Those who follow me on social media have been privy to my consistent griping about the Washington DC metro. Since ankle surgery, I’ve been able to take my car and park at work, but now that the ankle is healing, I will be back to taking the Metro next month.
You know it’s got to be bad when someone actually created a website entitled “Is Metro On Fire?” Accessing this site allows riders to know whether or not their metro line is actually ablaze. And if you want to know how often this happens…
…well, all you have to do is read this. Apparently metro was on fire 73 times in the first three months of 2016. SEVENTY-THREE times. This does include instances of smoke in the subway system, which apparently Metro officials protested as not being incidents of fire, such as malfunctioning train brakes that fill a station with smoke, or a third rail that is arcing so severely that the fire department is called, because apparently there are different definitions of “smoke” and “fire.” Regardless of the quibbling, can you imagine the second largest public transit system in the United States catching fire that many times in the first quarter of the calendar year?
Seriously? What in the everloving, rollerblading, couch-humping hell?
The press is freaking out about alleged Metro under funding. Congress won’t give metro more money, and is actually cutting funding for the ageing system! Metro doesn’t have a dedicated funding stream and has to go begging for money from the jurisdictions it services! Oh NOES!
For metro, it’s all about Mo’ Money! Mo’ Money! Mo’ Money! How can they be expected to run a busy transit system in the nation’s capital on a mere $2.8 billion (based on FY16 numbers)?
Oh, I dunno… perhaps not paying 70 percent of its budget to labor costs would be a good start?
Labor costs constitute over 70% of the 2014 WMATA budget, making it the single largest expenditure WMATA has to worry about. And it’s no wonder why it’s the largest bit. In 2011, during the middle of the recession, Amalgamated Local 689, the WMATA union, dragged a 3 percent annual raise out of management. The agency’s board declined to protect taxpayers and riders by not appealing the arbitration result. Naturally, riders were incensed—but WMATA paid no heed.
Now, I did a fair bit of analyzing of defense spending in my previous days. That’s a lot of labor costs! NATO, our biggest alliance, sets a benchmark that encourages its members to spend no more than 50 percent of their defense budgets on military and civilian personnel costs. There are reasons for that. While the biggest percentage of any budget is normally personnel costs, 70 percent is pretty outrageous and usually indicated bloated salaries – especially for high-ranking or connected personnel. It’s how much Greece spends as a percentage of its defense budget on salaries and benefits, and we know what an economic shit show that country is!
The average salary for a WMATA employee is $78,000 per year! And given the bloated personnel budget, that leaves precious little money for actual maintenance of the equipment that carries hundreds of thousands of passengers to their destinations. There are 488 station managers
taking naps working inside glass kiosks at rail stations, and their base salaries are in the high $50,000s. However, given overtime, these guys take home closer to $70,000, and when you factor in overtime, at least 20 station managers took home a six-figure salary, according to a 2012 press report.
And you know what it takes to fire one of these tools? Apparently almost killing a whole lot of people! This douchebag was in such a hurry to get to his break at a location with some good places to stuff his face, that he decided “fuck the red signal!” And this wasn’t his first time being a reckless jackass with other people’s lives!
The operator was on his rail job less than a year after transferring from WMATA’s bus division. As a bus driver for about two years, he racked up three moving violations: two red light overruns and an illegal right turn on red. As a train operator, he added two unspecified safety violations before the potentially disastrous red signal overrun.
And while the system doesn’t have a dedicated funding stream, they do have a nearly guaranteed revenue source in this area – the federal government. Federal employees get transit benefits – $240 per month. You think they won’t use them? And there are quite a few of them. Why not use the benefit, if one can? And it allows the Metro to provide shitty service, because… well… they’re getting that money. It’s not like federal workers are spending their own money on the commute, so it doesn’t hit their wallet.
Thirty-five Metrorail stations serve federal facilities and 42 percent of Metrorail’s peak period commuters are federal employees. On Metrobus, 16 percent of peak period commuters are federal employees. The federal government contributes roughly 56 percent of the capital costs. Fares and other revenue currently fund 56 percent of the daily operations, while state and local governments fund the remaining 44 percent.
