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Member since: Sun Dec 3, 2017, 10:40 AM
Number of posts: 7,866

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The Italian public train system is awesome

We were just in Italy for a week and used the public train system to get around. It was amazing how easy, efficient, fast and affordable it was. Rome has an extensive subway and above ground trams that go most everywhere in the city. It was quite easy to figure out as most stations had English translations plus it was logical and user friendly. There are many options for tickets but we just bought a single ticket at a time that lasted 100 minutes no matter where you went in the city. Each ticket cost 1.5 Euros. There were also mutli-day passes that were cheaper per trip if you intended to use the system over a number of days. The trains were fast, frequent, and relatively clean and not too crowded during the times we used them.

What was even more amazing were the high-speed intercity trains. We traveled to both Florence and Milan on these trains and they were amazing. Incredibly fast, quiet, and affordable. We road the Frecciarossa (Red Arrow). They were the fastest, 190 MPH when at full speed. We purchased "standard class" which included reserved seats and comfortable seating. The cost was about 50 Euros per seat each way to Florence and back to Rome. Non-stop each way.

We also traveled to Milan from Rome on the same type of train, a bit more expensive since it is quite a bit longer trip. Milan also has a very nice city public train system and may even be better than Rome but we didnt stay there long.

What was also really nice abut the high-speed Frecciarossa trains was that many of the seats had groupings of 4 seats facing. So for us (fam of 3) we were able to sit together and talk and play games (we have a young kid). The trains we were on were never entirely full so we had an empty seat in our seating group.

I was also able to purchase tickets online with my smart phone in minutes. So simple and efficient. I dont think you even need a car.

I am sure other cities in Europe have similar systems. I just wish we had something like this in the US. Amtrack is no comparison.

When evaluating fossil fuels shouldn't we also consider the direct heating effect of using the fuel?

So for example when a car is operating there is tremendous waste heat being generated along with CO2. This heat is given off into the air around the car and adds to the overall heat level of area. Its really noticeable when you park your car in your garage and shut the garage door. It's get incredibly hot. So considering there are over a billion cars on this planet, this effect would seem to be significant.

Then of course all the other uses of fossil fuels.. heating homes, generating electricity, powering all sorts of engines and equipment, etc. This all adds to the direct heating of the environment.

Is this level of heating insignificant in comparison to the effect of CO2?? I don't know for sure but I would think it would have a significant additive effect, a bit like operating a wood stove in a greenhouse.

We can also think of this like injecting heat into the environment that was captured from the sun eons ago. This energy has been stored in fossil fuels and we are now releasing it. It's like we are increasing the current sun's output.

I don't know what specifically can be done but seems its something that needs to be seriously considered.

Trump finds no new lawyers for court appearance in Mar-a-Lago case

Donald Trump is expected to be represented at his first court appearance to face federal criminal charges for retaining national security materials and obstruction of justice by two of his existing lawyers, despite trying to recruit a local Florida lawyer willing to join his legal defense team.

The lawyers making an appearance with Trump on Tuesday will be the top former federal prosecutor Todd Blanche and the former Florida solicitor general Chris Kise, according to people familiar with the matter. Trump’s co-defendant, his valet Walt Nauta, will be represented by Stanley Woodward.

Trump and his legal team spent the afternoon before his arraignment interviewing potential lawyers but the interviews did not result in any joining the team in time for Trump’s initial court appearance scheduled for 3pm ET on Tuesday after several attorneys declined to take him as a client.

Trump has also seemingly been unable to find a specialist national security lawyer, eligible to possess a security clearance, to help him navigate the Espionage Act charges.



So I suppose this means the arraignment will not be delayed. Good news, I think.

Debt ceiling bill won't be signed until Saturday at the earliest

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Joe Biden won’t be signing the debt ceiling bill that passed Congress until tomorrow at the earliest.

“It won’t be today. The House and the Senate have to do their business, so we’re going to work very quickly to get this done to make sure we can sign it hopefully as soon as tomorrow,” Jean-Pierre said. Treasury secretary Janet Yellen said that the debt ceiling must be raised by 5 June, which means that Biden must sign the bill by the weekend to avoid default. Jean-Pierre said the White House is confident they can get the bill signed before June 5.

Jean-Pierre did not specify what Congress needs to do before getting it on Biden’s desk. Biden is planning to address the deal in a speech tonight at 7pm. Jean-Pierre said that he will focus on the bipartisan nature of the deal and how it benefits Americans.

“When you think about what could have happened here, to our seniors, to our veterans, to American families,” Jean-Pierre said. “That is something the president believes he has an opportunity to talk directly to the American people [about]. This could’ve been, as we’ve said over and over again, devastating.”

“He believes this is a good moment to lay that out and how we were able to come together to avert this crisis.”


This is a bit weird. Anyone know what's going on here??

Senate vote on debt ceiling will be tonight around 10pm.

They are currently working through voting on 11 amendments which is supposed to take about 10 minutes per amendment. They are curently on the 3rd one (as of 8:40 pm) so 8 more to go so looks like around 10pm for the final vote.

Here are the list of amendments.

1. Paul 107 (60 vote affirmative threshold)
2. Braun 91 (60 vote affirmative threshold)
3. Marshall 110 (60 vote affirmative threshold)
4. Sullivan 125 (60 vote affirmative threshold)
5. Hawley 93 (60 vote affirmative threshold)
6. Kennedy 104 (60 vote affirmative threshold)
7. Cotton 106 (60 vote affirmative threshold)
8. Budd 134 (60 vote affirmative threshold)
9. Lee 98 (Majority)
10. Kennedy 102 (Majority)
11. Kaine 101 (Majority)

It will be followed by final passage of the debt ceiling bill:

HR 3746 (An Act to Provide for a Responsible Increase to the Debt Ceiling). Subject to a 60 vote affirmative threshold.


They must defeat each amendment or it goes back to the House which is not what we want. Very unlikely any amendment will pass.

The House vote on the rules governing the debt ceiling bill just passed.

50+ Dems voting with 190 Rs.

This is good sign for the vote tonight.

Republicans, White House see progress in US debt ceiling talks

WASHINGTON, May 24 (Reuters) - Negotiators for Democratic President Joe Biden and top congressional Republican Kevin McCarthy held what both sides called productive talks on Wednesday to try to reach a deal to raise the United States' $31.4 trillion debt ceiling and avoid a catastrophic default.

After a four-hour White House meeting, U.S. House Speaker McCarthy said negotiations had improved and would continue in the evening. He predicted the two sides would reach an agreement, though several issues remain unresolved

"We've made some progress working down there. So that's very positive," McCarthy told reporters. "I want to make sure we get the right agreement. I can see that we're working towards that."

White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said talks remain fruitful. "If it keeps going in good faith, we can get to an agreement here," she said at a briefing while discussions were taking place.



Looks like a deal is imminent. Thank goodness!

Bragg press conference 3:30 p.m today

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg will speak to reporters Tuesday after the arraingment of former President Donald Trump.

His press conference is scheduled to be held at 3:30 p.m. at the Supreme Civil Court, located next to the Manhattan Criminal Court, where Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 counts, including falsifying business records in the first degree.


Great he is doing this so fast to beat the Idiot to the punch.

The trial should be interesting.

Trump and his lawyers will turn this into a wild shitshow bashing Cohen, Daniels and the NY DA office. It is my understanding the trial will be held in NYC so the jury wont likely have any Trumpers but who knows. It will be a spectacle for sure. Hope its televised.

Sounds like Bragg was messing with Trump and his lawyers regarding the 1 month GJ recess.

Apparently they were totally caught off guard. Love it!!!
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