Soulful Sunday – This New Creature

Real Bold Truth

The woman I am today hasn’t been around all that long. I’m not use to her but I want to get to know her better because I like her an awful lot!

You see, I’ve known the old me longer than the new. The old is familiar and comfortable. I have over 30 years of history with her and I know what to expect. But she’s dark, oppressed, depressed, lacks a healthy self image and confidence. This new demeanor is bold, aggressive, feels she can do anything she puts her mind too, will tackle matters even if she feels scared and refuses to give up! She’s only been around for a very short time. Where has this chick been all my life!!!

As a believer in Christ Jesus, I wish I could say that the transformation from the old to the new was some instantaneous metamorphosis! Well, it hasn’t been!…

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Amtrak President Boardman Will Be Gone In September: Who’s Going To Replace Him?

ntbraymer

By Noel T. Braymer

A recent Blog by Fred Frailey on the Trains Magazine website brought up this September’s retirement of Joe Boardman. Nothing so far has been announced by the Amtrak Board of Directors on who his successor will be. Fred Frailey speculated that an interim president selected by Boardman would be likely and that Stephen Gardner, who is Amtrak’s executive vice president for Northeast Corridor Development would get the job. Frailey went on to point out that Boardman was originally named an interim President after then Amtrak President Kummant resigned 8 years ago.  Boardman, then the FRA administrator for the George W. Bush Administration clearly needed a new job after 2008. The assumption seems to be that Boardman who has made hints of wanting to appoint his successor is pushing for an insider at Amtrak to replace him. Is this a good idea? I don’t think so.

Amtrak…

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Genesee & Wyoming to acquire Providence and WorcesterGenesee & Wyoming to acquire Providence and Worcester

Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) will acquire Providence and Worcester Railroad Co. (P&W) under a proposed merger agreement announced late last week.

Under the agreement, G&W will acquire P&W for $25 per share of common stock, or $126 million in cash. The acquisition is expected to close after P&W shareholder approval in the fourth quarter, the companies announced in press releases.

G&W will fund the acquisition through its revolving credit facility under which it had available capacity of $542 million as of June 30, company officials said.Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W) will acquire Providence and Worcester Railroad Co. (P&W) under a proposed merger agreement announced late last week.

Under the agreement, G&W will acquire P&W for $25 per share of common stock, or $126 million in cash. The acquisition is expected to close after P&W shareholder approval in the fourth quarter, the companies announced in press releases.

G&W will fund the acquisition through its revolving credit facility under which it had available capacity of $542 million as of June 30, company officials said.

Northeast_region folding map

P&W’s headquarters is in Worcester, Mass. The railroad employs 140 people, owns 32 locomotives and operates over 163 miles of owned track and 350 miles under track access agreements. It has exclusive freight access over Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor between New Haven, Conn., and Providence, R.I., and trackage rights over MTA Metro-North Railroad, Amtrak and CSX between New Haven, Conn., and Queens, N.Y.

P&W interchanges with G&W’s New England Central Railroad (NECR) and Connecticut Southern Railroad, as well as with CSX, Norfolk Southern Corp., Pan Am Railways, Pan Am Southern, the Housatonic Railroad and the New York and Atlantic Railroad, and also connects to CN and Canadian Pacific via NECR.

If the acquisition is approved by the Surface Transportation Board, P&W would be managed as part of G&W’s Northeast region led by Senior Vice President Dave Ebbrecht.

The acquisition would enhance G&W’s service to customers and Class Is in New England, G&W officials said.

“The acquisition of P&W is an excellent strategic fit with G&W’s contiguous railroads, the New England Central and the Connecticut Southern,” said G&W President and Chief Executive Officer Jack Hellmann.

P&W also would enable G&W to “realize substantial immediate cost savings, to share and optimize the utilization of equipment and other assets, and to unlock significant new customer opportunities across sister G&W railroads as well as connecting partners at two Canadian Class I Railroads, two U.S. Class I Railroads and two regional railroads,” Hellmann added.

For P&W, the acquisition “ensures that our company will continue to provide the quality of service which our customers and the communities we serve have enjoyed over the 40-plus years since we recommenced independent operations while at the same time continuing and improving on our programs to promote employee and community safety,” said P&W Chairman and CEO Robert Elder.

In the first year of operation post-acquisition, G&W officials anticipate P&W would generate $35 million in revenue.

