29 March 2006

Local Group Issues Criticism of Fifth-Third

The group that calls itself the Community Task Force held a press conference Tuesday in front of the Aronoff Center for the Arts downtown, where Fifth Third shareholders were meeting. It presented a "report card" that faulted the bank for:

* Having only five branches in Cincinnati's 10 poorest neighborhoods, versus a rate of 1.7 branches per ZIP code in other areas of the city;

* Not offering online banking in any language besides English, and not having enough Spanish-speaking tellers in neighborhoods with high concentrations of Latinos.

The group also calculated that low- and moderate-income neighborhoods and predominantly African-American neighborhoods receive less than what it termed their "fair share" of home loans.

[Business Courier...]

I appreciate the “Community Task Force’s” interest in economic equality, but this effort smacks of ignorance about the way business works. The results of their “report card” could apply to just about every business.

Free advice: instead of a “report card” faulting Fifth-Third for not stretching affirmative action to the limit, how about a report showing that there is profit to be made in low-income areas, and perhaps some guidelines on how to change or improve banking practices to better serve those areas in a way that would also benefit the bank (like suggesting bilingual tellers)?

But criticizing a bank for lack of presence in low-income areas is like criticizing car dealers for putting dealerships only in the nice parts of town.

And by the way, it's a good time to show Fifth-Third new paths to profit.

The Disgusting Side of Science

Science isn't always pretty, and pretty much anyone who knows anything about botflies thinks that they are the most disgusting things they've ever seen.

Pictures, video and descriptions.

28 March 2006

The Kansas School Board Shopping List

Let's put a copy of this book in the hands of every school board member in America.

(Evolution: Triumph of an Idea by Carl Zimmer at Amazon.com)

24 March 2006

Rep. Ujvagi’s Bill Addresses Nursing Shortage

The U.S. is experiencing a critical nursing shortage. Nursing has a very high turnover rate because nurses are still overwhelmingly women and they leave or interrupt their careers to take on child-rearing responsibilities.

Part of the solution is getting more students into nursing schools. But the schools have to have instructors to teach. And that’s where Rep. Peter Ujvagi’s bill, HB 127, helps. It incentivizes teaching by offering tax credits to nursing faculty.

It is projected that one million nurses will soon be retiring.

And though there are plenty of nursing students, their teachers will soon disappear.

In the next ten years, as Baby Boomers retire, 40 percent of Ohio's nurses will retire, too.

Nursing schools have boosted enrollment. But that's not enough. Nursing requires hands-on teaching, and the average instructor is in her 50s. So pretty soon there could be a shortage of teachers.

"This is a critical, critical issue," State Rep. Peter Ujvagi contended.

Rep. Ujvagi wants to offer tax credits to nursing faculty since teachers make less than those in clinical practice. Without an incentive to attract and keep teachers to train more nurses, he fears patient care will become like parts of Europe.

"Family practically has to be next to the sick person's bedside to advocate for them, to make sure that they get whatever needs that they have. We're practically at that point in many instances in the United States because of the nursing shortage," said the Toledo Democrat.


Contact your State Representative (who is my Rep.?) and ask them to support this sensible bill.

Return of the Son of Basketball Post

What a day:

LSU shows Duke the door. UCLA steps it up in the clutch to take down Gonzaga. Texas beats West Virginia at the buzzer. Morrison and Redick are out. Redick is a snotty little sore loser.

Huggins gets the Kansas State job. Andy Kennedy gets the Ole Miss job. And Mick Cronin gets the UC job.

Tonight’s early games are BC vs. Villanova and George Mason vs. Wichita State.
Later games are Georgetown vs. Florida and Washington vs. UConn.

I’ll pick BC, Wichita State, Florida and UConn.

23 March 2006

Another Basketball Post

I like sports. Mostly 3 sports: college hoops, pro football, and tennis. One day perhaps I’ll add curling, but for now it’s these three. As a philosopher and scientist, I bring my epistemological and analytical viewpoints to this crucial aspect of the American zeitgeist.

Like most fans, I’ve also been thrilled at the close games and upsets in this year’s NCAA tourney. And I’ve been wondering whether this is a fluke, a trend, or if the NCAA committee just got lucky and slated great matchups.

