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Category Archives: You Know It’s Bad When…

Calling Out Stolen Valor

Good friend on mine in my early 20’s was a guy who was a Captain in some branch of the Military Police. He was usually in plain clothes when I saw him, and wouldn’t talk about what he actually did, but carried a real Government ID as verified by Military Guards on entry onto one of the local bases for lunch  at the Officer’s Club at one of the local bases. We were hitting the local clubs one night in a busy part of downtown trying to hit on the local “wildlife”, when he spotted a guy in Military Uniform walking down the street. I have never been in the Military, but knew enough about insignia’s to tell that the guy in question was part of the Old Guard, a spit and polish group who represent the Military at funerals and other honors at Arlington Cemetery. My friend shows his ID, calls the guy to attention, and proceeded to rip him a new one on the status of his uniform.

To an outsider it looks like BS, and my friends explanation of his actions really didn’t click in my mind until about year later when I did some work as a contractor at Fort Meyer, where the soldiers of the Old Guard are stationed, and a Cameron Station, a now defunct base nearby. The Old Guard represents the highest level of respect for the Military, and “spit and polish” in terms of presentation. On base, or off base, as long as they are in uniform – it has to be right.

This video hat popped up on YouTube brought me back to that. This young boy, running around in a uniform 3 sizes too large, missing most of the patches and other details trying to fool folks into believing he is a Major…

There is a YouTube channel devoted expressly to exposure of the folks who feel the need to impersonate members of the Military, and even to claim they have “won” various medals for Valor or Service. It is amazing.

 

 
 

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DC Metro May Shut Down Major Lines for 6 Months

The nation’s second busiest subway system may have to shut down service for 6 months in what could be a catastrophic outage for a system which carries 800,000 passengers a day. Once the nation’s crown jewel system, the problems that have brought Metro’ Subway System low are an accumulation of problems over years. About half of the blame rests with how the system is funded, the other half is based on gross incompetence at the middle and senior management level of the Authority.

Metro or the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority is an odd duck in terms of organization due to the fact that a significant portion of it’s budget comes from the Government. Which means Congressional oversight and piddling in the affairs of the company. The Company’s ownership is spread across the 7 jurisdictions it serves in the Washington Metropolitan area, including the Federal Government. The Federal Government is a player here because 53% of the passengers on the system are Federal Employees. As everything from fares to which communities are served is regulated, the company is designed never to make a profit (or even break even), and each served municipality pays a proportional part of the actual operating budget each year.

In function, the Transit Agency works like a Federal Government entity – meaning there is no motivation of the employees to either improve service, to make systems operate more efficiently, or to cut costs…Ergo the old $10,000 Toilet Seat issue. Massive cost overruns are the norm. Massive project failures are the norm. The recent Silver Line expansion ballooned from $1 billion to $3 billion, in large part due to project being managed by the corrupt Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority – a situation created because of lack of faith that Metro could manage such a large project. I mean when the Federal Government is going o take over your local transit authority – not only are things truly f’d up… But they are going to get a lot worse.

While, like any big dollar enterprise, there are incidents of corruption – even to the highest levels of the management structure, there is no evidence of any major corruption issue, or that corruption is the reason behind the Authority’s failure. It really boils down to incompetence within almost the entire senior management structure at the company’s headquarters. As such, confusion, lack of vision, lack of will, turf fights, nepotism, and duplicate organizational functions are the order of the day. And to clarify a point, very little of “the problem” has to do with the rank and file customer facing employees who in general believe in the mission of serving the community and often will go above board to make things right.

Accepting Federal money means the involvement of Congress. It also means Federal Agency Oversight, which in typical form tries to solve problems at the weed level instead of systemic. It means getting whipsawed by political trade winds in Congress, being victim to corruption at the Congressional Level, and dealing with Congressional fingers in the pie at any time. Ergo the Republicans want the system to operate without tax dollars or a fare hike (It’s the same magic which destroyed some of their own states), and the Democrats want the system to operate as a social good vehicle.

A major shutdown of the system could entail putting 500,000 cars onto the Washington area’s already gridlocked streets. It will cost the Federal Government and private businesses Billions of dollars in lost work and revenue. As a Management Consultant who has done rescues, turnarounds and restructurings of companies, and a former employee of Metro, I have a pretty good idea about what needs to be done…And it isn’t initially going to be pretty.

Lengthy Shutdowns in Washington, D.C., Metro System Are Possible

Repairs to Washington’s aging subway could require the closure of entire rail lines for months at a time, the system’s chairman, Jack Evans, said Wednesday. At the very least, Mr. Evans said, riders should expect the closure of segments of individual lines for extended periods.

His remarks were the latest indication that the system, known as Metro, will be facing significant service disruptions as its management confronts financial and safety problems.

“If we are going to fix the infrastructure, we can’t do it three hours at night,” Mr. Evans, who is also a member of the D.C. Council, said at a symposium marking Metro’s 40th anniversary.

“There may be decisions where we have to close down whole lines and repair them, which are going to be very unpopular,” Mr. Evans added. “But the only way that we are going to get this system fixed is to make unpopular decisions.”

Metro officials already closed the system for a day earlier this month for an emergency safety inspection.

Mr. Evans called the system “maybe safe, somewhat unreliable, and being complained about by everybody,” and said that its health long-term requires increased — and a permanent — source of financing, like a regional sales tax and annual federal contributions.

Paul J. Wiedefeld, Metro’s general manager, will announce a systemwide maintenance plan in four to six weeks, a Metro spokesman, Dan Stessel, said Wednesday.

Mr. Wiedefeld, in his own remarks at the Wednesday meeting, said the scale of the transit agency’s woes required drastic measures.

