Traitor, Seduction and Other Nasty Terms

The picture at the top is Benedict Arnold. He is synonymous with TRAITOR. I hope you all remember him from high school. If not, I will have to write a blog on the demise of the education system.

The next guy is REPUBLICAN Congressman Doug Lamborn from Colorado who says he and like-minded House Republicans are trying to destabilize the American military in order to foil American foreign policy abroad. No really, he’s bragging about it. This GOP congressman says he’s urging American generals to resign rather than follow president’s orders.

Doug the Colorado Congressman
Doug the Colorado Congressman

That is exactly what Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) told a group of voters he wants to see happen, the Colorado Independent reported.

A lot of us are talking to the generals behind the scenes, saying, ‘Hey, if you disagree with the policy that the White House has given you, let’s have a resignation,’” Lamborn said Tuesday, adding that if generals resigned en masse in protest of President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy, they would “go out in a blaze of glory.”

Lamborn, it should be noted, is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Remember the Bush years, when we were being told that not supporting the president during a time of war was tantamount to hating America, and that we had to “watch what we say,” and American intelligence agencies were monitoring anti-war groups like the Quakers under the suspicion that they might damage the war effort.

If you’re meeting with American military generals and telling them to quit en masse to be able to undermine the president’s ability to conduct military operations, what the hell do you call that?

I’ll wait. I am dying to hear the explanation for this one.

Now the third picture is golfer Phil Mickelson.

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson

The Ryder Cup ended Sunday with the US team loosing, but the most entertaining part of the week for the USA side may have come off the course in the post-event press conference. All 12 members sat on a dais for a joint press conference, and thankfully Phil Mickelson was seated on the far left, well away from Captain Tom Watson’s position in the center.

In a horribly tense and awkward press conference for the USA team, but delightfully entertaining for the audience, Mickelson savaged Watson’s captaincy this week, and did so on several occasions. The most notable critique was the overall Team USA deviation from the 2008 “pod” strategy put in place by then-captain Paul Azinger.

My conclusion is PHIL IS NOT A TEAM PLAYER. Imagine him trying to survive in a REAL team sport. Even the baseball, football and basketball SUPER STARS respect their coach.

Yes, I know golf is not USUALLY a team sport.

Guess Phil should just compete as an individual and not ever again accept an invitation on a team. He would NOT if I was the Captain.

Guy’s head gets bigger as Tiger’s goes to normal. The rest of the team flew over TOGETHER on a chartered plane. But not Phil. REAL TEAM SPIRIT PHIL! Guess he did not want to sit for a while with a group of golfers he feels superior to and a Captain who he hates his guts.


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Not Very Nice, But True

Managers can get away with paying women less than men, for essentially the same work. That’s according to Australian entrepreneur Evan Thornley.

Thing is, Thornley is just saying what everyone knows. He’s just saying it in a slightly (okay, brazenly) illegal way.

At a startup conference in Sydney, the co-founder of online advertising startup LookSmart said he just loves to hire women. But think twice before you start handing out the feminist props. According to a story in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, his reasoning goes like this: “Call me opportunistic; I thought I could get better people with less competition because we were willing to understand the skills and capabilities that many of these women had.” Thornley explained that by hiring women, he can get better-qualified employees who take on more responsibility. 

Here’s the kicker that’s got him into hot water: “And [women were] still often relatively cheap compared to what we would’ve had to pay someone less good of a different gender,” said Thornley. I’ll go out on a limb and assume that “different gender,” in this context, means guys.

In case anyone in the audience still didn’t get the point, Thornley illustrated it with a slide that included a photo of two businesswomen high-fiving. The picture was titled, “Women: Like Men, Only Cheaper.” The irony is that the photo also included the caption, “If you don’t like it, help us right it.”

Naturally, after a stream of criticism, including one article titled, “Well, s—, that was a dumb thing to do at a startup conference,” Thornley is backpedaling. He would never, ever pay women less than men for doing the same job, he says. That would be discriminatory, of course, and for an employer doing it intentionally and systematically, illegal.

Despite all the hoopla, we all knew this already. It’s just that no one was boneheaded enough to say it so blatantly and so publicly. When people talk about this, they generally code it. In the earlier part of Thornley’s comments–the part that no one seems to have upset exactly no one–he says he can hire women with “less competition.” You don’t have to be a genius to understand that “less competition” means these women aren’t getting competing job offers, and that therefore they’ve got way less leverage to negotiate any lowball offer Thornley throws their way. If there’s “less competition” for their talents, Thornley can pay them less.

Whenever someone talks about an undervalued investment, or one for which there is no competition, we understand immediately what they’re talking about: It’s cheap. For some reason, when the same language is applied to people, we pretend not to understand the implications. We need someone to actually come out and say, “I pay them less”–as Thornley pretty much did–before we get upset.

