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MicaelS

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas
Home country: USA
Member since: Mon Jun 16, 2008, 10:59 AM
Number of posts: 5,485

Journal Archives

Where you going to get the track from?

Amtrak runs over tracks owned by private RR companies.

I worked as a Freight Brakeman / Conductor for 17 years. The RRs back then did NOT want passenger trains on their tracks. AFAIK, they still don't. The only reason they tolerate Amtrak is because the US Government gives them so much money to allow trackage rights. Frankly, we freight crews hated Amtrak back then. Because oft times we had to wait for Amtrak, and that delayed us getting over the road, and either getting home, or getting to the terminal at the other end of the road, and getting our rest. The one who really hated Amtrak were Maintenance of Way people who could only come out, work for a few hours, then stop, and clear Amtrak one direction, then repeat the process for Amtrak the other direction.

In the US we have High-Speed passenger rail traffic in the only places the population density is high enough, which is the Northeast Corridor with multiple main lines, and the West Coast.

If we want widespread High-Speed passenger rail in this country, then we will have to spend the money to build dedicated High-Speed passenger only rails lines and all that entails. That means no rail crossing at grade. No chances of any car / truck and train ever colliding. Ever. Bridges / overpasses everywhere train and surface roads meet. How much will that cost to build per mile? I have seen estimates from $20 million a mile to $2 billion a mile. And that is just the track, no rolling stock.

The legal bullshit would be monumental. Everyone would have both hands out thinking they won the Lottery because the government was going to buy their land for rails lines. Politicians would fight tooth and nail to have the train come thought their city or town. There would be the NIMBYs who would try to stop they whole thing because of the noise, or it ruined their quality of life or their view, or some other excuse, just like they do with wind energy. Then the environmentalists would get into the act claiming animals would be driven to extinction or the local ecology would be irreparably damaged, or some other excuse.

We can't even build wind turbines to help us become energy self sufficient without someone whining and crying about THEIR view being spoiled, or birds being slaughtered, or the desert ecology being destroyed, or someone suffering from some nervous complaints because of noise and vibration from wind turbines, or some other excuse, and you think we're going to get widespread High Speed Passenger rail in this country?

Teen linked to Saginaw girl’s death through DNA evidence.

http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/07/23/5021540/two-shot-including-officer-near.html

SAGINAW — A 17-year-old neighbor of 6-year-old Alanna Gallagher became a suspect in her death and sexual assault through DNA evidence found on her body and on the buckle of a belt that was wrapped around a tarp holding her body, according to an arrest warrant affidavit released Tuesday.

Officers were in the process of arresting the neighbor, Tyler Holder, on a capital murder warrant Tuesday morning when he pulled a gun and fired, authorities reported. Officers fired back.

Holder and Arlington police Detective Charles Lodatto were shot.

Holder was shot in the head and taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. His condition could not be learned.


More at link, I suggest you read the whole article. This Holder sounds like one very warped person.

Saginaw, which is Northwest of Fort Worth, is a very conservative, and tightly knit, town. Many active duty police from surrounding cities live there, along with retired police and retired military.

A co-worker (and friend) lives there, and said nothing like this has angered people, and gripped the city like this in a very long time. My co-worker's mother was actually interviewed by the FBI, as she had vital information on the case.

My co-worker said that when the police confronted Holder Tuesday morning, and shots were fired people, literally came pouring out their houses with their guns, and headed TOWARD the shooting scene.

Dallek has the same mindset as the late Richard Hofstadter.

I once read that Richard Hofstadter felt America's biggest failure was in it's "failure to come to terms with guns". Which is simply a code phrase that means severely restricting or an outright ban on guns as other countries have done.

http://www.americanheritage.com/content/america-gun-culture

Well Dallek, just like Hofstadter, does not understand that the only people who have "failed to come to terms with guns" are the political, intellectual, economic and social (PIES) elites who do not understand, do not like, and even outright hate, that the average adult American can be armed.

It is the same mindset that seeks to limit what people can drink, or eat, or smoke in the name of "doing it for people's own good." Of which Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC would be the poster child for all of the above, including gun bans and mass stop and frsik of anyone who looks the slightest bit suspicious.

The PIES Elites ALWAYS know what is best for the common man or woman, and are angry and offended when the common person pushes back against what the PIES view as perfectly logical and rational, and which the common person views as utter arrogance. An arrogance displayed in Dallek's piece.

