Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sports Chowdah- Quick, Savory Cupful Edition: Bruins Be-Devil New Jersey; Sox to Beckett- '4 More Years!'

NEW POLL UP: With baseball season right around the corner, I'm wondering if any visitors have a favorite baseball broadcaster. Most of the choices up there are veteran broadcasters that have been with the same team for the last 20 years or so, if not their entire careers.

MLB: ESPN and The Boston Globe are reporting that the Red Sox have offered starter Josh Beckett a 4-year extension of his contract. Although the offer is for 1 year less than what Beckett's agent had asked, both sides are optimistic that a deal could be reached.
With the Grapefruit league winding down, Boston faced Tampa bay for the 2nd day in a row and immediately jumped all over Tampa's newest acquisition, former Braves closer Rafael Soriano. Soriano gave up four runs, three hits- including a 2-run shot off the bat of Anthony Rizzo- a walk along with 2 strikeouts in his one inning of work. Boston starter Casey Kelly allowed 2 runs on 4 hits in his three inning workday today. The Rays lineup was able to jump all over Daniel Bard, getting touched up for 4 runs on five hits and only recording two outs. The game ended in a somewhat anticlimactic 9-9 tie [maybe some sort of contrived sponsorship deal with 99 Restaurants- NANESB!]

Jonathan Papebon and Hideki Okajima are scheduled to appear in a minor-league game tomorrow. The Red Sox will play host to Baltimore tomorrow.

Getty Images
: For the second time in 3 games, the Boston Bruins have managed to shut out an opponent. The B's traveled to Newark on Tuesday night to take on the Devils, with the young Finn in goal for Boston and future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur in net for New Jersey.

And here is the scoring summary- Patrice Bergeron (assists from Mark Recchi and Mark Stuart) for the Bruins with 18.3 seconds left in overtime. That is all.....

Tukka 'Rask of God' stopped all 21 shots he faced on the evening (with an assist from the crossbar late in the 3rd), good for his 5th shutout of the season. Brodeur stopped 33 of 34 shots faced tonight for the Devils.

The win moved Boston into a virtual tie with Montreal and Philadelphia (although both teams hold the tie-breaker over Boston) and kept the Bruins 2 points up on Atlanta and 4 points up on the NY Rangers. New Jersey gets a point in the overtime loss and is only 1 point behind the Division-leading Penguins.

The Bruins will travel back to Boston to take on the Florida Panthers Thursday night and the Maple Leafs Saturday.

Iron Horse Roundup- Ides of March Edition

RUSSIA: Two female suicide bombers struck Moscow's subway during rush-hour Monday morning, killing at least 38 and wounding 60. The first bomber struck at the Lubyanka station at around 8 A.M. local time- the station is underneath the headquarters of the FSB, successors to the KGB. Approximately 45 minutes later, the second bomber struck at the Park Kultury station near the entrance to Gorky Park. Russian authorities believe that the attacks were orchestrated by terrorists with ties to Islamic leaders in the breakaway regions of the Caucasus. Chechen rebels have said earlier in videotaped statements that 'war is coming to the cities'. Moscow's subway system is the second busiest in the world, carrying an estimated 7 million passengers on any given workday.

Chuck Rippel- railpictures.net

USA- NORFOLK, VA: RailAmerica shortline Chesapeake & Albermarle is expected to resume service tomorrow after an accident put one of the locomotives and one of the line's drawbridges out of commission on March 29th. According to railpictures.net contributor Chuck Rippel, here's what happened:

At approximately 4AM, the Chesapeake and Albermarle rock job was northbound with approximately 40 empties. When it approached the open Bascule Draw span over the Intercoastal Waterway, the train was not able to stop. Instead, the lead engine collided with the counterweight and other parts of the bridge. The train was able to stop just as the front trucks went over the edge of the bridge approach and it came to rest with 1/3 of the lead engine hanging over the canal, resting on its fuel tank.

The engine was removed 3/27/10. I don't know the status of the crew only that the news did not report any injuries. Approximately 1,800 gallons of diesel spilled into the waterway and the USCG can be seen on the lower left overseeing the fuel recovery. At this point, the Intercoastal Waterway has a mile of swamp on either side of this bridge. I walked down tracks from the north side and passed 2 sets of signals. The first, at 1 mile away is always "approach" and the second is stop. I'm going to surmise the same arrangement exists on the south side of the bridge. This bridge is unmanned and its my understanding the conductor follows the train in a van to open and close it. So far, I haven't heard any explanation as to the events behind this accident.

The Chesapeake & Albermarle operates about 70 miles of track in southern Virginia and Northeastern North Carolina, hauling stone and chemicals to the Norfolk Southern and CSX interchange in Norfolk, VA.

Casey Thomason

ST. LOUIS, MO: The Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis (TRRA) has sold off the last of their fleet of SW1500 end-cab switchers to Progress Rail Services, replacing the venerable switchers with 10 GP38-3s. Here, Casey Thomason has caught CSX SD50 #8572 leading the ex-TRRA units in a dedicated move at Junction City, GA on March 22, 2010. The steel coil cars are placed between each TRRA unit because each of the SW1500s do not feature alignment control drawbars, making long-distance transit moves quite tricky. Five TRRA units derailed in transit last month at LaGrange, GA when CSX didn't bother using spacer cars between the transiting TRRA locomotives.

Mike Mautner
The departure of the venerable SW1500s leaves the TRRA with a fleet of 4 and 6-axle medium horsepower EMD roadswitchers (SD38-2s and rebuilt SD45T-2s in addition to the newer GP38-3s). The GP38-3s are former Helm leasing, nee Union Pacific.

Santa Fe 3751 at the Grand Canyon, 2002- John West
SAN DIEGO, CA: The San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society announced that their restored 1927-built Baldwin 4-8-4 Santa Fe #3751 would be making a round-trip between Los Angeles Union Station and San Diego on the former Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Surf Line on the weekend of May 1st and 2nd, 2010. The 'Surf Line', running north out of San Diego, CA to Fullerton and Los Angeles, is presently used by Amtrak, BNSF, the San Diego Coaster, L.A.'s Metrolink and WATCO's Pacific Sun Railroad.

Although the SBRHS ran two LA-San Diego roundtrips with the #3751 in 2008, there were no such excursions last year due to financial concerns.

The (Counter)Revolution Will Not Be Televised Tweeted: Twitter's Ascendancy in Venezuela Giving Hugo Chavez Fits

Hugo sez: "OK. This video is called 'bathtub girl'..."
Not even a year after social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook played a pivotal role in Iranian protestors bypassing state-controlled communications and media outlets, Twitter's ascendancy in Venezuela seems to be giving chunky Venezuelan conspiracy theorist President Hugo Chavez fits.

