Sunday, November 29, 2009

Meter Maids Down Under


Say hello to the meter maids of Australia's Gold Coast.

As it turns out, they have very little to do with parking enforcement but are part of a 45-year tradition in Queensland. In Surfers Paradise, the gold bikini and jaunty Outback hat-clad meter maids actually put money into the parking meters for motorists and leave a calling card on the windshield for the local businesses that sponsor them. Reportedly the practice was started by the city itself to alleviate bad publicity stemming from a substantial increase in parking fees in the 1960s, and as time passed along local businesses stepped in and began paying or sponsoring the maids.
The local businesses benefit from their sponsorship and advertising. The tourists and drivers in Surfers Paradise benefit by not getting a parking ticket and....well....if the photo is any indication, all of us guys benefit.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Just a quick post wishing the visitors to NENESB! a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Giant inflatable cartoon characters floating down 42nd street, turkey and copious amounts of football beckon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Today's Train of Thought- Full Circle; November 24, 2009

Today's Train of thought comes to us from way down south courtesey of contributor Joe Blackwell. Here, he caught Kansas City Southern train MSHME (M = Manifest; SH = Shreveport, LA; ME = Meridian, MS) cruising eastbound across the Big Black River viaduct just outside of Bovina, MS on an April 2007 day. KCS SD40-2 #3138 leads a duo of leased former LMX B39-8s across the graceful arches of the viaduct as it's reflected in the river below.

BREAKING: Lazy, Inept Blogger Manages to Scoop The Washington Post

Not that I was trying very hard, mind you:

From the November 7th edition of the Washington Post website:

In Peshawar, State of Denial Over Market Attacks

PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN -- When terrorists last week blew up the Mina Bazaar, a market for women and children, they detonated a car bomb so powerful it left more than 100 people dead and 15 missing in a nightmarish scene of scattered limbs, charred corpses and victims trapped alive under mounds of debris

The bombing crossed a new line of callousness, uniting Peshawar in grief and fear and unleashing a tide of anger. But most of the outrage expressed by survivors, witnesses, religious leaders and other residents this week was not directed at Islamist extremist groups, whom the government has blamed for the attack, but at the countries many Pakistanis see as their true enemies: India, Israel and the United States

It seems that until pretty recently, Pakistanis in general had no problem with their Taliban proxies killing foreigners in Afghanistan or Kashmir. Now that they've spent the last month or so biting the hand that fed them in the most brutal, brazen and public manner possible, it borders on amazing to see their benefactors work overtime to try and deflect blame from their Talibani proxies.

Oh yes.....and the Talibans' first-ever benefactors (the Pakistani military and ISI Directorate) have nukes.


Any wonder why I refer to Pakistan as the world's first failed nuclear state?

Friday, November 20, 2009

G.I. Jill- From Combat Medic to Miss Utah

When I was in the Army, a good rule of thumb regarding some of the female soldiers was 'if she looks good in BDUs, she can look good in anything'. Sounds sexist, but think about it- the uniform wasn't designed to be particularly alluring or flattering to the female form; it was designed to be....well, uniform.


My earlier entry about Lance Corporal Katrina Hodge being awarded the Miss England crown got me to wondering whether or not there were any beauty pageant winners in the USA who had served in the Armed Forces. As it turns out, the answer is 'yes' and I don't have to go that far back to find one.
Meet Sgt. Jill Stevens of the Utah National Guard's 1st Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment. Sgt. Stevens is a decorated veteran of Afghanistan, a combat medic and....oh yes, Miss Utah 2007. Most likely the only Miss Utah able to field-strip an M4 Carbine for the talent competition and do push-ups in an evening gown.
Sgt Stevens graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Southern Utah University's Nursing Program and finished 16th overall in the 2008 Miss America pageant and named the "America's Choice" semi-finalist.
Granted I'm nearly 2 years behind on this, but congrats to Sgt. Stevens-a credit to the Utah National Guard (and the Army in general) as well as being pretty damn easy on the eyes. I'd take one Jill Stevens over a hundred bipolar kleptomaniac pathological liar pageant winners any day.

Iron Horse Roundup- O Canada Edition: Week of November 16-22

(Cor VanSteenis)

Canadian National announced that it intends to file for abandonment with Transport Canada of it's Drumheller Subdivision, roughly 178 miles of trackage between Lyalta, AB (just east of Calgary) and Oyen, AB (just west of the Saskatchewan border), this week. Up until earlier this year, this was part of the CN's Calgary, AB-Saskatoon, SK line that snaked through eastern Alberta's badlands. Canadian National announced that they intended to discontinue through service and locals would only operate as far as Lyalta from the west or Oyen to the east. A consortium of online communities and shippers is lobbying to purchase the line if CN's abandonment is approved.

Also, one of the communities along the Drumheller Subdivision is home to an abandoned-but-intact 10-stall Canadian National roundhouse. The roundhouse in NHL Hall-of-Famer Lanny MacDonald's hometown of Hanna, AB dates back to 1913 and had additional stalls added in 1929. CN abandoned the structure in 1961 and it occasionally saw use as an auction house. Now the historic structure is in the running for a grant of up to C$250,000 for restoration. I encourage NENESB! readers to go over there and read a more detailed history of the Hanna Roundhouse courtesy of the Hanna Roundhouse Restoration project and if they're so inclined, go ahead and vote as well (registration is required- but you can vote more than once).