My theory is that it is a trend towards more competitive college basketball. I think it’s driven by the fact that college players stay in college only until they’re ready for the NBA. Taking the very sensible step of applying Le Chatelier’s Principle to this, it is clear that “the system” (college basketball) will react in such a way as to counter the outward flow of basketball players.

It’s really no different than adding acid to a solution of chromate ions. The solution will react to the excess of acid and create dichromate, changing the solution from yellow to orange. It’s just that simple.

Anyway, the point (besides that I’m crazy) is that there is a high rate of turnover in college basketball. Players are realizing that they don’t have to go to the school with the “best” program. The separation between the best programs and everyone else has been steadily narrowing over the past several years. Given the choice between famous programs and getting the chance to play, more and more players are choosing schools where they get a chance to play.

More players playing at more schools means more talent being developed at more places. I think this trend will continue, and it will make college basketball much more competitive and exciting to watch. We will see more Wichita States and Bradleys, and I’m all for it. You’re really going to have to know your stuff to win the office pool from now on.

I guess that means Andrew “I love Kobe and know more about basketball than WestEnder” Warner will win bracketology from now on. By the way, how’s your bracket this year, Mr. Warner? If he’s doing better than I am, I’ll ralph. And then I’ll buy him a beer. It’s the law of the West.

Also, word on the street is that Huggins will be the next coach at Kansas State.

NKU String Quartet Stays Alive Thanks to Donors

NKU’s Azmari String Quartet was funded by a gift from [Cincinnati’s legendary music patron] Patrica Corbett but that gift has run out. The group’s residence was slated to end this summer, but it will be able to continue thanks to new donors.

It’s good news that the quartet is funded for another term, but it’s also bad news that an institution of higher learning wouldn’t have funding available to preserve it on its own. Educational spending is a low priority in this country, and America’s underappreciation of the importance of education- all education, including art & music- is a nothing less than a grand scale shooting-in-the-foot.

And speaking of music, why is the french horn so hard to play?

China Plans High Speed Rail

The latest development illustrating the separation between Asia, which is moving into the 21st century, and America, which is moving into the 17th century.

22 March 2006

Uncle Milton Ant Farm Celbrates 50th Anniversary

Milton Levine has been selling his ant farm for 50 years. He put 4 kids through school with it. His son now runs the family business.

Uncle Milton Industries also sells a variety of educational toys, including remote-controlled tarantulas, an electronic planetarium and intricate habitats for frogs, hermit crabs and small fish.

Over the years, ants have had their digs upgraded with modules that can be linked to create expandable communities. One includes a tiny bungee rope, skating loops, race cars and small stunt bike arena.

I wonder what a kid would think if you gave him/her an ant farm instead of a video game.

Related story: the difficulty of keeping a family-run business in the family.

"Dark Energy" May Not Exist After All

A growing number of researchers claim a mysterious “dark energy,” which most cosmologists believe fills space, might not exist.

Instead, they say, the laws of gravity might need some correction.


20 March 2006

Insurance Industry Needs Its Own Insurance

Last night I read a news article about this:

Zurich American Insurance Co. has agreed to pay $171 million in a deal with nine states to settle allegations of bid-rigging and price-fixing in the commercial insurance market, state officials said Sunday.

I was tired and went to bed. This morning out of curiosity I did a web search for “bid rigging insurance.”

Good God, people! If anyone needs insurance, it’s the insurance companies:

Marsh & McLennan Cos., the world's biggest insurance broker, cheated corporate clients by rigging bids and collecting huge fees from major insurance companies for throwing business their way, according to allegations made by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

The civil complaint filed by Mr. Spitzer against Marsh in state supreme court in Manhattan names insurance companies American International Group Inc., Ace Ltd., Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. and Munich-American Risk Partners as participants with Marsh in paying improper fees and bid rigging.

And in Florida:

Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist has issued subpoenas to 11 insurance companies as part of an ongoing investigation into the business practices of the insurance industry.

Crist's office is looking into whether members of the industry "placed their wallets ahead of the interest of their clients.”