Many investors who invest in women-owned companies, or companies run by people of color, or people who are economically disadvantaged, use the same language, and make similar references to a lack of competition and undervalued talent. They say they’ve discovered a market niche where they can make investments with less competition. You’re crazy to think that doesn’t mean they get better investment terms. And we don’t pillory them. We laud them for putting money into businesses that more traditional investors are unwilling to back.

Personally, I’d like to thank Thornley for his ridiculous gaffe. After all, there’s plenty of research showing that women get paid less than men, and for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance. But these findings often meet with a response that is breathtaking in its creativity, as skeptics look for ways to show that women are somehow mysteriously less qualified, less committed, or harder to manage than men. Thanks to Thornley, we’ve been presented with a striking verification that, at least at one company run by one CEO, women are paid less simply because they’re women. Should we really believe Thornley is the only one?



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Transit Security New York and New Jersey

Responding to new global concerns over terrorism threats, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced plans to beef up security immediately at transportation hubs and bi-state transit infrastructure.

The governors signed a memorandum of understanding that features protocols under which the two states will begin intelligence gathering and information sharing to protect residents and critical infrastructure. The signing came nine days after the governors held an op-level security meeting in New York with national, state and local law enforcement and security heads to begin mapping out an improved, coordinated anti-terrorism plan, according to a press release issued by Cuomo’s office.

Over the next 100 days, a surge in law enforcement and military personnel will join forces within the metropolitan area to engage in counterterrorism operations by increasing visibility, inspections and surveillance on trains and at stations, airports, landmarks, and bridges and tunnels. Also, New York and New Jersey will participate in a joint emergency exercise in the coming months and continue to evaluate methods for increased intelligence and emergency coordination, officials said.

“The New York City area has always been a top target for terrorists wishing to spread hatred and fear, and we would be in a state of denial to say that what is going on internationally has not raised that danger,” said Cuomo.

Added Christie: “We know that our people and assets remain a target in the minds of depraved individuals around the globe, even in the homeland, and we are gravely committed to protecting and defending ourselves against the threat.”

The MOU addresses three areas of coordination: enhanced intelligence gathering and information sharing; critical transit infrastructure protection; and reciprocal law enforcement powers between New Jersey and New York.

Also in the MOU, protections of critical transit infrastructure — Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) bridges, tunnels, ports and airports — will be increased through law enforcement deployment, visibility and security inspections.

An increased presence of uniformed National Guard, New York State Police, New Jersey State Police, PANYNJ Police and various partner law enforcement agency will be noticable to provide a visible deterrent to criminal activity.


Over the next few weeks, PANYNJ will increase and regularly evaluate its police coverage at airports, bridges and tunnels, bus terminals and stations, PATH, the World Trade Center and ports. Also, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will increase uniformed officer presence by 30 percent to 50 percent at high-volume .

stations, increase random bag checks, increase checks and curbside sweeps at stations and terminals, and monitor security video of high-profile locations throughout Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, New York City Transit, MTA Bridges and Tunnels, and Lower Manhattan Security Initiative command centers.

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Bayonne Bridge raising is delayed six months

We have been talking about the Panama Canal expansion. One of the important projects is the Bayonne Bridge in New York harbor.

Last winter’s harsh weather has caused a six-month delay in completion of a project to raise the Bayonne Bridge’s clearance to allow passage by larger container ships at the Port of New York and New Jersey.

The new schedule calls for the bridge’s 151-foot-high roadway to be raised to 215 feet by the summer of 2016 — still in time for the expected opening that year of larger locks at the Panama Canal, port authority officials said.

Under the original schedule,  the roadway bridge between Bayonne, New Jersey, and Staten Island, New York, was to have been raised by the end of 2015 while work continued for several months on roadways and approaches. The overall project now is set for completion in 2017.

The bridge’s existing clearance is too low for large container ships sailing to and from terminals in Port Newark-Elizabeth or New York Container Terminal. The port’s other major terminal, Global Terminal in Bayonne, is seaward of the bridge.

Interest in raising the Bayonne Bridge extends coastwide. Carriers want to be able to deploy larger ships to call multiple East Coast ports. That’s difficult to do when the ships face bridge clearance limitations in New York-New Jersey, the East Coast’s busiest port.

Many ships now passing under the bridge must do so at low tide or with partial loads, extra ballast, or retractable antennas. Last April the Coast Guard warned that it would issue citations to ships that fail to to ensure they can clear the bridge safely.

Completion of the Panama Canal’s expansion adds to the pressure to finish the bridge-raising project. Canal locks under construction will handle ships capable of using the full 50-foot depth of New York-New Jersey channels being dredged under a decade-long project that’s nearing completion.

The port authority said a series of blizzards last winter limited construction work days, and that the project encountered delays delays related to utility work at the the site and in fabrication of precast piers.

