Quote of the Day - Math Anxiety - An intense, life-long fear of two trains approaching each other at speeds of 60 and 80 mph.
The Blawg Roundup
Today's a blawg-reading day. As a follow-up to an earlier post, Perfectly Sassy has this post. She even features Spam University and the The 3rd Annual Nigerian Email Conference. Classic educational opportunities for the uninformed.
Thank you, EveryoneA wonderful time was had by all last night at the first annual Fall Harvest Open house at the firm.
Thanks to our judicial guests, Judge Alex Kozinski for keeping everyone in stitches, and to Justice William Bedsworth for entertaining stories, and Judge Kelly MacEachern for her warm, welcoming wishes.
Good food, good people, a relaxing, after-work party to kick off the Holiday Season. Thanks to all of our clients, vendors, friends, fellow lawyers and everyone that came - and even to those that brought us gifts. We appreciate your support, and to all, a good night.
College Tuition & Dynamite - How They Go TogetherWonder why your kids' college education costs so much? Earlier this month, the USEPA announceed that it wants over $97,000 in fines from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York for violating RCRA hazardous waste laws. You know, the Ivy League, and all that, old boy.
Actually, Vassar's not in the Ivy League, which you probably could have figured out from the USEPA's action. Would an Ivy League school have violated hazardous waste regulations? Heck, Harvard can't even win football games, let alone pollute the environment. But I digress.
The USEPA reports that complaints with penalties totaling $2 million have been levied against 10 colleges and universities, and settlements reached total $1.3 million in penalties or supplemental environmental projects. The USEPA plans additional investigations and self-audit agreements under its Colleges and Universities Initiative.
Want to know how to avoid an investigation by the USEPA into your business, college or university? Try out the voluntary self-audit program. If you follow the guidelines and disclose violations (I know it sounds oxymoronic, but remember it makes sense because this is the government), you may be eligible for reduced penalties. You must follow the "Incentives for Self Policing: Discovery, Disclosure, Correction, and Prevention of Violations" policy (this one's for Region 2 - each Region has its own guidelines, but they're pretty much the same).
This whole program started in 1999 because a USEPA inspector found two bottles of Picric Acid in a college chemical storage lab.
Think dynamite. Then run.
You're Kidding!!!!!! It's Not True?????
I normally don't go off on a rant here, but (choose the one on individual responsibility, and you'll get the idea), we've become blind email recipients who automatically forward whatever shows up as if it were the gospel handed down on two tablets.
NIMBY Turns Into NIMOCape Wind Associates is attempting to build a wind farm in Nantucket Sound. Not all nearby residents are too happy about the plan. This Google search resulted in numerous articles and organizations both for and against the proposal.
Another company, Winenergy, LLC has at least 14 wind farm proposals pending for East Coast oceans.
Oceans aren't the only place where wind farms have popped up - we have them right here in Palm Springs, Califorina, too. They're in Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania and many other states.
This Department of Energy site says wind farms are also in Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North and South Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Not surprisingly, they're in Holland, too.
Admittedly, they're an eyesore. But, windmills are nothing new to the American landscape. They come from one of the Old Countries, too. Holland and England's national treasures have inspired individuals, as well.
Many people have installed windmills for themselves. There is much support for this form of individualism; the bibliography for small projects is amazingly extensive. Small projects are generally accepted, but the big projects meet stiff opposition.
The general concept opposing these large farms is NIMBY. I think the arguments against windmills in oceans will have to be called NIMO - Not in My Ocean.
There are good arguments on both sides. Clean energy, no pollution vs. dangers to navigation (in oceans) and scarring the landscape. But, I have to ask, are we just Don Quixote, tilting at windmills?
You know I wouldn't have missed that pun.
Surprisingly, there's an actual product called NIMBY to keep pests out of your backyard. Maybe it was all the wind farm opponents bought up these spray bottles - the product's website notes that they're out of stock until 2004.
14 States File to Enjoin Loosened Air Act RegsThe Clean Air Act, which I've written about before, is in the news again.
This time, 14 States Attorneys General (did I get those plurals right?) sought an injunction today to stop the USEPA's move to relax regs on December 26. Apparently, a late present from the USEPA to the President.
The spoilers (attorneys general) representing the states are all Democrats, save one. Former Attorney General Peter Heed of New Hampshire is the sole Republican joining in this suit.
According to published articles, a spokesman for the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council redicted the effort would fail. "This is just another attempt by the attorney general to delay reforms that will improve efficiency and reduce emissions," said the spokesman, Frank Maisano.
"If these rules go into effect even temporarily," said New York former State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, "utilities will get the green light to spew forth pollution and violate the clear meaning of a statute that has for decades protected the quality of the air that we breathe."
USEPA spokeswoman Cynthia Bergman said the agency had not yet seen Monday's filing, but accused Spitzer of "making charges without having facts."
Lawyers. They all look at the same thing and see it five different ways. Oh yeah - that's what I do, too!
Lawsuits Over MTBE Contamination May Soon Go AwayMTBE Safe Drinking Water Act lawsuits may become a thing of the past.
House Majority Leader Tom Delay, R-Texas placed a provision in the pending Energy Bill in Congress that would grant retroactive immunity to MTBE manufacturers from most, if not all, pending lawsuits. These suits allege contamination of drinking water supplies.
Many MTBE manufacturers are in Delay's home state, Texas, and some manufacturers have already been held liable for damage caused by the fuel additive. In California, MTBE is slated to be
phased out as an additive.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors opposes this grant of immunity. It "will put the cost of pollution cleanup on local taxpayers rather than the polluters," James Garner, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors said in a statement Saturday.
On the other hand, MTBE manufacturers argue that the product liability waiver is justified because MTBE would not be a problem if people didn't spill gasoline or if the fuel didn't leak from damaged underground storage tanks.
Right. And cigarettes wouldn't kill people if they just wouldn't smoke them. Now if we just knew for sure that MTBE was chronically dangerous.
How Much for that Hammer?Somebody's not telling the truth here.
Last March, the U.S. Forest Service told its workers that it was studying privitazing their jobs. The studies were supposed to cost $10 million, but questions have arisen over that number.
It turns out that the studies cost $24 million, according to the same AP writer, Robert Gehrke.
All to eliminate 41 jobs. Gehrke points out that the study determined that the government would actually spend $425,000 a year more to eliminate these jobs.
In a later paragraph, Gehrke quotes Thomas Mills, deputy chief for business operations at the Forest Service. According to Gehrke's quote, Mills "defends the studies and the decision to privatize Vester's team. He [Mills] said competitive sourcing will save the Forest Service $6.1 million a year, meaning the initiative will pay for itself in four years."
Which one is it Mr. Gehrke?