(Rocky Mountain Rail Society)

Of course, as soon as I heard about CN's pending abandonment of the Drumheller subdivision, I couldn't help but wonder how this beauty would look hauling visitors and railway enthusiasts through Alberta's badlands behind some vintage coaches- maybe even using the roundhouse at Hanna as a turning point.

The beauty in question shown here is former Canadian National 4-8-4 Mountain class #6060, built by the Montreal Locomotive works in 1944 and nicknamed Bullet-nosed Betty or Spirit of Alberta. She is kept in good running order by the Rocky Mountain Rail Society and will often see service hauling excursion trains over Alberta Prairie Railway's Stettler-Big Valley, AB line.

The RMRS and East Central Railway Society recently announced that they had secured funding to restore the previously abandoned tracks between Stettler and Donalda, AB- a distance of roughly 20 miles. This will effectively double the operating trackage for the Alberta Prairie and RMRS out of Stettler.

(Cal Murray/

Saskatchewan's Last Mountain Railway started up operations on the former Canadian National line between Davidson and Lumsden, SK- a total of 108km. The Last Mountain will also be leasing an additional 27km of trackage from CN between Lumsden and Regina, SK where the shortline will connect with both the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways. Power for the line is a pair of General Electric B23-7s. This would be at least the second shortline to start up operations in Saskatchewan this year- the Great Sandhills Railway began operating the former Canadian Pacific Empress subdivision in June 2009.

The Quebec, North Shore & Labrador Railway has placed four of their rebuilt SD40-3s up for sale. They are listed as being in running condition, although it has not been specified whether or not they're still on QNS&L property. The QNS&L is an isolated mining railway that serves various iron ore mines in northeastern Quebec and Labrador- they have no rail connections with the rest of the North American continent.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pirates 0, Alabama 2; Slow-Learning Pirates Attack MV Maersk Alabama....AGAIN!

However, it seems like the vessel was ready for them this time around:

The MV Maersk Alabama has thwarted another attack by Somali pirates, according to European Union and U.S. Navy officials.

"Pirates fired automatic weapons on MV Maersk Alabama who responded with fire," said an EU Naval Command Statement, "The crew managed to repel the attack and no casualties were reported."

The pirates' assault was countered by gunfire and a high-decibel noise device from a security team that is traveling aboard the Alabama to defend it from pirates.
Maersk spokesman Kevin Speers told reporters the ship was headed to Mombasa, Kenya, carrying food aid for war-torn Somalia when it was fired upon by a pirate boat carrying four gunmen.

Navy officials tell ABC News that all 20 members aboard the Maersk Alabama are now "safe and secure," and have resumed their journey.

Of course, given how poorly the pirates fared last time they tried going after the Maersk Alabama, it shouldn't be too surprising that she'd have a bigger bullseye on her this time around.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I LOVE a Parade II- Australia Strikes Back!

Within days of nearly 300 bikini-clad South African women setting the completely gratuitous 'World's Largest Bikini Parade' record [that NANESB! wholeheartedly approves of], Australians gathered in Sydney on Nov. 12th in an attempt to break the record.

This attempt- like many sequels- came up short. For starters, the Johannesburg parade was 'women only' while this was a co-ed event. Naturally, this means that people will be showing up in speedos and briefs who we don't want to see in speedos and briefs.

Secondly, attendees and organizers considered this a trial balloon for a second attempt with higher turnout in the not too distant future.

Note to the Aussie's in charge of any subsequent efforts: Less 74-year old blokes in speedos and more women next time around.

Feds Eye Illinois Prison As Possible Holding Site for Guantanamo Prisoners

Reports are circulating that the White House is considering a sparsely populated maximum security prison in Carrol County, IL to house the terrorism suspects currently held in Guantanamo Bay. Now granted, MSNBC is about as unbiased and reliable as Iran's Press TV or Hezbollah mouthpiece Al-Manar TV, but other Chicago media outlets are picking up on it too.

Call me cynical, but I think this is a matter of President Obama helping out some of his political benefactors back in Illinois. The whole notion of trying enemy combatants in civilian courts here smacks of either naivete or politics on Obama and Holder's part- either way, it's unacceptable. But getting back to the possible move to Carrol County:

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the Senate's second-highest-ranking Democrat, said in a statement Saturday he would support the plan. He said the prison would house fewer than 100 Guantanamo detainees and would have a "significant positive impact on the local economy" by generating more than 3,000 jobs.

Keep in mind this is the same Dick Durbin that compared active-duty American military personnel to KGB and Khmer Rouge thugs a few years ago.

Also worth considering is the math involved- how exactly does housing fewer than 100 Guantanamo inmates translate to 3,000+ jobs? Are they using the same calculations that Obama used when they assured the American public that unempoyment wouldn't go past 8% once the stimulus was passed?

I'm wondering exactly how safe Durbin's seat is and who else in Obama's circle of freinds could benefit financially or politically from this Illinois prison opening it's doors to Gitmo inmates. Right now, it looks as though Durbin's trying to set himself up as good for the economy (if those 3,000+ jobs ever materielize) and hawkish or tough on crime by dumping some of the vermin from Gitmo onto the populace of Carrol County.

BUT WAIT!! It gets better! The unelected governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, offered up this quote regarding the prison facility.

"We're here today to let the people know we're not going to let the fearmongers carry the day," Quinn said. "We're going to do things right, the Illinois way." Given that the previous two governors of Illinois were either sentenced to prison or impeached and awaiting trial, I would have to say anything but the Illinois way is 'the right way'.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I LOVE a Parade!

