WMATA orders more visible transit police uniforms

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is procuring brighter, more visible uniforms for its police force, the agency announced late last week.

WMATA’s new police uniforms feature reflective trim to increase visibility.
Photo: Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

The neon yellow color block design with reflective trim is aimed at helping WMATA’s riders more easily find transit police officers on station platforms and on trains, agency officials said in a press release.

Currently, transit police officers wear a dark navy blue uniform that is less visible in crowds or low-light conditions.

WMATA’s officers are expected to begin wearing the new uniforms this summer.

“Customers told me they wanted to see more uniformed officers on buses and in the rail system,” said WMATA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul Wiedefeld. “The fact is, in some cases, riders sometimes couldn’t see MTPD officers even though they were there. These new uniforms will go a long way toward making our officers stand out and give customers some more peace of mind when riding Metro.”

Ordering the uniforms is one step he agency has taken in response to customer concerns, WMATA officials said. Other security measures include increasing police patrols onboard trains and buses and reassigning limited-duty officers to key stations based on crime trends.

The added security measures are outlined in Wiedefeld’s Customer Accountability Report (CARe), which allows the public to track progress of the agency’s plans for improvement.

Amtrak train derails in Kansas

An Amtrak Southwest Chief train derailed early this morning about 20 miles west of Dodge City, Kan., on track owned and maintained by BNSF Railway Co.

The train, which was carrying 128 passengers and 14 crew members, was traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago, Amtrak officials said in a press release.

At least 29 passengers were transported to local hospitals, according to the Associated Press and ABC News. All other passengers were moved to the 4-H Recreation Center in Cimarron, Kan., where they were slated to receive alternate transportation to their final destination. No fatalities were reported.

Amtrak is working with BNSF to investigate the cause of the incident, Amtrak officials said.

The Federal Railroad Administration announced on Twitter this morning that its investigators have arrived at the site of the derailment. The National Transportation Safety Board also said on its Twitter account that it is sending investigators to the location.

The derailment took place along a straight stretch of tracks in rural farmland, the AP reported. Five of the train’s nine cars were on their sides, with two others still standing but off the tracks, the news agency said.

NYC subway ridership growth slows, MTA says

After two years of sharp growth, ridership on New York City’s crowded subways grew by less than 1 percent last year, according to preliminary figures from the MTA.

It could be that lower gasoline prices are making car travel cheaper, and it could be that packed trains, often running late, have deterred riders, experts say.

“They are over capacity and they can’t pack any more people in,” said Gene Russianoff, staff attorney for the Straphangers Campaign.

“They’re honest when they say they’re trying. They have platform guys shouting, ‘Get on the car!’ But they don’t have many tricks left up their sleeve because they’re at capacity,” Russianoff said.

Subway rides totaled 1.762 billion in 2015, an increase of 0.6 percent, or about 11 million more rides than in 2014, Metropolitan Transportation Authority figures show. Ridership in 2014 had been up by 2.6 percent from 2013 and was up 3.3 percent from the year before that, the preliminary figures show. The MTA counts rides, not riders.

Ridership on city buses was down 2.5 percent to 650 million annual rides in 2015, from 667 million in 2014, the MTA figures show.

Official figures will be released later this spring, an agency spokesman said, and it will not comment until then.

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While subway ridership was flat and bus ridership down, MTA statistics show a 4 percent jump in vehicles using its eight bridges and tunnels last year, up by 11.5 million to 297.7 million.

“There is no doubt gas prices are increasing bridge and tunnel traffic because they are increasing automobile use nationwide,” said Alec Slatky, a legislative analyst for AAA New York.

A gallon of regular gas on Long Island, for example, dipped slightly under $2 a gallon in February, down from a high of $4.036 cents a gallon on July 2, 2014, according to AAA.

And as gasoline prices were dropping, the base bus and subway fare went up 25 cents to $2.75 in March 2015, the fifth increase in eight years.

