High Speed Rail

Judge Rules Calif. High-Speed Rail Plan Violates Rules for Funding

More information requested before he decides whether to essentially kill it


Unshown: An upcoming tunnel is just painted on the side of a mountain like in a "Roadrunner" cartoon.
CHSRA concept art

A judge's ruling today may not have killed the California high-speed rail plan, but it can definitely see the gallows from where it's standing. The Fresno Bee gets the details:

A funding plan put forth by the California High-Speed Rail Authority in 2011 violated several provisions of Proposition 1A, a $9.9 billion bond measure, according to a ruling issued late Friday by a Sacramento Superior Court judge.

In the lawsuit by Kings County, Hanford resident Aaron Fukuda and Kings County farmer John Tos, the ruling by Judge Michael Kenny pointedly notes that "the Authority abused its discretion by approving a funding plan that did not comply with the requirements of the law."

But Kenny's ruling also asks for more arguments from both sides before he determines whether to issue a court order to overturn the rail agency's approval of its business plan or to negate the state Legislature's approval last summer of about $2.6 million from Prop. 1A for construction to begin.

Proposition 1A was approved by voters in California to fund the high-speed rail, but as research from the Reason Foundation has shown, the plan being pursued is significantly out of compliance with what was put before voters. The costs have skyrocketed, the trains will not be able to operate at the speeds promised, it will likely need government subsidies to stay in operation, and there's no funding beyond the very first segment of construction, among other problems. The judge agreed the train project did not appear to have the required funding sources beyond the first segment and hasn't gotten the necessary environmental clearances to continue, as Proposition 1A demands:

The judge is asking attorneys for both side to provide additional written arguments before he determines whether he should invalidate the authority's funding plan or even go so far as to invalidate the Legislature's approval of funds last summer. No schedule has been set for those briefings or a hearing on the issue.

Below, my interview with Eric Christen of the Coalition for Fair Employment in California, one of the groups who has been fighting against this boondoggle:

NEXT: NSA On the Defensive After Rules Violations Revealed

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  1. Why does reason hate trains so much? The mere idea that the convenience of rail travel could be derailed by Judge “Kenny” sends you all atwitter with delightful Schadenfreude.

    1. Because they won’t use the right steel.

    2. A well managed high speed train network is great. I fear, though, that the CA government has no idea what these words mean.

      1. It means no opportunity for patronage and cronyism.

    3. Reason loves trains. No self-respecting Koch-fellating objectivist can resist a train project. It’s the unions Reason hates.

  2. The costs have skyrocketed, the trains will not be able to operate at the speeds promised, it will likely need government subsidies to stay in operation, and there’s no funding beyond the very first segment of construction, among other problems.

    Oh, so that’s why they named the engine ‘Obama’s Promise’.

    1. Yeah, but other than all THAT….good idea! Right?

      1. “the Authority abused its discretion by approving a funding plan that did not comply with the requirements of the law.”


        The judge is asking attorneys for both side to provide additional written arguments before he determines whether he should invalidate the authority’s funding plan

        So the Authority is doing something that does not comply with the requirements of the law – i.e. is illegal – but the judge is going to have to think long and hard about whether or not to tell them they aren’t allowed to do illegal shit? That gallows you think you see in the distance may be a lot further off than it appears.

    2. Should be:
      “Governor Moonbeam”

  3. Have we declared this the weekend thread? I’ll drink to that.

    Reminder! World Pipe Band Championship starts Sat AM (I think it’s 7:00 EDT or something like that)….linky to listen live (FREE!) below.


    Rooting for the Toronto Police and Peel Regional Police from Ontario, CA. Woooooo!!

    1. Whoops – lulz! Not Ontario, Cali – Ontario, CANADA

    2. will they be playing Scotland the Brave?

      1. *slit-eyed glare*

        Eff. You. Last time I went, we played Brigadier General Cheape, The Cameronian Rant and Mrs. MacPherson of Inveran for our set, and the medley for the medley. We had a REALLY good band that year…

    3. Why would people want to listen to bagpipe music?

      And why should we root for the police?

    4. You know what H+R needs? Official overnight and weekend open threads.

      1. the subversive ones are more fun

      2. You know what H+R needs?

        3D printed hand-job robots?

    5. “Rooting for the Toronto Police and Peel Regional Police from Ontario, CA. Woooooo!!”

      Are they going to do like the ‘1812 Overture’ and have real dog shootings as part of the performance?

