Bluecheddar is open for business (unlike Wisconsin). Vent about high-speed rail here today

Welcome. How do I feel pissed off? Let me count the ways:

1-Had my sights on taking a pretty comfy train with high-speed internet and beverages and such from here to Milwaukee instead of getting lost somewhere there [yeah. I get lost] or being scrunched in a bus.

2-Liked this idea that about 500,000 cars were going to come off the highways because of the train. Sort of important when your county is getting these orange EPA air alerts – which mean you’re not supposed to spend too much time outside due to minute particulate matter getting in your lungs.

3-Thought this was a good deal for my state, where by the way about 9,500 jobs were going to be created due to this project which would have linked us to 1,000’s of cities and an entire national network of passenger rail.

4-I’m embarrassed for this state. And Milwaukee. So…what company of any significant size is going to locate a new operation in Milwaukee now – outside of a road building company. Train builder Talgo was lured there only to be later told by leadership their product is “cow speed” “boondoggle” junk. Truly I think the impression many will have is that we have a state leader who is absolutely off his rocker.

5-There’s more but I’m tired now.

Whether you wanted to take the train from Madison down to Chicago, or you hoped for some business development  – maybe a rail-related job? Think it bizarre about 1/2 of that rail $ will go to from this Red State to the  Blue State of California….? Leave a comment. Let it out. I’ll be here throughout the day to see what’s up.

Notables quotes:

Scott Walker: “I think the fact that we don’t have a train between Milwaukee and Madison, and there’s no other way the federal government can force it on us- it’s a victory.”

Couple of  sweet tweets:

@lakeicychill Scott Walker to unveil new MKE-to-MAD horse & buggylo-speed plan. 8 new blacksmith jobs created. Huzzah.

@dane101: Governor Scott Walker Job Watch: Negative 255,000 http://bit.ly/h5106y

20 thoughts on “Bluecheddar is open for business (unlike Wisconsin). Vent about high-speed rail here today

  1. Hey Steve Vance! Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to link to your transportation blog – that’s a great place. On your question: “Who called them cow speed and boondoggle?” Our Governor-Elect Scott Walker has rolled out of bed every morning muttering “boondoggle”! He’s been calling the high-speed rail project a “boondoggle” every day for may 1 year – maybe more. He is eerily good at the talking points. Sort of a Stepford Wife-style human. [I’m not saying he’s a BOT but..he has never come out and PROVEN he’s not a robot! ] As for “cow speed”, in Madison, Wisconsin there is a talk radio personality named Vicki McKenna – on WIBA 1030 I believe – and she has her own set of anti-train talking points, and 1 huge one repeated on the air, on facebook, on twitter is “cow speed” She says because the train was not set to start faster than – what is it – 70mph? – then it is slowwwwww. Her language has been the most “playground” sounding, but I know that other more reasonable people have been scratching their heads about that too. Many don’t find out til – never – that the train is around 100-110 mph in 2016 depending on where it was between Milwaukee & Madison [was to be, I should say] and even THEN some people are like ” well, that’s not a bullet train. Japan has bullet trains”. The whole crafting of messaging on the high-speed rail has been bungled by the Democrats from day 1 and the DOT? Forgettabout it. They should’ve called it a Chicago to Minneapolis plan from day one. Arghh. Anyway-Steve – congrats – Illinois i believe got some $…I should know how much.

  2. ‘Train builder Talgo was lured there only to be later told by leadership their product is “cow speed” “boondoggle” junk. ‘

    Who called them cow speed and boondoggle?

  3. After growing assurances that HSR would NOT be a money-loser for the state and would be a big job creator and economic boost, the guv-elect lacked the skill to find a way out of his campaign rhetoric and into the real world. I kept hoping there was a chance he would, but he obviously lacked either the interest in doing so or the ability it would take.

    • I speculate that he’s been promised some good things in D.C. in a couple of years if he plays by some rules. And one rule is – cut off passenger rail. The Koch Brothers were big funders of the Tea Party activities in this state. They are huge into petroleum, their refinery provides 30% of the gasoline/diesel in WI. Outside of that, Walker’s radio personality pal Vicki McKenna was entwined deeply in the Tea Party politicking and continues with a series of talking points against this train. She loves “cow speed” train instead of “high-speed rail”. I saved one of her broadcasts in which she gets to what I think is the meatiest part – “smart growth” along intercity passenger rail encourages a settlement of people who become urbanized and adopt a Democrat political profile. That ain’t good for Repubs across america. They want suburbanites. Rural folks. It’s as if they are creating a profile of citizen here that will be more likely to jump in that car – maintain that independent fossil-fuel oriented lifestyle with the house and the big yard. If you get an apartment or condo and ride the train..you’re turning into a “liberal elite”. Incidentally, tea party folks called this the “Obama train”

      • It’s like the Koch bros. and others working behind the scenes with their massive wealth to change the nation’s views on all social programs. There’s this noise about the evils of FDR, labor unions, civil rights, Social Security. Any progressive program that has helped the many gets labled as socialistic or communistic. We have a big job to do fighting this kind of thinking that seems to attract support among some of the very people who need these programs. Go figure.

