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People get ready.One of the worst things about America is how much of it you have to deal with, just to get from Worthwhile Point A to Worthwhile Point B. What if you were, for example, having a nice breakfast in New York at Balthazar or whatever, and you needed to go to Los Angeles for a meeting at the Hotel Figueroa, and then after that you wanted to spend a few days at the Ahwahnee in Yosemite Valley, and then maybe head to New Orleans for the Jazz Festival. Well dear god you would have to deal with so many cretins, rednecks, guidos, crackers, lamers and other teabaggers along the way, it’s just barely worth going at all.

Even the once-civilized travel method of flying now involves so many imbecilic TSA goons, rental-car waterheads and surly gatekeepers — and then you get stuck between a couple of stinking diabetic Texans on the actual flight. What do we need? BULLET TRAINS HELL YEAH.

We liked Barry’s pitch for this, so we will reprint it, right here:

What we’re talking about is a vision for high-speed rail in America. Imagine boarding a train in the center of a city. No racing to an airport and across a terminal, no delays, no sitting on the tarmac, no lost luggage, no taking off your shoes. (Laughter.) Imagine whisking through towns at speeds over 100 miles an hour, walking only a few steps to public transportation, and ending up just blocks from your destination. Imagine what a great project that would be to rebuild America.

Now, all of you know this is not some fanciful, pie-in-the-sky vision of the future. It is now. It is happening right now. It’s been happening for decades. The problem is it’s been happening elsewhere, not here.

In France, high-speed rail has pulled regions from isolation, ignited growth, remade quiet towns into thriving tourist destinations. In Spain, a high-speed line between Madrid and Seville is so successful that more people travel between those cities by rail than by car and airplane combined. China, where service began just two years ago, may have more miles of high-speed rail service than any other country just five years from now. And Japan, the nation that unveiled the first high-speed rail system, is already at work building the next: a line that will connect Tokyo with Osaka at speeds of over 300 miles per hour. So it’s being done; it’s just not being done here.

There’s no reason why we can’t do this. This is America. There’s no reason why the future of travel should lie somewhere else beyond our borders. Building a new system of high-speed rail in America will be faster, cheaper and easier than building more freeways or adding to an already overburdened aviation system –- and everybody stands to benefit.

You think it said “(Laughter)” on the teleprompter? HAHAHAH teleprompters! Anyway, how awesome, right?

One nice thing about having a president who wasn’t born into some awful New England elitist family dynasty and yet also isn’t a dim bulb like so many people of lesser means is that Barry has actually lived all over the country and traveled the world, all on his own, and on the cheap. So he actually knows how lame it is that, in America, everything is a dull pain in the ass.

We go to Europe and ride those sleek high-speed trains and sip wine while gazing at the countryside, which somehow isn’t filled with junk-car lots and “GET THE LAP BAND” billboards and trailer parks, and we think, “Well goddamn this is like living in the future,” but it’s not the future at all, it’s just now, but somewhere else.

So, $13 billion to build a high-speed city-to-city nationwide rail network. Good. That should maybe provide a few of those jobs people like to have, right? Ha, $13 billion seems like couch change compared to the four trillion dumped into the financial markets since Paulson started this stuff last year, but whatever, build the trains. (ALSO IT IS OK IF THE TRAINS HAVE DECENT CAFE CARS AND A WINE SELECTION BEYOND “RED OR WHITE.” KTHNX.)

Here is actual video of the new high-speed rail network:

A Vision for High Speed Rail [White House]

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107 COMMENTS

  1. We go to Europe and ride those sleek high-speed trains and sip wine while gazing at the countryside, which somehow isn’t filled with junk-car lots and “GET THE LAP BAND” billboards and trailer parks, and we think, “Well goddamn this is like living in the future,” but it’s not the future at all, it’s just now, but somewhere else.

    Fucking exactly.

  2. If the trains go fast enough, all that sign garbage pretty much looks like: eeeeeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiioooooooooooo

  3. Ya whatever. In 1985 we were promised flying cars by now. Where the hell is my flying car?

    The train idea is great. California is ALREADY working on one, but it won’t be done until 3023 Post A.D., as this State has no money. They’ll probably just do the same thing they do to education funds— TAKE THEM away from the train so that Republicans in the legislature can stall the budget for another 700 years. Stupid California.

