Monthly Archives: December 2013

BARRY’S BLOG: Monday 12-9-10

I marvel at the naivety of out high level politicians when they make major statements following a disaster, on how they want to proceed with solutions. The train reck a couple of weeks ago North of New York City killing 4 and hurting over 100 passengers has brought out Chuck Shumer, New York Senator, with a suggestion that trains should be installed with cameras that look in and out of the engine. This should be an embarrassment and Chuck, or his staff should think out these statements before he gets on TV. I would like to interview Chuck and ask these obvious questions:

“Senator, what would be the reason to have tv cameras on these trains? Would it allow us to see the engineer fall asleep, then watch helplessly as the train leaves the track and crashes into the river? ”

“Senator, who would be watching the views from these camera’s? Would there be a new Government agency that would sit in Washington 24 by 7 and watch all these cameras, sort of like the security people in Las Vegas watching walls of cameras that are trained on the doors, games, and employees?” “Would there be government employees manning these rooms watching the several thousand trains each day on the rail systems, and who would pay for that?”

“Senator, are you considering having these camera’s feed the internet and be on UTUBE so we could all watch these engineers fall asleep, and then watch the crash?”

I would also like to ask the Senator if he has driven the new versions of Mercedes, BMW and Volvo vehicles which have sensors that alert the driver they are falling asleep or drifting out of their lane. One of them can sense a stoppage or pending accident two vehicles ahead, and apply breaks while warning the driver of the danger.

I guess I suffer from disappointment that some of our top political leaders sometimes to appear in public so far behind in knowledge of our incredible technology position in the world that they appear stupid. I don’t think Chuck Shumer is stupid…..and a message to the staff’s that serve our leaders……For God’s sake, get your bosses up to speed.

Opps……computer just told me to go back on the air with the NEWS.

Have a great day everyone, be kind to yourself and be happy!


The Cold snap is causing many homeless to suffer. Seems like this year is worse than recent Holiday periods, and the numbers support this. Sacramento County is reporting 2500 homeless with only 70 beds in a warm shelter, and 100-to 120 beds in warm churches. Non-profit agencies are passing out blankets, hats, gloves, clothing and tarp or tents to the hundreds who sleep under bridges and highways attempting to shelter them selves from the frigid and windy temperatures.

Sacramento is not the only reporting entity….Placer and El Dorado counties are reporting high numbers along with West Sacramento.

The homeless situation is getting worse mostly due to the advent of colder weather in the Northern sections of the USA, driving the population to the West and South seeking warmer weather, and generous communities who share their time and goods for them.

One major reason the problem is increasing locally is the shift this year with the Feds forcing the state to deal with an over-population of prisoners in state facilities. The state solution is to force the population of lower crime prisoners down on the counties. Also the state cut back locations and personnel in the parole system. This has shifted a lot of people to locations foreign to their normal home areas to places like Auburn and El Dorado Hills. They often have no money, family or support systems, and lack transportation so they become part of the homeless community in those towns that have parole offices. Auburn is one of those. The alternative is being arrested and back in jail for parole violation. A vicious cycle due the bureaucratic decisions that don’t analyze the impact of their decisions, or they don’t care.

So what’s the answer? Just providing shelter probably is not. Providing jobs is not necessarily the answer either. Jobs for most of these people would not pay enough for them to have decent shelter either. Some states and countries have created large communal communities where everyone works at jobs that serve the whole. They grow their own crops and food supply, serve each other with services and support. These communes are often religious backed and is the common theme. To get into these communities takes discipline and no drugs or alcohol. It also takes leadership that can manage such a village.

There is also some experimenting going on with what is called “Wet Centers”. These centers allow addicts on drugs and alcohol to get shelter while supporting their habit. This approach is interesting and certainly will come under political fire since they are tax supported.

Government building mental health and addiction centers would reduce the population by about 70% but this idea has been going the other way for the last 50 years. Addicts are counted in this group since they are considered mentally ill.

Frustrating isn’t it. There is no easy answer for this problem and pretty much falls to local kind hearted people that give of their time and money to help this area of our population. Our churches also play a role as does the independent funded agencies like Loaves and Fishes, The Gathering Inn, St. Vincent DePaul and the Salvation Army. All staffed by limited paid employees and mostly volunteers. Most if not all funding is donated by kind hearted local people.

God Bless all that give to those in need! Have a great day, be kind to yourself, and be happy!


Two stories are catching my attention this morning. The first is the report that Americans spent 2 billion dollars on line yesterday on Cyber Monday, and the admission by the engineer on the New York State Amtrak train that he was asleep when the train entered a sharp curve at 82 miles per hour in a 30 MPH zone.

The Cyber sales at 2 billion dollars which is 30% of the total expected sales for the holiday season this year should be sending a strong message to retailers that there is a major shift going on with the consumer. I liken it to the shift in the late 50′s and early 60′s when shopping centers started to appear in cities drawing shoppers out of downtown. It took a long time but was decisive and turned downtown into entertainment centers rather than shopping centers, and stays that way today. Now the shift is moving to iPhones, iPads and computers with delivery at home or pick up at stores. When the numbers on the fourth day of a four day shopping spree hits 30% of the season expectation, it tells me that shopping point of sale is electronic. The WHY?….. is probably traffic, parking, rudeness, clerks that are unaware or inexperienced, and general craziness shopping in a mob environment. We may be seeing a tipping point here which could change shopping habits for many years in the future.

The train accident in New York State, North of New York City last weekend has now been blamed on the engineer falling asleep at the controls allowing the train to seed up to 50 miles above the limit as it entered into a curve demanding the train be slowed to 30 MPH. These trains used to have a switch on the engineer’s chair that had to be depressed every few seconds or the train would slow to a stop. Where was the button on Sunday? There were stories when these buttons were originally required that engineers would purposely defeat them because of the requirement to be attentive to the switch which was annoying. This was, I believe, a requirement when they got rid of firemen in the cab as a cost cutting measure some years ago. Sleep at the wheel is a major problem. We have seen disaster after disaster with Bus, Car, and truck drivers who fall asleep at the wheel and their speeding vehicles go out of control and crash killing passengers and others. Lets not forget the sleeping pilots that flew several hundred miles past the destination airport a couple of years ago. Caltrans recognized the problem several years ago and allows truckers to pull over anywhere and sleep without penalty. It will be interesting to hear the political take on this accident. Also the question should also be answered why these high speed engines are not equipped with electronics that would sense speed zones and automatically trigger a slowdown on these trains. They are fully electronic controlled in the cab and extending it to the rails and ground should only be a matter of time and money. If we can hit the moon with an electronic driven space ship, land an Airbus with 300 on board on a 100 foot runway, or a fighter jet on a bobbing aircraft carrier in the Pacific, I would guess we could slow down an electric train on rails without a lot of development. This automation of trains can be demonstrated just down the road at Roseville. They move switch engines assembling long freight trains all day long with no engineer on board. Lets take the technology forward to save lives.

Have a great day, be kind to yourself and be happy!