Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bill Of Rights Targets Mass Transit Headaches-Trimet should consider this

The Transit Workers Bill of Rights would give commuters the right to expect on-time, efficient service, and clear notification if service is running late, specifically before swiping their MetroCards. The bill states commuters should be notified via internet, email, or text message and through P.A. announcements in stations if a bus, subway or commuter train is more than 15 minutes late. 

Guilty: Faker who boarded bus after non-crash

If someone were to write Insurance Fraud for Dummies, it might include such advice as: Before you fake an injury, make sure there's an actual crash.
Also, don't get caught on video running a quarter-block to board a bus after an accident.
"It's almost comical," said Assistant District Attorney Linda Montag. 

Why Glenn Beck lost it

He pushed further into dark conspiracies, urging his viewers to hoard food in their homes and to buy freeze-dried meals for sustenance when civilization breaks down. He spun a conspiracy theory in which the American left was in cahoots with an emerging caliphate in the Middle East. And, most ominously, he began to traffic regularly in anti-Semitic themes. 

No Evidence of Fraud, but...

It was "human error" and she's "sorry" about it.
Can you sense my eyebrows being raised?
One thing I can tell you is that when "mistakes are made", the first thing that an information hoarder does is fix everything before reporting the mistake.
I think there is enough here to launch a serious investigation. Not just a recount, but a criminal investigation. The fact is many Wisconsinites will consider this fraud unless it's proven otherwise. That may not be fair, but it's a fact.
Kathy Nickolaus needs to answer a lot of questions. Her computer should have been seized and locked away as soon as the error was reported. It should be given a thorough forensic exam. When did she realize the mistake? Did she change anything in any file after she discovered her error? Who did she tell and when? Why didn't she just tell the AP right away if it was an honest mistake? Did she have access to any of the physical records like ballots and election logs? (I presume she did, being the clerk.) Where were those documents over the last two days? Did she alter them in any way?,-but 


As Schneider notes in the NRO piece, Waukesha's County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus had indeed come under scrutiny for her election procedures in the past. As The BRAD BLOG flagged back in August of 2010, it was discovered that Nickolaus keeps election results on her personal PC in her office, and only on her personal PC.
At a press conference moments ago, Nickolaus attributed the confusion in numbers to an error in Microsoft Access on her computer.
As we noted, quoting the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last year in regard to questions about Nickolaus', um, unusual election procedures:

Anarchists march!

Operator witness reports 50 cops followed 15 anarchists down 5th&6th ave!


Some arguments are distorted


Two reports of strange events on buses-lights start flashing and doors open and close continually for no reason at all!
Heard on dispatch!
Members can access on the private blog!


Heard on dispatch!
Driver tried to detain victim but dispatch informed her that detaining people on the bus is KIDNAPPING!
The victim was bleeding profusely.
The attackers scattered in all directions!


Members only due to totalitarianism:


Hello Hayden;
I would like a policy clarification please.

It had been the policy of this agency to allow movement of the bus as soon as passengers had “moved safely behind the yellow line”. (With exceptions)

I’m sure you are aware that many people take quite a long time to actually take their seats and some people choose to go way to the back of the bus in a nonchalant style that can actually take quite a long time.

Is the policy now that the bus cannot be moved until passengers “are safely seated”?

If there is a fall before a passenger is seated is that an automatic PA?

If yes to the above what about people that refuse to sit or overloaded buses?

This needs to be clearly defined to us as operators.

Thank you,

Al Margulies

Wisconsin Republicans Posthumously Elect Emperor Norton as Ruler of America

Even fearing the collapse of his regime, Walker today refused to back down and instead announced a startlingly brazen plan to abolish the United States Congress and the Office of the President by installing a deceased puppet dictator as Emperor of America. 

Not giving up on Harry yet

In fairness to Harry Saporta, he did just get here so it's not quite fair the expect him to make any sort of changes right out of the starting gate.
However this is our opportunity as bus operators to see that some changes are made around here, we need to utilize him! I got another response from him today:

I will be meeting with Ken Zatarain to review and understand his response in detail. I will get back to you.

To which I responded:

I genuinely think this policy needs to be changed.
Take for an example that when an operator picks up his bus at the garage, policy is that 10 minutes are allowed to get the bus going and set up before departing on a given route.

I do not feel that allowing 5 minutes to perform a road relief is something that should be trivialized.

"Making up time" somewhere else in the route is defective thinking and needs to change.

When that BDS clock starts showing minutes late, all bus drivers start speeding up, its our conditioning.
It should be obvious that "speeding up" will increase chances of accident.

