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      The Amazon goes, we go. This map doesn’t make it seem like it’s in danger, though it’s bad, but… So many #Climate emergencies worldwide, it’s hard to keep up. But #AmazonRainforest burning is stand-out global disaster. Every red dot below represents a significant fire pic.twitter.com/AZ6IaOO1Pv — John Gibbons (@think_or_swim) August 21, 2019 The Intercept ha […]
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“Those who were made can be unmade”

Enforcing the Quartering Act of 1774

In a news cycle, the report that Brian Williams is taking a brief sabbatical is already old. But what does it mean?

The last time we had a major news anchor step down it was definitely a political move. Dan Rather dared to expose George W. Bush’s service records. I don’t know which was worse: that a trusted name in news who covered in person some of the major news of his era was deposed or that we were subjected to the mind numbingly boring subject of kerning. Count me among the people who believe the records were genuine. His political enemies took him out anyway. That was to meant to be an example to the rest of us. Step over the line and we will finish you.

We all know how hyping misinformation can ruin a person’s reputation. This is what Vince Foster complained about before he committed suicide. But what could be behind this latest attack on the news?

Could it be a warm up to making Hillary Clinton’s campaign a living hell? Hmmm. Interesting possibility. But she’s been through this stuff before and she continues to learn from her experiences. That should trouble the opposition greatly. There’s nothing worse than someone who continually gets whaled on who figures it out. It could still be a rough campaign season if she decides to run but the results might not be as predictable as they were 20 or even 8 years ago.

Could it be something that has happened in the wake of the FCC chairman’s decision to treat the internet as a public utility? I have no idea how Williams’ forced leave would tie into that but telecomm/networks are not happy about that decision, even if we don’t know exactly how it would play out yet. Maybe they’re getting their ducks in a row for some serious push back. MSNBC is (was) seen as slavishly devoted to Obama so who knows.

Following up on that, maybe NBC needs a more compliant anchor going into the 2016 campaign season. You know, someone like Keith Olbermann in 2008 who will sell out his principles in order to push one candidate over another.  Someone without so many annoying scruples. Hmmm, who could it be, who could it be?

Or maybe this is a symptom of a much more serious problem. Maybe the military is getting way too powerful and is indicating its willingness to call the shots. Brian Williams becomes its new poster child. Even mild transgressions will be punished severely.

[Slightly off topic: Although I have seen some grants restored in the wake of the disastrous sequester of 2013, I am still running into people who continue to be laid off or quit academia as a result of losing grant money. In the last month, I met three more  academic scientists, a biochemist, a pharmacologist, and a neuroscientist who are out of work. They all had PhDs and were long time employees of a major university here. The neuroscientist told me that the grants for disease related research he had worked on had been replaced with grants from the DOD for research on traumatic brain injury. If you want to study that, which is important, the grant money is great. If you want to study dementia or some other brain disease, ehhhh, not so much. So, he left. The couple said grants had pretty much dried up for them as well and it seemed to be the primary way their salaries were funded, so they were out. Well, if you’re a conservative legislator, maybe you don’t think medical research is something the government should be doing. That’s something the private sector should be doing. Maybe they missed the memo on translational research. Or maybe all that sciencey stuff reminds them too much of climate research. Traumatic brain injury is more concrete. It’s something they can wrap their heads around, and their constituents at home, who sent a $#*!load of young healthy servicemen to get blown up in Iraq, are demanding it. Who knows? I only speculate. But if you are suffering from schizophrenia or heart disease, well, you’re SOL again. Better to get your noggin scrambled by an IED.]

Anyway, getting back to the military, now that the House and Senate are run by Republicans, I expect the military to get even more of the precious tax revenue that we can’t bring ourselves to spend on other stuff like, oh, I don’t know, student loans, crumbling bridges and school lunches. The defense contractors may see themselves as a previously underprivileged group that now has the total attention of legislators. This is maybe the reason why standing armies were considered problematic once upon a time. If you have them sitting around, all geared up with nothing to do, they’re going to get antsy.

Better not cross them.

Again, just idle speculation…

Update: I rarely read MoDo anymore but her column today is about Brian Williams. She says his tendency to exaggerate was well known among other journalists. He used to do it in private. It may have been doing it on TV that brought him down. The Facebook pushback got too hot.

Oh, please. This is silly. You don’t take out an anchor because people don’t like the way he tells his war stories. Did the US military embed journalists when they went to Iraq or didn’t they?

I’m not buying this very facile explanation. There’s a reason why Williams is getting the boot. We just don’t know what it is yet.