“Federal figures show we Americans drove 3.15 trillion miles last year, from 3.04 trillion in 2014. That’s 107 billion more miles in 2015 than 2014,” he said.
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The shift in ridership patterns was also evident nationwide, with a 1.2 percent decrease in trips on mass transit during the first nine months of 2015, according to the American Public Transportation Association, which cited lower fuel costs as the prime reason.

Bill Henderson, executive director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, said he did not think cheap gas had that much of an impact on subway ridership, but bad service did.

“Delays are way up and performance has not been what riders would like to see,” Henderson said. “It depends on the line, but most of the lines absolutely maxed out on capacity.”

Preliminary performance figures for the year, released last month, showed subway cars broke down more frequently and trains took longer to finish their runs.

“The increase [in ridership] may be slower than it has in the past, but still going up, even if you’re only increasing by half a percent a year. That’s something you can’t accommodate,” Henderson said.

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There might be some relief on the heavily traveled Lexington Avenue line in Manhattan if the first section of the Second Avenue subway opens as scheduled in December.

That will add three new stations between 63rd Street and 96th Street in what the MTA hopes will eventually be a line that runs from the Wall Street area to 125th Street.

Veronica Vanterpool, executive director of the tri-State Transportation Campaign, said it was possible some people were turning to automobiles as the subways have gotten crowded.

She urged wider use of bus-only lanes and other steps to increase bus ridership.

“Improving bus service citywide is the only way to quickly add capacity,” she said.
Subway ridership

year total rides %change from prior year

2015 1.762 billion +0.6%

2014 1.751 billion +2.6%

2013 1.709 billion +3.3%

2012 1.654 billion +0.8%

2011 1.640 billion +2.2%

2010 1.604 billion +1.5%

2009 1.579 billion -2.7%

Average weekday rides

2015 5.65 million

2014 5.59 million

Source: MTA

The Internet Of Things Id Nothing New

We have made the argument before that the Internet of Things is nothing new. In the logistics space, for example, we’ve been taking RF scans and using that data to improve warehouse processes since at least 1975 when McHugh Freeman, an early warehouse management system supplier, began business. Internet protocols make it easier to communicate that sensor data to applications. This is a big advance, but I don’t think we are seeing fundamentally new types of applications; just better and cheaper ones.

The process manufacturing industry has been at this for a long time as well. There was an interesting article written in Forbes.com by Peter Zornio, the Chief Strategic Officer of Emerson Process Management. Emerson Process Management is a leader in in helping businesses automate their production, processing and distribution processes in several process industries. Process industries make their products by using formulas and manufacturing recipes. Process manufacturing include industries like Chemicals and Oil & Gas.

I’d like to review some of the points made in this article because I think they provide insight to not just how IoT could evolve in process industries, but also broader insights that also apply to logistics professionals.

According to Mr. Zorino, in the process industries, IoT has been used for the past 25 years – “ever since the development of microprocessors and network-based instruments… Many of these enterprises work with products and materials that can be readily measured as they flow through pipes.”

Monitoring the performance of individual pieces of equipment with sensors and wireless communications is both relatively simple and can provide good ROI based on better machine uptime. The payback is only getting better. “Driving these changes are increasingly inexpensive sensors, the maturation of the Internet, and the beginnings of enhanced analytics. Sensors are now so cheap and easy to install – no drilling, no screws, practically “lick ‘n’ stick” in many cases – that we now refer to ‘pervasive sensing,’ and use them especially in locations described within our industries as the four ‘d’s’ – dull, dangerous, dirty and distant.”

In the process industries, these changes are leading to an expansion of IoT’s role. “Until recently, only process control and safety functions were monitored and connected. Now, with costs plummeting, areas like plant and equipment reliability, energy management, personnel safety and environmental compliance are increasingly being addressed.”

But the next step forward – monitoring an entire process or operation – is much bigger than a focus on individual assets.

