Bubba Watson wins Travellers Championship in sudden death playoff

CROMWELL, Connecticut: American Bubba Watson beat Englishman Paul Casey on the second playoff hole to win the PGA Tour’s Travellers Championship on Sunday.

Casey shot a final round five-under-par 65 to join Watson, who finished with a 67, for a 16-under-par total of 264. Both managed par on the first playoff hole.

He may not have been in the play-off had he taken the advice of a member of the gallery. On the second hole, Watson hooked his tee shot into the heavy rough. His 90-metre approach shot to the second hole was seemingly blocked by a tree and a spectator offered the advice of hitting a low four-iron under the tree and bump it up to the green.

Watson took the opposite approach. He pulled out his sand wedge and blasted the ball over the tree to about a metre from the hole. He then sought out the member of the public and joked: “That’s why you’re on that side of the ropes.”

He went on to birdie the hole.

The best placed Australian was Steven Bowditch who shot 66, his best round of the week, to finish in 15th spot. His nine-under-par total of 271 was seven shots behind Casey and Watson.

Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith finished three shots behind Bowditch for a tie for 39th, after shooting final rounds of 69 and 68 respectively.

After being eight-under par through three rounds, Aaron Baddeley saw his challenge evaporate with a final round three-over-par 73 to finish tied for 48th.

Advertisements

How To Stay Awake!

Dorkchops

HowToStayAwake

Hi guys! I’m currently on my study vacation and I have exams starting on the 17th and finishing on the 26th! I can’t wait to finish so I can post a lot more often like I used to! Now that I’m trying to stay up a little later than usual, I was looking for some tips on how to let myself not sleep so early and I came across this list. =) I hope you’ll be able to use them on times where you really need to stay up a little later than usual to do work!

Divider (31)Divider (31)

1. Avoid rooms that are overly heated or warm. Open windows to keep fresh air coming in.

2. Splash cold water onto your face.

3. Physical exercise or warm up. You can do a few jumping jacks every 1 hour or so to keep the blood moving in your body.

4. Listen to…

View original post 222 more words

Ogdensburg, New York: Important in Railroad History

First of all we developed a WebSite about Ogdensburg. In 1857, the Potsdam & Watertown was built to join what later became the Rutland’s line to Ogdensburg. As well as serving as a connector, it served the agricultural towns of Potsdam, Canton and Gouverneur. In 1861, this line merged into the W&R, the name of the new railroad was changed to RW&O and a 19-mile line built from DeKalb Junction to Ogdensburg.

Then we wrote a blog about Railroads In Ogdensburg, New York.

Then another WebSite about Railroads In Ogdensburg and the North Country.

We have blogged a lot on the “Fabled Rutland Milk” which started in Ogdensburg.

Now we have found some great videos that talk about Ogdensburg and railroads.

Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain Railroad Revisited

This video also leads to other great videos, for instance, the railroad from Ogdensburg to Rouses Point.

 

Prosperity Gospel Is War on the Poor

’ve always been annoyed by Hollywood sports movies that spend nearly two hours earnestly preaching about how it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose the Big Game because what’s really important is the spiritual growth achieved through the challenge of competition. But then the movie predictably ends with the protagonist winning the Big Game anyway and being carried away on the shoulders of admiring teammates. The twisted lesson seems to be: Once you acknowledge that winning isn’t important, you will win. The fiscal corollary is: Once you acknowledge that money isn’t important, you will become fabulously wealthy. And more important than the winning or wealth is that witnesses are there to admire your achievement, to hoist you up on metaphoric shoulders of envy.

It’s crazy logic that stomps spirituality into pulp like a mugger pummeling a victim in a back alley. Like something Cersei Lannister would propose on Game of Thrones. Yet, that is the line—that God wants believers to be wealthy and that giving donations could improve your wealth—that some proponents of the so-called prosperity gospel have been selling. And like the snake-oil salesmen from whom they are descended, their product has a greasy stench to it that cures nothing but the salesman’s own greed.