Why President Hillary Clinton Will Need Bernie’s “Political Revolution” to Get Anything Done

It looks increasingly likely that Hillary Clinton, a self-described “progressive who likes to get things done,” will have her chance starting next January. But how much that’s progressive will she actually be able to get done?

The Senate may flip to the Democrats but there’s almost no way Democrats will get the sixty votes they need to stop Republicans from filibustering everything she says she wants to do.

She’s unlikely to have a typical presidential honeymoon because she won’t be riding a wave of hope and enthusiasm that typically accompanies a new president into office. She’s already more distrusted by the public than any major candidate in recent history. On Election Day many Americans will be choosing which candidate they loathe the least.

She hasn’t established a powerful mandate for what she wants to get done. Her policy proposals are admirably detailed but cover so much ground that even her most ardent supporters don’t have a clear picture of what she stands for. And she’s had to spend more time on the campaign trail attacking Trump’s outrage du jour than building a case for a few big ideas.

To say nothing of the moneyed interests – wealthy individuals, big corporations, and Wall Street –that are more powerful today than at any time since the Gilded Age, and don’t want progressive change.

Even if Hillary sincerely intends to raise taxes on rich Americans in order to pay for universal child care, affordable higher education, and infrastructure spending, the moneyed interests have the clout to stop her.

They’ll also resist any effort to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour, require employers to offer paid family leave, or push them to share their profits with employees.

The heart of American politics is now a vicious cycle in which big money has enough political influence to get laws and regulations that make big money even bigger, and prevent laws and rules that threaten its wealth and power.

Before Hillary can accomplish anything important, that vicious cycle has to be reversed. But how?

Bear with me a moment for some pertinent history.

As economist John Kenneth Galbraith noted in the 1950s, a key legacy of the New Deal was creating centers of economic power that offset the power of giant corporations and Wall Street: labor unions, small retail businesses, local banks, and political parties active at the state and local levels.

These alternative power centers supported policies that helped America’s vast middle and working classes during the first three decades after World War II – the largest infrastructure project in American history (the Interstate Highway program), a vast expansion of nearly-free public higher education, Medicare and Medicaid, and, to pay for all this, high taxes on the wealthy. (Between 1946 and 1980, the top marginal tax rate never dipped below 70 percent.)

But over the last three decades, countervailing power has almost vanished from American politics. Labor unions have been decimated. In the 2012 presidential election, the richest 0.01 percent of households gave Democratic candidates more than four times what unions contributed to their campaigns.

Small retailers have been displaced by Walmart and Amazon. Local banks have been absorbed by Wall Street behemoths.

And both political parties have morphed into giant national fund-raising machines. The Democratic National Committee, like its Republican counterpart, is designed mainly to suck up big money.

So where can Hillary look for the countervailing power she’ll need to get the progressive changes she says she wants?

The most promising source of a new countervailing power in America was revealed in Bernie Sanders’s primary campaign: millions of citizens determined to reclaim American democracy and the economy from big money. (Donald Trump’s faux populism tapped into similar sentiments, but, tragically, has channeled them into bigotry and scapegoating.)

That movement lives on. Organizers from the Sanders campaign have already launched Brand New Congress, an ambitious effort to run at least 400 progressive candidates for Congress in 2018, financed by crowd-sourced small donations and led by a nationwide network of volunteers. Sanders himself recently announced the formation of “Our Revolution,” to support progressive candidates up and down the ticket.

Hillary Clinton has been relying on big money to finance her presidential campaign, but she’s always been a pragmatist about governing. “A president has to deal in reality,” she said last January in response to Sanders. “I am not interested in ideas that sound good on paper but will never make it in real life.”

The pragmatist in her must know that the only way her ideas will make it in real life is if the public is organized and mobilized behind them.

Which means that once she enters the Oval Office, she’ll need the countervailing power of a progressive movement – ironically, much like the one her primary opponent championed.

t looks increasingly likely that Hillary Clinton, a self-described “progressive who likes to get things done,” will have her chance starting next January. But how much that’s progressive will she actually be able to get done?

The Senate may flip to the Democrats but there’s almost no way Democrats will get the sixty votes they need to stop Republicans from filibustering everything she says she wants to do.