Big assets like industrial plants are a lot like human beings: They’re complicated, mercurial, and different – every single one. In any given plant, the equipment keeps changing as it wears or gets replaced. The supervisor who ran the operations yesterday is off today and has been replaced by one who runs things differently.

Even the weather has an impact; when a warm front blows in, performance changes.

As a result, modeling most complex processes or operations requires subject matter experts with a really deep and comprehensive understanding of how everything works, separately and together. Analyzing the resulting data is no easy task either. It’s often both science and art – not unlike a doctor’s interpretation of a patient’s chart and own words. These kinds of interpretive skills do not grow on trees – and certainly not within most companies.

The upshot: Unless they’re willing to outsource the modeling of their operations as well as the collection and interpretation of their data, many industries will be limited in what they can derive from the IoT by their own in-house skills – at least until applications can be made more sophisticated.

The most complex models we have in logistics are probably supply chain network models, provided by software companies like LlamaSoft and JDA, which help us understand where are warehouses and factories should be located and how we should engage in transportation routing.

My process automation colleagues argue that models in the process industries are far more real time, which adds additional layers of complexity. These models have to be adopting to changing conditions on an ongoing basis. For example, the models change set points across a variety of machines and instruments so that when “a warm front blows in” yields can still be optimized. Or if one set point drifts outside of a specified control limit, other set points change to compensate for that deviation.

One conclusion, is that to fully leverage IoT across extended supply chains we may find ourselves building far more real time models than we have ever seen before. As one small example, during last year’s Long Beach labor strikes, shippers shifted volume to other ports. They might book on a ship headed to Vancouver only to find out a slew of other shippers had done the same. Delays by port were changing on a day by day basis. What if models of port throughput were used and combined with AIS Vessel tracking data? If the model understood how many ships were sitting outside a port, how many were headed to that port, the relative sizes of those ships, and the throughput capacity of the port, shippers could have made much better port scheduling decisions.

“One of the Greatest Upsets”

By the time the polls closed in Michigan last night, the corporate media had written us off. The political establishment was trying to get us out of the race, and the Clinton campaign was eager to “wrap up” the primary as soon as possible.

But the people of Michigan had other ideas. Last night our political revolution scored “one of the greatest upsets in modern political history,” and we’re seeing the same kind of come-from-behind momentum all across America.

Next Tuesday is the most important night for our campaign to date. Five large states vote, and we have all the momentum. And what we’ve shown is that when we come together, we have what it takes to overcome what was once thought to be an inevitable campaign.

The financial and political elite of this country are going to throw everything they have at us this week. The stakes are too high for them. I need your continued support if we’re going to be able to fight back and win.

This is going to be a long, hard fight. And we’ve only done as well as we have because millions of people have come together to say they’ve had ENOUGH of the billionaire class buying elections in this country.

If we continue to fight, and if you continue to contribute, we are going to win.

By Bernie Sanders, Reader Supported News

09 March 16

Second Avenue Brings Fear-Inducing LED Streetlights

The Second Avenue Subway has provoked countless grievances among neighbors. The latest: that the LED streetlights that will replace existing ones for energy-efficiency reasons will be too bright. Set to be installed as part of Phase One of the subway—for which projected completion is December 2016—the plan has neighbors worried that lighting will be overwhelming, illuminating the place up like an airport.

So the beleaguered avenue is expected to be rid of construction sheds and fences by the end of 2016. And street lighting entered the picture after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Capital Construction agreed last year to replace street furniture—not just in areas of current construction, where pieces of sidewalk and street have actually been ripped up, but also from East 63rd Street on up to unify the look of the area. Residents said at a community meeting Thursday night that despite public forums where their concerns were voiced, those blasted environmentally friendly LEDs are still on the agenda. They hold that those lights will make the street akin to a highway and shine harshly into windows. (LA switched to LED, by the way, and no one made that big of a fuss.)

