Wednesday, August 27, 2008

John Stossel: The idiocy of "energy independence"

At one time, I also believed that the USA was just too darn dependent upon foreign oil, and needed a policy of "energy independence". But John Stossel raises some common sense objections here and here:

Barack Obama, promising to "set America on path to energy independence," is upset that we send millions to other countries. "They get our money because we need their oil".

His concern that "they get our money" is echoed in commercials funded by Republican businessman T. Boone Pickens, who wants government subsidies for alternative energy. He tries to scare us by saying, "$700 billion are leaving this country to foreign nations every year — the largest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind."

Don't Obama and Pickens realize that we get something useful for that money? It's not a "transfer"; it's a win-win transaction, like all voluntary trade. Who cares if the sellers live in a foreign country? When two parties trade, each is better off — or the exchange would never have been made. We want the oil more than the money. They want the money more than the oil. They need us as much as we need them.
And if their domestic government program ends up costing us much more than importing the oil, are we really better off? No. And given the government's track record with programs like "Synfuels", are you really optimistic that a governmental "energy independence" program won't just make us poorer and no less dependent upon foreign supplies?
McCain and Obama talk constantly about how much they will "invest" — with money taken from the taxpayers, of course — to achieve energy independence. "[W]e can provide loan guarantees and venture capital to those with the best plans to develop and sell biofuels on a commercial market," Obama said.

What makes Obama think he's qualified to pick the "best plans"? It's the robust competition of the free market that reveals what's best. Obama's program would preempt the only good method we have for learning which form of energy is best.

Has he learned nothing from the conceits of his predecessors? Jimmy Carter, saying that achieving energy independence was the "moral equivalent of war," called for "the most massive peacetime commitment of funds ... to develop America's own alternative". Then he wasted billions of our tax dollars on the utterly failed "synfuel" program.

McCain promises a $300-million prize to whoever develops a battery for an electric car. But the free market already provides plenty of incentive to invent a better battery. As George Mason University economist Donald Boudreaux writes, "Anyone who develops such a device will earn profits dwarfing $300 million simply by selling it on the market. There's absolutely no need for any such taxpayer-funded prize" (

Central energy planning and government-funded prizes are economic idiocy.
The government energy policy should not be to achieve "energy independence", which cannot be done short of economic autarky, and that would cause more poverty and economic problems than it would ever solve.
To be for "energy independence" is to be against trade. But trade makes us as safe. Crop destruction from this summer's floods in the Midwest should remind us of the folly of depending only on ourselves. Achieving "energy independence" would expose us to unnecessary risks — such as storms that knock out oil refineries or droughts that create corn — and ethanol — shortages.

Trade also saves us money. "We import energy for a reason," says the Cato Institute's energy expert, Jerry Taylor, "It's cheaper than producing it here at home. A governmental war on energy imports will, by definition, raise energy prices". 
The problem with fuel supplies is NOT that they are often imported. The real problem is at what price, and what quantity is vulnerable to supply shock by hostile foreign forces. 

And anyway, if the economics of oil production favor foreign over domestic producers, it still makes sense to buy the cheaper product. It wouldn't matter how much shale oil we have in the United States, if foreign light sweet crude (no kidding, that's what they call it) is so much cheaper to buy than shale is to break apart.
Readers correctly point out that because governments control much oil production, there is no global free market. But it does not follow that market forces don't work. There are many sources of oil in the world and many buyers. Supply and demand still set the price globally. It is foolish not to buy at the lowest price.
Many readers agreed with the one who said: "The short-term goal here is not complete energy independence. ... The goal is partial independence from those countries, many of whose citizens hate us and would do us harm."

"Partial independence" sounds like partial pregnancy. People don't have to like each other to benefit from trade. Those who sell us oil need the money so they can turn it into food, automobiles and other things. Refusing to sell because they don't like us would be self-destructive. Anyway, all the world's oil ends up in the same global market. If one foreign source stopped selling oil to the United States, it would sell to someone else, and that buyer would then have an incentive to turn around and sell to us.

