Thursday, February 28, 2008

Love Rail and Bikes? Obama's Your Man

As a follow-up to the light rail post from yesterday, Obama is drinking the choo choo, high density, bike riding for all kool-aid.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

After a Long Hard Day

Some people turn to liquor. I prefer ice cream in a bowl shaped like Shamu.

R.I.P. William F. Buckley

Conservative icon William F. Buckley died today. He was the godfather of the conservative movement in America.

I had the chance to hear him speak when I was in college and it was a great experience. An answer to a question about why he wasn't a Libertarian has stuck with me to this day and is probably what keeps me from leaping fully into that universe. He said, essentially, that taken to its logical conclusion, libertarianism is anarchy.

America lost a great thinker and writer today.

Magic of Wii

How cool is it that people are figuring out alternative ways to use the Wii remote? This guy created a virtual reality system that is pretty stinkin' cool. Watch the whole video.

Light Rail Boondoggle

My frozen, liberal friend, Sank, got me up on the soapbox in response to his post on light rail. The best part? We pretty much agree that it is a big boondoggle. Below is the "Comment" I put on his blog. Yeah, I know, probably the longest "Comment" every written!
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Amen. Biggest waste of money in transportation. I've never understood why a FIXED rail system is better that dedicate bus and HOV lanes. Take the same right of way that the choo choo runs in and pave it for buses. First, it's cheaper, second it is more flexible because the buses could leave that right of way to enter other routes.

Double check your "ridership" numbers, too. They usually count "trips" which is different. You ride downtown and back and you are counted twice.

The whole light rail obsession is based on another fallacy: the "central city model". It assumes people live in the 'burbs and work downtown. Well at least in Portland, Oregon, as many people (or more) commute suburb to suburb for work, not downtown. The key to the whole mass transit system, light rail, is based on false assumptions.

Ironically, one of the first casualties of light rail is the bus system. They cut routes to force riders onto trains, or only route the buses to train stops.

Finally, in the Portland area light rail is really being used not for transportation planning but for land use planning. Areas around light rail stops are rezoned high density in an attempt to increase density. It's called "Transit Oriented Development" and planners (oh, don't get me started on planners) love the IDEA of transit oriented development. The reality is that it doesn't really work. It attracts only certain kinds of buyers and is often not supported by the market.

Portland is light rail freakin' mecca, we even have different types of light rail, for example the "Portland Street Car" downtown. PUHLEEZE.

I ride the train solely to save money on parking when going to Portland Beavers baseball games and Portland Trailblazers games. That's it. Yet, as you've indicated, I get to subsidize it.

As you can see, you struck a nerve. And I didn't even get to how light rail in Portland serves as the crime superhighway, transporting thugs from area to area.

Stepping down from soapbox now.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Patriots Consolation Prize

They are champions to the Nicaraguans!

Jacoby Ellsbury

Nice piece on "The Pride of Madras", Red Sox Jacoby Ellsbury.

Great Line

Eric Has Issues posted this great line about the Navy shooting down the spy satellite yesterday. Love it!

Off the boat, over the ocean, through the atmosphere, nothin but satellite

Friday, February 01, 2008

Jack Bauer Watch


Many people may be wondering, "With the the writer's strike and no new episodes of '24', what is Jack Bauer up to? How is he passing the time?" Well, I had a certified Jack Bauer sighting tonight at the Blazers/Knicks game. And he's not holding up well. The only explanation I can figure is that he's in hiding from the US government or terrorists, because how else can you explain the presence of Fat Bearded Jack Bauer at tonight's game?

Ralph Nader: Hillary's a Monster

Oregonian political reporter Jeff Mapes has word that Ralph Nader has fired up the exploratory committee and will run if Hillary is the nominee. Mapes called up longtime Nader confidante and Portlander Greg Kafoury, who had this to say:

"If it's Hillary, there is no doubt Nader will be a candidate," said Kafoury. "He views her as a monster, somebody willing to do anything to advance her personal ambitions...He thinks she has to be stopped."

I feel a storm a brewin' on the left...

Senator to President

This year's race is shaping up to make history in several ways, from the first woman and/or African American nominee to the oldest nominee (see previous post). One way that is interesting to me is the potential to elect a US Senator as President for the first time since John F. Kennedy. 48 years since a US Senator has ascended to the Presidency from the US Senate:

1960 - Kennedy (US Senate)
1964 - Johnson (Elected after being VP and becoming Prez when Kennedy was shot)
1968/1972 - Nixon (Former Congressman, Senator and VP, but not straight from Senate)
1976 - Carter (Gov. of Georgia)
1980/1984 - Reagan (Gov. of California)
1988 - George HW Bush (VP)
1992/1996 - Clinton (Gov. of Arkansas)
2000/2004 - George W Bush (Gov. of Texas)

A Romney (or Huckabee, which won't happen) nomination is the only thing that can give the streak a chance to survive.

John McCain Is A Geezer

Seriously, this isn't meant as disrespect but John McCain is OLD. If elected, he'll be 72 years old, the oldest person ever elected president.

I believe it was Dennis Miller back on the 80's who had a line about Reagan being old. It was something like "You know, Reagan is 70+ years old and he has access to the big red button. Really? My grandfather is that old and we don't even let him use the remote control."

McCain's age makes his selection of a Vice President even more important. Because whomever it is has pretty good odds of becoming President via attrition.

Is Arlen Specter Bored?

Doesn't Senator Arlen Spector have something more important to worry about than what happened to the "Spygate" tapes from the Patriots/Jets game? Arlen, we're at war, the economy is slipping and you're worried about Belichick?

And, can someone PLEASE enforce a ban on the addition of "-gate" to the end of anything meant to sound conspiratorial or nefarious?