  4. I just had rotator cuff surgery so I’m cranky and in pain and don’t feel like thinking of something clever to say. So let me just say..Ken, as usual you are right the fuck on and you are brilliant too.

  5. There’s no reason why we can’t do this. This is America.
    Dear Barry, the reason we can’t do this, and lots of other cool stuff, was evidenced yesterday. Nearly half our great Nation are idiots, and will never want success nor advancement, it would be too much like Europe.???!
    Just Sayin’…

  6. The White House should start a public ad campaign that features lots and lots and lots of images of bullet trains entering tunnels. Win over the public submliminally.

  7. Oh yeah, that magic negro is real good at thinking up ways to spend MY MONEY! No thank you. I can drive my own self to the Wal Mart and the the Four Square Baptist Church, and that’s good enough for me.

  8. Super train is fast because it’s super clean! I’ve paid enough attention to Billy Mays and Vince Shlomi to know that super clean is within our technological grasp. The time is now!

  9. Will the trains come with cute Italian boys who make you feel like the most beautiful woman in the world when you share a compartment with them?
    Because that’s what made the trains in Italy truly great.

  10. We should get Steve from the movie Singles on this right away. He would make sure it had cool music and great coffee.

  11. I hate hate HATE that in order to convince Teabaggers and Conservotards that something is worth doing, Obama has to say “This is America” and shame us by telling us who else is already doing it and how jealous we should be of them. We may have solved racism and all that, but we can’t really get too excited until Obama can just present a plan on its merits and then say “PERIOD, bitches!”

  12. [re=291799]Mustang[/re]: Yeah okay, but not in some little faux-European “Mustang.” You gotta drive to Wal*Mart in a 4×4 with 450-hp V-fucking-8 under the hood, steamroller tires and a suspension jacked up so high you need a step ladder to get into the crew cab. That’s Murrica for ya. N’when you get to yer church, be sure to talk in tongues, cuz that’s lovin’ Jeebus fur ya.

  13. [re=291811]Tommmcatt[/re]: [re=291802]hockeymom[/re]: FYI, all those cute Italian boys are gay. Look at all the little horsies on their shirts.

  14. No snark, I actually like Barry’s proposals of high speed trains. I’ve been on both the TGV and Shinkansen and if they do it the French/Japanese way they’ll do fine. If they do it the AMTRAK way then it won’t be as good.

    One thing I really do miss is the amazing box lunches (Bento) sold on the Shinkansen.

  15. Heck, I love Obama and am all for high-speed rail, but won’t there have to be some security on them? It’s not like a bomb can’t be placed on a train or therebouts? Madrid, etc.

  16. [re=291802]hockeymom[/re]: That, and the fact you can get a great espresso while looking at all the cute, well behaved dogs on the train.

    Moche the Xolo says: ” I want to ride the damn train with my mistress instead of being stuck in my crate in the ‘cargo’ hold.”

  17. [re=291790]eastcoastliberal[/re]: haha, don’t take all that Rx now. Save some for your vicodin vacation! (Dude, I just finish my last round of PT last week; your pain I can feelz it).

  18. I like this idea. High value, difficult-to-defend high speed trains and tracks. Lawrence of Arabia and the James Gang endorse this plan!

  19. Travel tip: if you should leave the Eloi Zones, try not to make eye contact with the Morlocks. It only frightens and enrages them.

  20. Man, when my wife and I went to Japan a couple years ago for 2 weeks and traveled across the country on the shinkansen, they fucking owned. Hands down best travel experience I’ve ever had, and it’s not even close. They haul ass through the countryside, yet the ride feels like you’re coasting down a brand new freeway in a brand new car, doing 55. Super, super smooth. Of course, part of the greatness of the experience was the amazing customer service and insane reliability (like if they say the train arrives at 3:04 and leaves at 3:07, it will be there right at 3:04 and it will leave at 3:07, and your ass better be on board or you are SOL), neither of which could possibly be as good here in the states.

  21. This was his plan all along! He never had any intention of helpin them car companies because those powerful few had a choke hold on progressive transport! Natch also.