At the end of 2014 and early this year, the Upper East Side’s Community Board 8 had meetings about the replacement street furniture. MTA Capital Construction presented five options for lighting, said people present at Thursday’s meeting. A portion of the CB8 task force on the Second Avenue Subway apparently visited Harlem, where a real-life LED City Light (as it’s officially called) is installed near the Apollo Theater.

The task force passed a resolution in January that the DOT use an old-fashioned-looking “Bishop Crook Lamppost, or something similar” on Second Avenue from East 105th to East 65th streets. But in February, the full board voted for the LED City Light. A member of the board explained that the latter are seen as more modern. Meanwhile, the New York Times recently reported that such lighting in Brooklyn has residents feeling “as though a construction or film crew is working outside all night.”

Then, at the Second Avenue construction update delivered to the task force and the public last night, several residents showed up expecting further discussion of the street furniture. When told the matter was settled, vocal attendees turned the meeting towards the lighting and the overall politics of how these kinds of decisions were made. A resident of East 72nd Street, Valerie Mason, called the full board vote “rushed,” and noted that 600 people signed a petition against the LEDs.

Bernie and the Groundswell on Which He Stands

Pundits wrote the socialist senator off after Super Tuesday, but he came roaring back with a stunning upset in Michigan. Now his formidable ground campaign is kicking into high gear in five battleground states – and they’re playing to win

 

y the beginning of March, America’s elites had already written Bernie Sanders off. “What makes Bernie Sanders think he can win Michigan?” After Hillary Clinton swept the southern states on Super Tuesday, they rushed to crown her as the inevitable Democratic nominee.

But on Tuesday, the establishment had their world turned upside down: Sanders won Michigan in what may go down as the greatest upset in a US presidential primaries.

Pollster Nate Silver gave Hillary a greater than 99% chance of winning. In the final 48 hours, Bernie and his multitude of supporters achieved the impossible: they closed a 21-point gap in the polls. The Bernie campaign is working toward a political revolution, and they’re playing to win.

Over the last few weeks, I worked my way inside the belly of the Bernie campaign. I saw the virtual chatrooms where thousands of super-volunteers are coordinating, and mapped their digital infrastructure, fast growing into something more powerful even than the Obama campaign.

I travelled through five battleground states and spoke with hundreds of his supporters, as well as analysts and insiders. What I found was the story of a political start-up growing exponentially in a cauldron of American discontent.

Michigan

We’re in Lansing, Michigan, in the so-called rust belt. The sun is setting into snowdrifts, and the land is stark and beautiful. In the bars, the drinkers talk of Donald Trump. In the stadium, 10,000 people are roaring for Bernie.

A woman named Claire Sandberg steps up to the podium and asks, “Who here is ready to win Michigan for Bernie Sanders? March 8 is just six days away. We need every person in this room to commit to volunteering between now and then. A one-on-one conversation between a volunteer and a voter is the single most effective way to convince someone to support Bernie.”

Sandberg runs the campaign’s innovative distributed organising team. For months, she and Zack Exley were only two staffers covering 48 states. They went where Bernie didn’t, connecting with self-organizing groups, combining online and in-person organizing to network thousands of volunteers. Winning in Michigan and around the country would have been impossible without this groundwork.

Lansing is their latest experiment: the first time they’ve used a Bernie rally to directly drive turnout. Almost 3,000 people already signed up to volunteer on the way in, but Claire wants more.

The 74-year-old senator steps to the mic, and the crowd goes wild. Sanders talks about the state of the nation: a rigged economy, a system held in place by corrupt politics where Wall Street banks and billionaires buy elections.

“We did something very radical,” he smiles. “We asked the American people for help. In 10 months, we received over four million individual contributions. More contributions than any candidate in the history of our country.”

The crowd cheers, and Sanders turns to trade.

“In the 1960s, the wealthiest city in the US was …” A voice – “DETROIT!” Bernie nods: “General Motors was the largest private employer in America. Today Detroit is the poorest big city in the United States, with a poverty rate of almost 40%.”