Which brings us to Pastor Creflo Dollar’s earthly reward last week. In March, his plea to his congregation for them each to donate $300 or more so he could purchase a $65 million Gulfstream G650, the jet of choice for discerning billionaires flying the heavens like self-anointed angels, seemed to have been abandoned after public outcry. But now that the outraged voices have died down, the board of World Changers Church International, which oversees Creflo Dollar Ministries, has said it will buy this “Holy Grail” of aviation. The campaign to purchase the jet, the board said, is “standard operating procedure for people of faith” in “our community.”

And that’s the problem. Who are these “people of faith”? According to a survey for Time magazine, those who embrace the prosperity gospel tend to be African Americans, evangelicals, and those less educated. Though the specific theology from church to church can differ, the general claim is that the more money you give to the church, the more God will financially reward you. But this column isn’t about Creflo Dollar and the other multi-millionaires who have cynically perverted Christ’s teachings to fill their silk-lined pockets. It’s about how the country shifted from the War on Poverty in the 1960s to the War on the Poor today.

The prosperity gospel is just another battle front in that war. We could just shrug at the hundreds of thousands who willfully give up their money so their pastors can live in the kind of opulence that rivals that of the Roman Caesars. We could dismiss these worshipful congregants as victims of their own greed. But that would be misreading the situation. While greed may motivate the mansion-dwelling pastors, the congregants are motivated by hope of a better life. This is the same desperate, though misguided, hope that droves Americans to throw away $70.15 billion on lottery tickets in 2014, more than what was spent on sports tickets, books, video games, movie tickets, and music combined. Who buys those tickets? According to a 2011 study, “Gambling on the Lottery: Sociodemographic Correlates Across the Lifespan,” the highest rate of lottery gambling (61%) came from those in the lowest fifth of socioeconomic status, concluding that “males, blacks, Native Americans, and those who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods” were more likely to play.

In essence, many of the “people of faith” are the poor who are more willing to place their faith in the lottery and prosperity gospel than in the tarnished legend of the American Dream. The recent economic recession has delivered a gut-punch to that American Dream of working hard and pulling oneself up by the bootstraps until the inevitable riches follow. Sure, it still can happen, just not as often as it used to. Now burdened with enormous college debt, fewer prospects for well-paying jobs, rising housing costs and increased cost-of-living, more of the what used to be middle class are slipping over the edges of the financial cliff and falling on hard times. According to the CBS news article “America’s Incredible Shrinking Middle Class,” the size of the middle class has decreased in all 50 states. Where have they gone? To the poor side of town. More than 45 million (14.5%) Americans lived in poverty in 2013, up from 12.3% in 2006.

Without faith in the government to help lift the poor out of poverty or prevent the middle class from slipping away, desperate and frightened people seek help in the supernatural of religion or in the supernatural odds of the lottery (odds of winning on a single ticket are 1 in 175 million). It’s hard not to be sympathetic.

Americans have always had difficulty reconciling the lofty pursuit of spiritual enlightenment with the worldly hunger for material prosperity, especially if the former rejects the latter. We want to win, even if winning means we lose something even more valuable not tangible because our fame-mongering, social-media driven culture tells us we haven’t won unless everyone else acknowledges it. (If someone does a good deed in the forest and no one’s around, is it still a good deed? Not anymore.) But how does one keep score in the spirituality game? According to the purveyors of prosperity gospel, your friends and neighbors will know how righteous you are by the size of your bank account and the make of your car.

In Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, he says, “And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also” (Matthew 5:40). The coat was considered to be a shirt while the cloak was a crucial garment to protect against the elements. Combined with Jesus’ admonishment to turn the other cheek when struck, we see a teaching that is establishing the basis for Christianity: Tend to what is permanent (the soul) over what is temporary (material goods). To expect an earthly reward other than purity of mind would go against these teachings. Yet those pimping the prosperity gospel are preaching the opposite.

