mere peasants begging at the castle door in the eyes of this articles condesing lord Tim Cavanaugh???

  70. Branon, thanks, these troglodists writing on this website are exactly that, the peasants at the castle door and you nailed in the head, unlimited money (there is not debt problem here) for dropping bombs of the head of innocent people (half a million innocent death according official statistics in Irak and Afghanistan) in a war (Irak) based on lies (later admitted), but when it comes to fill out the pocket of these big corporations here we have Tim defending the “free market”. Sad, sad.

    I just did another trip from Texas to New Mexico, literally crossing villages that are falling apart, poor infrastructure, stopped in a gas station and people with a very unhealthy look and dental condition ( you won’t see this in Spain or any developed country). Obviously this 10-15% of educated people that live on this nice neighborhoods, some of them with gates they believe the rest of the country is like the place where they live, I was is better to keep living in a illusion, this is the American dream. The reality is simply hard to admit, but I guess this 80% of Americans struggling for basic things that in developed countries are granted (transportation, education, health care…), this people are simply losers…in their infantile philosophy.

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