Kudos to Kevin Drum for his obvious skepticism about California high speed rail. Too often the left accepts high speed rail projects credulously, despite their backbreaking costs and little proven impacts on energy use or greenhouse gas production.
I have had back and fort over rail projects with supporters for years, and I am always particularly amazed at how supporters treat me like some kind of neanderthal (e.g. "the debate is over!" and "rail is settled policy.") I finally figured out the other day how to characterize rail supporters arguments.
They are like kids who might say, "why wouldn't you want Santa Clause to bring you an Xbox for Christmas?" They treat rail like it is a birthday present, and that I am some sort of schlub for turning down such a shiny new present. But of course it is not a present, and costs matter. The problem with rail is not that I don't like riding on trains, the problem is that I don't like draining resources by force from millions of people so that a few thousand middle class commuters can ride on trains to work.