Sunday, August 10, 2014

Gavin Newsom, Governor Brown, and the Crazy Train

Photo, Ken James, Bloomberg

Willie Brown in today's Chronicle:

Water, high-speed rail, social programs: Californians deserve a debate on the issues in this election year, and if Gov. Jerry Brown won't play ball, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom ought to offer to do it for him. For months, Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari has been stalking the governor for a debate. Brown is ignoring him. I can understand the governor's tactic. No politician wants to give an opponent a free platform, not when the opponent is trailing by 20 points in the polls. I say, bring in Newsom. He wants to be governor, so he might as well get in a few practice rounds with the opposition. Kashkari wants attention, and going up against Newsom would certainly get him some. They are both young and in the same intellectual weight class, and have about the same reach when it comes to delivering a punch. It would be a made-for-TV matchup.

Governor Brown won't agree to that. Maybe Willie Brown doesn't read the Chronicle, but it reported earlier this year that Newsom now opposes Brown's dumb high-speed rail project (California high-speed rail dealt blow by Newsom's about-face).

Newsom first signaled his dissent on high-speed rail last year.

The Chronicle's Debra Saunders understands that Governor Brown is a phony. After all, shit happens:

...The governor likes to portray himself as a tightwad who wants to get good value for taxpayer dollars. Yet Brown has been remarkably uncurious about the bad decisions that led to [the Bay Bridge]cost overruns. Regular commuters pay an extra $1,000 a year in higher tolls to pay for bridge work; Brown seems to be Zen with that. He just wishes the press would accept that post-construction glitches are part of nature. The engineers are responsible? It so happens Neel Kashkari, Brown's Republican opponent in the November election, has two degrees in engineering. "The delays, the cost overruns, the fact that people were dissuaded or ignored," Kashkari told me, "all of those things speak to a culture of mismanagement."

While the signature design made the 2.2-mile span more complicated than your average bridge, its glitch-rich roll-out does not bode well for the $68 billion high-speed rail project, which Brown hopes will seal his legacy as a visionary. Kashkari calls high-speed rail the "crazy train," and wants to stop it: "Can you imagine the complexities, the cost overruns, the mismanagement if they actually try to build a 400-mile train?" Yes, I can...

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Truth and grotesques

Sherwood Anderson by David Levine

From By the Book in the NY Times with Garrison Keillor:

Disappointing, overrated, just not good: What book did you feel you were supposed to like, and didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing? 
“Winesburg, Ohio,” by Sherwood Anderson, is pretty dreadful, and it inspired a whole lot of bad books about sensitive adolescent males needing to flee the philistines in their hometowns. As for putting books down without finishing them, I do that all the time. When you pass 70, you are no longer obligated to finish what you’ve started, not a book, not a meal, not even a sentence.

Rob's comment: On the other hand, Anderson said this in that book:

There was the truth of virginity and the truth of passion, the truth of wealth and of poverty, of thrift and of profligacy, of carelessness and abandon. Hundreds and hundreds were the truths and they were all beautiful. And then the people came along. Each as he appeared snatched up one of the truths and some who were quite strong snatched up a dozen of them. It was the truths that made the people grotesques. The old man had quite an elaborate theory concerning the matter. It was his notion that the moment one of the people took one of the truths to himself, called it his truth, and tried to live his life by it, he became a grotesque and the truth he embraced became a falsehood.

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Suspicions confirmed: San Francisco is #1

Average rent for a two-bedroom apartment

Suspicions confirmed in Mother Jones: San Francisco is the most expensive housing market in the country.

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US allies in Kurdistan: Women with guns



This is how to fight Islamic fascism in Iraq:

...jihadists' repression of women has led many Kurdish to pick up arms, and that about 30 percent of the People's Protection Units (YPG)---the armed wing of the PYD---is now female.

Thanks to Harry's Place.

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