Category Archives: Important

US ambassador to Panama steps down

The US ambassador to Panama has resigned from his post, telling the State Department that he can no longer serve under President Trump, according to reports.

He informed the State Department of his intention to step down early Thursday — before Trump reportedly referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole” countries,” a Panamian news outlet reported.

“As a junior foreign service officer, I signed an oath to serve faithfully the president and his administration in an apolitical fashion, even when I might not agree with certain policies,” Feeley said in his resignation letter, Reuters reported.

“My instructors made clear that if I believed I could not do that, I would be honor bound to resign. That time has come,” he added.

The State Department confirmed the departure, saying Feeley has decided to “retire for personal reasons, as of 9 March this year.”

Panama’s DiaaDia reported his resignation before The Washington Post broke the news about Trump’s offensive remarks in an Oval Office meeting with senators about immigration.

Feeley was nominated to the diplomatic post by then-President Obama in July 2015.

The Marine Corps veteran flew amphibious assault helicopters in and over Lebanon in the mid-1980s following the 1983 bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut.

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Too bad the President of Panama did not tell Mr. Trump to “shove our canal up your ass”

Day after China announced they are building a new “container port” miles away the ocean to load and ship containers to the Eastern US.

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Most of Our WebSites are very Popular…BUT Some Need Help

Most of our WebSites are extremely popular. Others are not. A lot of these are because of their titles. They don’t tell enough about the WebSite!

An example is the Second Avenue Subway. It is A LOT of blogs about the Second Avenue Subway.

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Another one is Commuters Conspiracy. The theme is “Did auto, oil conspiracy put the brakes on trolleys?”
Ever wonder what happened to the public transit system in California that included this Red Car in Los Angeles in 1936.

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In the Amsterdam, New York, area, a short spur leaves the old New York Central mainline and goes up a hill to the upper portion of Amsterdam. Once this was a separate railroad. It has continued as a branch under Penn Central, Conrail, and now CSX.

It was known as the Amsterdam, Chuctanunda and Northern Railroad

We have added a section on Adirondack Power and Light: Amsterdam Steam Generating Station.

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When the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern was sold to Canadian National; the trackage on steel mill property was split off of the purchase and became the Gary Railway

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Updated (and changed horrendous picture of Erastus Corning)

Shopping List for Penney!!!

NYC MTA

Still looking for a great gift for PENNEY VANDERBILT….your favorite blogger?

How about a R-42 subway car (the featured image)

Little steep for your budget?

The MTA is offering what it calls the perfect gifts this holiday season: old trash cans, stained bus seats and grimy subway signs.
“Authentic, unique and probably one of the most useful items in every home, work or office now can be yours,” the transit agency crows in a listing for its less-than-iconic trash bins — complete with marks from years of use. “Hurry and grab this rare item which is available in limited quantity.”

The beat-up refuse containers are selling for $300, while two ratty bus seats will put buyers back a cool $500. Meanwhile, a scratched and faded 11-foot-long subway bench is going for $650.

“These wooden benches are an iconic part of the subway experience. This is your chance to get your hands on this underground furniture!” an MTA ad reads.

For those riders whose pockets aren’t as deep, a strip map from the 2 line can be purchased for $25. Some of the items are newly listed on the MTA’s collectibles Web site.

“Anything deemed surplus is sold to the public,” MTA spokesman Jon Weinstein said in an e-mail. “As we say over here at the MTA, one person’s trash (can) is another person’s treasure. This is a great gift opportunity for subway enthusiasts.”

Protecting your holiday packages from ‘porch pirates’

OMG where you live is Always a problem. Nobody can find you (like me) or EVERYBODY can find you.

I live in a little house in the middle of a courtyard. It is isolated, but that is fine. UPS and FedEx are a problem. I do not buy all that much online so only a small problem.

A solution that is used in France is a “RELAIS”. A relay address. A small store that you can send packages to. Go to store, show drivers license, passport, or in France a National ID; pick up your package and go. Don’t drive. NO National ID (I am a worker here, not an “EXPAT). Just show passport.

A really tough QUIZ………How Did You Do???