To successfully deal with our fears, we have to acknowledge and deal with the fears of those who most fiercely oppose gun control.

But changing people's minds is essential if the nation is to find common ground on reducing gun violence and lifting the pall of fear that drives so many into an unholy alliance with guns.


In other words, if we just LISTEN to them, as if we were frightened children, and do exactly what they tell us to do as if they were adults correcting a frightened child, things would be just fine. We then would and should just all give up our guns and live in peace and harmony.

Of course the PIES Elites would write into law the ability for themselves to have armed private security guards, firms and even outright private security armies guarding gated compounds which would be there solely to protect themselves, their loved ones and their property while leaving the rest of the common people to depend solely on the "good graces" of law enforcement.

EDIT: And the latest incident of the "good graces" of law enforcement is reported over here:

http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/07/23/59593.htm

OS ANGELES (CN) - Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies responded to a family's call for help by breaking into their home and beating the hell out of them, then lied about it in official reports, the family claims in court.


DU thread over here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=3320020

If the case was "clearly self defense"...

Then there is no reason that any further case of any kind should be brought to court. If the D.A. never took the case to the Grand Jury because they thought the case was Justifiable Homicide, or the Grand Jury No-Billed the individual, then that should be it. Period.

Someone who obeyed the law should NOT be forced to keep defending themselves against civil suits cooked up by some lawyer looking for a settlement. The person should not have to go through the emotional stress of a trial, have themselves treated like shit by the media, and possibly have themselves ruined financially.

And let me be crystal clear here.

Someone who is killed in what is found to be a case of Justifiable Homicide is NOT a victim.

They were the aggressor, or the perpetrator, or more often they were probably just another habitual criminal who got themselves killed committing another crime.

Yes, SYG and Castle Doctrine were passed EXACTLY for the reason stated in your first sentence.

SYG has been pushed to avoid court cases that were clearly self defense.

Never.

If you think that TPTB will EVER let those that guard them be disarmed you are living in a total, utter and complete fantasy world.

Do you think the USSS is going to want to disarm in the face of the all the threats directed at POTUS plus other Federal Officials?

Do you think the mayors of major cities like NYC, Chicago, L.A. , D.C will tolerate having unarmed bodyguards?

Even if you disarmed the average cop-on the street, there is still going to be some upper level of cops that will have access to firearms just like in the UK with their "Armed Police" concept.

And the wealthy and powerful who are NOT in politics will always make sure that exceptions are written into law that will let them have armed bodyguards.

All you would end up doing is disarming the average person, which of course is the ultimate goal of the Gun Prohibitionist Movement.

Based on my 17 years working as a Trainman and Conductor..

For the MKT, then the UP RR, here's what I think happened:

There are TWO types of brakes on rail cars: Service and Emergency.

Service air is supplied by air from the locomotive air compressor. Each locomotive has an air compressor, but it works only as long as the diesel engine is running. Diesel engine shuts down, no service air. No service air, no service air braking system. Service works by reducing the air pressure via the main train brake handle off the lead engine. When you reduce the main train line pressure, usually by a minimum of 10 pounds of air, the system sets up a corresponding amount of braking force on the entire rail car consist starting with the car closet to the head end of the train. It also set the the locomotive air brakes. HOWEVER, the locomotive air brakes are called independent brakes because they can be set and released completely independently of the train line. When train line air is set, an engineer will often release the independent brake to control the slack in the train couplers. AKA "slack action". When the brakes are released on the service system, the system is re-supplied with air from the locomotives.

When the service air is dumped from the main train line the emergency air brakes on each rail car engage, because each car has its own emergency air reservoir. The emergency air is supplied by air from the locomotive air compressor, and is held on each car on its own reservoir. BUT, that emergency braking air can be totally dumped by manually bleeding EACH CAR via a particular method. It has to be done manually, one car at a time, and it has to be done on the ground. Not from the locomotive. If you bleed a car when it is in emergency there are NO AIR BRAKES on that car. If you bleed the entire train down, there are no air brakes on that train. None.

There is no reserve emergency braking system for locomotives like on train cars. There is air in each locomotive in the main supply reservoirs, but they run off the compressors, and those main reservoirs can bleed down. That is why when you shut down the engine on a locomotive, you set handbrakes on each locomotive, since the air can TOTALLY bleed off the locomotive independent brakes since there are always minor air leaks in the system, and no air is being resupplied by the compressor.