Several readers argued that "Energy independence doesn't mean opposition to trade. If we ever become energy independent, we'll still have the option of buying energy on the world market."

Of course. But this misses the bigger point. To even attempt to achieve energy independence, the government will have to plan the energy sector. Considering how pervasive energy is throughout the economy, this is a recipe for full central planning and a step toward poverty and tyranny. 

"Why not keep all that $720 billion [we spend to import oil] in the United States of America?" was a sentiment expressed by many. But that reveals a poor understanding of world trade. When we trade dollars to foreigners for oil, they have to do something with those dollars. They don't stuff them in mattresses. (If they did, it would mean we got free oil.) They buy American products. (U.S. exports are soaring.) Or they invest in businesses here. Or they sell the dollars to someone else who buys American products or invests in the United States.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dennis Prager: Taggers should be shot....

He's spot on, and of course the bedwetting Andrew Sullivan has a hissy-fit:
Many on the left have long described graffiti as "urban art" and graffiti vandals as "artists." Even when not admired or even defended, most liberals regard graffiti in far less negative ways than do conservatives. Conservatives tend to regard graffiti as an assault on society, perpetrated by pathologically narcissistic lowlifes bent on undermining the foundations of higher civilization.
To personalize this for a moment, while I assume that graffiti troubles Sullivan, I strongly doubt it troubles him nearly as much as it troubles me. If it did, the odds are he would not be a man of the left.

Why are so many on the left not as angered by graffiti as most conservatives are? I would like to offer some possible reasons:

One is that liberals find it difficult to condemn the poor, especially poor members of ethnic and racial minorities. If rich white kids spray painted their names on university buildings, there would probably be a liberal outcry.

A second reason is that crimes against property tend to disturb the left less than the right, especially when "no one is hurt"; and graffiti is deemed by many liberals as a classic example of no one being hurt. That is why I suspect that most people on the left would express greater anger toward someone who lit up a cigarette in a mall or a restaurant than toward an inner city kid who spray painted his initials on neighborhood walls and signs.

A third reason is that conservatives tend to view higher civilization as more fragile than the left views it. Conservatives believe the line between civilization and barbarism is under constant assault and is not necessarily enduring. That is one reason the right tends to have a higher regard for the police than does the left. Conservatives see the police as "the thin blue line" that separates civilization from barbarians.

So, it is natural that conservatives would see graffiti as vandalism, as an undermining of the very notion of higher civilization, as a public scorning of the common good, as essentially an "F—— you" to society.

Liberals are far more inclined to see graffiti as a mere nuisance, or even as an example of the downtrodden trying to have a voice in a civilization that oppresses young people who are usually members of historically oppressed minorities.

To the conservative, graffiti is an assault on civilization; to the liberal, graffiti is the result of civilization's assault on those who paint the graffiti.

For those who share Sullivan's political and social values, the notion that someone would defend a man who shot and wounded graffiti vandals defacing his property is worthy of derision. Sullivan is so sure his readers have contempt for such a view that he felt it unnecessary to offer a word of commentary on what I said.

That is unfortunate. I would be interested to know how Sullivan regards taggers and what he would suggest be done to them if caught in the act of defacing property. Since most people suspect that calling the police would achieve little, if anything, what should be done?

My first wish is that taggers be arrested and punished. I also wish for world peace and a cure for cancer. But the real-life choice is almost always between taggers getting away with their vandalism and an irate citizen taking action. Given the destructive nature of tagging — the moment one sees graffiti, one knows one has entered a largely lawless and violent environment where thugs terrorize innocents — I prefer something, even if violent, rather than nothing be done.

