Common Sense: Getting it Right

Only hours after being sworn in as our new Congressman, Dan Donovan was confronted with an important vote on a social issue. Our new Congressman voted in support of a federal ban on abortions after 20 weeks. Dan got it right!

One of the first criticisms of our new Congressman by the local Democrats who saw their candidate, one-time pro-life elected official Vincent Gentile, go down to a landslide defeat was to attack the Congressman’s vote. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Medical science has gotten to the point in which a twenty week pregnancy may result in a viable birth. This legislation and vote matches public opinion that a ban on abortions should exist during what is considered the viable portion of a pregnancy. Since the general legalization of abortion in this country, that period had been defined as the third trimester. Now, medicine has been able to push that out to 20 weeks. Congressman Donovan’s vote was the right one.

Councilman Gentile attempted to make abortion a central theme of his campaign. He used it to distinguish himself from Donovan. It never became an issue. Apparently few cared or were concerned about Dan Donovan’s position.

The public certainly knew he was pro-life. He said so whenever asked. He was publicized as much by the Conservative Party who, as would be expected, asked him his position on this issue during its interviews.

Not surprisingly for the few that did vote in the Congressional election, abortion was not the key issue. Jobs, the economy, Sandy related issues, the Iranian nuclear deal, ISIS and terrorism, trade deals as well as Obamacare were the conversations during the abbreviated eight-week campaign.

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Over the years, I have taken AMTRAK a number of times between Washington and New York City as well as Albany and New York City. This corridor is the most active in the nation for passenger train service. The trains are the more modern and the system well maintained.

Yet even so, unlike passenger trains in Europe, AMTRAK trains are relatively slow, noisy and bumpy. Even the ACELA which is the express train between NYC and Washington only makes up time as a result of making fewer stops. Generally these trains rarely exceed 85 miles per hour in speed and, often, they are going much slower.

Thus the thought that an AMTRAK was exceeding 100 miles per hour on any stretch between Washington and New York City, let alone at a curve near Philadelphia, is near inconceivable to me. The train engineer would appear to be grossly negligent since simply applying the brakes at the curve does not explain how he allowed the train to hit hundred-plus miles per hour for any stretch.

This is not the first multi-fatal accident on the Washington to NYC AMTRAK route. In 1987, 16 people – including 14 passengers – were killed as a result of a collision in Maryland.  I knew one of the deceased who was a member of then-State Senator Roy Goodman’s staff.

Interstate and intrastate passenger train travel should be a great way to travel. But frankly, even without the dangers resulting from this derailment, AMTRAK travel is a far cry from the efficient, high speed, comfortable experience Americans traveling in Europe or even Canada experience. We certainly can do better.


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