Here’s another post musing on why Williams is about to get the sack. Three possible reasons are cited but the bottom line is that if Williams’ war stories rise to the level of dismissal, there are a whole bunch of anchors and journalists who deserve it as well. Why single out this guy?

**********************************************************

One other thing: TV and cable news are baaaad for you. They can make your brain rot. It’s bad because the audio portion combined with imagery can be crafted in such a way as to provoke a strong emotional response. Emotional responses to important events can short circuit rational responses to those events. They can make you want to start a stupid, money sucking land war in Asia. I don’t watch TV and cable news but I can’t stop anyone else from watching. All I can do it point out that you’re vulnerable to button pushing if you do watch it.

I also don’t listen to NPR anymore either. After it hired Juan Williams and others during the Bush era, I just felt it had drifted too far away from its original mission. This was probably not NPR’s fault but when political appointees started messing around with PBS and NPR funding, erosion of standards was bound to happen. I can’t listen to it now. My ears detect too much change. It’s just sad. As Sinclair Lewis once said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!

I get my news from written sources and my eyes carefully scan the text for trigger words.

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Olympics Complaint Line

Ok, all you Americans, today is the day we start our quadrennial airing of grievances over the pathetic coverage we get of the Olympic games.  It doesn’t matter if it’s ABC or NBC, what we are subjected to is a 2 week commentator gabfest with up-close-and-personal special interest stories about some AMERICAN athlete overcoming adversity to get to the games.  That athlete might not even make it to the top ten in his sport but we must follow him or her.

If there is an event covered, it will be chopped into bite sized pieces, we’ll cut away during some other country’s athlete’s turn and the events we might actually want to see will be overridden by the network’s decision to feature Apollo Ohno winning his zillionth gold medal.  I like the kayaking events and the jumping equestrian events and even the weightlifting stuff.  I can’t remember the last time the commies in charge of NBC or ABC let us see those things.

And we can’t see the games anywhere else.  If we want to catch another country’s coverage, we have to go there.  I envy the Americans who are close enough to the Canadian border to be able to catch the CBC coverage.  The internet is hermetically sealed for our protection.  No other coverage can get through without NBC’s approval.  It makes me feel like I’m living in the old Soviet Union under Breshnev.

Complaining to the network doesn’t help.  Back in 2004, I was able to get an Olympics premium package from my satellite provider.  At least I had a choice of several channels.  In 2008, no package.  It was NBC’s coverage on one channel or nothing.  I’m going to guess it was a marketing plan put together to return shareholder value.  Those sucker Americans, where else are they going to go?  It’s NBC or nothing.  Let’s just phone it in.

This year, I don’t have satellite.  I have a cable modem for my wifi.  That means I’m probably going to have to install silverlight on my mac and watch whatever it is NBC provides in even more truncated form.  Is it any wonder why I haven’t been a regular Olympics watcher since 2004?

{{sigh}}

Your turn.

BTW, this site tells you how to watch the Olympics coverage from the BBC on your iPad or other devices.  I doubt it will work in the US but maybe the other freer people of the world can see it.  Let those of us behind the NBC iron curtain know if anything good happens.

Hate NBC Olympics coverage? Blame merger mania.

Watch the snow and imagine Vonn skiing through it

Violet Socks is not the only person PO’d with NBC’s coverage of the Olympics. (There are plenty of complaints here and here.) Violet can’t see coverage in real time and she apparently works from home.  I can’t see it at all at work, not even with my dual recording DVR because there’s nothing to record in real time that I want to see.  NBC is even time delaying their broadcasts to the west coast.  That’s right, if you live in Seattle, you can’t see what’s going on in Vancouver, just up the road a spell, until 8PM when NBC, who has exclusive broadcasting rights in the USA, will turn to its marketing department to determine what you want.  If you are an American, NBC will presume that you don’t give a rat’s ass about the rest of the world’s athletes.  You will get highlights of events where Americans are expected to medal (or is that podium? ).  Interspersed with your carefully selected and edited sports niblets will be a ^&*(load of commercials and some nauseating human interest stories of determination and perserverence triumphing over heartbreaking personal loss and devastating injury.  (yeah, right, Lindsey Vonn’s shin injury was catastrophic.  Tell it to the podium)

It’s like getting dial-up Olympics coverage from AOL in a gigabit ether world that exists but that your municipality has forbidden you to get.  (No, I’m no bitter at all that I’m stuck on sucky DSL because my only other option is Comcast).