Opposition figures, including a jailed judge and the head of Globovision- an opposition TV network- have set up Twitter accounts. According to Reuters, 7 of the 10 most popular Twitter accounts in Venezuela are anti-Chavez. There are reportedly more than 200,000 active accounts in Venezuela, one of the highest per-capita rates in Latin America.

"The Internet cannot be free," he said, though days later he denied claims that his government planned to censor the Internet, pointing out that Web use by Venezuelans has expanded dramatically during his 11 years in power [emphasis mine- NANESB!]
Still, his detractors say a plan to channel all Internet traffic through the state telecom company is a strong signal of Chavez's intentions to silence online dissent.
Notice how Chavez avoids answering the question about censorship by saying that Internet usage has gone up while he was in power.....as though the two are mutually exclusive.
Frustrated by his ubiquitous presence in traditional media, where he often applies a law that forces TV and radio stations to broadcast his lengthy speeches, opponents see networking sites as a means of outwitting the populist president.

Which is all the more reason for Chavez to funnel all internet traffic through the state-run telecom. Chavez has belatedly set up his own Twitter account, but with the socialist dictator known to give speeches that go on for as long as 8 hours, I suspect he's going to find it extremely difficult to keep his 'Tweets' to a maximum of 140 charachters.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sports Chowdah Update for March 25-29- Atlanta Catching up to Beantown After Lackluster Performances; Frozen Four Matchups Set

NHL: After posting a 5-0 shutout against the Calgary Flames with Tim Thomas between the pipes on Saturday, the Bruins got a whiff of 7th place (meaning they wouldn't have to play the Washington Capitals in the 1st round) before falling to the division-leading Buffalo Sabres on Monday night by a final of 3-2.

Although David Krejci got Boston on the board in the first, Buffalo countered with goals from Tyler Myers and Paul Gaustad in that same period. Tim Kennedy would go on to score for Buffalo in the 2nd period and Ryan Miller stopped 40 shots on the night; including Marco Sturm's 1st period penalty shot and Mark Recchi's attempt from point-blank as time expired. Tim Thomas stopped 11 of 14 shots faced and was pulled for Tukka Rask after allowing the 3rd goal. Rask stopped all 19 shots he faced.

The loss knocks the Bruins back to the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern conference, as Philadelphia won in their Sunday game against the NJ Devils. Atlanta is now only two points behind Boston and the B's have lost 2 out of their last 3 games. The Bruins will travel to Newark, NJ to take on the Devils Tuesday night.

NBA: The Celtics didn't fare much better on Sunday's nationally televised game against San Antonio on ESPN. The Tony Parker-less Spurs simply thumped the Celtics 94-73 thanks in no small part to Manu Ginobli's 28 points. Richard Jefferson added 16 points on top of 11 rebounds in his night's work for San Antonio.

Paul Pierce had 18 points and was 10-11 from the free-throw line, but other than that, the C's offensive output was largely forgettable on Sunday night. The loss puts them in a virtual tie with the Atlanta Hawks for 3rd place in the Eastern conference (both 10 and 1/2 games behind Eastern conference-leading Cleveland). The Celtics will take on Oklahoma City on Wednesday night at the Garden.

MLB: Josh Beckett threw for 6 innings, giving up 3 runs (1 unearned), six hits and a walk to Tampa Bay while striking out eight in his last outing of the spring, a 9-3 loss to the Rays on Monday afternoon. The Red Sox will take on the Rays again at Tampa's spring training facility in Port Charlotte on Tuesday afternoon (reportedly this will be nationally televised on ESPN).

NCAA Frozen Four: For the third time in the last 4 seasons, Boston College has advanced to the NCAA's Frozen Four Men's hockey tournament by defeating Alaska-Fairbanks 3-1 on Saturday and outlasting Yale 9-7 on Sunday. This sets up a showdown with Miami of Ohio after their 3-2 win over Michigan on Sunday. The winner of the Miami (OH)/BC game will take on the winner of the North Dakota/Rochester Institute of Technology game at Detroit's Ford Field on April 10, 2010.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Today's Train of Thought- Plowing on Through; March 27, 2010

Did I already mention that snow removal in the Midwest during winter months is serious business for the railroads that operate there?

This is no less true for South Dakota-based aggregates-hauler D&I Railroad. Apparently, the 'D&I' stands for Dakota and Iowa, but is listed in almost every guide or reference as simply the 'D&I Railroad'. The D&I is a wholly owned subsidiary of L.G. Everist, Inc, a Sioux Falls, SD-based aggregates and materiel provider. Presently, the D&I operates 139 miles between Dell Rapids, SD and Sioux City, IA on a patchwork of their own former Milwaukee Road rails, BNSF trackage rights and tracks owned by the state of South Dakota with a small fleet of over 25 locomotives. At Sioux City, the D&I interchanges with BNSF, Canadian National and Union Pacific. Aside from hauling sand, cement, gravel and rock for it's parent company, the D&I has also been able to diversify its traffic in recent years, hauling grain, fertilizer and ethanol as well as storing freight cars on the lightly-used former Chicago & Northwestern Beresford branch (also owned by South Dakota DOT).

And it is on the Beresford Branch where railpictures.net contributor Sam J. Botts caught the D&I's former Milwaukee Road snowplow being used to clear the line at Alcester, SD with SD40-2 #3031 and SD39 #4027 shoving away on January 11, 2010. The line was being cleared to accommodate a cut of grain cars that were being brought up to Beresford to be loaded at the elevator there.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Michigan Doctor to Challenge Rep. Bart Stupak for Congress

Even before 'pro-life' Democrat Bart Stupak caved into Nancy Pelosi and President Obama last week, Dan Benishek- a surgeon from Michigan's Upper Peninsula- announced his candidacy for Congress from the steps of the Dickinson County Courthouse last week. Benishek also has a Facebook page and new campaign website being developed.

(Map courtesey of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Even if every registered voter in Michigan's 1st Congressional District was as pro-abortion as Nancy Pelosi, there's still one very large issue that Benishek could bring up against Stupak in the election. The above map represents county-by-county unemployment statistics for Michigan., with dark blue (much of the state, really) representing counties where the unemployment rate remained above 10% as of January 2010. According to this excellent interactive graphic from the Washington Post, most of the counties in Michigan have an unemployment rate of 13% or higher.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics map and Washington Post graphic, the jobless rates in some Upper Peninsula counties are even worse than perpetually mismanaged and corrupt Detroit; with Mackinack County coming in at 31.2% and Baraga County reporting a 28.6% unemployment rate.

