Of related interest.

Mike Peters is recognized as one of our nation’s most prominent cartoon artists for his outstanding work as both a political and comic strip cartoonist. His favorite expression “WHAT A HOOT” certainly sums up his outlook on his life and work which are inexorably entwined. Mike’s warm, easygoing and zany demeanor is evidence that his personality matches his creative talents. As so eloquently phrased by a colleague — “Mike is the Peter Pan of the cartooning world; he’s boyishly charming, good with a rapier and doesn’t spend a lot of time on the ground. And he doesn’t seem to want to grow up”.

The Comic Strip Mother Goose & Grimm appears in over 800 newspapers worldwide and consistently places in the top 10 most popular ratings. Licensees distribute Grimmy products all over the world, and the Grimmy TV show continues to air in several countries. Mother Goose & Grimm is included in the Toon Lagoon theme park at Universal Studios that opened in July 1999. This copyrighted cartoon is from his website.

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Donald Trump could be charged any day – what happens next?

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By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) – Donald Trump could be charged in New York as soon as this week for allegedly covering up hush money payments to a porn star during his 2016 presidential campaign, nearly seven years after the money changed hands. But any trial of the former U.S. president would still be more than a year away, legal experts said, and could coincide with the final months of the 2024 presidential campaign as Trump seeks a return to the White House. In a social media post on Saturday, Trump said he expected to be arrested on Tuesday and called on his followers to protest, though a…

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South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham(R) has now succinctly articulated what’s emerging as a Republican line about former President Donald Trump: it’s too dangerous to arrest him.

In an interview on Fox & Friends, Graham issued this warning about what he contends will happen if Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) arrests Trump in the Stormy Daniels hush money case: ““It’s going to blow up our country, and this is a bunch of B.S.”

Graham isn’t the first to use this justification for giving Donald Trump (yet another) pass on facing consequences more politically mortal Americans would face. You see it all over social media and some other GOP bigwigs are using a form of the same line.


  • Graham assumes it’s b.s. without having seen the actual indictment. Once upon a time politicians would say they can’t comment on a case before the courts, or let’s see how it plays out in the courts, or they’d say little and give their opinion when there’s a legal document to react to.
  • It essentially gives Trump or any other former President cart blanche to do whatever he wanted without legal consquences. Expect the same argument to be made if Trump is indicted in the Mar-a-Largo documents case , the Georgia 2020 Presidential election case , or for his role in the January 6 coup attempt.

    Many point to Gerald Ford pardoning Richard Nixon in the wake of the Watergate case, but some have noted that the pardon had serious consquences — including the creation of a dual system of justice.

    Tiny Hands Cuffed by Ed Wexler,

    Photo 51103232 © Arnel Manalang |

  • The post CURRENT GOP LINE: ARRESTING TRUMP WOULD BLOW COUNTRY UP appeared first on The Moderate Voice .


    Donald Trump “truthed” that he’s going to be arrested on Tuesday. It’s Tuesday. As Ted Knight said in Caddyshack, “Well? We’re waiting.”

    Republicans are in an uproar over the possibility Donald Trump will be indicted and arrested in Manhattan over the hush-money payment scheme to porn star Stormy Daniels. It didn’t work because we still found out about the “Yeti pubes.” They claim the statutes of limitations have passed in the case which is not true but is an admission of guilt. They claim the investigation is solely political since, as Trump puts it, he’s the “leading” candidate in the presidential race.

    Trump claimed that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg “has allowed violent crime to reach new heights in New York without any retribution” in order to prosecute Trump. Other Republicans have made the same claim, saying Bragg should focus on other crimes in New York…and then without an ounce of awareness promise to investigate Bragg.

    Instead of focusing on the border, inflation, the economy, China, and making sure Matt Gaetz isn’t hitting on underage congressional pages, Republicans want to investigate another Trump investigation.