Why should you care?  Oh, I dunno.  I guess it’s because showing the games in real time should be a no brainer.  It’s not 1972 anymore and this is not the Wide World of Sports where, by the way, I think they showed every skiier from every country in their coverage of skiing.  This is 2010 where we *should* have instant access to everything.  If NBC is giving us sh^&&ty coverage, we should be able to turn to online sources for events in real time, that is, if they weren’t blocked by American IP address.  We should be able to go to a Canadian or European broadcaster for our downhill fix.

So, what’s going on here?  Ok, as  professional merger survivors, let me and my friends hazard a guess as to why NBC is failing to live up to our expectations.  Right now, Comcast and NBC are trying to merge.  Here’s how that goes: the first day that a merger is announced, all work comes to a screeching halt.  Formerly productive people spend their time speculating on the political chess game that is going on in their departments.  Who’s in, who’s out.  Projects are put on hold pending further review.  Projects that are going gangbusters prior to a merger announcement slow down to a trot.  People twiddle their thumbs while their overlords stab each other in the back, swing their dicks around and use their prodigious MBA’s to implement the idiotic plans of the consulting group they just hired to “transform” the place.  Then, because “we are too menny“, there must be layoffs.  The formerly productive workers cancel their living room furniture purchases and concentrate on getting their houses ready for a quick sale.  They spend hours grooming their resumes and making calculations of their gross yearly income based on the severance package that the company beancounters have sent out.  They sweat and worry and make appointments with their doctors to get the old bods in good working order while they still have health insurance.

Und zen zey vait.

How long will it take before all of the alpha males (and they are ALWAYS male) decide that they have strutted and preened enough to satisfy the shareholders, taken their cut and skeedaddled before everyone can get back to work?  Eventually, it happens.  Everyone is now one big happy company with values like “innovation!” and “Creativity!”.  But by that time, creativity has taken a backseat to survival.  When the Olympics roll around, the creative, innovative departments look around at their reduced headcount and their devastated budget and the even more manipulative and controlling overlords and they punt.  Just do it the way you did it last time.  Forget that there is new technology.  You don’t have the time, manpower or money to do it better.  Yeah, the shareholders (and you are probably one of them, which gives “conflict of interest”a new meaning) won’t get their bang for their buck but they won’t notice for at least another quarter.  And by then, your management will be looking for new “opportunities”.

Creativity?  Innovation?  Pleasing your customer base?  Who the f&*( has time for that when you’ve just kept your job by the skin of your teeth and the Idiots in Charge are too impressed with their business school credentials to listen to you anyway?

So, Comcast/NBC, when they finally merge, will push out content in time delay, like they do now, like it is 1972.  Only a few voices will stand up and call them on their borg like “You will be assimilated.  Resistence is useless” attitude.  We will fall farther and farther behind our Canadian, Asian and European counterparts.  We will have a free market, laissez faire, anything goes market place in the US where no one benefits but the consultants and the people who jettison at the last minute with golden parachutes, leaving everyone else with the bag and the blame.

So, what to do?  Well, we can’t prevent every merger but Al Franken is working on preventing Comcast/NBC.  Imagine if every innovation was given the same short shrift if the Comcast/NBC merger goes through.  Your cable company will control the horizontal and the vertical and you’ll NEVER see Lindsey Vonn ski in prime time- ever.

Ain’t America great?

To contribute to the only loud mouth in the Senate willing to stand up for us against the borgs, click here.

Now’s your chance to put your foot down and say “NO!” to more mergers, less freedom of speech, less control over content, less innovation.

Reward Good Behavior- Al Franken

Al Franken has been busy, busy, busy this week!  Just look at all the stuff he’s been up to:

  • Al Franken spoke sternly to David Axelrod (does anyone else think that Axelrod has the profile of a rat? Raise your hand).  Where is the leadership from the White House?  LOL!  That’s a good one, Al.  I’m sure that was meant to be a rhetorical question.  See, Obama and his droogs handlers don’t think they *have* to lead.   I guess the White House figures that either the Senate forces the health care insurance reform bill on the House as is and makes the whole Democratic party look like they are capitulating to the right, thereby alienating their base, possibly permanently, or the Senate grows a more liberal spine and gets blamed by the media for capitulating to the extremist left.  Ooooo, Tea Partiers!  BOO!  It’s not like the media and its superultrauber wealthy, ruthless authoritarian owners like the Rupert Murdoch and Jack Welch proteges don’t have a vested interest in turning up the volume on those tea partiers.  Whatever, is the attitude the White House is projecting, with Obama doing the “And that would affect me how…?” posture of the smartass teenager.  Everyone ❤ Obama, or so Axelrod thinks.  But my momma told me that “Looks don’t last, cookin’ do” (It’s probably Pennsylvania Dutch).  I suspect that a lot of people in those polls say they like Obama because they’re sick of being called racists if they say they don’t like his poor presidential leadership.   Obama might need his party someday.  Better make friends with those senators and stop being so coy and ethereal about his political philosophy.  Sink or swim with your party.  Solidarity should mean something and besides, we’re losing patience out here.
  • Al Franken gave a speech to NARAL on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  You can read the whole thing here.  Al’s got our back on the Choice front but I would like Al to think bigger than Roe v. Wade.  After all, we wouldn’t need a Roe v. Wade if women were truly equal persons under the law and were able to exercise their unalienable right to decide for themselves whether or not to become parents.  Or their unalienable right to worship as they please or not please.  Or their unalienable right to determine their own morality about their reproductive decisions as women in many developed countries around the world are able to do.  The time has come.  Roe v. Wade was never our ticket to equality.  Let it die.  Bring on the war.
  • Al Franken takes on media giants Comcast and NBC.  He’s absolutely right about one thing.  You can’t trust the media.  They are not on the side of a free society.  They on the side of those maintaining a carefully controlled underclass.  Hey, if Democrats want to vote for this merger without closing all of the loopholes and strengthening the anti-trust protections, who are we to stop them?  They’ve never wanted our input on anything anyway (but they call our houses incessantly for money and our votes).  On the other hand, I can see no logical reason why any entity would consciously participate in its own demise, content with a few weak promises of restraint from the guys who potentially have Democrats’ balls in their hands come election time.  If Comcast and NBC REALLY, REALLY want to merge, now is the time to extract that pound of flesh, like reinstatement of the “fairness doctrine” or painful concessions on net neutrality or new rules regarding competition in townships like mine where Comcast practically owns the high speed internet market, keeping out competitors like Verizon FIOS.  This is a no-brainer to those of us out here watching.  But Democrats have been winning a lot of Darwin Awards for the past several decades so expect them to screw it up.
Trust me, kids, the Al Franken Decade was a classic

The Al Franken Decade was a classic.

I’m happy to say that Al was one of my better bets in 2008.  He’s turned out to be pretty much what I expected: an assertive, principled, liberal Democrat who is a royal pain in the ass to the Republicans and some Democrats alike.  He opens his mouth and shameless liberal ideals come out of it.  Watching him go after insurance companies that cut people off at their sickest, defense contractors who force rape victims into mediation and Joe Lieberman’s endless monotone bogarting of the Senate mic has been a joy and a pleasure.  This may be the “Al Franken Decade”.  It’s 30 years late but I’ll take it.

In the meantime, I propose we show Al some appreciation and demonstrate to the other “anonymous Senators” who are secret liberal Al admirers (that means YOU, Bob Menendez)  that good behavior will be rewarded.  You can make a contribution to Al here.

$25 per Conflucian adds up to a lot of reward.

Blago Show a No Go

Cast photo from E on-line

Cat photo from E on-line

This is a real heartbreaker.

A federal judge ruled today that former Gov. Rod Blagojevich cannot go to Costa Rica to film a reality show, saying he does not “have confidence’’ that Blagojevich will comply with the conditions of his bail.

“It’s way too soon. I don’t think this defendant in all honesty … fully understands the position he finds himself in,’’ said U.S. District Judge James Zagel in denying the bid.

Blagojevich asked Zagel if he could travel to Costa Rica to appear on the “Survivor’’-style reality show “I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me Out of Here.’’
Zagel’s rejection is a financial blow to Blagojevich, who stood to make as much as $123,000 from the show, according to a defense motion.

Blagojevich still has a contract for a book scheduled to be published in October. The poor guy says he needs the money badly to support his family. Blagojevich’s lawyer, Sheldon Sorosky argued that his client wouldn’t jump bail because he’d never leave his wife and children behind. But the judge said no.

NBC is disappointed but has no plans to relocate the show to a U.S. location.

Bonus Flashback: Take the Quiz.

Disdain, part deux: How NBC finally got busted as the Faux News of the Obama Campaign

To add to Gary’s post about Obama’s disdain for free speech below, NBC lost whatever credibility they had left: 

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama‘s campaign has bought $5 million worth of advertising time from NBC Universal to run TV spots during the Olympic Games, a source familiar with the deal said on Wednesday.

