The Republican Frame

Call it the Audacity of Nope:

Leading Republicans warned Sunday that the Obama administration’s $800 billion-plus economic stimulus effort will lead to what one called a “financial disaster.”

The country will “pay dearly” if it executes the president’s stimulus plans, Sen. Richard Shelby says.

“Everybody on the street in America understands that,” said Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee. “This is not the right road to go. We’ll pay dearly.”

Shelby, of Alabama, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the package and efforts to shore up the struggling banking system will put the United States on “a road to financial disaster.”

***

“We need to spend money on infrastructure and on other programs that will immediately put people to work. But this is not it,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, last year’s GOP presidential nominee.

Senators reached a tentative agreement Friday on a compromise bill largely negotiated by a handful of moderate Republicans whose votes are needed to prevent a filibuster. But McCain told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the package should have been about half the size of the one now before senators, and should be balanced between tax cuts and spending.

Even I am taken aback by this. Put aside the fact that Richard Shelby spent the last three months openly cheerleading the failure of the American auto industry, which would lead to hundreds of thousands if not millions of lost jobs, but would deal a blow to those dastardly unions. Put aside the fact that the Republicans are the ones who stripped the bulk of the spending OUT of this package in favor of pointless tax cuts, after, I might add, a week or two of running around screaming that this isn’t a stimulus bill, but a spending bill. Put that and other things aside.

What is breathtaking is the Shelby gambit- he is honest to goodness staking the claim not that the stimulus bill is useless, but that in 2010 and 2012 the Republicans can run on the assertion that the stimulus bill CAUSED the current economic crisis. Apparently he thinks we are not currently in an economic crisis (or hopes you are too stupid to notice), and that the stimulus package will lead us to financial disaster.

Every time I think I have become cynical enough to deal with the current GOP, they raise their game. I just can’t keep up.

Just so we are clear, the essence of Shelby’s statement is tantamount to someone in 1944 saying “If we invade Normandy, surely it will lead to war with Germany.” You can decide on your own if he is that brazen or that stupid.






144 replies
  1. 1
    Barry says:

    Remember back in 1992-3, the leading econowh*re of the GOP, Senator Phil Gramm, predicted that the Clinton budget was a ‘one-way ticket to a recession’.

  2. 2
    southpaw says:

    i understand the game they’re playing, but isn’t it kinda likely that we’ll be asking in 2010 why we didn’t do more?

  3. 3
    Zifnab says:

    They didn’t raise their game. This is the same bullshit logic they use with their constant harping on tax cuts. Economy goes up – it’s because of tax cuts. Economy goes down – because we need more tax cuts.

    The endless whining about entitlements bloating the budget coupled with the constant fearmongering designed to get Americans to – once again – double down on defense spending has eroded the real safety net for the economy and replaced it with this illusion of protection supposedly proved by stealth jets and missile batteries and dozens of transcontinental military bases.

    They’ve been playing this angle since Nixon. It’s nothing new. Cut social programs. Raise up government kickbacks to the rich. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  4. 4
    dmsilev says:

    And if we had something approaching a functional political media in this country, Richard Shelby wouldn’t be able to get near a TV camera without being repeatedly grilled about his hypocrisy.

    I note, by the way, that Nissan is announcing some large number of layoffs this morning. In a just world, this would lead to Republicans admitting that they were wrong about how unionization lead to the inevitable demise of the Big Three. We don’t live in a just world.

    -dms

  5. 5
    SpotWeld says:

    It may be really cynical of me to say this, but looking ahead to election in 2010 and 2012 it seems to me that the Dems are more invested in an improvement in the US economy, while the GOP at best does okay either way (since the economy will never be perfect and the government will always be "big" they can always campaign on that plus the usual hot button issues) and at worst they actually have better prospects if the spending bill fails (either it doesn’t pass or it becomes so twisted it accomplished nothing.)

    My question, why aren’t Dems pounding the heck out of that rhetoric. It’s a little iffy on a factual basis, but man it would make for great copy. “GOP, a party of failure”.

  6. 6
    TR says:

    Leading Republicans warned Sunday that the Obama administration’s $800 billion-plus economic stimulus effort will lead to what one called a “financial disaster.”

    Isn’t that exactly what they said about Clinton’s 1993 budget? How’d that turn out?

    No Republicans voted for that one either. We seem to do just fine when the babies take their ball and go home.

  7. 7
    Shalimar says:

    Leading Republicans warned Sunday that the Obama administration’s $800 billion-plus economic stimulus effort will lead to what one called a “financial disaster.”

    The most stunning thing about this statement is that we’re already starting to hear about the "financial disaster" that is about to befall the states just because of the money cut out of the stimulus by Senate moderates. For example, John Ensign saying it is a good thing that his own state will have to cut it’s budget by over 30% because they need to cut the fat anyway. 10s of thousands of jobs like police and firefighters are just excess fat to these people. They’re insane, and their constituents are about to see the fallout of electing them.

  8. 8
    El Cid says:

    Our economic problems have created a bizarre time warp in which the end of the Clinton administration jumped directly to January of 2007, and strangely there are still some Americans who believe that there was some other leader or party exerting power between those two times other than Barney Frank, the single person who controls all of economics.

  9. 9
    ricky says:

    I cannot wait to get on "a road to financial disaster." This current road is so smooth it is hardly testing the capabilities of the Hummer the last eight years have given me.

  10. 10

    Again I renew my request to all Republican Senators like Richard Shelby. Its simple. Just pledge in writing not to accept any federal money for your home state, in his case Alabama, from the stimulus bill. That will lower the price of the bill, it will allow them to show that they really are small government conservatives, AND best of all it will ensure that their home state won’t be done all of the harm they keep braying is coming to America with the passage of the bill. So just pledge to accept no money for unemployment, medicare, medicaid, money to keep teachers, firemen and cops on the streets, money to help weatherize homes and build schcools. Its really that simple.

    Anybody think the Rethugs in Congress would sign such a pledge?

    Wingnut SC Republican Governer Mark Sandford makes it sounds like the bill will bring Armageddon. But check out how he reacts when asks if he will refuse the money.

  11. 11
    Xenos says:

    @ricky: Rework those metaphors, plz.

  12. 12
    Alan says:

    I’m just glad that last December I finally changed my voter registration from Republican to "No Party Affiliation." That Party is blinded by dogma.

  13. 13

    Time for business to call in their chits.

    Socialism is one thing. Socialism to save business is another.

    Does Shelby actually believe the shit coming out of his mouth? Even Nissan is laying off people now.

  14. 14
    Laura W says:

    I am quite fond of "Audacity of Nope".
    (Yes, I am so bored with the repetitive themes du jour that I am going to comment only upon the writing and good jokes for a while. Longer.)

  15. 15
    R. Porrofatto says:

    This stuff never surprises anymore, not since the GOP purged any sense of moderation from their party in favor of right-wing extremists. As an old codger, I can remember when moderate Republicans kept the nuts and imbeciles on the fringes, now it’s the handful of remaining moderates who are marginalized. The current crop doesn’t just hope Obama and the Democrats fail, they want them to fail, because the worse off the country is, the better their chances of reclaiming power.