    Republican Florida congressman and Goon Caucus member Byron Donalds was on CNN this morning complaining about Bragg not focusing on New York, defended Congress going after Bragg, and then talked about how FEMA hasn’t provided enough trailers to his district after the last hurricane. Maybe you worry more about FEMA trailers in Florida and less about prosecutions in New York.

    Republicans are threatening and harassing the Manhattan DA before any charges have been announced. While calling Bragg’s investigation political, they promise to investigate Bragg, and again without any awareness, with Jim Gym Jordan leading the committee.

    Republicans are screaming and howling that a presidential candidate can’t be prosecuted, investigated, indicted, arrested, etc…while forgetting that they’re the “lock her up” gang.

    Have you ever been to a Trump rally? I have. Have you at least seen one on TV? They do love their chants at Trump rallies. There’s “space force,” “fire Fauci,” “drain the swamp,” “build the wall,” and the always popular and very racist “send her back,” but perhaps the most popular of the chants that don’t exceed three syllables is “lock her up.”

    In 2016, attendees of MAGA rallies started the chant “lock her up” in regard to Hillary Clinton, who at the time was the leading presidential candidate. Hmm. That’s weird. Right now, Republicans are saying it’s a bad thing to try to arrest leading presidential candidates and political opponents.

    Donald Trump never disavowed these “lock her up” chants. Usually, he just stood at the podium with that creepy smile on his face like he had just spotted a ten-year-old in Trump Tower that he’d like to date in eight years, allowing the crowd to continue the chant.

    In 2020, while he was president (sic), he said during one of these “lock her up” chants, “I agree with you 100 percent.”

    Throughout his presidency (sic), Trump called for investigations, prosecutions, indictments, and arrests of political opponents. He claimed Hillary Clinton and President Obama committed “treason” for their parts in the Russia investigation (they had zero parts in it).

    In 2020, he tweeted at his Attorney General William Barr to “arrest somebody,” and wondered aloud why President Obama, then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton hadn’t been imprisoned for launching a “coup” against his administration.

    In the same 24-hour period, he tweeted, “Where are all of the arrests? Can you imagine if the roles were reversed? Long term sentences would have started two years ago. Shameful!”


    These tweets were sent right after Trump returned to the White House from Walter Reed Hospital where he was recovering from COVID, so he was probably pretty high on bleach, ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, Diet Coke, and Adderall.

    Elise Stefanik has called Bragg’s investigation “unAmerican.” Rand Paul, missing the irony of accusing Bragg of arresting political opponents while calling for Bragg’s arrest.

    Speaker Kevin McCarthy said a possible indictment would be “an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who lets violent criminals walk as he pursues political vengeance.”

    Mike Pence said it was a “politically-charged environment in New York where the attorney general and other elected officials literally campaigned on a pledge to prosecute the former president.” But it’s not as politically charged as the riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, that was chanting, “Hang Mike Pence.” Again, only three syllables.

    Tech investor, Republican presidential candidate, and guy you never heard of before until now Vivek Ramaswamy said he didn’t want to live in a country where “the party in power is able to use police force to arrest its political opposition.”

    Lauren Boebert tweeted, “We’re witnessing the most obscene political witch-hunt in American history.” And then her son impregnated the witch.

    Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted with a link to MTG merchandise, “George Soros puppet and Democrat activist Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg has declared us all Enemies of State by declaring war on MAGA.” But you too can proudly wear “Enemy of the State” panties.

    Jim Gym Jordan said it was an “unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority.”

    Matt Gaetz said to a young woman walking past him in a hallway, “Hey, are you 18 yet?”

    George Santos said, “I never abused my office politically when I was the Manhattan DA.”

    But if you can remember, the party in power in the House of Representatives in 2016 conducted the Benghazi hearings. They forced Hillary Clinton to testify during her campaign. Kevin McCarthy praised the hearings for hurting Clinton’s poll numbers.

