Thursday, June 4, 2015

“Bad Drugs” and “Economic Benefit;” a growing community health problem.

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Perhaps you’ve noticed in recent years that TV is awash in commercials offering to help us get ‘compensation’ if we (or a loved one) have been harmed by specific pharmaceuticals, or common substances from the industrial age…asbestos, in particular.  Sepia-toned or black and white close-ups of adults facing uncertainty and despair are part of the currency in such media.

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This in turn has led to “ask your Doctor if xyz is right for you” type commercials that are mind-numbing, in that they spend 5% of the time on possible benefits, and the other 95% warning you of the side-effects, ranging from insignificant to gruesome.  Printed ads in magazines or other journals usually consist of one page with a glowing and happy patient (or couple), followed by multiple pages of fine print warnings and disclaimers.


Both types frequently use other ‘personal appeals’…..a sincere, everyman type looks you in the eye.  If it’s the pharmaceutical ad, he tells you how he finally has his life back.  If it’s a legal services ad,  he relates how he was misled by the promises of some ‘miracle drug,’ and the terrible side-effects he experienced.

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The core message of each type of commercial is that it’s not easy to know what you’ll find when you start peeling the onion.  Fortunately, help is available.

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Various legal firms gleefully list an array of bad consequences you ‘or a loved one’ might have experienced, and how they stand ready to “help you get the compensation you deserve.”

Which is why today we feel a duty to ask if you’ve been taking Xamtrako?  Or Consultafin?

Both have been linked to budget bleeding, runny public blather, oily official behavior, toxic emissions, euphoric bladder discharge, irrationality, starry eyes, gullibility, and other known symptoms of Railafeeliyoma.  This disease seems to be spreading rapidly throughout Maine, with various cities letting their guards down, and ignoring warnings by those already affected with the symptoms.

   Image result for wayne davis trainriders Image result for F. Bruce Sleeper

For us, at least, with our fertile mind (ha ha!), the more we learn, the more we come to believe that we are being duped by a highly organized industrial complex that makes a very good living by preying on susceptible public agencies.   Some members of this group call themselves “non-profit.”  

As proof, take a look at this array of promises, published on a Maine DOT web page, of all places (

This is a picture of freight cars
Passenger Rail Facts
In 2005, a study prepared for MaineDOT predicted that service improvements on the Downeaster passenger train from Boston to Portland and service extensions to additional Maine destinations would lead to increased ridership and the beginning of economic benefits for communities served by passenger rail. Three years later:
  • Downeaster ridership rose 32% in fiscal year 2006, 5% in 2007, and 26% in 2008. On the Rockland Branch, excursion rail from Brunswick to Rockland, ridership rose 26% from 2006 to 2007.
  • In Old Orchard Beach, the Downeaster has contributed to the development of 800 new residential housing units, while two hotels and a $22 million residential & retail complex have been constructed within two blocks of the train station.
  • In Saco, developers are working on a $110 million renovation of old mill property within walking distance of America's first "Green" rail station, which includes a wind turbine to generate power. This entire project is projected to generate more than 400 new jobs and contribute $1.5 million in new tax revenues annually.
  • In Brunswick, the first building of the Maine Street Station project has opened. It houses the waiting room for Amtrak and Maine Eastern Railroad passengers. This $30 million project will contain a hotel, retail, office and residential complex that are projected to create 200 jobs and $500,000 in annual tax revenues.
In addition to providing a transportation alternative for northern New England, the Downeaster has proven itself to be an economic engine for the entire region. Over the next 20 years, Downeaster-related projects in Maine are projected to generate $3.3 billion in new construction development, create more than 8,000 new jobs, and contribute $16.8 million in new tax revenues annually in Maine.

Looking to the future, a plan to expand Downeaster service to Brunswick, Maine, via Freeport is part of a 2009 stimulus application (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act). The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority has applied for $35 million in federal funds to complete the project. The expansion, if funded, would contribute an additional $1 billion in new construction, add 2,400 new jobs in the next 20 years and contribute $17 million annually in tax revenues to Maine.  (Emphasis ours.)

And now the best part of the entire web page (photo insertion ours):
Economic projections contributed by Trainriders Northeast.
This page last updated on 11/19/09

The photo just above is of noted transportation economist Wayne Davis, the ever humble and reticent founder and Chairman of Trainriders, without whom, he reminds you, the Downeaster would not even exist.


In his younger days, apparently, before his hair turned snowy white, Davis had a career in the serpent oil business.

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According to gossip around town, a number of local ladies still claim to be prospering from the ‘lifetime snake liniment supply’ he sold them some years back.

It’s had some nasty effects on their dispositions, but they still consider the purveyor to be “the nicest young man they ever did meet.”

Resistance is low when you’re young, wigged-out on Kool-Aid, and easily charmed by nice hair and rapturous sales pitches.


  1. Except for the first bullet, these aren't facts, they're assertions. Unless Trainriders Northeast can demonstrate a cause-effect relationship between the Downeaster and the claimed developments, it's a stretch to claim credit for causing them or contributing to them.

    Even the Federal Transit Administration acknowledges that transit doesn't generate economic growth. Rather, it only influences WHERE that growth takes place. For example, one town's gain is another town's loss. There is no net gain for the state taxpayers who pay for the so called investments.

    A state agency that allows a special interest group to post unverified assertions on its website, forfeits just a little bit of its reputation for objectivity.

  2. Mux: Informative and insightful comment! Thanks.