atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4719: The problem of Amtrak

So a bunch of lefty pols try to cash in on Amtrak crash in Philly, excoriating Republicans for wanting to cut the Amtrak budget. They start talking about how important infrastructure is, blah blah blah, implying that the Republican desire to cut Amtrak's funding somehow caused this crash.

It's typical, of course, but even more so when you realize why it's incompetently wrong.

See, in most of the country, Amtrak owns no track whatsoever. That would be the infrastructure that these Democrats are crowing about. Locomotives and rail cars are not infrastructure, though if it turns out that an equipment failure caused the wreck they will certainly try to argue that it is.

Ninety percent of passenger rail accidents are caused by human error of one stripe or another. It's possible that this wreck is the exception, but nobody knows that yet, and for these Democrats to point at the corpses and attempt to make political hay with them is not only disgusting but also premature.

In any case, as I said, Amtrak doesn't own much track. The Acela corridor is theirs, for example, but I can't think of another case; it's most likely that this wreck occurred on track Amtrak leased from a freight carrier--and if that's the case maintenance of that infrastructure is not paid for from Amtrak's budget.

I've looked at several articles on the crash and none of them say it's the Acela corridor. One article says it happened in a rail yard--and if that's the case, why was the train going fast enough to cause such devastation? Another story said it was on a 70 MPH section of track, but heading into a 50 MPH curve, and it's "too early to tell" if speed was a factor.

Even so, a quick troll through various news stories reveals that the track that the train was on was owned by a Pennsylvania commuter rail line, not Amtrak--and maintenance of that track is therefore the responsibility of said commuter line. Amtrak's budget has nothing to do with it.

* * *

The recession never ended, guys. It's easier to understand if you start from the assumption that the government's numbers are trash.

Retail sales are pretty crappy.

But of course the aristocrats are doing just fine, so who cares, right?

* * *

NAFTA, by itself, demonstrated the folly of lassez faire trade. The United States really doesn't manufacture anything any longer, and that needs to change. I'm glad that Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership thing is foundering in the Senate.

* * *

So Chicago bonds have been relegated to "junk" status.

A thousand generations of Democrat rule have placed Chicago firmly on a trajectory that has an endpoint similar to Detroit's--just not as soon.

Chicago and Illinois simply cannot afford to make good on the promises given to government workers about how much pension they would get; there's no money for it. You know what this means, don't you? It means tax increases, because of course the government isn't about to restructure its spending to make good on its debts. The answer is always to seize more money from the populace.

...which will, of course, only hasten the decline, because as the taxes rise people and businesses leave.

The baffling thing is, why doesn't the GOP run on this shit? The Democrat party hands them--time and again--prime opportunities like this, and the GOP ignores it, apparently out of some kind of desire to be seen as "gentlemanly". WTF.

* * *

Vox Day posts a comment from his other blog about the decline and fall of feminism, and it's a good essay on what extreme feminism has done for our society.

You know, I used to be disgusted by gender feminism. These harridans who scream and wail about this and that and the other insult, who natter on about "rape culture" and insist that any time a penis goes into a vagina it's rape, who can do nothing but compain about victimization--I found it intensely repugnant and highly annoying, not the least because it was obviously and immediately identifiable as nothing more than radical leftism in disguise.

But it's gone so far now that I simply do not care any longer. The constant nagging has turned into mere white noise, something to be tuned out, because it never changes and they are never satisfied. What used to annoy me now merely results in an eyeroll: there they go again. I'm dismissive of it because that's all it's worthy of. Look, the feminists are outraged! What's got the gals' panties in a bunch this week, and why should I give a rat's ass about it?

* * *

So the other day I had a few minutes to delve into the "pellet points" thing at work, and it turns out that one can exchange pellet points for a variety of gift cards. Somewhere along the line I got a sizable stack of them, somehow, such that with the 1,000 point bonus for being a retail grunt at a successful store (in lieu of a trip to Puerto Rico like management) I had 1,600 of the things. Wow.

Anyway, 1,130 of them converted into a $50 gift card that I'll probably get in the mail sometime in the next week. I have two 100 point cards on hand; one's on my desk and I have no idea where the other one is, but if I can add both of those to my remaining balance I'll have another 670 points to play with. Maybe I'll get a couple of $5 gift cards for a restaurant or something with them, I don't know.

But oh boy! --do I feel motivated! *rolleyes*

* * *

This just in: Train going 100 MPH into a 50 MPH turn.

Democrats cry, "The nasty GOP wants to cut spending on Amtrak and the result is dead people!"

Truth: reducing the rate of growth in Amtrak's budget slated for next year has nothing to do with safety in the present, particularly not when a train is mis-operated by an overpaid government employee.

As I said above, the most likely cause was "human error" and this incident is no exception.

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