Government in Action 

Things Government Does When It's Not Bailing Out the Economy: The municipal transit company in Austin, Texas, unveiled a rider-education campaign in August, giving step-by-step instructions in how to stand up on buses without falling over. When the bus is accelerating, "lean forward and put your weight on your front foot." (The introductory frame on the poster features a harried rider exclaiming, "Help! I'll never figure it out!")

A British government-funded poster campaign, also introduced in August, aims to encourage those waiting for municipal buses to do Pilates-type movements to improve physical fitness. Among the suggestions: standing on one leg, pointing the toes forward, clenching the buttocks.

Most workers who have retired in the last few years from New York's Long Island Rail Road have also qualified for disability payments (though most did not claim such disabilities while working), according to a September New York Times investigation of state records. Lax union work rules, plus the astonishingly cooperative "Railroad Retirement Board" (which virtually never rejects a disability application), have resulted in nearly every worker drawing about as much money in retirement as he made on the job. In October, the Times also discovered that many of the same retirees were apparently so confident that their "disability" status would be approved that they also purchased private disability insurance to make retirement even more lucrative.

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