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About flitcraft

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  1. You're right that it can be a distraction to the state, but, first he has to win. His win-loss record in the past few years with voters hasn't been very high. In fact, most of his initiatives haven't gotten the signatures to even get to the voters. At the moment, he's been racking up large contempt of court fees as a result of earlier financial shenanigans, and he's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and he's getting divorced. So, at the moment, I think we're a ways off from hitting the Cascades panic button.
  2. I'm not too worried about Eyman's initiative. He's got a bellyful of legal trouble with the Washington Attorney General as a result of earlier initiatives already, and given that he apparently has stiffed his lawyer in some of those earlier battles according to his recent bankruptcy filing, I doubt he has the wherewithall to write an initiative that would pass constitutional muster--of his many earlier initiatives, the few that passed nearly all were found to be unconstitutional. I think you can feel free to book the Cascades notwithstanding the latest Eyman initiative attempt.
  3. flitcraft

    New Amtrak Arbitration Agreement

    Amtrak is not covered under the Federal Tort Claims Act; there are several cases that establish that Amtrak is not a federal agency. (I know some of the attorneys representing victims from the Cascades crash; they are convinced that precedents bar application of the FTCA. What is less clear is the degree to which the Federal Railway Safety Act may preempt state tort law.) But back to the main topic here--arbitration. The existence of mandatory arbitration in consumer contracts is a classic case of market failure. Take cable tv, for example. Every cable company requires binding arbitration, so there's no ability to choose for consumers. Well, of course, there's always satellite tv... oh, wait, they require arbitration, too. Okay, so I'll cut the cord and get Netflix...ah, nuts, they require arbitration. So does Hulu. In fact, the entire industry does. And it is just one of many industries where consumers have no choice. Read the fine print in almost any service or product you buy and, you've lost your constitutional right to access the courts. These arbitration clauses can be amazingly comprehensive, taking away your right to sue even for intentional misconduct such as fraud, theft, and assault. The irony is that many corporations are now insisting on one-way arbitration clauses--you, the buyer is limited to arbitration, they, the seller, retains the right to choose arbitration or court action if they prefer. If arbitration is so efficient and wonderful, why do you think corporations are so anxious to preserve their right to trial in court and to extinguish yours? Food for thought...
  4. flitcraft

    New River Train 2018

    Loved the report and the terrific pictures. But you left out one important detail--what flavor was the gelato?
  5. flitcraft

    Pin cards not accepted...

    Now you've gotten me curious. Next time I take the Cascades to Portland and buy my ticket at the station, I'll first try to pay with my Natwest chip and pin card, just to see what happens. If it fails, well, I'll have a fallback of my US chip and signature card.
  6. flitcraft

    Pin cards not accepted...

    Chip and pin has some advantages and some disadvantages over chip and signature, but the real problem is that they still kept the magnetic stripe on the cards, which is the part most vulnerable to hacking and card cloning. So until that goes away finally, our chip cards are still less secure than they could be. I've heard it argued that chip and signature is better security than chip and pin, because people get careless in how they enter their pins, allowing bad guys to observe them on the keypads. Yeah, maybe... What I do know is that the signature part of chip and signature is pretty well useless as a security measure--the systems accept any kind of scribble you want to make. I tend to do an X or a scribbled circle--and it always gets okayed! It's all probably moot anyway, with contactless payment the coming thing. (I just got my British Airways contactless credit card last week.) And speaking of different ideas about card security, my European friends find it horrifying that when we go to restaurants, we pay by giving the waitstaff our card, who then go disappear out of sight often for extended periods. "Oh, no! He just took your card away!!" "No problem, that's just how we do things." " But, what if he's copying all your information?? This is crazy!" "I suppose so, but we've been doing it forever and the sky hasn't fallen."
  7. Unless you are the person in a long checkout line counting out crumbled bills and scrounging change to pay for your groceries with exact cash. Not that I know anyone like that. Okay, maybe my husband...but don't tell him I narced on him. Shhh...
  8. flitcraft

    Amtrak Employees & Government Shutdown

    I can't speak to Amtrak, but in earlier shutdowns, government attorneys had to continue to work without pay, with that back pay later provided once the shutdown was over.
  9. Sending healing vibes your way...
  10. flitcraft

    Food Problems on Coast Starlight

    In a way, this thread illustrates the problem with reviving very old threads: it conflates one food problem (running out of food or food options) with a very different food 'problem': the taking or non-taking of reservations for lunch and dinner. Assuming that the purpose of threads is to organize discussion of similar or congruent topics, reviving very old topics runs the risk of having incongruent topics in a thread (contrary to the purpose of a threaded discussion) or of potentially misleading readers into thinking that earlier posts still reflect current issues.
  11. And one outside Rio de Janeiro. You can take a cable car (two consecutive ones, actually) to the top of Sugar Loaf. The views from there are superb!
  12. Thanks for the report and photos. I am scheduled to be in Copenhagen for a few weeks next fall, and you've given me an intriguing option for a (rail)road trip!
  13. Is it possible to use an immersion heater coil plugged into the outlets in the sleeper? I used to travel with one a lot, till most hotel rooms had a kettle or coffee maker in the room. They're pretty small, so ideal for someone packing light.
  14. flitcraft

    Muffuletta on 58?

    If you have even theoretical room for a muffaletta after dinner at Antoine's, they've fallen down on the job!
  15. flitcraft

    Muffuletta on 58?

    Get one to go from Central Grocery--it'll be the real deal !