However, extending high speed rail across the US makes no economic sense now, and would place the government into direct competition with private commercial transport.
There is no such thing as private commercial transport. The highways are all built and maintained by the goverment. The airline industry gets "bailed out" with public monies every other day. Airport authorities are not private corporations, either. Saying transport mode X can't "compete" with transport mode Y is just another way of saying that X is less heavily subsidized.
Because it is impossible to pirate books to a Kindle?
It is trivially easy to read pirated books on Kindle. Not that I have done this, mind you, but I hear that there are websites out there with ebook torrents on them, and there's this program you can get to convert them into a Kindle-readable format.
The Kindle device doesn't require DRM, the Amazon bookstore does. These are two separate things that people seem to keep mixing up.
I actually prefer reading on my Kindle to most paper books. My eyes go buggy reading on a computer screen, too, but the idea that you can't "curl up" with a Kindle is nonsense. I read my Kindle in my comfy chair, in bed, on the toilet, in the waiting room at the doctor's office, etc.
The Kindle's display does not make my eyes go buggy at all.
Really, the only advantage paper books have is that you can't "thumb through" the Kindle, and that graphics / diagrams / photos look like crap on the Kindle.
But really I want to stress that the most important "feature" is that is not Defective By Design: with the Kindle you have to send your PDF or HTML files to Amazon to be converted to the proprietary and DRM'ed format used, which will then only work on a single device,
You are entirely wrong about this. You can convert your PDF into a mobidoc on your desktop and copy the prc file to your kindle over the USB port. I do this all the time, and it works out great. No DRM, doesn't involve Amazon at all.
but it can also appear as an USB key to a PC) and most important is very open: no DRM bullshit, it runs Linux
I have a first-gen Kindle, and I am quite satisfied with it. It runs Linux too. It's a USB storage device too. It reads non-DRM ebooks just fine. There is "DRM bullshit" if and only if you buy your books from Amazon, which is not a requirement.
I bought it to read books, not to try to get root on it. If getting root is really worth spending an extra $500, be my guest, but I'll keep my money and spend it on books.
No matter how rich you are, you can only eat 5 or 6 pizzas a day
Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.