Paying for Progress

                                                 Once again, the ruling party in Sacramento is testing the endurance of California voters by plunging high speed ahead with a massive spending plan to show the world that we are on the cutting edge of innovation. Never mind that we are already billions in debt, the prestige of the state is at stake. We always hear the claim that California is the proving ground for ideas that eventually catch hold in less enlightened states like Neanderthalabraska. We are the guinea pigs of the world.

To maintain our status, we taxpayers are continually required to pony up more moolah to fund the legacy of politicians. In November there will be no less than three initiatives on the ballot demanding increases in taxes, or else all the schools will be burned to the ground and poor people will be forced to eat lawn clippings, if there are any lawns left after global warming and dam removal leaves us high and dry. And that’s just the state ballot; most local governments are pushing sales tax increases to keep themselves on life support. Add to that, rate increases for all utilities, skyrocketing food prices, and the promise of more pain at the gas pump.

To the affluent, this is a minor inconvenience. It’s more important to maintain their image as bold innovators. The money jugglers in Sacto promise that some of the money extorted collected from energy producers will be returned to the poor to offset their bloated heating bills, but when the cash cow in Washington stops giving milk it’s more likely that those funds will be redirected at the bullet train and the general fund. Are there free blankets in our future? Ask an Indian how that one will work.

Note: My computer will be down for a few days for maintainance, so I won’t be responding to comments until  sometime next week. Feel free to add to the conversation, but keep it civil, please.  -RL

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100 Responses to Paying for Progress

  1. Russ Steele says:

    As I noted at NC2012:

    The California Manufacturers and Technology Association (CMTA) released a new report last week that suggests costs associated with AB 32 may be a lot higher than previously estimated. CARB issues an economic impact report in 2010, not not much analysis have been done since that report was soundly criticized for being vague and incomplete.

    The CMTS commission Andrew Chang & Company, conduct a fiscal and economic impact study of the economic impact of AB-32 and they found that the average California family will end up paying an additional $2,500 annually by 2020 when AB 32 is fully implemented. Based on the most conservative estimates the state is expected to lose an additional 262,000 jobs, 5.6 percent of the gross state product, and a whopping $7.4 billion through decreased annual state and local tax revenues as a result.

  2. gregoryzaller says:

    The ideas here remind me of the farmer who was tired of feeding the front half of the cow when his only interest was in the back where he got the milk. He stopped feeding the front. When asked how it worked out he said that it worked fine until the back half up and died.

    Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Education may be a complete waste of money today, and it should be fixed, but not by simply cutting the money. A new model is need that makes the old obsolete and this will not happen over night. It is going to take time and effort on our part to bring this about.

    If California doesn’t start investing in its infrastructure, taxes or no taxes, it will waste away.

  3. Greg Goodknight says:

    Infrastructure is well and good, but this is a pipe dream that solves a non-problem. Europe and Asia have invested in fast rail, but that’s because they were heavy users of passenger rail to begin with and that conflicts with the needs of slow freight service.

    That isn’t the case here. This is more like the Cargo Cults of the South Pacific who built what looked to them like the needed infrastructure that brought exotic goodies to them during WWII. Even the entire line won’t do much to get people out of their cars or the Southwest terminals.

    I don’t know about you guys but it doesn’t solve any of my transportation needs, and I’d wager that the state will go bankrupt before the first trains start to put a dent into that killer Madera to Bakersfield traffic.

    • Todd juvinall says:

      Kind of like to Bay Bridge boondoggle. Three or four times the original cost and the same for the time to build it. So while people could use some new lanes in the clogged cities for the car and truck we get a bullet train in the head in the valley. If the money was apportioned among the counties we could probably pave every road in out little peace of paradise. We are being led by buffoons and ignoramuses. God help us.

    • Brad Croul says:

      Somebody must have big plans for Madera-Bakersfield.

    • gregoryzaller says:

      My post was mostly directed at the impact of cutting education further. I believe there are ways to improve education and save money, but just cutting it as they have been doing, and may do again, will only make things worse.

