Saturday, May 19, 2001

Noble: Jon Hosfeld, for doing his best to slow down a runaway train of hazardous materials that could have devastated the physical landscape of Ohio.
The 31-year railroad veteran, Jon Hosfeld, knew it might be a runaway train from the moment he saw that the locomotive cab was empty. Defying company policy and common sense, Mr. Hosfeld ran along a walkway and leaped aboard the speeding train. He worked his way to the controls and was finally able to shut it down.
Before his daring leap, Mr. Hosfeld had to catch the train, which had defied all attempts to slow it down after it was inexplicably left unattended by its engineer and conductor. Mr. Hosfeld and Mike Smith, another railroad official, tracked down the train four different times, even as it was also being chased by two different locomotives.
Mr. Hosfelds quick reaction undoubtedly saved the Ohio countryside from an ugly wreck, since the only option left was to derail the train.
For slowing down a runaway train, Mr. Hosfeld is the noble of the week.
Knave: The Washington Post, for doing its best to speed up a runaway train of reckless rumor that could have devastated the political landscape of Florida.
The Post knew it might have been a runaway rumor the moment that Florida Gov. Jeb Bush denied that he was having an affair with state official Cynthia Henderson. Defying newsroom policy and common sense, The Post published the shrill story in a prominent place on Tuesday, perhaps because it had caught a glimpse at the caboose of Ms. Henderson, a former Playboy bunny, or it was spurred on by the rumors posted on a Democratic web site (
The Post might have had a “loco” motive for not spiking the steamy story, especially since it misidentified Ms. Henderson in the story. Identified as “Cynthia Henderson” was Donna Poole, a chairwoman of the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission, who has a good reason to be fired up.
Meanwhile, the Democratic web site is continuing to rail against Mr. Bush by pushing this off-track story in the hope that it can wreck his political career.

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