    What I wish people on the left would stop doing is legitimizing the outrageous crap these godawful people spew by approaching it as some kind of good faith argument. When Republican assholes say that Obama’s putting us on the road to socialism, or that tax cuts stimulate the economy more than social spending, or any of their myriad nuggets of nonsense, liberals refute them with facts and figures and cogent analysis, or we call them stupid and they may actually be stupid. But it’s not stupidity, it’s almost invariably a calculated and concerted attack, no matter how mendacious, and the aim is not only to make sure that Democrats get blamed when bad things happen, but to make sure bad things happen. Period.

  16. 16
    David says:

    Republican strategy: throw spitwads and burp loudly.

  17. 17

    It’s seems to me that the Republican message, as it grows louder, gets more confused. Shelby claims "that everybody in the American understands " that we will "pay dearly" for this spending (doh!) and is essentially against anything other than tax. The new RNC Chair Steele claims these jobs are not sustainable (double doh!) in the long term. (At least that is what I heard him say on cable news this past week.) Then of course we have McCain blathering on about the jobs being focused in the wrong places and not enough short-term immediate jobs are in the bill. What is it, boys?

    Why is McCain even opening his mouth? Didn’t he already prove he knows nothing about the economy? Steele doesn’t seem to get it, because much of any stimulus plan will be short in duration (2-3 years). And Shelby, well he is just plain wrong. I suggest he take a trip to his local mall and canvass the crowd. Anybody who has lost a job or see job loss around them is probably for the bill. I suspect most people who do not yet feel the effects of this spiral toilet bowl doesn’t see any rush to at least stop the bleeding. We’d better stop the bleeding, because if the economy gets to the point where we have to get it breathing again it may be too late to save it from going down the drain.

    An old triage adage:

    1. Start the breathing. (Not time for the that, yet.)
    2. Stop the bleeding. (And we are bleeding jobs.)
    3. Treat for shock. ((We’ll have time soon enough but first we have to stop the bleeding.)

    I suspect, as you, that this really is partisanship at its worst. These cynical fuckers would like nothing better than have this plan fail.

  18. 18
    bedlam UK says:

    Oh Richard, Richard, Richard.

    Keeps firing off clichés with startling precision
    Like a sniper using bollocks for ammunition

    [lines from Tim Minchin’s ‘Storm’]

    I’m sure they are relying upon the short attention span of the average person. 2012 is a long way and at least 2 more series of American Pop Idol away.
    By then all this will be a confused memory to be distorted by Faux News.

  19. 19
    Zifnab says:

    @sgwhiteinfla:

    Wingnut SC Republican Governer Mark Sandford makes it sounds like the bill will bring Armageddon. But check out how he reacts when asks if he will refuse the money.

    Their arguments always come back to deficit spending. If you spend to much, bad things will happen in the future. UNLESS you’ve got a Republican in the White House. Then the rules are reversed. Or something. I don’t know.

    Calvinball is a very hard game to master.

  20. 20
    Rick Taylor says:

    What is breathtaking is the Shelby gambit- he is honest to goodness staking the claim not that the stimulus bill will not do anything good, but that in 2010 and 2012 the Republicans can run on the claim that the stimulus bill CAUSED the current economic crisis.

    Yup. I can’t say I’m surprised; what else are they going to do? A short while ago, Instapundit was speculating that the dive in the markets was a result of Obama saying scary things about the economy. And of course Norquist has already dubbed this the Reid-Obama-Pelosi recession. Everything was going great until the Democrats took over and ruined us.

    I don’t think it’s going to work. People turn to Republicans in time of war and Democrats in time of economic crises, but they might be able to lessen the damage, keeping enough wingnuts in the fold to continue to be able to be an obstacle. They have nothing to loose.

    But McCain told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the package should have been about half the size of the one now before senators, and should be balanced between tax cuts and spending.

    Interesting. 42% tax cuts wasn’t enough? I’m not surprised by that either. Again I don’t understand why Obama put those tax cuts in to begin with; whatever he did it wouldn’t have been enough. Why not start with a pure spending bill, and then ‘compromise’ introducing the tax cuts that he put in to begin with? We just gave up some bargaining chips.

  21. 21
    El Cid says:

    @sgwhiteinfla: Good first step.

    Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) can take a bold stand against the unfair stealing by taxation of good people’s incomes in order to feed inefficient government boondoggles.

    The state of Alabama, for example, gets over $1.66 back for each $1 of federal income taxes it submits.

    This theft by taxation from the hardworking citizens of such states as New Jersey or Massachusetts, states which don’t require net federal income tax subsidies to function, is wrong, and I expect to see Senator Shelby demanding an end to the federal taxpayer subsidies of inefficient U.S. states such as Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Montana, and South Carolina.

  22. 22
    Montysano (All Hail Marx & Lennon) says:

    Some perspective from Bloomberg:

    Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) — The stimulus package the U.S. Congress is completing would raise the government’s commitment to solving the financial crisis to $9.7 trillion, enough to pay off more than 90 percent of the nation’s home mortgages…… Only the stimulus package to be approved this week, the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program passed four months ago and $168 billion in tax cuts and rebates approved in 2008 have been voted on by lawmakers. The remaining $8 trillion in commitments are lending programs and guarantees, almost all under the authority of the Fed and the FDIC. The recipients’ names have not been disclosed.

    So: 90% of the damage/spending/"loaning" is already done, with little of it that will affect the average American. Most of the $9T is pure corporate welfare. But the GOP is willing to play politics with the 10% that might affect you and I.

    Baby, we’ve come a long way since the French Revolution.

  23. 23
    Napoleon says:

    The second the Republicans tried the impeach Clinton gambit I realized that they were a nihilist political party and that our government was completely broken and would remain so until they were completely marginalized, which has yet to happen.

  24. 24
    Dave says:

    Y’know, maybe they just realize that deflation will benefit the top 1% of Americans. They won’t go broke and their money will be able to purchase more. If that is who the GOP truly cares about, then their insistence on tax cuts and paring down the stimulus makes sense.
     
    Or they’re bug-fuck nuts.

  25. 25
    Poopyman says:

    Well, Shelby is just being stupid, and I was happy to see that most Americans agree, according to a Gallup poll that AmericaBlog reports on here.

    So the Republicans throw stupid shit out via the Villagers, and the American public is noticing that those are turds coming their way. Obama has smartly (imagine that!) chosen to do an end-around and is speaking directly to the public. Sooner or later even the reddest state is going to get sick of senators who work against their constituents.

  26. 26

    I say we legalize and tax marijuana. Call it the Audacity of Dope.

  27. 27
    Stuck says:

    “Everybody on the street in America understands that,” said Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee. “This is not the right road to go. We’ll pay dearly.”

    Maybe in Alabama, most of America, not so much.