      • Tony Waters says:

        Our failure to not maintain existing infrastructure will also make things worse!

        Since Todd brought it up, I looked up the original cost for that CalTrans boondoggle, The Bay Bridge. It was built in three years (1936-1939) at a cost of $75 million.

        I agree though that the Madera to Bakersfield route is a rather odd way to start–why not Los Angeles to Palmdale?

    • This country had 80% of the population using 20,000 trains back in the 20’s and 30’s. There is no reason we can’t go back to that. Culture does have momentum, but it can and does change. What would the Bay Area look like today without BART, which was described by many as a boondoggle, back when I first voted for it? Todd will always respond to Tony Waters, for obvious reasons, cute in his 13 year old ways.

  4. Todd Juvinall says:

    Twaters, I am not talking about the Bay Bridge of the 30’2 but the present job.

    • Tony Waters says:

      Todd: I guess my point is that sometimes government-funded goes really well, and sometimes things really get out of control. It is not a matter of good govt, vs. bad govt., but of good management vs. bad management.

      Would you agree that the $75 million project of 1936-1939 was an appropriate use of tax money? And if so, why aren’t well-conceived public works projects appropriate government activities today


      PS. Note that I’m not asserting that the California rail project is well-designed today–

      • Ryan Mount says:


        Would you say that things are “sometimes” generally going well in California? I sense moderation in your tone, but I find it unrealistic.

        Most (like just about all except the most whacked) conservatives are not anti-government, but they are more about an austere government. They have many valid criticisms of our current state (and State). And I detect that in your language. However, it is absolutely indefensible (by any measure) to support what amounts to a “railroad to nowhere” when California is teetering on a Greece-like fiscal calamity. And that’s where the conservatives have it 100% right: we currently seem to be incapable of governing ourselves in any reasonable fashion. And their instincts are to treat our representatives like impulsive teenagers. They’re not getting the car until they find a job, damn it.

        And with regards to the train, even if it’s gonna connect SF to LA someday, it’s simply not going to work in this country. Most (like all) Americans HATE the trains except for their nostalgia factor. I f’ing hate them. Everyone I know hates them. (And yes, I’ve been to Europe, and they hate them too even in Britain where they invented the damn things) It’s a good intention…for the 19th Century.

        > Note that I’m not asserting that the California rail project is well-designed today

        That sounds like Apologetics, than an olive branch here. My apologies if I’m reading that wrong.

        • Sharon McKibbin says:

          Really? I love trains! I find Amtrak by far the most relaxing way to travel – no driving tension, you can get up and walk around, no lousy airplane air, no airport hassle, and I like the sway and sound of the rails. Easy to buy tickets. Cheaper than driving from here and parking overnight in SF. I liked them for longer trips when I lived in Europe, and never heard a German complain about them (the English complain about everything, for good reason). Italian 3rd class is a little much, I suppose.
          What do you hate about trains?

        • And just when was the automobile invented?

      • Todd juvinall says:

        I think the Bay Bridge was a bond that was paid off many years ago. Same with the Golden Gate and most others. All built by private consortiums and in record time. The government was the guarantor. It really is about good vs bad. In the 30’s there were no government unions.

        • So what are they collecting tolls for?

        • Tony Waters says:

          So then, Todd, you are in favor of government guarantees for private consortiums which contract with the state? I guess we actually agree that sometimes government guarantees for the private sector is a good idea!

          • Todd juvinall says:

            Of cours TonyW. The military is a good example of government mandated programs using the private sector to make and build the tools they need. Infrastructure like roads and dams and other similar things need a guarantee. Since the government owns one half of California and 90 percent of Nevada lands, it only makes semnse to work together. However, when we get into social issues ot regulations we might just part ways.

          • Tony Waters says:

            Todd: I’m surprised to see you give a complete pass to the military-industrial complex. They need scrutiny, just like every other type of government activity.