I’m in awe of most religious leaders because they dedicate their lives to helping others achieve spiritual fulfillment. I’m also in awe of most practitioners of religions because their goal is to do the right thing for their god and their community. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be successful and wealthy. But there is something wrong when some people exploit the poor, the fearful, and the desperate to enrich themselves through donations and tax-exemptions by pretending to be spiritual leaders. Like the professional pardoners of the Middle Ages who pedaled indulgences to the highest bidders, they pervert teachings for profit. These are the people that the word shame was invented to describe.

America’s Short Line Railroads Are Busy Adding Infrastructure and Services

  • In addition to America’s seven Class I #railroads, more than 550 short lines capable of carrying the same products
  • Short-line railroads are continually acquiring and restoring abandoned and nearly abandoned lines
  • America’s Short Line Railroads Are Busy Adding Infrastructure and Services

In addition to America’s seven Class I railroads, there are more than 550 short lines capable of carrying the same products, often handling the first and/or last leg of a freight move by rail. These short-line railroads ensure smooth transitions and are focused on improving switching and port facilities, with growing emphasis on the latest technologies. They’re also placing themselves at the forefront of environmental and safety developments.

It’s all part of the heavy investments short-line railroads are continually making, beginning with acquiring and restoring abandoned and nearly abandoned lines. Acquisitions are also continuing, though not always of rail lines.

“Since the economic recovery, traffic on short lines has taken off,” says Jo E. Strang, vice president of Regulatory Affairs at the American Short Line & Regional Railroading Association (ASLRRA) in Washington, D.C. “Forty percent of all rail moves have some sort of movement on a short line. What short-line railroads offer is better safety records, usually good relationships with their customers and better connections to other railroads. So you don’t have to transfer the goods. It’s a seamless type of transportation movement.”

Peoria, Illinois-based Pioneer Railcorp is currently rehabilitating the recently acquired Maumee & Western Railroad Corp.—now known as the Michigan Southern Railroad Co.—that had suffered from deferred maintenance under previous ownership.

“We purchased this line with the knowledge it is in dire need of rehabilitation,” CEO J. Michael Carr said when Pioneer was starting the process. “Our objective is to rehabilitate the line in order to provide consistent freight-rail service to current and potential shippers.” Track restorations also will provide additional line connections to Class I carriers, he explained.

With the addition of Maumee’s 51 miles of track in Indiana and Ohio, Pioneer now has 25 subsidiary rail operations in 14 states, with more than 600 miles of track serving more than 100 customers.

Darien, Conn.-based holding company Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W), which now owns 113 short-line railroads, acquired the Arkansas Midland Railroad, the Prescott & Northwestern Railroad and the Warren & Saline River Railroad this January. The company also acquired the Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad last year and, in 2012, acquired Jacksonville, Florida-based RailAmerica Inc., the owner and operator of 45 short-line railroads in 28 states and three Canadian provinces.

“G&W companies serve 41 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces—significantly more than any Class I railroad—and interchanged 1.7 million carloads with Class I railroads in 2014,” says Michael E.

Williams, the company’s vice president of Corporate Communications. “As the first and last mile to customers, our railroads work closely with the Class I railroads to develop optimum service offerings. By combining the local knowledge and operating flexibility of our short lines with the operating efficiency and network reach of our Class I partners, our customers benefit from a seamless rail-service product.”

With the May 2014 startup of the Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad from an acquisition, Williams explains, agricultural products have become G&W’s largest commodity group. And, he adds, “the transformation of North American energy markets as a result of hydraulic fracturing is reflected in the amount of inputs and outputs transported by our railroads.”

Jacksonville, Florida-based Patriot Rail Co. LLC, which owns 13 short-line freight railroads with 500 miles of rail in 14 states, is among the short lines that have been acquiring more than just competitive railroads. It also acquired a railcar repair and cleaning service provider in Keysville, Virginia, in December 2013.

FloridaEastCoastGradeCrossing2

Florida East Coast Railway (FECR), also based in Jacksonville, has invested $35 million of a $53 million construction budget to “open up the centrally located Port of Everglades to both domestic and international shipping,” with the development of a new intermodal container transfer facility—the nation’s first portside rail yard to process both domestic and international cargoes, according to the railroad’s president and CEO, James R. Hertwig.

