URLs du Jour

2022-01-14

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  • As promised/threatened yesterday… we have more observations about Biden's speech in Georgia. Starting out with James Freeman's puckish suggestion that it's Time for Harris to Cut Biden Loose. It's funny, but what I want to excerpt is his quoting of a Senate floor speech from Mitch "Yertle the Turtle" McConnell:

    Twelve months ago, a newly-inaugurated President Biden stood on the West Front of the Capitol and said this: “My whole soul is in this: bringing America together, uniting our people, and uniting our nation.” Yesterday, the same man delivered a deliberately divisive speech that was designed to pull our country farther apart.

    Twelve months ago, this President said we should “see each other not as adversaries, but as neighbors.” Yesterday, he called millions of Americans his domestic “enemies.”

    I don't usually quote politicians approvingly; with few exceptions, they are a disreputable, dishonorable bunch with no devotion to truth. But the stopped-clock rule applies: Senator Yertle is exactly right.


  • For more About That Speech, see Jonah Goldberg. He gives President Wheezy's substantive claims withering analysis. And comes off pretty much in the same place as Senator Yertle:

    Biden’s speech yesterday, and this whole project, is shameful, dangerous, stupid, and profoundly hypocritical.

    Because the wheels are coming off his presidency, Biden has decided to divide Americans in ways he vowed he would not. Now, I don’t have any problem per se with politicians “dividing Americans.” Democracy is about disagreement, not unity. Unity is Biden’s bag and, as I pointed out at the time, I thought Biden’s unity schtick was clichéd nonsense. I’ve spent the better part of two decades ranting about the “cult of unity.”

    But I do have a problem with a president dividing Americans by casting people he disagrees with as evil racists bent on destroying democracy—particularly when it’s not true (and when Biden himself played footsie with the very segregationists he’s now associating with his political opponents). Even worse, his lies are intended to sow even more distrust in our elections purely for partisan gain.

    But that's not all…


  • Come on, Kyle, tell us what you really think. Kyle Smith (in an NRPLUS article) sums up Biden's speech in a headline: Old Man Yells at Cloud.

    “That’s not hyperbole,” Biden thundered, as he offered one ludicrous chunk of overstatement after another. “Will we choose democracy or autocracy?” he asked, as though the issue in Georgia is a czarist movement rather than an ID requirement for absentee voting. “I’m TIRED OF BEING QUIET!” he shouted, slapping the lectern, making everyone sigh who voted for him on a “maybe he’ll restore calm” theory. Reeling off names from the Civil Rights Hall of Fame, he added, “I’m so damn old, I was there as well!”

    Unless “there” means “the Sixties,” this was meaningless tosh, because he sure wasn’t among the Freedom Riders, nor at Selma. “Ya think I’m kiddin,’ man seems like yesterday, the first time I got arrested.” So our Pop-Pop of the Potomac is under the impression he was arrested more than once in civil-rights protests? Somebody should refresh him with the truth. He was AWOL from the civil-rights battles and was still bragging about earning the blessing of George Wallace as late as 1987. Good thing Biden’s reputation as a liar is one of the best-established facts in Washington, or people might have started to wonder whether maybe Joe had lost a step.

    But about that "arrested" thing: Glenn Kessler awards that Four Big Pinocchios: Biden claims yet another arrest for which there’s little evidence.


  • We'll give the last word … on this topic to (yes) another senator, Nebraska's Ben Sasse: Sasse Blasts Biden’s ‘Senile’ Demagoguery.

    Nebraska GOP senator Ben Sasse went to the Senate floor on Thursday afternoon to defend the filibuster and blast President Biden’s speech earlier this week that likened the opponents of Democratic voting legislation to George Wallace and Bull Connor.

    “The president of the United States called half the country a bunch of racist bigots,” Sasse said. “He doesn’t believe that. This was a senile comment of a man who read whatever was loaded into his teleprompter.”

    And yet, he won.


  • Time for a change of pace. Drew Cline of the Josiah Bartlett Center noticed an inconvenient fact: The case for commuter rail in N.H. got worse, not better, in the last seven years.

    The case for taxpayer-subsidized commuter rail from Manchester to Boston has grown weaker, not stronger, in the seven years since the state released its major study of the proposed Capitol Corridor project.

    The New Hampshire Department of Transportation’s December, 2014, report on the Capitol Corridor project projected that a commuter rail line from Manchester to Boston would attract 3,120 riders per weekday. It predicted also that demand for commuter rail would grow as highway traffic increased in the coming years.

    In November of 2021, the department released an updated analysis of the Capitol Corridor project. It projects a peak ridership of 2,866 passengers per weekday, which is an 8% decline from the 2014 report.

    It's worth pointing out that choo-choo enthusiasts invariably inflate predictions of ridership; even those bleak ridership numbers are likely to be optimistic. And (as Drew points out) costs and necessary subsidies are routinely lowballed.


  • And furthermore… Cato's Chris Edwards does a reasonable Randal O'Toole impression when he observes: Amtrak Slower Than Buses on Many Routes.

    My daughters have gone to college in Pittsburgh and Poughkeepsie, NY. As they will be traveling back and forth to D.C., we have compared transportation options. For Pittsburgh, the best option is Megabus. For Poughkeepsie, it is Amtrak.

    For Pittsburgh, we were surprised to find that rail is much slower than bus. Because of the mountains between D.C. and Pittsburgh, trains need to zig zag more than highways as elevation changes. Amtrak’s trip between D.C. and Pittsburgh is 7 hours 43 mins, while Greyhound’s (with a stop in Baltimore) is 6 hours 15 mins. Even better, Megabus provides 5‑hour service direct between D.C. and Pittsburgh college campuses on high‐demand days.

    `

    Which got me wondering: our next-door city, Dover NH, has both train and bus service to Boston. How do the times compare?

    There are five "Downeaster" trains on the timetable today (2022-01-14). Four are scheduled to take 93 minutes for the trip; one (leaving at 12:47pm) takes 20 minutes longer, 113 minutes.

    Five "C&J" buses are on the weekday schedule from Dover to Boston, and they take (respectively) 120 minutes, 120 minutes, 105 minutes, 105 minutes, 100 minutes.

    So it's pretty close. You have to factor in (of course) the convenience of the departure and arrival points, parking availability, schedule constraints,…