So a system that’s on fire so often, there’s a site dedicated to informing riders when they’re in danger of… you know… DYING, that brags its stations are oh so clean (Then why did I actually find a turd on the mezzanine of the Ballston metro station last year? Yes, a real piece of poop. On the floor.), that is running unreliably, or not at all, some days, and that is pissing off riders so badly, they’re losing ridership despite the government transit benefit, wants more money to… do what? It wants to raise fares. Again. It wants to cut service. Even more. And it expects people to just suck it up. At some point, the transit benefit isn’t worth it. It doesn’t matter if it’s free to get to work. When it takes you two hours to ride the orange line 10 stops, it’s just not worth it, and the feds are starting to realize it too, while Congress even tried to pass a bill giving federal employees the option to use the benefit for other options, like Uber.
Overall, Metro is just a study in FAIL.
Shitty employee training.
Preferential racial hiring.
Lack of required annual re-certifications.
Intentional sabotage of equipment.
Poor safety practices.
Idiotic priorities – no, I don’t think riders care whether some Metro moron is wearing his uniform correctly. They care about getting to their destination in a reasonable amount of time!
Lack of accountability and planning for growth.
Do I need to go on? No.
If Metro was run like a business, rather than a cushy jobs program for barely literate, incompetent ass clowns, maybe then things would get fixed. But since funding is pretty much guaranteed, there’s no incentive to change.
And it’s the taxpayers, who pay for the system whether they use it or not, and those who wind up stuck in a tunnel for 20 minutes in stifling heat with 1000 of their closest buds rubbing up against them in the summer, who suffer most.
I wouldn’t even mind a dedicated funding stream for metro, if we had any faith that the idiots who run the system would actually fix the long list of what’s wrong with it. But considering their track record (no pun intended), and the big, fat fail that has been their “safetrack” repair initiative so far, I can’t trust them to use the money wisely.
Rob says they should shut down the system, fire everyone, and start from scratch. I would be OK with driving to work or taking Uber until they got their shit together.
Maybe metro should stop wondering why riders are abandoning the system and take a long look at the mirror.
Sometimes you have to wonder if celebutards and MSNBC “journalists” attend the same school of undefuckable derpitude. After reading this shit this morning, I would have to say they probably do.
We’re also very very lucky that the attackers tried to use explosives rather than guns.
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) September 19, 2016
First, there was MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, who after the explosions in New York and New Jersey this weekend, waxed retarded about how it was a good thing that the terrorist used bombs instead of guns. Because, you know… bombs are so much… uh…
Well, you know…
Something, something, something derp.
The social media reaction was swift, and Hayes at first was pleased with the attention he was getting, because any kind of attention is preferable to no attention at all – especially to an MSNBC journaljizzer, whose network is more of a punchline than an actual news station. After a while, however, Hayes walked back his douchery by proclaiming he didn’t really mean anything anti-gun, and he was just happy that no one died, that’s all.
Just when I thought this was the stupidest thing I’d read all month, out comes the wretched “comedienne” – and to call her that would be charitable – Sarah Silverman with the claim that Hillary Clinton somehow “captured” Osama bin Ladin.
UPDATE: Apparently, after a whole lot of ridicule, Silverman pusillanimously deleted her tweet. But the Internets is forever, bitch! For those of you wondering what she said, here it is – in its full asshatted glory.
Well, it occurs to me that snorting lead paint chips and guzzling rail vodka mixed with Clorox likely leads to an uncontrollable urge to lick windows and Tweet stupid shit, and here she is. Proof.
I guess watching bin Ladin get his ass capped by Navy SEALs in the White House Situation Room is equivalent to “capturing” him?
Much like landing in Tuzla airport and being greeted by a little Bosnian girl really equates to ducking and running from sniper fire. Hell, if it was a Republican, they would have gotten like 1,000 Purple Hearts for that! And maybe a Legion of Merit! And a CIB!
I can’t even today.
Yeah. She captured bin Ladin. And Brian Williams was there with Harambe, the cast of Hamilton, and Kevin Bacon.
Seriously, Silverman. Stop snorting meth.
So I’ll leave it up to you guys to decide which Tweet was dumber.
I’m leaning toward Silverman, but it’s a photo finish.
The New York Times published an interesting piece a couple of days ago, detailing “Criminal histories and documented mental health problems” of eight of the gunmen in recent shootings. While the NYT does its usual “fear the big, bad, black gun” thing, with close-ups and scary pictures of scary firearms, there’s something else that’s notable in this report: the vast majority of the shooters listed passed background checks and purchased firearms legally. They passed background checks that are supposed to keep bad guys from getting guns. None of the jackwagons listed had criminal records, the majority bought guns legally after having passed a background check, and one (Lanza) simply stole legally-purchased weapons from his mother. The majority were also not under the care of a mental health professional… hell, Nidal Hasan WAS a mental health professional!