....and if every parade were like this, wouldn't you?
It was enough to get the attention of the folks at Guinness.

A new Guinness World record has been set in South Africa for the most women to parade around in a bikini, organisers say.
Kellogg’s Special KR’s Sarah Mansfield said 287 bikini clad women descended upon Melrose Arch in Johannesburg on Saturday to help break the record for the “World’s Largest Bikini Parade”.

The figure was later revised to 297 women along the 1.7 kilometer parade route. I didn't even know that 'World's Largest Bikini Parade' was a category in the Guinness Book of World Records, but hear me complaining?

And speaking of attractive women in bikinis in Johannesburg, just a reminder that the Miss World pageant takes place later on this month in the same city.

Today's Train of Thought- The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side Of The Bridge; November 14, 2009

Today's Train of Thought comes to us from the Golden State courtesey of Steven M Welch from Febuary 2009, back when Warren Buffet owned a paltry 22% share of BNSF. Here, freshly-painted BNSF SD40-2 # 7126 leads an SD40-2 still in Santa Fe colors across Alameda Creek with the Warm Springs local on a cloudy day. The trees are starting to bloom, the hills are green and there's even some cows grazing waaaay off in the distance on the hills.

UPDATE: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to be Charged For Not Having Approved Health Insurance Coverage

Not Another New England Sports Blog! learned from undisclosed sources earlier today that Khalid Shiekh Mohammed will face trial in a Federal Court in New York City in a pilot program from the Department of Justice. The 45 year old Al Qaeda operative and part-time Ron Jeremy impersonator was arrested in Pakistan in 2003 and has been in American custody since then.

Legal analysts tell NANESB! that this is a potentially risky move by Attorney General Eric Holder. First, there is the claim that Mohammed isn't even an American citicizen and would not be required to enroll in an approved plan. Also complicating matters for the Justice Department is that the legislation requiring jail time was not in effect when this story went to press, let alone when Mohammed was arrested in 2003.

Still, the analysts feel that Holder remains confident he can get a conviction, otherwise he wouldn't have made such a maneuver. However, the question remains as to what would happen if Holder failed to get a conviction in the Mohammed trial.

'Setting the terrorist mastermind who orchestrated the deadliest attack on American soil loose to roam free and uninsured in the United States would be a huge black eye for the Administration and Justice Department' one legal scholar who asked to remain anonymous said. 'It would set a bad precedent and further distract from the Attorney General's investigation of the CIA and other intelligence agencies.'

Iron Horse Roundup- Deep Fried Bite-Sizey Version: Nov 14, 2009

(John Smaltak)

Savannah, GA has their streetcar up and running as of Spring 2009. In 2004, the city of Savannah purchased the River Street trackage from Norfolk Southern. Currently, the streetcar's route is only 1 mile down the cobblestone thoroughfare, but there are plans for expansion. The one and only streetcar is a 1930s-vintage former Melbourne (Australia) W5 streetcar that's been refitted with a wheelchair lift and is fueled by recycled vegetable oil from local restaurants, leaving some wags to refer to it 'A Streetcar Named Deep Fryer'.

(Ken Keuhne)

Vegetable oil may have had a role in saving the Grand Canyon Railway's steam program. In September 2008, GCRY's parent company Xanterra Parks & Resorts announced that it was terminating the Grand Canyon's steam program. Observers speculated that low ridership numbers and increased fuel costs factored in their decision, despite Xanterra's public statements about reducing pollution. However, later that year, Denver businessman Phillip Anschultz (who's assets have included the Denver, Rio Grande & Western, Los Angeles Lakers, The San Francisco Examiner and Walden Media among others) purchased Xanterra. Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the Grand Canyon Railway, GCRY 2-8-2 Mikado #4960 made the run from Williams, AZ to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon on September 19, 2009 powered by recycled vegetable oil, according to the GCRY's website. The website also announced that additional excursions are planned for 2010, so it appears that Xanterra has done an about-face on the Grand Canyon steam program. Here, Ken Keuhne caught #4960 after it's return trip from the South Rim at the Williams AZ depot in Spetember 2009.

Friday, November 13, 2009

September 11th Mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed; 4 Other Terrorists to Face Civilian Trial in NYC.

The Boston Herald has more on this amazingly bad bad bad idea.

WASHINGTON — Self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other Guantanamo Bay detainees will be sent to New York for trial in a civilian U.S. court and prosecutors expect to seek the death penalty, Attorney General Eric Holder said today.

At a news conference, the attorney general said five other suspects, including a major suspect in the bombing of the USS Cole warship, Abdul al-Rahim al-Nashiri, will be tried before a military commission.

By moving the trial to a civilian court in New York, Mohammed and al-Nashiri will be guaranteed certain rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Foreign nationals who had been plotting mass-casualty terrorist attacks that killed thousands of Americans will be afforded the same due process as a motorist pulled over for a broken tail light.

This country has officially slipped back into a September 10th mindset by taking the fight to the courtrooms.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Today's Train of Thought- Old Army Veteran Soldiers On

Today's train of thought may look like a blast from the past, but it's actually from June of 2009. Here, contributor John Higginson catches Tennessee Valley Baldwin 2-8-0 #610 steaming past the Chattanooga National Military Cemetary on its return trip to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum right before sunset in Chattanooga, TN. The TVRM offers frequent steam and diesel excursions on trackage in southeastern Tennessee and the far northwestern corner of Georiga throughout much of the year. #610 is also a veteran of the United States Army- built by Baldwin-Lima Hamilton in 1952 for the US Army Transportation Corps. That is very new for a steam locomotive- in fact, the TVRM boasts that the #610 was the last steam locomotive that Baldwin-Lima Hamilton ever built for a domestic customer.

