Amtrak

Amtrak Is a Tax-Sucking Behemoth That Deserves to Die: Jim Epstein in The Daily Beast

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I have a new story up at The Daily Beast on Amtrak and it's alleged resurgence. Here's how it opens:

"We'll take you across the mighty Mississippi through eight states—past wheat fields and ranches, missions and pueblos, mountains and deserts," reads the promotional copy for Amtrak's Southwest Chief, a sleeper train that weaves 2,256 miles from Los Angeles to Chicago along portions of the old Sante Fe trail. "You'll see spectacular landscapes and pristine vistas not visible from interstate highways." While gazing out at scenery worthy of the best John Ford flicks, riders can chow down on offerings from Amtrak's full-service kitchen, such as the angus steak burger for $9.75, a $16 Vegetarian Gemelli Pasta, or the wild caught Mahi-Mahi for $23.25.

|||Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty

This "journey of elevations," as Amtrak describes it, may be a bliss-out for passengers, but should taxpayers be forced to underwrite the ride? In 2011, the Southwest Chief ran a $66.5 million deficit, meaning the federal government had to kick in $185 for every passenger on board. And to keep the Southwest Chief running, Amtrak is now seeking additional state aid of $120 million over the next decade.

As any popcorn-stand profiteer posing as a movie house operator can attest, captive eaters create golden opportunities to supersize profits. But on the Southwest Chief—and Amtrak trains in general—food and beverages are a financial drain. Last week, the inspector general revealed at a congressional hearing that Amtrak lost $609 million on its meal services over the past six years, citing all kinds of eye-popping details about giveaways to staff, spoiled food, and service workers earning about four times the standard industry wage. Defenders of Amtrak argue that the report was just a headline-grabbing jab that distracts from the larger story of the organization's resurgence.

Read the whole thing.

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  1. Amtrak: A union hiring hall on wheels!

  2. Amtrak lost $609 million on its meal services over the past six years, citing all kinds of eye-popping details about giveaways to staff, spoiled food, and service workers earning about four times the standard industry wage.

    Thank God I’m not 5 years old anymore and no longer have a deep fascination with all things involving trains.

    1. Some people get stuck at the mental age of five, and maintain a lifelong fascination with trains, insisting that they must continue at all costs. The affliction is known as “Joe Biden’s Disease”.

      -jcr

    2. My son has the train bug, but I take him to the Fullerton Transit Center so we can watch the BNSF trains that are actually profitable.

      1. If he’s like me then in a few years he’ll develop a strong interest in astronomy and astrobiology.

        1. When Serious says “astrobiology”, this is what he means. The astronomy just makes him a dork.

          1. I actually did not see my first episode of Star Trek until I was 17. I was flipping through the channels at 1am and one of the local channels was showing that OK Corral episode.

            1. “Spectre of the Gun”. Good stuff.

              How the fuck did you not see original series Star Trek for that long? It’s one of the most syndicated shows in the world. I used to watch it every day after coming back from our lake club. My dad would have it on while he made dinner.

        2. He’s getting really into geology. I’m trying to get him to an active volcano for a day next month, but it is looking too expensive. With the flights, hotel, and rental car, it’s going to be like $800, so I might have to pass…

          1. Just go to Pompeii. It’s completely awesome, and it’s an excuse to go to Italy. There’s a restaurant in a town at the base of the volcano–I can’t remember the name–but the food is great.

            1. When I go to Italy, it’s going to be for an entire summer, and I’ll try to do the whole Mediterranean. Probably not until the kids are older though… Last time I was there was for the olympics in ’92, stayed in an apartment with a balcony overlooking the topless beach. Rough life.

              1. Good plan. Do Barcelona, Rome, Naples (it’s near Pompeii), Venice, Nice, Monaco, and then Rome again. Because Rome is amazing. I wonder if you can still just walk into the Colosseum like when I was there. Or wander across the Circus Maximus or the Palatine.