            I suspect we can find some common ground on social programs and government regulations, too. I doubt that either of us think that accident victims should be left by the roadside, or that professions like doctors, lawyers, nurses, barbers, etc., should be completely unregulated. (o.k. I threw in barbers in jest–I think they should be unregulated). But the devil is in the details.


          • Todd juvinall says:

            Tony, I think the boogeyman of the military industrial complex is just that, a boogeyman. If you look at the total GNP of the planet the amount sent is not that much. Eisenhower was a WW2 man and saw the rise of communism after the war. Perhaps the “complex” actually worked since we never had a nuclear war eh?

            Regarding barbers. They are actually heavily regulated as are hair dressers. My sis is one and now the state needs money so they are SSing across the state and fining every little thing.

            Accident victims are now a pariah since there is no protection for a good Samaritan. Lawyers are lurking around every corner with a ready, fired up ambulance. No tort reform, no good Samaritan. Simple as that.

          • Tony Waters says:

            Gee Todd, I think we agree on a lot! I don’t think barbers and hairdressers should be so heavily regulated, either.

            I don’t think you should give the military-industrial complex such an easy pass. In the big picture, deterrence may have worked (or may not-you can never be completely sure in such things), but they also did manage to invent the $1000 hammer, over-priced toilet seats, and any other number of abuses that you get when there is not careful oversight.

            I also agree with the need for tort reform. I wish that the Republicans had put their foot down, and exchanged minimal support for Obamacare, for a big fat tort reform provision. In the context of Republican “refusal to play”, the Democrats gave the trial-lawyers a free pass on that one.


          • Todd juvinall says:

            Tony, I believe in vigorous oversight of our tax dollars. We practical folks are outraged at 1000 toilet seats. I just don’t think on the whole the M-I complex is what it was supposed to be.

            Regarding Obamacare. In my view any acquiescence with the “mandate” as presented by the democrats during the road to passage would be Unconstitutional. Tort reform and many other issues were presented by the R’s and rejected by the D’s. They had the votes and did not need the R’s anyway. So they rammed it down the country’s throat. Roberts deferred to Congress and now we must try and get the cancer out of the body by regaining a voting majority. What is interesting tome is the very people who will pay nothing are those that get to vote on forcing me to pay. Kind of like a renter voting for rent control. The landlord/property owner is canceled out.

          • Tony Waters says:

            Todd: Fair enough response. But I would still assert that the Health Care bill would have been better if the Republicans played ball. The tenor of the final bill was pulled toward the constituencies of the more extreme Democrats by Pelosi’s need to get their votes. If the Republicans had insisted on tort reform and about 1000 fewer pages in the bill in exchange for 25-30 Republican votes, this could have been mitigated, maybe. Such compromise is how politics is played when things are not polarized, e.g. in the case of Reagan’s 1986 tax deal, and Clinton’s 1996 welfare reform.

            Anyway, this is all speculation, just like your argument that it is the massive post WWII defense spending prevented Soviet invasions. Such counterfactuals are, as you point out important, but also difficult to prove.

          • Todd juvinall says:

            Having followed the Obamacare folly from the beginning I can tell you the R’s did present numerous amendments to make the plan better but all were rejected (remember Reid and the locked doors?). It was all over the airwaves and CSPAN. The left wanted nothing included that their friends the Trial Lawyers (largest contributors) would take as a diminishment of their power. When we saw the graft Pelosi and Reid peddled with the Louisiana Purchase and the Cornhusker kickbacks, etal, it is beyond me how any right thinking American can buy into the end result “law” created in corruption.

            The MI Complex after WW2 did prevent a nuclear war and perhaps he demise of civilization and I for one am happy about that. If you read history the Soviets would have gained Iran for a warm water port if Truman had not been tough. Hell, the commies were after world hegemony and our parents and grandparents stopped them because they knew we would not stand for them to become Stalin’s world. Remember that?

  5. Tony Waters says:

    My comment was definitely apologetics! But with an attempt at olive branch, too. I am trying to find out whether Todd and the other conservatives are against all government projects (it sounds like this sometimes), or just poorly conceived ones. I suspect the latter, and that we do share some common ground. I’m just not sure what that common ground might be.