We published a really tough RAILING QUIZ from 1950

https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/the-new-york-central-railroad-in-1950/

But many readers have trouble reading the answers, AS THEY ARE PRINTED UPSIDE-DOWN.

So will reprint them for you here.

QUESTION #1: What NYC Is Concerned With Grouting?
The Answer is B (MoW)

QUESTION #2: Where Are Flagers Used?
The Answer is A (On Tracks)

QUESTION #3: How Much Does The Central Pay Other Railroads Per Day?
The Answer Is C ($1.75)

QUESTION #4: When Was The First NYCentral Diesel-Electric Put I Service?
The Answer Is C (1924)

QUESTION #5: Under The Railroad Retirement Act, How Much Does The Railroad Pay?
The Answer IS D (6%)

QUESTION #6: What Does The Central Use A REFLECTORSCOPE For?
The ANSWER IS C (FINDING FLAWS IN AXLES)

QUESTION #7: What Ranks Highest IN AAR Opinion Poll?
The Answer Is A (Personal Attention)

QUESTION #8: How Many Credit Unions Are There In The NY Central System?
The Answer Is B (32)

QUESTION #9: How Much Of The World’s Work Is Done By Machines?
The Answer Is D (94%)

QUESTION #10: How Many RAILROAD YMCAs Are Located On The NY Central System?
The Answer Is A (22)

How Home Ownership Became The Engine Of America Inequality

New York Times Magazine via California Rail News

Almost a decade removed from the foreclosure crisis that began in 2008, the nation is facing one of the worst affordable-housing shortages in generations. The standard of “affordable” housing is that which costs roughly 30 percent or less of a family’s income. Because of rising housing costs and stagnant wages, slightly more than half of all poor renting families in the country spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing costs, and at least one in four spends more than 70 percent. Yet America’s national housing policy gives affluent homeowners large benefits; middle-class homeowners, smaller benefits; and most renters, who are disproportionately poor, nothing. It is difficult to think of another social policy that more successfully multiplies America’s inequality in such a sweeping fashion.

5 Ways To Get Around Orange, CA Without A Car

The Panther via California Rail News

The MetroLink station is behind the Marion Knotts Studios at 194 N Atchison St. The schedule and route maps are available on the MetroLink website.

The MetroLink train costs $6.75 to the Los Angeles Union Station and $13.50 for a round trip. From the Los Angeles Union Station, you can continue using public transit by hopping on subways and buses to the location desired. If you’re looking for something cheap and accessible for a longer trip outside of Orange, the MetroLink is one of your best options.

Transportation is high up on the list of what a college student needs. Orange is a central spot for all things Southern California. There’s the beach, San Diego, Los Angeles and everything in between. The only downside to it all is getting there, especially for Chapman students without a car.

“Coming into Chapman, I was so excited about all the places I could go with all the new freedom I have, but then I realized I didn’t have a car to get there,” said Charlotte McDougald, a freshman creative writing major.

Here are a few tricks some students use to get around without a car.

UBER’s Rise From SCAB To Superstar

So in case the term is new to you, what is a SCAB?

The Urban Dictionary defines it as: ” A worker, often temporary, who crosses a strikers’ picket line, going to work in place of the strikers.” An example of usage:
“The scabs had their cars egged when they arrived at the factory.”

SCABS used to be looked down on in America.

Well, this is how UBER arrived on the business scene in 2008.

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What happened? First of all, UBER started using a computer “APP” to order a taxi (or whatever you call it in UBERese).

Uber had some financial problems like trying to break into China. But some smart financial persons solved their money problems by modifying their business plan. Now they are in the “self driving car” business.

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Now they are in the “tech elite” of America!

No word about “scab labor” anymore.

They even got invited to Donald Trump’s “tech conference”. This is the same Donald Trump who counts on support of organized labor embracing a “scab company”.

California could not handle testing of self-driving cars, so they relocated to Arizona

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BEWARE OF MEDIA AND THEIR POLLS: They are not perfect!

The election of 1948 had a lot in common with 2016. It was CLOSE. All kinds of results from polls. Day after election the Chicago Tribune (probably the second biggest newspaper in the United States) ran with a Dewey victory! The single most famous newspaper error…..ever.