These seem like numbers reminiscent of some crooked banana republic. Remember when the President said that his priorities were going to be jobs and the economy during the State of the Union address? He did.....granted it was in there somewhere around Cap & Trade and repealing the military's 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' policy- almost like a requisite throwaway line. The fact that he went right back to his government-expanding, economy-killing pet project that more than half of America had their doubts about should speak volumes to even the most ardent supporter about Obama's priorities.

And when push came to shove, the much touted 'pro-life' bloc of the democrats- led by Stupak- sold out for an executive order that's hardly even worth the paper it was written on, saddling America with a 'Healthcare' bill that will provide more IRS agents than doctors or nurses. And for that, I think Bart Stupak should join the 31% of Mackinack county in the unemployment line.

Happy Persian New Year's From Not Another New England Sports Blog!

The Persian Holiday of Nowruz dates back to Zoroastrian times in ancient Persia, although it's exact date of origin is unclear. The first day of Spring also marks the beginning of the new year on the Persian calendar. Apparently the holiday is celebrated any number of ways, but primarily revolves around cleaning up the household (signifying a new beginning and ridding oneself of excess baggage) ahead of a visit from friends and neighbors. Some celebrants believe that a person's mood during Nowruz celebrations will affect their outlook for the rest of that year.

Never really known for their outgoing, fun-loving nature, the Iranian regime this year announced another heavy-handed crackdown during one of the festivals leading up to Nowruz, Chaharshanbe Suri (jumping over a bonfire to purify oneself).

And what kind of holiday would it be at Not Another New England Sports Blog! would it be if I let it pass without gratuitously throwing out some ocular sweetness that's (at least tangentially) germane to the Holiday being observed? From Iran, even.....

Attractive Iranian women? you might be asking yourself. Believe me- that is no contradiction in terms. The perception seems to be the females that currently populate Iran are joyless, plain, dour bhurka-clad souls....and the backwards 'leaders' of Iran don't do much to dispel that stereotype. After the Ayatollah Khomeni seized power in 1979, thousands of Iranian families fled to the USA, Canada, Europe and the UK. The children of those families would be in their 20s and 30s by now. [I happen to know firsthand a few such women of Persian background who fit that definition to a 'T', but "That chick that works in the sales department over in the Nissan dealership" or "The pouty girl with the accent at the barbershop" are pretty obscure examples- NANESB!]. Some of these women have never even set foot in the country their parents were born and raised in though.

Sarah Shahi
Take for instance Sarah Shahi from Showtime's The L Word among other appearances. Sarah (who's given name is Aahoo Jahansouz according to wikipedia) is of Iranian ancestry, but born and raised in Texas and was even a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader for awhile.
And there's also the introverted, shy, girl-next door Roxana Saberi- a journalist, former Miss North Dakota and one-time political prisoner of the Ahmedinejahd regime. Saberi grew up in Fargo, ND the daughter of an Iranian father and Japanese mother. In 2009, she was accused of espionage by Iran's Revolutionary Guards while working as a journalist and interpreter and recieved and 8 year prison sentence. In May 2009, her sentence was overturned by an Iranian appeals court and she received a two-year suspended sentence before returning to the USA.

Or singer and model Claudia Lynx, who's family left Tehran for Norway when she was a few months old, and moved to Canada when she was five. She's also appeared in Levi's magazine ads and had a cameo as 'Miss World' on The West Wing.

That's not to say all the attractive Persian women were able to flee the Islamist regime and live freely in America or Europe. As we saw during last year's presidential elections and the subsequent protests over in Iran, there is still plenty of vintage Persian ocular sweetness to behold.However- they are required by law over there to wear a headscarf and dress 'modestly' at all times, even in the summer when the average temperature in most of the country exceeds 100 degrees. It would be one thing if they chose to dress like that, but that decision (along with many others) has made for them by a bunch of dour, faceless old men for the last 30 years. You gotta think that deep down inside, like 90% of these girls currently in Iran are just dying to put on the proverbial little black dress, go out clubbing with their girlfriends [and probably make catty remarks to their friends in little back dresses about other girls in their little black dresses- NANESB!] without the Basiij militia or 'morality police' gunning them down as they stood in a traffic jam harshing their mellow.

But for now, at least, they still have Nowruz.

Sports Chowdah Update for March 19-24; C's Hit Paydirt, Handle Nuggets; Bruins Wreck Thrashers, Bring Up Rear in Playoff Run; Dice-K Sighting Reported

(NBA Entertainment).
The Celtics are back in the playoffs after downing the Denver Nuggets 113-99 on Wednesday night at the Garden.

I only had time enough to catch a little bit of the 1st quarter last night, and thought the game would be a little closer based on how it started out. Kevin Garnett was pretty busy, racking up 20 points, while Paul Pierce had 27 and Rajon Rondo was good for a triple-double. Tony Allen came off the bench for 13 points and Brian Scalabrine had the night off.

Tonight's game was the fifth win for Boston in their last 6 games. This also marks the beginning of a 6-game homestand. The C's have a less than impressive 22-12 home record so far and will host the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

The Bruins are riding a modest 2-game winning streak after getting embarrassed (again) by Pittsburgh last Thursday at the Garden. After beating the NY Rangers 2-1 on Sunday, they travelled to Atlanta to take on the Thrashers Tuesday.

Needing a win to hang on to the 8th and final playoff spot, the Bruins got off to the early 1-0 lead in the first courtesey of David Krejci. Milan Lucic and Miro Satan would follow with tallies of their own in the second while Steve Begin would cap the scoring in the 3rd. Tukka "Two-K" Rask stopped all 33 shots he faced to blank the Ilya Kovalchuk-less Thrashers by a 4-0 final.

The win gives the Bruins 78 points on the season, good for 8th place as of Thursday morning. The Philadelphia Flyers remain a point ahead of them, while Boston managed to distance themselves from the next two closest teams behind them in the standings (Atlanta and the NY Rangers) by beating them head-to-head. Boston has won 3 of its last 4 games and will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning later on tonight.

The Bruins also announced that a 3-year contract extension worth a little over $6 million had been agreed to with defenseman Andrew Ference yesterday.

MLB: Daisuke Matsuzaka made his first appearance for the Red Sox this spring, releiving Tim Wakefield in Boston's 6-4 win over the Florida Marlins earlier today. Dice-K allowed one run on two hits with no walks and no strikeouts in two innings of work.