“Last week I did a town meeting in Flint. I cannot recall ever hearing such an outrage. Some of you are parents. Think about what it would mean if you had a nine-year-old daughter who two years ago was a vivacious young girl, good in school, outgoing, and over two years, as a result of lead poisoning, you saw her deteriorate? Dereliction of duty from the governor is so great – he should resign.”

The crowd surge to their feet, tears streaming, faces filled with emotion.

Sanders goes on to talk about rebuilding America’s fabric, infrastructure, clean energy, new industries. He talks about affordable healthcare, ending the plague of student debt that haunts America’s youth.

The political and media class criticise Bernie for only having one idea, one speech. That night however, he spoke directly to the turmoil in the hearts and lives of the people in Lansing: the collapse of the industrial base; the obscene corruption of Flint; the theft of the American dream.

Six days later, he won Michigan.

The Lansing rally was the tip of the iceberg. Below the waterline, 16 “barnstorm” events brought hundreds of people at a time together in bars, churches and community centers around Michigan. They got others involved in phone-banks and neighbourhood canvassing, guided by local field organisers and supported by volunteer-run helpdesks.

Progressive movements which endorsed Bernie – MoveOn, Working Families Party, unions, Democracy for America – channelled in donations and field teams. Meanwhile, thousands of volunteers around the country were sending hundreds of thousands of personalised text messages and making millions of phone calls to identify Bernie voters and persuade those on the fence.

The weekend before the 2012 election, the Obama campaign juggernaut announced its paid staff of 4,000 had delivered over 125 million phone calls and door-knocks during the campaign. Bernie’s volunteer-powered movement has thus far made 30 million phone calls in a fraction of the time.

Even with those numbers, most Americans still don’t really know who Bernie Sanders is. For his staff, it’s a race against time.

Sanders has broken the rule that young people don’t vote. Four times as many under-30s turned out in Michigan against predictions. Meanwhile his authenticity, economic populism and anti-establishment message are recruiting independent, rural and working-class supporters.

His greatest weakness to date has been among African Americans, who Clinton won overwhelmingly across the deep south. Black votes are critical to Democratic victory in both the primary and the general election. But in Michigan, Sanders closed this gap, winning over a third of black votes.

Van Jones, an African American movement leader who worked for Obama, told me: “When you get out of the south – where Democrats can’t win anyway – and into the swing states and blue states, you’ll see African Americans voting a lot more like Michigan. There is no Representative Clyburn to sew up the black vote for the Clintons in the north.”

His advice to Sanders: “African Americans lost about half of our wealth through the home foreclosures. Bernie should be talking about how your grandmother lost her house, how your sons and daughters lost their homes – all because of these banks the Clintons deregulated.”

While stopping short at endorsing him, Jones is entranced by the process.

“Bernie’s movement is redefining what it means to be a Democrat. Hillary may be leading when it comes to delegates, but he’s leading when it comes to principles and policies. If you had told anybody that a year ago, they would have said you were crazy.”

Florida

Wynwood, Miami, is boiling hot and humid: a buzzing 21st century neighbourhood of converted warehouses, dizzyingly diverse. The walls are covered with murals and street art. I spot a new tag on the sidewalk: “POLITICAL REVOLUTION UP AHEAD.”

The Bernie campaign had no Florida field staff, so Zack Exley stepped up. He’s one of the White Hats: a will-o-the-wisp organizer who previously worked with MoveOn.org, the Howard Dean campaign and other efforts. Now he’s growing a Floridian super-volunteer network to close the 30-point gap.

More than 350 people show up to the campaign warehouse launch party: a melting pot of black, Latino, Asian, Jewish, retirees, low-wage workers and hipsters. Most heard about it through word-of-mouth texts or calls.