I did a rant on this subject, perhaps you would be interested in hearing it.
I do have a public blog which covers various topics one of which are my experiences at Trimet, you most likely have never heard of it.

If there is anything in there that offends you I apologize in advance, I am just thinking out loud, but the topic of road reliefs is something very important to me:


A tsunami alert has been issued for Japan's ravaged northeastern coast after a
magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit off Japan.


Press - April 5, 2011 7:05 AM ET
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) - Dozens of unionized Vermont bus drivers are unhappy with the contract their union has reached with the Chittenden County Transportation Authority.
About 35 drivers picketed on Monday to protest a provision of the contract being negotiated on their behalf that would allow part-time drivers.
Driver Nathan Bergeron says a proposed increase in part-time drivers would erode the earnings of the full timers.
CCTA officials say no full-time driver would be laid off to hire a part-time driver, but part-timers are needed to relieve pressure on the full-time drivers.
Union representative Duane Messier says the picketing was not sanctioned by the union.
Messier tells the Burlington Free Press the union's executive board approved the contract and presented it to members on March 13.
The contract has been approved by CCTA.
Information from: The Burlington Free Press,

Vice mayor may face raps for beating bus dispatcher

Man On Tricycle Wins Race Against N.Y. Bus

Manhattan's 42nd Street crosstown bus is notoriously slow, and one New Yorker has proved just how slow — by racing the bus for one mile while riding a child's tricycle. Comedian Mark Malkoff pulled alongside the bus at 10th Avenue. The bus jumped out to a lead, but Malkoff chased it down and pedaled to an easy win at Madison Avenue, beating the bus by 2 minutes and 38 seconds.

Maybe somebody should try this vs the streetcar here in Portland!


This message is a long time coming, and it feels good to finally tell you the news. Yesterday, Fox News announced that later this year, toxic talk show host Glenn Beck would "transition off" from his nightly hour of hate, falsehoods, extremism, and absurd conspiracy theories.
It's thanks to your support that we've been able to continually monitor and fact-check Beck and his relentless tide of smear campaigns and lies. With your help, we've been able to make the case that Beck has a dangerous impact on the national conversation -- and we've been able to ensure that Fox's promotion of Beck has had real-life consequences for the network's credibility and its advertising dollars. Beck's show has lost nearly 1 million viewers in the last year, and more than 300 advertisers since its debut.
It took two years too long for this to happen and the fight isn't over: Fox News and its allies in the right-wing media will continue to distort and undermine the political process. The right-wing noise machine still injects political attacks and falsehoods into our national debate through outlets like Fox News and talk radio.


Leading Health Advocates Decry GOP Plan to Privatize Medicare, Gut Medicaid

Nobel Economist Joseph Stiglitz: Assault on Social Spending, Pro-Rich Tax Cuts Turning U.S. into Nation "Of the 1 Percent, by the 1 Percent, for the 1 Percent"

This week Republicans unveiled a budget proposal for 2012 that cuts more than $5.8 trillion in government spending over the next decade. The plan calls for sweeping changes to Medicaid and Medicare, while reducing the top corporate and individual tax rates to 25 percent. We speak to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who addresses the growing class divide taking place in the United States and inequality in a new Vanity Fair article titled "Of the 1, by the 1, for the 1%." Stiglitz is a professor at Columbia University and author of numerous books, most recently Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy. "It’s not just that the people at the top are getting richer," Stiglitz says. "Actually, they’re gaining, and everybody else is decreasing... And right now, we are worse than Old Europe."

Wall Street and War

Americans are recognizing the link between the military-industrial complex and the Wall Street oligarchs—a connection that goes back to the beginning of the modern U.S. empire. Banks have always profited from war because the debt created by banks results in ongoing war profit for big finance; and because wars have been used to open countries to U.S. corporate and banking interests. Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan wrote: “the large banking interests were deeply interested in the world war because of the wide opportunities for large profits.”


Liberty and justice for all

The U.S. imprisons more people per capita than any country on earth, accounting for 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, despite having just five percent of the world’s population.

Mass Incarceration Creates Costly Disaster Across America | Truthout

Abusing the labor force

According to a 2009 report in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, hotel employees, and especially housekeepers, have relatively higher rates of occupational injury, and sustain more severe injuries, than most other service workers. This was not a surprising conclusion. A 2005 survey of 941 hotel room cleaners found that during a twelve-month period, 75 percent experienced work-related pain, 83 percent report taking pain medication for discomfort due to work, and 62 percent reported work-related pain that forced them to visit a doctor.

Seventeen Rooms and What do You Get? Apparently, a Workforce in Rebellion | Truthout