Yesterday, Josh Beckett was looking much better in his start against the Pittsburgh Pirates, striking out nine in five innings worth of work. Beckett allowed three hits, two walks and just one run in his day's work. The offense was looking sharp as well, with Victor Martinez, Mike Cameron and Bill Hall all going deep.

Dustin Pedroia was out of the lineup for Wednesday landing awkwardly on his wrist while trying to filed a liner by Minnesota's Denard Span earlier this week. The injury doesn't require much treatment besides keeping it on ice, and the second baseman expects to return to the lineup soon enough.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

SEIU to Spend $700,000 Thanking Dems For Healthcare Votes

Despite the decline in popularity of Labor Unions and the low public opinion of 0bamacare in general, Service Employees International Union head Andy Stern has decided to spend $700,000 (most likely Union dues) on an ad buy to thank embattled Democrat lawmakers for their 'yes' vote on 0bamacare.

SEIU announced a $700,000 ad buy starting today in the districts of six vulnerable House Democrats. The ads will air on broadcast and cable and run through next week, thanking the lawmakers for voting "yes" on reform in districts where that vote could play badly for them in November.

The lawmakers are: Democratic Reps. Tom Periello (Va.), Dina Titus (Nev.), Betsy Markey (Colo.), John Boccieri (Ohio), Kathy Dahlkemper (Penn.) and Earl Pomeroy (N.D.).

In New York, the local SEIU chapter will begin airing ads tomorrow thanking: Reps. Scott Murphy, Bill Owens, Dan Maffei, Tim Bishop and Steve Israel.
This would not be the first time the SEIU has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in ad buys. Y'know....sometimes you gotta wonder if Andy Stern in on the GOP's payroll.

Here's hoping the SEIU continues their ringing endorsement of the politicians who brought us this crap sandwich right up until November.

Monday, March 22, 2010

VFW: Healthcare Bill Betrays Veterans

For those of you sore 'winners' who think the hue and cry directed at 0bamacare is some sort of manufactured partisan outrage courtesey of the right wing noise machine, guess again.

Thomas J. Tradewell, head of the Veterans of Foreign Wars had this to say:

“The president and the Democratic leadership are betraying America's veterans,” [snip] “And what makes matters worse is the leadership and the president knows the bill is flawed, yet they are pushing for passage today like it’s a do-or-die situation. This nation deserves the best from their elected officials, and the rush to pass legislation of this magnitude is not it.”

“The president was very clear at our VFW national convention last year when he said he was going to protect these programs, as did the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate repeatedly throughout the year. Now we have this flawed package that everyone is trying to rush through that blatantly omits any protections of the healthcare programs our nation provides to millions of veterans, military personnel, military retirees, and their families or survivors.

“This is Washington doubletalk at its very worse, and the uproar is going to be huge in America’s military and veterans’ communities,"

At issue is the fact that H.R. 4872 omits any mention of protections for healthcare programs provided by the Veterans Administration and the military's Tricare system.

The way this thing was passed makes me wonder if omitting any protections of the VA or Tricare programs was a design flaw or a feature.

Lazy, Inept Blogger Scoops Mainstream Press AGAIN: Miss England/'Combat Barbie' Revisited

(The Sun)
Actually, I noticed this courtesey of the British tabloids, but for some reason this story that I reported on nearly 6 months ago just now is getting noticed here in the USA. Granted it's nowhere near as deadly serious as the developments in Pakistan that I beat the Washington Post by several weeks, but I pride myself on being ahead of the curve [moreso when it actually happens- NANESB!]

And speaking of curves....

Lance Corporal Katrina Hodge isn't just a decorated veteran of Iraq- she also happens to be the reigning Miss England. She actually was runner-up in the Miss England pageant when then-winner Rachel Christie was stripped of her crown for fighting with another contestant at a Manchester nightclub (not Hodge tho', otherwise Christie would probably still be in traction).

Hodge travelled to the 2009 Miss World pageant in South Africa where she didn't even place in the top 12. Personally, I thought that was unfortunate....but apparently field-stripping and reassembling the L85A2 service rifle blindfolded for the talent competition wasn't enough to impress the judges.

Hodge will retain the Miss England crown until at least June....and at the risk of repeating myself, does anyone else find it ironic that the professional soldier was awarded the title for not fighting?

Iron Horse Roundup: February-March 2010 Edition


BELGIUM- A rush-hour collision between two commuter trains on Febuary 15 in Brussels killed at least 25 passengers, according to Belgian officials. The two trains collided head-on after one of the trains, delayed by complications from the cold weather, went past a red signal. At least 50 other passengers were injured- in some cases their injuries so severe that their limbs had to be amputated at the scene. The derailment also resulted in the suspension of the Brussels-London high-speed Eurostar service until the scene could be cleared of the wrecked trainsets.

USA- The 1996 Edition of Kamblach's American Shortline Railway Guide describes the Northern Pennsylvania shortine Wellsboro & Corning as follows:
Sam. J Botts

The Wellsboro & Corning operates freight service from a connection with Conrail and CP Rail System (Delaware & Hudson) at Gang Mills, NY, near Corning, to Wellsboro, PA- 35 miles. Rail is 80 to 127 pound. Traffic is 700 cars a year and includes sand, soda ash, chemicals, grain, food products, sugar, lumber and light bulbs.
Seemingly little changed over the next decade. A single SW8 switcher (#800; former Conrail #8676, nee Lehigh Valley #262) was enough to bring the modest amount of freight from the interchange at Gang Mills to the Wellsboro area. Conrail gave way to the Norfolk Southern and the Tioga Central would continue operating excursion and charter trains over the scenic portion of the line between Wellboro Jct. and Lake Hammond

However, the diminutive Keystone State railroad also happened to be atop the Marcellus Shale natural gas deposit. The oil and natural gas industry brought in close to $7 billion for the state of Pennsylvania- and that was before the Marcellus bonanza.

When the Wellsboro & Corning changed ownership in 2008, the new owners had hoped to ship lumber out of northern Pennsylvania. WCOR owner A.T. Myles did not bank on the Marcellus shale or the natural gas industry's voracious demand for sand (to aid in a process known as hydraulic fracture drilling- applying high pressure to crack the shale). The lone SW8 departed the property for another Pennsylvania shortline and a locomotive was leased from the Norfolk Southern. With the high demand for 'frac sand', Myles decided to purchase four 3000 HP SD40-2s from the Quebec Northshore & Labrador Railway to aid in hauling 60-70 car trains loaded with sand. The railway doesn't haul sand directly to the natural gas wells, but it is instead transloaded from the hopper cars to waiting trucks.

