This is why the US still doesn’t have high-speed trains

The FRA should never have been asked to oversee the project, said Thomas Hart Jr, president of the pro-rail consulting group Rail Forward. It was inexperienced, needlessly bureaucratic, and had “neither the experience, the staff, nor the regulations” in place to make high-speed rail work. To Hart’s mind, the largest problems were strategic: The FRA “tried to do too much with too little” by spreading the money across the nation rather than targeting the best possible projects, while simultaneously shutting out small or minority-owned businesses. He also believes the federal government made a fatal misstep in allowing Amtrak to run the projects, rather than opening it up to more experienced foreign competitors. 

…“The question really is, for us as an industry and as a company, in being pragmatic,” he said. All over the country, there are underserved segments of around 300 miles which are ripe for high-quality rail, he added. “We don’t even need to spend money on necessarily expensive high-speed trains—just getting what we have today working well at a hundred miles an hour, which is very feasible, is really viable.” 

Europe might have some of the world’s best high-speed rail, but it also had a great network of slower, 80-mile-per-hour trains, said Harris. “We should aspire to that first. We can deliver that and make a lot of people happy, without spending $100 million.”

This is why the US still doesn’t have high-speed trains — Quartz

hmm

The Senator Who Stood Up to Joseph McCarthy When No One Else Would

Only four months earlier, McCarthy had delivered an inflammatory speech claiming 205 people working in the State Department were secretly communists. Since then, Smith had been closely following his words and actions, meant to undermine the Democratic party and seed suspicion everywhere.

…“Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism,” Smith said, in another thinly veiled jab at McCarthy’s tactics.

…“It is high time that we all stopped being tools and victims of totalitarian techniques—techniques that, if continued here unchecked, will surely end what we have come to cherish as the American way of life,” said Smith.

It was a remarkable moment, not only because Smith was a woman, or the first person to speak out against McCarthy, but because she was willing to speak out against her fellow Republicans.

The Senator Who Stood Up to Joseph McCarthy When No One Else Would | History | Smithsonian Magazine

hmmm

Trump Brags on Hiding Evidence: ‘We Have All the Material, They Don’t’

President Trump said he’s happy with the way the impeachment trial is going thus far because his administration has not released “materials” that would hurt his cause.

“When we released that conversation all hell broke out with the Democrats,” Trump said. “Because they said, ‘Wait a minute, this is much different than [what Adam Schiff] told us.’ ”

The president continued, “So, we’re doing very well. I got to watch [the impeachment trial] enough. I thought our team did a very good job. But honestly, we have all the material. They don’t have the material.”

Trump Brags on Hiding Evidence: ‘We Have All the Material, They Don’t’ – Rolling Stone

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Scientists move Doomsday Clock closer to midnight

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the hands of its symbolic Doomsday Clock closer to midnight, indicating that the likeliness of a human-caused apocalypse has increased since last year.

The Bulletin adjusted the clock to reflect looming threats from nuclear weapons and accelerated global warming.

The clock is now set at 100 seconds to midnight, the closest it has ever been to symbolic doom and the first time the hands have been within the two-minute mark.

Scientists move Doomsday Clock closer to midnight

sigh…