Thinking there had to be a better way to evacuate large populations in the path of hurricanes (Katrina was then in the news), I suggested the following:
Couldn’t our rail system (passenger and/or freight) move lots more people — further distances and on a semi-continuous basis — than trying to rely on buses and personal transportation? Seems like FEMA could stockpile high-capacity rail cars for just this kind of emergency and then pre-position them around the country according to the weather season or a specific disaster forecast.
The irony was not lost on Monroe. He responded:
Actually a good idea! they would have to use cattle cars and there’s a problem in that Halliburton, Bechtel et al has not finished building the camps …
Check the Progress for a new American Century classified document; 44\X23; AKA “The Final Solution to poverty in America.
PS – One of the cost-cutting suggestions is to completely eliminate federal funds for AMTRAK.
At which point my train of thought completely derailed:
You’re right of course — I couldn’t help but think of the similarities to Hitler’s “Final Solution” but I was thinking more along the line of air-conditioned cars that could also function as modular housing or temporary barracks, kitchens, hospitals, etc. It’s a shame to abandon good ideas just because “Americans don’t live in tents” or because the Germans were efficiently evil. Segues be damned — speaking of kitchen cars, there was a very funny song on the radio yesterday called “Moose turd pie” which I now share with you all (dedicated to Alan Whitman for recently reminding me of that unfortunate song “Muskrat Love” by Captain & Tennille):
Moose Turd Pie
The worst job I ever had was working for the Pacific Railroad, doing a thing called “gandy-dancing.” Now most of you know the railroad was built partially by Irish labour.
Well, back then the workers would use this long handled shovel, made by the Gandy Shovel Company of Great Neck New York. Well, they’d shove one end of the shovel under a railroad tie, and then run out to the other end of the shovel, when they could find it, and do a little jig on it, and they called it Gandy-dancin’. This would lift the tie up so they could shove gravel under it, which would level the roadbed, so when the train came along, it wouldn’t tip over, which would be a real drag for everyone.
Well, nowadays, they run three cars out on the rail: a bunk car, an equipment car, and a mess car. The only thing they don’t give you is a cook. The bosses figure you’ll find out who the best cook is, and use him.
Well, they were wrong. Y’see, they just find out who complains the loudest about the cooking, and he gets to be the cook. Well, that was me, see. Ol’ alligator mouth. That was the worst food I’d ever had, and I complained about it. Things like “dog bottom pie” and “pheasant sweat.” I thought it was garbage. So I complained.
And everyone said, “alright, you think you can do better? You’re the cook” Well, that made me mad, see? But I knew, that anyone who complained about my cooking, they were gonna have to cook.
Armed with that knowledge, I sallied forth, over the muddy river. I was walking along, and I saw just this hell of a big moose turd, I mean it was a real steamer!
So I said to myself, “Self, we’re going to make us some moose turd pie.” So I tipped that prairie pastry on it’s side, got my sh*t together, so to speak, and started rolling it down towards the cook car: flolump, flolump, flolump. I went in and made a big pie shell, and then I tipped that meadow muffin into it, laid strips of dough across it, and put a sprig of parsley on top.
It was beautiful, poetry on a plate, and I served it up for dessert.
Well, this big guy come into the mess car, I mean, he’s about 5 foot forty, and he sets himself down like a fool on a stool, picked up a fork and took a big bite of that moose turd pie.
Well he threw down his fork and he let out a bellow, “My God, that’s moose turd pie!”
“It’s good, though.”
Photograph by Robert Williams, 1966. http://robertwilliamsofbrooklyn.blogspot.com/2009/11/thanksgiving-day-reflection.html or http://bit.ly/nT4HTh or http://tinyurl.com/436zs2k