And in North Carolina:

…an active investigation is now taking place of as many as 10 insurance companies suspected to have conspired in price-fixing.

Many other states opened investigations based on Eliot Spitzer’s initial investigation and findings, including Ohio:

[Ohio Dept. of Insurance Director Ann] Womer Benjamin declined to say how many brokers or insurance companies in Ohio may be violating state laws against deceptive or unfair business practices.

"We've gathered a lot of information, and we've found enough things to keep digging,'' Womer Benjamin said.

And a final word from the man:

"The insurance industry needs to take a long, hard look at itself," Mr. Spitzer said. "If the practices identified in our suit are as widespread as they appear to be, then the industry's fundamental business model needs major corrective action and reform."

And if you happen to be insurance shopping, the Fight Bad Faith Insurance Companies site might be helpful.

18 March 2006

A Basketball Post

Bracketology is tough. There is no way any of us can see enough of all the teams, especially east of the Mississippi where we rarely get to see west coast teams. So I never know as much as I'd like to about all the teams but I still fill out a bracket and have fun.

I got busted up in the first round, though. I correctly picked only 25 out of 32 games (78%). I can't believe MSU let me down in the first round. I thought an MSU-UNC matchup would have been good.

I also picked MSU and Iowa to win their second round games which won't happen since they already lost. So the best I can do in the 2nd round is 14 out of 16.

I picked Duke, Memphis, UConn and OSU for the final four. We'll see.


Comcast Agrees to $1 Million Settlement

Comcast is the nation's largest cable operator but has a spotty record on consumer service and public interest programming.

It has agreed to a $1 million settlement with Massachussetts because it "advertised limited time offers of free or reduced rate digital cable packages without adequately disclosing the actual price of those services after the promotional period; hiding terms and conditions in difficult to read fine print; advertising free installation, but then charging consumers for installation; and charging a $5 monthly rental fee for a converter box and remote control, even for consumers who did not need them.

Consumers also complained of long waits to speak to customer service representatives, and the need to make repeated calls to address problems.

The company denied its practices were unlawful (unethical and malicious, but not unlawful).

[NY Post...]

17 March 2006

Double Standard?

Two stories that don't go together like chocolate and peanut butter: First there's this (via Innisfree):

A man was being held in a US military prison yesterday for deserting from the marines 38 years ago after being caught on the American-Canadian border amid a new drive to track down Vietnam-era deserters.

Allen Abney, 56, who lives in British Columbia and who is now a Canadian citizen, had frequently crossed into the US without incident. His family was caught by surprise when he and his wife were stopped by immigration officials on Thursday on their way to a social event in Reno, Nevada.

[The Guardian...]

And then there's this:

Alabama lawmakers are considering pardoning hundreds, possibly thousands, of people who were arrested decades ago for violating Alabama's segregation laws.

[USA Today...]

GOP Making Inroads in Ukraine?

Thirty-seven are under criminal investigation. Forty-one await trial. All are candidates in Ukraine's March 26 parliamentary elections.

"If you steal a hen or sack of grain from your neighbor, you go to jail, but if you steal a million you end up in parliament."

Most of the investigations against the 37 candidates concern corruption and economic crimes, though exact details haven't been made public. Many of the 41 facing trial are charged with corruption.

[The Guardian...]

Bob Neychenko. Tom DeLayovich. Jack Abramov. Randy "Czar" Cunningham. Bill Fristowski. Dick Chenyenko.

15 March 2006

AP Investigation Reveals Increased Government Secrecy

Local, state and federal government agencies are keeping more information secret from the public, making it harder for citizens to keep tabs on what elected officials and bureaucrats are doing, an investigation by the Associated Press shows.

The AP investigation found that:

• States have steadily limited the public's access to government information since the Sept. 11 attacks. It analyzed legislation in all 50 states and found that, since the attacks, legislatures have passed "more than 1,000 laws changing access to information, approving more than twice as many measures that restrict information as laws that open government books."

• "Many federal agencies fall far short of the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, repeatedly failing to meet reporting deadlines while citizens wait ever longer for documents." The act, like similar laws in each state, is designed to ensure that most government information is available to the public. It also spells out how to request the information.

