Sunday, June 18, 2006

Get a room!

Tribune Star:Officials to address crime at Fairbanks

The Terre Haute Park Board hopes to meet with law enforcement officials June 28 to address problem activity in the northern end of Fairbanks Park, park Superintendent Greg Ruark said Friday.

Ruark said the board hopes to meet with city police Chief George Ralston and Vigo County Sheriff Jon Marvel to discuss ways park officials can minimize illegal activity in that park.

The invitation to law enforcement officials follows a police raid on Fairbanks and Mills Dam parks earlier this month in which five men were arrested for acts of public indecency.

The parks board discussed the northern end of Fairbanks Park at their Wednesday meeting, with council members recommending possibilities from closing the road leading to the north end of the park to fencing off part of the park as a preventive measure.

Some City Council members at the meeting stressed that a particular segment of the population was not being attacked in addressing the recent arrests at Fairbanks Park....

Gee, I wonder what "segment of the population" they are referring to? If a guy and a gal are arrested for doing it in a park there wouldn't be any hand wringing about making a "segment of the population" feel "attacked". We'd demand an appropriate punishment and cluck under our breath about those nitwits the cops caught in the park (especially given the fact that there are a couple hotels within a few blocks). Whatever your orientation, it isn't too much to ask you take care of your needs in a private place.

This has been a well known problem in the city for years and our community "leaders" won't step up to the plate and deal with the issue. A big part of that is the university, the ever growing tumor in the center of our city, which provides a never ending supply of activists to protest on behalf of the perversion of the day (and the continual expansion of the university). Then of course there are the few members of the university community who participate in such illegal activities. Those of us who work for a living don't have the free time to go to every meeting and publicly protest every decision. We just vote. And the last two mayors have been voted out in primaries because nothing is done about the problems in the city (this is one of the very trivial ones).

Friday, June 02, 2006

Caught with their hands in the cookie jar

Autoblog: Network truck stop showdown at the Flying J

A consortium of networks including ABC, CBS, Fox, Turner Entertainment and Disney have banded together to file a federal lawsuit against the Flying J truck stop chain.

Apparently, the chain of 178 travel plazas and fuel stops has taken to substituting outside commercials for their own spots in every location that has a trucker's lounge playing a service called Plaza TV. Basically, this is made possible by a little box called the segOne 2000 LS, which detects commercials in normal broadcasts, them replaces them with new ones. In this case, trucker-specific ads for Flying J, which itself turns around and charges other companies $31,250 per month for a 30-second spot on Plaza TV.

You just have to wonder what passes through people's minds sometimes. Use someone else's programming and insert your own commercials. Gee, I wonder what will happen when "someone else" finds out about it.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

JFK: the sequel

It's interesting, you've got Barack Obama, who wants to be JFK, Hillary wants to be JFK, John Edwards still has happy thoughts of being JFK and Kerry being his LBJ. But the odds of a first term Senator going to the head of the class are low. Part of the JFK legend is that he pulled off such an impossible stunt. Generally Presidents come from Governors' Mansions not down the street. But folks still try and try and try and.....

The thing is JFK's have been a pretty decent president even if he had been Governor of Massachusetts instead of Junior Senator from same. Imitating the man is more profitable than imitating the resume.

But given the long odds for Senators why do folks arrange their careers to follow that trajectory? Maybe a lack of willingness to risk being a governor? Senators may not get the big plusses a governor has in a presidential race, but they also do not face the risks. A lot of Democratic states are basket cases. I think Solomon would have a hard time making Michigan successful enough to be a good launching pad for a presidential run. Whoever replaces Ah-nold will be almost as unlikely to become president as the Austrian born bodybuilder-turned actor-turned pol. Given the woes that New York faces, who can blame Hillary for being disinterested in running the show in Albany? Plus, really building a legacy in a state often takes time, as in more than one term. By the time a pol gets to the level where they can win a Senate seat or a Governor's spot time is beginning to seem a precious commodity., so a lot of 'em head for the Senate and hope to posture enough to springboard themselves into the White House.

What an a**

FAA takes the wind out of wind farms

The federal government has stopped work on more than a dozen wind farms planned across the Midwest, saying research is needed on whether the giant turbines could interfere with military radar.

But backers of wind power say the action has little to do with national security. The real issue, they say, is a group of wealthy vacationers who think a proposed wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts would spoil the view at their summer homes.

Opponents of the Cape Wind project include several influential members of Congress. Critics say their latest attempt to thwart the planting of 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound has led to a moratorium on new wind farms hundreds of miles away in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.


Harnessing the wind is a clean and relatively inexpensive way to generate electricity without the troublesome byproducts of coal or nuclear power. But the vast collections of turbines--some of which are 40 stories tall--are derided by opponents as unreliable and unsightly.

Of the scores of projects proposed around the country, perhaps the most controversial has been Cape Wind. If approved, it will be the first offshore wind farm in the United States.

Most of the opposition focuses on the proposed location in a channel between Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard, the bucolic Massachusetts vacation areas frequented by many high-profile celebrities, business executives and politicians.

Critics of Cape Wind include members of the Kennedy family, whose summer compound is on Cape Cod. Both U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and his nephew, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., have said the turbines would spoil the ocean views, threaten the local tourist economy and endanger migratory birds.

The younger Kennedy, an environmental lawyer and activist who has supported wind power in other parts of the country, said putting a wind farm in Nantucket Sound would be akin to placing one in the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park.

"This isn't the right location, for a number of reasons," Kennedy said.

Another opponent is U.S. Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), who has tried several times to block the Cape Wind project. In a 2002 letter to the Army Corps of Engineers, Warner included a handwritten note saying he often visits Cape Cod, which he called a "national treasure."

But the project continued to move forward until late last year, when Warner, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, slipped an amendment into a military spending bill. The one-sentence congressional order directs the Defense Department to study whether wind towers could mask the radar signals of small aircraft.

Since then, at the Defense Department's behest, the FAA has been blocking any new wind turbines within the scope of radar systems used by the military.

Warner's amendment also appears to have reversed the government's position on the Cape Wind proposal. Both the FAA and the Air Force had previously signed off on the project, which would be located within miles of a missile defense radar system.

"This has nothing to do with wind," said Michael Polsky, president and chief executive officer of Invenergy, a Chicago company with projects in Illinois and Wisconsin that have been blocked by the government. "It has everything to do with politics."

Warner's office did not return telephone calls seeking comment. A spokesman previously released a statement saying the Defense Department study "ensures that Congress will possess as much information as possible on wind farms' impact on military operations."

So Warner will send the FAA on a fools errand and stiff arm sustainable energy developers nationwide so he and his fat cat buddies can have a lovely(er) time vacationing at Cape Cod. Talk about NIMBY taken to the extreme. Warner is fine with his constituents living next door to a wind farm but God forbid he have to vacation in the same zip code as one. The Kennedys and Warner may not know what they can do for their country but they certainly know what their country can do for them.