    • Michael Anderson says:

      Good luck with your quest, Tony. I am on the same one, and so far with minimal results. But I still have hope.

    • Ryan Mount says:


      My apologies for mis-attributing my comments towards gregoryzaller. And sorry gregoryzaller for dragging you into my comment. It was late and there were probably too many gin and tonics involved with my writing.

      I’m willing to give local conservatives the benefit of the doubt when it comes to government reform. But I think you raise some legitimate questions: What is the scope of government and how do we run it effectively? Are local conservatives recommending a Mad Max society? Do they actually want the glorious infrastructure of say, Somalia?

      • Greg Goodknight says:

        “Are local conservatives recommending a Mad Max society? Do they actually want the glorious infrastructure of say, Somalia?”

        I’m not a conservative, but to twist anything the local ones have ever said into the above takes an overactive imagination and a profound ignorance of conservative political views.

        • Greg Goodknight, you are fond of disclaiming all the various political ideologies as part of your commenting prose. How exactly do you describe yourself, other than, “not a?”

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            “you are fond of disclaiming all the various political ideologies as part of your commenting prose”

            I have certainly not disclaimed all the various political ideologies, and have indeed identified my political leanings and my political party registration multiple times in the past.

            Keachie’s memory and attention span has steadily faded since he started being a pest in the ’90’s on the old Nevada County forum list once hosted by NCCN. It now is apparently in freefall.

          • Nope, Libertarian Greg, I just thought it would be more interesting for others who may not know you so well to have the information up front, instead of coyly hiding behind, “I’m not a.”

            Let’s phrase it another way. If the spectrum reads only “left” on the left side, and “right” on the right side, where do you think most people would put you? Yes, I know, you rightly insist on political dimension charts that are far more multidimensional than that.

            Probably you need something like to locate your visions for the body politic.

          • Michael Anderson says:

            Hey RL, this latest from Greg, “Keachie’s memory and attention span has steadily faded since he started being a pest in the ’90′s” is a personal attack on Doug and really doesn’t belong in your nice blog. Just a thought.

          • rlcrabb says:

            Yes, this little war between Greg and Doug might be entertaining if it was on World Wide Wrestling instead of this blog. I’m removing all those comments I can unearth in my spare time. A warning, dudes, don’t spend a lot of time calling each other liars, etc.. They’ll just end up on the cutting room floor.

          • Libertarian Goodknight is too literal for a freewheeling blog like this one. As John Grattan Fitz Gibbon once said to me, “Get your head out of the dictionary and look to the stars.”

          • TD Pittsford says:

            Regarding Doug vs. Greg: Why don’t you two get a room and take our your aggression towards each other out of this BLOG?

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            TD, what you seem to be calling aggression on my part, I call self defense. In this last case, Keachie made an assertion that he has verified he knew not to be true, in order to harm my credibility on this blog, in this thread.

            This is nothing new for Keachie and I’d be happy for it to stop.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Greg, as proven numerous times on these blogs, you do not get to define your own politics, the other posters get to define them. If Keachie says you are a “libertarian”, and repeats it often enough, and convinces his allies here to repeat it, and they maintain that fiction long enough that everyone else here believes it, then you are a “libertarian”. And you deserve no better treatment, because that is the treatment that you have meted out to others on the blogs; you have gone along with and participated in the defining of your peers politics with rumor, innuendo, inaccurate characterization of their statements, and outright labeling peoples politics. So the chickens have come home to roost with you my friend. You are a Libertarian!

            And of course your protestations of merely “defending yourself” will only fall on deaf ears….the record here, and in other venues, is clear to those who see.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Funnyman Frisch, what are you smoking so early on a Saturday? Keachie has read me describing myself as both a libertarian and a Libertarian many times over the years, but Keachie’s BS here has followed one of Keachie’s common tactics:

            1) A demand I answer a question of his, rather than just assert what he knows;

            2) I ignore his demand;

            3) A grand proclamation I was afraid or too paranoid to write what he was demanding.