      1. These are Canadian police pipe bands. They shoot beavers.

  4. OK, SF had this hands-on science museum (The Exploritorium) stuck out at the west end of the Marina district; easy parking, funky location.
    Well, with the arrival of the America’s Cup, the powers that be decided it would do just great on the waterfront. ‘Cause you can get there by light rail! Or, pay $50 parking with the four kids you really didn’t want to herd on the transit thingy…
    Well, the business plan isn’t quite working out:
    “Exploratorium cuts 18% of staff as attendance lags”
    Oh, and screw moonbeam’s choo-choo.

    1. fun places don’t end in -orium, the end in ‘-mania’ or ‘-teria’

      1. How about ‘-orama’?
        ‘those are over in Kitchen-orama, where all your dreams are avocado green!’

      2. Contra the Simpsons, the Exploratorium is a fun place.

        1. You like the new location?

          1. I haven’t been to the old one in years. I am a bit dismayed that it’s now $20. At least it’s accessible by BART.

            1. Well, kind of accessible by BART.

        2. Holy cow, they spent $300 million on the new museum? I can’t comprehend how that is even possible.

          1. “Holy cow, they spent $300 million on the new museum? I can’t comprehend how that is even possible.”

            Yes, you can.
            The SF city gov’t was intimately involved in the move, the various permits, etc.
            IOWs, there was no lack of opportunities to scrape a little vig off the top.
            Oh, and BART? Well you need to be near one of the stations and then at the other end, it’s not a short hoof from the Embarcadaro station to the E.

            1. One of the few positive aspects of my current living arrangement is that it’s near a BART station.

      3. Hmm, it was a pretty fun place when I went (in the late ’80’s).

    2. One of the central tenets of my “you can’t make a Liberty Omelet without breaking some eggs” is bringing about the total destruction of any museum without a significant collection.

    3. SF had this hands-on science museum

      I read that SF as “Sugar Free” and was afraid…very afraid.

  5. Annnnnnnnnnnnd:
    GREAT alt text!

    1. Seconded

  6. Look, this country is not going to move into the 19th century until we get more of these “train” things.

    1. Isn’t a lot of the progressive agenda 19th century: trains, windmills, big building projects, bricks-and-mortars facilities?

      1. farmer’s markets.

        1. Hmmm, good point. Although around here, the f.m. are all private affairs not subsidized by public funds.

          1. lucky you. Winnipeg just subsidized one downtown.

            1. And you’ve just been WinniPegged!

            2. Well, that’s just wrong. The theory in the midwest is, if you want to make money then you pay for the process. The only thing the city does is close off one street for one block for 4 hours on a Saturday morning.

      2. Unions. Public schools. Bicycles. Not offending the precious flowers of womanhood.

        1. Cholera, malaria, smallpox…

    2. Trains are only an anachronism worthy of mockery when they’re in an Ayn Rand novel.

  7. California High-Speed Rail Authority:

    Oh my God! Kenny killed us! You bastard!

    1. I skimmed the report Reason foundation did on this. Their research (& others) showed that the financial predictions were just ridiculously optimistic, the timetable was unworkable, and the whole project was just an absurdity.

      1. …”the whole project was just an absurdity.”

        And the voters in CA said “Sure!”

        1. To be partially fair, the voters approved the scheme put forward which has since been shown to be crap. The opinion in CA now has moved against the scheme.

  8. Since we’re hitting the map here and there, let’s examine how really dedicated and intelligent scientists allow their emotions to bite ’em.
    Here’s the circumstances in 1953: The US has tested Ivy Mike at 10+megatons. The Soviets test Joe 4; 400 kilotons, and the difference is not in degree, it is of function. Ivy Mike is a thermo-nuclear device, Joe 4 is a boosted fission thumper. J. Von Neumann knows that, knows that the Soviets have no method of delivery and yet he responds to a question from a congress-critter thus:
    “I […] no longer think that the time lag […between the US and the USSR nuclear programs…] is as much as two years in our favor”.
    Von Neumann is about as close to a hero as I can find, but the man is willing to warp the entire US economy to make more nukes, since he’s ‘concerned’
    I think this has current relevance.
    (Oh, quotes from Rhodes, “Dark Sun …”, Simon and Schuster)

    1. In 1955 Joe 19 was 1600 kilotons. In 1957 they got to 2900 kt.

      Remember, many people were shocked that the Soviets got the bomb as soon as they did. (Hey, spying works!) People were also freaked about Red China. We had few if any sources within the USSR. His concern, even in retrospect, seems valid, and it doesn’t seem like his estimate was wildly wrong.