Harry Truman was not popular. He had taken over the Presidency when popular President FDR died. Truman ended up making the most important decision in the history of the United States: to drop the Atomic Bomb on Japan.

Thomas E Dewey was the Governor of New York and was relatively unknown throughout the country. Dewey had “made his mark” as New York City District Attorney in successfully prosecuting “The Mob”.

I trust Presidential polls as far as I can throw them. They are only as good as the people who participate in them. I have never been asked to participate in a Presidential poll AND I AM NOT ALONE.

Finally a story about Dewey. In 1948, Presidential Candidates did not rate Secret Service protection. (Not until 1968 when candidate Robert Kennedy was assassinated).

I was on a train from Utica, New York to New York City in 1948 near the election. Our train stopped at Albany Union Station. We looked out the window and saw Governor Thomas E Dewey on the platform headed for OUR TRAIN. He was accompanied by just a single New York State Trooper (in uniform and armed with his service revolver).

Now I thought in 1948 that the New York State Troopers were great and could do anything. My grandfather (at that time Paymaster of the NY Central System) joked that Dewey should have ridden in a “Pay Car”. A Pay Car had a railroad detective and two armed paymasters). Of course, by 1948 all the pay cars had gone to scrap and the whole system was paid by check from Utica (the reason I was born in Utica).

Written by Ken Kinlock

How Hyperloop One Went Off the Rails (Muhammad Ali Hyperlink))

The transportation startup is trying to make a pod levitate in a tunnel, but can it rise above founder clashes and employee lawsuits?

In December 2014, an engineer with the unlikely name Brogan BamBrogan was in the driveway of his clapboard Los Angeles house, loading up his car for a holiday road trip to Northern California, when venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar messaged him for a favor. The two were founders of Hyperloop One, a startup building futuristic tubes to zip people from city to city. Shervin Pishevar, a partner at Sherpa Capital, was the money guy; BamBrogan the chief technical officer. Pishevar’s brother, Afshin Pishevar, was driving west from Washington to join the company as general counsel, and needed a place to stay. BamBrogan and his wife stopped packing, cleaned the bathroom, and tucked a spare key under the front mat of his Los Feliz home. When they returned a few days later, Afshin Pishevar was still there. Their houseplants were littered with cigarette butts.
Twenty months later, neither BamBrogan nor Afshin Pishevar work at Hyperloop One, and in June, BamBrogan and three other former employees filed a lawsuit against the Pishevar brothers and the company, also naming Chief Executive Officer Robert Lloyd and investor Joseph Lonsdale in the suit. It alleges the men didn’t have the company’s interests at heart, and also makes claims of assault and defamation. In its countersuit against BamBrogan and the other ex-employees, Hyperloop One said the insurgent employees were trying to start a competing firm. One dispute surrounds a long, looped rope BamBrogan discovered on his office chair one morning, in the shape of a noose or a lasso, depending on your perspective. There is no mystery over who left it there: his former houseguest, Afshin Pishevar.

Startups, including success stories Facebook and Twitter, often suffer founder clashes, executive churn, and squabbles over equity. But at Hyperloop One, a high-profile company spawned from an idea by Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk, things got very toxic, very fast. The dueling lawsuits and lurid accusations threaten to sully the company’s idealistic mission to create a new form of transportation.
A lawyer representing Hyperloop One, Orin Snyder, a partner at Gibson Dunn, said: “We are confident that at the end of the day it will be obvious that their entire lawsuit was a crass publicity stunt based on lies and smears intended to cover up a failed coup and illegal plot to steal intellectual property and create a competing hyperloop company.” BamBrogan and his co-plaintiffs deny they were attempting a coup. Through his lawyer David Willingham, Afshin Pishevar denied leaving the cigarette butts in BamBrogan’s home.
The company, now run by Lloyd, former Cisco president, is moving forward with plans to make a viable transportation mode out of large pods zooming through tubes. Early next year, Lloyd said, they’ll have their “Kitty Hawk moment,” aiming to levitate a pod inside a tunnel. The test is crucial for persuading investors to sink more money into Hyperloop, whose projects will likely each cost billions of dollars.
“These are big steps for a company that’s only 20 months old,” he said. Although the events of the past few weeks are “not something I would have hoped for,” Lloyd believes they will ultimately make the company stronger. “We all come together more closely when somebody surprises us, or we feel attacked,” he said.