                1. I was also thinking Corsica, Sardinia, Greece/Santorini, and the Balearics.

                  I wish I had done this stuff when I was younger. There’s never enough time.

                  1. I second Barcelona and the Balearics, but don’t miss Florence and the museum of the history of science they have there.

                2. That’s one of the funny things about the Circus Maximus..You could just sort of mill about.

                  When I lived in Avezzano, which is about an hour from there, me and my brother would walk to the ruins of an old Roman (and I think, before that, either Aequian or Marsican) town called Alba Fucens. No one would bother us and we’d just basically run around. They started closing it off by the time I left.

          2. What volcano would that be? Mount Shasta is dormant but it’s supposedly a ticking time bomb due for an eruption in the future.

            1. You could probably get two people to Hawaii from LAX for $800 – that’s probably it.

            2. Kilauea. I’m going to Maui for 10 days next month, and my 5 year old and I are going to stay a day longer than my wife and baby so we can do some sort of adventure.

              Kilauea isn’t erupting right now, though. After 20 something years of continuous eruption, it stopped last month. That could mean something cool is about to happen like a fissure eruption, but probably not.

    3. You know who else likes to act like a 5 year old and have deep fascination with trains?

      Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory, of course.

  3. AAaaaand the fact that this same article is still being written every single year shows just how much progress we’re making.

    1. This train route used to be known at the Santa Fe Super Chief, and elegant transcontinental route, for decades before everything became Amtrak. When I was an 8-year-old in the summer of 1969 my family made the one and only major family vacation trip we ever had — three weeks in California. We took the Super Chief home from LA to Chicago, and it was quite memorable.

      Dad wanted us to have the opportunity to have a train trip like that, because he believed it would be going away soon and we’d never have another chance. In retrospect, although the route remains in some fashion, he was correct.

  4. Let me try this one again:

    “(RNS) Nonbelievers are challenging the Internal Revenue Service’s special exemptions for religious organizations in a federal court in Kentucky, saying churches and other religious groups should have the same financial rules as other nonprofit groups….

    “The case centers around who must file IRS Form 990, an annual reporting statement that provides information on a group’s mission, programs and finances.”

    The plaintiffs say would-be donors are deterred from giving certain amounts of money because they don’t want their names on the 990s. The remedy the plaintiffs seek, of course, is to make churches file 990s as well – so *all* donors will be equally inconvenienced!

    “The suit also alleges that, because religious organizations do not file Form 990, there is little proof that the organizations’ activities benefit the public and should therefore be tax-exempt. It holds that such “subsidization of religious entities” costs taxpayers $71 billion per year.””

    http://www.religionnews.com/20…..-finances/

    1. How about if we just get rid of the whole non-profit category all together. Why should some peoples agenda get non-profit status. Someone gives money to orphans and its non-profit, I give money a dollar at time to girls down at the strip club and I can’t deduct it under supporting the arts.

      Get rid of the non-profit status and instead just lower everyone’s tax rate.

      1. You just gave me an idea. “Non-profit” businesses can pay wages, so how about a non-profit strip club?

        -jcr

        1. Let’s get started on a grant proposal. This’ll be a subsidized non-profit strip club.

          1. The right grant writer could get money for this. “Exploring the the erotic themes in modern dance from an environmentally-conscious, LGBTXZY-friendly, living wage-paying viewpoint…”

      2. Like so many things, this is simultaneously the simplest, fairest, most logical, and most impossible solution.

      3. What? The “putting herself through school” fund isn’t non-profit?

      4. If you believe for an instant that getting rid of any tax exempt category would result in the government lowering tax rates, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

        No new taxes. No end to any exemptions. Money granted to the State disappears; don’t give it any.