      1. I remember it, but your cite says he was wrong re: nukes and still didn’t address delivery.
        Much as I respect Von Neumann, he’s a catastrophist here and, per the note, willing to use his rep and ‘concern’ to affect policy.

        1. Meh, I’m willing to cut him slack. Lots of people were wrong, one way or the other, about the USSR. Also, the Soviets were known to have Tu-4s (B-29 copies) which could reach the US on one-way missions.

    1. Very nice. Why was there no snow?

      1. Summer.

        1. Canada has that?

          1. for 3 months!

          2. When else would they gather to watch the permafrost sweat?

          3. The Roughriders have to play the Roughriders at some point.

  9. Is there a chance the track could bend?

    1. If you’re commenting on the alt text, you bet! And an Acme safe could fall from the sky!

    2. not if it’s union built in America by real ‘Mericans.

    3. Not on your life my Hindu friend.

    4. Morpheus: the track is not a track.

  10. OK, first commercial review?:
    “Best Marijuana Strains: Blue Cheese Review (Green Cross SF)”

  11. There is a lot of new stuff you’ll want to read in this Star story on the Rob Ford crack scandal

  12. Pleasantville is on Encore. What an awesome tribute to individualism. Never noticed how libertarian it is.

  13. MATT DAMON runs his mouth on CCW and SYG laws.


    1. I wonder if his upscale private LA school he sends his kids to has armed private security.

    2. After doing a movie in which the ability for civilians to get ahold of weapons evens the gap between the oppressors and the oppressed.

      Its like they don’t even understand the tropes in their own work.

      1. Like how they love individualism and rebellion except when it is directed against the right TOP MEN.

      2. Yeah, but in that movie Damon played the great proletarian leader that directed the helpless masses to paradise.

        His ends justify the usage of guns.

  14. Oprah embraces the fallacy of false consciousness:

    Even if you don’t use the word “n****er” or hate black people, it doesn’t mean you aren’t racist

    Responding to a question about the juror in the George Zimmerman trial who thought race was not a part of the case at all, Winfrey said, “A lot of people, if they think they’re not using the ‘n- word’ themselves, they actually, physically are not using the ‘n-word’ themselves and do not harbor ill will towards black people, that it’s not racist. But, you know, to me it’s ridiculous to look at that case and not to think that race was involved.”

    Trayvon Martin died for your creepy assed cracka sins.


    1. Never forget what? When the Jews bombed Pearl Harbour?

      1. No. When the Greys flew planes into the World Trade Centers and teleported themselves out at the last minute.

    2. No one besides George Zimmerman will ever know whether or not Martin’s race played a role in why Zimmerman was suspicious of him. Either way, Zimmerman’s motivation for being suspicious of Martin has no effect on whether or not he was guilty of murder, something that very few people on either side of this debate seem to acknowledge.

      1. Oh, I think a lot of people on one side acknowledge that last point.

        Near the core of it all is, in a sense, whether people believe statistics is “fair” or not. To TM supporters, the fact that people who look like TM (black male teens in hoodies) are statistically much more likely to be criminals is irrelevant, because innocent black male teens in hoodies should not suffer discrimination simply for being black male teens in hoodies. And they have a point. Few people actually want to discriminate against the innocent.

        But our brains seek patterns, and it’s idiotic to deny the utility of knowing that [black teen male in hoodie] is far more likely to be a danger than [old Asian woman with umbrella] or pretty much any other mental sub-category of [strangers you pass on the street].

        1. “Oh, I think a lot of people on one side acknowledge that last point.”

          I think a lot of people on one side of the debate think that, but they don’t seem to put much emphasis on it. The people who think Zimmerman should have been found guilty, generally speaking, seem to think that Zimmerman racially profiling Martin (and they almost universally assume he did) makes him guilty of murder. The people who think Zimmerman should have been not guilty may not think that, but most of the arguments I’ve seen from them seem to either be a) trying to refute the accusation that Zimmerman racially profiled Martin b) attempting to morally justify racial profiling even if that is what Zimmerman did. I’ve seen way more people make these two arguments than I’ve seen the argument made that whether he racially profiled or not, and whether or not it was morally justified if he did, it has no effect on him being guilty or not guilty of murder. Even though that argument is the only one that is objectively correct, and the only one really relevant to the case, I saw far fewer people make that argument than I saw people try to defend Zimmerman from charges of racism (even though they don’t know the guy) or try to justify racial profiling