She’s unlikely to have a typical presidential honeymoon because she won’t be riding a wave of hope and enthusiasm that typically accompanies a new president into office. She’s already more distrusted by the public than any major candidate in recent history. On Election Day many Americans will be choosing which candidate they loathe the least.

She hasn’t established a powerful mandate for what she wants to get done. Her policy proposals are admirably detailed but cover so much ground that even her most ardent supporters don’t have a clear picture of what she stands for. And she’s had to spend more time on the campaign trail attacking Trump’s outrage du jour than building a case for a few big ideas.

To say nothing of the moneyed interests – wealthy individuals, big corporations, and Wall Street –that are more powerful today than at any time since the Gilded Age, and don’t want progressive change.

Even if Hillary sincerely intends to raise taxes on rich Americans in order to pay for universal child care, affordable higher education, and infrastructure spending, the moneyed interests have the clout to stop her.

They’ll also resist any effort to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour, require employers to offer paid family leave, or push them to share their profits with employees.

The heart of American politics is now a vicious cycle in which big money has enough political influence to get laws and regulations that make big money even bigger, and prevent laws and rules that threaten its wealth and power.

Before Hillary can accomplish anything important, that vicious cycle has to be reversed. But how?

Bear with me a moment for some pertinent history.

As economist John Kenneth Galbraith noted in the 1950s, a key legacy of the New Deal was creating centers of economic power that offset the power of giant corporations and Wall Street: labor unions, small retail businesses, local banks, and political parties active at the state and local levels.

These alternative power centers supported policies that helped America’s vast middle and working classes during the first three decades after World War II – the largest infrastructure project in American history (the Interstate Highway program), a vast expansion of nearly-free public higher education, Medicare and Medicaid, and, to pay for all this, high taxes on the wealthy. (Between 1946 and 1980, the top marginal tax rate never dipped below 70 percent.)

But over the last three decades, countervailing power has almost vanished from American politics. Labor unions have been decimated. In the 2012 presidential election, the richest 0.01 percent of households gave Democratic candidates more than four times what unions contributed to their campaigns.

Small retailers have been displaced by Walmart and Amazon. Local banks have been absorbed by Wall Street behemoths.

And both political parties have morphed into giant national fund-raising machines. The Democratic National Committee, like its Republican counterpart, is designed mainly to suck up big money.

So where can Hillary look for the countervailing power she’ll need to get the progressive changes she says she wants?

The most promising source of a new countervailing power in America was revealed in Bernie Sanders’s primary campaign: millions of citizens determined to reclaim American democracy and the economy from big money. (Donald Trump’s faux populism tapped into similar sentiments, but, tragically, has channeled them into bigotry and scapegoating.)

That movement lives on. Organizers from the Sanders campaign have already launched Brand New Congress, an ambitious effort to run at least 400 progressive candidates for Congress in 2018, financed by crowd-sourced small donations and led by a nationwide network of volunteers. Sanders himself recently announced the formation of “Our Revolution,” to support progressive candidates up and down the ticket.

Hillary Clinton has been relying on big money to finance her presidential campaign, but she’s always been a pragmatist about governing. “A president has to deal in reality,” she said last January in response to Sanders. “I am not interested in ideas that sound good on paper but will never make it in real life.”

The pragmatist in her must know that the only way her ideas will make it in real life is if the public is organized and mobilized behind them.

Which means that once she enters the Oval Office, she’ll need the countervailing power of a progressive movement – ironically, much like the one her primary opponent championed.

Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Website

Falcon Boy: Vol. 1: 54 ‘We are Panic Town’s favourite superheroes’ Part II

Barnaby Taylor

‘Who are you and what do you want?’ she demanded haughtily. ‘We are Doodah and we don’t have time for our fans just now.’

Deirdre considered smiling but couldn’t quite manage it. The best she could do was not growl.

Doodah3‘Could you please all leave straight away?’ she said through gritted teeth. ‘If you are really lucky, then maybe one day you might be fortunate enough to win a competition to meet one of our assistants. Until then, I must ask you all to please go away now before I have you removed.’

‘But…’ said Falcon Boy, despite everything that had just been said and the look of real hatred dawning on Deirdre’s face.

‘Leave…’ said Deirdre, her hackle well and truly up now.

‘Please…’ pleaded Falcon Boy pleadingly, and here we now find ourselves in a very difficult situation.

It is one thing to admire someone for something, as…

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