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lokisnow

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  1. lokisnow

    US Politics: Make Thread Titles Great Again

    Irritable Bro-mary season
  2. Well yes and no to it doesn’t make any sense. There is no more air capacity between Los Angeles and San Diego. There is no more freeway capacity between Los Angeles and San Diego, both are maxed out, which is why it’s the ideal City pair for high speed rail (and shit just upgrading it to Acela standard (slow high speed) would cost less than a billion in infrastructure and cut the travel time to 90 minutes). and the same would be true of air capacity between the Bay Area and the LA area, except it’s spread out between three airports in the Bay Area and three in LA, and even then they are nearly maxed out as well. LA to the Bay is the most frequently traveled air route in the country and reducing any of the flight volume would be a massive boon to the climate. Additional freeway capacity would be a climate diasaster and also cost about ten billion, and it doesn’t get any one there faster. and in LA, simply hopping on a plane isn’t always so easy, where we live now, about thirty miles from LAX, because of traffic, we have to leave about four hours before a flight, an alternative would be much appreciated, and having to invest four hours to take an hour flight is a really strong deterrent to flying. So it’s not necessarily as simple as just hopping on a plane, there are a lot of logistical obstacles to flying in LA for regular residents, and if you’re, for example, living in Bakersfield, and want to fly somewhere and are not rich enough to afford the astromocal fares out of a regional airport, you have to leave six-seven hours before a flight in order to catch your LA departing flight to whatever destination, a train that got you to union station in 70 minutes where there’s a fly away bus direct to the airport in twenty five minutes is a huge improvement. The same would be true for people of Fresno, flying out of the Bay Area. there is a lot value capture to connecting the entire state to a frequent and fast rail service, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to not start with LA-SD. the ridership estimates figure that only about thirty percent of ridership will be SF to LA, most of the ridership comes from intermediate stops to either destination. And the conservative end of cumulative revenues collected over sixty years is about 165 billion, which is a less than five percent chance of it being that low, with a median expectations in the mid 200 billions in fare revenue collected. as for Tejon, these are nasty mountains containing the San Andreas fault, the pass acts as a catchment for bad weather in the wet (winter) season and the pass has the infamous interstate crossing known as the grapevine, they are very poorly suited to HSR even if it doesn’t look like it on a map. Now they’re no alps, and I’m sure there are more impressive mountain crossings around the world, but Southern California struggles with dealing with the existing infrastructure in the Tejon environment already, I seriously doubt they’d manage rail any better. To say the route is ideal because it is the most direct on a map ignores the actual conditions on the ground and of the ground itself.
  3. The trump administration transportation department may well be able to rescind 989 million in ongoing funding to the high speed rail project because of newsoms poorly worded state of the state speech (and because newsom taunted trump on twitter after his confusing speech and one can never beat trump at Twitter). Most of that funding is going to necessary bookend upgrades for cal train electrification and a beyond stupid and useless upgrade of Los Angeles union station to make them both ready for HSR, and the loss of the cal train electrification would be especially devastating. The only reason trump hasn’t canceled this money In 2017 and 2018 is because Utah’s senators intervened. But trump may not care what those senators think now that newsom is out actively provoking trump into escalations and aggressive behavior. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-high-speed-rail-20190219-story.html https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/02/17/caltrain-electrification-project-california-bay-area-salt-lake-city-utah-stadler/ the sad thing is that by posturing over the bullet train newsom is probably trying to burnish his image for his future presidential run, but he just stabbed the most important green infrastructure program in the country in the back and is actively making things worse with his juvenile behavior. i don’t even support this bullet train, I voted against it because it’s absurd to build the one section that is desperately needed (la to San Diego) last instead of first, but I can acknowledge the positives even while understanding all the negatives, but wow I’m amazed at how fast newsom is really achieving some low levels of leadership right away.
  4. I’d rather have one primary in March and one runoff in June and be done with the whole damn thing. Everybody vote the same day, fuck the staggering.