  5. OT:

    A major U.S. power company has pleaded guilty to killing eagles and other birds at two Wyoming wind farms and agreed to pay $1 million as part of the first enforcement of environmental laws protecting birds against wind energy facilities.

    http://seattletimes.com/html/n…..eaths.html

    1. I should hold a protest march where we carry “Save the Birds” placards and chant,

      “Wind Power Blows! It makes us puke!
      Let’s have safe power made from nukes!”

      1. And the name of the company was named “Duke” so you can work that in there too.

    2. $1 million for killing a few birds? That seems fair.

      1. So the guy admits killing a spotted owl ’cause he was hungry, and the judge sentences him, but leans over and whispers ‘what did it taste like?’
        The guy says; ‘Well, pretty much like bald eagle’.

  6. I don’t know where you live, but some people have to depend on the trains to travel, will you deny them that right? Some people are infirmed or handicapped and can’t drive and planes are pathetic for them. Some people are scared to fly. Many people don’t have cars, esp. in big cities. Are you that callous? There are some services the gov’t should provide and this is from a very conservative Constitutionalist.

    1. Running passenger trains at a loss is in the constitution, he’s right. It’s right by backing up mortgages.

    2. You should change your handle to Silly ol’ Retard, it would suit you better. Silly ol’ Moron would work too.

    3. Why can’t these services be provided by a private company? Or let me ask you this, why can’t Amtrak be profitable?

      1. Shy. He’ll shuffle to his sleeper car after he finishes his subsidy burger, and then tell everyone about how great the views were and more people should travel by rail and you really haven’t seen the country until you take a train.

        1. That’s not just any subsidy burger, it’s an Angus steak subsidy burger you philistine.

          1. That’s certified angus to you.

            1. You can thank your government inspectors for that, too!

            2. Does “certified Angus” mean it is approved by AC/DC?

      2. Why can’t Amtrak be profitable?

        One reason is that the government mandates that Amtrak provides service on various unprofitable long distance routes which are much better served by planes. The main reason is that Amtrak is so poorly managed that total revenue covers only 85% of operational costs. Government owned railroads in various other countries are profitable at the operational level, and only need subsidies for major investments.

        1. And it doesn’t help that their bartenders make like 80K a year.

    4. Did you ever see that movie Stand By Me. Those kids went to see a body. The body of a kid WHO WAS KILLED BY A TRAIN. Don’t you care about the children? Are you that callous?

    5. Silly ol’ Bear|11.23.13 @ 1:39PM|#
      “I don’t know where you live, but some people have to depend on the trains to travel, will you deny them that right?”

      I certainly will, since there is no “right” to ride a train on my dime.
      Move.

    6. I’ll respond to this as if it is a serious comment, though I can’t tell if it is sarcasm.

      but some people have to depend on the trains to travel

      That’s fine. Let them pay for it.

      will you deny them that right?

      There is no right to train service for anyone to deny.

      Some people are infirmed or handicapped and can’t drive and planes are pathetic for them. Some people are scared to fly. Many people don’t have cars, esp. in big cities.

      They can use buses or rental cars. I’m not sure what would make a plane “pathetic” for some one, but if they are afraid or unwilling to fly then they should probably find a field that doesn’t require them to travel cross-country that often. People can choose not to own cars, but they have no right to demand that we subsidize their decision. And probably most importantly, no one is suggesting that we should force trains out of existence. Just let them pay for themselves.

      There are some services the gov’t should provide and this is from a very conservative Constitutionalist.

      Please point out which part of the Constitution authorizes the federal government to subsidize train travel (or any travel, other than post roads).

      1. “I’m not sure what would make a plane “pathetic” for some one, but if they are afraid or unwilling to fly then they should probably find a field that doesn’t require them to travel cross-country that often.”

        Maybe he’s looking out for “People of Size”

        1. “Maybe he’s looking out for “People of Size””
          Uh, careful there! I believe the proper term is “vertically challenged”

          1. I think Gin is referring to the horizontally challenged.

            1. Horizontally otherwise-abled, you fatshaming shitlord. DRINK BLEACH.

        2. Simple solution: they can walk to their destination. They will lose weight, get healthier, reduce their carbon footprint, save money, AND fit into a seat on the one-way return flight.