MIA Pooch Reunited With Australian Army in Afghanistan After 14 Months

(Andrew Mearse/AP)

A bomb-sniffing labrador that disappeared during a fierce firefight between the Taliban and Australian Army in September 2008 has been found alive and well this week.

Sabi, an explosives-sniffing dog for the Australian Speical Forces, was discovered by an American soldier at an isolated outpost in Oruzgan province and subsequently flown to Train Kowt where one of the Australian trainers recognized her.

SAS Trooper Mark Donaldson, Sabi's handler who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions in the same 2008 firefight where Sabi went missing, was notified of Sabi's whereabouts from Buckingham palace where the trooper had earlier met with the queen.

''She's the last piece of the puzzle,'' Tpr Donaldson said.

''Having Sabi back gives some closure for the handler and the rest of us that served with her in 2008. 'It's a fantastic morale booster for the guys.

More on 'Mighty Mouse'; Petite Police Officer Kimberly Munley Who Dropped Nidal Malik Hasan

The 5ft 2 in mother of two and civilian police sargeant is recovering from wounds sustained when she exchanged gunfire with Hasan during his murder spree.

Newton, MA residents recall Munley from when she was waiting tables at an Elliot St. pub a few years ago.

“She really didn’t have a lot of fear,” said Dunn-Gaherin’s Food & Spirits owner Seana Gaherin, who was Kimberly Munley’s boss from 2003-2005, when the young cop did a stint as a waitress at the Newton pub on Eliot Street.

“We’re so proud of her. We’re just happy that she’s OK,” Gaherin told the Herald yesterday

Back then, she was Kimberly Barbour and she dreamed of returning to law enforcement, Gaherin said. She even took the Boston police exam, according to Gaherin.

The waitress was known for being tough. One Halloween, she dressed as Demi Moore’s character in the movie “G.I. Jane,” and she played shortstop on the bar’s softball team.

Gaherin said the bar has been flooded with calls from people who recognized Munley as their former waitress who spent her breaks reading the Boston Herald.

“We want to host a big party and bring her back. We know she touched a lot of lives,” Gaherin said. “She was just a nice spirit.”

This Just In: Chicago's Mayor Daley is a Tool

But that's probably not news to some of you in Chicagoland.

Never mind the confirmed attempts to contact extremist muslim preachers and never mind the PTSD cooties narrative the mainstream media's been trying to sell us. Chicago's Croney Prince Daley insists that guns are to blame in Malik Nidal Hasan's murder spree at Fort Hood last week.

“Everyday in society,” Daley said, “somebody is being killed. Unfortunately, America loves guns. We love guns to a point where that, uh, we see devastation on a daily basis. You don’t blame a group. You don’t blame a society, an immigrant community because of actions of one individual. You cannot say that.”

You'd think that the mayor of one of America's largest metropolitan areas could at least pretend to give a damn about the soldiers killed and wounded in Hasan's spree. Or at least get his facts straight and understand that Hasan wasn't an immigrant.

But damn, the dude's got a point- while we're at it Daley might as well ban railroad ties effective immediately. We've seen that those can be pretty devestating in the wrong hands as well.

If we follow Daley's idiocy to it's logical conclusion, I suppose that means he's advocating the following:

1) Active duty military personnel cannot purchase firearms
2) United States Military installations should be 'gun free zones'
3) Muslims in America should not be able to legally purchase firearms

If stricter gun control laws are put in place, then I'm sure the whole Killeen/Waco/Ft. Hood area will become the glistening 100% crime free oasis that Chicago is to this day!

/Cripes I've had about enough of these idiot Chicago politicians. Oh....and how's that 2016 Olympic bid coming along, Mayor?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day. November 11, 2009.

No updates today. As far as I'm concerned, November 11 is sacrosanct. No sports scores, no trains, no politics, no dysfunctional beauty pageant winners. Today is not the day....

To all the other Veterans of our armed forces, past and present and their loved ones- thank you for your service and sacrifice. To those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, may you at last find peace on the other side.

To our allies north of the border, here's a moving tribute to Canada's fallen from Don Cherry on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Today's Train of Thought- Fading Footprints; Nov 10, 2009

Today's train of thought comes to us from Colorado's Denver-Pueblo Joint Line. Here, contributor Caroline J catches BNSF SD70MAC #9621 and C44-9W #5696 charging south with a coal train over Highway 105 at Larkspur, CO in October 2008. A closer examination reveals a faded Santa Fe logo adorning the span.

Student Expelled- Then Readmitted- to Brazilian University Over Miniskirt

(screencap courtesy
(AP/Letcia Moreira)
Oh...those uptight and puritanical Brazilians are at it again! Last week, 20 year old student Geisy Arruda was expelled from privately-run Banderiante University in Sao Paulo state. School officials accused her of dressing and behaving in a provocative manner which led to her being hustled off of campus by security while wearing a professor's coat over the offending garment and running a gauntlet of taunts and verbal abuse from other students (apparently some of this is on YouTube)- Ms. Arruda is shown in the photos above, reportedly clad in the offending garment.

Now, the University has done an about-face.