    None of the goons, not McCarthy, Stefanik, Donalds, Paul, Pence, MTG, Boebert, or Ramalamadingdong ever told Trump to stop tweeting to his Attorney General to arrest his political opponents. None of them called it “unAmerican.” Remember, all of these goons were A-OK with President (sic) Trump using taxpayer-funded military aid approved by Congress to extort the President of Ukraine to dig up dirt on his political opponent.

    Attorney General (sic) Bill Barr did use the Justice Department to defend Trump and his goons and appointed a Special Counsel to investigate the Russia investigation, which has turned up diddly. So yeah, they did try to go after Trump’s political opponents. The problem was, they didn’t have anything on Trump’s political enemies. That’s the same problem they have today with the Bidens and all the claims of corruption and payments from China…they don’t have anything.

    Republicans impeached President Bill Clinton for lying about oral sex but they want to sweep under the rug that Donald Trump paid hush money to a porn star to keep quiet about doing the wild thing in Vegas and that his ding-dong looks really really weird.

    Republican outrage can’t be taken seriously. McCarthy says justice isn’t being applied evenly…and neither is his outrage.

    If Democrats are actually using the law to go after political opponents, then Republicans are outraged that Democrats are acting like them.

    If Republicans don’t want their candidates to be arrested, then stop making criminals your candidates.

    Visit Clay Jones’ website and email him at

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    The wide world of woke | Sheneman

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    What is woke? Do you have any idea, because the folks who use it to describe everything from gender inclusive books to AP African American studies classes can’t quite seem to define it. The past few weeks have seen a rash of viral instances of frequent users of the term unable to define what in the hell it means. I guess wokeness is a lot like the supreme court’s definition of pornography, hard to explain but you know it when you see it. Woke entered the lexicon on the left. “Stay woke” was a frequent refrain among civil rights activists for a number of years. A reminder to be mindful of who a…

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    The planet is warming fast, but we can still act on climate

    By Daniel T Cross

    Sustainabilty Times

    Climate change is happening faster with its impacts becoming progressively worse, but it isn’t too late to act to ward off climate catastrophe, say scientists from the Australian National University who contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest global report.

    “The latest IPCC report triggers many alarm bells that we cannot afford to ignore,” says Prof. Mark Howden, one of the authors of the report. “It makes it crystal clear that climate change has rapidly altered the atmosphere, oceans, land and ice-covered areas. This has generated more severe extreme weather events and widespread negative impacts on lives, livelihoods and natural systems.”

    In almost all emission scenarios, the scientists say, warming is set to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius within a decade. Acting fast and decisively, however, we can still save the planet from the effects of far more excessive warming.

    “The choices we take now will have consequences in coming decades and potentially for thousands of years,” the Australian scientist warns.

    The IPCC itself stresses that immediate action on climate change can still yield great benefits if we are to limit warming to manageable levels in coming decades.

    “Every increment of warming avoided reduces future climate change damages and risks. And every ton of emissions avoided means less warming,” explains Prof. Frank Jotzo, another lead author of the report.

    “If we keep going as we are, we won’t be able to keep global temperature rises to below 1.5 degrees Celsius,” Jotzo elucidates. “The good news is there is lots of action already under way and lots of opportunities for action. We know what needs to be done and we have the technology.”

    These actions include turning the global economy onto a net-zero CO2 pathway through low-cost means that can also bring other environmental benefits, the scientist says.

    “Examples include the shift from coal to clean energy, better land management and agricultural practices, and the beginning shift towards electric vehicles,” Jotzo explains.

    “Experience shows that clean technology becomes rapidly cheaper when governments apply suitable policies and businesses invest at large scale,” he adds.

    Photo: Pixaby

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    Should the US ban TikTok? Can it? A cybersecurity expert explains the risks the app poses and the challenges to blocking it

    Is a wildly popular social media app a threat to the U.S.?
    AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

    Doug Jacobson , Iowa State University

    TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on March 23, 2023, amid a chorus of calls from members of Congress for the federal government to ban the Chinese-owned video social media app and reports that the Biden administration is pushing for the company’s sale .

