Derailing Progress in the US

 Over in China

Hear that loud WHOOSH? That’s the sound of China whizzing past the United States in its development of a high-speed rail technology. China has the world’s longest high-speed rail network. The country’s not satisfied to rest on its laurels though. It has plans to have 8,125 miles of the network in operation by 2012—and 10,000 miles by 2020.

 In late October, China inaugurated the world’s fastest train. “The China-made CRH380 train has been clocked at almost 420 kilometres per hour (kph) (262 miles per hour (mph), a world speed record, though it will usually operate at a maximum speed of 350 kph (220 mph).”

According to an article in The Mainichi Daily News, the United States leads the world in freight railroad technology but has little high-speed rail expertise.  The United States will most likely “have to import the technology for the 13 regional projects that have won $8.5 billion in initial federal funding, with $2.5 billion more to come this year and hundreds of billions needed before lines are up and running.”

 Back Here in the United States

Two newly elected GOP governors have pledged to kill $1.2 billion in funding for high-speed rail in their states—John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin. According to Think Progress, “Walker warned he would fight President Obama to keep the Milwaukee-Madison link killed ‘if he tries to force this down the throats of the taxpayers.’” Kasich has called the high-speed rail project that would link Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati “one of the dumbest ideas that he’s ever heard. He even used his victory speech to announce, “that train is dead.”

Kasich and Walker and politicians like them are definitely not progressive thinkers. I guess they prefer the status quo. Is this what conservatism is all about? Is our country on a high-speed train to becoming the United States of Luddites??? 

I wonder why Huey Lewis’s song Back in Time came to mind when I was writing this post???

Picture Credit: 颐园新居

Sources:

The Mainichi Daily News

NDTV

 Think Progress

 -Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

66 thoughts on “Derailing Progress in the US”

  1. ekeyra,

    “What does voting have to do with anything that were discussing?”

    I can’t vote against owners/CEO’s of private companies. I CAN vote against/work to replace politicians with whom I’m unhappy.

    It might be difficult not to patronize a company that owns and maintains roads, highways, and bridges that one needs to use for transportation. Enron caused major problems before it went out of existence. In addition, many of the company’s employees lost their retirement accounts. It’s not so easy getting the horses back in the barn after someone’s left the barn door open and the horses have escaped.

    *****

    “George bush launches illegal wars, introduces vast new domestic surveillance powers, says torture is constitutional and that monkey is on tv shows talking about how he’d do it all over again. Not only that but his replacement, barry o finds it perfectly exceptable to continue these atrocious policies and expand them.”

    You won’t get any argument from me on these points.

    “exceptable”: I assumed you meant to write acceptable.

  2. What does voting have to do with anything that were discussing?
    if you dont like a company then dont patronize its services or purchase its products. It really is that simple. If a company is corrupt, or mistreats its customers, or simply mismanages its resources it ceases to exist. No voting required, those are the laws of economics. On the other hand if a government engages in fraud or theft or even masss murder, there is rarely any consequences for those responsible. See: george w bush. Yes enron ripped off its employees, but at least some of those responsible went to jail and the company is certainly not in existence anymore. George bush launches illegal wars, introduces vast new domestic surveillance powers, says torture is constitutional and that monkey is on tv shows talking about how he’d do it all over again. Not only that but his replacement, barry o finds it perfectly exceptable to continue these atrocious policies and expand them. Your faith is misplaced to say the least.

  3. ekeyra,

    “Finally i would like to point out that framing my dislike of the government subsidizing high-speed rail in the context of burning galileo at the stake and claiming the sun revolves around the earth is just preposterous on its face. also i am a he,if that helps any further replies have less awkward he/she moments.”

    That wasn’t what I was doing. I was attempting to show MLK that someone like Bastiat may have changed his mind/his position on certain things with new knowledge. I wasn’t trying to frame your dislike of high-speed rail in the context of “burning galileo at the stake.” I’m sorry if my response came across that way to you.

    BTW, I mentioned nothing about Galileo. Galileo was not burned at the stake. He was put under “house arrest.”