            Keachie has revealed nothing, and he knew his statement at the top of his July 10, 2012 at 9:38 am was a lie when he wrote it, because he knew I have never disavowed being a libertarian/classic liberal.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Libertarian Greg. Has a nice ring to it!

            Libertarian Greg.

            I don’t think I shall ever refer to you any other way.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Statist Steve, call me what you want as long as it falls short of Keachie’s defamations.

        • Ryan Mount says:


          It’s just hyperbole. Actually it’s a criticism of our manic discourse. So nobody’s twisting anything, it’s a figure of speech, OK? But we’ll put you in the “I don’t want Somalia camp” with the rest of us. Keachie might go for it if we drag solar along with our George Clooney aid. I’m still thinking he’ll say no.

          So, can we lighten up Francis?

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            If you want it to be lighter, Ryan, stop putting words in the mouths of the folks you’re trying to take down a notch.

          • No snow in Somalia, no deal.

          • Ryan Mount says:

            Oh for goodness sake Greg. No gin for you.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Ryan, if you were “for goodness sake”, you’d not be erecting straw men to ridicule.

          • Ryan Mount says:

            Tony made the first assertion, and I amplified it because I wanted a direct answer from Liberals:

            “Todd and the other conservatives are against all government projects”

            The Somalian/Mad Max straw man was aimed at Liberals, not Conservatives. Ironically, Conservatives took the bait. I often read here an elsewhere wild claims (somewhat obfuscated in Tony’s post above) that Conservatives want some kind of Anarcho-America, with their guns, fall out shelters and boards of beans, rice and Elvis memorabilia. I was assuming Conservatives would take the assertions as ludicrous, because they are Conservatives.

            As a figure of speech, amongst intelligent people, I would hope we would see past the hyperbole as being ridiculous. But there you go. That’s how we manically talk these days on the Internets. What I should have said, I guess, is that American Conservatives should feed the Irish young to the poor to solve the world hunger problems.

            But I suppose I would be accused of twisting Conservative welfare/food program reform around.

          • “We” do, you don’t.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Two manic progressives does not a “we” make.

          • Two is not a singularity event. And I thought you portrayed yourself as the “hard science” math whiz?

      • Now think about how many gin and tonics are consumed in Washington, D.C. every year. Enough limes to stretch from here to the moon?

      • Todd juvinall says:

        Somalia infrastructure? Sure, we local conservatives would just love to see pirates kidnapping liberals and holding them for ransom so we could take the money and build a road. Yep, that is us.

  6. Tony Waters says:

    Lucky we are both pretty patient!

  7. Robert Lovejoy says:

    Who cares it the price to build the stupid train will be double, plus more. I don’t even mind that the $50.00 fare will twice the amount plus more. I am slightly irritated that the promised 2 hour trip will now be over 4 hours and maybe longer when every politician demands a stop in his/her city or they will block the route. We all know it is cheaper to fly and quicker. What really bothers me is they probably will not have my favorite thing about flying: having total strangers feel my junk. When Amtrak II is built, I wonder if it will be like Amtrak I where the taxpayer has to subsidize every LA to New Orleans ticket to the tune of almost $400.00. Looked good on paper.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      The TSA may be feeling your junk as you try to board the train, as they already have jurisdiction.

      • It time nudists demand their rights to move about freely in public. Not being nude will mean you are a terrorist. Of course, most terrorists do not object to having bombs stitched into their bodies, since they are going to be blown apart shortly. That “nice rack” might be a nice bomb rack. There, now I’ve spoiled every man’s day.

        • Robert Lovejoy says:

          Don’t mind nudists on the train, just as long as their arses don’t stick to the seats. Makes a farting sound when they stand up and that is so immature..

      • Ben Emery says:

        The TSA gropes and x-rays are in total violation of the 4th amendment. I’ve tried to organize a protest at the airport against our fourth amendment being violated and people won’t touch it.