  28. 28

    I met Senator Ensign in Las Vegas. We flew on the same Southwest flight to Reno. I shook his hand and we talked briefly. He is a veterinarian and I came away impressed. In contrast, Nancy Pelosi does not fly on Southwest, she has her own 757.

    I don’t understand why the taxpayer should pay for Pelosi’s 757. After all she is the daughter of a politician, and has made tens of millions of dollars through ‘investments’.

    I say spend no more money. If we do spend more money, it should be to electrify the railroads. The materials should all be made in America.

  29. 29
  30. 30

    @Brick Oven Bill: I’d call this plan the Audacity of Jolt.

  31. 31
    SpotWeld says:

    BOB…

    It was decided that post 9/11 the Speaker of the House should be flown (when on job releated duties) via a military transport. The military then decided that most of the time the 757 is the most approprite aircraft in the available fleet for that task.

    Why do you want the terrorists to win BOB?

  32. 32
    SpotWeld says:

    Is BOB a parodist or a troll?
    I just got back from a "Sadly, No" post about Day by Day and I honestly can’t tell any more.

  33. 33
    Dave says:

    Bob, why do you hate America?

  34. 34
    SnarkIntern says:

    He is a veterinarian and I came away impressed.

    Uh, you have been blowing your cover pretty regularly lately. This sentence does not scan in any useful way. What impressed you, his cat neutering techniques? Those are handy in government.

    I don’t understand why the taxpayer should pay for Pelosi’s 757.

    That’s because you spend too much time fucking with your stupid brick oven. The airplane is a security measure because the speaker is one of the first people in the line of succession to the presidency.

    The plane is provided under the same practice that began with Dennis Hastert after 911, as ordered by the House Security officer and coordinated with the Pentagon.

    Any personal or family transportation on the official plane must be reimbursed by Pelosi’s office.

    If you have a problem with it, you should contact the Department of Defense and the Homeland Security Department.

  35. 35

    Personally, I think that Pelosi flying Southwest would not be a threat to national security. Or even a G5. The military has G5s in addition to 757s.

    Isn’t she an investor in T. Boone’s venture? You know, the one that will be funded by this stimulus?

  36. 36
    TR says:

    In contrast, Nancy Pelosi does not fly on Southwest, she has her own 757.

    That’s not the least of it. Obama is such an arrogant jackass, he not only has his very own plane but he gave it a grandiose name — "Air Force One."

    The nerve of some people.

  37. 37
    SnarkIntern says:

    The country will “pay dearly” if it executes the president’s stimulus plans, Sen. Richard Shelby says.

    As soon as Shelby shows me the graph of the cost of not doing the stimulus plan, versus the cost of doing it, then I will listen.

    Shelby is a certifiable lunatic.

  38. 38
    TR says:

    Personally, I think that Pelosi flying Southwest would not be a threat to national security.

    Well, clearly you know better than those clowns in the military, right?

    Why don’t you send them a strongly-worded letter and let them know the error of their ways. Be sure to use the good crayons, this time.

  39. 39
    John Cole says:

    I normally just ignore Brick Oven Bill, but this has piqued my curiosity. How exactly will electrifying our railroads pull us out of this economic crisis?

    I mean, I read some insane shit, but this takes the cake.

  40. 40
    SnarkIntern says:

    Personally, I think that Pelosi flying Southwest would not be a threat to national security.

    Then you should present your brilliant ideas to DHS and DOD. They have people who are there just to listen to your suggestions.

  41. 41
    Stuck says:

    @John Cole:

    I read some insane shit, but this takes the cake.

    And of course, shocking/wingnut

  42. 42
    Xenos says:

    The BOB theory is not complete until the exploitation of the tar sands is somehow worked into the formula. Maybe it relates to the cost of mozzarella in some meaningful way.

  43. 43
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    I note, by the way, that Nissan is announcing some large number of layoffs this morning.

    Not only that, but if I heard right Nissan will no longer be manufacturing cars in Japan. There was a blurb I heard on C-SPAN between portions of WJ this am. I think I heard them right when they said this, and if so then Japan is getting a taste of the ‘fun’ now.

    Shelby is a mealy-mouthed prick that talks out of both sides of his mouth and ass. I can’t stand that asshole and his love of situational reality. It has got to the point for me that whenever I hear a politician with a drawl I get pissed because I know some brain damaging shit is on its way.

    The Rushublican party isn’t a rump party, they are the party of ass. They have stuck it up ours while kissing and licking those of the moneyed class. They have been doing it for so long that they are going to smell like ass for the next few decades.

    What has been done to our country by the Rushublicans is criminal, if not traitorous. Everything has been for sale to the highest bidder and we never stood a chance with them. In their world, money is the path to power and that is all they have been after.

  44. 44
    El Cid says:

    The reason Nancy Pelosi has ‘her own 757’ is so that she can fly weapons of mass destruction to SYRIA!!!! AAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!! Please save us Republicans you always KeepUSafe!

  45. 45

    Electrifying the railroads is the proper economic stimulus. The permitting process for roads, bridges, traditional electric transmission lines is years.

    In contrast, the right of ways for railroads are privately owned and established. An Executive Order authorizing the electrification of these transportation corridors could blanket permit the work immediately.

    As the work would be standardized, one design could be used. This design could be produced in less than a week. $15 billion would fund six transcontinental railroads. $800 billion could probably electrify the entire country and then some.

    The benefit of this work is that electric power is generated more efficiently by power plants than by diesel engines. This would reduce the energy consumed by rail transport by nearly half, generating a long-term economic and environmental benefit.

    The money for electrifying the railroads would be spent on creating domestic materials, and workers in the field. The money would not be given to GM, only to have it invested in Brazil.

  46. 46
    Napoleon says:

    @John Cole:

    I normally just ignore Brick Oven Bill, but this has piqued my curiosity. How exactly will electrifying our railroads pull us out of this economic crisis?

    I refuse to read BOB’s post, so I am not exactly sure about what he said or what prompted it, but that aside the most recent edition of Washington Monthly had a very interesting article on what infrastructure improvements should be made, and it was strongly in favor of rail (which when you read the figures just blow away trucks in efficiency). In particular it went into the advantageous of electric, which because the train no longer has to carry its own fuel doesn’t waste energy hauling it around, and since the electric can be generated from green sources that has its own advantageous.

    I would recommend the article.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    gwangung says:

    I refuse to read BOB’s post, so I am not exactly sure about what he said or what prompted it, but that aside the most recent edition of Washington Monthly had a very interesting article on what infrastructure improvements should be made, and it was strongly in favor of rail (which when you read the figures just blow away trucks in efficiency). In particular it went into the advantageous of electric, which because the train no longer has to carry its own fuel doesn’t waste energy hauling it around, and since the electric can be generated from green sources that has its own advantageous.

    No doubt it wouldn’t be immediate, it would take a hell of a lot of money, and it’d take some hellacious technical development.

