Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Things Mr Bush’s minders get right
For whatever reason
Stem cells
Pulling the plug on a nationalised railway (actually a conservative idea for a change!)

One can argue that there is a job for government in building infrastructure but for inter-city travel North America drives cars. Thanks to Eisenhower’s Autobahn-inspired (yes, a Nazi project*) interstate system**, the old passenger rail service is unprofitable and as obsolete as travel by horse-drawn coach. Or like the aeroplane finally killed transatlantic liners.

Interestingly the former Amtrak boss seems as paradoxical as his native Canada: in charge of and defending a socialist programme but admirably frugal and ‘crunchy conservative’ personally.

Oh, and if you live in North America, drive a car and your engine light starts flashing, don’t do business with these people (more) even if a seemingly friendly mechanic sends you there with a discount. They’re con artists.

You know they’re trying to fleece you when they’ve taken your transmission apart (taken your car hostage), finally get round to phoning you and then go into a scripted, condescending ‘says your first name every five seconds’ sales pitch.

Almost makes me wish for pre-end of the world (before the late 1960s) manners when relative strangers and people of different stations weren’t on a first-name basis!

*Hitler also posthumously gave hippies the Volkswagen.

**Meant to enable the military to move quickly across the continent; like the Internet only incidentally helping civilians.

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