Built on 43 acres of land contributed by the port, the facility includes 21,000 feet of processing and storage track, separate domestic and international gate complexes, 11 automated gate system (AGS lanes) and the latest technologies that identify trucks, trailers and containers entering and leaving the terminal.

FECR’s rail line has five intermodal container transfer facilities or terminals, Hertwig notes. “Seventy-eight percent of our loads are intermodal. Intermodal reliability is crucial to the advancement of U.S. exports.”

The company, whose 351 miles of track runs from Miami to Jacksonville where it connects with two Class I railroads, contributed $9 million toward the cost of restoring rail to the Port of Miami. Completed in August of last year, the project replaced a 30-mile truck route, Hertwig says. “Rail is a lot more efficient than truck,” he says, noting rail’s importance given the trade increase expected now that PortMiami has dredged down to 50 feet of water to become one of only three East Coast ports capable of handling the mega ships soon to traverse the Panama Canal.

With all these developments, FECR is looking to improve service to existing customers and attract more companies to locate along rail lines. And like many other short lines, FECR has been acquiring locomotives that are more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly, 24 of which were delivered in December 2014.

The entire 25-locomotive fleet of Wilmington, Calif.-based Pacific Harbor Line, Inc. (PHL) meets or exceeds the Environmental Protection Agency’s stringent Tier 4 emission standards, mostly as a result of retrofitting, according to company president Otis L. Cliatt II, whose firm serves the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
PHL, a division of Anacostia Rail Holdings, started in 1998 as a dispatch-only outfit; it didn’t even have any locomotives.

“Our business continues to grow,” Cliatt says, “because with Class I railroads’ economies of scale it makes better sense for them to haul traffic than do switching. And here within the port, the majority of PHL’s switching is customized for each of the separate marine terminals. We have nine on-dock intermodal marine terminals that are serviced by rail within the port complex and each of them has its own customized switching that we do. That would be much more challenging for a Class I to do.”

With Class I railroads Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe as PHL’s largest customers, “We’re the first mile and the last mile for global trade,” Cliatt says.

At municipal-owned Tacoma (Washington) Rail, which has more than 200 miles of track, “all the switching work that Class I railroads don’t like to do is done by us,” says Dale W. King, superintendent and COO, “and our line operates all of the Port of Tacoma-owned infrastructure.”

Logs and finished timber were major export products at one time, but that started to wane in the 1980s. King says Tacoma Rail then opened Port of Tacoma’s first on-dock intermodal facility.

“So as one business went away, another business began to grow,” King points out. “Over 50 percent of Washington State’s gross product is dependent on trade. We handle a fair amount of that business as it comes in by railcar and gets loaded into containers. Up through the Great Recession, about 80 percent of our business was international intermodal, providing the interface between the port and the national freight rail system.”

The additions and improvements to America’s short-line railroads has American Short Line & Regional Railroading Association’s Strang feeling optimistic. “They’re efficient, they’re safe and they’re growing their traffic all the time,” he says. “The future for short lines is very bright.”

Treasury’s new $10 bill idea prompts outcry in defense of Alexander Hamilton

The Obama administration has a money problem.

More specifically, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is under attack for announcing that the U.S. Treasury will change the $10 bill in order to add a woman’s portrait to the currency.

The scathing critiques, from former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to the USA Today editorial board and leading historians, have come after Lew’s decision to demote Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first Treasury secretary, from his prominent position on the face of the $10 bill.

Lew’s decision is “sad and shockingly misguided,” wrote Hamilton biographer Ron Chernow.

The Wall Street Journal even compared Lew to Aaron Burr, the vice president to Thomas Jefferson who killed Hamilton in a duel.

Former Treasury officials are expressing their “disappointment” to the current administration directly as well.