I also note the Times’ froth-flecked zeal to paint the Roanoke shooting of two reporters as a “mass shooting,” but hey… it advances the narrative, so why not, right?
Several of these malcontents should have been prohibited under current law. John Hauser, who opened fire in a Louisiana theater was ordered into a psychiatric hospital by a judge and had been denied a concealed carry permit. Bureaucracy FAIL.
The white supremacist maggot who killed nine people in a church in South Carolina should have been barred from buying a gun because he had admitted to possessing drugs, but the F.B.I. examiner conducting the required background check failed to obtain the police report from that incident. Bureaucracy FAIL.
The father of the kid who used his dad’s gun to shoot up his school in Washington state, should have been prohibited as well, since he was the subject of a permanent domestic violence protection order, which should have been entered into the federal criminal background database. But he bought the gun legally, a background check failed to come up with the protection order as it was never entered into the system. Bureaucracy FAIL.
The dildo who shot up disarmed victims at the Washington Navy Yard passed local and state background checks, even though he was nuttier than squirrel shit and twice sought treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs for psychiatric issues. Bureaucracy FAIL.
And despite the fact that he communicated with a terrorist and advocated terrorist acts in his presentations, authorities were apparently too scared of being accused of cultural insensitivity or something to actually take action on Nidal Hasan. He wasn’t under the care of a psychiatrist. He was a psychiatrist and an Army Major with a clean criminal record. But apparently the exchanges with a radical cleric and attempts to contact al Q’aida, weren’t enough to give the feds a clue that maybe something wasn’t quite right in Hasanland. Bureaucracy FAIL.
So what is it that Uncle Fester and other gun grabbing shitbirds think enhanced background checks and increased gun control will do in light of the fact that the bureaucracy can’t even handle current standard background checks correctly? How would banning private sales have stopped any of these murders, in which the perps easily walked into a store, passed a background check, and waltzed off with a gun? And more importantly, what kind of law would stop any criminal from obtaining a gun on the black market, avoiding a background check altogether?
And yet, the first words out of the maw of the White House spokeshole after last week’s tragedy were lies about public support for more gun control, including the hackneyed mantra about the nonexistent “gun-show loophole.”
Here’s a clue: no law would have done so. None. No law would have prevented the bureaucratic failures that resulted in the legal purchase of firearms by these violent fruitcakes. And yet, every time one of these yambags loses his shit and proceeds to kill innocent people, opportunistic swine all over the nation try to put limits on those of us who committed no crime.
In their zeal to foment fear of the big, black, scary guns, the NYT pointed out something most don’t think about: the failure and inadequacy of the background checks system that was supposed to prevent violent scum from purchasing firearms and the folly of growing said bureaucracy.
I know it’s been weeks since I’ve written anything. I needed a break. I haven’t really been in the mood to write. First, there was the snow, which prompted me to sit around in bed all day in my pajamas drinking hot tea and watching Law & Order reruns.
And now… I’m off on temporary duty to Miami.
I know… HARDSHIP! But you’d be surprised how crappy it feels to go from a foot of snow in DC to 85-degree heat with 10000 percent humidity down in southern Florida! So if you have a snarky comment about how you feel oh-so-sorry for me being down here, keep it to yourself, punkin, because all you’ll get from me is a one-fingered salute.
As for what I’ve been up to?
For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been a regular part of the GunBlog Variety Cast along with some awesome folks, including Sean Sorrentino and Erin Palette. I’ve been doing this for a while now, but I’ve been an abject FAIL at blogging about it, because I’m lazy. So go over there and listen. Surprisingly enough, I don’t bloviate about guns on this one, but rather foreign policy. Erin talks about prepping, Sean and Adam talk about… stuff, and other incredible, talented, and intelligent folks talk about guns and tech. It’s fun. You should check it out, if you want to find out what I sound like on the air (shout out to my broadcaster background!).
And no, I don’t curse.
So what’s been going on?
Well, for one, we kicked Maduro and his band of Venezuelan thugs in the nuts with some sanctions last week. And if you hear them whining that this means the United States is about to launch into some kind of military action against them, you can laugh a little, because they’re either ignorant, or just want to raise the level of whining. Fact is that they were sanctioned under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which authorizes the President to regulate commerce after declaring a “national emergency” in response to any unusual or extraordinary foreign threat. It certainly doesn’t authorize any kind of military action.