          1. True, but it’s even more complicated. It seems obvious that any profiling was not just about race, it was about someone walking around in the rain and looking in windows. Even the FBI concluded GZ was behaviorally profiling. The fact that TM was also precisely the sort of person who most often gets racially profiled may well be, in a sense, a coincidence. And yet the fact that TM turns out to have been a sort of Platonic ideal of the Young Black Male Gone Bad means it’s not really a coincidence, but a dreaded real-world embodiment of a a stereotype that the politically incorrect say exists, and which undercuts the politically correct narrative.

            This makes it all very difficult for many people. The facts tell the wrong story, so the facts must be wrong.

      2. And then more facts come out and the whole thing sends the TM supporters into shock, anger, and denial. His background is every Black Male Teen Gone Wrong stereotype you can name: broken home, expelled from school, graffiti, gold grill, tats, gangsta talk, dangerous drugs, guns, and (most relevant) fist-fighting and burglary. The timeline shows him wandering around slowly, not going straight home, possibly casing houses. It also shows he got away from GZ but came back. The forensic and witness evidence and everything else fits: TM attacked GZ and not the other way around.

        So the leftist hivemind is suddenly hugely vulnerable. The Good Meme is turning into the Bad Meme. This seemingly wonderful Object Lesson in White Racism is threatening to turn into the exact opposite: The White Racists Are Right. Because the lesson (beyond the beating of the White Racism drum) is supposed to be “Don’t discriminate against black male teens in hoodies because they aren’t really dangerous, and to think so is racist.” But this particular black male teen did prove to be dangerous, while embodying every racist stereotype down to a watermelon drink, for heaven’s sake. To admit that means, by their logic, that Racists Are Right (even though it doesn’t, really).

      3. Martin is like a character from a parallel world in which the KKK writes clich?d and unsubtle Law & Order episodes and updates ancient stereotypes in clever ways. (“Hmmm, the perp doesn’t have enough stereotypes…. I know, we’ll have him carry a can of a watermelon drink!”)

        No wonder his defenders are in such denial.

    1. So plenty of ribs, burgers and NY style pizza then?

    2. Next time you visit Pittsburgh

      so after Hell has frozen over…

      1. Not even to visit Lucy?


          1. Oh God, how I miss her.

          2. You can follow her on Twitter.

            1. Ehhh, nah. Don’t miss her enough to start a Twitter thing.

              1. Okay, well read her blog then.


                1. Maybe later.

  15. So has anyone read Pictures of the Socialistic Future? It was written in the 1890s by Eugen Richter, a German Liberal Leader, as a proto-dystopian novel.


    Man how labels change. He was one of the liberals who opposed Bismarck and his welfare state. He even called Bismarck’s social insurance as “Communistic.” And the liberals who opposed Bismarck were called Left-Liberals. And their party was originally called the Progress Party so in a way they were the original Progressives.

    1. I’m going to say the over/under on this question is 1.5.

    2. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it more common even today in Europe for the term “liberal” to refer more closely to the original meaning than the modern American one?

      1. This is true. Also in South America.

    3. I did. Heard about it on The Volokh Conspiracy I think. I really enjoyed it. Quick read.

  16. And there are times where the Onion is wrong

    1. If they are being serious, then that’s disappointing.

      If they are just taking a cheap shot at Zimmerman because liberals are going to share this all over the web, then that’s just lazy writing.

      So either way it is disappointing.

    2. Sorry but taking shots at BOOOOSH!!! does not make you a libertarian.

      1. Okay I should rephrase: just because someone takes shots at BOOOOSHH!!!doesn’t necessarily mean that person is a libertarian.

        1. Wait.
          Letterman isn’t a libertarian?

          1. Neither are the Simpsons (except for Swartzwelder apparently), Maddow, Stewart, Colbert, Chris Hayes, Greenwald or Olbermann libertarian.

          2. By the way hasn’t Letterman pretty much openly become a mouthpiece for Obama? Or have the “phony scandals” changed his mind?

            1. Pretty much.
              He was pro gun control.
              He brings out an old Bush joke everytime there’s a new Obama scandal.