I have no desire to see a graffiti vandal killed — my position has always been that only those who cause death deserve death (that is why I oppose the death penalty for any crime except murder). But if enough taggers are wounded, their assault on civilization will decline dramatically. And if one accidentally dies? That would be a tragedy. But here is the bottom line: More innocent people will die if tagging is not stopped than if it is. Graffiti unchecked leads to worse crime.

Those who deface private and public property are not otherwise decent kids who are oppressed and not allowed any other form of self-expression. My sense is that the vast majority of graffiti vandals are headed toward, if not already involved in, a life of sociopathology, including violence.

Indeed, increasingly those graffiti vandals do engage in violence. Citizens who so much as flash their headlights or yell at them to stop have been shot and sometimes murdered.
As in so many other areas, with regard to taggers, right and left see life through opposing moral prisms. On the left, the tagger is viewed as society's victim; on the right, society is viewed as the tagger's victim.


Monday, August 25, 2008

The Odious Obamunist O-deology

Never before has a major party candidate for president of the United States had a more contemptuous opinion of his own country....

...we have reached a watershed moment in American history: the number of Americans who no longer believe we are Ronald Reagan’s “shining city upon a hill” may have reached critical mass. For such enlightened “citizens of the world,” totalitarian, dissent-suppressing, child labor-exploiting China is a great place to set up corporate shop, and Russia’s historical track record of oppression and occupation is the same as America’s record of liberation and restoration.

And who can forget Obama's mentor, William Ayers, an unrepentant terrorist and communist? On Aug. 27, 1968, he was booked by the Chicago Police Department, presumably for shenanigans related to the Democratic National Convention. Here's the mugshot:

Friday, August 22, 2008

Republic of Georgia Crisis: 7 different responses

Victor Davis Hanson observes X different schools of thought and X different corresponding responses to Russia's aggression vs. the Republic of Georgia:

(1) The neoconservatives: We must make Russia pay a terrible price for subverting a democracy. Our policy of promoting liberal governments among the former Soviet republics, with integration into Europe and relations with NATO, was sound, and it cannot be allowed to be aborted by Putin.

Bottom line: Form a ring of democracies around Russia until it sees the light and likewise evolves into a constitutional state.

These principles are wonderful, but at what price? How much of the world can we realistically police? Shouldn't we bolster our economy at home first, especially given how broke we are? How much blood and treasure would this cost?
(2) The paleoconservatives: Putin is only protecting his rightful national interests in his own backyard, which don't really conflict with ours. You have to admire the old brute for taking care of business. Neocons — and no doubt Israelis in the background — provoked that Georgian loudmouthed dandy Saakashvili to stick his head in a noose — so he deserved the hanging he got.

Bottom line: We should cut a deal with our natural ally Putin to keep out of each other's proper sphere of influence — and let each deal as it wishes with these miserable little third-party troublemakers.
The ghost of Charles Lindbergh, 1938-1941. How well did *that* work out?
(3) The realists: Don't poke sticks at the Bear. We should define what our strategic interests in the region are. Maybe we can protect Eastern Europe, the Baltic republics and the Ukraine — but only if we accept that Georgia just isn't part of the equation. We need to back out of the saloon with drawn pistols, and save as much face as we can.

This is a reminder that we forgot the role of honor and fear in international relations when we encouraged weak former Soviet republics merrily to join the West and gratuitously humiliate Russia.

Bottom line: Don't get caught again issuing promises that we can't keep!
This would be my own approach, or better yet, my approach would be the neocons of (1) above tempered by the realists of (3) here. We should do what we can for freedom abroad with what we have, but we must realize our limits and keep the cost-benefit analysis in mind.

Georgia now, like Somalia in 1993 and Rwanda in 1994, is just too far away from American interests, too logistically difficult to effectively project American power at a low cost, and above all, not worth the American blood and treasure required to effectively do the job.
(4) The left wing: Putin's unilateral pre-emption was just like our own in Iraq. His recognition of South Ossetia's independence was no different from our own in breakaway Kosovo. So America is just as bad. Russia's attack is the moral equivalent of America arbitrarily removing the tyrant Saddam. It's all about Big Oil and pipelines anyway — along with Bush, Cheney, Halliburton et al.

