November 15, 2005

What a Gentleman Does

A guy boards the bus near a liquor store. Clothes rumpled, hair uncombed. He takes a seat, across from me, looks around, apparently assessing his captive audience, then begins in a Loud Voice.

Loud Talker [to no one in particular]: I s'pose all you college youngsters are studying for your midterms.

[no response]

Loud Talker: College is fun. I partied non-stop untill my junior year.

[no response]

Loud Talker: High school was easy. I never had to study until my junior. year.

[no response--driver assists passenger in a wheelchair, unlocking the safety straps.]

Loud Talker: There's a fine gentleman, helping others out. That's what a gentleman does.

[no response]

Driver: Next stop 13th.

[Loud Talker pulls cord, exits in silence. Narry a gentleman to help him out]

Posted by tgus at 9:26 AM

November 10, 2005

Amtrak's Gunn Fired

Couldn't resist the Gunn pun.

Alert reader and friend Sarah (I honestly didn't think I had any readers left, after months of very intermittent posting. And as for friends....) requests my incisive commentary on the story of the firing of Amtrak President David Gunn.

Incisive? The pressure's on. But here goes:

This seems like scapegoating, and more of the same habit of hurting Amtrak in the name of helping it.

Amtrak has never been adequately funded. Anti-transit types have always wanted it to fail, and the survivalist budget crumbs tossed its way have assured that.

The Bush administration wants to privatize Amtrak. Surprise, surpise. Privatization has worked so well with telecom (isn't Ma Bell being basically reassembled as SBC and Verizon?) and energy (Enron/California/pick your scandal), might as well try it with trains.

Maybe we should privatize the Interstate Highway system. Oh wait--that gets sufficient federal subsidies so that it actually works--in its inefficient, polluting, sprawl-inducing way. Hmmmm. Maybe highway privatization is an idea whose time has come....

Posted by tgus at 9:33 AM