  22. Oh, and the other thing that makes the trains in Europe great is that the governments are just like, YOINK!, taking the prime land and building them, whereas here we would either have rich asshole landowners asking for 10x the worth of the land to let us build the trains on it, or we’d just build the trains in the worst possible routes, thus dooming the users to a trip’s worth of shitty views, and the builders to 4x the cost because the routes are poor because they go through mountains and shit like that.

  23. The last time I was on a train, it was going from Boston to Portland, Maine. I had to share the car with a father and his two kids who not only yelled “Graffiti Check!” whenever they saw a tagged building but they also bopped me on the head with their kickball without so much as a cursory apology.

    If that’s train travel, I’ll be staying home thank you very much.

  24. I like this socialism thing. Super-trains, health care, schools. What I like best is the fact that hard-working teabaggers will be paying for it while I lie back and collect my Obama-checks and government cheese. I can’t wait until the “free abortion” coupons arrive, so I can get preggers and suck the little parasite out for the stem-cells.

    Suck it teabaggers, suck it hard!

    Moohahahahahahahahaha!

  25. I say screw trains– we should invest all of our money into transportation beams. Since nobody else is working on it, we’ll lead the world in our transporter beam technology. Plus, it’s green! Win and win.

  26. Yes, please. Trains. I do want the high speed trains.

    But re: the removal of shoes, isn’t Obama kind of in a position where he could fix the dumb TSA procedures that everybody knows are nothing but a bad joke?

    I’m just sayin’.

  27. Thanks, Ken. All Wonketeers who are on board with this are officially invited to my champagne & Night Train brunch at TRAX when the first high speed train from San Francisco rolls into Union Station.

    [re=291786]chascates[/re]: The French. They built the world’s highest bridge in 3 years at a cost of $400 million, while Americans can’t even finish an “urgent” Bay Bridge replacement in 25 years at a cost of $6.5 BILLION. Socialism!

  28. That YouTube clip is very disturbing. I wish you’d have chosen something else. I realize that it’s a shameful part of American history that we should never forget, but it’s too much.

  29. [re=291848]One Yield Regular[/re]: Traxx, with two X’s. I haven’t been to the bar there, but I often stare at it longingly and in wonder.

  30. If this actually happens in my lifetime and I don’t ever have to drive down I-5 past that heinous cattle feedlot near Coalinga on the way to L.A. again it will be well worth all the cash I threw at Barry during the campaign.

  31. I just read that little history of Supertrain. Five minutes of my life I’ll never get back. Here I am in 2009 with my mind stuck in the ’70s, the most depressing decade ever, made even worse by its pathetic TV shows and ‘star’ actors. Don Meredith, indeed.

  32. [re=291848]One Yield Regular[/re]: Yeah, Oregon and Washington are trying to build a new bridge over the Columbia River, and it is turning into the biggest clusterfuck you ever saw. Project costs RIGHT NOW are like $6B, and they haven’t even come up with an agreed upon conceptual drawing yet. It’ll easily cost double that, and will probably be ready when my kids have grandkids.

    That’s the funny thing about this “USA! Number 1!” stuff. WE JUST CAN’T DO SHIT ANYMORE. Seriously. We cannot accomplish anything on budget or on time. Nothing. If we can even try to do it to begin with, which is kind of rare. What the fucking fuck, America. Kennedy put us on the goddam MOON, and now we’re like “oh noes, it will cost too much to use basically our existing rail network and add fancy new trains that already exist to it! We can’t do that!”

  33. as the strongest, greatest, most powerful country not just in the world but the history of mankind, what have we accomplished? what we have here is a pitiful lack of imagination. light rail-high speed rail is long overdue and we all know why (G.M. a tire co. and oil interests were were found guilty of conspiracy to destroy public transportation in the early 1950’s) they paid a paltry fine and walked away. someone else can google this i’m gonna go kill myself.

  34. [re=291841]An American in Toronto[/re]: I can beat your story. I was traveling on Amtrak and a family of four sat in front of me. One of the four was an adult man who was developmentally disabled. He pooped in his diaper, a big smelly, eggy, poop.
    Then the train stopped (this happen all the time on the route I was on because Southern Pacific owns the tracks and their trains take priority). The train was packed, and it had taken me forever to find this seat, so I wasn’t going to move. As the poop stench slowly intensified, the developmentally disabled man began saying “I went poop, I went poop” over and over again. Everyone in the car did their best to ignore it, but I almost died trying not to laugh. And yes, I am still 12.
    It turns out the family was getting off at the next stop, which we reached 40 minutes late because of the delay. I’m sure this is why they didn’t take the man to the bathroom to change.