The package, believed to be an unprecedented political media buy for the Olympics, includes commercials that will run on the NBC network and cable channels such as USA, MSNBC and CNBC during the August broadcast of the Summer Games, the source said.

Both NBC and Obama’s campaign declined to comment.

That payoff was sure sweet, especially for the fellatio work on MSNBC.  I wonder how much were the bonuses Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann got for getting on their knees without kneepads for 6 months?    

But wait, there’s more!  The “former media darling” John McCain noticed something in the milk wasn’t clean with all this Obama love.  (Note:  I do not endorse or will endorse John McCain as president, I just think this video is TOO AWESOMELY “good to be true”): 

UPDATE: Pat Johnson & Carol Diamonds, your sugarbear Ed Rendell is in this clip!

Is this how the NBC/Obama/GE love marathon went down? :  You scratch my back a little by saying I am the second coming of JFK & MLK, Jr., and I scratch you $5 million dollars for your Olympics.  Then you continue to scratch my “Obama is a God”  message and I’ll scratch you some love by giving you full and unlimited permission to build nuclear plants EVERYWHERE once I become the Galactic Emperor. < /snark >

So, NBC/Universal = MSNBC = GE = Nuclear Plant Builders = Exceleon Energy = David Axelrod = Obama.

It’s no surprise that backroom dealing was de riguer in the NBC/GE boardrooms, that 99.9% of NBC news personalities (and notice I did not call them “anchors or journalists”) were just overly and unobjectively FAWNING over the Precious.  With this $5 million dollar ad buy, this is further proof Obama has bought the campaign and has ZERO interest in keeping the tenets of “free press” and “Democracy.”  

There is an “ism” word that begins with an F that describes this very thing.  Mussolini would be proud.

PUMA all the way to Denver!

 

UPDATE 2:  This is an image for the Scratching Post Confluence/HireHeels Cocktails:

Sunday- Spring Forward!

I overslept this morning and it felt so good. Last night was a logistical nightmare getting home from Manhattan. The train system in NJ was designed by Berlin Wall escapees from East Germany. All trains from the burbs are routed to centralized collection centers and then funneled from Newark into Manhattan’s Penn Station. That’s because some genius back in the 60’s allowed the decentralized commuter rail system, the Central New Jersey Rail Road, to go bankrupt. The tracks are still there and are owned by conrail but they aren’t being used. No, instead we drive half an hour from the house to one of the NJ Transit stations to catch the train. Even the closest stations put me an hour and a half from Manhattan (on a good day) even though it’s only 36 miles from my house. I don’t drive directly to Manhattan because only cab drivers who never graduated past the “I am young and immortal” stage can navigate the streets without permanent mental damage.

So, I split the difference. I drive directly to Newark’s central collection train station that most NJ Transit trains go thru and take the PATH train. The PATH train is a small commuter rail train that goes from Newark to Manhattan and terminates at the World Trade Center (WTC) on weekends. On the weekdays, it takes you further up 7th avenue to around Penn Station. This is more convenient for me because I can drive most of the way, park my car in Newark in a safe lot near the train station for a mere $8 buckaroos for the whole day, fill my Metro card with $10 worth of rides (that’s 6 rides) and the adolescent, “Brook” and I share the Metro card between us. It’s perfect.

Except yesterday, it wasn’t. The rain was coming down really hard on the trip to Newark on Rt 78, a nice big highway. Ususally, the traffic moves at s nice clip on the weekends. We would have been in Newark in about half an hour. But the rain really slowed us down. We jumped on the PATH train with about 45 minutes to spare to make our 2:00 matinee for Curtains (highly recommended. David Hyde Pierce is a riot). But the PATH train got stuck in a tunnel underneaath the WTC, which already tends to give me the willies. We sat on the train for about 10 minutes with no particular explanation for what was holding us up. I got out of the WTC station at 1:45 and grabbed a cab. It was pouring rain and we had to get about 60 blocks to the theatre. The BFF was texting me frantically on the phone. He ended up leaving the tix at willcall. In fact, 45th street, where the theatre is located, was jammed. We sat in the cab a for a few minutes while the heavens opened up and the cab itself was in gridlock. From inside the taxi, we could see the theatre and with no time left, Brook and I got out of the cab and made a run for it. We got into the theatre after the overture, soaked to the skin and waited at the back of the theatre for a break between scenes to be seated.

