The missing clock didn't stop postal customer Al Cunningham from noticing the amount of time spent waiting for service.
"It's always long here," said Cunningham, 49, an insurance adjuster and former postal employee who was standing in line at the Watson Post Office in Fort Worth.
The Watson Post Office is one of the nation's 37,000 post offices in which clocks have been removed from retail areas as part of a "retail standardization program" launched last year. The effort is designed to give the public-service areas a more uniform appearance, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported in Thursday editions.
"We want people to focus on postal service and not the clock," said Stephen Seewoester, Dallas spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service.
At the Fort Worth post office, the hook that once held up the small battery-powered clock now protrudes from a plaster wall. The clock was taken down months ago.
A customer-service expert at Texas A&M University was not impressed with the decision to take down the timepieces.
"It's silly," said Leonard Berry, holder of the M.B. Zale Chair in Retail and Marketing Leadership. "I guess they think people don't have watches."
Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees. Despite promising a prompt review of its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood rather than by geologic forces, more than three years later no review has ever been done and the book remains on sale at the park, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)....
"As one park geologist said, this is equivalent of Yellowstone National Park selling a book entitled Geysers of Old Faithful: Nostrils of Satan," [PEER Executive Director Jeff] Ruch added, pointing to the fact that previous NPS leadership ignored strong protests from both its own scientists and leading geological societies against the agency approval of the creationist book.
This reminds me of the controversy about Bush's NASA appointee.
I was amused and appalled by George Vaccaro's blog entry Verizon doesn't know Dollars from Cents, in which he describes the inability of Verizon workers to understand that there is a difference between ".002 dollars" and ".002 cents". Keith and I listened to the audio of his customer service phone calls. Here's an excerpt from the transcript:
George: [big sigh] Okay, I think I have to do this again. Do you recognize that there's a difference between one dollar and one cent?
Andrea (customer support representative): Definitely.
G: Do you recognize there's a difference between half a dollar and half a cent?
G: Then, do you therefore recognize there's a difference between .002 dollars and .002 cents
A: I mean there's... there's no .002 dollars.
My favorite comment was from a Slashdotter who wished that Verizon off-shored their call center to India.
Verizon eventually agreed to refund the overcharge, but there's no word yet on whether they'll do so for the uncounted other people who received a misquote.
The Bush administration told a federal court last month that the 14 high value detainees transferred to Guantanamo must not be allowed to talk to lawyers because they've been tortured in CIA prisons. [WaPo]
According to the government, these detainees have been subjected to ordeals so exquisite and ingenious that they count as state secrets.
The state's chilling logic is as follows: If you were tortured in a CIA prison, then you can't have a lawyer because you might tell your lawyer how they tortured you.
If the judge accepts this reasoning, getting tortured by the USA will carry an automatic life sentence. After all, if these techniques are too secret for a client to share with an attorney in preparation for a secret trial, then it follows that torture victims must never be released for security reasons. They know too much.
It's a clever way to neutralize military tribunals, isn't it? It will cease to matter whether the detainee is guilty of the charges against him. If he's already been tortured, he'll never go free.
From the original article:
Joseph Margulies, a Northwestern University law professor who has represented several detainees at Guantanamo, said the prisoners "can't even say what our government did to these guys to elicit the statements that are the basis for them being held. Kafka-esque doesn't do it justice. This is 'Alice in Wonderland.'"
Readers who would like to do something should:
- Vote Tuesday.
- Give to the Center for Constitutional Rights Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative or Human Rights Watch.
If presidential elections were held today, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton would likely have a comfortable edge over Sen. John McCain, but take away her maiden name and McCain has a better shot of landing in the Oval Office.
So say the results of a CNN poll released Friday by Opinion Research Corp., which asked 506 adult Americans whom they preferred among potential 2008 presidential candidates. The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 4.5 percent.
Asked if they preferred Hillary Rodham Clinton to McCain, respondents gave the Democratic New York senator and former first lady a 51 percent to 44 percent advantage over the Republican Senator from Arizona. Remove "Rodham" and McCain had a 1 percentage point advantage, 48 percent to 47 percent...
From the Associated Press (via OregonLive.com):
The Museum of Tolerance started off with good intentions, over $100 million in donations, an eye-catching design by architect Frank Gehry, a 2004 kickoff ceremony attended by Arnold Schwarzenegger, and a great piece of Jerusalem real estate.
But underneath that real estate, it turned out, there were Muslim graves. As a result, instead of bringing this contentious city's warring tribes together, the museum has sparked a fight with political, religious and historical dimensions between Muslims and Jews â€” and all this before it has even been built.
Months of arbitration have ended in deadlock, the site is enclosed in aluminum walls, and the dispute is now before Israel's Supreme Court. Even if the court gives the go-ahead, however, the Museum of Tolerance could well remain permanently tainted by allegations of intolerance....
Muslim opponents have found unexpected allies: Ultra-Orthodox Jews, who aren't known for their sympathy for Arab causes but who care about preserving graves.
From the Washington Post:
Six-term Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) resigned yesterday amid reports that he had sent sexually explicit e-mails to at least one underage male former page....
Foley chaired the House caucus on missing and exploited children and was credited with writing the sexual-predator provisions of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, which Bush signed in July.
I wonder if the emails and instant messages he sent violate the law he wrote.
The song "I'd Rather Hear Lohengrin" was popular in Mills College's past. "Lohengrin" refers to the Bridal Chorus (better known as The Wedding March) in Wagner's opera.
I'd rather hear Lohengrin,
Than work my way through college.
I'd rather hear Lohengrin,
Than gather all this knowledge.
I'd rather walk down the aisle
In a fluffy, fluffy veil,
And wait there for his smile,
Than study to no avail.
History gets in my hair,
Econ is over my head,
Spring is in the air,
And I'd much rather be wed.
I'd rather hear Lohengrin
Than study all these books,
I'd rather hear Lohengrin
Than lose my darned good looks.
The song is from the 1950 Mills Song Book.
I'd love to hear from older graduates of Mills (and other colleges) if they've heard this song and how it was regarded in their era (seriously or sarcastically).