JR and Nadia are an African American couple in their 20s – they’re smart, and passionately committed. JR says: “People can do their research at the speed of light. Watch the old videos and see the consistency of Bernie Sanders: he’s not going to sell out as soon as he becomes president. That’s why everyone’s so energised – it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“The internet is leading his campaign,” adds Nadia. “We weren’t half so knowledgeable seven months ago.”

I ask them how the Sanders movement connects to Black Lives Matter. They respond immediately: “Justice. Equality and fairness. Ending systemic racism and mass incarceration. Income inequality, environmental justice. It’s all linked.”

After African American voters carried Clinton to a landslide in South Carolina, Nadia and JR discovered internet penetration is little over 50% in much of the south, with black voters least connected. They think it will be different in Missouri, Florida and New York.

At a Martin Luther King march in January they spoke to thousands, handing out homemade flyers. “Political revolution means bringing it back to basics,” says Nadia. For JR, “It’s giving people the power back. Increasing the enlightenment of your constituency, so they can make sound judgment calls on who they’re voting for.”

I tell them about the Colorado caucuses earlier that week.

Supporters of each candidate champion their cause, then everyone chooses sides. At East high school in Denver, a well-dressed middle-aged man stood up to shout: “We are here to support Hillary Clinton, because incremental change is the only alternative to bloody revolution!”

A young woman speaks for Sanders: “Bernie, strong promoter of free college tuition and more money for education to keep people out of prison. Campaign reform, because it has become prohibitive to run for office. An increase of the minimum wage to a living wage which helps the economy, and gives people hope that they can be productive in our society.”

Next, an older woman made a better case for Clinton: “There’s never in my life been a candidate better prepared to be president than Hillary Clinton. She has experience at every level of government. Every attack that has ever been thrown against her is already out there – she knows how to deal with it. But if Bernie wins, I will be out there working as hard as I can to get him elected.” Claps and cheers.

A young bearded man stepped forward: “I will agree that Hillary Clinton is the best candidate for our current political system. But I want a change in our system. I’m sick of the status quo. The Clintons are the ones who finished deregulating the banks, which directly led to the financial crisis in 2008. My family suffered through that, your families suffered through that.”

On Super Tuesday, Sanders won Colorado with 59%, Minnesota with 62% and Vermont with 86%. The conservative state of Oklahoma voted Republican in the presidential elections since 1968, and Bernie won it by over 10%.

The day after Super Tuesday, the media parroted a Clinton memo about the “mathematical impossibility” of a Sanders win. Bernie strategist Tad Devine tells me: “We targeted five states, won four and came very close in Massachussetts – where Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama by a double-digit margin. We did not target 11 states.”

In fact, Team Bernie say they have chosen the industrial midwest as their theater. Robert Becker, an elusive field operative who ran Iowa for Bernie and was imprisoned in Egypt after the Tahrir Square revolution, is their local general; Michigan is his first victory.

“I saw it in 1980 when I worked for Carter,” Devine says. “Senator Kennedy had some very big wins in states like New York and California – states where, by the way, I think we can compete and win later in the calendar. The Carter campaign targeted states like Ohio, and won important showdowns there.”

One veteran Clinton insider I talked to despaired at “the arrogance of her saying this thing needs to end when only 30% of the voters have voted. It’s just another sign of the fatigue everyone has with out-of-touch imperial politics. I don’t think people want to vote for Hillary. She’s doing very well with low-information voters.”

Last weekend Bernie also won Kansas with 68%, Nebraska with 57%, Maine with 64%. Now the battle shifts to Missouri, Illinois and Ohio.

Not an Obama moment

Becky Bond works for Credo, a mobile phone company which mobilises users to campaign for progressive causes. Last year she took a leave of absence to join Zack Exley and Claire Sandberg in building Sanders’ infrastructure. She played a critical role in developing their network of young leaders, and in their distributed phone-banking and texting operations.

“This is not the Obama campaign. It’s not dependent on a single charismatic politician,” Becky told me.