Bottom line: Another long overdue comeuppance for the American Empire.
These Commiecrat traitor scum, who are entrenched in academia and the media, need to be tried in front of a revived Committee On Un-American Activities.
(5) The liberal mainstream: Both sides are at fault. We understand Georgia's plight, but also sympathize with Russia's dilemma. We should consult the United Nations, involve the European Union and encourage European diplomacy. We can learn from the multilateral NATO teamwork in Afghanistan.

Bottom line: Make sure that international institutions don't confuse an empathetic America with cowboy George Bush.
In other words, fall back and punt, and essentially go along with (4) above, while not explicitly saying so. Gutless wonders.
(6) The Europeans: Prioritize! 1) Don't jeopardize gas supplies from, and trade with, Russia; 2) Avoid any confrontation in any form; 3) Make sure that Bush does not do something stupid to draw us too far in, but at least does something to avoid leaving us too far out.

Bottom line: Luckily, Tbilisi is still a long way from Berlin and Paris!
In other words, European "Soft Power" is really helplessness and *no* real power. If the Euros want to criticize American foreign policy and really think they have a better approach, then they had better man up and be ready to bring real firepower when needed. They can't even police the Balkans which are in their own backyard.
(7) The rest of America: My lord, Putin is acting just like Brezhnev! But they told us that he just wanted to democratize and reform Russia, integrate with NATO and the EU, and help fight radical Islam! So why did he get angry with Georgia when it just wanted to do the same things he was supposed to be doing? That backstabber wasn't honest with us!

Bottom line: Now what?

To the extent the American people think about foreign policy at all, VDH says they have naive idealism. I am not so sure about that, Vic. But Vic is right about this:
The more Russia promises to leave Georgia, the more it seems to stay put. One reason may be that Putin keeps counting on us either to be confused, contradictory or angrier at ourselves than at Russia over his latest aggression. And given our inability to speak with one voice, he seems to be absolutely right.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ahnold sucks, 2010 can't come fast enough

He just gets worse and worse. He really stabbed the GOP in the back...
"There is no divide to the air that we all breathe, or the clean water that we all depend on," said Schwarzenegger, a Republican who chairs the group. "There is no divide between our common desire to make the border region an economic powerhouse."

Yes, there is, Ah-nold. The Mexican province governors want to improve their situation by dumping their wretched refuse in El Norte. This does not help the USA border states one bit.
The border states -- California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas in the U.S., and Sonora, Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas in Mexico -- plan to sign an agreement Friday to clean up huge discarded tire piles in the region. An agreement is also planned on climate change.
If the agreement on discarded tire piles is anything like the "agreement" on the New River, the most polluted river in the USA, which flows into the Salton Sea from Mexico, from where all the pollution comes, expect Great Pyramids of Tires along the border. The fraud of global warming climate change is even worse.
Federal officials say nearly all illegal guns seized in Mexico are from the United States, and many of the weapons have been traced to smuggling points in Southern California, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico. Near the bustling San Ysidro crossing, assailants in Tijuana throw rocks, bottles and bricks at agents in San Diego, hoping to distract them long enough to jump the fence. The Bush administration is racing to meet a congressional mandate that called for 670 miles of fencing to be in place along the U.S.-Mexico border by the end of the year.
Or, more likely, the Commiecrats will try to grab the guns of law abiding US citizens who just want to protect themselves. And Ah-nold, if his actions with respect to other Left pressure groups are any indication, will cave in.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Global Warming Fraud: A few facts

Man-caused "global climate change" is a scam that makes a few liars rich while stirring up mindless masses. Don't believe me? Well, look up a few facts for yourself:

--Just over 97 percent of the carbon dioxide in the air is created GEOLOGICALLY by the earth itself.

