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National Passenger Rail

This post is pretty much spot on:

Amtrak should build a good train:

Amtrak released their new vision for passenger rail expansion in the United States, and I don’t really know what to say except that it sucks. They’re proposing incremental expansion of a national network of slow, infrequent trains that I guess will serve the needs of weirdos and hobbyists who want to ride a train from Birmingham to Shreveport or from Athens to Fort Wayne via Columbus but serves no particular transportation purpose.

I get the politics of this idea — spreading a lot of money around to a lot of different places and making modest upgrades to existing legacy rail lines and thus avoiding any difficult engineering problems or potential land use conflicts.

I just want something big to happen with our national rail system. If I could wave a magic wand we’d nationalize the railroad right-of-ways (like a public utility) and begin upgrades for electrification and higher-speeds across the entire system. The only point of disagreement with the Slow Boring post I have is that connecting smaller places with better service will help them survive – and I think that’s both better politics and economics than assumed.

File this under positive uses of Youtube

I’m back coaching skiing again after several years off. I love being out there on the hill and teaching this sport. There aren’t many sports out there that are as dynamic, fast and fun as ski racing. It’s a place where we see real progression with the kids through the year.

I last coached in 2009, and the thing that is blowing me away this time around is the quality and quantity of videos on YouTube about the subject. Here’s a small sampling of what I’ve found so far…

Mikaela Shiffrin breaking down her keys to a good training session:


I’ve watched Dahron Ralves lay out his warm up sequence.


Deb Armstrong just being an awesome and enthusiastic teacher:


And I’ve just recently watched “Ski Dad” (love that) break down carving in his family room with some chairs and kitchen stools.


One of the ideas that Mikaela Shiffrin spoke about above in her video was being a student of the sport.

This such an important concept for anyone who is training for a sport. Being in the mindset of a student speaks allows one to be coachable. Beyond all of the physical qualities that contribute to success, I’ve come to believe that being coachable is one of the best qualities to have – it constantly puts you in the mind of continual experimentation and improvement.

Good on the German team.

world cup 2022

We’re barely into the World Cup and the soccer has been great already… upsets! Beautiful goals! Angst about the US!

You also need to watch this Last Week Tonight from John Oliver about the Qatar 2022 World Cup

“FIFA: A cartel-like group of scumbags and assorted criminals who ocassionaly put on soccer matches.”

There is a much longer post related to the World Cup I’d love to write about universal human rights… but I need to get my thoughts figured out here first.

Plain Text Emails, Please

This might be the most “get off my lawn” blog post I could possibly write, but here goes.

I just wanted to say thank you to all the newsletter operators out there who take the time to format their newsletters for plain text in addition to HTML.

I get why everyone is doing newsletters now instead of blogs. The need to drive engagement and track impressions, and analytics and so on and so forth.

But please… think of all your users and customers. Some of us prefer plain text, and more might use it if it were an option. Plain text strips away the distraction and the fluff and lets me just read…


Reporting live…

Our household is pretty excited about the first snow of the year – October 14, 2022

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Great Article in NYT Opinion – A Lost Manuscript Shows the Fire Barack Obama Couldn’t Reveal on the Campaign Trail

Opinion | A Lost Manuscript Shows the Fire Barack Obama Couldn’t Reveal on the Campaign Trail – The New York Times:

That’s a shame, because reading “Transformative Politics” today is a bracing experience.

This is a great article – well worth reading.