Sunday Train: The Hole in the PA Keystone West Feasibility Study

One of the things I was waiting on last year was delivery of Pennsylvania's feasibility study for improvements on the "Keystone West" corridor. The "Keystone East" corridor connecting Harrisburg and Philadelphia was upgraded in 2006, with an electrified corridor with speeds of up to 110mph providing travel times competitive with driving, especially in the suburban Philadelphia area. So when a "Keystone West" feasibility study was announced, there were high hopes in some quarters that some substantial improvements might be made on the "Keystone West" corridor, connecting Pittsburgh with Harrisburg, currently hosting only the Pennsylvanian between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

The feasibility study is was originally promised for substantially earlier, with a final draft completed in May 2013 but the trip from final draft to final report took more than a year, being finally published in August of last year (pdf).

A quick review of the Executive Summary reveals that a range of things can be done to improve the Keystone West, which could trim something less than an hour from the current five and a half hour trip to Harrisburg (with a further hour and a half to Philadelphia). It also takes a look at, and quickly dismisses an Express HSR corridor.

But for some reason ... while it considers an option to add a third passenger-only track on the Keystone West, it completely ignores the option of a Rapid Rail speed upgrade on that track ... despite the fact that a Rapid Rail speed upgrade was part of what made the Keystone East project successful. So I'll take a look at this curious hole in the feasibility study, below the fold.

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The Breakfast Club (Mean Mary Fast)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover  we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it's PhilJD's fault.

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First, do no harm

 photo Hunter_zpstmcbxizu.jpgDanielle Hunter is 48 years old. For the past 20 years she has done drag for a living, both hosting Sunday Morning Drag Gospel Brunch at Bananas Modern Diner in Orlando and performing as Dolly Parton at the Funky Monkey Wine Co.

Danielle unfortunately recently attempted suicide. After recovering in a hospital, she felt she wasn't ready to jump right back out on the streets, so she checked in to a mental-health facility run by Aspire Health Partners this past Tuesday, seeking supervision and support.

The treatment she got was horrendous considering the circumstances. She was removed from her room and first told to sleep on the floor in a common area, though she was eventually given a cot. When she complained, she was told there would be space for her in a room designated for men.

Here's Danielle at the Funky Monkey:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Breakfast Club (Cold Frosty Morning)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover  we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it's PhilJD's fault.

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Coming soon...to a television near you

Rescue me! I got stuck over at E! Online.

Jazz Jennings recently appeared on NBC's Meredith Vieira Show.

While I'm certain that she was there to promote the fact that she is the newest face of the Clean and Clear #SeetheRealMe Campaign, some other things came up as well.

 

 

 

 

First of all, there is the response the campaign has generated

When I first saw Jazz Jennings, nothing struck me as peculiar. She looked like any other vibrant, charming and charismatic teenage girl. I assumed that her age and on-camera presence made her an ideal candidate as a representative of Clean and Clear. She fit the mold of what you see for something targeted at younger audiences. Teenagers get pimples and she’s a teenager – it works.

It’s not until it’s mentioned that Jennings is transgender that people start to stir, debate and wonder why a brand of face wash tries to “force” our youth to accept something so perverse. The backlash from parents is horrifying. I was used to seeing opponents attack adults on the Internet, but Jennings is a child. “Concerned parents” were saying that we should burn “it” at the stake, that she is wearing dresses to get attention or that she should just admit that she is a homosexual boy. Teaching children that saying these hurtful things about others will influence them far more than a commercial will.

--Elizabeth Legget

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The Breakfast Club (Livin in a Gangsta's Paradise)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We're a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we're not too hungover  we've been bailed out we're not too exhausted from last night's (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and
weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our
boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late,
it's PhilJD's fault.
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This Day in History

 

 

 

  

 

 

   

Martin Luther King's son Dexter meets with James Earl
Ray, in prison for assassinating the civil rights leader; Comedian
Milton Berle dies; The FDA approves Viagra; Director Quentin Tarantino
born.

Breakfast Tunes

 

 

 

  

 

 

   

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

 

A writer should have this little voice inside of you saying, Tell the truth. Reveal a few secrets here.

Quentin Tarantino

TMC :: The Breakfast Club (Livin in a Gangsta's Paradise)

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Papers to Pee bills fail in Kentucky and Florida

Kentucky's legislative session ended Tuesday. And with it, State Senator CB Embry, Jr.'s bill calling for the state to pay students to bully transgender students out of school restrooms ended as well.

We are elated that his mean-spirited legislation has failed and congratulate The Fairness Coalition for their tireless work to defeat the bill. Denying students access to bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with who they are is cruel. It is also illegal, as it violates Title IX’s anti-discrimination provisions as interpreted by the United States Departments of Justice and Education. This bill would have hurt already-vulnerable transgender students who regularly face bullying and other forms of harassment. TLDEF will continue to speak out against legislation designed to put transgender students in harm’s way.

--Michael Silverman, Executive Director, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund

In Florida The Bradenton Herald reports that there was not time Monday to hear the Senate bathroom bill in the Criminal Justice Committee, which would ban transgender people from using the restrooms suitable for their gender unless they have state documentation proving their new gender.

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