          1. John will be heartbroken.

    7. Oh, and:
      “There are some services the gov’t should provide and this is from a very conservative Constitutionalist.”
      I’d venture to guess this is from a not very accomplished liar.

      1. “I’d venture to guess this is from a not very accomplished liar.”

        So, an entry level minimum wage troll, then?
        I guess Tony and PB are on their union mandated vacations.

      2. If he’d come back and played, I’d think he might be the most effective troll we’ve seen in a long time. A one-post hit and run doesn’t really qualify, in my book, though.

        1. I’ve seen this handle before. It doesn’t post much, but it has posted before. I can’t remember if it exposed itself as a retard previously, though. Probably. They all want cake, after all.

        2. “A one-post hit and run doesn’t really qualify, in my book, though.”
          Hey, it is hit ‘n run.

    8. There are some services the gov’t should provide and this is from a very conservative Constitutionalist.

      There are some services the government should provide and it doesn’t include bankrupt train lines.

      Maybe if the government wasn’t taking money from those poor people in the form of sales taxes to buoy up unprofitable trains, those poor people would have more money and might be able to find another way to get to work.

      Some people are infirmed or handicapped and can’t drive and planes are pathetic for them. Some people are scared to fly.

      Yes, let’s spend billions of dollars on failing train lines so that the unbelievably small groups of people that you’re talking about don’t have to take the bus.

      You do realize buses exist, correct? And that they’re run by private companies and actually run profitably, unlike the train lines? Because it seems to me that your entire ludicrous argument falls apart when you consider that bus lines exist.

      Honestly, where do these people come from? This entire argument is ludicrously stupid because buses already do everything this guy claims we need trains for.

    9. “. . . will you deny them that right?”

      Hmm, it seems *your* benevolent government has decided that we don’t actually have the right to travel on any *specific* mode of transportation.

      Since these people can fly, drive, bike, or even walk then removing *one* specific transport method is not an infringement on their ‘rights’.

      Kinda sucks but remember – you wanted a government strong enough to take care of you and now it is. Unfortunately its also now strong enough to constrain you, for your own good of course.

  7. Mentioned this before. A couple of weeks ago a friend took AmTrak for a short trip.

    It was perfectly on time, no problems.

    On a bus.

    1. Was it supposed to be on a train, or are they providing bus service too?

      1. I’m not 100% sure, but I think that for a lot of their connections they just put people on busses. Also not 100% sure of they have a private company run the bus or not. It dropped off right at the train station.

    2. We got into NOLA early after leaving 4 hours late because someone had jumped in front of a connecting train.

      I’m not surprised that their food cars are shittily run, but we had dinner in the dining car and the food was good, but not for the price point. They should be making a profit just based on charging as a captive audience and for the romanticism of dinner in a train.

  8. The bus drove on the railroad tracks like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day?

  9. OT:
    “Why wasn’t HealthCare.gov up and running smoothly November 1? Partly because the Administration didn’t anticipate that almost every Republican governor would refuse to set up a state exchange, thereby loading even more responsibility on an already over-worked and underfunded Department of Health and Human Services.”

    Yep, those darn rethuglican left running the administration program TO THE ADMINISTRATION! Can you imagine the gall!
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..26249.html

    1. This is what Obama told everyone to write in that transparent secret meeting.

      1. You’d have thought he or his minions would have come up with something better than ‘those rotten people left me to clean up my own mess!’
        Sorta sounds like Mommy came in and told Obo to clean his room.

        1. Young Barack is far to intelligent to be bothered with cleaning his own room. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do.

    2. So the administration failed to work into its calculus the fact that most conservative governors would refuse to back a plan pushed through by their political rivals with no support from their Republican representatives in Congress, and this is supposed to showcase the administration’s competence in the face of predictable opting-out.