And Scott McClellan will forever be the court jester: "The president believes in open government, and that the presumption ought to be on providing citizens with as much information as possible about their government."

[USA Today...]

14 March 2006

Bad Diseases and Their Bad Websites

Glaucoma is a serious disease. A good place to get the quick facts is this page at the National Eye Institute.

"Oh My God, what the hell was THAT?"

That is what you will say if you go to the web page of the Association of International Glaucoma Societies. Make sure your volume is on.

(via Science and Politics)

13 March 2006

3CDC: Non-Cincinnatians Controlling Cincinnati Government?

City Council has the votes to pass a non-discrimination ordinance relating to sexual orientation. Phil Burress & Co. are in conniptions. People are asking why Burress should even have a say when he doesn’t live in the city.

But Phil Burress is not the only one playing the game of non-resident intervention. He is just the one playing divine intervention. What about its sibling, corporate intervention? What about 3CDC? 3CDC has influenced local decisions much more than Phil Burress. I call 3CDC the unelected city council. Do the board members of 3CDC live in Cincinnati?

Not really, as it turns out. There are 26 board members. As far as I could determine without making a major time commitment, only 7-9 (less than a third) live in Cincinnati.

So where do they live? The most common choice of 3CDC is Indian Hill, which accounts for the residences of 7 board members (27%).

9-11 board members have property in Indian Hill or Hyde Park. And there are 10 board members who do not own property in Hamilton County at all. So out of 26 board members, 19-21 of them have property in Indian Hill, Hyde Park, or somewhere other than Hamilton County.

The final tally of the 3CDC board, as best as I can determine, is this:

Seven board members (27%) live in Indian Hill. Property values range from $1.2 million to $7.6 million.
Two confirmed to live in Hyde Park in homes valued at $2.6 and $2.8 million.
Ten (38%) do not own property in Hamilton County.
Five (19%) live within non-Hyde Park Cincinnati.

I could investigate further and get complete and precise information on the 3CDC board, but I don’t get paid for this. Enquirer reporters, on the other hand, do get paid for it. Wouldn’t it be great if they followed up and got the details?

It sure would. Except that Enquirer publisher (and Indian Hill resident) Margaret Buchanan is a member of the 3CDC board.

(I did click on “contact us” at the 3CDC website. The required fields are full name, telephone, email, and mailing address. I didn’t feel the need to give 3CDC- a private corporation- my personal information).

So blog posts like this pretty much constitute the totality of the 4th estate when it comes to 3CDC. To reiterate: 19-21 (about 75%) of them have property in Indian Hill, Hyde Park, or somewhere other than Hamilton County. They are mostly white, mostly wealthy, mostly old, and mostly not in the city. Is this the most ideal group to be making city decisions? If so, on what basis?

12 March 2006

OSU Must Clean Up Athletic Program

Ohio State is tied for 5th most NCAA violations in history. And it's in trouble again. It will be able to enter the tournament, but the NCAA has cited a "pattern of continuing conduct" at the school, and they don't mean it in a good way.

CBS sportwriter Dennis Dodd gives us the details.

Among the penalties: OSU has to return $800,000 in proceeds from previous postseason games and remove some banners.

10 March 2006

UN Prepares for Avian Flu Pandemic

Since the first reports of H5N1 in Asia at the end of 2003, over 170 bird-to-human transmissions have been reported, 92 of them fatal, mostly in South-East Asia and China and nearly 200 million domestic poultry have died or been culled in order to contain the spread. UN health officials have warned that the virus could evolve into a lethal human pandemic if it mutates into a form which could transmit easily among people.

“Frankly, there will be a pandemic, sooner or later,” Dr. David Nabarro, the UN System’s Coordinator for Avian and Human Influenza told correspondents...


Here's my previous post about avian flu possibly being just the tip of the iceberg.

09 March 2006

Is That an Appetizer or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

China's increased wealth has brought a growing demand for exotic delicacies.

A new Beijing restaurant is serving up traditional hotpot with a difference.

Customers can choose from more than 30 kinds of penis - including yak, donkey, dog, ox or even seal.


Honey, I don't feel like cooking tonight. Let's go to Bobbit's.