    But that sure ain’t no reason to NOT do it…

  49. 49
    John Cole says:

    @Napoleon: Sure, I am in favor of improving our rail system. But I have no idea what an electrified intercontinental rail will accomplish. Who is going to ride it? Rail workers on vacation?

    Electrifying and improving rail where it will be used and there is a need makes sense. Just building it to build it as a jobs program, where it will sit unused, sounds like the wasted spending of Japan in the 90’s. Call it a railway to nowhere if it helps.

  50. 50
    robertdsc says:

    generated more efficiently by power plants

    You mean existing coal-burning plants that we get half our energy from? Yeah, that’s gonna work. Bye-bye environment, hello death of the planet.

    Then there’s the coal ash sludge to deal with. Let’s ask the TVA how that’s shaping up.

  51. 51
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    I normally just ignore Brick Oven Bill, but this has piqued my curiosity. How exactly will electrifying our railroads pull us out of this economic crisis?

    John, my brother in law is a long-time engineer with BNSF (Burlington Northern-Santa Fe) and he pulls the big freight trains through Washington, Idaho and Montana. I asked him about this idea and he laughed his ass off. Maybe some electrification of the system in some higher density areas, but not out west. It’s just not practical or cost effective.

    If you ever get the chance to sit down with a freight engineer for a few hours, tipping back a few beers, I guarantee you will be entertained to no end with the stories you will hear.

    Shorter version: People are stupid and should be kept as far away from trains as possible though there is the side benefit of thinning the herd, and brother, from the stories I have heard from him it is a damn good thing it happens. Sad but true.

  52. 52
    ppcli says:

    Their arguments always come back to deficit spending. If you spend to much, bad things will happen in the future. UNLESS you’ve got a Republican in the White House. Then the rules are reversed. Or something. I don’t know.
    Calvinball is a very hard game to master.

    How true. It seems like only yesterday that the talking point of the day was "Reagan showed deficits don’t matter." Ah, memories…

  53. 53
  54. 54
    jeff says:

    All the Republicans have is the big lie. The country stop buying it in November. No one is going to buy it in 2010 or 2012.

  55. 55
    SnarkIntern says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    That is some crazy shit BOB!

    Have you send your crayon drawings to the government?

    I can already see you on the Today show, next to T. Boone Pickens.

    You will be teh famuss, and rich too.

    Remember us little people when you get there.

  56. 56

    All railroads are already electrified. A diesel engine burns evil oil, turning a generator, which drives a traction motor. Running overhead lines simply replaces the diesel engine with a coal plant, or windmill (won’t work over 15% of the grid), or hydroelectric dam, or, in an intelligent world, clean nuclear power.

    Coal plants are 37% thermally efficient, internal combustion engines are in the low 20s. Burning coal in place of oil would reduce carbon emissions, if that is the concern. In my opinion, the true benefit is reducing the cost of transportation, in the aftermath of a large and immediate surge in employment.

    The Pennsylvania Railroad ran these overhead lines in the 1930s. It works. They paid $133,000 per mile.

  57. 57
    Karmakin says:

    Well, Electrifying the rail system is just as good of an idea as some other ideas…and it sure has hell beats reinflating the bubbles!

    BTW. Forget about electrifying the current rails, you need a new ultra high-speed rail system. Mind you, that would be a massive undertaking. But if that’s your idea, that’s what would be needed.

    Personally, I find the consternation about the tax cuts that are there, for the most part to be bad in the same way that well..everything the GOP is doing right now to be honest. It’s putting ideology before practicality. In the past, a lot of us have supported targeted tax cuts to consumers as a way to drive demand. While it’s true that more should be on the spending side, it’s not the worse thing that it could be.

    That 15k for a new house? That’s the worst thing it could be. Besides lowering capital gain rates.

  58. 58
    robertdsc says:

    clean nuclear power.

    There is no such thing. You lose.

  59. 59
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    Personally, I think that Pelosi flying Southwest would not be a threat to national security.

    LOL yeah, because never in our nation’s history have whackos hijacked a commercial flight and slammed it into a building.

  60. 60
    Napoleon says:

    @Conservatively Liberal:

    John, my brother in law is a long-time engineer with BNSF (Burlington Northern-Santa Fe) and he pulls the big freight trains through Washington, Idaho and Montana. I asked him about this idea and he laughed his ass off. Maybe some electrification of the system in some higher density areas, but not out west. It’s just not practical or cost effective.

    Really? Because the article I reference above specifically says "[t]he rhythmically named Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific (a.k.a. the Milwaukee Road) hauled hundred-car freight trains over the Cascade and Rocky Mountains using electric engines drawing on the region’s abundant hydropower."

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.c.....ngman.html

  61. 61
    Mouse Tolliver says:

    Why are Republicans undermining the president in a time of war?

    h/t: Bob Cesca

  62. 62
    SnarkIntern says:

    The Pennsylvania Railroad ran these overhead lines in the 1930s. It works. They paid $133,000 per mile.

    Bob? Turning the railroads back 80 years is a great idea, and brilliant. But your time in the day room has expired. Other patients need to use the etch-a-sketch.

  63. 63
    eyeball says:

    Obama has played these dimbullbs perfectly. he’s got polling on his side now, people lining up on the cold to see him in Ind. (unemp near 10 percent), collins, snowe and spector ready to offer payback (finally) for Judd Gregg and Lieberman, and the operatic jackasses in the cable media finally seeing the light as Act II closes. This is really good stuff — partisan triangulation that looks like post-partisan triangulation. Now of course the stim has to work — and that’s the psych job aspect of this. pass it, then flog it, then highlight every small victory. Watch out for anecdotes of state thievery of the stim money for OT, pension boosts and the like — nail that stuff hard. and guide the populist rage where it belongs — toward wall street, the greedy CEOs and the Zero for Zero GOP. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.

  64. 64
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    You want to make something useful BOB, find a way to efficiently utilize the energy created and destroyed in the use of dynamic braking on diesel locomotives, instead of it just being dumped off as heat.

    That ought to keep him busy for a few minutes. ;)

  65. 65
    jenniebee says:

    You know what’s really cute about BOB? It’s that he’s convinced that his own special project, which is to spend a massive amount of public money implementing an obsolete technology for use of a private enterprise, is not only reasonable but a complete panacea; meanwhile, all the other stuff that he doesn’t know what it is but it must be waste because you know how those people are GET OFF MY LAWN is unreasonable and a waste of money.

    And, of course, by "cute" I mean GAAAHHH! GAAAAAHHHH!

    GAAAAHHHHHH!

  66. 66

    Behold, the nuclear powered TGV. It is clean, baby, clean.

  67. 67
    Samuel says:

    while kissing and licking those of the moneyed class.

    Which politician received the most money in "contributions" from Wall Street again? Give you a hint…his middle name is Hussein and he’s been POTUS since January 20th….

