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  #41  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2011, 2:04 AM
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Hm, where to begin?

First of all, you already said you had been to Japan, and there was no pat-down security, but somehow you are sure it will be required here. Your only evidence is the claims of someone called "Bungalow Bill," while President Obama's own statement and the evidence of every other high-speed rail line in the world makes it clear that no TSA-style security is needed. I'll rank the trustworthiness of Bungalow Bill right up there with chemtrails and morgellons.

So, to be fair, it's not a lie that Econgrad made up, it's a lie that some blogger made up and Econgrad believed it.

As to Michelle Malkin, there are a number of things wrong here. For starters, HSR isn't planned to go to Oakland at all. She could have made a West Coast apples-to-apples price comparison by looking up the cost to get from Oakland to Los Angeles on Amtrak.com--to take the train tomorrow would cost$62.50-$85. Checking Southwest's website, a one-way ticket from OAK-LAX costs $185. And considering that Oakland-Los Angeles is about a 400 mile trip, spending $25 on gas (at $3 a gallon, assuming you can find it that cheap anymore) means driving a car that gets at least 50 MPG (averaging 65-70 the whole way, including taking the 50 through the South Bay and the Grapevine), and what self-respecting Michelle Malkin fan would drive a hybrid?
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  #42  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2011, 2:35 AM
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If we add the gas taxes, traffic fines, car registration, taxes on new/used automobiles, and taxes on all car-related items and services then subtract the "big digs" of the world and the prevailing wage used to build them, highways still don't pay for themselves? I find that hard to believe. Sounds like commie propaganda to me.

Even if our highway system is subsidized, It's pretty obvious that HSR will have to be subsidized too. My question is why add another money pit to the transportation system? I'd rather spend that money on what already exists, like light rail. Relieving congestion within a region is more important to me.

Though I'm a libertarian, I can accept government paid infrastructure. However, I still think it would be better (in the end) if government pulled back and allowed demand for private road and rail construction to grow.
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Last edited by snfenoc; Mar 19, 2011 at 4:15 AM.
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  #43  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2011, 3:52 AM
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Actually, the Anytime Southwest fare from Oakland to LA is $170. And if you plan your trip a few days before, which most people do, it's $85.

SF to LA on Jet Blue is $79.

I've seen fares as low as $49.

How much will it cost to travel on HSR? I suspect it'll be similar.........or more

I've read from some HSR proponents that HSR will be faster than flying. Well, maybe around the holidays, but that's about it. Despite being horribly intrusive, embarrassing and a violation of my rights, security does not really add shit loads of time to a plane trip. Even Sunday nights, when people are flying home, it does not take THAT long. I usually get to the airport an hour before and spend about 25 minutes getting sloshed (I'm afraid of flying) at the bar....plenty of time leftover.

I'm with econgrad. Eventually, I expect HSR to fall under the heavy fist of the TSA. All it will take is one or two terror attempts. It does not matter what the Japanese do. It matters what we do, and we overreact to everything.


I just drove from Claremont to Orangevale in my average gas mileage car (about 420 miles), and it cost me $60 (had I taken my corolla, it would have cost me around $40) and took 6.5 hours.

Had I taken Amtrak it would have cost me $77+ and taken 10 hours.

Had I taken advantage of the $59 fare on Southwest, it would have cost me about $75 (taxes and fees) and taken 2.25 hours (check in, security, flight, drive from SMF to my parents' place). I don't believe HSR will beat that.
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Last edited by snfenoc; Mar 19, 2011 at 5:10 AM.
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  #44  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2011, 3:56 AM
Ghost of Econgrad Ghost of Econgrad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
So, to be fair, it's not a lie that Econgrad made up, it's a lie that some blogger made up and Econgrad believed it.
Argument aside: BRILLIANT Quote!


OK, I had to come up with some more hard data, moving away from the Michelle Malkin's of the world to a Professor of Economics at Harvard:
from the New York Times Blog, I might add...no conservative slant here!