The port authority said it is “confident that these issues have been resolved,” and that the project remains within its $1.3 billion budget, which includes a $743 million construction contract awarded to Skanska Koch Inc./Kiewit Infrastructure Co. Construction is approximately 25 percent complete, the port authority said.

Raising the bridge is a complicated engineering and construction challenge. Vehicular traffic on the bridge is continuing while sections of the roadway are demolished and a higher roadway is built  within the span’s existing structure.

The port authority said construction of piers for longer approaches to the bridge will be conducted during daytime hours to minimize noise for residents near the bridge. Assembly of construction gantries, a device that carries precast concrete roadway deck sections to the new piers, will begin this month.

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Comets Sell Out The Kennedy Arena

The Utica Comets’ preseason game with the Adirondack Flames is sold out. 

The American Hockey League teams will meet Oct. 3 at Rome’s Kennedy Arena. The Flames, formerly the Abbotsford Heat, are the affiliate of the Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League. 

Last year, the Comets also played their lone home exhibition game at Kennedy Arena against the Adirondack Phantoms – now based in Allentown, Pa. – and winning, 4-2. 

The Comets will play road exhibitions Oct. 1, when they visit the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and Oct. 4, when they play the Flames again at the Glens Falls Civic Center. The Comets open the regular season Oct. 11 on the road against the Toronto Marlies. Their first home game is Oct 23 against Adirondack.

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Memories of Commuters on Bar Cars

We covered a lot on the end of the bar cars on the New Haven Line. Plus even more on bar cars. What have never seen until now are great pictures of folks riding those cars. Now the only picture we own is outside shot of the most famous bar car.

But the Connecticut Post has come to our rescue with 17 pictures from 1961 .

View of commuters as they drink on the New York New Haven train, New York, New York, 1961. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

The bar car is no more as Metro-North did away with the practice through attrition this year, but in recent years it was not what it once was. Maybe that’s a good thing.

In combing through the archives, they ran across these wonderful photographs from Alfred Eisenstadt, the LIFE photographer famous for his “V-J Day kiss” photo.

Eisenstadt gives us this unique look at the Mad Men-era bar car on the New Haven Line, circa 1960

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NY City’s Montague Street Tunnel Reopens After Hurricane sandy

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) leaders and New York City elected officials to mark the restoration of normal R Line subway service between Brooklyn and Manhattan, following the rebuilding of the Montague Tube damaged during Hurricane Sandy.
The $250 million project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, during a full shutdown of the subway tunnel that runs under the East River. During the October 2012 storm, about 27 million gallons of water poured into a 4,000-foot stretch of the tunnel. The saltwater corroded every element of subway infrastructure, from electronic signal equipment to lighting to steel rails, according to MTA.

The tunnel repair project’s completion marks “another huge step forward to repair the damage and strengthen the system to withstand the next major storm,” Cuomo said in a press release.

“New York’s transit network suffered more damage during Sandy than anyone at the MTA has ever seen in our lifetimes. The effort required to rebuild the Montague Tube was nothing short of heroic,” said MTA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Prendergast.


The Montague Tube was shut down Aug. 3, 2013, to provide workers unfettered access to remove damaged equipment from the two tunnels and demolish concrete and terra cotta duct banks in both tubes that had collapsed. Construction crews had to enter the 4,000-foot section under the East River from entry points in Manhattan and Brooklyn, removing all debris and bringing in all equipment and tools through the tunnels themselves. Crews replaced 11,000 feet of track, 30,000 feet of concrete and terra cotta duct banks, 75,000 feet of power cable and 200,000 feet of communications cable, MTA officials said.

This tunnel was opened in 1920

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is leaning toward a weekend-only format for closures of the Cranberry Street Tunnel, which requires substantial work to replace equipment damaged by flood waters during Hurricane Sandy. Work is expected to start within the first three months of 2015.


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Getting Small

The IoT (Internet of Things) is getting closer all the time. Of course it’s easy to think about connecting your thermostat (already done), your refrig (already done) and your TV (also already done). But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Two of the main stumbling blocks to proliferation are price and size. But that’s about to change in a big way, paving the way for the replacement of RFID devices as supply chain management tools.

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Amtrak readies ‘Great Dome’ car for six-week run on Adirondack service

Amtrak plans to place its “Great Dome” rail car into service on the Adirondack route for a six-week run starting Sept. 25 to provide passengers with a better view of the fall foliage in upstate New York.

In partnership with the New York State Department of Transportation and the National Park Service Trails and Rails program, the railroad will again offer its one remaining dome car for what has become a popular annual tradition along the scenic route, Amtrak officials said in a press release.

The dome car features an upper level with windows on all sides to provide panoramic views of foliage changing colors, as well as of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains between Albany, N.Y., and Montreal.

The dome car will operate northbound from Albany to Montreal on Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays, and will return south from Montreal on Fridays, Sundays and Tuesdays. The car will be available through Nov. 4.

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