Gongol.com Archives: September 2005
Brian Gongol

News (9.22.2005)
Walesa Tells Russia's Neighbors Not to Move Too Fast and Irritate Russia

The United States of America (9.22.2005)
Illinois State Senator Running for Seat on Mexican Advisory Council
Conflict of interest to serve in two governments at once? Is it dual allegiance, or just a smart strategic move for cross-border cooperation with our biggest source of immigrants? Is it really worse than Irish-Americans funneling money to the IRA? Or Italian-Americans affiliating with the Sicilian mob?

The United States of America (9.22.2005)
Roberts Approved By Safe Margin in Senate Committee
Apparently it's all but certain he's going to be the next Chief Justice. Sen. Hatch calls him "the best I have seen."

News (9.22.2005)
US to India: We Might Help You with Nuclear Policy
The US could use a strong, moderate India in their part of the world, even if it does make the nuclear hassles with Iran and North Korea harder to justify.

Socialism Doesn't Work (9.22.2005)
American Tourists to be Allowed into North Korea
Invitation to attend "mass games" -- another example of the kind of groupthink that autocrats can't do without. Based on this photographic tour, why would anyone want to go?

Socialism Doesn't Work (9.22.2005)
Hugo Chavez Extremely Sly About Using Oil to Leverage Power
He's talking about providing low-cost petroleum from Venezuela's huge supply to poor communities, including Indian groups in the US. Extremely crafty. But he's still a socialist.

Health (9.22.2005)
Hospitals Following Population Expansion in Sioux Falls
Similar effort fell apart in Des Moines, which is very similar to Sioux Falls. Word has it Iowa Methodist is going to try again.

Health (9.22.2005)
Three Kids Killed by Super-Germ in Chicago
It's ordinarily spread in hospitals, but researchers think they caught it in the community at large. The deaths happened between 2000 and 2004, but that means the disease is out there and communicable in the city.

Iowa (9.22.2005)
NCAA Wrestling Tournament Won't Come to Des Moines

News (9.22.2005)
Sioux City Cops Arresting Hurricane Katrina Evacuee Impostors
The crooks are locals who tried to get cash and hotel rooms

Election 2008 (9.22.2005)
Tom Daschle to Keynote Iowa Democratic Party Fundraiser in November
Does that mean he's running for President? Spokesperson says he's just doing a favor for Lt. Governor Sally Pederson.

Socialism Doesn't Work (9.22.2005)
Chicago Thinking About a Crackdown on Jaywalking
Not a good idea. It diverts police attention from more important matters. Not to mention that jaywalking is extremely efficient if done correctly: As long as jaywalkers aren't causing auto traffic to change course or abruptly start and stop, they're simply filling holes in the available space with useful activity.

Threats to Western Civilization (9.22.2005)
Widow of London Train Bomber Blames Radical Mosques for Turning Her Husband into a Killer
She's just 21; he left her with an infant and a baby on the way

We All Need a Little Humor (9.22.2005)
Paperwork Snafu Resulted in Divorce Papers to Couples Who Were Never Married

News (9.22.2005)
South Africa Short on Good Housing
"Informal" housing shelters about 2.4 million households. That's a lot of people living in shacks and shanties, and it's a big challenge to overcome.

The American Way (9.22.2005)
If You're Against Free Trade, You're Against Rising Standards of Living for People in Bangladesh
It's not hard to figure out that if they can capture $1 billion in annual sales to the US, it would have widespread benefits in a poor country

News (9.22.2005)
Conservative Party Self-Destructing in Canada
Party leader is blaming the media; says any party member can become an instant star by criticizing him. But that's the logical outcome of a game theory strategy where the leadership or a minority party is either weak or unpopular. Criticize someone like that, and you can still be the "opposition" to the majority party. The Conservatives in Canada need someone to do what Newt Gingrich did for the Republicans in 1994.

Threats to Western Civilization (9.22.2005)
Who's Causing All the Trouble in Iraq? Apparently Iran's to Blame.
Islamic terror groups and self-appointed morality squads are moving from Iran into Iraq and causing all kinds of trouble.

Business and Finance (9.22.2005)
Ireland Thinking About a Mandatory Pension Program
Compulsory savings programs are more or less a necessity to keep people off the dole in old age

Aviation News (9.22.2005)
Chartered Plane Fakes Fuel Emergency to Get Priority Landing
Gambian tourists on board wanted to get to a soccer match in Peru. Even more absurd: It was an under-17 championship. Leave earlier next time.