SAO PAULO — A woman expelled for wearing a mini-dress that caused a near riot at a Brazilian college and made her an Internet sensation said all she wants is to go back to school. Well, she got her way.
Geisy Arruda, a 20-year-old tourism student, can return to the classroom after Bandeirante University reversed its decision to expel her following a flood of negative reaction in a nation known for tiny bikinis, beaches and Carnival.
The dean of the private college in suburban Sao Paulo released a statement Monday announcing the reversal, without saying why it had decided to let her back in.

Now, I'm pretty sure Brazilian students don't show up to their classes clad in the itsy bitsy 'dental floss' bikinis one would find in Ipanema- I mean, if I thought that for a second I'd be getting my TOEFL certificate and spending several months out of the year trying to get hired on at such institutions down there. Having said that, I didn't think Geisy's choice of attire was all that provocative and actually pretty tame compared to some of what I've seen worn on campuses here. Do they take their dress codes that seriously or is there some underlying issue here (like the school accusing her of exhibitionism before the minidress incident)? Truth be told, I thought it would've been something downright scandalous to have Brazilians so worked up. Given the uproar that's surrounding this, the university and press initially made it out as though Ms. Arruda was wearing next to nothing.

/And if Ms. Arruda needs to seek asylum, I can be contacted by way of this blog to make arrangements.

Beltway Sniper John Muhammed Executed in Virginia.

It's official.

JARRATT, Va. – John Allen Muhammad, the mastermind behind the sniper attacks that left 10 dead, was executed Tuesday night as relatives of the victims watched, reliving the killing spree that terrorized the Washington metro area for three weeks in October 2002.

He looked calm and stoic, but was twitching and blinking as the injections began, defiant to the end, refusing to utter any final words. Victims' families sat behind glass while watching the execution, separated from the rest of the 27 witnesses.

"He died very peacefully, much more than most of his victims," said Prince William County prosecutor Paul Ebert, who witnessed Muhammad die by injection at 9:11 p.m. at Greensville Correctional Center, south of Richmond. Muhammad, dressed in a blue shirt, jeans and flip-flops, had no final statement.

'Good Riddance' is about all I can say.

John Allan Muhammed, we are richer for having lost you.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Today's Train of Thought- Copper Creek Showdown; Nov 9th 2009

Today's confusing Train of thought features coal, a creek named Copper, high flying trestles and a little bit of role reversal in Appalachia. contributor Christoper Anderson caught this rather intricate and confusing shuffling of steel, horsepower and black diamonds on September 20, 2008 at Clinchport, VA as a pair of CSX GEVOs head back downgrade on Norfolk Southern's Appalachia District having shoved a train over the grade to Watkins. Meanwhile, above the two locomotives in CSX's Kingsport Subdivision, which was hosting a trainload of NS empties heading back to the mines. Norfolk Southern has trackage rights on CSX between Frisco, TN and St Paul, VA.

Applebee's Veteran's Day Promotion.

I thought this was pretty cool. Applebee's has a promotion where Veteran's and active duty military eat free on Wednesday, November 11th.

More about it here if you're interested or want to spread the word.

Rushing to Judgement

July 22nd 2009- from the White House:

Obama: Cambridge police acted stupidly

"Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof he was in own home," Obama said during a prime-time news conference that otherwise focused on the health care debate.
"What I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there's a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately," Obama said. "That's just a fact."

November 6th, 2009- from the White House:

Obama says don't jump to conclusions on shooting

"We don't know all the answers yet. And I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts," Obama said in a Rose Garden statement otherwise devoted to the economy.

Hmm....What a difference a couple of months makes, eh? I guess there's a lesson to be learned in all of this.

Jumping to conclusions when a muslim officer in the United States Army murders 13 of his unarmed fellow soldiers and wounds 31 more on an army base is wrong.

But there's nothing wrong with jumping to conclusions about a whole police department after an officer arrests one of your race-baiting academic buddies.

Do I have that about right?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Como você diz "Drill Here! Drill Now!" Em portugês?

Not too long before the House passed cap and trade in a bid to save all those drowning polar bears and decimate jobs in the transportation, utility and energy sectors while cutting ourselves off from domestically available resources, Brazil's nominally socialist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (who everybody understandably refers to as Lula for short) authorized the quasi-private energy company Petrobras [NYSE: PBR] to begin drilling for oil on the offshore Campos and Santos Basins.

For a 'socialist', the Brazilian economy has been doing relatively well under Lula's watch. The BOVESPA (Brazil's stock exchange) has been performing admirably in the last 52 weeks, Petrobras is going after oil and natural gas deposits in the region and Rio even managed to land the 2016 Summer Olympics. Couple this with the burgeoning economic alliance with China, India and Russia and Brazil is now an economic force to be reckoned with in the southern hemisphere, if not on the global stage.

I can't begrudge the president of Brazil or Brazilian companies for seeking greater access to energy resources in the region. In fact, I wish our government had similar priorities. But isn't it interesting how all the solutions to 'climate change' so far seem to involve increasing government control by unaccountable agencies into our daily lives?

With that in mind, Lula seems to be a big supporter of the USA crippling itself economically before Brazil does the same.

He said highly industrialized countries who have been emitting greenhouse gases for more than a century have a responsibility to adopt tougher targets.

"The United States has more responsibility than China; Europe has more responsibility than South America or Africa," Lula said.

China has replaced the United States as the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases because of its fast-growing economy and dependence on coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel.

Obviously this is a means for Lula to let his country and the others in the CRIB bloc off the hook while shifting the blame to the United States or European Union. The very sad part is that America's very own Congress and President seem more than willing to go along with it.