--If you laid a pipeline 3,000 miles long from Los Angeles to New York City, then isolated all of the carbon dioxide in that pipe, it would occupy just over one mile. If you separated out the CO2 caused by some form of human activity, the pipe to hold it would be about 158 feet--less than twice the length of my home lot.

--And as to methane, there's even less methane in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, and most of that too is naturally created, unless you really want to quibble about farting cows--or humans, for that matter.

--In other words, it is physically impossible for manmade gases in the air to cause any significant effect on the climate. The sun, cosmic radiation from deep space, and north-south wind patterns are have far more impact on polar ice cap freezing or melting conditions. And those are determined by complex solar cycles and other factors unrelated to human activity.

--Norway recently reported [that the] North Atlantic ice pack in Spring 2008 was the heaviest in many years.

--Last year, Denmark reported the ice pack between Greenland (a Danish territory) and Iceland was heavier in Spring 2007 than any other year since the early 1900s.

With these simple facts in mind, understand that the notion that the polar caps are disappearing is a myth propagated by people with an agenda - not a fact presented by people telling the truth.

Tom Scheffelin, a mechanical engineer with the California Air Resources Board, said: "If we allow science to become politicized, then we are lost. When government policy is based on the misinformation of the few, the many will suffer. Engineering and science must be above reproach to support societal decisions. The erroneous scientific consensus regarding global warming is a tool to eliminate necessary debate and stifles future scientific progress."

I'll leave it to you to read some of the tens of thousands of articles that have been written on this contentious subject. All I wish to point out here are two things:

First, the earth will undoubtedly go through thousands of cooling and warming cycles in the coming thousands of years - long after you and I are gone and perhaps long after human beings are extinct or have moved on to another celestial habitat--who knows? More ice ages, such as the one that occurred some 10,000 years ago, are inevitable. Likewise, record-high global heat waves, such as the one that brought about the great Dust Bowl era of 1931-1939, are also inevitable.

The only thing that is scientifically certain (well ... almost certain) is that the earth will ultimately be incinerated as the sun expands into a Red Giant in its dying phase, only to end up as a frozen ice ball in the darkness of space when the collapses into a White Dwarf. (Some scientists believe that the sun could actually envelope the earth in its last-gasp, expansive phase, which would be a dream come true for the global warmies.)

Second, whenever I reflect on the long view of the earth's fate, it underscores, for me, man's arrogance. Forget that scientist's are now saying that the earth's temperature has not risen at all during the past ten years. Even if the supposed 1 percent increase in temperature over the past 100 years is true, is it not arrogant of us to get in a huff over it? And especially arrogant of politicians - who, by and large, know little or nothing about science - to jump in and insist that they are obliged to further control our lives in an effort to save the planet? As Mr. John Stossel would say, give me a break.

As with all other issues that government and self-anointed saviors of the world stick their noses into, whatever the facts about global warming may be (and the likelihood is that we will never know all the facts), it is an issue that is being used as an excuse to place further controls over your life. The politicization of subjects such as global warming is a far greater threat to the survival of the human race, and certainly to the survival of what is left of the once proud and confident United States of America, than the fact that the temperature of the earth has risen 1 percent over the last century.

Other than that, notwithstanding all the reading I've done on the subject, I don't know a heck of a lot more about it than you do. And, to be blunt, dear reader, I don't think either of us knows very much. But the more important question is, how much do *scientists* really know about this phenomenon? The honest ones will tell you not much, they are still gathering data, and that natural forces dwarf anything industrial man has done.

One would think that there would be a moratorium on the subject until we could get at the clear, unbiased and undivided facts. But, of course, that would put a dagger in the heart the super-emerging "social fascism" that the American (and global) Left embraces more every day.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

San Francisco Initiative Will Protect Pedophiles

This is about par for San Fransicko:
A careful reading of the initiative, "Enforcement of Laws Related to Prostitution and Sex Workers," however, shows a measure that shields child prostitution and traffickers of human beings.