        “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety” attributed to Benjamin Franklin

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          Funny, Ben, I recall privacy rights being front and center the day in 1988 that I met Ron Paul at Dr. Timothy Leary’s house. Your party is a little late to the game.

          The problem isn’t at KSMF and creating a hassle for people trying to get somewhere isn’t terribly productive. The biggest 4th amendment violations in history are in the electronic medical records provisions of Obamacare and you’re at the front of the mob carrying pitchforks for that one.

          • Ben Emery says:

            The patriot act beat obamacare to the punch. Your records of medical, banking, library, ect.. have all been viewed by the government under the banner of national security, where was the pitchfork? Go ahead and throw in spying on our phone calls, torture, suspension of habeas corpus, due process, posse comitatus, and free speech rights that were stripped during the W years.

          • Steve Frisch says:

            Doug, are you saying “Tom Kenworth” was at the same famed Ron Paul/Timothy Leary event and Greg was not there?

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Bob, as long as you’re cleaning up the blog, this one from Frisch (July 15, 2012 at 7:52 am) just repeats the defamation Keachie posted that you have removed.

            It’s unfortunate this comes across as Doug and I fighting, but Doug has declared himself my “nemesis” and I can either defend myself or only post at blogs who either block or moderate him.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Ben, as the pruned post made clear, Obamacare goes way past the Patriot Act where it comes to your most intimate medical records, and while the Green Party is against national ID cards, even Ronald Reagan nipped that one in the bud, likening it to requiring a number being tattooed on everyone’s arm. Been done before. Not a good idea.

          • Michael Anderson says:

            I hope you’re not intimating that PPACA medical records requirements are close to number tatoos on arms, since that would be a Godwin’s Law violation.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            What a bizarre twisting, MA.

            Ben, a Green Party activist (or at least past candidate with ballot status) was making privacy his issue, and so I went to the GP’s website to read the current version. They agree with Reagan.

            From ’97:
            “The ID card is hardly a novel idea. The concept once surfaced in a Reagan cabinet meeting in 1981. Then-Attorney General William French Smith argued that a perfectly harmless ID card system would be necessary to reduce illegal immigration. A second cabinet member asked: why not tattoo a number on each American’s forearm? According to Martin Anderson, the White House domestic policy adviser at the time, Reagan blurted out “My god, that’s the mark of the beast.” As Anderson wrote, “that was the end of the national identification card” during the Reagan years. H.R. 231 is proof that bad ideas never die in Washington; they just wait for another day.”

          • Todd juvinall says:

            Isn’t the SSN number and card our unique identifier?

        • I went to an event in Santa Cruz at which L.W. Goodknight was most likely not present, and Dr. Timothy was the star attraction. As my negatives of the period may be in any of several places between here and my sister’s place in Santa Cruz, I will present them when I happen next to stumble onto them. I was also present at the original Earth Day March in Berkeley and those negatives I have just located. Now, once I find my negative scanner, I will show some early history of the eco movement, never seen before, preen, preen, preen.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            The Santa Cruz event you said you went to was at Timothy Leary’s house in ’88, with Ron Paul. And you had pictures.

            That event never happened. Leary didn’t live in Santa Cruz then, and Ron Paul didn’t appear with Leary in Santa Cruz.

            Truth really isn’t a difficult concept, Keach.

          • Totally misinterpreting and misrepresenting what I’ve said, and the clarifications I’ve supplied, could only be done with such finesse, by L. W. Goodknight.

          • L.W. is true to his area of the political spectrum, as they interpret, {incorrectly, IMHO} the words of Obama:

            “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that {“that system”, most clear headed individuals}{“that business”, most bumbly-headed opportunistic literalists}. Somebody else made that{ditto} happen. The internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the internet so that all the companies could make money off the internet.

            The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.” ~Barack Obama, President of the United States~

            BTW, McCain thought Palin was a better choice than Romney!

          • BTW, the whole concept of routers and packets which came well before the Internet as Obama knows it, was intended to maintain a retalitory launch capability, in the event of a Russian first strike, according to Robert Metcalfe, and had nothing to do with commerce, other than allowing it to survive, via the deterrent effect, if the Russian knew of the system.


