“There is little that Virginia does not do well in government management. That’s been true for a while. But it keeps looking for improvements, and very often finds them. Outsiders might wonder how the only state that bars its governor from seeking reelection could provide its administrations with sufficient clout to make difficult decisions. But it consistently does. Virginia has an ethos of good management that has genuinely been institutionalized. Even if a governor betrays that culture-as did Jim Gilmore when he opened a $1 billion budget shortfall in the late 1990s with a cut in car taxes that was politically popular but fiscally unsound-the state seems able to find its way back to the path of good managerial sense.”

–Government Performance Project 2005 Survey Results in which only Virginia and Utah get A- ratings while the rest of the country are at the B and C level. Find the whole thing here.


Quote of the Day

“I’m not from these parts, I’m from a little place called England. We used to run the world before you.”

–Actor Ricky Gervias, star and creator of BBC series The Office, on accepting his Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy series, the first-ever British sitcom to win a Golden Globe.

Day of the Dog

University of California at San Francisco researchers are unnecessarily using German Shepherds, some of them cubs, to conduct heart research. I am usually not big on animal rights in these cases. If we can alleviate human suffering first through this type of research than our next step can be sharing our utopia with the animal kingdom as well. However, it seems that UCSF hasn’t done their homework on this one. Find out more here.

Transportation Reform

Find out all about the ‘road to righteousness’ here. An excerpt:

“Politically, the proposals work as a package: There’s something in it for everybody. Environmentalists ought to like the package because it dampens the out-of-control growth of automobile traffic and establishes the principle that motorists should help pay for mitigating the pollution they create. The anti-tax crowd ought to like it because it does not rely solely upon the failed tax-and-build policies of the past. Local governments ought to like it because it gives them more policy options than they have now. Even the tax-and-spend constituencies ought to like it because it provides a rationale for raising more transportation dollars through the gasoline tax.”

Election 2004

I know this is way late, but I’ve been listening to a compilation of songs in the car recently. I made this just before the election. Here’s the song list.

Side A

Goodbye is Forever – Arcadia

Electioneeering – Radiohead

I Believe – REM

Policy of Truth (Capitol Mix) – Depeche Mode

Le Privilege Des Morts – Laibach

Idioteque – Radiohead


Us or Them – The Cure

Follow the Leader – Killing Joke

Side B

Zooropa – U2

President Gas – Psychedelic Furs

Leaders of Men – Joy Division

The History of the World – Gang of Four

Ruined in a Day (K-Klass Remix) – New Order

Everything Counts – Depeche Mode

King of the World – Angel Fish

Television Man – Talking Heads

Insomniac – Levinhurst

A Better Future – David Bowie

No Taxes on Infrastructure

Interesting perspective here in the Roanoke Times. An excerpt follows…

“If politicians successfully argued that no tax on the Internet is a good thing for Americans and the economy, then why can’t they argue the same point for taxes that exist on more vital goods and services, such as phone service, gas, and electricity?”

Drano Disaster

The pungent stench of industrial strength solvent permeates our kitchen as I write these words. It started when Hope discovered standing water in our dishwasher. A drain problem, I guessed. I was on my way out to Kroger anyway to pick up a few things, so some Liquid Plumber was on the horizon.

The list: two packages of rice drink, cranberries, blueberries; a package of strawberries, organic bananas, five cans of V-8, seven bottles of yogurt drink, a package of candelabra style light bulbs (small base), and bottles of spring water. It was the Liquid Plumber that somehow missed the list and so, though the crisis was afoot, my short term memory being almost nonexistent, I completely forgot it until I returned home.

So, no sooner had I put away the groceries from my first trip when I was on my way out for a second trip, this time to CVS, hoping it was open on a Sunday night at 6:00PM.

It was. I headed for the cleaning supplies and housewares aisle. There was Drano and a CVS brand of de-clogger. I studied the labels. Drano was a dollar more, but came with an impressive array of warnings and emphatic statements attesting to its effectiveness. I headed for the door with the bottle of Drano and a small box of cat litter.

Home, I pulled a pan out of the dishwasher that was blocking my access to the drain. I rolled out the bottom shelf the full way and proceeded to apply the Drano, which, after two attempts, I was able to open, though it came with a human-proof cap. For clogs the bottle’s label instructs the user to pour half a bottle. I poured what seemed to be half and a little more for good measure. I stared at the standing water, waiting for the miraculous substance to expunge the clog. I waited. I waited some more.

“I think it may be working,” Hope said helpfully. I wasn’t sure.

Then, it dawned on me. Maybe it needed to go through the rinse cycle to open the drain. Maybe the drain only opened at a certain time during the dishwashing cycle. I tested my theory.

Turning the knob past ‘pots and pans’, ‘regular wash’, and a strange setting who’s name escapes me now that I’m sitting her and I refuse to go into the kitchen just to describe this particular detail, I set the dishwasher into motion. There was a pause for about twenty seconds and then I heard the whoosh of the water flowing out inside. I surmised that it wouldn’t take long to open the drain, but I was willing to wait a few minutes. And then I realized my folly.

Suds began to emerge out of the seams of the dishwasher door, where it hinges and meets the section that meets the floor. I pushed the dial past the rest of the long rinse cycle, past the dry phase, and off. I opened the dishwasher door. It was as if I had put laundry detergent in the dishwasher.

So, most of the evening for me has been spent fishing suds out of the bottom of the dishwasher and trying not breathe the fumes. A full rinse cycle later, I developed a fresh batch of the snowy white bubbles. I’m going to leave it overnight for lack of a better idea and basically I’m sick of fooling with it, so stay tuned.

Why the Internet is ‘Dangerous’.

Find out why here.

An excerpt:

“…revolutionary new technologies, and the rapid, immense social changes they cause, usually cause us to lose our common sense. Chaotic change causes people to jam the brakes on or go off half-cocked; many of the people calling for regulation of the Internet today are criticizing–even demonizing–the side effects of a technology they don’t understand. (They are therefore quite similar to people who call for censorship of books they have not read and movies they have not seen–in fact, they are some of the same people.) Legislators, judges and social critics are all stumbling around in the dark where the Net is concerned. At the same moment, businessmen have rushed in, hoping to make millions with the new technology, and their behavior– extravagant claims that can only lead to disappointment, pushing products out the door that are not even in alpha release yet–only confirms to the politicians, judges and critics that what we are dealing with here, this Internet thing, is essentially lawless. A return to common sense is vital. This can only happen when a few conditions are satisfied: there must be a bit of calm; better information about the Internet, its contents and customs, and the laws that pertain to it, must be available; and legislators especially must understand that they should regulate the Net with a forceps, not with a hammer. “