    Those damn greedy Republicans….tsk tsk

  68. 68
    Ash Can says:

    My prediction is that the closer the stimulus bill gets to actual enactment, assuming it’s not watered down to the point of being absolutely and obviously ineffective (in which case I can’t imagine Obama bothering to sign it), the shriller and more outrageous the Republicans’ fear-mongering will get. And by that I mean I do expect them to say anything — anything at all — to frighten people away from supporting the bill. The idea that government can solve problems rather than cause or exacerbate them is the ultimate third rail for the current incarnation of the GOP. With the Democrats in the driver’s seat now and at least many of them appearing to be acting in good faith to address the smoking wreckage that Bush and his minions left, the GOP has nothing to lose and much to gain by going blatantly nihilist at this point. I expect the misinformation and flat-out jawdropping insanity to reach record levels this week. The only thing I am wondering about is whether anyone on the Dem side (psst, Barack, that’s your cue) will a) push back against the insanity with anything resembling similar force, b) receive the same level of press coverage when s/he does.

  69. 69
    Punchy says:

    Glad to see CNN is finally reporting all the important news.

  70. 70
    Napoleon says:

    A PS, the Washington Monthy railroad article is also interesting in that much like our electric grid the rail system grew with some significant choke points that are a result of it being from many private companies that were just interested in their own lines, not a national system. For example it takes 2 days for freight to go 5 miles in Chicago, a huge hub. Down the east coast there is some underpass or something of the sort that basically governs how much can go up and down the east coast.

  71. 71
    Napoleon says:

    You want to make something useful BOB, find a way to efficiently utilize the energy created and destroyed in the use of dynamic braking on diesel locomotives, instead of it just being dumped off as heat.

    I guess they have that in Europe.

  72. 72
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    @Napoleon:

    Yes, he did tell me that though he said there were many reasons they went to diesel electrics in the end. The short story (he said) was cost and efficiency. Some of the runs he makes with the long lines require upwards of 25,000 horsepower and they just creep up the mountains. This loading and slowed motor action is hard on the systems, requiring shitloads of cooling and amperes of juice to do.

    I can’t recite everything he told me but he made it clear that if it was feasible with the configurations they currently run, they would be doing it now. Hydroelectric power out west is cheap and plentiful and he did say it could be used in some areas out here, but in his opinion it can’t replace the whole system. Maybe some day, but not now.

    Or so I am told. I am no expert but when I have one available I sure hit them up for info! The moar you know. ;)

    Then again, maybe he like the noisy engines? Hey, what dude wouldn’t like to have several thousand horsepower on hand?

  73. 73
    Michael says:

    Brazen and stupid characterize Dick Shelby, who is working real hard to make America look like Alabama.

    My personal plan is to boycott Alabama tourism and products, as I typically spend a few thousand in Alabama every couple of years by going down to the Gulf.

    Its a shame – I really like that area of Alabama, and find it a lot more tolerable than the rest of the state.

  74. 74
    TenguPhule says:

    Every time I think I have become cynical enough to deal with the current GOP, they raise their game. I just can’t keep up.

    Recommend a new tag: "Have we reached Peak Wingnut yet?"

  75. 75
    Karmakin says:

    One final thing.

    The more and more I read, the more I wonder if my big conspiratorial feelings are coming true. I wonder if there’s people who see blood in the water, and they’re looking to tank the economy on purpose to drop wages through the floor and to cause massive deinflation in order to make their cash assets worth more…much more.

    Because frankly, that’s the end result of what they’re doing.

  76. 76
    Bootlegger says:

    @opium4themasses: $20 billion spend on marijuana eradication last year. So far that money is stimulating nothing but organized criminal enterprises.

  77. 77
    TenguPhule says:

    Which politician received the most money in "contributions" from Wall Street again? Give you a hint…his middle name is HusseinWalker and he’s not been POTUS since January 20th….

    Corrected for accuracy.

  78. 78
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    Alright, let’s lay off Brick Oven Bill.

  79. 79
    jenniebee says:

    From the Longman article:

    Even truckers have to deal with an increasingly overcrowded, dangerous I-81, and for motorists it’s a white-knuckle terror.

    I can attest to that. I-81 south of Roanoke is the most freakin’ scary stretch of road I’ve ever seen. It’s all big hills and trucks that will pull into the passing lane uphill if the semi in front of them is doing 35 and they think they can make it to 37. Congested, mountainous and choked with long-haul freight.

    There was talk five years ago, when I was living in Roanoke, of putting in a high-speed rail line between Roanoke and DC. Not only would it give depressed southwest Virginia a big economic boost, but it would be good for DC commuters too. The DC commuting radius is now stretching south past Fredricksburg; a high speed rail from Roanoke through Winchester would be a shorter trip to the city, and bleed off some of the horrendous I-95 traffic.

  80. 80
    Punchy says:

    efficiently utilize the energy created and destroyed

    Pretty sure energy cannot be created.

  81. 81

    I know you won’t read this Napoleon.

    In the case of a railroad with overhead power, when the motor turns into a generator, going down hills, the train’s potential energy is transformed to electricity, and fed back into the grid.

    In this case, the dynamic breaking IS regenerative, and the energy is conserved instead of being transformed to heat. This cannot be done with diesel engines due to the limitations of batteries.

  82. 82
    Rome Again says:

    I never heard a single word from Republicans stating that the TARP bailout would fail and we that we should just let the banks go ahead and fail. Did anyone else?

    Perhaps Republicans would like to explain why the banks aren’t lending anymore? After all, the right predicted it was a good solution that would fix the situation.

    And if they really want to destroy Democrats, why not just give Obama all he is asking for and the next four years to just stand back and allow him to fail? They can then fun on that platform, it’s basically what they want to do anyway, correct? Watch him fail? Perhaps they should invest in a little popcorn (not too much, we know how this movie ends).

  83. 83
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    Samuel once again resets the goalposts! Whadda playa!

    @Napoleon:

    My BIL said that the rules for the railroad operations are some of the screwiest ones he has ever dealt with in his life. He said that you haven’t experienced arcane until you have tried to operate under the maze of rules and regulations that the railroads have built up over the years. From what he said, it goes back to the original rights of way and the government taking over the railroads. Because of the way things were drawn up between the competing lines, rules can change as you pass through different areas.

    I have some great winter pictures he sent me last year. I should put them up online for others to see. Pretty cool shots of the trains passing through the rockies. Since they frequently have to stop the train for various reasons, he keeps a camera on the train at all times and snaps shots when the view allows it.

  84. 84
    Napoleon says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    In the case of a railroad with overhead power, when the motor turns into a generator, going down hills, the train’s potential energy is transformed to electricity, and fed back into the grid.

    In this case, the dynamic breaking IS regenerative, and the energy is conserved instead of being transformed to heat. This cannot be done with diesel engines due to the limitations of batteries.

    I read this one since this is an interesting topic, but the article does make that point as a plus for the system.

  85. 85
    robertdsc says:

    I guess they have that in Europe.

    Along with acceptable nuclear waste disposal. Score one for BOB. >_>

  86. 86
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    Pretty sure energy cannot be created.