            And before L.W. goes off on another “keachie and Wikipedia jaunts, let me remind him that I read of this in Infoworld, more than 10 years BEFORE www was even invented. As further note, L.W. has also been referencing Wikipedia of late, in a blog or two.

          • Michael Anderson says:

            Anyone who doesn’t recognize and acknowledge that the foundational research that created the infrastructure behind what we now call the Internet was largely financed with public money is either being dishonest-with a partisan/ideological ax to grind, or they are just not informed on the subject.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Perfectly timed:
            “Gordon Crovitz: Who Really Invented the Internet?
            Contrary to legend, it wasn’t the federal government, and the Internet had nothing to do with maintaining communications during a war.”


          • And L.W. Goodknight comes up with the Sciene Fiction Writer’s of the Year Award, for who first thought of the “idea” of the internet. Had I argued for this, he’d of poo=poo’ed it and ask who had the patents on the first working Internet, as we know, I am always wrong and he is always right:

            From the article he cites above: “For many technologists, the idea of the Internet traces to Vannevar Bush, the presidential science adviser during World War II who oversaw the development of radar and the Manhattan Project. In a 1946 article in The Atlantic titled “As We May Think,” Bush defined an ambitious peacetime goal for technologists: Build what he called a “memex” through which “wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified.”

            I realize of course that Greg depends on people not clicking through to see what was actually said. I hope this clarification will help those. And while we are at it, isn’t after all, the Internet just a giant book on electronic steriods, and thus God invented the Internet? heh, heh, hee, nice try Greg, no cigar!

          • BTW, did you notice, that Vannevar Bush, the presidential science adviser, certainly had been a government employee, even if he wasn’t one at the time of writing, the pie in the sky science fiction for the time (IBM’s CEO Watson’s famous “7 computers is all the world will ever need” approximate quote) ?

            Hey Greg, if I write about Flying Boulders, controlled by computers made of granite, have I invented them

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            What Keachie originally wrote was “”Funny, Greg, I recall privacy rights being front and center the day in 1988 that Ron Paul had a fund raiser at Dr. Timothy Leary’s house in the Santa Cruz area [except that Leary didn’t have a house in Santa Cruz in ’88, nor did Leary and Paul have a fundraiser in Santa Cruz]. Nobody else on this list made Santa Cruz, except Tom Kenworth, who has the photos to prove it.”

            Now Keachie’s claim is that “I went to an event in Santa Cruz at which L.W. Goodknight was most likely not present, and Dr. Timothy was the star attraction.”

            You be the judge.

          • At 6:45 am in the morning and doing multiple things, I am not at my best. But I had no idea that Greg would jump on it like a bunch of Repubby whirling dervishes on an Obama statement, rewriting it to suit their needs and igniring the context of replicating Greg’s original statement.

          • Michael Anderson says:

            Greg, I never said that private companies had nothing to do with creating what we now call the Internet. But you, OTOH, seem to be claiming that gov’t interest, subsidy, program, and agency, contributed nothing to its evolution.

            If that is not the case, then please provide for the readers here your estimation of what percentage of the Internet’s development for which public investment can take credit.

          • Now Keachie’s claim is that “I went to an event in Santa Cruz at which L.W. Goodknight was most likely not present, and Dr. Timothy was the star attraction.”

            And I stand by that claim. Do you debate any part of it?

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Keachie, if you’re disavowing
            “”Funny, Greg, I recall privacy rights being front and center the day in 1988 that Ron Paul had a fund raiser at Dr. Timothy Leary’s house in the Santa Cruz area. Nobody else on this list made Santa Cruz, except Tom Kenworth, who has the photos to prove it.”

            Then you’re apparently agreeing with me, that you made that up. It was very nice for you to disappear for almost a week after that was pointed out the first time. That you may have once seen Timothy Leary in the Santa Cruz area was never disputed, nor was it in any way related to the discussion.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            MA wrote “But you, OTOH, seem to be claiming that gov’t interest, subsidy, program, and agency, contributed nothing to [the internet’s] evolution.”