Interestingly, Lula seems to have no issue with PetroBras drilling for oil offshore.

Karma's a Bear- Pakistani Terrorists Mauled by Himalayan Black Bear.

This story from The Daily Mail really and truly warms the cockles of my heart.

A Grizzly End:

Two armed Muslim insurgents picked the wrong cave to hide out in after they were both killed by a bear.
The men were carrying AK-47 assault rifles as they sought refuge in Indian administered Kashmir, but were taken by surprise by the giant carnivore.

Colonel Brar, Srinagar defence spokesman, said: 'Both bodies were mauled badly by some wild animal, and apparently by a bear, as the area is inhabited by Himalayan black bear.
'The attack seems to have been so violent that both the militants got no chance to fire back at the wild animal."

Police even found the remains of pudding the men had prepared before the bear attacked the group.

However, authorities refused to comment on wether or not the pudding was too hot, too cold or 'juuuust right'.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Today's Train of Thought- Walking on Water; Nov. 7th 2009

Today's semiaquatic Train of thought comes to us from contributor Jacob C Mayo. Here, we see a New Hampshire Northcoast aggregates train passing by a soggy Union Meadow just outside of Union, NH in April 2009. Although it hauls other commodities, the main source of traffic for the New Hampshire Northcoast has been sand and gravel. Much of the sand and gravel for Boston's 'Big Dig' originated at Ossipee, NH and was shipped south.

Barroom Brawl Leaves Royal Army Squaddie With Miss England Crown

(Graham Stone/ The Telegraph)
OK- I should probably keep the posts about dysfuntional beauty pageants and their problem-child contestants to a minimum, but I thought this was too cool to pass up.

(Adrian Harlen/Ministry of Defense)
Meet 22 year old Lance Corpral Katrina Hodge of the Royal Army's Royal Anglian Regiment and decorated Iraq war veteran.
Ms Hodge was given a bravery commendation in 2005 after members of her regiment were threatened at gunpoint by a suspected Iraqi insurgent after the vehicle they were travelling in overturned.

She said: "I was in complete shock at first. The force of the accident caused our vehicle to roll over three times and threw us off guard.
"As I came round, the Iraqi suspect was standing over us with the rifles. I knew if I didn't act fast then our lives would be in danger. I punched him and the force startled him enough for me to retrieve the rifles from him."

And...oh yes- she's the current Miss England. Now keep in mind that she was a runner up and the winner of the 2009 Miss England crown, Rachel Christie, was recently arrested after allegedly getting into a barrom brawl with another contestant, Sara Jones. Presumably the beatdown of another contestant and subsequent arrest means she had to relinquish her crown. Ironically, the soldier is being rewarded for not fighting

So LCL Hodge will now represent England at the upcoming Miss World pageant in Johannesburg later on this month- the same pageant Singapore is having such a hard time finding a suitable contestant for.

I'm wholeheartedly looking forward to the talent competiton where she's going to field-strip an Enfield L85A1 rifle and reassemble it blindfolded. Congratulations and best of luck to Ms. Hodge.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Additional Thoughts on the Ft. Hood Shootings and Aftermath

To be perfectly honest, it didn't really enter my mind that the Fort Hood shooter was mulsim until I heard a radio update where the announcer adamantly declared 'officials say this is not a terrorist incident'. Keep in mind this was while the exact number of shooters was unknown, the number of dead and wounded were unknown, whether or not the shooter was in custody was unknown at the time- yet somehow the media and various spokespeople magically knew with 100% certainty that this was not a terrorist attack [and those of you keeping score at home should not forget that!].

And of coure, once Maj Hasan's identity was disclosed a couple of the networks went with the PTSD angle, despite the fact that Hasan hadn't been previously deployed to combat- mostly the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Fort Hood. So the 'P' in PTSD magically became Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder because he was so upset over his upcoming deployment. Just humoring these idiots for a few moments means that we have to completely overlook the ginormous pachyderm inhabiting the same room that is Hasan's ethnic and religious background, to say nothing of the red flags he was apparently setting off at the Walter Reed Medical Center.

Then there was President Obama's address to the nation in the immediate aftermath, which wasn't as bad as I thought- it was much worse. Look- I can't stand the man or 99% of his policies, but I was hoping he would apply some of that charm and eloquence that CNN and MSNBC assures us he possesses to use reassuring an uncertain nation and comforting the families of the murdered. Instead, I was treated to stammering platitudes read off of a teleprompter by somebody who sounded like they were starting to realize they were in over their head- cripes, why not crack open a copy of My Pet Goat while you're at it? I didn't even know about the informal shout-outs to the BIA's Tribal Nations Conference until I read the linked article (the Chicago NBC affiliate- hardly a right-wing mouthpiece). I'm not pointing this for the sake of being vindictive and petty, I'm pointing this out because the man screwed the pooch. Honestly, I was hoping he'd rise to occasion on some level.

But hey- let's not jump to conclusions! Just because the shooter was muslim, spoke approvingly of muslims killing American soldiers and civilians, listed his nationality as 'Palestinian' on an Islamic matrimonial website (even though he was born and raised in Virginia), don't you dare jump to the hasty and uninformed conclusion that his religious background might've had something to do with it. Not when the mainstream media is trying so desperately to spin this massacre as a byproduct of PTSD and leave Hasan relatively blameless in this bloodbath.