    Read up on dynamic braking and you will understand what I am talking about. The electric motors that drive the diesel locomotive are switched to generate electricity on downhill grades, slowing the train (dynamic braking). Problem is that juice has to go somewhere so they dump it into a huge fan cooled grid and it is consumed as heat.

    Yes Punchy, energy is created and destroyed for a purpose here. ;)

    But you are technically correct that it is not destroyed, they just changed its state.

    Damn thermodynamics!

  87. 87

    @robertdsc: Audacity of Isotope?

    Really though, by what are you measuring this? Nuclear power doesn’t generate CO2 (at least not in actual power production, mining is another story).

    Plus there is always th idea of switching to breeder reactors. Some designs can use natural (unenriched) uranium or the more common thorium.

    Even the potential for weapons-grade plutonium production can be removed by the incorporation of automatic reprocessing.

    I think the dislike of uranium is more a fear of the word nuclear than a serious consideration of practical concerns. Just look at the fact that coal fired plants emit more radioactive materials than do nuclear plants

  88. 88
    Cain says:

    @SnarkIntern:

    What impressed you, his cat neutering techniques? Those are handy in government.

    Why the fact he’s just an ordinary american, doin an ordinary jobs, helpin your little pets that ya see here on the front page all da time.. and lookee, he rides a regular airlines (probably on coach) just like the rest of us.

    Put that evil pelosi.. she’s gone an flyin around in a 737, she makes mellions of dollahs.. I heard it.. I guess I’m impressed to. She’s not the little darlin I thought she was.

    fuck.

    cain

  89. 89
    The Moar You Know says:

    I don’t understand why the taxpayer should pay for Pelosi’s 757.

    @Brick Oven Bill: She’s the Speaker of the House, third in line of succession to the Presidency. She is required to have a plane that can transit the United States without refueling, as are the President and Vice-President. She asked for the Gulfstream and was refused.

    You knew that, of course.

  90. 90
    Napoleon says:

    @Conservatively Liberal:

    My grandfather and two uncles on my mom’s side worked on the railroad, and one of my most memorable childhood memories was one of them taking me to the huge yard next to a steel plant and letting me "drive" an engine through the yard and blow the whisle, and visit the repair shop where they would drive the engines over open pits where you could stand to work on them. I have loved trains ever since then.

  91. 91
    ksmiami says:

    Dear John – I know it is still painful to think that you were a member of the now batshit insane southern rump party – many people were, but yes, indeed the level of asshole that is the current incantation of the Republicans is truly breathtaking in its cynicism and criminality.

    Everytime one of these fuckers say anything, I just roll my eyes and get ready for the crazy uncle advice – also, why did we spend so much goddamn money in Iraq and yet building schools and funding science in America is going to make us fail???

    You just have to start tuning them out to lead a healthy life. May I suggest yoga and b-sides of Led Zeppelin…

  92. 92

    Conservatively Liberal; ‘Helper’ diesel engines could be used to help push elected trains up steep grades. Helper, Utah, is a town named after this practice, which has been around since the days of the Central Pacific.

  93. 93
    robertdsc says:

    O4TM, I’d be perfectly happy if Obama started the effort to turn nuclear bombs into nuclear energy. I think that’s a great idea and would save zillions from uranium mining, let alone do our part to erase the possibility of nuclear war on a global scale. But after the fuel is spent, reprocessed, a and spent again, what happens to the leftover product? What happens to conventional nuclear waste once it’s finished its usefulness? That part has no answer, or one that I’ve heard that makes any sense.

  94. 94

    Conservatively Liberal; ‘Helper’ diesel engines could be used to help push elected trains up steep grades. Helper, Utah, is a town named after this practice, which has been around since the days of the Central Pacific.

    BOB googles railroad lore, and posts it here.

    Thanks, BOB. Tomorrow can we do the History of the Spark Plug?

  95. 95
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    I grew up close to a rail yard and fell in love with trains as a little kid. We used to hop rides all of the time, getting chased by the rail dicks and hobos we would piss off. It was a fast way to get a ride to the pool since the rail lines ran right past it. Nobody ever got hurt and it was pretty damned fun stuff for a kid. Dangerous, but we weren’t stupid and didn’t take chances. Only the slow ones!

    You can bet the first time I talked to my sister’s hubby I chewed his ears off asking questions…lol! It is an interesting profession and the trains alone would keep me in heaven every day.

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    Yes, and they still use them to this day. My BIL said that they get stuck often and have to call in the helpers. He is good at knowing what he needs (power wise) but the yard doesn’t always have what they need so the train is ‘built’ as it goes.

  96. 96
    Punchy says:

    But you are technically correct that it is not destroyed, they just changed its state.

    That’s what I was joking about.

    Conservatively Liberal; ‘Helper’ diesel engines could be used to help push elected trains up steep grades

    Are they on a ballot I missed? What are the terms of their office? Until they break an axle?

  97. 97
    BethanyAnne says:

    Just a small question since we seem to have dived off into teh crazy. Where are we going to put the waste from clean nuclear plants? Seems like we have some problems now getting folk to agree where it should go.

  98. 98
    Josh Hueco says:

    Helper, Utah, is a town named after this practice

    I’ve always wondered where Wanker’s Corner, Oregon got its name.

  99. 99
    Rick Taylor says:

    @Ash Can:

    My prediction is that the closer the stimulus bill gets to actual enactment, assuming it’s not watered down to the point of being absolutely and obviously ineffective (in which case I can’t imagine Obama bothering to sign it), the shriller and more outrageous the Republicans’ fear-mongering will get. And by that I mean I do expect them to say anything—anything at all —to frighten people away from supporting the bill. . . I expect the misinformation and flat-out jawdropping insanity to reach record levels this week.

    It’s a frightening thought that they’ve been holding back and the real madness is to come. But what you’re saying makes sense; I’m marking it and will remember over the next week or two.

  100. 100
    The Moar You Know says:

    @BethanyAnne: Thorium reactors do not generate waste in any conventional sense of the word – radioactive for perhaps a few hundred years, instead of tens of thousands. Also, they can consume our old, dangerous waste. Long past time we started working on those.

  101. 101

    Hi TheHatOnMyCat; I was in Helper, Utah not more than six months ago. Helper isn’t doing too good, but I would recommend investing in the town. It lies over the Unita Basin. So, no spark plugs for you. Perhaps oil shale.

  102. 102
    The Moar You Know says:

    @Ash Can: Supporting Democrat economic programs can give you AIDS.

    Why not? They’ve said pretty much everything else!

  103. 103
    Ed Drone says:

    In particular it went into the advantageous of electric, which because the train no longer has to carry its own fuel doesn’t waste energy hauling it around, and since the electric can be generated from green sources that has its own advantageous.

    I like the idea of electric railroads, with miles and miles of overhead electric lines that are incredibly susceptible to weather (ask the folks in Kentucky about sustained stretches of time without electric power). I can foresee the myriad jobs for keeping mountain electric lines repaired, and can also see the exciting rescue parties when a passenger train gets stranded miles from any town with no power for even heat!. CNN or Faux News will have a field day covering these.