The Government Accountability Office’s comprehensive report on high-speed rail that reminds us that:

While some U.S. corridors have characteristics that suggest economic viability, uncertainty associated with rider and cost estimations and the valuation of public benefits makes it difficult to make such determinations on individual proposals. Research on rider and cost has shown they are often optimistic and the extent that U.S. sponsors quantify and value public benefits vary.


http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/20...ic-investment/

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/20...-speed-trains/

EXCERPTS:

Number of Riders times (Benefit per Rider minus Variable Costs per Rider) minus Fixed Costs.

multiplying: 1.5 million trips times $68 a trip means $102 million for benefits minus operating costs. Annual capital costs came in $648 million, more than six times that amount. If you think that the right number is three million trips, then the benefits rise to $200 million, and the ratio between the per rider net benefits and costs drops to one-to-three. This is the cruel arithmetic faced by people, like myself, who would love to be pro-rail. One hint for train lovers who would like to make this comparison look better: make a compelling case that the interest rate should be much lower, as nothing else makes nearly as much difference. Also keep in mind that I haven’t brought in the environment or congestion.

More Links for you. Educate yourselves on the other side of the coin, makes you wiser...

China’s growing high-speed rail system is unprofitable, corrupt, and unsafe, according to recent reports in the Chinese press.

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/53169/

In Japan, the distance between Tokyo and Osaka is comparable to the distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

But the population of Osaka alone is larger than the combined populations of Los Angeles and San Francisco - and Tokyo has millions more people than Osaka.

That is why it can make sense to have a "bullet train" running between Osaka and Tokyo, but makes no sense to build one between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

However little President Obama knows or cares about economics, he knows a lot about politics - and especially political rhetoric.
- Thomas Sowl, a Stanford Professor and fellow African American.

http://www.dailymail.com/Opinion/tsowell/201102281486

And the Conservative Point of View, a good article even if your a Lefty..

http://www.nationalreview.com/articl...er-wendell-cox

Voters gave the new Republican House of Representatives a mandate to cut spending. Zeroing high-speed rail out of the federal budget may be the litmus test. If Congress fails to stop this costly and unnecessary program, it would call into question the commitment to spending reduction.

— Wendell Cox is principal of Demographia, an international public-policy consultancy in St. Louis.


So am I still a Liar and just post things without backing them up? (I don't think so). Have I personally attacked anyone without being provoked first? (I don't think so). Peace out Mr. Ozo.

Last edited by Ghost of Econgrad; Mar 19, 2011 at 7:12 AM.
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  #45  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2011, 4:49 AM
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Econ did you ask for a train for christmas as a child, but got a bunny suit instead?
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  #46  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2011, 7:34 AM
Ghost of Econgrad Ghost of Econgrad is offline
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Originally Posted by tronblue View Post
Econ did you ask for a train for christmas as a child, but got a bunny suit instead?
You got me all wrong!

I hate trains because there is not one Transformer that turns into a Train! No public funding should go to anything that is not represented by either Autobots or Decepticons.

Last edited by Ghost of Econgrad; Mar 20, 2011 at 11:35 AM.
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  #47  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2011, 6:26 PM
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High speed rail in other countries gets heavily used, and doesn't have airport style security checkpoints. Why would it need to be any different in California? Actually I would be surprised if they implemented such tight security measures on any kind of train, high-speed or not.

A train by definition is attached to tracks. Planes, however, can come crashing down onto a city full of people if strict security measures are not enforced to prevent that kind of terrorism.

A train can come to a complete stop and allow people to exit in a minute or two, in case of an emergency. A plane on the other hand might not be able to land right away, so even if there was an emergency on the aircraft the passengers might have to wait 15 minutes or more to exit.

This Train wasn't even a real train. Did the guy just walk away? I think not..

Fatal Miniature Train Derailment Under Investigation, Official Questions Cause

Published March 21, 2011 | FoxNews.com

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Law enforcement are investigating what could have caused a miniature train to derail at a South Carolina park killing a 6-year-old boy, as at least one local official questioned whether the disaster was an accident.

The crash, which happened Saturday in Spartanburg County's Cleveland Park, left 6-year-old Benjamin Samuel Easler dead and sent a dozen people to the hospital. About 20 people were riding the train when it derailed.

