February 26, 2009


A link from my friend BigD:
Sales of “Atlas Shrugged” Soar in the Face of Economic Crisis

It's coincidental that she sent me this today, because my jaw hit the floor when I read this article this morning:

Tens of thousands of boxcars are sitting idle all over the country, parked indefinitely by railroads whose freight volumes have plummeted along with the economy.
The nation's five largest railroads have put more than 30% of their boxcars -- 206,000 in all -- into storage, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Now if that doesn't make you think life is imitating art, I don't know what will.

Posted by Sarah at February 26, 2009 01:33 PM | TrackBack

Yep - definitely. I'm waiting to hear back from the Foundation for Economic Education (fee.org) about quantity pricing on copies of Bastiat's The Law... I'm thinking they'll make great St. Patty's Day gifts for friends & family.

Posted by: kannie at February 26, 2009 02:27 PM

Those companies are thinking ahead. We won't need any trains after Year Zero!

St. Patty's Day, Kannie? Enjoy your Europpressive religious traditions while you can!

Posted by: kevin at February 26, 2009 02:43 PM

IIRC, in the book the freight car crisis happened because the whole American car fleet had been allocated to some bizarre soybean-raising project...I can picture the same thing happening in our world, but with some biofuel crop which turns out to be basically worthless...

Posted by: david foster at February 26, 2009 04:27 PM

Shhhh, David, don't give cOngress any ideas ...

Posted by: Amritas at February 26, 2009 05:57 PM

It's only a minor point, but I'm sure these 206,000 rail cars aren't all *boxcars*...I'd bet that at least 80% of them are cars of other types. A boxcar is a specific type of car, not a generic term for a freight car.

Why is it so difficult for the media to write about *anything* without making obvious mistakes? And this is the Wall Street Journal!

Posted by: david foster at February 26, 2009 06:56 PM


Speci@lists in every field (and even nonspeci@lists) always find such errors in the media. Until tonight, I would defend the media by stating that reporters are not omniscient. That is true, but it is not an excuse. A reporter could have double-checked simply by asking an informant, "206,000 rail cars or boxcars?" If you don't know, do ask!

Posted by: Amritas at February 27, 2009 01:29 AM

I read/heard something about this yesterday (can't pinpoint it now; my short term memory suffers chronically from CRS disease). The jist of it was that the people in the neighborhood of the rail yard were bitching about what an eyesore all those graffiti covered rail cars were. Not what it represented about the economy, or that they were enjoying the quiet of not so many clangs and bangs of cars being hooked up, etc. Jeesh.

(Still praying for you Sarah!)

Posted by: MargeinMI at February 27, 2009 07:18 AM