    ***

    Here’s what MLK wrote to me. I was responding to what he/she wrote.

    I had written the following: The main point of this thread is about technological progress and innovation. Let’s ask Bastiat what position he’d take on the subject of developing a high-speed rail system in the 21st century, shall we?. Oh, what’s that? He died a long, long time ago? Now we’ll never know. Such a pity.

    MLK responded: what does that have to do with anything? Is he right or wrong? If his writings are clear we can know what he thought. A good many people died a long time ago and we still pay attention to what they have to say through their written words.

    Most everything has happened before at some point in time, certain ideas are timeless and can help us figure out how we want to do things. To ignore the past is to reinvent the wheel every generation, there is no forward movement in that.

    A high speed train or a stage coach it doesn’t matter. If I understand correctly the little I read from ekeyra’s link, he would disagree with government subsidizing stage coach manufacturers and probably for the same reasons ekeyra disagrees with government funding of high speed rail.

    *****

    Today, people are often called names or labeled when other people dislike what they say–as were those who were once called heretics. I’ve been called a number of things by posters at the Turley blog when they’ve disagreed with me–including: stonehead, junky bitch; imbecilic moron; a Neo-Marxist; a Liberal Nazi. That’s all I can recall at the moment. Of course, I wouldn’t have to worry about being burned at the stake even if I were any of the things I’ve been called.

    **********

    “Who would pay for infrastructure? Whoever thought it was in there best interest to do so. Whether that is the actual owner who uses the road for his own purpose or a private company that allows use of its road for a fee is irrelevant to the question. So in short, yes privatize them, why not?”

    I don’t consider it irrelevant. I think privatizing the building, maintenace, and ownership of America’s roads, bridges, and other infrastructure could lead to chaos.

    **********

    “As for why i neglected to answer so directly your question, you made very clear your mistrust of private enterprise far outweighed your mistrust of government.”

    Private enterprises don’t work for me. I can’t vote them off the island if I’m unhappy with them.

  4. “If federal, state, and local governments don’t take care of our infrastructure–roads, highways, bridges–who do you propose should? Who will pay for building and maintenance of them? Do you propose they become toll roads and bridges owned by private entities?”

    Elaine, i thought my bastiat quote answered your questions pretty directly but ill put forth my own lesser attempt. Who would pay for infrastructure? Whoever thought it was in there best interest to do so. Whether that is the actual owner who uses the road for his own purpose or a private company that allows use of its road for a fee is irrelevant to the question. So in short, yes privatize them, why not?

    As for why i neglected to answer so directly your question, you made very clear your mistrust of private enterprise far outweighed your mistrust of government. Even though the entity you put your trust in has, in my opinion, proven itself unworthy of such trust time and time again. Yes private companies can be corrupt, but relative to the number of them in existence it is quite small. Compare that to every government in history anywhere in the world. EVERY government is corrupt, EVERY government lies to its peoples, EVERY government justifies its wars and plunder and destuction with a vague enemy just over the horizon, EVERY government impoverishes its people to keep the ruling class, whatever it may be comprised of, in the luxury to which it is accustomed. There are no exceptions.

    Finally i would like to point out that framing my dislike of the government subsidizing high-speed rail in the context of burning galileo at the stake and claiming the sun revolves around the earth is just preposterous on its face. also i am a he,if that helps any further replies have less awkward he/she moments.

  5. lottakatz & Blouise,

    Here’s a poem called a double dactyl that I wrote about Dick Cheney’s hunting incident some time ago. I used poetic license. I changed quail to grouse for rhyming purposes.

    Better Duck…It’s Dick: A Double Dactyl about Dick Cheney’s Hunting Prowess
    By Elain M.

    Eevilly weevily
    Richard (Dick) Cheney,
    Former Vice Prez
    And political louse,

    Took his pal Harry
    Out hunting for wildfowl,
    But shot at his good friend
    Instead of the grouse.