But county officials stressed that the train had recently been inspected. In nearby Greenville County, recreation commissioner John Liston told the Daily Mail newspaper that it would be unlikely for the train to derail on its own.

"It doesn't go that fast," he said. "It would take an act of sabotage."

However, the main office at the Greenville County Recreation District later walked back Liston's claim.

"I think the 'sabotage' is highly unlikely. I don't think kids riding on trains is a big target," said community relations director Mike Teachey, adding that "no one knows what happened in Spartanburg." He told FoxNews.com the state has shut down operation of miniature trains until officials learn what went wrong.

Lt. Regina Nowak, with the Spartanburg Public Safety Department, said an investigation is underway, but at this point it's not being treated as a criminal investigation.

She told FoxNews.com officials are reviewing evidence, including video of the incident, and will look at whether the driver was "under the influence."

Jeff Caton, a Spartanburg Parks official, told WSPA that the driver was a veteran driver and had even conducted test runs the day of the crash to make sure "everything was in working order."

"I'm going to suggest to you the train has been in operation for 58 years and we've never had problem," Caton told WSPA.

The county runs Cleveland Park. Spartanburg County Councilman David Britt said the train was inspected Wednesday and went on several test runs before Saturday, its first day of operation for the season.

He told the Herald-Journal of Spartanburg that the train's track, which collapsed in the crash, had been reworked a couple of years ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/03/21...#ixzz1HGBA6Hbu


Now since someone is stupid enough to do that, just think of what they could do to High speed Rail. Security Monitoring a TRACK (since that is what a Train must follow) is almost impossible to achieve without billions of dollars, since the tracks stretch for thousands of miles. Much more costly, and infective compared to plain flights.
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  #48  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2011, 11:26 PM
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Hm...looks like they have already updated the story, and it appears to be a maintenance failure, not a terrorist attack. Read the updated story again.

I recommend not depending on spell-check..."infective"? "plain flights"? Are you posting from an iPhone?

Spelling flames aside, actual full-sized railroads aren't run like kiddie amusement rides. They use electronic detectors, remote signaling and other safety measures to monitor track conditions, occupancy and safety. Remote detectors can tell whether track is occupied or not, and if rails are loose or disconnected from each other, that can be detected too--and when there is no signal, there is assumed to be a break. Safety is first, second and third on a railroad--they don't mess around with this stuff. Full-sized railroads (high-speed or otherwise) already have security, safety and detection systems--including high-speed rail lines in Asia and Europe. Trust me, there are plenty of things the big boys do that you aren't likely to find on the kiddie ride at the county fair.

Also consider the difference with what happens when a train comes to a sudden stop vs. what happens to an airplane...

It is kind of amusing that the so-called "libertarians" here are the ones who insist that extreme security measures will be required on passenger trains, citing terrorist risks, when none of the countries that currently run passenger trains use them.

You're making this stuff up, or willing to believe the tools who are making this stuff up. It is complete, utter nonsense.

Quote:
Inspector Fired for Allegedly Falsifying Report on Miniature Train Before Crash That Killed Boy

Published March 21, 2011

| FoxNews.com

March 19: Rescue workers carry an injured child after a children's train ride at Cleveland Park derailed in Spartanburg, S.C.

AP

March 19: Rescue workers carry an injured child after a children's train ride at Cleveland Park derailed in Spartanburg, S.C.

A South Carolina agency says an inspector falsified a report on a miniature train that derail Saturday at a park, killing a 6-year-old boy.

The crash, which happened in Spartanburg County's Cleveland Park, left 6-year-old Benjamin Samuel Easler dead and sent a dozen people to the hospital. About 20 people were riding the train when it derailed.

Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation chief Catherine Templeton told reporters that Donnie Carrigan could not have tested the ride March 16 because a battery in the train was dead, making it inoperable. Carrigan marked the train's operation at proper speed as "satisfactory," according to the agency's report.

"Unfortunately the inspector did not complete his job," Templeton said.

Carrigan, a 20-year agency employee, has been fired. Officials have not said what they think caused the train to derail.

In nearby Greenville County, recreation commissioner John Liston told the Daily Mail newspaper earlier that it would be unlikely for the train to derail on its own.