    3. “I mean, because even if he made the first move, it says here in your cover letter…wait, let me find it…ah, here it is. It says that he was unarmed? Is that true? So, not only did you shoot a boy, but you shot an unarmed boy? I’m just going to note that, too … But, on the other hand, you shot a child. And my boss is a pretty perceptive guy, so he’ll probably ask if you were fearing for your life so much so that it was absolutely necessary to shoot an unarmed teenage boy at point-blank range.”

      Are there seriously people who think that even if Martin initiated the fight and was, as Zimmerman claimed, punching him and bashing his head into the sidewalk, that Zimmerman was guilty of murder for shooting him in that situation, just because he didn’t have a gun or a knife? Because nobody has ever been seriously harmed by fists and concrete before?

      1. There is a lot of denial among the pro-TM types these days.

  17. bitches, Achewood is back!

    1. Every time I read an Achewood I am stunned by the paradox of a well-intentioned but flat comic effort that only makes me sadly aware of the tragedy of existence and that I am one minute closer to the sweet release of death.


      1. Phillipe is a special boy.

    2. Uhhh.

      What the fuck?

  18. William Shatner wrote in his memoirs that “The Devil in the Dark” was his favorite original Star Trek episode

    1. Apparently his dad died while filming it which made it tough for him.

      I would guess he liked that episode because he didn’t really have to interact with a guest star that episode and it is clear example of Roddenberry’s “there are no real bad guys” philosophy.

      1. That, and he said Leonard Nimoy’s compassion for him during his difficult time filming was what really solidified their friendship.

  19. Huffington Post admits that the wealthy actually work for much of their money

    In other words, the richer you are, the more likely you’ll make your money from investing or owning a business.

    As Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out, “Once you get up to the very top of the income scale … you’ve got two-thirds of their income coming from nonlabor sources.”

    That’s not to imply that the wealthy are just living off passive income, or that they’re not working as hard as the everyday America. Business owners, in fact, often work longer hours than full-time employees.

    “When we think about small business owners, these are 24-7 people and they can be working harder than you or me,” said Roberton Williams of the Tax Policy Center. He said there is little correlation between the type of income people receive and their level of work.

    Indeed, economist Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley writes that since the 1970s, the rising incomes of the wealthy are due largely to a growth in their wages and salary income.

    “The evidence suggests that top income earners today are not ‘rentiers’ deriving their incomes from past wealth but rather the ‘working rich.”‘

    Of course, working might also mean “owning.”

    1. Wow. I’m struggling to believe someone actually used the term “rentier,” as if the concept has any sort of legitimacy then or now.

  20. If you can hear “Layla” without picturing bodies falling out of dumpsters, you haven’t watched Goodfellas enough.

    1. You should change your name to Archduke Alcholpotenthuasist.

      1. my favorite scene in Goodfellas is where Henry laughs at his in-laws for complaining about him being out all night.

        1. I worry about you sometimes Archduke, you may fold under questioning.

          1. you’re funny.

            1. Am I clown? Do I amuse you?

              1. There was Jimmy, Tommy and me, and there was Anthony Stabile, Anthony Carbone, and then there was Mo Black’s brother, Fat Andy, and his guy’s Frankie Nawa, Freddy No Nose, and then there? was Pete The Killer who was Sally Ball’s brother, then you had Nicky Eyes, then Mikey Franchise, and Jimmy Two Times who had that nickname because he said everything twice like,
                “Imma go get the paper, get the paper”

                1. It was like he had two families. The first time I was introduced to all of them at once, it was crazy. Paulie and his brothers had lots of sons and nephews. And almost all of them were named Peter or Paul. It was unbelievable. There must have been two dozen Peters and Pauls at the wedding. Plus, they were all married to girls named Marie. And they named all their daughters Marie. By the time I finished meeting everybody, I thought I was drunk.

          2. now get your shinebox.

            1. Never bust a serious guy’s balls.

    2. I’ve only seen it once, is that bad?

      1. yes.

        1. Reminds me of the Boogie Nights opening shot. Not sure if steady cam but a long take with no cuts going into a night club.

  21. Siskel and Ebert: Armageddon

    1. I know Epi bait when I see it, but you’re out of luck, he’s too busy pimping his mom to see it.

  22. So how come no one brings up Dan White when they bash DiFi?

  23. Unintended consequences? Nearly one-half billion dollars of local “investment” at risk with no bullet train on the way.

    Darn: http://ocpoliticsblog.com/bull…..ajor-blow/

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