  5. Yglesias is an east coast writer and alon Levy is as well, like most of them they have been incredibly wrong in reporting on the high speed rail. Levy and the mentioned Clem tiller are crayonists (a self adopted term for rail enthusiasts that draw colorful fantasy rail routes on maps that look like “crayon” lines), and as crayonists they still cannot let go of online arguments they were part of twelve years ago about the routing of the high speed rail. to correct Yglesias’s most egregious error, the HSR was ALWAYS routed through the Central Valley, it was never once studied as a route following interstate 5, primarily because of the laws of physics: the curve radius of a 65mph interstate is much tighter than the curve radius of a 200mph HSR track, so literally every time that that the interstate had the slightest curve variance away from straight as an arrow the HSR track would have to perform that curve variance about 1.5 miles before the curve appears on the interstate and it would probably result in crisscrossing the freeway via expensive bridge work for fifty percent of the interstate curves. It’s actually an engineering nightmare to try to stay on the interstate corridor. So the route always was aligned to the rail corridors that went north south through the Central Valley, which generally were much straighter. But that hasn’t made the rail corridors easy as both BNSF and Union Pacific have been pretty actively hostile to sharing their federal rail easements for parallel HSR tracks. most of the 5 billion cost escalation for the Central Valley segments are comprised of acceding to the demands and changes required to get the cooperation of the railroads. and ygelsias is completely wrong in asserting that stimulus money forced the Central Valley route to be chosen, no federal money was involved in routing issues. And yes some of the accelerated spending patterns of the federal money was suboptimal but that’s because the federal money could not be awarded unless they were building a train capable of operating at its top speed, the only place to do that is in the Central Valley spine as various speed restrictions are in place for the major cities at either end of the project due to safety concerns and track curvature constraints of the built environment. So they weren’t eligible for initial federal funds. Yglesias is correct in that the project management of the mega project has been fairly inept, for instance, one bridge had to be torn down because the MSE stabilizing mesh was done first and then support piles were drilled through that mesh causing the entire abutment to fail. A total project management sequencing failure, But that’s one abutment (of two) of an overall twenty million bridge, hardly billions in overruns, but lots of little logistics timing issues that are not to that scale can add up enormously over the scope of years. What is one big cost overruns is that consultant companies (like consultant alon Levy who somehow always avoids mentioning that the biggest line item in rail costs overruns is always consultants like himself) are extracting massive amounts in rent (hundreds of millions per annum) from the project for work that should probably be done by salaried in house employees by the state or contractor. So levy can’t let go of his crayon drawing, but this route is a settled issue since 2007 and cannot be changed. The literal ballot measure language requires a stop in Palmdale and a stop in Gilroy which means the Tehachapi route instead of Tejon and the Pacheco route instead of Altamont. And in spite of out of touch east coast journalists and consultants stating otherwise Newsom is not reorienting the project around a route change nor is a route change legally possible without a new ballot measure, but people like levy and poorly informed journalists like yglesias continue to bang the drum of argument lines they were repeating twelve years ago, rather than grappling with the realities of what is currently both legal to build and is currently being built. And for all of newsoms fanfare he didn’t and isn’t changing anything he just stated what the current project is (a minimal operating segment in the Central Valley) and created six segments with separate goal structures, some administrative laundry in other words. But what got trumpeted around the world was his insanely bad phrasing that made everyone think he was canceling the project, he’s spent two weeks doing damage control trying to communicate that he’s not canceling it. and Newsom has committed to building out the 172 miles from Bakersfield to Merced, which there is enough money for. What poorly informed journalists have all missed and the Newsom administration isn’t enlightening them, is that the environmental review for the route into Merced is part of the Merced wye segment of the project, this will entail building 26 miles west parallel to the extremely straight SR152 as part of the construction package bid to get to Merced—since both parts of the wye west and north are combined in the environmental review they have to be built together, building them separately would trigger a new environmental review which would take an additional two years and would cause them to miss their federal deadline for environmental reviews and then California would be forced to return the federal money—so they will be building this 26 mile westward stub for about 198 miles of total HSR built with the initial 15 billion in funding for a per mile cost of about 76 million per mile, which considering American infrastructure costs is not that bad a per mile cost. and ultimately that will leave a fifty mile gap to be closed to reach Gilroy, and once they reach Gilroy they have HSR access to all of San Jose and San Francisco via blended service on the cal train tracks. All California will have to do to reach newsoms stated goal of valley to valley service is find enough money to close that gap, which should be doable within the state or with the help of the feds. if there’s a big headline to newsom bombshell it’s that Los Angeles is shit out of luck, there’s almost no way they’ll ever get enough money to build the mountain crossing required, not without the feds footing most of the cost.