"It doesn't go that fast," he said. "It would take an act of sabotage."

However, the main office at the Greenville County Recreation District later walked back Liston's claim.

"I think the 'sabotage' is highly unlikely. I don't think kids riding on trains is a big target," said community relations director Mike Teachey, adding that "no one knows what happened in Spartanburg." He told FoxNews.com the state has shut down operation of miniature trains until officials learn what went wrong.

Lt. Regina Nowak, with the Spartanburg Public Safety Department, said an investigation is under Inway, but at this point it's not being treated as a criminal investigation.

She told FoxNews.com officials are reviewing evidence, including video of the incident, and will look at whether the driver was "under the influence."

Jeff Caton, a Spartanburg Parks official, told WSPA that the driver was a veteran driver and had even conducted test runs the day of the crash to make sure "everything was in working order."

"I'm going to suggest to you the train has been in operation for 58 years and we've never had problem," Caton told WSPA.

The county runs Cleveland Park. Spartanburg County Councilman David Britt said the train was inspected Wednesday and went on several test runs before Saturday, its first day of operation for the season.

He told the Herald-Journal of Spartanburg that the train's track, which collapsed in the crash, had been reworked a couple of years ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/03/21...#ixzz1HHLfQcbm
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  #49  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2011, 12:52 AM
Ghost of Econgrad Ghost of Econgrad is offline
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Originally Posted by wburg View Post

I recommend not depending on spell-check..."infective"? "plain flights"? Are you posting from an iPhone?

Spelling flames aside
what the? Are you paranoid or something? No one is flaming you.
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  #50  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2011, 1:14 AM
Ghost of Econgrad Ghost of Econgrad is offline
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You're making this stuff up, or willing to believe the tools who are making this stuff up. It is complete, utter nonsense.
As I see you never read what I post, and no one is flaming you, and no one is making stuff up. Just because you take liberty of your historical facts does not mean others have to do the same. I do not need to make stuff up to continue to prove you wrong all the time.

Here is a pro-HSR article talking about the security measures, since you won't trust a Professor from Harvard or the Wall Street Journal.

http://www.asmag.com/print_article.aspx?id=10835

EXCERPT:

Long waiting lines and shoes-off security routine is a classic scenario in most international airports. Perhaps this explains why more people are opting for the tracks rather than the skies in recent years. While 100-percent passenger screening is unrealistic for rail, keeping it to an absolute minimum is unacceptable as confined environments, 24/7 accessibility and large concentrations of people make rail infrastructure an easy but high-value target of potential carnage.

In the initial stages of any rail security project, what constitutes as security differs among operators and is thus budgeted in multiple ways. “Security could comprise technical solutions, security manpower, platform turnstiles, crisis planning and emergency response measures,” said Philip Lomax, Associate VP of Security for Kroll, a risk-consulting firm.

The budget allocated for rail security depends on threat and risk assessments, national policy, standards and the complexity of the network. For most cases, only a few percent is earmarked, said Mark Hayman, Resilience Security and Risk Associate for East Asia, Arup. “Security budget for either regular rail (RR) or HSR is often negligible, representing only a small percentage of the electrical and mechanical part and even the overall budget,” added Dr. Bernard Lottmann, Sales Manager at Building Technologies Division, Siemens.

There is minimal difference between the security approaches for RR and HSR, as the main advantage of rail travel is easy accessibility. Stringent security measures would be impractical due to dense passenger flow and the need for trains to run on a schedule. However, some HSR networks have separate access points to platforms and could therefore be controlled more easily, Lottmann said. “As HSR passengers are generally traveling longer distances, they tend to carry more luggage, something that has to be monitored. Passengers and their luggage are checked by scanning/ screening devices before boarding, and access to the trains is controlled via barriers.”

I understand the article is saying minimal expense, but reading you will see there will be checks, baggage checks for the trains.

Now moving on to more facts and articles I made up.

Here is another article discussion on the same subject: HSR and Security:

http://www.infrastructurist.com/2010...gh-speed-rail/

Here is a report from China about HSR security:

Ministry of Railways spokesman said the safety of high-speed rail to protect themselves often take
Posted on March 8th, 2011

Xinhua Beijing in March 8 Power Ministry of Railways spokesman Wang Yongping guest Xinhua, China’s railway construction and other issues with the majority of Internet users to communicate.

