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Chris Collins Plays Dress-Up & Other Things

Welcome to Buffalo: Read it in the style of Droopy Dog

1. I visited the Depew Amshack for the first time yesterday, and was struck by how utilitarian and pedestrian it all seems. Taking Amtrak from Buffalo to New York is time-consuming, given that freight takes precedence over passenger service, but there are definite advantages to taking the train. If we are someday lucky enough to join the 21st century and introduce high-speed rail service, it could feasibly take 2 – 4 hours to get from here to Manhattan at speeds of 150 – 200 MPH, instead of 8 – 9. It’s a crime that the gorgeous Central Terminal hasn’t seen a rail passenger since 1979, and instead we have a dumpy shack unceremoniously plopped off Dick Rd between Broadway and Walden.

Correction: I wrote it was utilitarian. But it’s not.

Well, it is insofar as there exists a platform from which you can access the train, and a person who will sell you a ticket, and even a restroom. But there’s not even so much as a newspaper box at the station to pick up the Buffalo News or USA Today. Older passengers have a tough time climbing up into the train – the platform isn’t at door-level.

You know, Rail travel doesn’t have to suck any more than going through toll booths has to suck

2. Apparently, when it comes to this year’s election for Mayor of Buffalo, people are less concerned with the color of the candidates’ skin, and more interested in what they want to do as candidates. The Buffalo News is ON IT. 

3. While not gleefully voting to withhold health insurance from millions of Americans, millionaire Chris Collins played dress-up on Monday, donning the brown uniform of a UPS deliveryperson, and pretended to be a common working man. No word on whether he added a “Six Sigma” logo to the uniform, as he did when he sold county merch for employees to wear. The picture shown below might even be considered offensive, given the fact that Collins is a consistent defender of the millionaire class, and acting against the interests of anyone who has to wear a nametag to work.  


  • Thomas

    This ride along provides private industry with much needed access in order to sway politicians who already want to destroy USPS

    • Hank Kaczmarek

      Again, why does the USPS lose money every year? THE GOVERNMENT HAS ITS HANDS IN IT. UPS and FEDEX do a great job. You pay more for UPS, but that’s to keep the workers being paid Union scale. a Next Day Air Saturday Delivery normally costs between 50-60 dollars extra. Of course, Union Teamsters get double time for Saturday. YET, THEY STILL MAKE MONEY AT IT. And a lot of it,
      USPS pensions are on a smaller scale but resemble the system Congress has. Most of the USPS debt is unfunded medical and pension benefits. Commercials that whine about the USPS trying to clean its house, reduce personnel and their expenses are paid for by, THE POSTAL WORKERS UNION. Y’all will never learn up there.

      • Thomas

        I’m going to have to rethink my position based on the amount of capitalization your reply required.

      • Klejdys

        Shorter Thomas: “He may be right, but I am snarkier.” Substantive!

      • Mike_Chmiel

        The USPS was forced by the Republicans to fund its pensions for the next 30 years, which, along with declining revenue due to the internet, is why it is in trouble. No other governmental department was required to outlay this amount of pension money. Why? Because Republicans like to destroy functioning governmental programs to further the complete fiction that governmental programs cannot function.

      • jimd54

        I think it is 75 years

      • Peter Farrell

        Mike nails it. Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. Look it up. USPS is forced to prefund 5 Billion annually in retirement benefits in a ten year span to fund retirees for the next 75 years. By its nature the USPS is a break even entity, not meant to run a profit. Toss 5 Billion annually at this, and what a shock, they’re about ready to go up against their 15B credit limit this fall. And by the way, not a single dollar of its budget comes from taxpayer expense. There is no “bailout”, and they’ve never asked for one. Simply get rid of the onerous pension mandate and the entity is in far better shape.

    • Telegram Sam

      UPS and FedEx are dependent on the USPS. That’s a dirty little secret conservatives never seem to bring up once they get their anti-union hardon going.

  • Sean Danvers

    Funny he would associate with such a Union-heavy group as UPS. No wait, hypocritical. Thats the word I was looking for. He should have shilled for anti-union outfits like FedEx.
    And come on now, Pen!s road’s Amshak is one of the better ones I’ve seen. Have you ever gotten off in the cultural powerhouse that is Schenectady? There are literally crudely cut concrete beams still standing from the NY Central-era multi-track terminal they knocked down and clearly didnt bother to clean up. Fingers crossed that the increased ridership being seen on the Empire Service, Maple Leaf and Lakeshore Ltd will bring a new station to Depew as well as downtown.

