Wednesday, September 24, 2014

In The Maine Wire: Downeaster-“Obama on Wheels”


Silly gooses that we are, those engine windshields remind us of other ‘see-through’ panels we glimpse all too often these days.


The ‘rose colored glasses’ caption only heightens the analogy.

And so it is that we submitted a treatise on this theme to The Maine Wire, which published the item today.  You can read it here:

We hope these excerpts will inspire you to read the entire column at the link provided:

For those who aren’t aware, in spite of its name, NNEPRA is a creature of Maine State Government, defined statutorily in 1995 during the Angus King administration. The law mandates that NNEPRA create passenger train service in Maine, bypassing any thought of analyzing public transit needs, and then synthesizing and proposing a publicly driven approach, if indeed one was warranted.

In December of last year, The Maine Wire published an article I wrote with a friend, “Why Obamacare is Off the Rails.” This connection with railroads was a bit of editorial whimsy. Especially in contrast to the hypothesis I offer here: that the Downeaster and its ‘administration’ embody the very essence of Obama the man, and the establishment that surrounds him.

We begin with this comment in a Wall Street Journal column: “’Nudge’ is a favorite Obama slogan for government encouraging citizens to do what government thinks is best for them.” Speaking bluntly, the Downeaster has been forced upon we citizens from the very beginning, without regard to underlying viability or sustainability, because government knows best. “Push” seems more accurate than “nudge.”

In a recent Weekly Standard article, we read that for Obama, things were going fine, and “like a burst of bad weather, the winds blew, the skies opened, and things went to hell. Mysterious forces conspired against him, terrible setbacks occurred for no reason, “ etc. This fits perfectly; like the failure to capture competitive federal grant funding in 2012 and 2013 (and maybe this year?), and the ‘unexpected’ realities of New England winters, which reeked havoc upon rails and ties on which $70 million or more had been spent in recent years, and for whose fitness for Amtrak use NNEPRA is responsible. Regardless, in an article this spring, Patricia Quinn, NNEPRA’s Executive Director, was reported on this way:

Addressing the authority’s board of directors on Monday at a meeting in Portland, Quinn said that Pan Am Railways, which owns the tracks between Brunswick and the Massachusetts border, has been replacing 2,000 rail ties. The ties were damaged due to age and the repeated freeze-thaw cycles that occurred during this year’s extended winter.

“The railroad was not left in good shape after the winter,” she said

Note the passive voice. Given a regulatory mandate to inspect the track a minimum of twice a week, you’d think ‘someone’ might have noticed problems before a crisis could sneak up on the system.

- See more at:

We hope you’ll give the column a full read.  What else are you gonna do on a chilly fall evening that could be as amusing?

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