The Null Device

Post-election digest (1)

A few stories from the US elections: Also, last night's BBC coverage of the election count was pretty gripping. Especially when they got neoconservative hawk John Bolton in. Bolton, a gentleman with the appearance of a retired British Army colonel and the persona of an pugnacious cowboy, seemed to gradually fall apart as the bad news came in, and started lashing out at people (at one point calling on the BBC to sack one of its reporters for not knowing enough about the electoral history of Colorado). Then, fellow panelist and historian Simon Schama pointed out that the Republican Party had shrunk to the old Confederacy, and Bolton looked as if he might have a fit. I wonder whether the BBC chose him precisely for his amusement value.

There are 6 comments on "Post-election digest (1)":

Posted by: lisa Wed Nov 5 18:03:41 2008

The high-speed rail proposal is actually not all it seems to be on the outside. Most of the tree-hugger political groups opposed it because it's not enough $ to get the job done and pretty wasteful (doesn't actually allocate any money towards building anything; it's $10B for planning).

Posted by: acb Wed Nov 5 18:34:21 2008

Still, wasn't the alternative, practically speaking, shelving high-speed rail indefinitely? And once this is started, surely they'll find the rest of the money elsewhere when the time comes.

Posted by: Alexander Thu Nov 6 21:20:29 2008

Yeah, I also wrote about Bolton. You forgot to mention how he accused the BBC of being biased because the forecasts coming in (which included things said by Republicans) gave the advantage to Obama.

Posted by: Greg Fri Nov 7 18:45:56 2008

The situation for Bay Area transport is more complicated than it looks. I watched the Palo Alto city council debate it on cable tv one night. The fast train from SF to LA seems like a no-brainer .. although the suburbs it will travel through may be unamused, and it needs $10B each from the federal government and private investors during what looks like a recession.

The suggestions for local Silicon Valley trains are less clear-cut. A lot of residents want the BART extended down to San Jose, but this doesn't make sense to many. There is already a great Caltrain service from SF to San Jose, so extending the BART just seems like spending a fortune to duplicate a service that already exists, while ignoring the places that currently don't have public transport. Also it would double the width of tracks that run down through the Bay Area, which is already divided into zones by two giant freeways and the Caltrain.

It's way too car-oriented here, and worse in LA. The recent dip in oil prices has drivers in denial.

Posted by: acb Sat Nov 8 12:38:28 2008

I know Caltrain; I used it many times when staying in Redwood City. The problem in the Bay Area is that different services (BART, Muni, Caltrain) are run by different branches of the government (federal, local, state) who can't quite agree on integrating them.

Posted by: acb Sat Nov 8 12:42:30 2008

And yes, the high speed train is a no-brainer. It's a good time to move away from fossil fuels. In the UK, the government has realised this and is now bringing forth the electrification of various diesel-powered rail lines.

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