    Ed

  104. 104
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    @Punchy:

    I noticed a bit late…lol

    Must. Consume. More. Coffee.

    Maybe BreakOutBox was talking about the Obama train? Elected? Does he want Obama pushing trains? Something like that. I know it makes sense to BOB, and to him that’s all that matters.

  105. 105
    BethanyAnne says:

    I’ve started to post questions about the electric train idea like 3 times, and every time I do, I get lost in figuring out what really this all entails. Sounds like a huge works program that doesn’t fix the current infrastructure. Why is building something new better than fixing what we have?

  106. 106

    The plot thickens…

    Some amazing writing going on out there. Everyone has an opinion on the politics of the stimulus, far more than the package itself. Not surprising since no one really knows how much the huge amount of money is going to help the economy recover.
    Paul …

  107. 107
    BethanyAnne says:

    @The Moar You Know: Cool, time to google that tech. Thanks :-)

  108. 108

    I was in Helper, Utah not more than six months ago.

    Yes, I hear they are still talking about you down there.

  109. 109
    Laura W says:

    @Brick Oven Bill: I have something for you Bill. I think you’ll enjoy it. I thought of you when I heard it on my walk.
    (Please don’t tell Fuckhead. He’s the jealous type.)

  110. 110
    Dave S. says:

    As some of the upstream comments have implied, we should not throw the baby out with the BrickOven. Railroad electrification, in conjunction with improvement of certain rail corridors, would reduce overall emissions both by reducing diesel locomotive use (if I understand correctly power-plant-generated electricity is cleaner relative to diesel-locomotive-generated electricity) and taking any number of trucks off the road.

    The article in question was in Atlantic Monthly, by the way, and made an effective case for relatively modest infrastructure investments with a susbtantial rate of return. The bottleneck on the East Coast, incidentally, is a tunnel in Baltimore that is on the National Register of Historic Places, and there is a plan to upgrade the rail line that roughly parallels I-81 to both avoid that tunnel and reduce truck traffic on I-81.

    To our host @49, the assumption seems to be that electrified rail = passenger, but as the Milwaukee Road reference indicates, it is just as good for freight.

  111. 111
    Catfish N. Cod says:

    Behold: Clean nuclear power. 99% elimination (with recycling of spent fuel). Combine this with the new pebble-bed reactor designs which literally cannot melt down, and you have power for the 21st century. (The 22nd century will be run on Space Solar Power, the cleanest of all.)

  112. 112

    Obama, town meeting, Indiana. Kickin ass and takin names.

    Awesome.

  113. 113
    comrade rawshark says:

    We used to hop rides all of the time, getting chased by the rail dicks and hobos we would piss off. It was a fast way to get a ride to the pool since the rail lines ran right past it. Nobody ever got hurt and it was pretty damned fun stuff for a kid. Dangerous, but we weren’t stupid and didn’t take chances. Only the slow ones!

    I used to hop freights too. Just for fun though.
    Ever been shot with a rock salt gun? Not fun.

  114. 114
    TenguPhule says:

    Helper isn’t doing too good, but I would recommend investing in the town.

    Enron isn’t doing too good, but I would recommend you give me your money to invest in it.

  115. 115

    Not surprising since no one really knows how much the huge amount of money is going to help the economy recover.

    Good point. Every fireman knows that the first thing you do when you get to a fire is calculate exactly how many gallons of water you will need to put it out.

    Only then do you get off the truck and hook up the hose.

  116. 116

    Brick Oven, maybe if we electrify our asses we can all fly.

  117. 117
  118. 118
    TenguPhule says:

    Only then do you get off the truck and hook up the hose.

    Actually if you wait for the fire to burn everything down, you don’t need the water at all.

  119. 119
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    @Dave S.:

    As I stated, he is a freight engineer, so I am pretty sure he was talking about freight trains. But like I said, I am not the expert. I just ask the questions…lol

    There is no doubt that it would be better to run the trains on electricity but lots of people are not familiar with the rockies and there are some gnarly runs through the mountains. My BIL has told me some wild stories about some of the grades and loads that he has had to deal with. Combine that with the storms the mountains are famous for and you have some problems dealing with servicing the lines. It is lonely country out there in the mountains. Not a good place to break down, especially in the winter.

    I will dig up those winter shots he sent me and post them later. You can see some of the stuff he deals with in the winter. While he could be wrong in his opinion, he knows his job and how to do it.

    Did you know that if an engineer passes his limit on allowed hours worked in a day that he has to stop the train and it can’t move until they bring in a fresh engineer? The train has to stop wherever it is, which makes for some interesting times trucking in an engineer from wherever he is to wherever the train stopped.

    Crazy. Oh, and before the anti-union nuts blow up, it is a government regulation.

    Ever been shot with a rock salt gun? Not fun.

    Ouch! Nope, we stayed well ahead of the rail dicks and them catching about eight kids was impossible. :)

  120. 120
    TenguPhule says:

    Oh, and before the anti-union nuts blow up, it is a government regulation.

    Logic and reality have never stopped them before.

  121. 121
  122. 122

    Actually if you wait for the fire to burn everything down, you don’t need the water at all.

    Precise-amente, amigo. Thereby SAVING the water for more important things, like fish tanks, and laundry.

  123. 123
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    Logic and reality have never stopped them before.

    I detect a high level of truthiness in that statement.

    Thereby SAVING the water for more important things, like fish tanks, and laundry.

    And bong water, don’t forget the bong water!

  124. 124
    ronathan richardson says:

    So I think I’ve figured it out–the republicans goal is to destroy confidence in the American economy. If they keep using the media to convince everyone that we’re totally fucked and there’s nothing we can do, then the lack of confidence will fuck over our economy for long enough that the Democrats get voted out.

  125. 125

    @robertdsc: As The Moar You Know points out, the waste isn’t of the same scale in terms of half-life as conventional waste. We’re talking hundreds of years as opposed to 10,000. While that seems like forever, the difference of a couple of orders of magnitude begins to make storage of these irradiated wastes feasible.

  126. 126
    Adrienne says:

    @TheHatOnMyCat: Damn, I missed it! I gotta find a link. I knew he would rock. He always does.

  127. 127
    Dave S. says:

    @Con Lib:
    I agree that the Rockies are probably not the best place to electrify the railroads, but we can’t extrapolate from that to say that we should not electrify the Northeast or California routes, for example.

    A friend of mine worked for Conrail for a number of years and passed along some fun stories along those lines. I would give anti-union nuts permission to explode since I will guess that the federal regulations had some labor input, just like the one requiring (until relatively recently, and far past the end of steam locomotives) a fireman as part of a diesel engine’s crew.

  128. 128
    Gordon, The Big Express Engine says:

    Big engines have big needs. Little engines are just annoying.

  129. 129
    Stuck says:

    I was in Helper, Utah not more than six months ago.