  6. Elaine,

    …. “Should we cling to all beliefs–even if they are proven to be wrong? We must know and understand history. That should not preclude us from taking into consideration new information and discoveries and then forming new beliefs as we learn things. Otherwise, we would never make progress. …”

    =============================================================

    Einstein said, ” …imagination is more important than knowledge” …

    And I say to you, “You go girl!” 🙂

  7. The “Nazi Tourette” sketch is classic, I too laugh at that one every time I see it. ****Time Passes****

    Well, I thought I’d go to YouTube and embed the LB clip on hunting/Cheney because I really like that one “They turned a petting zoo into Auschwitz”. Maybe I’d post the LB clip explaining religion because I like that one too and you probably do also if you’re a LB fan. LOL, I just got lost watching LB clips for about 35 minutes. He is a treasure. Thanks for the clip and the past 35 minutes of great comedy.

  8. MJK,

    Ekeyra began his/her conversation with me by saying that a high-speed rail system was “a complete waste of time.” He/she also quoted someone as saying it was a fairy tale. It don’t happen to think that working on development of high-speed trains in this country is a waste of time.

    To be sure, we shold still pay attention to the wise words written by great people of years past. We human beings have also learned much over the centuries about our solar system and the universe, about the spherical shape of our planet, about disinfecting to kill the germs that could not be seen before the invention of the microscope, about man’s ability to fly–which, at one time, was thought to be an impossibility. I could go on–but I think you get my point. If we open our minds to new discoveries…if we take in current information and learn from it, if we see someone attempt the impossible who eventually succeeds–we may change our minds/viewpoints on certain subjects. There were those, in times past, who refused to consider that the Earth was not the center of the solar system. Those who chose to believe the truth were called heretics. There are people today who insist the Earth is 6,000 years old–despite proof to the contrary.

    Should we cling to all beliefs–even if they are proven to be wrong? We must know and understand history. That should not preclude us from taking into consideration new information and discoveries and then forming new beliefs as we learn things. Otherwise, we would never make progress.

    I asked ekeyra the following question–to which I never received a reply. Maybe you’d like to respond to it:

    “If federal, state, and local governments don’t take care of our infrastructure–roads, highways, bridges–who do you propose should? Who will pay for building and maintenance of them? Do you propose they become toll roads and bridges owned by private entities?”

  9. @Elaine
    “The main point of this thread is about technological progress and innovation. Let’s ask Bastiat what position he’d take on the subject of developing a high-speed rail system in the 21st century, shall we?. Oh, what’s that? He died a long, long time ago? Now we’ll never know. Such a pity.”

    what does that have to do with anything? Is he right or wrong? If his writings are clear we can know what he thought. A good many people died a long time ago and we still pay attention to what they have to say through their written words.

    Most everything has happened before at some point in time, certain ideas are timeless and can help us figure out how we want to do things. To ignore the past is to reinvent the wheel every generation, there is no forward movement in that.

    A high speed train or a stage coach it doesn’t matter. If I understand correctly the little I read from ekeyra’s link, he would disagree with government subsidizing stage coach manufacturers and probably for the same reasons ekeyra disagrees with government funding of high speed rail.

  10. This is one of my favorite “Back in Black” segments from The Daily Show. In the segment, Black claims that Glenn Beck has Nazi Tourette Syndrome. I’ve seen the video several times. It cracks me up every time I watch it.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZ0mdxXw8Ac&fs=1&hl=en_US]

  11. Elaine, no I don’t remember that, thanks for refreshing my memory. If I had I might not have watched it either but I occasionally like a propaganda vid with my lunch or morning coffee because it gets me grinning. I like Lewis Black’s howling-type comedy a lot, more than Kinison. I also like LOLcats and other intentional humor but a bit-o-the-crazy can be amusing as nothing else is. 🙂

  12. lotta katz,

    Thanks. I noticed as I began watching the video that it was produced by Pajamas TV. That was enough for me. Do you remember when “Joe the Plumber” was hired as a “war correspont” for Pajamas Media and covered a story in Israel a couple of years ago?

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