Saturday, October 18, 2003

Calling all honest journalists

Spoons would like to meet you. I predict that this will happen about the same time the Cubs finally win a World Series.

I wish I could disagree with him about journalists. But I saw the way a number of different newspapers covered nuclear power issues and incidents and I haven't seen any evidence that the truth mattered any. But even if they simply made errors, you'd think that once in a while such an error would present the operators, utilities and industry in a positive light.

Once I was even naive enough to try to do something about what I was charitable enough to consider an error. One Saturday the Bloomington, IL Pantagraph printed a story about rate increases requested by the local utility to help pay for their newly operational nuclear power plant. I'm not sure I recall all the details correctly, but in essence the rate increase was to be implemented over 10 years in steps of $X, leading to a net difference of $10X in the 10th year.

Now for something technical, well, I realize that not everyone is an engineer like me. But I would expect an elementary school kid to be able to transcribe numbers from a public regulatory document correctly, and if the Pantagraph didn't have access to that then just what the hell was the basis for their reporting? Anyway, the paper presented the increase as $10X dollar increase every year, which is so far off as to tax the limits of mere incompetence.

I called the Pantagraph and told them of the error. They stood by their story, claiming that there was no error. They did the same when I went there in person a bit later, acting as if it were my word against theirs, and who understood these big numbers anyway?

Yes, I went there in person. Why? Because shortly after this idiocy, the rate increase was denied, the utility had layoffs, and all of a sudden I had a lot more free time.

Michael Moore now!

This guy should get a new career as a political operative. Now he's proposing Michael Moore as a political candidate.

Hmm - that would be fun to watch. He might make a good veep for Kucinich.

With friends like these...

The Lebanese may support the "Palestinian cause" more than the Palestinians do. They won't let Palestinians own real estate because.."the acquisition of real estate by Palestinians would damage the Palestinian cause since the refugees would remain in Lebanon and never return to Palestine."

Stolen from Psychopolitik

Fowl play

Pam Anderson doesn't like the way KFC treat their chickens. Maybe she'd be happier if they put silicone in the breasts?

Could it be karma? We're getting this from a woman who has posed for innumerable nude shots and, however unwittingly, for one of the most popular video sex scenes ever. Someone must have told her that as a result a lot of guys had choked their chickens.

Yes Pam, you're much smarter that I would have ever given you credit for being, and before you turned into a plastic surgery science project you were one fine specimen. But if you need something to do, why not go to Iraq or Afghanistan and entertain the troops?

Desperate times...

You know, moving to a new town forces you into some adaptation. You might even resort to things you wouldn't have considered before.

In my case, I've been in DC for a couple of weeks now, and based on what I've seen, I know what I have to do. I have to get one of those inflatable dolls. And at this point, I don't even care what sex it is.

So what is it - one too many nights alone in a motel room?

No. I just want to dress it up and put it on the passenger side of my vehicle so I can drive in the HOV lanes.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Aren't they forgetting someone?

You know, if the Dems had any real issues we wouldn't keep hearing all this crap about Halliburton. Now we have that old fossil Lautenberg from NJ (you know, the corpse they warmed over to replace Torricelli, a guy with real ethical problems) proposing barring the government from awarding Iraq reconstruction contracts to companies that maintain close financial ties to the president, vice president or members of the president's Cabinet.

Fine, if you're into the politics of spite. But make damned sure that you include Congress too, and their staffs. It wouldn't surprise me if Lautenberg were senile, but somehow I doubt that the omission of Congress from his prohibited group was an oversight.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Germproof your house

About $3 million might do it. This guy tried.

Via Medpundit.

A woman's issue

Alright ladies - who wants to stop having menstrual periods? Or maybe you'd like to compromise and have just 4 a year. Then read this.

These guys don't want you to read that.

Via Diotima.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003


From Drudge we have this. Key quote: "People with HIV should feel able to disclose their HIV status without fear of rejection or discrimination".

Nonsense. They should disclose their status, period. If they don't, that's reckless disregard for their fellow citizens.

Unless you approve of behavior like this:
The most famous contemporary superspreader is Gaetan Dugas, the French-Canadian flight attendant who had sex with thousands of men all over the world in the late 1970s and early `80s. Immortalized in Randy Shilts's 1987 book ''And the Band Played On,'' Dugas was no doubt responsible for a large percentage of early AIDS cases, though just how many remains in dispute. Like Mary Mallon, Dugas hardly cuts a sympathetic figure. According to Shilts, Dugas would sometimes turn on the lights in a bathhouse after an anonymous encounter, revealing the purple lesions on his body to his partner. ''Gay cancer,'' he would say. ''I'm going to die and so are you.''

@$!%* Cubs!

I had a really bad feeling when I saw the fans touch that foul ball that Moises Alou might otherwise have caught in the top of the 8th - surely not reminded me of this.

Unfortunately my foreboding was on the mark. My Cubs autofornicated again, giving up 8 runs in the eighth and losing 8-3.

Sure, there's another game, and it's in Chicago, but...

Gift idea

It's calendar selling season already. My favorite so far is the "Make Fun of the French" daily calendar.


Found posted outside a Giant Food store in Maryland: "It is a violation of Maryland code 27-120A to remove shopping carts from premises. Violaters subject to a fine up to $25.00."

Monday, October 13, 2003

Greetings from DC

The Indy job ended a few weeks ago. It was comfortable, but it was the third time I'd been to Indy and it's not that big a place, so moving there wasn't all that disruptive.

But then I decided it was time for something different and started looking for consulting gigs farther away from base camp in Illinois. And serendipity stepped in - a call from Arizona set me up with a job in DC. And a touch of culture shock.

Well, that's not the right word. But it is the biggest town I've lived in for some time, since Dallas several years ago. And now I'm working in a true urban setting - lousy parking, people walking everywhere in droves, assorted weirdos, cramped quarters, studios that rent for $1500/month, mass transit...

So far it's great. The weather has been terrific. I'm working in the NW part of town, which is about as safe, convenient and clean as DC gets. And there's plenty around for some serious tourist rubbernecking.

Traffic is obnoxious - I-270 can be a 12 lane parking lot miles outside the Beltway. Prices are a bit higher, especially gasoline. It could be my imagination, but it seems like things close a bit earlier here too.

Perhaps the biggest surprise has been the people. Apparently DC is far enough South to have manners yet. The town is much more Hispanic than I expected, and Spanish language newspapers and magazines are right there by the checkout counter in the Giant Foods and Food Lion stores I've seen.

I'm figuring on being here around 6 months. Then it's off to...