And with the most recent statistics showing the unemployment rate in Tigoa County, PA topping 9%, Myles has had to hire 10 additional employees to help transfer the sand from the freight cars to the tractor trailers. A new trainshed to accommodate the SD40-2s has already been built. Myles also plans on reinvesting some of the funds into the maintaining the Tioga Central's depot and passenger cars as well.

BNSF-Passenger, freight and commuter service in San Diego, CA was halted when a Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight derailed just west of Marine Corps Air Station Mirimar on Monday Night. Three empty autoracks from the train that originated in Barstow, CA toppled over onto their sides on a hilly, remote portion of the line between San Diego and LA/Orange County that's used by Amtrak, BNSF, WATCO's Pacific Sun Railroad and San Diego's North County Tranit District (San Diego Coaster). Amtrak riders were bussed between San Diego and Oceanside, CA while Coaster commuters were bussed between the Sorrento Valley station and Old Town San Diego.

The tracks were expected to be repaired by the following afternoon.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

0bamaCare Passes; Blue Dogs, Constitution Euthanized After Outliving Usefulness

Final vote for 0bamacare:

219 AYE; 212 NAY

Why the large print? you might be asking. It's there to serve as a reminder of how close the voting really was for between now and November when the Democrats, Mainstream Media and White House tries to make it sound as though this invasive, economy-killing behemoth was passed overwhelmingly and with all sorts of popular support from every last American with no mention of the shady backroom deals that were struck.

On the contrary. The Democrat supermajority saw their window to impose yet another entitlement program and legislative monument to themselves begin to close on January 19, 2010 with the Scott Brown senate win. The Democrats managed to delude themselves into thinking that Massachusetts overwhelmingly supported Brown because they weren't implementing their agenda fast enough, even though Brown explicitly opposed Obama policies such as Health Care 'Reform' and Cap & Trade during his campaign. Seriously- stop and think about that for a moment. They honestly thought people were stupid enough to think [or were stupid enough to think themselves] that the voters of Massachusetts were dissatisfied with the pace of their legislative agenda, so they voted in a Republican to show their displeasure.

And with the latest polls showing that over 50% of Americans were opposed to the current healthcare legislation, why not cram it through on a weekend before it gets even more unpopular?

But don't worry! They posted the 2300 page version of the House bill online 72 whole hours before the vote. And....what red-blooded American wouldn't be reading through thousands of pages of legislation online during a spring weekend? But just in case you didn't have a chance to read it, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi reassured us that we needed to pass the bill in order to find out what was in it. Gosh- aren't you glad that we have such an open, honest and transparent government making decisions that will affect our day-to-day lives?

During his State of the Union address, Obama said that jobs would be his top priority. And with this Healthcare 'reform' he certainly has delivered, by allowing for as many as 17,000 IRS agents to be hired to enforce the bill's mandates. Those of us looking for gainful employment in the private sector can go pound sand, I guess.

Of course, with this passed, 0bamacare still faces legal challenges from several states over its legitimacy.

As for the 'Blue Dog' democrats and Stupak's anti-abortion bloc, they were next to useless. Bart Stupak (D-MI) held out attempting to place restrictions on the federal funding of abortions, but instead settled for an executive order from President Obama that's not even worth the paper it's printed on as a 'compromise' for his 'Aye' vote. Those of you who were holding out hope for the Democrats to do the right thing should be neither surprised nor disappointed at the outcome of today's voting. Cruella DeVille Nancy Pelosi has some nice new blue dog pelts for her new fur coat, at no cost to her but likely costing the remaining 'blue dogs' their seats this November.

Welcome to San Francisco Values, implemented by the Chicago Machine, America. It may not last forever, but November 2010 and 2012 can't come fast enough.

Now, all you geniuses who voted for Obama, remind me again why we'd be much worse off under McCain/Palin or even Hillary....

Friday, March 19, 2010

Grapefruit Chowdah Recap for Mar 17-19: Lackey Charms; Sox Prospect Westmoreland Recovering From Surgery; Who's Your Daddy? Dice-K's Wife Delivers

(AP/Steven Senne)

Apparently in addition to the traditional green jerseys, the Red Sox decided to celebrate St. Patrick's Day by going 0'for the week. Beckett got hit pretty hard today, giving up four runs on six hits in 3 and one-third innings and 70 pitches worth of work while Wakefield got knocked around in Monday's 8-4 loss to Baltimore. Beckett was reportedly bedridden for a few days with flu-like symptoms and missed his last scheduled start against Minnesota on Sunday.

There were signs of life in Boston's offense in the 9-7 loss to Pittsburgh at Bradenton, FL today. Big Papi hit a two-run homer off of Pirates starter Paul Maholm in the first inning. Beckett was taken out of the game after Delwyn Young belted a 2-run homer off of him while Garrett Jones and Steve Pearce also homered for Pittsburgh.

John Lackey's start on St. Patrick's Day was much more impressive, although the Red Sox would go on to lose that day as well. Lackey threw 39 pitches in four innings of work, striking out two and issuing zero walks against the NY Mets Wednesday. His combined total in 9 innings of Spring Training pitching is five hits, no walks and no runs. Nursing a 1-0 lead in the 8th, Mets outfielder Fernando Martinez belted a 3-run homer off of Ramon S Ramirez; Ramirez would give up 4 runs on 2 hits and 3 walks- all without recording an out. The Mets would go on to win 4-2.

ELSEWHERE: 19-year old Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland underwent successful brain surgery at St Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ on Tuesday. He was moved from the hospital's intensive care unit to the neuro rehabilitation unit earlier today. Westmoreland was drafted by Boston in the 5th round of the 2008 MLB draft from Portsmouth, RI High School.

Doctors report that Red Sox SS/3B Gil Velazquez could miss up to 6 weeks with a fractured bone in his thumb. Velazquez reportedly injured himself in Tuesday's spilt squad game against Houston.

And more trouble concerning the Sox infield, as SS Jed Lowrie was diagnosed with mononucleosis earlier this week. Lowrie hadn't played since March 11th and was reportedly feeling fatigued.

Tomoyo Matsuzaka, nee Tomoyo Shibata, delivered a healthy six pound, 9.5 ounce baby girl on Thursday evening. Her husband, Daisuke Matsuzaka, flew up from Florida in time to witness the birth of his daughter before returning to Floriday earlier today. Matsukaza is expected to start a minor-league game on Sunday and threw 44 pitches in a bullpen session today. Dice-K is slated to pitch 2 innings in the minor-league game before making his 2010 Grapefruit League debut [Shuugi/Congratulations!- NANESB!]