A Typical Day in the Life of John Negroponte

Being the Director of National Intelligence is a difficult job. Or maybe it isn't, it's hard to tell with John Negroponte.

Robert Reich Issues Economic Warning

Over the years I have grown to respect Robert Reich’s opinions. He is one of those rare experts who has superior understanding of his subject and also the ability to speak about it in an accessible way. He makes lesser economists look like hacks.

So when Reich issues a warning about a “day of reckoning” for the U.S. economy, as he did in a recent speech, it’s fair cause for concern.

While the country is recovering from a recession in 2001 with decent overall economic growth and a return of information technology business, there are three storm clouds on the horizon in the next year or two, he said. They are high oil prices, a $400 billion U.S. budget deficit, and record high levels of consumer spending and record low levels of consumer savings.

Reich also says that Medicare is a “huge” problem but Social Security is not. And it’s nice to hear someone who gets it on outsourcing instead of blowing steam (cough, Lou Dobbs, cough):

Concerns about the threat from globalization are overblown, he said. The key to countering outsourcing is to create jobs in which workers add value to products that make them more competitive. "Globalization works to our advantage if we see the opportunities," he said.


Le Survey du Jour

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18 and find line 4

The nearest book was The Onion’s Ad Nauseam, their 2000 collection of fake news. But there really wasn’t a line 4 on page 18. So I reached for the next nearest book, which was Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. It’s a sci-fi story my sister told me I should read. So far, she’s right. And line 4 on page 18 says:

“It could be an anal exam.”

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can, what do you find?

My Fisher Scientific laboratory timer.

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?


4. Without looking, guess what time it is.


5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?


6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?

I am listening to local public radio WVXU, which plays ambient music at night. The music now is a dreamy composition with something that sounds lute-like. I think it’s a mandolin, maybe a bouzouki. It’s hard to tell because it doesn’t sound like bluegrass or Greek.

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?

Took out the trash a little while ago.

8. Before you started this survey, what did you look at?

I think it was the OH-2 blog.

9. What are you wearing?

English Leather.

10. Did you dream last night?

It’s possible.

11. When did you last laugh?

I remember laughing today about something, but I can’t remember what or when. But it happened.

12. What is on the walls of the room you are in?

Teal (?) paint and some of my photographs. I take great photographs. Or at least I used to. I haven’t done it in a while. I’ve got lots of landscape and nature shots from my trips to Pennsylvania, New York, New England, Colorado and New Mexico. I was a hiking and photography freak in the 90s, so I’d take off on road trips whenever I could and just spend time in the mountains. Everyday I’d get up early and hike up a trail around sunrise so I could get the beautiful early morning shots. Then I’d do the same thing on a different trial in the evening. I froze my ass off a lot because I’d take most of these trips in the off-season, when lodging was cheaper.

13. Seen anything weird lately?

Yes. It was probably you.

14. What do you think of this quiz?


15. What is the last film you saw?

Buttman’s Adventures in Outer Mongolia.

16. If you turned into a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?

I’d buy some land and build a state-of-the-art energy-efficient house. I might get some chickens, too.

17. Tell me something about you that I don’t know.

I have excellent hand-eye coordination. I've always been good at sports and it's always been easy for me to pick up anything involving a ball. But as a result I was lazy and didn't practice hard enough unless I was pushed.

18. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt and politics, what would you do?

Convince the world it’s time to evolve beyond religion.

19. Do you like to Dance?


20. George Bush.

Brain damage.

21. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?

Well, I like the name Sophie. And Mo'Nique.

22. Imagine your first child is a boy, what would you call him?

I don’t know. Whatever the wife wants.

23. Would you ever consider living abroad?

Yes, absolutely. Shanghai would be awesome. Toronto or Vancouver, too.

24. What would you want God to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?

Now you will understand everything.

25. 4 people who must also do this theme in their journal.

I think this has gone far enough.

08 March 2006

Grand Jury Investigates Coingate

A key element of the investigation is allegations that Terrence Gasper, the Bureau of Workers' Compensation's former chief financial officer, had a handwritten list that specified how much each firm was to receive in commissions for stock trades, sources familiar with the investigation in Cleveland told the newspaper.