Moderator: High Speed ??Rail safety is not guaranteed? I would like to ask a spokesman, you go take a high-speed rail it?

Wang Yongping: To tell the truth, high-speed rail as speed, density, once an accident, the consequences are unimaginable. Because of a profound understanding of this, the railway sector has always been to ensure the safety of high-speed rail as the most critical and most crucial and most important task, to establish a set of high-speed rail operations safety and security system. The security system covers the fixed facilities, transportation equipment, operation control, operation and maintenance, personnel quality, security monitoring and other aspects, through a scientific and repeated testing and commissioning and operation of the FBI tests, safety, comfort, and other indicators is stable. High-speed rail operators in China more than three years, has been the safe operation of more than 400 million kilometers, 600 million passengers on more than security, there is no security incidents.

http://www.70794.com/?p=49434

yep, just making it all up! God its so fun returning your shallow attempts at demeaning people who debate you. I have read so much of your BS that is never once backed up by links, and I have never called you a liar.
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  #51  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2011, 3:06 AM
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I'm not seeing anything about what you're describing in those articles. A security consultant is saying that it might be possible that some applications of HSR might utilize higher levels of security than conventional rail travel. That's a great big distance from "ALL AMERICAN HSR WILL USE SUPER HIGH SECURITY TSA SECURITY TECHNIQUES," which is apparently where you leapt from that point.

The other article, which I admit I don't have the brainpower to interpret from Google Translate-speak or whatever, doesn't seem to have anything to do with your assertions either. Yes, railroads require safety and security measures, and, as I said, existing railroads, high-speed and otherwise, already have them. Again, this does not support your assertion that American HSR will have TSA-style screenings.

I don't think you're a liar, Econgrad, but I do think you're imagining things and treating them as facts.

And it was my "spelling flame," I was being critical of your homophones, not accusing you of flaming me. I think you're the one getting paranoid.
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  #52  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2011, 6:00 AM
Ghost of Econgrad Ghost of Econgrad is offline
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I don't think you are reading what I post to clearly, maybe too quickly, but can't really fault you (this is just a forum). I never wrote the paragraphs with the Homophones, they are copied and pasted out of the articles...that's good for my spelling reputation, but not good for a professional Journalist who makes his/her living from journalism. That is why I had no clue what the heck you were talking about.

OK, now I never screamed the security will be, lets see what was your quote?

Quote:
ALL AMERICAN HSR WILL USE SUPER HIGH SECURITY TSA SECURITY TECHNIQUES,
- WBURG
Whatever Buddy!

OK, you can read from the articles that the Security question is a valid question, not something made up by Michelle Malkin or Econgrad (world famous playboy). You can deduce from the article from China that much of the security issues are not being asked or discussed. I believe it is because of political correctness, the likes that rule this forum. If you also read the 4 part articles from the Harvard Professor, you would see he addresses the same point.

Soon, many will realize that the only reason you do not hear so much about train security, which is beginning to take a more powerful hold in Britain, is because there have been few successful terror attacks. REMEMBER, before 911, the Airports where very lax. All we had to do (and I got this from Ralph Nader) was seal the cockpits, and another 911 could never happen. What did we do? We now have an out of control TSA. The same thing will happen, and is happening to HSR. Cars are the best, and always will be. This debate is not done.
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  #53  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2011, 6:29 PM
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It's nice to think that the TSA security measures at airports are there to protect the lives of the passengers, but it is a little naive to think this way.

If an airplane is hijacked, as we all saw on 9/11, the plane can be used as a projectile weapon to attack important national assets: the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, anything. THIS is the reason why TSA security at airports is so strict.