According to the Toronto Star article, there were 5 locomotives, and 72 cars. Four of the locomotives were shut down, and that left one running to keep air on the train.

Here's the main point:

So, that ONE running locomotive was shut down by local fireman when they put out a fire on the train. If the engineer set only the locomotive independent brakes, no service air brakes, and THEN failed to set enough manual hand brakes on the train cars, then there was insufficient braking force to hold the train WHEN the locomotive independent brakes bled down to the point where they released. Because, remember no air was being supplied to them by the compressors. Because the number of handbrakes on the train cars was insufficient to hold the train, it rolled away.

Probably the best 2nd Amendment speech ever.

An Iraq Veteran and a Cop. Not some wannabe or poser. I certainly would have liked to see the face of those politicians.

Best line of all "My right trumps your dead."

I worked as a Freight Brakeman / Conductor for 17 years.

The RRs back then did NOT want passenger trains on their tracks. AFAIK, they still don't. The only reason they tolerate Amtrak is because the US Government gives them so much money to allow trackage rights. Frankly, we freight crews hated Amtrak back then. Because oft times we had to wait for Amtrak, and that delayed us getting over the road, and either getting home, or getting to the terminal at the other end of the road, and getting our rest. The one who really hated Amtrak were Maintenance of Way people who could only come out, work for a few hours, then stop, and clear Amtrak one direction, then repeat the process for Amtrak the other direction.

In the US we have High-Speed passenger rail traffic in the only places the population density is high enough, which is the Northeast Corridor with multiple main lines, and the West Coast. If we want widespread High-Speed passenger rail in this country, then we will have to spend the money to build dedicated High-Speed passenger only rails lines and all that entails. That means no rail crossing at grade. No chances of any car / truck and train ever colliding. Ever. Bridges / overpasses everywhere train and surface roads meet. How much will that cost to build per mile? I have seen estimates from $20 million a mile to $2 billion a mile.

And think of the legal bullshit that would entail. Everyone would have both hands out thinking they won the Lottery because the government was going to buy their land for rails lines. Then there would be the NIMBYs who would try to stop they whole thing because it ruined their quality of life or their view, or some other excuse. Then the environmentalists would get into the act claiming animals would be driven to extinction or the local ecology would be irreparably damaged, or some other excuse.

We can't even build wind turbines to help us become energy self sufficient without someone whining and crying about THEIR view being spoiled, or birds being slaughtered, or the desert ecology being destroyed, or someone suffering from some nervous complaints because of noise from wind turbines, and you think we're going to get widespread High Speed Passenger rail in this country?

I think the modern Olympics are a colossal waste…

IMLHO, all the Olympics are is:

An excuse for a certain class of “boosters” in a different city, in a different country, every two years to puff out their collective chest and show off how “great” is their city and / or country.

To spend billions of dollars to bring people to that city, so they can be sold a bunch of crap, and charge wildly inflated prices for services.

To tax the hell out of, and inconvenience the life of the people who live in that city, so some in said city can make boatloads of money.

So the IOC can make boatloads of money off everyone in sight.

So some sports network can make boatloads of money off everyone in sight.

To have a bunch of transnationals spend a bunch of money hawking their crap.

To have a bunch of “amateur” athletes, using every bit of modern technology available, perform like a bunch of circus performers for the entertainment of the masses.

If it were up to me, I would pick two permanent sites, one for the Summer Games, and one for the Winter Games, maybe in the middle of nowhere. Build them especially for the needs of the Olympics, and keep them up as needed. That would save money in the long run, and sure as hell wouldn’t inconvenience the life of the people who just want to go about their daily business in their home city.

What the Space Shuttle booster saw

http://kottke.org/12/03/what-the-space-shuttle-booster-saw

You've likely seen other videos taken from cameras attached to the Space Shuttle and its boosters, but this is one is exceptional in two regards: it's in HD and the sound has been remastered by Skywalker Sound.

Watch, and more importantly, listen to the whole thing...at the very end, you can see the second booster land a few hundred yards away from the first one. Who knew that being in space sounds like being trapped with a whale underwater


Neat! Be sure and watch it in Full Screen.

&feature=player_embedded
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