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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Train In Vain.

In Economy, Travel on October 9, 2010 at 6:10 pm

The third post I ever wrote for Brief Wit was about the Obama Administration’s overarching vision for high-speed rail in America and funding for it included in the Stimulus. The map and the routes were very inspiring, and while the $8 billion allocated is a big number, it’s a small fraction of what is needed to do the job.

Fast forward to a week ago, when Amtrak unveiled details for building a high-speed rail (HSR) network for the Northeast Corridor, spanning Boston to Washington D.C. “The high-speed line would have four ‘hub’ stops: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington. ‘Super Express’ trains would stop only in those cities and make the 426-mile trip between Boston and Washington in 3 hours and 23 minutes (compared to the current 8 hours on Amtrak’s Northeast Regional trains or 6 hours and 37 minutes on Acela Express).” Second-tier stops would include Baltimore, Wilmington, Newark, and Hartford.

The proposal will enable Red Sox fans and Yankees fans to argue in person in a mere 86 minutes! The facilitation of ballpark brawls will be something to marvel at. From there, they can make up and head down to D.C. together and rag on Nationals players in a little over an hour and a half, thanks to a 220 mph bullet train. The completed infrastructure would create thousands of jobs, reduce pollution, alleviate air and auto congestion (since the largest percentage of delays are in the Northeast), and generate an estimated $900 million a year.

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The Lowdown Down Under.

In Government, Politics, Travel on September 13, 2010 at 7:05 am

It was looking a bit touch-and-go there, but Australia has solved a parliamentary deadlock after a too close to call election on August 21.

Julia Gillard has found a way forward that will solidify her as the first female prime minister in Australian history. Take that, Hillary! That’s right, she’s broken through the glass floor. (Y’know, since the’yre Down Under, their floor is our ceiling.) Gillard, of the Labor Party, has been prime minister for a few months now, but that ascent came about as a bi-product of parliament taking the boot to her predecessor, more like Ford taking over for Nixon, but without the criminal cover-up. This current election, though close, offers her more legitimacy.

It’s just as well, because it looks like the guy she ran against, Tony Abbott, is not that good at math: his economic projections were off by about $10 billion. Also, his party needs to get better at naming things, such as itself. “Abbott’s Liberal Party represents the conservative spectrum in Australian politics, despite its name.” He also fondly refers to Australia as Up Above. It’s very disorienting. Read the rest of this entry »