Oh....and Nidal Malik Hasan? You were dropped by a girl, you misogynist prick!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Today's Train of Thought- Watch your head! Nov 5th, 2009

Today's Train of Thought comes to us from the North Woods of Wisconsin courtesey of contributor D. Kwarciani. The Wisconsin Northern operates a former Canadain National/Wisonsin Central branchline running between Barron and Chippewa Falls, WI. The line is owned by Minnesota-based Progressive Rail Inc and the motive power is a pair of spiffy-looking ex-BNSF (Nee St Louis-San Francisco) GP15-1s. Here, WN #1501 is seen crossing a country road at Eagle Point, WI while heading southbound to the Union Pacific and CN interchange in Chippewa Falls on October 5, 2006.

12 Dead, 31 wounded in Fort Hood Rampage- 39 Year Old Major In Custody

From the Waco Tribune:

FORT HOOD — A military mental health doctor facing deployment overseas opened fire at the Fort Hood Army post Thursday, setting off on a rampage that killed 12 people and left 31 wounded. The violence was believed to be the worst mass shooting in history at a U.S. military base.

The gunman, first said to have been killed, was wounded but alive and in stable condition under military guard, said Lt. Gen. Robert Cone at Fort Hood.

“I would say his death is not imminent,” Cone said.

The man was identified as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a 39-year-old, eight-year veteran from Virginia. Col. Ben Danner said the suspect was shot at least four times.

The shooting began around 1:30 p.m., when shots were fired at the base’s Soldier Readiness Center, where soldiers who are about to be deployed or who are returning undergo medical screening, Cone said.

This is sad and disturbing on a couple of different levels. First of all, someone awarded the rank of Major in the United States Army took it upon himself to gun down scores of his fellow soldiers today- apparently people he knew personally. This was not some homesick 'Private Pyle' E-2 who just got a Dear John letter from his sweetie and snapped. This was a doctor who was promoted to the rank of Major, not the semiliterate hillbilly or inner-city gangbanger duped by nefarious recruiters that populates the US-Army-According-To-Code-Pink narrative.

Then there's the assertion in the mainstream press that Hasan snapped because he was getting ready to be deployed. Technically true, but that's overlooking one mighty big pachyderm that happens to be in the same room. According to some of his colleagues at the Walter Reed Army Hospital, Hasan gave tacit approval to insurgent and terrorist attacks on American soldiers during arguments while working there. Think about that for a moment- he was in effect giving the thumbs-up to the terrorists and insurgents who were killing and maiming the very soldiers he was supposed to be helping! And kindly refrain from bludgeoning me with that 'You're-saying-Muslims-shouldn't-serve-in-the-military!' strawman. I'm saying that somebody who so readily wanted to see his own country defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan should at least get some closer scrutiny when he took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States like the 12 people he murdered today.

Then there's the physical layout of Ft. Hood itself. I've never been there myself, but if I understand correctly there are no gates or sentries on the roads in and out of the base like a couple of the major Army bases in Georgia (Ft. Benning and Ft. Hood Spring to mind right away). Instead, the respective bases are patrolled by MPs or security guards. Enough major highways cross directly through the base to make putting permanent gates and sentries up an impractical proposition. I suppose some MP's posted at the entrances and stringing up some concertina wire would be a temporary solution during periods of high alert, but basically there would be nothing preventing a determined terrorist from driving onto some military bases with a truck bomb or suicide vest and detonating it once they approach a crowded area [I'm not doing this to give Al Qaeda or Hezbollah any ideas- those vermin may be execrable subhumans, but they're not all stupid either].

Also keep in mind that most military personnel are unarmed while on base- except for the MPs. Typically, the only time soldiers, sailors, marines or airmen are in possession of firearms and live ammunition is when they're on the firing ranges. This came up a few years ago when certain commentators on the left dismissed a plot to attack Fort Dix in New Jersey with pistols, RPGs and automatic rifles as bogus. Their rationale? Machine-gun wielding and tank-driving GI's would've cut the wanna-be jihadis down the second they showed themselves [which demonstrates their ignorance about life in the military]. Had the Fort Dix attack been carried out, the only people who would've been able to shoot back would've been the MPs- likely armed with 9mm pistols- as the weapons are stored in armories at their respective companies when not out on the range.

I'm not sure what else I can add to this- the information that was coming out of Ft. Hood and Killeen, TX earlier today was fast and furious and contradictory (first it was multiple gunmen, then just the one; Hasan and the civilian police officer that shot him were both dead, now it appears they were both alive, etc etc). My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those killed Thursday and I'm hoping for a speedy recovery for the 31 wounded.

As for Hasan, all I can say is make him sorry he survived.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Today's Train of Thought

Today's train of thought is a blast from the not too distant past (October 20, 2009) courtesey of contributor Jim Kleeman. Here, a trio of Maryland Midland GP38-3s leading train UBEG (UB= Union Bridge; EG = Emory Grove/CSX interchange) through Glyndon, MD as it approaches the CSX interchange as there's still abundant foliage turning color trackside. The trees may not be the only thing turning a shade of orange, as the Maryland Midland was acquired by the Genesee & Wyoming acquired the Maryland Midland in 2007. It's likely Maryland Midland's fleet of GP38s will be repainted into G&W's trademark orange and black.

'Grim Milestone': The Election of Barak Hussein Obama- 1 Year Later

Referring to the Obama Administration as a 'disappointment' would be terribly misleading on my part, since- to put it charitably- I didn't consider President Obama the most qualified man for the job in the first place.