    The federal government, along with many state and foreign governments and some companies, has banned TikTok on work-provided phones . This type of ban can be effective for protecting data related to government work.

    But a full ban of the app is another matter, which raises a number of questions: What data privacy risk does TikTok pose? What could the Chinese government do with data collected by the app? Is its content recommendation algorithm dangerous? And is it even possible to ban an app?

    Governments around the world have been banning TikTok on government-issued phones.

    Vacuuming up data

    As a cybersecurity researcher , I’ve noted that every few years a new mobile app that becomes popular raises issues of security, privacy and data access.

    Apps collect data for several reasons. Sometimes the data is used to improve the app for users. However, most apps collect data that the companies use in part to fund their operations. This revenue typically comes from targeting users with ads based on the data they collect. The questions this use of data raises are: Does the app need all this data? What does it do with the data? And how does it protect the data from others?

    So what makes TikTok different from the likes of Pokemon-GO , Facebook or even your phone itself? TikTok’s privacy policy , which few people read , is a good place to start. Overall, the company is not particularly transparent about its practices. The document is too long to list here all the data it collects, which should be a warning.

    There are a few items of interest in TikTok’s privacy policy besides the information you give them when you create an account – name, age, username, password, language, email, phone number, social media account information and profile image – that are concerning. This information includes location data, data from your clipboard, contact information, website tracking, plus all data you post and messages you send through the app. Chew’s testimony includes the claim that current versions of the app do not collect GPS information from U.S. users, according to a transcript posted ahead of his appearance on Capitol Hill. There has been speculation that TikTok is collecting other information, but that is hard to prove.

    If most apps collect data , why is the U.S. government worried about TikTok? First, they worry about the Chinese government accessing data from its 150 million users in the U.S. There is also a concern about the algorithms used by TikTok to show content.

    Data in the Chinese government’s hands

    If the data does end up in the hands of the Chinese government, the question is how could it use the data to its benefit. The government could share it with other companies in China to help them profit, which is no different than U.S. companies sharing marketing data. The Chinese government is known for playing the long game , and data is power, so if it is collecting data, it could take years to learn how it benefits China.

    One potential threat is the Chinese government using the data to spy on people, particularly people who have access to valuable information. The Justice Department is investigating TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, for using the app to monitor U.S. journalists . The Chinese government has an extensive history of hacking U.S. government agencies and corporations , and much of that hacking has been facilitated by social engineering – the practice of using data about people to trick them into revealing more information.

    The second issue that the U.S. government has raised is algorithm bias or algorithm manipulation. TikTok and most social media apps have algorithms designed to learn a user’s interests and then try to adjust the content so the user will continue to use the app. TikTok has not shared its algorithm, so it’s not clear how the app chooses a user’s content.

    The algorithm could be biased in a way that influences a population to believe certain things. There are numerous allegations that TiKTok’s algorithm is biased and can reinforce negative thoughts among younger users , and be used to affect public opinion . It could be that the algorithm’s manipulative behavior is unintentional, but there is concern that the Chinese government has been using or could use the algorithm to influence people.

    TikTok’s algorithm for serving you videos has also become a source of concern.

    Can the government ban an app?

    If the federal government comes to the conclusion that TikTok should be banned, is it even possible to ban it for all of its 150 million existing users? Any such ban would likely start with blocking the distribution of the app through Apple’s and Google’s app stores. This might keep many users off the platform, but there are other ways to download and install apps for people who are determined to use them.

    A more drastic method would be to force Apple and Google to change their phones to prevent TikTok from running. While I’m not a lawyer, I think this effort would fail due to legal challenges, which include First Amendment concerns . The bottom line is that an absolute ban will be tough to enforce.

    There are also questions about how effective a ban would be even if it were possible. By some estimates, the Chinese government has already collected personal information on at least 80% of the U.S. population via various means. So a ban might limit the damage going forward to some degree, but the Chinese government has already collected a significant amount of data. The Chinese government also has access – along with anyone else with money – to the large market for personal data , which fuels calls for stronger data privacy rules .