Shervin Pishevar, a well-connected entrepreneur turned venture capitalist, made his name through an early investment in Uber, after having moved to the U.S. from Iran as a child in the late 1970s. He likes to name drop his famous friends, and once flew to Cuba with Musk and actor Sean Penn to try, unsuccessfully, to negotiate for a U.S. political prisoner’s release.

Inspired by Musk’s vision, Shervin Pishevar searched for a technology prodigy to execute it, settling on BamBrogan, a wiry, handlebar-mustachioed former SpaceX engineer. Until 2014, his name had been Kevin Brogan, but he legally changed it to merge names with his wife, Bambi. At Musk’s SpaceX, BamBrogan was employee #23, and a polarizing figure. Known back then as K-Bro, he was the cool kid among the brainy engineers. BamBrogan would organize parties and other diversions for the over-worked 20-somethings. He had plenty of enemies there, though, particularly those who did not feel like part of the BamBrogan clique.
Shervin Pishevar offered him six percent of the company and started raising funds, bringing in Lonsdale, co-founder of the data-analysis behemoth Palantir Technologies. BamBrogan began drawing up designs.
BamBrogan instilled a hard-charging, fast-moving culture at Hyperloop One. He angered quickly, but commanded considerable loyalty. Many employees kept fake million-dollar bills with his image on them taped to their desks. A few months after the company had moved into a former factory in Los Angeles, BamBrogan announced another expansion by bursting through a wall wearing a Kool-Aid suit.
Shervin Pishevar’s brother Afshin worked as a lawyer near Washington for years, with one of his cases landing on Washingtonian Magazine’s 2014 list of top personal-injury verdicts. That year, tragedy struck when his son died in a flying accident, according to the countersuit. Hyperloop offered a fresh start.
Afshin Pishevar eventually found his own apartment, but he and BamBrogan started butting heads. BamBrogan chafed when he thought Afshin Pishevar was slow with paperwork, according to a person familiar with the situation. Through his lawyer Willingham, Afshin Pishevar said startups sometimes act hastily, entering into agreements against their best interests, and it is the chief legal officer’s role to make sure actions are within the letter of the law.
Hyperloop One could sometimes feel like college. Workers stayed late, batting around ideas, playing board games, and eating leftovers from the day’s catered lunch—tacos, curries, burgers. But tight deadlines and regular changes of plan also created stress and led to tiffs, according to former employees. Hyperloop employees often had to tidy up for VIPs arriving for tours. Hosting celebrities like Katy Perry has its perks, but the visits and parties started to wear thin on some. A spokesman for the company, Farrell Sklerov, denied that the events were frequent.

