Wednesday, July 22, 2009


TUESDAY, JULY 21, 2009



Thoughts, observations on N. Williams bike traffic - Portland,Oregon,USA

I attempted to get a decent photo of the "swarm" before they entered
into attack phase, however I could not activate my camera phone in

As some of you know, these bicycle swarms attack buses using two
attack units, the "blockers" and the "confusers".

The bus generally comes upon one of these swarms at red lights. When
the light turns green the swarm breaks up into these two types of
attack units. The "blockers" pedal as fast as they can to get ahead
of the bus, their aim is to prevent the bus from ever getting ahead
of them, thereby "blocking" the bus. See my photo "blockers"

The "confusers" stay behind the bus, swarming to the left and right,
so the driver really never knows where they are or how far back they
are. This of course confuses the driver almost to a state of utter

Like the hyenas of the Serengeti, who relentlessly hound their prey
until they eventually just give up to exhaustion, the bicycle swarms
hope to break down the poor exhausted bus driver!

Tri-Met riders are at the end of the whip

Comment of the day: Tri-Met riders are at the end of the whip

TUESDAY, JULY 21, 2009

Gov’t Agency Withheld Research on Dangers of Cell Phones & Driving

The New York Times reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration under the Bush administration withheld research showing that cell phone use by drivers caused nearly 1,000 fatalities and 240,000 accidents overall in 2002. The agency withheld the evidence in part because of concerns about angering Congress. Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety said, “We’re looking at a problem that could be as bad as drunk driving, and the government has covered it up.” Federal researchers also shelved a draft letter they had prepared for Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta to send, warning states that hands-free laws might not solve the problem. Research shows that motorists talking on a phone are four times as likely to crash as other drivers and are as likely to cause an accident as a drunk driver with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08.

Watchdog: Financial Bailouts Could Cost Taxpayers up to $24 Trillion

The watchdog overseeing the federal government financial bailout says the government’s maximum exposure to banks and other financial institutions could total nearly $24 trillion, or about $80,000 for every American. But Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, said the government would only be on the hook for that much money in a doomsday scenario. Barofsky said, “We’re not suggesting that we’re looking at a potential loss to the government of $23 trillion. Our goal is to bring transparency, to put things in context.” In a report issued Monday, Barofsky also criticized the lack of transparency in the Obama administration’s management of the giant financial services bailout program. Barofsky said the Treasury Department has declined to require bailout recipients to explain what they are doing with their government funds.

Execs, Top Earners Account for More than Third of All US Wages

The Wall Street Journal is reporting the nation’s corporate executives and other highly compensated employees now account for more than one-third of all salaries earned in the United States. According to Social Security Administration figures, top earners pulled in $2.1 trillion of the total $6.4 trillion paid in 2007. The numbers don’t include several types of stock options and other benefits that would add hundreds of millions to the top bracket’s earnings. From 2002 to 2007, the average worker saw a 24 percent pay increase, half the 48 percent increase for the highly paid. The rising pay for top earners appears to be adversely affecting Social Security. With more wages beyond the maximum that can be taxed to contribute to the Social Security trust, less money is available to fund retirement benefits for American workers.