If a train is sabotaged and the passengers die, it's a huge tragedy. But the collateral damage will always be limited to things next to the tracks. A train itself can not be used as a weapon to attack national assets. I do not think the security procedures for train passengers will ever be the same as security at airports.
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  #54  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2011, 8:00 PM
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The same thing will happen, and is happening to HSR. Cars are the best, and always will be. This debate is not done.
Because, of course, cars could never be used by terrorists to create some sort of "car bomb."
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  #55  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2011, 11:50 PM
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Because, of course, cars could never be used by terrorists to create some sort of "car bomb."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjed8lV30a4

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  #56  
Old Posted Mar 25, 2011, 3:11 AM
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I think you have a better chance of falling off a ladder Ghost then being killed by a terrorist. Stop hyperventilating and just live life dude. Lots of people have lived through terror in this country placed on them by their vary neighbors.
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  #57  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2011, 9:37 AM
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I think you have a better chance of falling off a ladder Ghost then being killed by a terrorist. Stop hyperventilating and just live life dude. Lots of people have lived through terror in this country placed on them by their vary neighbors.
I reread my posts and I didn't see the part that I wrote saying I was scared of being killed in a terrorist attack, could you point that one out for me please? Just curious. Thanks a million for such kind advice! I was never afraid, but if I was, I am so glad there is someone like you in this forum to help me calm my nerves! Without you, I don't know what I may have done..... or whom I would have actually had an intelligent debate with, if you weren't around.

Cheers to your hilarious, informative and witty posts! Brightens everyone's days I am absolutely positive!
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  #58  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2011, 6:56 AM
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http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/04/...ex.html?hpt=C1

(CNN) -- President Barack Obama's plan for a national high-speed rail network suffered a serious setback as a result of the fight over budget cuts. No money will be allocated for high-speed rail projects for the remainder of 2011.
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  #59  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2011, 5:08 PM
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The cuts will not affect projects already under way across the United States, according to DOT officials. Projects that have been awarded grants will keep their funding. But that's not to say that there aren't concerns about future funding.

"It's always worrisome when an important infrastructure initiative becomes politicized," Todorovich said. "It's a big setback."

Proponents of California's high-speed rail project are concerned about the cuts and whether they can depend on future funding for a line that will ultimately link Los Angeles with San Francisco. The first phase is moving forward in the state's Central Valley.

Todorovich said that so far state officials have secured about $3 billion for a project that will cost about $50 billion. They were counting on federal dollars for the bulk of the remainder.
Well, at least we have funds to get things started, and hopefully by the time we need the next batch of funds we can throw this latest gang of idiots back out of Congress.
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  #60  
Old Posted May 15, 2011, 11:48 PM
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Al Qaeda Documents Raise Concerns About Rail Safety

By LISA STARK (@LisaStark) AND LAUREN VANCE
May 8, 2011
With the revelation that al Qaeda was considering targeting U.S. rail lines, transportation officials and experts are concerned that enough is being done to ensure that train travel is safe.
Sen. Charles Schumer of New York said today that there should even be a "do not ride" list for Amtrak, similar to the no-fly lists that are part of the airline security effort. Train bombings overseas, such as occurred in Madrid and London, are eveidence of what terrorists are capable of, but the documents found in the raid last week on Osama bin Laden's compound indicated that the more likely mode of attack would be on the rails themselves, rather than a terrorist trying to get on a train with a bomb. By tampering with the rails, the intelligence indicated, al Qaeda was hoping to send a whole train tumbling off a bridge or into a valley. "The targeting of the railroad infrastructure itself is a much smarter move on the part of the terrorists, because you get more bang for the buck," said Kevin Lynch, a retired freight rail police chief who consults on railroad police practices. With so much of the train lines running through the wide open spaces in this country, there could be attractive terrorist targets. Forty percent of the rail lines in the United States have no automatic monitoring systems. Those lines are supposed to be inspected at least twice a week, but that still can leave long stretches of track unwatched for long stretches of time.

"You could disrupt the rail network and disrupt commerce across the country," Lynch said.
There are 140,000 miles of freight and passenger track in the United States, not counting subway systems and light rail, as well as 3,100 train and transit stations. There were more than 4 billion passenger rail trips last year from commuters rushing to work, students heading to school and families out on vacation.

On any one day, 78,000 people ride Amtrak, 660,000 step on the elevated trains in Chicago, and 8 million ride the New York City subway system.

The rail lines along Amtrak's heavily traveled Northeast Corridor from Washington, D.C., to New York, the lines are carefully inspected.