  • Hank Kaczmarek

    Well After all—UPS workers are Teamsters. James Hoffa Jr. DID write to Dear Leader complaining that Obamacare is going to ruin the unions health care system. So maybe it’s just a little of that good ol’ Union Solidarity that Collins is going for.
    I’ve only rode on Amtrak ONCE. From Utica to the Exchange St Station in 1980. Pleasant ride actually. At one time I decided I wanted to relax AND see the country at the same time (instead of driving) So I checked out Amtrak from Charlotte to Buffalo. (Keep in mind flying takes about 1 hour, and is non-stop CLT/BUF). Train leaves CLT and goes to DC. You have to change trains there. Next leg is DC/NYC. Have to change trains again in NYC. Then you take what is essentially a “Local” to BUF. Trip can take up to 36 hours, and costs more than DOUBLE what it costs to fly.
    How can that be? THE GOVERNMENT RUNS IT. There was private passenger rail service in the USA from the early 1800’s until 1979, and billions were made by financiers, Rail company and good wages for railroad workers, especially after unionization. Since the GOVERNMENT took it over, IT HAS LOST MONEY EVERY YEAR.
    Moral of the story—Government should be in the National Security and governing business—NOT THE HEALTHCARE BUSINESS, NOT THE RAILOAD BUSINESS. Looking at the history of passenger rail since the Government took over, what the hell do you visionaries see for the healthcare industry?

    • The government didn’t “take it over”. For the reasons you give, private passenger rail was largely extinct by the early 70s and government exists to do stuff private industry can’t or won’t do.

      The USPS loses money because people don’t use it anymore. The internet has killed it.

      Medicare is wildly popular and efficient.

      • Hank Kaczmarek

        Only in the mind of a liberal does government exist to do “What private industry can’t or won’t do”. The rest of us don’t believe it and neither did the Founders.
        Medicare wildly popular, and over a trillion dollars in the hole—Efficient it’s not. Probably would be if Obama hadn’t raided the trust fund to fund Obamacare.

      • jimd54

        According to factcheck.org medicare administration runs at about 6% while private insurance companies run at about 12-15%

      • Klejdys

        Hard to sort through Bedenko’s BS here, but I’ll give it a shot. Kudos to Hank for his informative takes throughout the section.

        “government exists to do stuff private industry can’t or won’t do.”
        Probably news to the founders, who laid out specifically what the government should do in a document called the Constitution.

        “The internet has killed it (USPS).”
        No, government management guaranteeing pensions and higher than market salaries has killed it. Labor costs still 80% of USPS’s budget, same as it was 30 years ago, before the arrival of the intarwebs. And we keep bailing it out. We r smrt.

        “Medicare is wildly popular and efficient.”
        Bedenko is half right here, and we should laud him for it. As it turns out, (poor) people like getting their medical care subsidized. Who doesn’t like free stuff? Second, lefty blogs like the kind Bedenko read in his free time parroted this talking point last year on medicare efficiency. I don’t believe it. Generally, something done for profit is more efficient than something done by government. That goes even w/ government massively distoring that industry’s costs (try paying cash for any meidcal service. whoo boy. Only industry where that occurs. Crazy). Anyhoo, let’s just say there’s some debate on medicare’s administrative efficiency: http://www.managedcaremag.com/archives/0602/0602.news_medicare_eff.html

      • 1. The Constitution is not a document that contradicts what I wrote.

        2. First class mail volume has gone down by almost 1/3 since 1998 thanks to the Internet. Lower volume = lower revenue.

        3. Medicare isn’t only for poor people. It’s for old people, regardless of means. You’re thinking of Medicaid, which is for poor people.

      • Mike_Chmiel

        If you don’t know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid, or even who the two programs are designed to help, please stop talking about the subject.

    • Sean Danvers

      [There was private passenger rail service in the USA from the early 1800’s until the mid 70’s and billions were made by financiers]

      Yeah, and anybody who bothers to understand the state of modern railroads knows that by 1955 the passenger rail industry was on deaths door – courtesy of efficient air travel. Most lines that could sold off their passenger services in favor of higher paying all-freight lines and survive today thorough mergers while the rest died off. Amtrak came about since there was no way for Americans who didnt own a reliable car or could afford airfare to travel quickly between major cities.

  • gap05

    Not that big a surprise when you consider UPS would be a big beneficiary of a dismantled US Post Office which Collins is in support of.