  35. Next wing-nut conspiracy:
    First- see proposed map on FTA site- note that location of major hubs in ‘liberal’ cities…

    “You see how on daz map o da trains deh all runz threw chicago? Thadt barry hussein has gots sum dealz witdz tony resko / acorn / bill ayers to makes chicago da capitol o de newwz wurld ordar!”

  36. Barry needs to stop making promises he can’t keep. I have no doubt that we can build those fancy trains, but if you think Homeland Security won’t figure out a way to make us take off our shoes to get on those fancy trains, you have got another thing coming.

    Homeland Security: The Irritating Great Aunts With New Carpets of America!

  37. That’s the funny thing about this “USA! Number 1!” stuff. WE JUST CAN’T DO SHIT ANYMORE. Seriously. We cannot accomplish anything on budget or on time. Nothing. If we can even try to do it to begin with, which is kind of rare. What the fucking fuck, America. Kennedy put us on the goddam MOON, and now we’re like “oh noes, it will cost too much to use basically our existing rail network and add fancy new trains that already exist to it! We can’t do that!”

    There are still people who are trying, though. I mean, at least there is an interest in adding to the public transportation network. Measure R passed in LA County and we’re talking about actually doing the Subway to the Sea.

    For LA’s rep as being such a “car city,” that’s a step, if nothing else.

  38. A few years ago my home state of Florida passed a Constitutional Amendment to build a high speed train to connect Miami, Tampa and Orlando. Thus allowing us to get our cheap cocaine, nude lapdances, and family trip to Disney World without needing a car. But then the redneck rest of the state got all bitchy about how they didn’t want their money to go to some goddless train that would connect these popular hubs of evil (aka Tourist Destinations). And so another Constitutional Amendment was passed taking away the high speed rail.

    Lesson learned: Rednecks Ruin Everything. Also, maybe Florida should stop passing laws via Constitutional Amendments. Also.

  39. [re=291792]Noodle Salad[/re]: Is that to the tune of Folsom Prison Blues? If so, WIN. If not, O.K., win anyway. Also.

    I vote for mag lev, because that would be cool and science fictiony.

  40. This is stupid. The constitution doesn’t mention awesome supertrains anywhere. It does, however mention high-seas piracy. So, let’s go with the piracy.

  41. [re=291879]Dr Tobias Funke[/re]: Bonus will be when they point out that if you draw a line between all the hubs, it makes the sign of the crescent = MUSLIN.

  42. “… no delays, no sitting on the tarmac, no lost luggage, no taking off your shoes.”

    Don’t lie to me like that Barry. We all know that some knucklehead terrorist or anti-mag lev protestor will try to blow one up within 6 months of the ribbon cutting, and it will be O’Hare all over again — long slow lines, Wackenhut rejects pawing through your luggage, taking off your shoes, bending over for body cavity searches, and sitting on the siding for hours waiting for somebody to fix the “switch malfunction” outside of Boise.

  43. So he actually knows how lame it is that, in America, everything is a dull pain in the ass.

    Unless you’re traveling with teabaggers on the metro, when it’s a sharp pain in the ass.

  44. Bullet trains are Socialist, and maybe even Fascist. Or is it Communist? Or it could even be Terrorist. Bullet trains are so GAY! That’s it.

  45. [re=291848]One Yield Regular[/re]: I’ll see you there too but by the time it finally happens, I’ll probably be too old to get out of the house. As for the Bay Bridge, the French probably didn’t have two mayors and several Governors arguing over the aesthetics of the thing (which is rather odd considering it’s the french) with one of them using the bridge as a way to help build a casino out on Treasure Island

  46. But wait! Wasn’t the problem with building super trains yhat we were going to spend a hundred trillion dollars to build a super train between Disneyland and Vegas because Harry Reid slipped it in as an earmark? Which, if true, isn’t such a bad idea and considering the vast amounts of fat tourists from Middle America visiting both places, not a half bad idea?

  47. WhooHoo! High speed rail between Chicago and Madison, WI – for those times you come off of Rush street and say, “Damn, I need some cheese!”

