Before I go off on the rant that I’d planned for this entry, let me just take you to this article. It caught my attention, because it is just further evidence of the strange and wonderful phenomenon that is taking place in the heartland. I am referring to common sense and practicality, two commodities that had become almost completely missing during the Clinton years and that promised to be relegated to obscurity as debates over the War on Terror heated up.
Here we have a passenger rail entity that, by almost every account, does everything wrong. Even though most of the beautiful people of Iowa know that Amtrak (reportedly) does everything wrong, they are willing to patronize it more than ever before. Some probably did it because it made common sense to ride the train. (High gas prices and crowded highways, bankrupt airlines, body cavity searches of Grandma and Grandpa Terrorist) Others probably did it because it was practical. (The station was right down the street and Uncle Wormy was going to pick them up at Union Station and drive them to his place.) I would bet that another bunch of the extra 7000 riders did it because of both common sense and practicality and also because they started to realize that the Federal Government has put Amtrak on a downward slide and they may never get the chance again.
My rant for today was going to be on one of two other subjects, and I won’t have time for them both. So I will cover how Bill Richardson is screwing up commuter rail for New Mexico in my next blog.
The remaining subject is how quickly “old media” is ready to condemn the passenger railroad for something it didn’t do. Read the recent articles in the Chicago Tribune, such as this one. This article was written after some common sense people started looking at the cause of this accident. But when it had just happened, all the wire services were reporting that the train’s engineer was being questioned for purposes of determining “human error.” Except this time, the human error was with the dunderheads that pulled out over a well-marked, warning-posted busy commuter line and stopped in traffic. What part of “long crossing, do not stop on tracks” didn’t they understand?
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