Less than a month before the Iowa primary, Bernie Sanders was at the Veterans’ Coliseum in Cedar Rapids. He agreed pointedly with Hillary Clinton about the vital importance of electability, but asked: “Who is the stronger candidate?” The crowd roared back: “Bernie!”

Sanders bowed: “Not me. Us.”

In the days and weeks that followed, #NotMeUs spread like wildfire through social media. The message was carried from friend to friend through Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Snapchat.

A former congressman who worked closely with Obama confirms this difference: “The Obama moment was about an individual of incredible talent, who people used as a Rorschach test for whatever they believed was wrong about the country. It might be better if Bernie doesn’t win,” he continues. “Movements change things more than presidents.”

Van Jones’s take is similar: “Because of Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton is now having to embrace black women, denounce mass incarceration and pretend that she’s a champion of fair trade.”

RoseAnn DeMore of National Nurses United, who are mobilizing for Sanders, is part of that movement: “We had an uprising in Wisconsin, where the governor was going after the unions. We had Occupy Wall Street, which took the temperature of the country and showed enormous discontent. It had incredible social acceptance for a time. People got the fact that they were part of the 99%.”

“Occupy got shut down, but it simmered. And now here comes Bernie Sanders, the right man with the right message. This is Bernie’s moment, but it’s not just Bernie’s movement. He’s a moment in the movement, and he knows that,” says DeMoro.

Winnie Wong and Charles Lenchner would agree. They are Occupy activists who set up People for Bernie in early 2015, following unsuccessful efforts to draft progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren for president. They came up with the #FeelTheBern rallying-call. Now their Facebook network has far greater engagement than the official campaign’s page, growing 80% in the last week.

“In 2008 the articles about Obama’s victory focussed on how they would go into a state and open an office and train people, whose job was then to train others,” Charles says. “In every single state, Bernie’s people were already there and ready before a single staffer showed up. They’re willing to more or less follow the directives of staff, but they also have a tremendous amount of autonomy. And the way they got there was by using social networking.”

He continues, “A lot of the people who got attracted to the campaign had experience with movements like Occupy or #FightFor15. All these movements have been fuelled by digital tactics. And now that people know what the routine is, they’re like, oh, I’m going to start a page for my neighbourhood, city or constituency. The Sanders team didn’t build it – the Sanders team can’t dismantle it.”

Back in Florida, I talk with Zack Exley and Masha Mendieta. Masha, 27, is an artist-director with an international relations degree. She dived in as a volunteer, then became an intern, organising volunteer coders to build social media amplification tools. Now she works on the Latino outreach team.

Masha compares the experience to falling in love with her fiance. She was at a watch party in a New York bar the night they won New Hampshire. Bernie announced that instead of holding a fundraiser on Wall Street, he was holding one on television. He asked everyone to go to BernieSanders.com, and in the next 30 hours, the campaign raised almost $8m.

“I stood up on the bar in this packed room, and started giving this off-the-cuff speech about the revolution,” says Masha. “This being the moment you stand up, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. People just went wild. It was one of those out-of-body experiences where you just felt, this is it. This is actually happening. These experiences are happening across the country. Now it’s not just my heart that believes it – my brain believes it too.”

Two young Latino volunteers, Erika and Zenia, compere the Miami launch party. You can see them taking and sharing power. Then they hand Tim Canova the mic. He’s a burly economics professor who locals call “The Hurdler”; he leaps garbage bins on his morning run. Now he’s running for Congress, and his target is the DNC chair.

“In 2011, Bernie Sanders appointed me to his advisory committee to reform the Federal Reserve,” he cries. “I never thought I was going to run for political office. Then last year, I got involved in the anti-TPP campaign, trying to lobby my local Congresswoman, and got no response. If you have a $5,000 cheque from a PAC, you get a response from Debbie Wasserman Schulz…!”