  48. “walking only a few steps to public transportation,”

    Except that the neighborhood I’m in is affluent enough that bus service shuts down at 6 PM, since everybody already has a car. Where’s your socialism now?!

  49. [re=291968]Hooray For Anything[/re]: Personally I’ve been salivating for Disneyland to Vegas line since Jindal and the boys brought it up. Honest, there’s only a hair’s breadth difference between the two, aesthetically.

  50. [re=291988]Lascauxcaveman[/re]: Or we can call them Bullet Trains. That just might confuse enough gun freaks to try it out at least once.

  51. “remade quiet towns into thriving tourist destinations”

    Um, yeah, that kind of thing actually SUCKS, Comrade Nobama. I like my quiet towns to remain quiet and charming, not teeming with 300 pound Ohians with fanny packs searching for the Hard Rock Cafe and complaining that every sqauare inch of the place is not air conditioned to 45 degrees. Let them continue to go to Disneyworld — the concentration camp for the stupid.

  52. [re=292016]keepinitrealyo[/re]: Oh I want that one. I’ll be able to go home to Vegas and work in LA and leave DC far behind.

    House of Mouse and House of Hos on either end. Cool.

  53. [re=291861]tunamelt[/re]: Thanks. I hate mistakes like that. Maybe when the high-speed train gets there they can add an extra X just for Serolf.

    [re=291964]Hooray For Anything[/re]: Instead of arguing over aesthetics, the French just hired Sir Norman Foster to design the thing. I’ve driven over it; it’s one of the most astounding things I’ve ever seen, like you’re driving in the sky. So in addition to doing a beautiful, fast, competent, low-cost job, the French even managed to provide a simulacrum of those flying cars that shorts wants so badly.

  54. Canada’s been havin’ committees about supertrains for like 40 years now. Every few years they surface and go “our findings are: more committees!”

    If anyone could use a friggin’ bullet train, it’s Canada. Imagine US America, but bigger, and with only a tenth of the people/rednecks.

  55. Does your airplane have a restaurant on it? Can you become horribly drunk and make a pass on some stranger while driving your car?

    With a train: YES YOU CAN.

    [re=291840]Dave J.[/re]: Yes, that’s what they do here in the Old Continent. My childhood hometown got its railway connection like that a couple of years ago.

  56. I dig the whole pSi-pHi “Bullet-train” idea, but what I’d rather have (perhaps as an cheaper, “get ’em outta their cars” intermediate step) would be light-rail lines on all the free-/expressway-ways in the nation’s busiest and most-traffic-choked cities. It should be cheaper, since the gov. already owns those rights-of-way, no? Plus, such light-rail systems will be always visible to the folks driving on the highway in their cars and it may encourage more and more, day by day, to take the train. I also suspect the ROI would be bigger/faster, too.

  57. Imagine whisking through towns at speeds over 100 miles an hour, walking only a few steps to public transportation, and ending up just blocks from your destination. Imagine what a great project that would be to rebuild America.

    Alluding to John Lennon won’t win you any fans at the The Family Research Council. This whole high-speed train thing is starting to smell like yet another liberal offense against Jesus….

  58. [re=291874]engulfedinflames[/re]: No worries. Barry’s gonna hire Bill Gates to resinvent Chrisler into a public transport builder/operator. Socialism is best!

  59. The missus and I took the “romantic” arrangement from amsterdam to berlin on easter.
    top German quality : double bed, room service and all for 90 euro. Sweet.
    Here’s a video of the ICE

  60. [re=291847]Gimpson[/re]: That bothered me, too. It’s like, ha ha, flying sucks. Too bad. But even though I run the government and could easily do something about it, it’s too much of a pain so let’s just build a massive new rail system.

    That said, if I’m going to pay off $15 trillion in debt, I better get some goddam trains out of the deal.

  61. Pop quiz, guys. Which is bigger: the US, or fucking France? Because one of them is only a few hundred miles long, and the other is THREE THOUSAND MILES ACROSS.

    Bonus question: Have you ever driven through Kansas? Because jesus. I don’t want anyone to have to build a train through Kansas.

  62. [re=292530]DeepOmega[/re]: as they say “Europeans think 100 miles is a great distance, Americans think 100 years is a great period of time.”

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