On the way back, we hit a different set of problems. We exited the restaurant and the BFF walked us to 7th avenue where we coud catch the subway to the WTC and pick up the PATH to Newark from there. HE gets to go to Grand Central and takes Metro North home. HIS trip is blissfully uncomplicated. Ours is, um, different.

We get on the 1 line going to the WTC except that it actually stops at the Chambers street station about 4 blocks from the WTC and we have to walk the rest of the way. Don’t ask me why this is. The line clearly shows it going all the way to WTC but it never actually does. But last night, they decided to surprise us. At 14th street, the conductor announced it wasn’t even going to Chambers street. Nope, it was ending right here. Everyone off and find the 2 line. So we fumbled around in the grimy, poorly signed station for the 2 and took it to Chambers street, then hoofed it to the WTC. It’s spooky inside the WTC station. The station is right over the Pit and as you pass through it, you can see the huge eerie void and construction equipment working away by the light of some high powered spotlights. People pass through it silently as if to not disturb the dead any further. Personally, I don’t know how people in office buildings will ever be able to work there normally, but I digress.

So, we find the PATH tracks. Now, here’s where those East Germans display their brilliance. It turns out that after 7:00pm, you can’t go directly back to Newark from the WTC. No, first you must go to Hoboken. But, you say, you left your car in Newark. This is correct. So, after the PATH goes to Hoboken, it turns around and reverses itself partway and finally ends up in Newark. It roughly doubles the travel time but whatever. Sigh. We get on the PATH train, standing because there’s not a seat to be had, and wait a few minutes. Then a voice crackles over the loud speaker, “Due to weather conditions, there is a signalling problem on the PATH train tracks. Everyone off the train and find alternate means of transportation to Newark and Hoboken”. WTF?!! Now, what? Well, there’s only one way to catch a train to Newark and the car: NJ Transit. And the only way to get to NJ transit is to schlepp back to the Chambers street station and take the 1,2,3 back to Penn Station at 34th street.

Twenty minutes later, we’re at Penn Station at the NJ Transit hub. And here is a new twist on the commute strategy. Because we get to the station at 9:30pm but the East Germans have set it up that the Northeast Corridor line that we need to take will leave Penn on the hour and 14 minutes after. Brilliant. So now we have to wait half an hour to catch the NE Corridor train and the NJ Transit collection area, although nicely refurbished, is already filled with Jersey commuters. There’s not a chair to be had. People are sprawled on the floor and on the stairways. And it’s early. Brook and I find a couple unoccupied stairs and make ourselves comfortable. 25 minutes later, the collection area is literally packed to capacity as NJ commuters filter in from all over the city, many of them refugees from the PATH train, like us. We all stare up at the track sign waiting for the assignment. And this part is crucial, because when the track is assigned, you don’t want to be at the back of the line. Finally, the track assignment goes up and there is a mad, frantic dash for the one person escalator to track 10. It’s really insane. It looks like something from Tokyo with this mass of humanity, hundreds and hundreds of very annoyed New Jerseyans pushing and shoving one another down the escalator to the track and sprinting for the nearest open car. Everyone is desperately looking for a car where they won’t have to stand. Brook and I walk forward a long way before we find a seat. Twenty minutes later we are in Newark and 35 minutes after that, we are home. The whole trip from the restaurant to home took about 3 hours.

Is this any way to run a railroad???

Sorry I went on like that but I happen to be a big fan of mass transit. My grandfather was a Pittsburgh PAT bus driver. I stick to mass transit when I go to Europe on business trips and I love the efficiency of the Paris METRO-RER system. Last time I visited France, I only took a taxi once in the whole week and I visited two company sites, one in Paris and one in Toulouse. It was bliss. The trains run frequently, the stations are clean and the signs, even in French, are easy to figure out and plentiful. We have BADLY ignored our mass transit infrastructure in this country. it’s almost criminal. With oil at its peak, we have to get our act together on mass transit and from what I’m hearing coming out of NYC with “congestion pricing” and ignoring the defunct Central New Jersey Railroad (with Conrail owned tracks still in place *hint, hint*) in favor of digging a new expensive tunnel underneath the harbor, we are dangerously misguided in our attempts to get ahold of this problem. I hope that when Hillary is elected that she puts someone who’s spent some time in France in charge of the Department of Transportation because these East German dudes are going to be the death of us.

In other news:

NBC’s Tim Russert breathlessly exclaims that Obama won Wyoming!!! He WON it! He gains 2 delegates over Clinton. Why won’t The Monster concede already?

Folks, you can’t make this stuff up.