The Mechanical Incompetence Of VRE
Posted on 11.24.10 by Danny Glover @ 11:29 am

This was my life yesterday morning, which ended in my wife having to drive 30 miles round trip to rescue me and a stranded friend so we could salvage part of the workday:

Tuesday morning’s commute for riders of Virginia Railway Express went from bad to worse as first an engine failure then a brake malfunction stranded 1,600 commuters 20 miles outside of Washington and caused at least a two-hour delay for Manassas Line riders.

It all started when Train 328 broke down between the Manassas Park and Burke Centre stations around 8 a.m. The following train, No. 330, was coupled to it and its engine began hauling both trains roughly 45 minutes later, according to VRE.

But the aging engine wasn’t powerful enough to push the 14-car load up a hill heading into Burke. So in a scene straight out of the children’s tale, “The Little Engine that Could,” the chained-together trains backed up and “throttled up at a higher speed to get over the ridge,” according to spokesman Mark Roeber.

After pulling into the station around 9 a.m. the coupled train’s warning system signaled a brake failure. Cabs and buses were dispatched to the station to take riders into Washington or to a nearby Metro station, while some passengers opted to wait for the problem to be fixed. Others simply gave up and went home.

I reported the news on my Facebook and Twitter feeds as it happened, including posting the photo above of the scene at Burke Center just after passengers started bailing on VRE en masse.

As the Examiner noted, yesterday’s nightmare was not an isolated incident. Persistent breakdowns and delays, including two nightmares that I avoided last week thanks to VRE email alerts and a loving wife-turned-emergency-responder, have plagued the Manassas Line since summer. I have a loyal readership of Facebook friends and Twitter followers who love reading about the misery in real time.

Filed under: Business and D.C. Commuter Diary and Government and News & Politics
Comments: None

I Am Editor! Hear Me Roar!
Posted on 11.19.10 by Danny Glover @ 10:13 am

I am an editor, so I can say from firsthand knowledge that this video speaks truth:

Most journalists shun unethical editing practices like those on display in the video, but there are sensationalists and scoundrels among us. They make us all look bad.

Good editors embrace the Spider-Man motto: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

UPDATE: As if to prove the point of the video, the media are sensationally promoting a new photo — by this year’s Pulitzer-winning photographer, no less — as evidence that Transportation Security Administration screeners grab people’s privates before letting them board airplanes.

I don’t believe the picture portrays what the editor wants you and me to believe it portrays. Were I to venture a guess, I’d say the TSA agent has his right hand on the outside of the passenger’s left leg, similar to the positioning of the left hand on the right leg.

Filed under: Media and Video
Comments: None

Slate’s Mocking History Of The Tea Party
Posted on 11.05.10 by Danny Glover @ 12:05 pm

Even in defeat, tea party haters in the media can’t resist the urge to mock the movement one last time. Slate does it in this four-minute video, which starts on a fair note but eventually emphasizes every ridiculous meme journalists embraced in their attempt to marginalize the people now responsible for one of the most monumental political changes in American history:

Call us crazy racists all you want, elitist media snobs. To paraphrase President Obama, we won. America didn’t listen to you; she listened to her heart after realizing the Democratic promise of hope and change was a lie. Your twisted historical view of the tea party is as irrelevant and clueless as your ignorance of its power in real time.

Just go away now.

Filed under: Media and News & Politics and Video
Comments: None

The Taxpayer Tapeworm
Posted on 11.02.10 by Danny Glover @ 11:03 am

I wish I lived in Washington state so I could vote for this ballot initiative today:

This measure would require the Washington State Seal to depict a tapeworm attached to a taxpayer’s intestine, encircled by the words: Committed to sucking the life blood out of each and every taxpayer.

The ballot initiative is legit. I pulled the information from the Washington Secretary of State’s website, which also includes this longer summary (and the complete text in PDF):

This measure would require the seal of the State of Washington to be changed to depict a vignette of a tapeworm dressed in a three-piece suit attached to the lower intestine of a taxpayer shown as the central figure. The seal would be required to be encircled with the following words: “Committed to sucking the life blood out of each and every tax payer.” The illustration would be selected from submissions submitted by taxpayers.

The initiative would carry no force of law because Washington’s state seal can only be changed by constitutional amendment, but a vote for Initiative 1069 is a great way to make a statement.

I love America!

Filed under: Government and Just For Laughs and News & Politics
Comments: 7 Comments

The Ax Man Cometh
Posted on 11.01.10 by Danny Glover @ 3:25 pm

Sean Duffy wants a seat in Congress, and he likes to throw axes. He’s good at it, too. If I lived in his Wisconsin district, I’d be tempted to give him my vote for that reason alone.

Duffy ran another ax-themed ad earlier this fall:

He’s the latest candidate to appeal to the bitter, gun- and ax-clinging electorate in a year when, no matter what President Obama and tea-party-bashing Democrats say, it’s cool to be redneck.

Filed under: Hunting & Guns and News & Politics and Rednecks and Video and West Virginia
Comments: None

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