News (9.22.2005)
Poland Getting Tired of Russia's Bullying
No, literally: Russian kids beat up Polish kids in Warsaw last month, and now a Polish diplomat has been attacked in Moscow

News (9.22.2005)
Czech Republic to Perform Terrorism Drills
They're doing it in the overnight hours so they can practice responding to three simultaneous attacks without disrupting the city

The United States of America (9.22.2005)
Mexico Offering Aid to US for Hurricane Rita
(Spanish) 300 medics on the way from a bordering state. Nothing better than good relations with Latin America.

Agriculture (9.22.2005)
Researcher Says Half of All American Food Goes to Waste
20% on the production side, 40% on the retail side, and 40% in the home

Agriculture (9.22.2005)
Tuberculosis Strikes Back -- In Cattle

Science and Technology (9.22.2005)
Biomass Power Plant Ramping Up in Southeast Iowa
They're planning to burn switchgrass, which apparently does well alongside soybeans and corn. The debate over biomass energy persists, but at least one source says switchgrass produces a net energy gain of 344% -- much better than ethanol, for instance. It's highly adaptable, burns like wood, and can be burned right with coal.

News (9.22.2005)
Couples Who Cohabitate Before Marriage are Twice as Likely to Divorce
"Trial runs" not very useful, it would appear

We All Need a Little Humor (9.22.2005)
Japanese Necktie Makers in Fight with Government
Government is encouraging the "cool biz" look, in order to cut down on electricity demand. Necktie makers, obviously, want people to dress up.

Business and Finance (9.22.2005)
Sony to Pink-Slip 10,000 Employees
About 7% of the company's global workforce. They're planning to consolidate divisions, sell off unprofitable lines, and cut the number of products offered by 20% -- keeping LCD TVs, video cameras, and PlayStation.

Threats to Western Civilization (9.22.2005)
Iranian President Continues Rattling Sabers
"We are against the presence of foreigners in the Caspian Sea." Wager that he's making thinly-veiled threats about the international effort at oil extraction in the region. Iran spent the day flaunting its ballistic missiles and cheering the fact the EU backed down from taking the nuclear issue to the UN Security Council.

Socialism Doesn't Work (9.22.2005)
Cuba Relies on "Solidarity" to Survive Hurricanes
The propaganda would be funny if it weren't so relentlessly tragic. Poverty exacerbates the harm caused by natural disasters; the domestic experience with Hurricane Katrina should have put that plainly enough. Cuba remains so poor that the average Cuban has the equivalent of about $3,000 a year in income. When leaders are devoid of ideas, they turn to platitudes and the bunker mentality.

Weather and Disasters (9.22.2005)
13% of US Refinery Capacity is Near Houston
Obviously, direct damage to the refineries is a concern...but so is the possibility that long-term power outages could leave compressors on the pipelines out of service

Weather and Disasters (9.22.2005)
Evacuation of Houston Reveals How Little We Know About Getting People Out
12 hours to go 45 miles and worse. High demand for gasoline making for long lines and even worse delays. Houston's real-time traffic data painted a sorry story of slower-than-molasses progress, even though the city is squarely in the crosshairs. A basic question: Why try to concentrate an evacuation of millions of people strictly on a northbound basis? Wouldn't it be logical to diffuse the traffic by sending some people at right angles to the rest of the flow? If it takes 12 hours to go 45 miles north, why not take two or three hours to go west, then turn north? Wouldn't that be a more effective evacuation plan? It's how drivers can escape oncoming tornadoes. Concentration leads to constriction; mass evacuations should follow a diffusion model, spreading people out in many directions.

Weather and Disasters (9.22.2005)
100-Mile Traffic Jam As People Try to Leave Houston
All roads flow north as lane directions are reversed to get 1.3 million people out of Dodge. But nothing stops football in Texas -- they just reschedule to play Friday night's games early. New Orleans is expected to get 3" to 5" of rain, but Houston appears to be in the crosshairs for 15" and landfall.

News (9.22.2005)
British Paper Says US Rejected Some Food Donations
Supposedly the USDA declared the MREs unfit due to problems with the meat and related mad-cow inspections. Local reports indicate the USDA confirms the allegation.