Specifically, the E.O. targets those determined by the Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the Department of State, to be involved in:
- actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions;
- significant acts of violence or conduct that constitutes a serious abuse or violation of human rights, including against persons involved in antigovernment protests in Venezuela in or since February 2014;
- actions that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or peaceful assembly; or
- public corruption by senior officials within the Government of Venezuela.
The E.O. also authorizes the Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the Department of State, to target any person determined:
- to be a current or former leader of an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in any activity described in the E.O. or of an entity whose property and interests in property are blocked or frozen pursuant to the E.O.; or
- to be a current or former official of the Government of Venezuela;
What does this all mean? It means we don’t like corrupt thugs who steal money from their own people while undermining their basic rights using the U.S. financial system. So we cut off their access to it.
What else has been going on?
The Justice Department determined there was no basis for continued legal action against Darren Wilson, who last year shot Michael Brown in an action which was determined to be justified. Of course, Holder and the DOJ can’t leave well enough alone, so even though the shoot was good, they put out a report citing racism in the Ferguson PD writ large in an obvious attempt to mollify the screeching race hustlers. It is interesting to note that the report cites revenue generation being emphasized in the PD’s approach to law enforcement.
Patrol assignments and schedules are geared toward aggressive enforcement of Ferguson’s municipal code, with insufficient thought given to whether enforcement strategies promote public safety or unnecessarily undermine community trust and cooperation. Officer evaluations and promotions depend to an inordinate degree on “productivity,” meaning the number of citations issued. Partly as a consequence of City and FPD priorities, many officers appear to see some residents, especially those who live in Ferguson’s predominantly African-American neighborhoods, less as constituents to be protected than as potential offenders and sources of revenue.
This is a problem that’s not just limited to Ferguson. Nothing new and different there, and I’ve often been appalled at the outrageous fees and penalties imposed on citizens for engaging in a simple mistake or minor traffic violation. So I get it. It sucks.
But in the same breath, the DOJ’s report claims that “The harms of Ferguson’s police and court practices are borne disproportionately by African Americans, and there is evidence that this is due in part to intentional discrimination on the basis of race.”
Lemme ask ya something. If it is obvious that the city’s focus is on revenue generation, rather than public safety, and therefore, it views the PREDOMINANTLY AFRICAN-AMERICAN city as a source of revenue generation, wouldn’t it stand to reason that in a predominantly black city, the brunt of those revenue generation policies would be… um… black, and that the reason Ferguson’s law enforcement practices and policies overwhelmingly impact African-Americans is because THAT’S WHO PREDOMINANTLY LIVES IN THE FRIGGIN’ CITY?
But hey, some of us don’t go looking for racism under every bed and around every corner.
In response to said report, Ferguson’s city manager has resigned and a state judge will be in charge of all Ferguson cases. Every town needs scapegoats, I suppose. That, of course, didn’t mollify the stampeding hordes, and just this past weekend, two police officers were shot after working crowd control in Ferguson. Police charged Jeffrey Williams with the shooting. The suspect admits he fired the weapon, but claims he was aiming at someone else in the crowd.
I’m trying to wrap my head at the amount of fucking stupid it takes to make such an admission. Stupid #1) You fire your weapon into a crowd of fucking people. Stupid #2) You admit to doing so, but hey… you weren’t aiming at police, and I guess you were expecting to hit your mark dead on. In a crowd. You dimwitted, miserable FAIL of a fucktard. Stupid #2) The only two people you conveniently hit are two cops. How propitious, considering the demonstrations were all about supposed police “racism.”
And, of course, Holder has been sniveling about how much acts of violence against law enforcement are not to be tolerated. Never mind he and his DOJ are the ones fomenting said unrest!
OK, enough about that.
There was supposedly a ceasefire agreement reached in Ukraine. Well, it was reached, but if you’re thinking that it’s somehow been effective, you’d be wrong. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the ceasefire is “fragile.” I think while violence has been reduced some, he’s the master of the understatement. If you want a boots on the ground (so to speak) glimpse into what’s going on, you should follow U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt on Twitter. The Russians will tell you it’s not their fault – that it’s the separatists failing to abide by the ceasefire – that they have no control over said militants. Um… yeah… right. If you think that Moscow isn’t behind the continuous arming of separatists in the region, I have this bridge…
Yes, I know I should keep up with my blogging, but even I need a break sometimes, so if I’m not around, it’s because I’m busy having a life.