Amtrak Problem

An Amtrak train derailed this week. There were 8 deaths and over 200 injuries. Information is still being obtained, but what we do know is that the train was going over 100 mph into a turn. Amtrak is more of a VW bus (from the ’70s) than a sleek BMW when it comes to hugging the turns. This is sad and TOTALLY preventable. We need to spend money on infrastructure, including Amtrak.

From TP:

At least seven people died and 200 were injured in Tuesday’s Amtrak train crash in Philadelphia — even though technology exists that could have prevented the tragedy. A day after his Republican colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee voted along party lines to cut about one-fifth of Amtrak’s budget, House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) incorrectly claimed that Congress had already funded implementing the safety system it mandated in 2008.

Positive Train Control (PTC) would allow railroads to use GPS to stop or slow trains in cases of driver emergencies, switches left in the wrong position, hijacking, natural disasters, or other human error. Seven years ago, Congress enacted the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which required the nation’s busiest railroad operators to have these technologies fully in place by December 2015. Though Amtrak’s president has called PTC “the most important rail safety advancement of our time,” the chronically cash-strapped Amtrak has struggled to put in place its Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System (ACSES) PTC technology system on the timetable it planned and the section of track where Tuesday’s accident occurred lacks it. The train was reportedly traveling at more than 100 miles per hour in a 50 MPH zone. Robert Sumwalt, the National Transportation Safety Board official leading the investigation into Tuesday’s crash, made clear on Wednesday, “Based on what we know right now, we feel that had such a system been installed on this section of track, this accident would not have occurred.”

Happy Mother’s Day!

thanks mom

thanks, mom

Happy Mother’s Day!!! Hey, I have a great idea for Mother’s Day. Can we stop rape and sexual harassment? Wouldn’t that be a GREAT Mother’s Day present to all of the mothers out there?

From Nicholas Kristof:

(After a rape…) Her family rushed her to the hospital, where she endured hours of humiliating scrutiny as nurses collected a rape kit: DNA, hairs, fibers, anything that could be found on her body. The police took a statement from Natasha and picked up the rape kit from the hospital.

Then they did nothing. For years.

That was 1991. The Police Department here in Robbins, a struggling, low-income suburb of 5,000 people just south of Chicago, allowed rape kits to sit untested on the shelves. Officers don’t seem to have seriously investigated the assault, and the rapist got away with his crime — even as Natasha was tormented by it.

This is a crime that on top of a crime. How can you not even investigate this rape? I really and truly don’t understand. The folks in the Police Department in Robbins should be horse whipped. There is no excuse.
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Republician Presidential Field

Finally, after months of non-candidates announcing that they were running for President, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is throwing his hat into the ring. Huckabee is different than many of the other candidates. I think that he really has a chance to tied up the religious conservatives. He could be a real problem for whoever becomes the front runner. Huckabee’s problem when he ran the last time was that he ran out of money and had a terrible organization. I suspect that he will correct the organization problem. It is really unclear if he can raise the funds necessary to compete.  In my opinion, there are a few candidates who can stay in the race because they will have one or two very deep pocketed donors who will keep them a float.

Non-Candidates

Ben Carson. Dr. Carson announced that he was running for president yesterday. He is a non-candidate. He says way too many things that are frankly crazy. You can’t take him seriously. ObamaCare might be bad. It might not work (although the data suggests that it is working as intended). It isn’t the worse thing since slavery. That’s just nuts to say something so over the top. You say it for effect. You say it to get attention. If you are a serious candidate you try to avoid over the top rhetoric like that.

Carly Fiorina. The former CEO of HP has thrown her hat into the ring. She is running as an outsider. She is the “I’m not a politician, so vote for me” candidate. She will push her business experience as a plus. All I know is that government is a big computer business. Government needs to reach out and help people (natural disasters, the poor, etc.). As I recall, we had a president who was supposed to be the CEO president, the one who had a degree from Harvard Business School. That didn’t work out so well for us. I would also like to add that many of these candidates know in ther hearts that they have no shot at winning the nomination. Instead, they are running for something else. I wonder if Carly is running to be Treasury Secretary or some other cabinet position? Continue reading