    Are you at risk?

    So as an average user, should you worry? Again, it is unclear what data ByteDance is collecting and if it can harm an individual. I believe the most significant risks are to people in power, whether it is political power or within a company. Their data and information could be used to gain access to other data or potentially compromise the organizations they are associated with.

    The aspect of TikTok I find most concerning is the algorithm that decides what videos users see and how it can affect vulnerable groups, particularly young people . Independent of a ban, families should have conversions about TikTok and other social media platforms and how they can be detrimental to mental health . These conversations should focus on how to determine if the app is leading you down an unhealthy path.The Conversation

    Doug Jacobson , Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Iowa State University

    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article .

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    To paraphrase singer Britney Spears : Oops, he did it again. Former President Donald Trump says he’ll be arrested on Tuesday in the Stormy Daniels hush money case and has called for protests, which some liken to his protest calls that sparked the January 6 coup attempt.

    His comments came in two posts on his TruthSocial platform , written entirely in capital letters:




    The New York Times adds this background:

    Mr. Trump, who faced his first criminal investigation in the late 1970s, has been deeply anxious about the prospect of being arrested, which is expected to include being fingerprinted, one of the people close to him said. When the Trump Organization’s former chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg, was arrested in 2021, Mr. Trump watched in horror as television coverage showed Mr. Weisselberg flanked by officers in the courthouse and said he couldn’t believe what was being done to him.

    The call for protests echoed Mr. Trump’s call to his supporters, in the waning days of his presidency, to join him for a rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, the day President Biden’s win was to be certified by a congressional approval of the electoral college votes. At that rally, at the Ellipse near the White House, Mr. Trump then told supporters to march to the Capitol, where the certification was taking place.

    Mr. Trump’s post urging his supporters to “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!” carried unmistakable echoes of the incendiary messages he posted online in the weeks before the attack on the Capitol. In the most notorious of those messages, he announced on Twitter that he would hold a rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. “Be there,” he told his millions of followers, “will be wild.”

    Investigators later determined that far-right extremist groups as well as ordinary Trump supporters read that tweet — posted on Dec. 19, 2020 — as a clear-cut invitation and almost immediately sprang into action, acquiring protective gear, setting up encrypted communications channels and, in one case, preparing heavily armed “quick reaction forces” to be staged outside of Washington for the event.

    Some analysts have been predicting for months that if Trump were to be indicted he’d call for protests for a)people to protest against him c)to intimidate other entities that might consider indicting and trying him.

    Politico notes:

    A flurry of news reports Friday evening said Bragg asked law enforcement authorities in New York City to begin discussions about the security issues and logistics involved in responding to a potential indictment of Trump there. It’s unclear whether the potential criminal charge would result in Trump being arrested at his new home in Florida, but one of Trump’s attorneys, Joseph Tacopina, has said Trump would turn himself in to face the charges in Manhattan if a grand jury returns an indictment in the coming days.

    But Trump’s new call for supporters to “take our nation back” is indicative of the type of civil unrest he could unleash if he faces charges. His description of his anticipated arrest followed a lengthy, rambling thread in which he claimed “The American Dream is dead” and falsely asserted the 2020 election was stolen from him. The rhetoric is similar to his remarks on Jan. 6, 2021, when he urged supporters to “fight like hell” to prevent Joe Biden from taking office.

    Photo 186078743 / Breaking News © Prostockstudio |

    The post TRUMP PREDICTS ARREST TUESDAY AND (AGAIN) CALLS FOR PROTESTS appeared first on The Moderate Voice .


    by Don Hermann

    These are going to talk your language. Loud and clear.

    As you know, there’s a lot going on politically. Most of the issues affect most people. It’s understandable that with busy schedules it’s difficult to keep up, at times.

    You can think today, that there’s something you want to focus on and then tomorrow you’re on to something else.