President Obama Blows Off State Visit to Australia and Indonesia So He Can Urge Congress To Ram Through Crappy Legislation He Supports

It doesn't matter how much arm-twisting or bribing it takes, how blatant the payoffs are or how unpopular 0bamacare is with the public now; like a spoiled petulant child President Obama has to have things done HIS way or else he won't campaign for the Dems who didn't support 0bamacare or hold his breath or throw a tantrum or something.

And this week, Obama has decided to cancel his State visit to Australia and Indonesia to oversee the Administrations payoffs and browbeating of wavering Senators and Representatives. I really do wish this friggin' clown could address the nearly double-digit unemployment rate or Muslim killers gunning down unarmed GIs on American soil with the same resolute determination he has in trying to implement his pet legislative agenda. But then again, it's taken him nearly a year to get his healthcare proposal this far with a seemingly ironclad Democrat supermajority in both the House and Senate.

Australian PM Kevin Rudd, apparently under the somewhat outdated impression that 0bama is a charismatic and effective leader, seems to have taken the announcement in stride and is hoping the First Family will reschedule their visit for sometime in June instead. Frankly, I think putting off the trip buys into the self-serving and erroneous hype that the current state of our insurance and healthcare system is ZOMG teH biggest crisis EVAR!!!!!11

As somebody famously once said; 'It's the jobs, stupid'.

In the meantime, I wish it would enter our President's head that snubbing two fairly pivotal nations in the Pacific Rim in favor of rushing an unpopular domestic agenda through before it becomes even more unpopular might not make for the best foreign policy. Now granted the only time I feel safe with this current batch of politicians is when Congress is in recess and Obama's out of the country. Still, the Aussies and Indonesians must be thrilled to learn how far down they are on the depth chart of this Administration's priorities.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Today's Train of Thought- Piedmont Powder; March 18, 2010

While drastic measures such as rotary plows or industrial-scale de-icers aren't required in the immediate aftermath, snowfall is still a relatively rare occurrence in the Carolinas. But on February 13, 2010 railpictures.net contributor Nick D'Amoto caught Norfolk Southern's Durham-Oxford, NC local freight P20 rounding a curve as it approached the hamlet of Providence, NC as the snow is starting to melt away in the bright sun. Local P20 will drop off and pick up cars from the various companies along the former Southern line before its crew takes the train back to Durham at the end of the day.

NS GP59 #4619 is on the point this day- only 36 of the GP59 model were ever made, all of them purchased by Norfolk Southern.

Rep Kucinich (D-OH) Announces He Plans To Vote 'Yes' on Obamacare

Dennis Kucinich (D- Somewhere beyond Pluto) announced a reversal of his prior 'no' vote early Wednesday. This hardly comes as a shock to hear that the man who brought a pie chart to a radio debate during his 2004 presidential campaign is in favor of Obamacare.

Rep. Kucinich made some news during the NPR radio debate Tuesday, but not the kind candidates usually hope for. While chiding Gov. Dean for promising to balance the budget without making cuts in what Kucinich calls "the Pentagon's bloated budget," moderator Neal Conan pointed out that "Congressman Kucinich is holding up a pie chart, which is not truly effective on the radio." Kucinich responded, "Well, it's effective if Howard can see it."

Interestingly, Kucinich voted against the bill back in November because it wasn't overreaching and invasive enough.

Kucinich, who has advocated for a single-payer health-care system in which the government would supplant private insurers, was one of 39 House Democrats to vote against the bill last November and was easily the most liberal lawmaker among those Democrats

I'm not the least bit surprised by this. Kucinich obviously feels that while the current legislation is far from desirable from his perspective, it could serve as the foundation for incrementally phasing out private insurers and implementing the single-payer system. I'm not sure what the fallout is going to be exactly heading into this weekend's vote.

One might assume that all the holdouts now might come tumbling down like dominoes, except that Kucinich was a pretty flaky addition to the 'no' column to begin with.

Also, whatever good Kuchinich's defection might've achieved for the White House might have almost immediately been undone by President Obama's less-than-convincing interview televised yesterday on FOX News.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day From Not Another New England Sports Blog!

(She's after me lucky charms! If only.....)
It's that time of year again, when those of us of Irish extraction drink to honor the occasion of St Patrick driving all the serpents out of Ireland- as opposed to the rest of the year when we drink to forget, drink to relax or drink to celebrate the Sox beating the Orioles.

Non-Irish are obviously more then welcome to take part, hence the big parades in Boston, New York, Chicago and even smaller cities like Savannah, GA. In fact, Chicago takes it a step further by having the Chicago River dyed green in the weekend leading up to St. Patrick's Day each year in a tradition that goes back more than 40 years.

As for the mischievous-looking shillelagh-wielding lass, that comes to us courtesy of Freeman Elliot- the exact year and title of the work eludes me, although Elliot did extensive work involving pin-ups, magazine covers and ads from 1949 to at least 1954.

So all of us (well, it's only me) at NANESB! would like to wish you a happy-but-not-necessarily-sober-unless-that's-your-thing St. Patrick's Day to our visitors! And remember to designate a driver or call a cab.....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Envelope Ballot Please. Iraqis Head to Polls For Second Time in 5 Years

(AFP/Azhan Shalal)

As the Academy Awards were wrapping up in Hollywood last weekend, halfway across the globe the Iraqi Parliamentary elections were getting under way. This would mark the second time in five years that Iraqis have headed to the polls in a national election.

While the security situation there has improved markedly since 2005, the campaigning leading up to the election was marked by threats and sporadic bomb attacks targeting campaign offices and public disputes and protests over a slew of candidates banned from this year's elections. Election day itself was relatively calm, although some mortar fire was reported in Baghdad. Estimates put voter turnout at 62% and with about 80% of the votes counted on Tuesday, former PM Iyad Allawi's al-Iraqiyya coalition has a narrow lead over the State of Law coalition headed by incumbent Prime Minister Mouri al-Maliki. Although there have been allegations of tampering and fraud by various factions, many independent international observers viewed last week's elections as largely open and fair [certainly no worse than your average Cook County, IL election- NANESB!].

Another aspect of last week's elections that received little notice was that the security for the polling stations was handled exclusively by Iraqi security forces. Not only that, but halfway through the day, Iraqi officials lifted a complete ban on vehicular traffic on streets and roads anywhere near polling stations due to concerns over suicide car bombers. The Americans sat this out for a number of reasons- and things worked out just fine.