  6. Either it was staged or whites have figured out a new fool proof way to muddy the waters: simply shout the victims of your terrorism staged it and you are just an employee. Whether or not it is ever trues is immaterial to its success as a astrategy.
  7. So there is no trend, or if anything the trend is ups and downs, which means there is no extrapolation to be had; we might just as well be due for a swing to a ton of split state delegations. but even that is hard to see happening because, 18 all republican states have an election in 2018. if democrats flipped five of them, that would switch us from 14 split state delegations to 15 split state delegations (assuming we lose Alabama but gain Maine, Arizona and Colorado). To really change that split state number, democrats need to flip more than 5 of those 18 all republicans states, and that's going to be a tall order. so it's not really a decaying orbit, not yet at least. there doesn't seem to be a strong reversion to single party rule. But if democrats flip Maine, Arizona Colorado, lose Alabama, and flip no republican seats, it is 10 split state delegations and we're in a decaying orbit and are totally and completely fucked in the long term. Note, there are only 19 all republican states, the 18 seats in the 19 all republican states up for election in 2020 is 94% of their all republican states, that's got to be unusual! And if anything, parties are most vulnerable to losses when they're in the range of 19-21 single states delegations, possibly because they believe themselves in such a position of strength they never see the losses coming. Perhaps we are not thinking about this senate election correctly, perhaps Republicans are in a uniquely vulnerable position because such a large proportion of their single state caucuses are exposed?
  8. If Kal is wrong and DMC is right, the following are the seats that should be flipable for Democrats in 2020: Maine North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Kentucky Iowa Montana Texas Colorado Arizona And some of those states like Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, West Virginia, South Carolina, South Dakota, Alaska, Oklahoma and Idaho should also be possible (Wyoming is probably a lost cause). But if Kal is right and DMC is wrong there is zero path to a majority because only Maine, Colorado and Arizona are the only possible seat flips and democrats will lose Alabama, giving republicans a 51-49 majority.
  9. this is easily to mathematically test. There are 50 states, map the trend line of how many states are represented by one party after each senate election. There will probably be some outlier years, but the trend line from 1994 to 2018 should indicate that single caucus states have steadily increased in every election, if this trend exists, it would mean that kal is correct, the swings that control the senate are getting smaller because over the decades we are steadily getting closer and closer to a 'natural' static state of R+4 advantage. it's a decaying orbit.