  4. First – it’s awesome to have commenters today. Thanks for coming by. Next – Aredee- YES! I should have kept a count of how many people asked me “How can 1 man put a halt to this project that is in the works since the 90’s??” I believe the answer is that he is the “landlord” of the state when governor. But….where there are enuf lawyers and enuf rag and $… and a lot of lawyers are out of work now anyway. ”
    On that criminal investigation: there you are relying on the legal establishment to side with you, and that will not occur given Van Holen -is that his name? – the Repub. Attorney General for the state. Or am I wrong?

    Media campaign: There is a grassroots group pulling together…it’s a little confusing to me – 1 side is Netroots Wisconsin – the other is becoming partisan. But it is coming together right now. BTW – brilliant: ” e.g., when Talgo pulls out, full page ads throughout the state showing pictures of their locked gates with the tagline, “Thank you, Governor Walker.”

    • As my farm-raised wife would say, Van Hollen is as useful as teats on a bull, but there are also Federal Attorneys who could take on the case.

      I read one newspaper that said that Walker met with road lobbiests in Fla. And that PAC money that he got flowed in from out of state. Therefore, interstate actions subject to FEDERAL jurisdiction.

      BTW, Walker reminds me of a line from an old movie: “He has the courage of his ignorance.”

      • As long as we are onto “earthy” phrases. There is a Spanish phrase – something like he wants to shit higher than his ass… [I’ll try to find that]

      • LOL! If there isnt a phrase like that, there ought to be! We could call it the “Walker Paradigm” in his honor!

  5. The “primal scream” picture is very appropriate. 

    I am past the stage of enragement (or trying to be) and I’m now thinking more in the mode of the old saying, “don’t get mad, get even.” in other words, where do we go from here?

    I’ll say this about Wslker: as perverted as his priorities are, he is acting in a manner that I wish Obama had acted when he was sworn in. Then and now are not the time for us to be singing “Kumbayah” with our adversaries. 

    In a broad sense, we need to call upon Democratic members of the incoming legislature to demonstrate the same level of cooperation toward Wslker that the GOP has shown toward Walker.   This means, in part, Democrats doing what they’re not always good at: standing together. 

    More specifically, I’d like to see:

    • Civil lawsuits against the state for destroying this project. Maybe even a class action suit brought by such entities as Watertown, the city of Milwaukee, and even Milwaukee County, which will be lucky enough not to have Wzlker as its exec after this month. And Talgo and all the subcontractors may also have a case for civil action. The legal fees incurred by the state can be used by progressives as more expense heaped upon the taxpayer by Walker in the name of “saving money.” 

    • A push for a criminal investigation of Walker and his ties to the road-building industry. This may need to start with someone conducting a lot of muckraking, investigative journalism. 

    • A media campaign on the part of Wisconsin’s progressives to showcase the aftermath of Walker’s decision: e.g., when Talgo pulls out, full page ads throughout the state showing pictures of their locked gates with the tagline, “Thank you, Governor Walker.”

    Stopping HSR is just the start of the damage Wzlker plans to do this state. We need to dig in and remember that for the next four years, “opposition” is the operative word in “loyal opposition.”

  6. Not sure how to utilize “the hash-tag # RecallScottWalker” Muttmutt, but it surely is the time to start pushing the idea…if nothing else, maybe it will help open a dialog… those who voted him in may just retreat into even further denial of reality—or they might actually start thinking “…why on earth would anyone want to do this?” And has anyone even considered investigating the voting machines and processes that were initiated during the Bush years? Never heard of any follow up or anything about all those”rigged” voting machines that must still be out there! The untold story???

    • Yes, Bill. We heard that the voting machines could even be hacked into. Would be awesome if that were in Wikileaks. Gee….relying on wikileaks to give us back some democracy. This is a changing world.
      On that #RecallScottWalker thing. It’s a “hashtag” which is just a thing you put in a tweet so that it is indexed. It also creates something like a URL so that when somebody clicks on it you get a listing of all the tweets that have that same hashtag.

  7. If there’s a silver lining here, maybe these moderate types that thought when they voted for this Scott Walker were getting some sort of reasonable person are now waking up and saying “WTF!?” These large papers endorsed Walker & LATER said – oh – we thought you were just kidding on this train-killing nonsense: La Crosse Tribune, Wisconsin State Journal, and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. God damn frustrating.
    [Thanks for the reminder on the #RecallScottWalker hashtag, BTW]

  8. I want to encourage everyone who cares about the future of Wisconsin to continue to pressure the yet-to-inaugurated Scott Walker administration on a wide range of fronts. And if you post something on Twitter about Walker and his shennanigans, please use the hash-tag #RecallScottWalker. Given that the first act of his administration was to reject jobs and money because he couldn’t funnel them to his concrete and asphalt friends means it’s time to start the recall campaign.

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