Cash for Guns; Nothing for Butter.
Here’s an item gleaned from reports of the current fiscal goings on in Washington, where priorities continue to be way out of whack:
The base discretionary budget for the Department of Defense is $525 billion for FY2016. That’s the discretionary budget, which means there’s a helluva lot more money that’s earmarked for specific items and projects. Notwithstanding that, Republicans in the House recently voted to increase the Pentagon’s budget for next year by 39 billion dollars.
For several years now, Amtrak’s been getting about $1.4 billion a year in subsidies, just enough to stay in business, but not enough, for example, to afford badly needed new equipment. That $39 billion would keep Amtrak operating at current levels for more than 25 years!
And a month or so ago, some 140 of those same Republicans in the House of Representatives voted in favor of an amendment submitted by Congressman Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) that would have cut off all federal subsidies for Amtrak. In other words, it would have meant the end of all of Amtrak’s long-distance trains. Cooler heads prevailed and the amendment failed.
(No further comment about national priorities. None necessary.)
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And I conclude today’s post by getting a little crankiness off my chest.
We all have mannerisms–little quirky habits we fall into that are sometimes irritating or even offensive to others. My nomination for Most Irritating Mannerism of the Month goes to an Amtrak station agent in New Orleans. When it’s time to start the boarding process, he marches to the gates leading to the platform and bellows, “OK, I want all my sleeping car passengers to line up here!”
Then, moving a couple of paces to his right, he barks, “. . . and I want all my coach passengers to line up here!”
Forgetting for a minute his I’m-sick-of-dealing-with-you tone, what really sets my teeth on edge is hearing him say “MY sleeping car passengers”. I am not HIS passenger, dammit. I am A sleeping car passenger; I have paid top dollar for my ticket; and I will not be yelled at by an officious twit!
And so to bed. Tomorrow I’m going home to Maui … and that’s always a very good feeling.