      1. Dweebston,
        I believe you’ve described Reich’s argument pretty clearly.
        And AFAICT, he thinks that’s complimentary to Obo and a real take-down of those rotten rethugs!
        As pm mentions, this might have been one of the trial balloons of those chummy chats, but I don’t think this one is going to get any salutes.

        1. But it doesn’t really matter, does it? The problems with the exchanges are much more broad and much more penetrating than the volume of applicants or the option (built into the feckin’ act!) to hand the looming debacle over to the feds. Let the shills contrive bandaids for the smallest of the ACA’s manifold issues, they’ll be buried in the suck that’s swiftly developing.

          1. So the Chron’s edi-cartoon this morning has a patient (“O’care”)in a hospital bed. The donkey dressed in scrubs (looking remarkably like Obo with those ears) is saying ‘It’s just a cough’, while the elephant, also in scrubs, is saying ‘Unplug him!’.
            But WIH is someone with a cough doing taking up a hospital bed?

            1. And how would unplugging someone with a cough kill them?

            2. There is a letter-to-the-editor today in the Contra Costa Times — another San Francisco-area newspaper. It says “I’m certain the Obamacare websites will be fixed very soon unless Republicans get in the way.”

              1. So it’s contagious?

    3. How does this explain the failures of the Oregon exchange?

      1. Booosh!
        C’mon, get with the program!

    4. Isn’t this sort of admitting that the federal government wasn’t ready to run healthcare at a national level. “It would have worked out if all the states helped out instead of the burdening the federal government!” Even though the states give them money to build websites and things.

      Gosh, how do the feds run the departments of education?

    5. This argument has already been demolished. We now know the federal site was 30-40% unfinished at launch, and couldn’t handle more than 500 simultaneous users. It would have failed regardless of what the states did.

      But it is amusing to see Obama defenders arguing for subsidiarity.

  10. Caught an article on Amtrak the other day suggesting they were using Enron-style accounting practices to cover up some of their losses, too.

    1. They hired Krugman?

  11. OT: Manhattan Residents face a tall problem

    People in Midtown Manhattan are upset about some new construction. What has these Manhattanites so worried? Skyscrapers. No really. Because they cast shadows. And that might make parts of Central Park shady, and cool. Did I mention this was in MANHATTAN?

    Here’s your money quote: “Is light and air a public resource?” she asks. “Or is it a resource to be used by one single developer?”

    Insert your favorite Mr. Burns joke here.

    1. Since the dawn of time, man has yearned to destroy the sun. I will do the next best thing: block it out!

    2. None of these people live in tall buildings, obviously.

    3. “And I say the taxes are too high!”

      Back when Burns was running for mayor

  12. Really?

    Littleton Green Community School
    South Staffordshire

    Wednesday 20th November 2013

    Dear Parent/Carer,

    As part of the National Religious Education Curriculum together with the multicultural community in which we live, it is a statutory requirement for Primary School aged children to experience and learn about different cultures.

    The workshop is at Staffordshire University and will give your child the opportunity to explore other religions. Children will be looking at religious artefacts, similar to those that would be on display in a museum. They will not be partaking in any religious practices.

    Refusal to allow your child to attend this trip will result in a Racial Discrimination note being attached to your child’s education record, which will remain on this file throughout their school career.

    As such, our expectations are that all children in years 4 to 6 attend school on Wednesday 27th November to take part in this trip.

    All absences on this day will be investigated for their credibility and will only be sanctioned with a GP sick note.

    If you would like to discuss this further please contact our R.E Coordinator, Mrs Edmonds.