Curiously, President Obama and VP Joe Biden have yet to take credit for this. I guess Joe was too busy getting his panties in a bunch over the Israelis building some apartments or something. In fact, I'm pretty sure Obama and Biden were all in favor of cutting and running from Iraq as senators. This does raise the question- if terrorist attacks against our soldiers or Iraqi civilians could be blamed solely on George W. Bush, the 'failed policies of the last 8 years' or some nefarious cabal run by Haliburtion or Blackwater from 2003 onward, how come these same actors do not get credit for free and open elections where there was once a belligerent, totalitarian regime grinding their citizenry slowly under their boot heels barely 7 years prior? Oh- and kindly spare me from this sanctimonious 'the-Iraqi-war-took-America's-focus-off-of-Afghanistan' bullshit; that's usually a favorite talking point of those who's military service and expertise goes no further than ordering the special edition DVDs of GI Joe. [No- I'm pretty sure the Taliban being able to reconstitute and re-arm themselves unobstructed in Pakistan's remote Frontier region had alot more to do with it, dumbfucks...thanks for playing- NANESB]

So while Hollywood was congratulating themselves in yet another awards ceremony last week, the people of Iraq had a say in attempting to establish a more stable and prosperous future for their fledgling democracy. Keep in mind the vast majority of those being honored in Hollywood last weekend would've been just fine if the Iraqis still had the boot of the Hussein regime still pressing down hard on their throats.

Now- nowhere did I say it was going to be smooth sailing regarding Iraq; however this could be seen as a good indicator. But given the history and nature of that particularly rough neighborhood, I think that is a far greater achievement than any computer-generated 8-foot tall blue person.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Astroturf Yields Weak Coffee Crop

Coffee Vs Tea: A Political Movement is Brewing Dozens Turn Out Nationwide For 'Successful' Coffee Parties.

At Java Monkey in Decatur, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, coordinator Stacey Hopkins said turnout far exceeded expectations, with around 60 people participating at the "very productive" meeting where health care reform was the overriding issue... [snip] In Asheville, North Carolina, about 35 people gathered at Filo Pastries and Coffee..[snip] About 30 people came out to a meeting at Raleigh, North Carolina's Cup A Joe.

Coffee Party founder Annabel Park, who worked as a volunteer for Barack Obama's presidential campaign and Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia's 2006 campaign, says the group is not "aligned" with any party and calls the two-party system out of date.

One glaring omission in the fawning articles and puff pieces about this 'spontaneous, grassroots' movement was Annabel Park's work as a political strategy analyst for the New York Times, which miraculously didn't appear in any of the articles about the Coffee Party (hell, her work for the Webb and Obama campaigns only got a belated mention).

Astroturfing is defined as calculated, well-publicised and well-funded political campaigns being presented to the public as a popular, spontaneous 'grassroots' movement. Early on, the Tea Party was accused of being 'astroturf', but the Coffee Party almost seamlessly fits that definition.

If you stop and think about it, this time last year the mainstream media was ignoring the Tea Party movement. Then, when they did acknowledge its existence, it was only to portray them as a dangerous and threatening fringe movement- that's if they weren't applying homoerotic monikers to the attendees. This was followed up by falsely attributing recent high-profile acts of violence to the perpetrators' [ultimately non-existent] participation with the Tea Party or falling under its influence. Now the latest tactic seems to be starting well-connected and well-financed organizations to counter the Tea Party such as the Big Labor-funded TheTeaPartyIsOver website or Annabelle Park's Coffee Party.

Here is Annabelle Park's Coffee Party mission statement:

The Coffee Party Movement gives voice to Americans who want to see cooperation in government. We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans. As voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.

Which more or less translates to: "Shut up and stop complaining: Obama and the Democrats are in charge and know what's best, so don't you dare question them on anything".

I'd really love to know what the Coffee Party's stance on Cap and Trade, Card Check, Obamacare or a second stimulus are. I'm sure we'll know once I hear Rahm Emmanuel, David Axelrod or the SEIU sounds off....

[Hat tip: Lonely Conservative; Big Journalism]

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sports Chowdah Update for March 10 thru 12- No Mo' NomAH; Lackey Looking Sharp; Flyers Grounded; C's Go the Distance versus Pacers


John Lackey allowed just three hits in three shutout innings for the Red Sox in their 8-2 win of the NY Mets Thursday at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, FL. JD Drew and Jeremy Hermida each had an RBI single in the 1st inning for Boston off of Mets starter Mike Pelfrey and Mike Cameron had a sac-fly.

Former Pirate and Red Sox outfielder Jason Bay went 0-2 before leaving the game in the 4th during a half hour rain delay. This marks the first time Bay has played his former AL team since signing with the Mets.

The Red Sox were without the services of Mike Lowell, who was listed as having a thumb injury- but is expected to start Monday against Baltimore. Mets SS Jose Reyes is supposed to refrain from any athletic activity until his thyroid levels return to normal, which is expected to take anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks.

Friday's game between Boston and St. Louis was postponed due to inclement weather.

GOODBYE NOMAR: Former Red Sox SS Nomar Garciaparra signed a ceremonial 1-day contract with the Red Sox before announcing his retirement at a press conference on Wednesday. Garciaparra said that he's retiring from baseball at age 36 to become a baseball analyst on ESPN. During his career in Boston, Garciaparra garnered the '97 Rookie of the Year honors as well as 5 All Star appearances and a Silver Slugger award.

In 2004 Garciaparra was dealt to the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline in exchange for Montreal Expos SS Orlando Cabrera and Minnesota Twins 1B Doug Mientkiewicz. By 2006, NoMAH left the friendly confines of Wrigley and remained with the Dodgers through the 2008 season. Last year, he signed a 1-year contract with the Oakland A's. Nomar retires with a career .313 batting average, 229 home runs & 936 RBI.

Thank you for some memorable seasons and here's to a happy retirement, #5.

NHL: After losing Denis Savard for God-knows-how-long thanks to a concussion suffered on a cheap shot at the Igloo over the weekend, dropping a game to the last-place Maple Leafs wasn't exactly and encouraging sign for the Bruins. Yet that's exactly what happened on Tuesday night, although they did take the game to OT, which earned them a single point in the standings.

Thursday night at Philadelphia was a different story, however. Coming into Thursday night's game, the Flyers were riding a 5-game winning streak. This also marks the first time Boston and Philly had met since the New Year's Day Winter Classic.

Blake Wheeler opened up the scoring for Boston after taking a center-ice shot from David Krejci and flipping it over Philly netminder Michael Leighton's right shoulder to give Boston the 1-0 lead.