Not even a grassroots advocacy group that collected 600,000 names on a petition in favor of putting a woman on the $20 bill and removing former President Andrew Jackson from that note is happy with Lew’s decision. It is still pushing on its website for Lew to put a woman on the $20 bill rather than the $10 bill.

Inside the Treasury Department, there is some handwringing over the decision and the subsequent backlash, according to one source who has spoken to officials in the administration.

All of Lew’s critics have applauded the decision to put a woman on U.S. currency for the first time in over 100 years, but the chorus of voices is also virtually unanimous that Lew should change the $20 bill instead and remove Jackson, the nation’s seventh president, from that bill.

“A better solution is available: Replace Andrew Jackson, a man of many unattractive qualities and a poor president, on the twenty dollar bill,” Bernanke wrote Monday.

Why Alexander Hamilton?
Why not General Grant? Not a great President No Civil War Generals were great. But my favorite bill. Used to say “Give him a couple of pictures of Grant.
Lincoln and Washington stay.
So what is great about Ben Franklin? Discovered lightning and enjoyed the company of French girls in Paris???
What did Andrew Jackson do?
Thomas Jefferson: let’s not get into his relationships with his slaves.
Let’s reissue the “big bucks currency” like the $100,000 bill with Woodrow Wilson on it. Put Hillary on it instead. She would be comfortable there.
HillaryClinton
July 11, 1804
Standing on the heights of Weehawken, New Jersey, Hamilton and Burr fired their pistols. Some people said that Hamilton purposely missed Burr. Burr’s shot, however, fatally wounded Hamilton, leading to his death the following day. Aaron Burr escaped unharmed.
Always confuse Aaron Burr with Benedict Arnold
How about a picture of current Treasury Secretary Jaci Lew in drag instead?

Plan to Build Tower at Grand Central in Exchange for Transit Upgrades Is Approved

The New York City Council voted on Wednesday to approve plans for a developer to build a 63-story office tower just west of Grand Central Terminal in exchange for $220 million in transit upgrades.

Plans for the skyscraper, called One Vanderbilt, have been at the center of long-running negotiations to improve the bustling subway station at Grand Central, particularly on the overcrowded 4, 5 and 6 trains on the Lexington Avenue subway line.

As part of the deal, the developer, SL Green Realty, will build new subway entrances as well as a pedestrian plaza at street level, a public hall in the building’s lobby and other upgrades.

The approach has been viewed by some proponents as a model for how the Metropolitan Transportation Authority can pay for some projects as it grapples with a $14 billion shortfall in the agency’s $32 billion proposed capital plan. The authority’s chairman, Thomas F. Prendergast, has called on state and city officials for more money.

About two-thirds of the $220 million will go toward easing congestion on the 4, 5 and 6 trains, said Councilman Daniel R. Garodnick, who helped develop the plan. Mr. Garodnick said riders who use those subways routes must deal with packed trains and delays, which are often caused by bottlenecks at Grand Central.

“Trains stall within the station as crowds enter and exit, creating delays throughout the whole system,” Mr. Garodnick said.

On Wednesday, as part of the deal, the Council approved zoning changes that were needed for the office tower to move forward. The changes allow for new, taller office buildings on the five-block stretch of Vanderbilt Avenue. Mayor Bill de Blasio has supported the rezoning plan, and Carl Weisbrod, the chairman of the Planning Commission, has said the city would work with local officials on a plan for the broader East Midtown area.

A failed plan by former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to rezone the area around Grand Central faced criticism from community groups who were concerned about worsening congestion.

SL Green said construction on the 1,501-foot-tall building would begin soon with the demolition of the site at 42nd Street and Vanderbilt. The tower and the infrastructure upgrades are expected to be finished by 2021, the company said.

The money will pay for a series of fixes to keep riders moving, including broader spaces for them to pass through to reach trains and smaller stairwells to create more space on platforms. SL Green will also pay for direct connections beneath the tower to the subway, the Metro-North Railroad and eventually the Long Island Rail Road, which will stop in Grand Central after the authority’s East Side Access Project is complete.