The commissions totaled about $15 million for 25 to 30 firms with each broker getting up to about $750,000, a source with a copy of the list told the newspaper.

As I have stated before, GOP fiscal policy is essentially based on the view that government exists to subsidize private interests who support the party. In this case, $750,000 of taxpayer money for each broker. Government corruption: good work if you can get it!


07 March 2006

Scientists Find Quadripedally Ambulating Turkish Family

Six members of a Kurdish family living in rural southern Turkey have genetic abnormalities that prevent normal bipedal ambulation, so they walk on all fours.

There are a couple of important things to take away from this discovery. First- and I cannot emphasize this enough- do not marry your relatives.

Second, there seem to be some bad scientists out there. Presuming that this genetic abnormality will reveal how human ancestors developed bipedality seems to me like saying that hypertrichosis will reveal how human ancestors lost body hair. Not sure I get it.

In any case, it's an interesting discovery. But will it be interesting enough to make it on a CSI script (like hypertrichosis)? That is the real question. A genetic abnormality is one thing, but a genetic abnormality that generates advertising revenue, now that is something special.

Scientists Map Genetic Tree of Life

European geneticists tested 36 genes across 191 species to come up with a map of the genetic tree of life.

What is really great is that they have set up the data on a computer so it can be constantly updated as new genes and genomes are sequenced. Over the next 10-20 years we should have a very complete and well-defined genetic tree.

Good thing monitors are getting bigger.

Radio Program Focuses on Responsible Business Practices

Business Ethics magazine announced that it has launched a one-hour weekly radio program, Good Company, on Sirius Satellite Radio.

Hosted by award-winning journalist Michael Connor, Publisher and Executive Editor of Business Ethics magazine, Good Company features interviews with thought leaders from around the globe, and executives from some of the world's leading companies, on cutting-edge approaches to business ethics, corporate responsibility and environmental sustainability.

Good Company is broadcast on LIME Radio on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 114 on Thursdays 7-8 PM, Saturdays 12-1AM and Noon-1PM, and Sundays 4-5PM (all times Eastern Standard Time). It is also streamed live at LIME's web site, www.lime.com.

Thank you, Sirius. It's about time someone filled this niche for business news. Hope it turns out to be a great show.

Both Sirius and XM charge $12.95 per month for service, and prices for radios continue to fall. Bare-bones players have been found for $50. But a radio is not necessary for this program since it is available at the LIME website.

06 March 2006

Cash and Christ Join Forces in California

Korean-American businessman Dong Soon Im and his wife of 35 years, Mi Ja Im, recently donated $1 million to UCLA to endow a chair in Korean Christianity.

The Ims describe themselves as "average" Los Angeles County employees and reborn Christians... Both of their grown children work, the daughter as a pharmacist at UCLA.

At a Jan. 24 dinner at UCLA in the Ims' honor, hosted by Executive Dean Patricia O'Brien, Mr. Im thanked God for making the donation possible. He said that he and his wife expect the chair to "provide fruitful wisdom and knowledge to many students for many years to come."

South Korea, a focus for Christian missionaries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, is now the second-largest training ground for them, following the United States.

UCLA's Center for Korean Studies is also supported by the Luce Foundation. Henry Luce, founder of Time, Inc., and his wife were Christian missionaries in China.

05 March 2006

Architecture Competition Won by People from Future

I think I would have liked to be an architect. I used to talk about it a lot during high school and college. Unfortunately, my left brain hogs most of the power.

I had a friend who went to DAAP and I really liked seeing his projects and hanging out with his friends. It was the first time I spent time around creative people, and I liked it. And they, in turn, thought I was a genius because I knew science. So it worked out well. Until I started dating my friend's ex-girlfriend. Things got a little tense because he still liked her (but I didn't know that, and in all fairness, she made the first move). In the end it all worked out and now they're married. True story!

I appreciate creative, artistic, musical people because I lack those qualities myself. If there is one thing I could change about myself, it would be to have the gift of music. But it's only a semi-privation because even though I cannot do it myself, I can still enjoy it and recognize its beauty. And maybe I appreciate art more because I can't do it. Art may not come out of my soul, but at least I can let it in. And that counts, yo.

