Sunday Train: Cap&Trade Funds should help finance the California HSR

An encore of a Sunday Train from 22 April, 2012, on a topic that has come back in the news

Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

One element of the recent California HSR "revised" draft 2012 Business Plan (which we shall call the Other, Other Plan) involves looking to one particular means of finance in addition to general fund bond finance and Federal transport grant funding:

Cap-and-Trade Program Funds
Assembly Bill 32 (Statutes, 2006, Chapter 488) mandates a reduction of statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In accordance with that law, California will implement a market-based cap-and-trade program. Funds from the program can be used to further the purposes of AB 32, including for development and construction of the high-speed rail system.

This has led to the current controversy in which the California Legislative Analysts Office, the LAO, has argued that the Cap and Trade funds might not be usable for HSR (pdf: p. 8).

One of their points, "Other GHG Reduction Strategies Likely to Be More Cost Effective," involves a serious and common misframing of the question of the use of funds dedicated to reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions: when reducing GHG emissions in a project that serves multiple purposes, the cost effectiveness of the GHG emissions spending depends on what share of the project funding is represented by that GHG emissions spending.

So more on transport, Green House Gas emissions, and the peculiar analytical weaknesses that crop up whenever the California LAO turns its attention to HSR, over the fold.




A problematic gay rights victory in Lebanon

On the one hand, the fact that a judge in Lebanon ruled in January that criminalization of gay sex in that country must cease is a very good thing.

On the other hand, the case way that happened…the case that won that ruling…and the aftermath are off-putting.

Although the case was decided at the end of January the result was not made public until it was released in the arabic legal magazine Legal Agenda last week.

Judge Naji El Dahdah of Jdeide Court in Beirut dismissed a case on January 28 in which the country of Lebanon accused a self-described transgender woman of having a same-sex relationship with a man. From a transgender perspective, these two individuals were having a heterosexual relationship.

The defendant, whom the report does not name, was born with deformed or incomplete genitalia, but was described as male on her personal status registry. However, she said she always felt she was a woman, and underwent surgery in the 1990s to remove her male genitals and create a vagina.

--Venetia Rainey, The Daily Star

So here we discover that the transgender woman was, in fact, intersex.

And the gay news media was all about the legalization of gay sex…even though the ruling was about penis/vagina sex.

Can you say erasure.



What About When Both Sides Suck? Ukraine Edition

Burning the Midnight Oil for the Arc of the Sun

This is not an effort to engage in an in-depth analysis of the Ukraine Crisis, but is rather a reflection on a challenge the seems to face online discussions about crises such as these.

Much of the analysis of the crisis goes along lines similar to the following:

  • The current government of the Ukraine sucks for [reason], therefore the opposition is great
  • The current opposition of the Ukraine sucks for [reason], therefore the government is great
  • United States foreign policy sucks for [reason], therefore Russia is great
  • Russian foreign policy sucks for [reason], therefore the United States is great

I am sure that anyone who has followed the online discussion of this crisis or, indeed, any of the previous international crises of the past five years will be familiar with arguments along these lines. After all, people who engage in this type of reasoning can come to conclusions about complex crises much quick than other people ...

... who are grounded in the reality that sometimes both sides suck.



Maryland set to protect transgender people from discrimination

On Tuesday the Maryland Senate approved the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 which would expand Maryland's anti-discrimination laws to add transgender people to the list of classes of people protected against discrimination in housing, employment, access to credit, and public accommodations. The bill exempts religious organizations, private clubs, educational institutions, small businesses and owner-occupied rentals.

There was virtually no debate on the bill, though Anne Arundel Republican Bryan W. Simonaire tried to raise "the bathroom question."

Baltimore CIty, Baltimore County, Howard County and Montgomery County all have protections against disrimination on the basis of gender identity and officials in those locales say they have had no complaints concerning restroom usage.

The bill passed by a margin of 32-15, with four democrats (John Astle (Anne Arundel), James E. DeGrange Sr. (Anne Arundel), Roy P. Dyson (Southern Maryland), James N. Mathias Jr. (Lower Eastern Shore) joining the mostly republican opposition. Howard County Republican Allan H. Kittleman, on the other hand, spoke in support of the bill.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Richard S. Madaleno, Jr (D-Montgomery).



Gender Prison: Transgender student sexually assaulted in California high school boys' room UPDATE: Hoax.

Hercules High School in the northern reaches of San Francisco's Bay Area has been in the news recently for all of the reasons that a school doesn't want to be in the news. Bullying by students, alleged bullying by the principal, a federal investigative report detailing the school's lack of effort in addressing complaints of bullying, and an overwhelming vote of "no confidence" in the principal by the faculty all bleed into the press and/or go viral on the Internet.

And now it has gotten worse.









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