"If I had just heard from the proponents, I would probably vote for it myself," said the Rev. Glenda Hope, whose San Francisco Network Ministries helped found the Tenderloin AIDS Resource, in the mistaken belief the measure is meant "to protect women." But as the executive director of SafeHouse, a residential center that helps women get off the streets, Hope knows too much.

Hope knows that the average age of entry into prostitution is 12 to 14. The office of San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, who opposes the initiative, has encountered prostituted children as young as 9 years old.

Yet the San Francisco ballot measure completely ignores the prostitution of children. The measure simply states, "Law enforcement agencies shall not allocate any resources for the investigation and prosecution of prostitutes for prostitution." Astonishingly, there's no exemption that encourages police to enforce the law for minors.

If the measure passes, the city is likely to become an international haven for pimps who peddle girls and boys, and perverts seeking sex with minors.
Too many think this "is a victimless crime". But when vulnerable young women are involved, often underage *girls*, nope, it's not. Or given San Francisco, perhaps I should say boys.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Victor Vashi: Red Primer For Children And Diplomats

First published in 1967 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.
Here and here you can find Internet versions of Victor Vashi's original book, which is long out of print and the publisher no longer exists. The message of this book is so vital and well delivered we felt it a shame not to share it with the world. Especially considering the recent attempts by Russia's ruling elite to bring back the glory of the good old USSR.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Barbara Boxer bullies senate's birth doc

Yet another reason this horrid harpy is the worst Senator California has ever had. What a bitch.

Meanwhile, with all of the ethics stink bombs lurking in Washington, the (Senate Ethics) committee, chaired by California Democrat Barbara Boxer, is aiming its guns at Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., for "a serious violation of Senate rules."

Coburn's bad? An obstetrician by profession, Coburn won't heed the committee's threat to reprimand him for delivering babies back home in Oklahoma — for free.

"On my own time, I'm taking care of women who have a need, and I'm going to continue to deliver babies," Coburn told

And, bully for him: "I'm not going to stop." When a member of the House, Coburn delivered 400 babies under an agreement with ethics meisters that allowed him to do so — if he charged only enough to cover his expenses.
As Coburn spokesman John Hart noted, there have been many stories about lawmakers, their friends and families profiting from earmarks, but "no one has ever chosen to have Dr. Coburn deliver her baby in order to sway his vote."
With Democrats in charge the mandate is clear: Forget Ethics, It's Payback Time.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Circular Reasoning and the Affirmative Action Mortgage Crash:

Steve Sailer hits on something big:

Trying to think about the mortgage meltdown is reminiscent of the infinitely recursive children's song Yon Yonson, which was memorably featured in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five:
"My name is Yon Yonson / I live in Wisconsin / I work in a lumber mill there / The people I meet / When I walk down the street / They ask me my name and I say: / My name is Yon Yonson / I live in Wisconsin..."
Similarly, in trying to explain this decade's socioeconomic logic, you end up with thought processes like this:
Q. Why did we need so many illegal immigrants?
A. To build all those McMansions out in the distant exurbs.
Q. Yes, but why did so many Americans want to move to the exurbs?
A. To escape all the illegal aliens flooding their neighborhoods and schools.
Q. Okay, so then why did we need so many illegal aliens?
Everything just spins around and around, like those chrome wheel rims, those insanely expensive hubcaps that were the signature useless extravagance of this decade. Neely Tucker wrote in the Washington Post in 2005:
"Today rims are a $3.1 billion industry that stands at the revolving heart of two American obsessions: automobiles and finding ever more expensive ways to buy things you already have and don't need."
Some economist should calculate what proportion of all the money spent on blinged-out rims came out of home equity loans taken out on houses bubbling up in nominal value.
Similarly, it's hard for most people to grasp the interrelatedness of multiculturalism and greed in fostering the housing bubble. "Diversity" gave the big guys an excuse for doing what they had always wanted to do: debauch credit standards and take the money and run, leaving the mess to be cleaned up by taxpayers (through direct bailouts) and savers (through Fed-created inflation eating away their capital).