    Yours Sincerely
    Mrs. [?] Small
    Head Teacher

    (emphasis mine)

    1. Well, it is Brit. We kicked their sorry asses out of here for a reason.

    2. So is this part of the UK’s increasing social tolerance?

      1. Of course – tolerance of everything except intolerance. They won’t tolerate any of that.

  13. That Mexican drug cartel? You actually did build that!

    I know that’s harsh. I’m not actually saying that ordinary Americans’ desire to get high is the fundamental problem behind the nihilistic cycle of Mexico’s drug wars, only that this is one of those situations where there’s more than enough blame to go around. America’s demented drug policy and its voracious appetite for drugs have fueled the violence, as has the unresolved social and political crisis in Mexico, a nation corrupted and distorted from top to bottom by drug money. One could argue that the real villain is neither Mexican nor American, but a global free-trade ideology that pretends to be neutral and apolitical. Schwarz’s film is about how the drug trade and the drug war have transformed Mexican culture on both sides of the border, but what we see in that Culiac?n graveyard is that the values of the drug war, and indeed the values of organized crime more generally, are just the values of capitalism pushed to a grotesque extreme.
    […]
    What if America had not succumbed to the anti-drug hysteria of the Reagan years, and had pursued a drug policy that was sane and rational rather than contradictory and self-destructive?

    Even when they vaguely support the right idea, progs go off the rails with the hatred of capitalism and Reagan.

    1. Merely brushing up against the reasonable possibility that prohibition perverts incentives while failing to effect any change isn’t progressive; progressivism means driving at the party line no matter how contorted or backward the result.

      Which is pathetic, since curtailing drug policies in the U.S. would help the intransigent poor more than anything except perhaps reforming welfarism, and drug policy has a better chance of seeing substantial changes than welfare–mainly because these same progressives stand behind the latter. But reform that doesn’t further the progressive cause isn’t reform worth considering, whatever benefits it might have for the victims of the original policy. Pathetic, cretinous hypocrisy.

    2. the values of the drug war, and indeed the values of organized crime more generally, are just the values of capitalism pushed to a grotesque extreme.

      I am shocked to see such idiocy in the pages of Salon.

    3. What if America had not succumbed to the anti-drug hysteria of the Reagan years, and had pursued a drug policy that was sane and rational rather than contradictory and self-destructive?

      Article written in 30 years:

      How American Gun Prohibition is Killing Mexicans.

      What if America had not succumbed to the anti-gun hysteria of the Obama years, and had pursued a gun policy that was sane and rational rather than contradictory and self-destructive?

      How do these morons not see that their preferred gun policy is identical to the policies that have destroyed northern Mexico? They’re basically just trying to force Drug War policies onto guns and have somehow deluded themselves into thinking it will have a different results.

      1. They’re basically just trying to force Drug War policies onto guns and have somehow deluded themselves into thinking it will have a different results.

        You are talking about people who want pot legalized yet want smoking and fatty foods banned.

    4. So if drugs were legal AND America’s appetite for drugs went down, people would stop dying in Mexico.

      I heard the cartel is making more money on human trafficking and other criminal activities. Pot is old news.

      1. no they make more on coke and heroin now because of more lax pot laws…legalize it all and the black market ends, and so does the street justice (violence)

    5. Thankfully his Nestle Quickness stopped the war on drugs. And we all know that a key principle of capitalism is the prohibition of sales. Then again democracy is just the values of a lynch mob pushed to a grotesque extreme.

  14. Like on the Wild Wild West we should all just live on trains, that would take care of all of our commuting problems.

    Also the trains should be Zeppelins.