  10. Here is how you fix the senate: X is the average population of all the states. Any state whose population is greater than X*2 must divide itself into smaller states, using existing county and/or city boundary lines. States smaller than X*2 may not divide into smaller states. a City is indivisible and may not be divided into separate states. None of the newly created smaller states may have populations smaller than X*0.9. None of the newly created smaller states may be larger than X*1.5 Order of operations for borders are County Boundaries, City boundaries, or river/lake centerlines. so if X = 308,156,000/50 then X=6,163,127 and X*2 equals 12,326,254 people that means the top 6 states would need to subdivide into states not less than 5.5 million in size and not more than 9.25 million in size. This yields between 19 to 20 states instead of 6. so that means East and West Pennsylvania, the state of Chicago and of Illinois, Pan Handle Florida, North Florida, and South Florida, New York, NYC, and Long Island, North Texas, East Texas, South Texas, West Texas (if done after the 2020 census, TX is likely to divide into 5 states) and Southern California, East Angeles, West Angeles, California and Northern California. technically you could get six states out of California, but 5 would be easier to fit within the 0.9X to 1.5X parameters, 6 Californias would be more doable after the 2020 census, but economically and politically would not be as balanced as five Californias.* But of course that then changes the value of X, so we have a natural recurrence: With the new value of X*2=9,782,730 Ohio and Michigan become eligible to split This in turn creates a new value of X*2=9,481,723 Georgia and North Carolina become eligible to split, Which creates a new value of X*2=9,198,686 and no new states become Eligible (New Jersey is now the Largest state) resulting in a final outcome of a healthy 67 states and 134 senators. Adding Puerto Rico and DC doesn't change this outcome either (New Jersey is still 130,000 people short of eligibility), but does give us a lucky 69 states (go DC, hey number 69!) and 138 senators. after the next census, one would find out if any states had grown enough to result in more required splits. *further extrapolation of the California division I would include take Orange, Kern, LA, Ventura, SLO and Santa Barbara counties to form the two West Angeles and East Angeles states, dividing LA county on city lines, mostly north, south lines, combining basically East LA county and Orange County to create a state with 8.2 million people, while West Angeles would have 7.5 million people. SF, San Jose and the center of the state anchor the state of California, for a population of 6.9 million, and Sacramento, Berkeley and Oakland would anchor the largest state of Northern California with 8.6 million people. Moving Alameda county (Oakland) from one state to the other swings 1.6 million people, and I think Northern California could use the economic addition that Alameda county brings. And South California would be anchored by San Diego (and include Riverside, San Bernadino, Inyo, Imperial and Mono county (giving it a border with Nor Cal, heh) for a population of 8.1 million. That this division would result in a likely ten democrat senators is... uh, purely coincidental.
  11. very nice, thank you. I don't think the senate is out of reach, but it's going to take hard work and systematic investment in states the democrats stopped caring about over twenty years ago. Repairing that divestment will take decades. Still, they should seriously target and invest in at least 31 senate races in 2020, If it's a D+10 kind of year, they could hit that 0.0015% jackpot chance of getting a senate majority. But only if they're trying to win in the first place. the past couple decades of Punting with milquetoast captain bland-i-pants candidates ( or failing to field candidates) means most opportunities in the senate don't really exist for democrats. But the path to actually improving the senate is singular, break up into smaller states those states which have a population greater than 2x the average of all the states.
  12. Easy question to answer, It means he wants to fuck her.
  13. I just don't think he's actually going to lose very many republican "independents" over a "national emergency" declaration that moves around some minor amounts of mostly military funding. Everyone is acting like this is a huge, deal, but most people are going to shrug at the small amounts of money involved, If this were a multi- trillion dollar maneuver, like demanding a trillion dollars so we can build five more F35s, people might actually get upset, but even then, it's military, they'd probably just not give a damn and figure anything military is probably needed. What would really upset all those republican "independent" trump voters would be declaring a national emergency to appropriate a trillion dollars to spend on the poor, but they're never going to change their vote to not-trump over anything security or military related.
  14. I don't like Harris because I'm deeply suspicious of the grooming, she was a tough-on-crime prosecutor because that was viewed as the electable path by the power brokers grooming her for elevation to higher office. Her AG campaign was extremely hard fought, and she fantastically underperformed what a typical democrat in California would manage to perform, As an incumbent/state wide figure, her coronation by her groomers as senator was a breeze, but she was aided by not having to face a republican in that election. I'm just worried that the grooming and coronation successes will scale up for the presidency race. But, on the other hand, she's the only candidate that has had a good rollout, Elizabeth Warren's rollout has been a multiple picksix disaster, and Booker et al all punted, she at least can move the ball down the field, which indicates she probably is doing better than I feared she would.
  15. Trigger warning for sure for any parent: especially a trigger warning for rape (that caused pregnancy for the seventeen year old victim). But it isn’t about premies. Extremely hard story to read. Summary in spoiler box .
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