"These guys out here, yeah workers out here, every day walk every mile of the railroad," Amtrak engineer Jack Barton said.

"We have people out on the Northeast Corridor tracks every day," Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm told ABC News, but he said "they are not necessarily inspecting every mile of track, every day."

Workers also inspect and maintain bridges and electrical power substations, overhead wires and stations and signal systems, and drainage ditches, he said.

In recent years, anti-terror deterrents have been introduced, such as additional bomb detection equipment and new vapor wake detection dogs trained to smell every possible component of explosives, which the Department of Transportation announced in late October.

As a result of what appears to be an already employee strapped system, adding trained K-9's could make sense. According to Bureau of Labor statistics, there are fewer than 1,000 officers policing rail transportation in the United States.

A most recent record to step up the nation's rail security was seen in July when Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano launched the first phase of the agency's "See Something, Say Something" campaign, requesting the public play a role in pointing out potential railway threats.

The effort is part of a series of events called Operation Rail Safe, which includes local, state, and federal efforts to increase occasional security presence onboard trains, canine sweeps and random passenger bag inspections at unannounced locations.

Lynch, however, said he is not convinced.

"Most of the time the railroad is unprotected, hundreds and hundreds of miles at a stretch," he said. Nevertheless, officials are promising heightened vigilance.


http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/al-qaed...ry?id=13558622





Editorial: Rail safety must be larger priority for U.S.



Reports out of Pakistan based on the "treasure trove" of information uncovered in Osama bin Laden's hideaway suggest the terror kingpin and his associates had at least been considering a plot to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. This one would have involved America's rail system rather than airplanes, and would have centered on sabotaging railroad tracks or destroying a railroad bridge.Tempting as it is to dismiss a plan so vague and ill-formed that we suspect bin Laden had seen the end of "The Bridge on the River Kwai" one too many times while holed up in his compound with his remote and a blanket, railroad security has been a concern since 9/11, if not getting the attention that air transportation safety has. This discovery may be a wake-up call.

Already U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has suggested that Amtrak needs to start using a "no-ride" list patterned after the federal "no-fly" list that has been in place for the last decade. "Anyone, even a member of al-Qaida, could purchase a train trip ticket and board an Amtrak train without so much as a question being asked from an Amtrak official," he said.

As many folks can testify, screening procedures can be awfully light, almost nonexistent. Even at Chicago's Union Station, security is not apparent beyond occasional announcements over the public address that passengers should keep track of their own bags. There are no electronic scanning machines or manual luggage checks.

Schumer goes on to argue that "one need only look to the bombing of commuter trains in Madrid, Spain, in 2004, to know how devastating an attack on our rail systems could be." He notes that a no-ride list is possible to create here - if not for in-city commuter trains like Chicago's el system - because Amtrak has a computerized list of passengers holding tickets.

Despite that, some legitimate concerns have been raised, particularly regarding small, even unmanned stations that don't have the security presence rail hubs like Chicago do. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has said Schumer's proposals and others are worth looking into, but he won't endorse anything specific until it can be determined what measures would be efficient and effective. Amtrak's security chief pointed out earlier this year that within the past 12 months they've doubled the number of bomb-sniffing dogs operating in larger stations and are randomly screening some checked luggage.

All the same, during budget wrangling earlier this year, Congress sliced $50 million out of funding for beefing up Amtrak security, about a 15 percent cut. In the wake of these recent revelations, that issue may be worth revisiting. It's clear that our enemies view our rail system as having some security holes. Furthermore, ridership on Amtrak continues to increase, up 10 percent so far over last year on Illinois routes for example.

It has been said that 9/11 happened because of a failure of American imagination. We no longer have that excuse. High-speed rail investment is an Obama administration priority. Nothing would kill that concept faster than a high-profile train terrorist strike in the U.S. Passenger safety has to be a part of this discussion.

Peoria, Ill., Journal Star

Copyright 2011 North Andover Citizen. Some rights reserved


Read more: Editorial: Rail safety must be larger priority for U.S. - North Andover, MA - North Andover Citizen http://www.gatehousenewsservice.com/...#ixzz1MT6Lbp4l
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