  15. Reich: Obamacare is a moral imperative

    Even a clunky compromise like the ACA between a national system of health insurance and a for-profit insurance market depends, fundamentally, on a social compact in which those who are healthier and richer are willing to help those who are sicker and poorer. Such a social compact defines a society

    The other day I heard a young man say he’d rather pay a penalty than buy health insurance under the Act because, in his words, “why should I pay for the sick and the old?” The answer is he has a responsibility to do so, as a member the same society they inhabit
    […]
    This is a profoundly moral argument about who we are and what we owe each other as Americans. But Democrats have failed to make it, perhaps because they’re reluctant to admit that the Act involves any redistribution at all

    Redistribution has become so unfashionable it’s easier to say everyone comes out ahead. And everyone does come out ahead in the long term: Even the best-off will gain from a healthier and more productive workforce, and will save money from preventive care that reduces the number of destitute people using emergency rooms when they become seriously ill

    But there would be no reason to reform and extend health insurance to begin with if we did not have moral obligations to one another as members of the same society

    Thin air in the ivory tower.

    1. The Turd Reich will consign everyone to misery.

    2. This is a profoundly moral argument about who we are and what we owe each other as Americans. But Democrats have failed to make it, perhaps because they’re reluctant to admit that the Act involves any redistribution at all

      You want to know what I think is a moral imperative? Telling the truth in your biography and not making up lies about things that never happened. Also, arguing in good faith and not calling everyone who disagrees with you a terrorist or an anarchist.

      Since Reich has failed impressively at both of those moral imperatives, I don’t think this nitwit should be allowed to lecture me on morality.

    3. Reich is a fucking fascist. Hey Napoleon*, fuck you. A few of us are going to come over your house and “redistribute” all your shit, since you “have a responsibility to do so”. You’re not going to complain, are you? Are those crickets I hear? Holy fuck I hate hypocritical collectivist scum like Reich. He is an abjectly vile creature, and I’d laugh out loud if he got hit by a water buffalo.

      “Can I borrow your towel for a sec? My car just hit a water buffalo.”

      * Yes I know Napoleon was actually of average height for the time, but legends are legends.

    4. My moral system includes a responsibility to help people, too. What makes his moral system different than mine isn’t compassion. It’s that his morality leaves no room for anyone else’s.

    5. “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean ? neither more nor less.”

      Compact: There are at least two parties to an agreement; we have different words for arrangements arrived at unilaterally. Ditto for responsibility and obligation. He is saying one thing here, while meaning another.

      Moral: does there exist any word with a more subjective definition? Its use in argumentation should be taken as a prime telltale sign of a lazy mental process. I wonder if he considers the company he keeps by arguing on such a basis.

      Redistribution: the meaning is clear enough on the surface, but what lies beneath — what are its eventualities? Does one go past intellectual contemplation, to consider and support its indirect, and direct implementation? We are to understand it is undertaken on a moral basis, but it would be a curious principle, which was only to exist in the realm of thoughts and words, but not that of deeds — deeds for which I doubt he would have the stomach, push come to shove.

      I have said it before: I would be willing to strike a deal with such people, on one condition: that it came with two weeks compulsory community service per year, for every citizen — and not just any service, but that of a particular kind: the direct enforcement, as an official agent of the state, of tax law, against one’s own neighbors.

      1. “and not just any service,”
        And not just any time; the time is selected randomly, and no, you do NOT have any say in the matter.

        1. Also, the official uniform is to be a hot-pink wrestling singlet.

    6. How about taking money from the healthy and poor and giving it to the relatively rich and unhealthy as is what happens when you force younger, less wealthy members of society subsidize the old?

  16. Watching the Conan the Barbarian movie.

    Good violence and nice titties so far. Sure they spent too much money making it but damn if they’re not leaving it all up on the screen.

    One thing though, why this guy as Conan? Was there no one else?

    1. Are you talking about the canonical Arnold Schwarzenegger version or that fake-ass Conan with some other actor?

      1. And what’s with the three rs in your name? Arrr you a pirrrate?

        1. Someone else has the two r version.

      2. The 2011 version. Of course it didn’t have to be a Conan movie at all. Just change some names around and it’s a basic swords and sandals + sorcery movie.

        It looks good and is over-acted and has plenty of blood n’ tits so I wouldn’t call it fake-ass.