    Welcome to the club. Posters in the right place can help make those subjects more top of the mind for you. Reminders.

    For example, Republicans are talking about not only reducing Social Security but making it private.

    The price of most prescription drugs is enough to make you sick.

    The Republicans are pulling every trick possible to restrict minorities from voting.

    History is being changed by the Republicans. Texts are being deleted and modified. Books eliminated. All designed to support their political point-of-view.

    Information about the Holocaust is being altered. African American historical events is not recognizable.

    These speak volumes. Enough to open some eyes and get some minds more mindful of the state of our country.

    Some last thoughts. In case you’re thinking who is this guy and why is he writing this stuff? I’m an ad guy. Half-retired but busier now than before.

    Advertising is such an important part of our lives. It’s about communicating. Most of us spend a major part of our lives communicating. Whether it’s to our kids, our friends, our significant others, business associates, customers, etc.

    The single most important thing I’ve learned is that to be effective, the message should be about the person or people you’re addressing, not you. It’s not how wonderful you are.

    The message should be involving, benefit oriented, if possible and honest. Misleading, tricks don’t work. No condescending junk. Or cutesy stuff for the sake of getting attention. Think of Priorities. Very important.

    Some examples of how these ideas put into action are effective:

    Got my wet in advertising producing KFC’s first national-type ad. A coupon ad. My partner and I changed offer in campaign. Result: Most successful coupon ad in Look Magazine history. Expectation 100,000 redemptions. Received over 700,000.

    Part of a team that created first ever Express Line for a bank. Campaign theme: MONEY ISN’T EVRYTHING. Wall Street Journal did feature story about it.

    When women weren’t buying Life Insurance, I created the concept LOW COST WIFE LIFE. Headline: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A FATHER HAS TO BE A MOTHER, TOO? Client: All American Life and Casualty.

    New York Yankees. COME WATCH THE LEGENDS GROW. We used Bob Sheppard to be spokesperson. One of most prominent Sports Broadcasters in the business.

    A fun campaign for Ferrara Foods. Known for their Cannoli.
    Used Phil Rizzuto, Hall of Fame New York Yankees shortstop, broadcaster to call out HOLY CANNOLI.

    Point is you don’t have to have big bucks to be effective. Political advertising is crying out for campaigns that communicate and involve people especially with the Democrats who have so much going for them. And yet are falling short on pressing people’s emotional buttons. In a sentence or two, “Who are the Democrats? What do they stand for?”

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    5 Reasons to Improve Railroad Safety

    railroad safety in freight industry

    Railroad safety has been a hot topic since the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, which filled the surrounding air, soil and water with toxic and potentially deadly chemicals. This derailment shined a new light on railroad mismanagement and poor safety practices across the industry. 

    Here are the five biggest problems that the railroad industry must address to reduce derailments, improve railroad safety and keep our supply chains moving.

    1. Toxic Chemical Exposure

    Freight railroads move a majority of the chemicals that make our modern lifestyles possible. The biggest contributors include plastics, inorganic chemicals, industrial gasses and ingredients for cleaning products. American trains moved more than 2.2 million tons of chemicals in 2021 alone, and 99.9% of these chemicals safely reached their destination.

    As great as 99.9% might sound, that .01% can have disastrous effects on the environment, railroad workers and surrounding communities. Look no further than the predicament in East Palestine. Residents reported strange wildlife activity and severe water contamination, which prompted many of them to seek out their own tests for chemical exposure.

    The .01% is even more concerning given that an average of three train derailments occur in the U.S. every day, which adds up to approximately 1,095 a year. It’s unknown how many derailed trains contain toxic chemicals and how much they affect the environment.

    For railroad workers, small amounts of chemical exposure can cause burns to the eyes, nose, throat and skin. The risk of certain cancers and organ damage also increases. They might develop new allergies, respiratory illnesses, fertility issues and a weakened immune system.  

