Many of us may not be old enough to remember the Doodlebug, despite the fact that for years the quaint and colorful commuter rail passed in and out of our city—transporting workers, students and families from Belen to Albuquerque and back again. One of many southwestern trains, it earned its moniker through a whimsical resemblance to the bug of the same name (in that it tirelessly dashed from city to city), and began its daily commutes in 1934. It was beloved by the folks who graced its seats and inspired many a young mother to require that her children dress in their Sunday finery before climbing on board. Yet, alas, after World War II, funding for the rail line trailed off, going instead to the more novel business of road-building—and, despite protests from the community, the Belen to Albuquerque Doodlebug made its last stop on April 9, 1968.
Au contraire, indeed. If you caught President Bush's live press conference on KOB-770 AM last week like I did, you heard this question from Jeff Gannon, Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent for some outfit called Talon News. After the president selected “Jeff,” this question followed: "Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the U.S. economy. Harry Reid [D-NV] was talking about soup lines. And Hillary Clinton [D-NY] was talking about the economy being on the verge of collapse. Yet in the same breath they say that Social Security is rock solid and there's no crisis there. How are you going to work—you've said you are going to reach out to these people—how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?"
About a quarter of the $26 million raised by the city's voter-approved public safety tax was supposed to go toward preventing crime, helping kids before they get into trouble and giving a hand to victims of violence, abuse and addiction. The rest was tagged for police and firefighters.
He's selling hard again, but this time (so far) the voters don't seem to be buying.
Dateline: Portugal—Police didn't have to work too hard to crack the case of junior gangster Marco Guerra. The 17-year-old criminal apparently set up a Web page that featured photos of him posing with a machine gun along with cash he had obtained through crime. The site also listed Guerra's full name and telephone number. Guerra told the newsweekly Sabado that he was charged with illegal possession of firearms and drugs after police searched the room he occupies in his parents house in suburban Lisbon. “The police came and they took everything: the gun, a cap and the shotgun,” marveled Guerra. “They took the computer and now I don't have access to the Internet anymore.” Guerra's site included pictures of the teen holding a 9 mm handgun, carrying a rifle and waving a machine gun in the air, as well as shots of him posing at a table full of cash and marijuana. “Through illegal or obscure deals you can live really well,” Guerra's site advised. Guerra now faces up to three years in jail for the illegal possession of arms and another two years for the possession of drugs.
[RE: “Here Comes the Sun”] Advertising has an effect. The back covers of many magazines have been ads for photovoltaic panels manufactured by Shell Solar and BP Solar. If you are amused at how oil companies are exhausting themselves to impress you with their commitment to clean energy, think again. You are paying for these ads. There is a huge market for photovoltaic panels only because your taxes buy them.