        1. I saw the non-Arnold version and it had its good points.

          But as Conan himself said – what is best in life? To comment on Internet blogs, to pick fights with other people, and to incite unnecessary arguments.

    2. Jason Momoa played a barbarian in ‘Game of Thrones’ as Khal Drogo, so I guess they wanted to capitalize on his popularity.

  17. Me government. Me smash things.

    http://www.foxnews.mobi/quickP….._pageNum_1

    1. He’d have made his point better if he had just returned the carts to the stores they were stolen from.

      1. Hey fuck the people who actually own the property. Can’t let that get in the way of making someones situation worse.

        Honestly he’s lucky someone didn’t shank his ass. When you’re homeless you have nothing left to lose and a prison cell often looks like a better option.

    2. There’s more of that Care and Compassion the Democrats are always yammering about.

    3. Fether should be arrested – the carts may be stolen but they still belong to the store, how is what he’s doing any different than smashing them up in the store parking lot?

    4. But I thought Hawaii was an worker’s paradise; what’s with the 17,000 homeless schmucks?

  18. I use the train a lot. But the train suffers from strangulation from unions and a lack of the benefits of private enterprise and competition. It’s sad because the train has HUGE potential that is being squandered, and I’m not an environmentalist trying to save the world from the evils of cars either.

    1. Food on Amtrak is usually good, coffee is excellent, prices are high.
    2. Amtrak makes it difficult to take a bike on board, often due to union baggage handling rules or a lack of sensitivity to customer service/needs.
    3. Train is frequently late.
    4. Train only recently added wifi service in the last year or two…hello, keep up.

    1. Except for a small handful of lines, *all* other passenger rail (and the vast majority of Amtrak) run at a huge loss – the unions and regulation are only a small part of it, most is because air is simply more efficient for long range travel and cars for short.

      There’s a sweet spot for rail in there somewhere (and those are the lines making money) but its an obsolete tech for most of this country.

      Amtrak offers cross-country service and I was going to take a train from CT to CA once (when I was living up there) but looking into the *price* – no-way. Its comparable in price to an airline ticket – if you don’t mind spending three days in a chair. Want a bed to sleep in and it gets in the multi-thousand dollar range. Couple that with changing trains at one in the morning and I figured I could better spend those extra couple of days at my destination.

  19. Every Dr. Who opening sequence from 1963 to 2013 –

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ1kRxgKft4

    1. The newest one (at least on today’s special) is so lame – specifically, the music. It’s more “bombast” than “eerie”.

    2. I’ve seen three episodes of that show. An older one with a scarf guy and two newer ones one with a stretched out chick in a frame. Th other was in 1800s London but I don’t remember much of it.

      I tried to get into them but just found them lacking.

  20. “The Communications Workers of America, which includes a prominent journalism union, is taking credit for Sen. Harry Reid’s use of the nuclear option….

    “CWA is an omnibus group made up of several smaller unions including The Newspaper Guild, which “merged with CWA in 1997, as did the Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees.” They joined the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, also part of CWA. CWA, in turn, is also affiliated with the AFL-CIO and the International Federation of Journalists. Look for the union label and you find it on a card in the wallet of many journalists….

    “The Newspaper Guild and CWA represent more than 700,000 people, including nearly 900 from The Washington Post, according to their own records.”

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/m…..z2lOW6Z8b3

    1. Well, at least we know who’s going up against the wall right after the pols once the revolution comes.

      1. Something tells me that if the revolution ever comes, unions will be among the vanguard elite. They’ve the numbers, the coordination, the perverse sense of entitlement, and the basically criminal nature to jockey for position if the public sector power structure ever comes apart. No revolution is ever the upswelling of popular sentiment but rather a political struggle between predominating influences, and even given their waning numbers, unions punch far above the libertarian weight class.

        1. Depends which way the military jumps.

  21. OK wow that makes a whole crap load of sense dude.

    http://www.VPN-Anon.tk

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