To give the President credit, he had a hand some things that I agree wholeheartedly with; calling Kanye West a jackass, ventilating the pirates who tried hijacking the MV Maersk Alabama, Predator drones incinerating Taliban vermin in the hinterlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan whether the world's first failed nuclear state likes it or not, coordinated strikes against Al Qaeda operatives in the Horn of know, mostly stuff that would probably require Executive-level approval somewhere along the line. Stuff that- most importantly- leads to the enemies of these United States of America dying an abrupt and violent death.

But it's rather telling that a year ago tonight, thugs and tyrants like Hugo Chavez and Robert Mugabe were hoping the US election would turn out exactly the way it did.

Then there's the issue of the leaders of Canada and France treating the issue of Iran's nuclear programme with more urgency than the White House. Keep in mind Iran's mullahs are the same people who set the basiij militia on the populace, arbitrarily beating, detaining and shooting Iran's civilians for all the world to see or follow on Twitter. Yet they can somehow be trusted with the raw materiel for a nuclear programme? Or better yet, these are the people who President Obama wants to negotiate in good faith with?

Domestically, the President has been enthusiastically championing some God-awful legislation such as Card Check, Cap & Trade, Obamacare (or the ill-defined, nebulous 'Healthcare reform' if you prefer) and the $787 Billion stimulus package. The stimulus was supposed to create jobs, repair or replace crumbling infrastructure and prevent the jobless rate from rising above 8% nationally. As of this afternoon, the National unemployment rate is just under 10% (9.8%). Cap and trade is guaranteed to make that jobless rate higher, increase the costs of energy and transportation for Americans and lower the standard of living in this country.

Let's not forget the whole matter in Cambridge, MA between Sgt. Crowley of the Cambridge PD and Harvard professor Henry Gates. During a Q&A press conference shortly after the incident, the president arranged for a question to be asked about Gates' arrest and release by the Cambridge Police. Even with a friendly press pool, the President still managed to screw the pooch when he said he wasn't aware of all the facts in the case, he was biased because Prof. Gates was an acquaintance of his but still decided right then and there that the Cambridge police (specifically Sgt. Crowley) 'acted stupidly'. As more information came out about the arresting officer and his credentials and Prof. Gates and his belligerence, Obama had to backpedal and ultimately staged a photo-op beer summit at the White House.

The incident was fairly minor in the grand scheme of things, but that's exactly my point. If the President got it wrong on a fairly minor matter that would hardly make the police blotter of a small-town newspaper, why exactly should I trust him on the bigger issues?

Then there's the matter of the not Afghanistan, silly! Fox news, insurance companies, the US Chamber of commerce the publisher of the Blue Book used to assess used-car prices. If the White House isn't directing their time and energies towards thwarting these insidiously evil enemies of this great republic, then they're busy blaming the previous administration for the economy, Afghanistan, the present state of healthcare, housing, Iraq (which- like it or not- is logistically more tenable than Afghanistan) subprime lending, the auto industry or America's standing in the' world. At this rate, I hope President Obama keeps using the 'Failed policies of the last 8 years' mantra for his 2012 campaign. Sure, it's a little tiresome- but by that point in time, he'd be admitting that his first term- even with a filibuster-proof supermajority for at least the first 2 years- was a complete and utter failure. Having said that, this comes across as petty, incredibly shallow and thin-skinned on his part. Think about it- he campaigned on his willingness to sit down and negotiate with Iran's Mahmoud Ahmedinejahd, but his administration will have nothing to do with The Hartford?

Am I leaving anything out? The takeover of General Motors, AIG or Citibank maybe? That incredible clusterf*ck down in Honduras that's playing out pretty much how Hugo Chavez wants it to? The ill-fated Olympic bid? Releasing Gitmo inmates so they can be tried in the USA and have the same rights as a motorist pulled over by a state trooper for a broken taillight? His circle of questionable associates- many of whom have been appointed 'czars'?

I'm sure there's more I'm leaving out, but there are only so many hours in the day.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Today's Train of Thought: Warren's Got Himself A New Toy- Nov 3rd, 2009

In light of today's announcement from Berkshire-Hathaway, I thought Today's Train of Thought should focus on the BNSF. Here, a quartet of GE's led by C44-9W #5081 is photographed by contributor Joe Blackwell winding through the Abo Canyon on the former Santa Fe Clovis Subbdivision near Abo, NM with a lengthy cut of JB Hunt trailers in September 2009.

Buffet's Berkshire-Hathaway Announces BNSF Deal- Railroad Stocks Surge

Already owning a 22% stake in the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, Warren Buffet announced earlier Tuesday that his Berkshire-Hathaway Group reached an agreement with BNSF's board of directors to purchase the remaining shares of BNSF in a $44 billion deal. This would make the railroad the single largest investment by Berkshire-Hathaway [NYSE: BRK-A].

Wall Street seemed to take the news rather well.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe [NYSE: BNI] closed at $97 a share, up 27.51% in a single day.

Canadian National [NYSE: CNI] closed at $49.99, up 2.73%

Canadian Pacific [NYSE: CP] closed at $45.53, up 4.24%

CSX Transportation [NYSE: CSX] closed at $45.97, up 7.31%

Kansas City Southern [NYSE: KSU] closed at $25.79, up 7.1%

Norfolk Southern [NYSE: NSC] closed at $45.15, up 5.4%

Omaha-based Union Pacific [NYSE: UNP] closed at $59.41, up 7.9%