Friday, August 01, 2008

The fix is in for Sacramento commuters

Well, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) has made its transportation plans, and it appears that the fix is in for us hard pressed commuters.

Click here to go directly to the survey.

I should have been paying attention sooner. In any case, the survey continues until Labor Day and it's not too late to register your point of view to The Powers That Be at Regional Transit (RT), for what little that is worth.

Looking at the three choices presented to us, it becomes clear that the luddite goons and ECOmmunistS aren't content to stop road improvements, they want to saddle us with trolleys. And they have the ears of whoever runs RT. These trolleys have incredibly high fixed costs, so they are more expensive than simply increasing bus service in the areas where they are to be placed. They do not have exclusive rights of way and will only take space away from buses and cars, and thus congest streets further. But hey, for the ECOmradeS, that's the idea, isn't it?

But let us look over the three options:

Option A: Probably the least objectionable and most realistic. Double tracking on the Blue Line bottlenecks from downtown to Watt and I-80 would certainly help, as would an extension to Cosumnes River College (assuming the flyover ramps and exclusive right of way option at the RT website).

However, a light rail Stub to Richards Boulevard? Gee, how about a vehicle bridge between Truxel and 7th/8th streets that buses and even cars (gasp!) could go on? I know, cars are evil and we must all ride unicycles... never mind that people will use their cars anyway from Natomas to Downtown and turn I-5 from Natomas to Downtown into a permanently congested mess. Already RT runs bus lines between Natomas and Downtown that could easily be routed to serve the new Railyards urban renewal area if there was just a BRIDGE across the American River at Truxel.

Option B: The Trolley Wanking begins here. Not everything about this option is awful: The Gold Line to Folsom could use a good double tracking. However, couldn't they just do the Gold line double tracking with the money they intend to waste on the Richards Boulevard stub in Option A?

Trolley systems for downtown / West Sac and Rancho Cordova? As if expanded Neighborhood Ride shuttles couldn't achieve the same ridership at a fraction of the cost? What crack are they smoking?

But that's not the worst of it. Just think about where these trolley lines will go. That's right, at street level, taking away badly needed road space. It would be one thing if a new trolley line to West Sac was built as an extension of the existing RT line at R Street (where a railroad overpass already exists over I-5), and then on a *new* bridge over the Sacramento River from there. But will that happen? Noooooo. Instead that new trolley will putt-putt-butt-plug its way across the Tower Bridge, taking away already strained road space. Ditto for whatever they want to build in "Raunchy Cadaver".

Moreover, will an airport rail line really outdo Yolobus to the airport in terms of service? At least in this option they are beginning to think of a New Bridge at Truxel, which is a must. But I suspect that once again the new RT line will not be elevated and will putter its way at street level. In general, LRT at street level just is more congestion--if you are going to expand the Rail system at all, give it grade separation and it's own right of way.

Option C: Now this option just has to be a masturbatory fantasy of trolley fetishists. Gold Line towards El Dorado County? On an old railroad line that was used by loggers and meanders its way to Placerville? And yet more pathetic trolleys that poke along on street level, taking away badly needed lanes on Arden, Fair Oaks, Howe and J Streets! Once more: If you are going to build rail lines at all, build them with exclusive rights of way and grade separation.

So what are we to do?

1. *Don't* renew the Measure A half-cent sales tax. In the absence of ironclad language that says the revenue will go to real road improvements, all the money will only go to trolley fetishists.

2. *Don't* approve any additional tax, unless the initiative somehow has ironclad language that says the revenue will go to real road improvements. (Given shifty judges and shysters, I'd even be a bit skeptical here)