“What we have been doing has not been working,” he said. “We cannot Band-Aid, we cannot paper over some of these issues.”

Both men’s remarks were first reported by The Washington Post.

 

 
 

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DC Metro System Shut Down

How bad is DC’s Metro?

They are shutting down for 24 hrs, over a workday…to “inspect the system”.

That leaves approximately 800,000 daily workday passengers SOL.

I don’t even want to think about what the impact of putting 500,000 more cars on the road tomorrow (3/16/16) will be. The impact to traffic will be worse than the blizzard dumping 3 ft of snow on the area just two short months ago. Since 53% of the riders on Metro are government workers, it may well wind up that there is a Federal Government shutdown as well.

Photo taken inside a DC Metro car during the incident at L’Enfant Station when an electrical feed to the train shorted out

The system has been plagued with numerous problems, both self inflicted, and by the fact that much of the infrastructure is 30-40 years old. Due to the self-inflicted problems the company is not able to keep pace with the repair work necessary to renovate the system. In particular, the electrical system is ancient on the older lines is beyond it’s projected lifecycle causing about a half dozen major incidents in the last year, with a passenger fatality on a stuck train due to smoke inhalation. Just Monday this week, another electrical failure stopped traffic on the system’s busiest tunnel system, shared by 3 lines. One of the lines is still not fully operational.

BTx3 is working from home tomorrow.

This is the section of tunnel which arced and caught fire last year resulting in a passenger fatality, just outside the L’Enfant Metro Station.

Sources: Metrorail Will Shut Down All Day Wednesday for Emergency Investigation of Equipment

The entire D.C. Metro system will shut down for 24 hours starting at midnight and lasting for the entire day Wednesday for an emergency investigation, two sources tell News4.

Metro officials are expected to announce at 4 p.m. Tuesday that they need to inspect as many as 1,200 pieces of equipment, as News4’s Tom Sherwood was first to report.

A cable fire early Monday caused delays on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines throughout the day.

This is an abandoned trolley tunnel under DC, built back in the 1949

This is a current Metro tunnel on the Red Line – the oldest operating line.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2016 in You Know It's Bad When...

 

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Instant Karma for Tailgater

The most aggravating drivers are those that tailgate in a situation where there is no possibility of going faster. Right lane full of slower cars – left lane full of cars passing, and despite 15 cars in front of you –  you have a clown behind you riding your bumper. Had something similar happen some years ago when a clown in a big old Dodge Ram pickup truck decided to tailgate me on a 4 lane rural highway. Guy in front of me was in a pickup carrying a washer and dryer, which he had not secured properly and flew out in the middle of the road. Had just enough time to avoid the hurling appliances because there was a long left turn lane I could dodge into and go around.The “Guts and Glory” moron behind me couldn’t see what was going on because he was so close to my SUV’s rear bumper. That big, supposedly intimidating grill wound up eating the washer…and dryer.

Sometimes…There is justice.

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2016 in You Know It's Bad When...

 

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Florida Judge Picks Fist Fight With Public Defender

Long arm of the law, and the short left hook of justice…

Round 2 –

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2015 in You Know It's Bad When...

 

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Sympathy and Love Pour Out For the People of Paris

Sometimes a picture can say more words than we can express.

This from the artist Banksy –

This from a guys named Bruno Tertrais

A remembrance of a tribute by the French people to our victims of 9-11

The French Embassy in Berlin

The Empire State Building in NYC

The Sydney Australia Opera House-

The Senate Building in Mexico

Hashtag – Pray for Paris –

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2015 in Uncategorized, You Know It's Bad When...

 

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The Long Hard Fall of Olympic Figure Skater and Physician Debi Thomas

How does a World Champion skater, and Olympic Silver Medalist who is a Physician fail?

Debbi Thomas as we remember her –

Here a discussion of her appearing in Iyanla “Fix My Life” on Oprah’s Network…

How An Olympic Icon Ended Up Living In A Bug-Infested Trailer

Debi Thomas used to be a renowned figure skater and a surgeon. Now, she’s broke and unemployed.

From the time Debi Thomas was a young girl, she wanted to grow up to become two things: a renowned figure skater and a practicing physician. She did both.

In the 1980s, Thomas captured the world’s attention from the moment she got onto the ice. While studying for her engineering degree at Stanford University, Thomas won both the U.S. and World Championships. She soon set her sights on Olympic gold. Though her stumbles at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary cost her first place, Thomas took home the bronze and became the first African-American athlete to medal at any Winter Olympics. Then, after a successful figure skating career, Thomas went on to fulfill her second dream. She became a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, eventually opening up her own private practice in Richlands, Virginia.

Today, however, Thomas’ successes seem worlds away.

In between the Olympics and the World Championships, Thomas got married, but says the relationship crumbled after just three years because her husband felt lost in the midst of her popularity. As with her professional stumbles at the Winter Games, Thomas considered this personal stumble to be a failure. Then, more failures: As a physician, Thomas says her high expectations led her to go head-to-head with colleagues, and she was let go from two jobs. Though she had never really wanted to open up her own practice, she did. That’s when another divorce led Thomas to lose her nest egg, she says, and she soon had to close her private practice after two years.

Thomas is currently broke, jobless, twice-divorced and living in a bug-infested mobile home in a trailer park with her fiancé and his two sons. She even lost custody of her own 13-year-old boy, and her fiancé struggles to control both his alcohol use and his anger. Thomas knows it’s time to turn her life around, so she asks life coach Iyanla Vanzant to help her face some harsh truths on a path toward healing….Read the rest Here

 
 

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