    As long as train derailments continue at their current pace, an ecological disaster from a chemical spill is always a realistic possibility. East Palestine’s residents are learning about the hazards the hard way and any town could be next.

    2. Labor Disputes

    So far the American railroad system has managed to avoid a strike thanks to timely government legislation that outlawed rail strikes. However, despite legal intervention, the watchful peace won’t last much longer if safety conditions and pay rates do not improve. Labor unions have demanded more paid sick days, more flexible hours and other common benefits, but no rail systems have answered the call. 

    If and when railroad workers start an organized protest, the ripple effect will reach across the supply chain. The strain on long-haul trucking significantly increases when rail workers go on strike. The trucking industry already has its own labor shortage to deal with. Railroad professionals must improve working conditions for the sake of other transportation sectors.

    Private rail companies shouldn’t wait for government intervention to set the example. It falls on the industry’s leaders to raise workplace standards and show their commitment to lower-level employees. A social contract is always a more preferable compromise than a new law, especially when the two parties share the same goal — to get our railroads back on track.

    3. Unreliable ETAs

    Railroad systems don’t have rigid, unadjustable schedules. Rather, they operate based on estimated times of arrival (ETAs). This approach allows rail operators to account for delays when hauling their cargo cross-country. However, given the number and frequency of disruptions with our stagnant supply chains, ETAs are no longer reliable.

    There are too many steps involved in the intermodal shipping process to trust ETAs. Many disturbances can happen between loading the cars, traveling from station to station and transferring the contents to another train. One solution is to adopt a telematics insurance system that provides real-time visibility to each step on the supply chain. 

    Participation in telematics-based insurance has increased by 55% among businesses since COVID-19 began. Automatic surveillance speeds up disruption detection and response, making ETAs more reliable again and improving railroad safety.

    4. Insufficient Data

    One of the reasons why ETAs are no longer reliable is the absence of valuable data. Rail operators don’t have the necessary insights to make accurate estimates about their deliveries. However, the development of machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT) could solve this problem and improve railroad safety.

    IoT can help railways reduce defect rates and product loss by implementing new sensors with condition-monitoring capabilities. This technology is especially useful for urgent shipments that run on tight schedules. IoT also allows for faster and more accurate quality control because it can automatically perform essential inspections.

    Most importantly, IoT-based data acquisition allows railway employees to communicate over a central platform — the cloud — and relay potential safety issues in real time. This advantage can significantly reduce vertical track displacement, which is the main cause of about 80% of all train derailments in the U.S.

    IoT even analyzes the vibrations, sounds and movements of railcars, which helps workers identify signs of damage and potential derailment threats. The more information at the rail operator’s disposal, the safer the journey will be.

    5. Cyber Threats

    Introducing IoT to improve railroad safety comes with one major disadvantage — the increased risk of cyber attacks. As we rely more on advanced technology, cyber threats become more prevalent. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration is well aware of this fact, which is why it has revised its cybersecurity guidelines to account for new technology.

    Here are some of the most important new guidelines:

    • Use a risk-based approach to add new security patches to the railway’s digital infrastructure.
    • Utilize automated monitoring tools to identify cyber threats as they emerge.
    • Implement a strict network segmentation policy to separate sensitive data from operational data.
    • Continuously update the risk-assessment program to ensure fast detection of new security vulnerabilities.

    A cyber attack might seem unlikely, but rail workers should look to a very recent example and take this threat seriously. In November 2022, a train system in Denmark had to completely shut down after a cyber attack on one of its third-party IT service providers. Our supply chains are too weak to sustain another attack, so rail operators cannot leave anything to chance.

    Railroad Safety Must Improve For the Economy’s Sake

    Railroad safety isn’t just about improving working conditions for employees. It’s also about avoiding economic and environmental disasters. Freight trains are too crucial to our society’s infrastructure to continue operating in their current state. Major changes need to occur in these five categories if industry professionals want to get our railroads back on track.

    The post 5 Reasons to Improve Railroad Safety appeared first on The Moderate Voice .