“A whole bunch of us thought, somebody’s gotta challenge her in a primary – I didn’t think it was going to be me. But Bernie needs a Bernie Congress. He needs a progressive congress that’s going to vote a New Deal. We’re going to replace Debbie Wasserman Schulz! This is going to be one of those wave elections…”

Before I leave, Zack tells me Corbin and Saikat Chakrabarti, who was one of the first employees at Silicon Valley startup Stripe, are on their way to Miami to figure out how to replicate this volunteer-powered office model nationwide.

The Bernie Sanders movement is a democratic jigsaw of true believers, connecting up and growing by the day. What happens next depends on the American people.

Paul Hilder, Guardian UK

Higgins Hat Tricks Powers Comets

Chris Higgins first American Hockey League hat trick powered the Utica Comets to a 5-3 win over the Providence Bruins Sunday afternoon at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The Comets regulation win snapped the Bruins 23-game point streak on home ice just two games shy of the American Hockey League’s record.

Chris Higgins (3-0-3), Taylor Fedun (0-2-2), T.J. Hensick (0-2-2), and Alexandre Grenier (1-1-2) collected multi-point nights, while Kellen Jones (1-0-1) picked up the game-winning goal with his first goal with the Comets. Richard Bachman made 32 saves for his 13th win of the season. The Comets special teams were a factor in this game as the power-play converted twice on four opportunities against the third best penalty-killing team in the league. The Comets penalty-killing unit was a perfect 2-for-2 against the league’s top ranked power play unit.

Just like yesterday’s game in Albany, the due of Chris Higgins and Alexandre Grenier staked the Comets to 1-0 lead. After he received a pass from Ehrhardt, Grenier appeared to be headed around the back of the net. Before he entered the area of the ice known as “Gretzky’s Office”, Grenier slid a behind-the-back, backhand pass to the slot to Chris Higgins, who one-timed the shot past the Bruins’ goaltender for his third goal in as many games.

The Comets doubled down on their lead when they converted on their first power-play attempt of the game in the opening period’s waning minutes. With the power play unit set-up in the Bruins’ zone, Higgins passed the puck across the blue line to defenseman Taylor Fedun. From there Fedun faked a shot, and instead connected on a pass with Hensick, who was stationed in the far corner. Without missing a beat, Hensick set-up Higgins for a one-time blast from the top of the circle for Higgins’ second goal of the game, and eighth as a Comet.

The Comets appeared to be heading to the break with a 2-0 lead, however, a familiar face had other plans. Former Comets forward, Brandon DeFazio, swept a loose puck past Richard Bachman for his 14th goal of the season with 1.2 seconds remaining in the period.

The Comets power play unit rinsed, washed, and then repeated their efforts from their first power play attempt. The same three players, in the same exact order, factored into the Comets second power-play goal of the evening.  After Fedun found Hensick alone on the half wall, Hensick quickly slid the puck to Higgins in the slot for the one-timer goal to complete the Higgins Hat Trick.

As the second period came to a close the Bruins climbed back to within one once again when Frank Vatrano scored his league-leading 31st goal of the season with a wrist shot from just above the face-off dot to Bachman’s right.

After trailing since the 16 minute mark of the first period, the Bruins finally found the equalizer 5:52 into the third period. Alexander Khokhlachev took a pass from Vatrano and squeaked a shot through the legs of Bachman to tie the game at 3-3.

The Comets once again took the lead, this time for good, a little over halfway through the final period. An incredible individual effort from newcomer, Kellen Jones, ended with the puck sitting nicely in the back of the Bruins net. After Jones gained the Bruins zone, he cut across the crease and wristed a shot to the far side of the net as Jeremy Smith defended the short side.

Grenier scored his team-leading fourth empty-net goal of the season to seal the deal with 1:08 left.

With the win the Comets record improved to 31-21-5-3.

The Comets march to the playoffs takes a few days off before kicking back into high gear on Friday night at The AUD. The St. John’s IceCaps and NHL All-Star Game MVP, John Scott, kick off the Comets season-high five game home stand when they make their final trip to the Mohawk Valley for a 7pm puck drop.