(Credit to R. Stevens)
Archives for Politics and Local Topics
As the year draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on times past.
Back in September of 1997, when the media found out about the various transmissible spongiform encephalopathies that can arise from eating neural material of infected animals, CNN ran a story specifically about the eating of squirrel brains as a delicacy in certain southern US states.
The best part is the graphic they ran along with the story, which helpfully points out what part of the squirrel one should avoid eating:
Have a pleasant new year, and watch out for those squirrels.
A “witch doctor” burns dried llama fetuses to support Morales in the Bolivian recall election. I boggle at the fact fact that there is a market for dried llama fetuses in the first place.
OK, I admit that I can no longer count the times I’ve been waiting for a green light, see the opposing traffic slow and stop, have my light turn green and then see a car whizz past me through the light that just turned red. It’s stupid and dangerous (not to mention definitely a moving violation).
Some cities have begun using automated Red Light Cameras. Some of them have notable misconfigurations enhancing the ideas that it is merely all about revenue rather than safety. There are other devices besides only red-light monitors, and I just have to wonder if there are better ways.
Sometimes the news is breath-takingly weird.
It seems that Texas State University in San Marcos, TX, had to put their “body farm” project on hold. What’s a body farm, you ask? It’s a location to study the decomposition of, well, bodies. Human ones. For forensic research purposes. There are a couple of these in the USA already, but Texas has a different enough climate to warrant one of its own.
But that’s not the really weird part. The reason this is being put on hold is not the obvious “not in my backyard” argument. Rather, it is the concern that the resulting buzzard density might endanger traffic at a nearby community airport.
I wonder if Disney will consider Hamas’ use of Mickey Mouse as an act of war? They should know better than to mess with the mouse! Now we’re going to have to save the world for
This really isn’t funny [snicker]. No, really.[giggle] [okay, the strike-through font humor doesn’t translate to RSS…]
The US Copyright Royalty board has approved a per-performance royalty regime for internet streaming. Per-performance means they pay royalties for every _listener_ for each song they play, retroactive to 2006. This puts a far greater burden on internet streaming radio than on conventional radio. In many (most?) cases, the new royalty requirements are greater than the revenue of the stations.
Of course, there is an easy fix for this. Move offshore. And laugh while our copyright regime completely collapses under its own greed and idiocy.
It’s hard to imagine that _no_ one at SoundExchange and the RIAA gets this.
Jeff Skilling was sentenced to a smidgen more than 24 years today. Shortly before the sentencing, he addressed the judge with some of the most bizarre doublespeak I’ve ever seen published in a news article.
“In terms of remorse your honor, I can’t imagine more remorse. That being said your, your honor, I am innocent of these charges. I am innocent of every one of these charges.”
In other words: “I’m really, really sorry that I did all those horrible things which, I must point out, I did not do.”
After decades of the Wright Amendment crippling Love Field in Dallas, it appears that an end may finally be in sight. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s plea for the involved parties to come up with a local solution instead of dragging the fight into the US Senate seems to have finally yielded fruit: last Thursday (June 15th), American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Dallas, Fort Worth, and the DFW Airport signed an agreement that represents a truce among the parties. Admittedly, this is just the first step in what will be a very long process (it needs to be okayed by Dallas and Fort Worth as well as the DFW Airport board, and then needs to pass through US Congress before December), but it is rather promising.
The good news is that, if everything goes well, the Wright Amendment is going away.
The bad news is that Southwest will still largely suffer under the same restrictions for another 8 years. Apparently, American Airlines, being unused to any sensible competition in the Dallas area, needs that long to plan a strategy that allows them to compete with an airline that can afford to charge about half as much.
Examining the finer details of the agreement: Southwest is immediately allowed to ticket connecting flights to non-Wright amendment states. In other words, you can now fly from DAL to SJC on a single ticket and check your luggage all the way through; but you’ll have to stop in an allowed destination (like El Paso) on the way.
Also, the City of Dallas will be forced, at taxpayers’ expense, to demolish 12 of the 32 gates at Love Field. Of the remaining 20 gates, Southwest will be allowed to use only 16. And if Southwest chooses to fly out of any airport other than Love in the DFW area, they lose those gates as well.
The important thing here is that American Airlines’ insistent and unattractive plea for the federal government to continue to save it from honest competition has failed. Within 8 years, there is significant promise that the cost of flights from Dallas will drop from 48% above the national average to something more in line with it. And really, that’s good news for everyone — at least, everyone who hasn’t been profiting from ridiculous, government-protected price gouging for the past 30 years.