            Sorry Mike, but I don’t have a clue how you tortured that out of anything I wrote, especially after I wrote about the government alphabets who were buying the networking gear I was helping make back in the mid 80’s.

          • Greg has more mental tight compartments than the designers of the Titanic could have ever hoped for. Psych 1A.

            Jumps from the 40’s to the 80’s in a single bound!

    • Judith Lowry says:

      In the glory days of train travel there were express trains and local trains.
      Won’t that be part of the new railroad plan?

      • Do the math. At 300 mph in 10 minutes you’ve gone 50 miles. Not too practical, specialized tracks, etc. Would be really nice to expand the project to include BART like trains regionally, where needed.

  8. Ryan Mount says:


    I’ll buy you the first round. Let’s meet up at Cirino’s

  9. Ben Emery says:

    Didn’t even attempt to read the thread but thought the point of infrastructure is and has always been a great investment. How much did the interstate highway system cost? $450 billion in 2012 dollars. How much value/ wealth has the interstate highway system added to our nation? It has paid itself back and then some. Here is an interesting link to the subject of the interstate highway system in the US.

    Employer of last resort, the government. Best welfare program is a job. The best investment a government can make is in infrastructure, especially education.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      Ben, the difference is that the interstate highway system filled a need. High speed rail in California is pork looking for a reason to be spent, assuming the Chinese are in a position to loan us the cash for it in the coming years.

      An ROTC enrolled friend of mine in college (early 70’s, it beat being drafted) shared with us the fact that the load bearing capacity designed into the interstate roadbed specifications just happened to match the weight and dimensions of the armored battletank of the period when on its trailer. Needed for defense, usable everyday by the people, a win win.

      I doubt I’d ever buy a high speed rail ticket; it just doesn’t fill any need of mine, nor, I suspect, that of virtually all readers of this blog.

      • RL Crabb says:

        Well maybe they’ll need high speed rail to transport the National Guard to the 2028 food riots in L.A. They’d get there a damn sight faster than the transports we got stuck behind on I-5 last week. Bummer.

  10. Tony Waters says:

    I ride railways all the time–in Europe and Asia. You might too if the price of gas was higher here, and the trains more efficient.
    As for the Interstate Highway system, Bureau of Reclamation Dams, California Water Project, airports, etc., etc., they too started out as pork. But many turned out to be the good investments that Ben mentions.

    Which is of course not to claim that the “train to nowhere” is a good investment–rather that such investment is longer term than a standard business plan permits.

    • Greg Goodknight says:

      Tony, I’m sure if our gasoline cost twice as much because of taxes, the FIAT 500 would be a real hit and we’d be flocking to the slow trains we already have… and we’d probably have flogged the AMTRAK managers and gotten competent customer service to replace them.

      The interstate highway system, dams, airports always filled real needs. There is no real need for the train from nowhere to nowhere, and patient money would be interested in building high speed rail in this state if *anyone* had believable numbers that showed it could be built and the ridership would pay a fare that would make it viable.

      Small airports are about a mile of runway. Big airports are about two miles of runway. It’s folly to talk about airport development in the same breath as fast rail, especially if you’ve been over at the Nevada County/Grass Valley airport (small, about a mile of runway) over the past few days and watched the CalFire AirAttack and tanker aircraft working the Robber’s/Forresthill fire. At one time they had 8 tankers, our two and others from elsewhere in the state using the CalFire facilities and getting refueled by local airport staff.

      The Nevada County airport, on land mostly donated years ago by the Litton family, has paid for itself many times over. The fast rail, if it gets built, will never break even.

      • Sharon McKibbin says:

        “if our gasoline cost twice as much because of taxes”
        Hmm, I always understood that European gas prices (talking back in the 80’s, when living there) were so high, not because of higher taxes, but less governmental subsidization than in US. That if the free market were really allowed to function, gas prices would be just as high in US. At that time, gas prices were higher per liter than per US gallon.

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