BamBrogan was for a time the interim CEO of Hyperloop One, but a reluctant corporate leader. Last summer, the board hired Lloyd, who started in September. The staff had just received raises, and spirits ran high. To celebrate, everyone whacked at a piñata that spilled out fake bank notes emblazoned with images of Lloyd and other executives.
Meanwhile, Afshin Pishevar was the subject of several complaints alleging “unprofessional outbursts,” according to the July lawsuit filed by BamBrogan and other former Hyperloop employees. In one instance, learning of an internal meeting that didn’t include him, Afshin Pishevar joined the gathering and in a raised voice demanded to know why he wasn’t invited, where one of the participants went to college, and when he had graduated, according to a person present at the meeting. BamBrogan and others hoped Lloyd would rein in Afshin Pishevar. Lloyd declined to discuss Afshin Pishevar’s tenure. Through Willingham, Afshin Pishevar denied behaving unprofessionally.
At first, Lloyd promised overhauls, and some hoped that meant the departure of Afshin Pishevar, people familiar with the situation said. Sklerov denied Lloyd ever said he would fire Afshin Pishevar.
In an interview, Lloyd was reluctant to rehash the past, but made plain he preferred spending time on areas where his big-company background makes a difference, such as negotiating partnerships and hiring top-notch staff. “You focus on the things you can control,” Lloyd said, speaking generally.
Lloyd oversaw a major funding push, raising an additional $80 million this year, bringing total capital raised to over $100 million. But to some, the fundraising exacerbated another grievance: employee equity. BamBrogan had received additional shares as the company arranged the $80 million fundraising round, according to Hyperloop One’s counterlawsuit, but most employees had not. Some wanted more.
Meanwhile, Lloyd had his own frustrations with BamBrogan, meeting with him on at least five occasions to discuss “negative and disruptive behavior,” according to the countersuit. BamBrogan said the meetings were to discuss Lloyd’s performance, not his.
In one instance, BamBrogan smashed a beer bottle when angered, according to the countersuit; BamBrogan acknowledged smashing the bottle outside.
By late spring, BamBrogan believed the time had come to hold a frank discussion with Shervin Pishevar to press him again on the employee equity and other issues. He was able to corner Shervin Pishevar at the test site in the Nevada desert where the company was gearing up to show off its propulsion system. The two exchanged “tough words” about equity, the tours, and other concerns, BamBrogan said, but they agreed to work things out.
The propulsion system test in mid-May was successful: They managed to accelerate a sled on a track to 116 miles per hour in just over a second. Reporters gathered around BamBrogan, Lloyd and Shervin Pishevar embracing. But things were still tense. And back in Los Angeles, little seemed to change.
By late May, a group of top employees decided to take action. They convened in Ripley, a conference room named after the monster-battling character in the movie “Alien.” They drew up demands, including engineering representation on the board in the form of BamBrogan and engineering president Josh Giegel, more equity for staff, and an end to Shervin Pishevar’s tenure as executive chairman, according to the litigation. The group hoped that Lloyd, just back from a China business trip, would sign the letter, too. They called him, but he declined.
The company has its own take. In its countersuit, Hyperloop One said BamBrogan, former vice president of business development Knut Sauer, former assistant general counsel David Pendergast, and former finance vice president William Mulholland were seeking to take over the company or start a rival company, even purchasing the domain name “Hyperlooptoo.com.” The plaintiffs issued a statement labeling the countersuit “complete fiction,” but added that once their “attempted intervention” antagonized board members, it wasn’t surprising they considered “looking for other work.”
Lloyd wasn’t caught off guard by the letter’s demands, but something else gnawed at him. “I was surprised by the tone, and the aggression,” he said. “And suggested there were better ways to work things out.”

Board member Justin Fishner-Wolfson was deputized to patch things up. On May 31, he met for seven hours with the disgruntled employees, having worked over Memorial Day weekend with other board members on a response that incorporated many of the employees’ demands, including changing equity provisions, according to the countersuit.
The group kept coming to work. On the morning of June 15th, employees who signed the letter were gathering once again in Ripley, preparing to meet with Fishner-Wolfson and Lloyd. BamBrogan entered, wheeling his desk chair. On it rested a rope, looped at the end. To BamBrogan, it was a noose and a threat. The company insists it was a lasso, saying in its countersuit that Afshin Pishevar intended it “for someone acting like a cowboy.” Through Willingham, Afshin Pishevar said designating the rope a noose amounts to “an ill-fated attempt to bolster a meritless lawsuit.”
Gathered around the reception desk reviewing security video footage, several staff members watched a grainy image of Afshin Pishevar walking toward BamBrogan’s desk late the night before, rope in hand. He was angry that BamBrogan had notified Russian investors of the group’s grievances shortly before Shervin Pishevar was due to meet with them, according the countersuit.
The countersuit cited a text Shervin Pishevar had sent his brother on the night of the incident: “One comment and guidance. Act completely calm and don’t show any emotion. Don’t say anything negative or provide any ammunition for them to use against us, our family, or our company. Thanks.” Willingham declined to comment on the text.
Afshin Pishevar admitted leaving the rope, according to the countersuit. Another person familiar with the situation characterized the rope as a “prank.” Prank or threat, within the hour, he was fired and escorted out of the building. The police arrived. Lawyers convened.
By day’s end, Pendergast was also fired. The next day, BamBrogan, Sauer and Mulholland resigned, and weeks later, they and Pendergast filed their lawsuit alleging breach of fiduciary duty and other claims. Within days, the company responded with its countersuit, also alleging claims including breach of fiduciary duty.

Sarah McBride
@mcbridesg