    Meanwhile, on the side of the electrified train tracks, in Hurter, Ut., mutant liberals plotted to steal the Helpful, little engine that could.

    No one could have predicted it.

  130. 130

    Fuck Richard Shelby. That Republican piece of shit is from a state that receives $1.66 in federal funding for every $1.00 in taxes paid. Someone needs to start hammering on the Republicans from the red welfare states every time they open their mouths about government spending and point out what utter shitholes their states would be if the federal government cut spending.

  131. 131
    scarshapedstar says:

    When Putin rears his head and comes into American airspace, where does he go? He goes to Alaska. He goes to HAARP. He takes over the evil mind control device and sends out ultra-low (also known as the "Dumbass Spectrum") frequencies beamed straight at the Capitol.

    And this is what happens.

  132. 132

    Thank you for that song Laura W. Sorry about your cat.

  133. 133
    sparky says:

    what, not a single person here who rides the rails in the NE corridor other than me?

    hello! we already have catenary in NJ (NJT), on the Northeast Corridor (DC/MD/DE/PA/NJ/NY/CT/MA), in Chicago right behind BHO’s house, and in PA (and third rail here and there in various cities but that’s another story). Doesn’t anyone pay attention to the point that (AFAIK) there is nothing in the existing package to repair the existing catenary? The PRR and the NYNH&H built this stuff to bring trains into Penn Station at the turn of the last century, and then the PRR electrified to DC as a WPA project. But of course it’s been all downhill since then. How about paying a little attention to what we already have? Oh, sorry, repair is not an American notion. Better to throw it away. Preferably in someone else’s drinking water supply. Wheeeeeee!

  134. 134

    Opium4themasses@26:

    Everybody who wants to grow their own dope for personal use buys a license from the feds. Annually renewable, just tick a box on your 1040. The money goes for bike paths and free bikes for the needy, everybody wins.

    Hell, sign me up.

  135. 135

    But I have no idea what an electrified intercontinental rail will accomplish. Who is going to ride it? Rail workers on vacation?

    If the United States wants to seriously cut carbon emissions in a hurry, transferring as much of its freight trucking capacity over to rail as quickly as possible is one of the better ways to go about it.

  136. 136
    binzinerator says:

    @Schtick Oven Bill:

    A diesel engine burns evil oil, turning a generator, which drives a traction motor.

    Glad to see you were paying attention when you got schooled some threads back on how diesel-electric locomotives really work. Too bad the part about the downsides of using electric lines everywhere to power them went in one ear and out the other. I do see others have again pointed out the stoopit. Not that it’ll have any effect on you. But it was nice they tried.

    But this whole ‘electrify the trains’ thing from the get-go is utter nonsense. Trains already are an extremely energy efficient and environmentally friendly way to move stuff. Trucks and cars by comparison aren’t. You will need a interstate (at anywhere from $1 million to $1 billion bucks a mile) filled with several hundred semi-trailers to match the freight carried by a single train. Those hundreds of semis collectively burn more fuel than the train does, just as 10 cars carrying one person burn more fuel and make more pollution than one bus carrying 10 people.

    Why insist on spending huge amounts of money building a transportation infrastructure to replace what already works many times more efficiently than any other land-based transportation method?

    Heavens to mergatroyd, if you weren’t a spoof or a moron and you really wanted a government-funded program that would reap enormous benefits, you’d be clamoring for electrifying cars and trucks, not trains.

    Occam’s Razor normally would tell us it’s more likely you’re a spoof than such a stupendously dumb-as-in-freak-of-nature-dumb dumbfuck. So I should say spoof. But then again with conservatives freak-of-nature-dumb has clawed its way up to become the status quo. The rampant reverse darwinism of modern conservatism makes it a tough call. Spoof? Or a case of survival of the twittest? Is it Schtick Oven Bill or Brick Oven Swill? Hard to say most of the times….

  137. 137
    TenguPhule says:

    But I have no idea what an electrified intercontinental rail will accomplish.

    It will waste a shitload of electricity and the fuels needed to create it.

    Remember, straight from BOB’s lips to the dog’s ass.

  138. 138
    binzinerator says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    point out what even bigger utter shitholes their states would be if the federal government cut spending.

    Fixed to comport with reality. They get all that money from the Feds because there are health, education, poverty and economic statistics that prove these states are already utter shitholes.

    I now will return to work on my book, titled Goopers and Reverse Darwinism: An Analysis of Thirty Years of Evidence for the Survival of the Twittest.

    An alternate title I’m considering is The Dumbing of the American Mind: The Reagan Revolution, Republicans, and Reverse Darwinism

    Or maybe this: On Origin of Dumbfuck Species: The American Conservative and the Selection for Stupidity

    Also this: Dumbfucks Get Dumber: Morning in American with Darwin and the Dittohead

  139. 139
    bob h says:

    The nihilistic shittiness of Republicans is unbelievable.

    They refuse to cooperate with this decent, sincere man. He extends his hand to them, and they bite it. They are vile, evil, stupid people.

  140. 140
    headpan says:

    Every time I think I have become cynical enough to deal with the current GOP, they raise their game. I just can’t keep up.

    I think I finally have the answer, just been a little slow on the uptake.

    We.Are.In.Hell

  141. 141
    headpan says:

    And, honestly, I confess to my stupidity here on a regular basis, so I’m not necessarily trying to be an ass. But honest-to-god, I can’t make heads or tails of what B.O.B. is talking about. Ever.

  142. 142
    [delurk]...[/delurk] says:

    Overhead electrical lines to power trains across the Great Plains is just silly. What we should do is replace the diesel engines in locomotives with gas turbines.

    They’re already more efficient and will become more and more efficient as higher-temperature turbine blades (ceramic?) are developed. They can burn any flammable liquid or gas, and since they weigh much less for a given power, that leaves room for enough batteries to at least store the train’s kinetic energy for regenerative braking purposes.

    Of course, the same thing goes for full hybrid cars: a small single-spool gas turbine (it wouldn’t have to be any bigger than the turbocharger in a current car) that only comes on to run at a single speed and load to charge the battery when it gets below a certain point.

    (Just be sure you leave a little headroom to pump the energy back into if you went skiing, for example, and it’s downhill all the way home. You have to have someplace for that mgh to go.)

  143. 143
    comrade rawshark says:

    Ever been shot with a rock salt gun? Not fun.

    Ouch! Nope, we stayed well ahead of the rail dicks and them catching about eight kids was impossible. :)

    I think shooting us with the rock salt gun was their alternative to trying to catch us. :) The only time I was shot at it was the engineer doing the shooting.

  144. 144

    […] Instead of rebranding themselves and putting forth an alternate vision, they seem to think that unified obstructionism based on the hope that things get worse is the real way forward for them. And they don’t realize that everyone sees through […]

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  2. The plot thickens…

    Some amazing writing going on out there. Everyone has an opinion on the politics of the stimulus, far more than the package itself. Not surprising since no one really knows how much the huge amount of money is going to help the economy recover.
    Paul …

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