Loose Ends (56)

After the “renewable energy” scam, the next greatest rent-seeking scam has to be urban “light rail” transit, or what I have sometimes called “The Quest for the Holy Rail,” or “A Desire Named Streetcar.” Construction costs are always underestimated (funny how consistent this is) while ridership projections are always way higher than reality. And then after a while, like San Franciso’s BART or Washington DC’s Metro, “deferred maintenance” results in a run-down system that loses more riders—and more money.

So it was with some interest that I saw this headline in the Milwaukee Business Journal:

Milwaukee Streetcar Ridership Better than Expected

The Milwaukee streetcar system tallied strong ridership numbers in the weeks after its opening. . .

So how strong was it, Jay?

. . . averaging 2,191 riders a day.

2,191 riders a day? I wonder that percentage of total trips this accounts for in Milwaukee? I’d guess somewhere around 0.01 percent. If this were a podcast, I’d insert a rim-shot here.

Leave it to The Guardian to progsplain (that’s short for “progressive-explaining”) that the only reason the killing of Jamal Khashoggi is having such a long half-life in the news cycles is that he enjoyed—wait for it now—white privilege!Yes, it’s true. Don’t be fooled by his swarthy Middle Eastern complexion, or his non-Anglo name. Though it turns out he only borrowed his white privilege:


The extent of the power of white privilege, even if only by association, came as a surprise to most world leaders, including Donald Trump, who were pressed into taking action following the murder of the Saudi Washington Post journalist “who is not even an American citizen”, as Trump said during a press conference.

While the Saudi regime imprisons thousands of nameless dissidents and kills millions in Yemen, the whole world knew of one name, Jamal Khashoggi. That is his association with white privilege in action. There are thousands of Khashoggis out there – working, dying – but none will count like he did. But what the focus on him did achieve, thanks to his associated white privilege, is to help bring all of their stories to the surface.

The author, Khalid Albaih, is described as “a Sudanese artist and cartoonist living in Denmark.” Cartoonist in Denmark. Hmmm, where have I heard about that before. Also, if a non-white person can “borrow” white privilege, what good is it any more? How soon until Elizabeth Warren decides we need to regulate predatory white privilege lending? Is there a futures market where I can sell puts and calls on white privilege? (And can I buy the options in Bitcoin?)

There is talk of a possible government shutdown because of Trump’s demands for funding for a border wall. Has it occurred to anyone that Trump is just the sort of president who would shut down the government. . . and not open it back up again? Democrats might want to ponder that.