As part of the agreement, SL Green must finish the public improvements before tenants can occupy the upper floors of the building.

The investor who owns Grand Central, Andrew S. Penson, has opposed plans for the office tower. He has argued that the agreement would be a “massive giveaway” to a big real estate company.

Officials at the transportation authority have praised the transit improvements for the Lexington Avenue line, which carries more than one million passengers each weekday. The long-planned Second Avenue subway is intended to ease some of the strain on the 4, 5 and 6 trains, but the first phase is not expected to open until at least the end of next year.

Aaron Donovan, a spokesman for the authority, said on Wednesday that the project would improve conditions at Grand Central and “prepare it for future growth.”

Transit advocates have also applauded the Grand Central deal, saying it served as a test case for incentive plans in which developers pay for transit improvements in exchange for permission to build.

Gene Russianoff, the staff attorney for the Straphangers Campaign, an advocacy group, called commuting on the Lexington Avenue line one of the “most grueling human activities in New York.”

“It couldn’t be more desperately needed,” he said of the improvements. “The 4, 5, and 6 are just heavily, heavily used.”

Managed Services Offset Complexity In The Supply Chain

Many supply chain participants feel their operations are too complex for them to manage. EDI service providers offer “managed services” to address complexity.

So why are Supply Chains so complex to manage? First of all, the terminology tends to overwhelm the average Supply Chain: end-to-end planning, control tower, integrated supply chain. Staff sometimes does not know if they are firefighters or air traffic controllers. The number of connections around the world keeps getting bigger and more complex. Supply chains link the world’s population tightly together; all our lives depend increasingly on timely and smooth operations and careful SCM. Countering complexity with complexity is not the answer they are looking for.

What are managed services and what do they offer to Supply Chains?

Yes, it does sound confusing. But we recently took a look at both managed EDI and at supply chain complexity, so we are part of the way there.

The best way to combat complexity is with simplicity:

Improving Accuracy and Consistency With Electronic Order Processing

In any business, it’s rare to find anything that’s “always true.” But to say you can vastly improve accuracy and consistency by using EDI (electronic data interchange) instead of paper for your order processing comes very close to being, well, a fact. And an obvious, almost direct benefit to improvements in these areas can be seen in the bottom line.
Most companies launch their EDI processes beginning with purchase orders, often because they’re required to by new business partners, and accuracy increases almost automatically.

Accuracy
Using the old paper-based system, a data entry clerk has to go through many discrete steps. The first is simply confirming that all the right details have been entered on the order form by the customer – the item ordered, under the conditions specified, at a specific time and place. Often, one or more of these details are either missing or are unclear, which means mistakes can be made when entering the data into the order entry system. Even when all of the information has been sent correctly, a data entry clerk will make mistakes – it’s not uncommon for data to be entered incorrectly, or into the wrong field, for example.

In contrast, when an order is received electronically, EDI translators enter the data automatically, flagging any missing or ambiguous data. (On the sender’s side, errors have been reduced also, as EDI requires forms to be filled out completely and correctly before being sent.)

Sharing standard digital order specifications also means partners are sharing data – not text. The omission of hand-written or typed notations from orders eliminates the possibility of misinterpretation and misunderstanding, which can result in rejected orders and invoice reductions (and, of course, lost customers).

Opting-out of mass transit = modern redlining

Panethos

Currently, more than 50 communities in Southeast Michigan opt-out of participating in SMART (the regional transit system). Just yesterday, in a narrow 3-2 vote, Bloomfield Hills voted to continue opting out. Most often, the rationale for not participating is due to the cost and that residents want no more taxes, but underneath one has to wonder if that is simply a ruse to hide the real and more troublesome reason(s).

To this author, opting-out of mass transit not only serves to exclude the less fortunate from fully participating in the regional economy, but dissuades them from coming to the opt-out community in the first place. If there are no practical and affordable methods of getting there for work, shopping, or residing, then the less fortunate have been effectively redlined from the community by default and/or inaction.

The only real solution to this is form of social inequity is for…

View original post 70 more words