Now what was I talking about? Oh yes, really cool architecture.

Tennis Legend Borg to Auction Trophies

There are many great emotions in life. Some are great in a good way and lift your feet off the ground, and others suck the air out of your lungs and make you feel like all the clocks in the world just stopped.

I doubt anyone would have ever thought that Bjorn Borg would look at his trophies and feel both extremes. But sadly, I think that's exactly what happened, twenty years apart.

03 March 2006

The Path to the Future Goes Through Japan and is Made of Cow Dung

You think I am joking, but I am not:

Sakae Shibusawa, an agriculture engineering professor at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, said his team has extracted 1.4 millilitres of a gasoline-like liquid fuel from every 100 grams of cow dung by applying high pressure and heat.

And that is not all. When I say the path to the future goes through Japan and is made of cow dung, I mean it:

In a separate experiment revealing another unusual business potential for cow dung, another group of researchers has extracted an aromatic ingredient of vanilla from cattle dung, said Miki Tsuruta, a Sekisui Chemical Co. spokeswoman.

Cow dung will power the car and make the air freshener to hang inside it. And we're just sitting here tossing cowpies.

Ohio Lags Behind Nation in Job Creation

The Milken Institute ranked 200 cities for job growth in 2005. All Ohio cities were in the bottom third. And it gets worse: out of the bottom 10 cities, 4 are in Ohio and 5 are in Michigan.

The U.S. auto industry and its commitment to inferiority has to take much of the blame, but bad economic policy at the state and federal level didn't help.

Better luck next administration...

02 March 2006

Inexplicable Error Benefits Oil & Gas Industry

The Interior Department disclosed Wednesday that a provision was mysteriously deleted from hundreds of federal drilling leases in the late 1990s that would have required producers to pay royalties, once prices reached a certain level, on oil or gas taken from deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

While providing no specific number, Cruickshank said the government already has lost "several hundred million" dollars in royalty payments from the 1998-99 leases because they lacked the threshold language. If prices remain high, lost royalties "will be in the billions of dollars," he acknowledged.


Huge profits. Huge tax breaks. Huge mistakes.

Typhoid Maryopolous

After being ill for several days and not getting any better, my family physician and I concluded that I am sicker than I thought, so it's time to start popping pills. I have never felt like this before; I feel like throwing up every single minute of the day. I keep my mop bucket next to me when I sleep, just in case. I've eaten very little this week and I'm noticeably weak and enervated. This thing has really shut me down. The only time I can remember being ill or injured and put out of commission like this is with a back injury. Hopefully I'll feel normal after the weekend.

Why is it so important that I get better? Because sickness doesn't just take out bloggers... it can destroy great civilizations, too.

01 March 2006

Step Up America!

There comes a time in our lives, ladies and gentlemen, when me must look beyond our own problems and give to something that is greater than ourselves.

Therefore I call on all patriotic Americans to give- and give generously- to the Scooter Libby Defense Trust.

Be sure to note the advisory committee members (find the Cincinnatian!). Decency, honor and patriotism abound (would anyone think otherwise?), as Blogesque reports.

Even More Comments About Subodh Chandra

Adding to the laudatory comments listed in this previous post are these new ones from BSB:

* Any thoughts folks had that Subodh Chandra would drop out after not receiving the ODP endorsement can be set aside. he is "in it to win it". If you're still looking for a candidate to be proud of this is the guy…

* Chandra spoke at one of our meetings and totally rocked the room. Get him out there and Chandra can carry every part of the state. I will be sending him a check.

* This is one race where I - as a Hackett supporter - can show my frustrations with the insiders in the ODP by supporting a good man, Subodh Chandra. Both he and Dann are excellent candidates, but Chandra is the last inspiring candidate left in Ohio's statewide races. The state party should have endorsed BOTH men. I urge everyone to help Chandra and strike a blow against bossism in Ohio. Also, I hate prejudice of all kinds, and Chandra can be elected in this state. I sent my donation.

A commenter also noted that the ODP site lists only the endorsed candidates.

Subodh Chandra for AG