Jeff Carter would get the equalizer for Philly on a power play goal less than a minute into the 2nd period, beating Tukka Rask. However, it would be the only goal Rask would give up. Basically, it was 4-1 Boston by the time I was able to tune in, with goals by Mark Recchi, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci in the 2nd. Marco Sturm was able to add to the tally at the 12 and a half minute mark of the 3rd for the 5-1 Bruins win. Rask stopped 31 of 32 shots faced and the Bruins currently are in the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern conference.

The Bruins will take on the Canadiens Saturday Night at Montreal [A CBC Hockey Night in Canada match, I believe- NANESB!]. Montreal remains 2 points ahead of Boston in the conference standings, and lord knows the B's could use some breathing room if they want to make the playoffs. Plus, it's Original 6 hockey....what's not to love?

NBA: Bruins weren't the only Boston team that was off to a crap-tastic start this week. Tuesday night, the Milwaukee Bucks held on to beat Boston 84-86 while Ray Allen was 0 for the evening. And aside from the fact that it was the first time in nearly 4 years that the Celtics lost to Memphis, the less said about Wednesday night's 20-point spanking at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies in the Garden, the better.

On Friday night, they were able to snap their 2-game skid in convincing fashion, taking down the Indiana Pacer 122-103 in the Garden. Paul Pierce had 20 points and was 5 for 5 from the free-throw line in 22 minutes of play. Rajon Rondo had 16 points and 11 assists before sitting out most of the 4th quarter. Ray Allen got off the schnide with 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in a little over 28 minutes of playing time Friday.

The C's will travel to Cleveland for a Sunday afternoon game against the Cavaliers. The Cavs have won 4 of their last 5 games- curiously, their only loss is against the Bucks.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What Entertainment Industry Bias? 20 Years Later, Leftist Dr Who Screenwriters Admit 'Trying To Bring Down' Thatcher Government

I'll have to remember this the next time I hear somebody spout off about 'the Right-wing noise machine' or 'there is no liberal bias on TV'.

Left-wing scriptwriters hired by the BBC during the 1980s tried to inspire a 'Tardis revolution' by using Doctor Who as propaganda to undermine the Tory prime minister. [snip]...Former actors and writers on the show admitted yesterday that there was also thinly veiled support for the miners' strike and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Sylvester McCoy, the actor who played the Doctor from 1987 to 1989, said: 'Our feeling was that Margaret Thatcher was far more terrifying than any monster the Doctor had encountered.
'The idea of bringing politics into Doctor Who was deliberate. We were a group of politically motivated people and it seemed the right thing to do.

Not surprisingly, the show tanked when McCoy and editor Andrew Cartmel incorporated their heavy-handed socialist preaching into the show's plot line. In fact, the Thatcher government outlasted Doctor Who- The longest-running science fiction television series was taken off the air in 1989 due to a rapid decline in viewers.

Now, I don't think I've ever seen a single episode of Doctor Who in my life, but when I first read this article, I couldn't help but think about the numerous movies Hollywood churned out about the US Military in Iraq or Afghanistan that continually tanked at the box-office and it almost seemed to confirm that the same I-don't-give-a-damn-about-how-watchable-it-is-as-long-as-MY-message-gets-out mentality is at work as well. Yeah yeah.....I know The Hurt Locker won best picture, but take a look at some of the money-hemorrhaging clunkers that came before it- typically portraying American soldiers and Marines as evil, bloodthirsty, murderous criminals or hapless, semi-literate hillbillies or gang-bangers duped into enlisting by predatory recruiters.

I guess the only difference is that it took the Doctor Who writers and cast members some 20 years to admit their bias.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's Wife & Daughter Hospitalized in Virginia Crash

The wife and adult daughter of Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) were rushed to a hospital after the minivan they were riding in was struck by a tractor-trailer on a Virginia interstate on Thursday afternoon.
Senator Reid’s wife, Landra, and daughter, Lana, were involved in an accident earlier today. They are being treated at a Washington-area hospital. While driving on a Washington, DC, highway, their vehicle was rear-ended by a semi-truck. Mrs. Reid has broken nose, broken back and broken neck. Lana has a neck injury and facial lacerations. Both Mrs. Reid and Lana are conscious, can feel their extremities, and according to doctors their injuries are non-life threatening.
Virginia State Police say that the Reid's minivan was rear-ended by a tractor trailer while travelling in the northbound lanes of I-95 in stop-and-go traffic. The impact sent the Reids' vehicle into the car in front of them. Police say that the driver of the truck, a 59 year old Ohio man, was charged with reckless driving.

I have to say that I'm a little surprised that they listed a broken back and broken neck as 'non-life threatening'. Anybody who's read this blog knows I have some obvious partisan differences with Sen. Reid, but I do wish a speedy and painless recovery for Lana and Landra Reid.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chile Earthquake Update- Sebastian Pinera to be Sworn In; Looters Have Amnesty Before Crackdown; USAF Sends Medical Personnel; Go West?

Sebastian Pinera, the Chilean tycoon who made his fortune introducing credit cards to the South American nation, will be sworn in as Chile's newest president Thursday, replacing outgoing socialist president Michelle Bachelet less than three weeks after the nation was rocked by one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded. The conservative Pinera won a January runoff election against center-left Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle. The 60 year old billionaire said "We won't be the government of the earthquake, we'll be the government of reconstruction". Pinera ran on a platform of creating jobs, reducing crime and boosting economic growth in 2009. Pinera's election win will end more than 20 years of center-left rule in Chile.

Although Bachelet has come under criticism for the government's slow initial response to the Febuary 27th earthquake, some polls show her as having an approval rating of more than 80%.

Police and military in Chile gave the looters that struck in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake an ultimatum this weekend- return the stolen items no questions asked by Sunday or face a crackdown. Items like fans, cases of liquor, Television sets, furniture, washing machines and stereos were left on the street for the soldiers and Carabineros to pick up and process. Acting on tips from residents, authorities in Concepcion had arrested 20 people in possession of looted merchandise. Police and the Army said they were ready to search house-to-house after televised images of looting shocked viewers in the normally orderly South American country.

The United States Air Force Southern Command announced in a statement on Tuesday that they were sending 84 Airmen to Chile, 63 of them medical personnel. The support team will be equipped to perform surgeries as well as dental, radiological, pharmaceutical and diagnostic work, US Military officials said. The team will relieve Chilean personnel taking part in the relief effort.

Apparently the earthquake was strong enough to move the city of Concepcion 10 feet to the west. Chile's capital of Santiago reportedly moved 11 inches to the west-southwest while on the other side of the Andes, the city of Mendoza reportedly moved significantly and Argentina's capital of Buenos Aires moved an inch to the west. Researchers and geologists were able to measure the shift by comparing GPS date from before the quake with readings taken 10 days later.