Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Another Vulnerability Revealed to Al-Qaeda
Schools look for ways to dispose of radioactive materials:
    School labs have used low-level radioactive materials safely for decades; experts say they're critical in teaching physics and chemistry. Sealed samples -- often leftovers from past experiments -- frequently are saved in closets and storerooms.

    But as teachers retire and containers get shoved aside to make way for new samples, it's easy for schools to lose track of what they've got, or to store them incorrectly, said Dr. Sandra West, an associate biology professor at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos.
No doubt this story has put our high schools at risk, once Al-Qaeda gets finished ransacking antiques stores for lumeniscient clock faces, dumps for old smoke detectors, and garage sales for twenty year old microwave ovens.

Friday, November 17, 2006
Finally, The Feds Are Involved
Google hit of the day: dangerous emus.

From the U.S. Department of Justice, no less.

Finally, the feds are wising up to the emu threat.

Illinois Legislature: We Control The Horizontal, We Control The Vertical
State Senate passes $7.50 hourly rate:
    Amid warnings that it could cost jobs in border areas such as the Metro East, the Illinois Senate on Wednesday approved a $1 minimum wage increase that would keep the state's pay scale above Missouri's and ahead of a proposed federal increase.
Rate freeze plan clears committee:
    A proposal meant to spare consumers from double-digit electricity rate hikes next year easily cleared an Illinois House committee Tuesday, but its prospects of becoming law are uncertain.
Now that the Illinois state government has helped raise costs and hold prices down, making businesses' decisions easy by removing them, the only question the legislators are leaving to its entrepreneur class is: To what state should I move?

Thursday, November 16, 2006
Financial Advice from MfBJN
Remember, if your employer offers free coffee, you should drink as much as possible. Otherwise, you're just leaving money on the table.

Fortunately, Missouri Dogs Will Have Access To These Cures
Stem cell injections fight muscular dystrophy in dogs:
    Stem cell injections worked remarkably well at easing symptoms of muscular dystrophy in a group of golden retrievers, a result that experts call a significant step toward treating people.
Fortunately, with the passage of Amendment 2 in Missouri, our canines will have access to these treatments and our biotech companies will have access to the sweet, sweet taxpayer cash to solve dogs' problems.

But note:
    The study was published online Wednesday by the journal Nature. It used stem cells taken from the affected dogs or other dogs, rather than from embryos. For human use, the idea of using such "adult" stem cells from humans would avoid the controversial method of destroying human embryos to obtain stem cells.
So another lifesaving cure for an animal that doesn't require embryonic stem cells? Good thing we spent so much time and government effort in embryonic stem cell research!

Sporting Community Up In Arms Over Personal Seat Licenses (PSLs)
Sportswriters around the country have discovered their disdain for having to prepay merely for the right to pay for something.

Oh, wait, it's not PSLs; it's paying for the privilege of negotiating with a player:
    The Boston Red Sox can afford to and made the choice to pay $51 million just for the right to negotiate with a Japanese ballplayer. Sickening.
When the sports teams do it to loyal fans, it's a creative revenue strategy. When agents do it to sports teams, it's sickening.

I do see the subtle differences that make the moral equation opposite.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006
New Arms Race
Maybe I am reading too much into unrelated events, but these two things could indicate the beginning of an escalating arms race and tensions between two non-governmental entities. 1: Dam plans jeopardize Amazon, experts say.

2: Private Texas spaceport launches test rocket:
    A remote West Texas spaceport being built and bankrolled by founder Jeff Bezos launched a test rocket Monday for the first time.
So you have a dam threatening Amazon, and Amazon's founder bankrolling a rocket program. Only a fool would miss the obvious.

Monday, November 13, 2006
Undeterred By Will of Citizens, Industry Group Vows To Seek Taxpayer Featherbedding Again
Tobacco tax defeat smacks hospitals:
    Missouri's hospitals weren't running for office last week, but they ended up among the losers.

    Voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have increased cigarette taxes by 80 cents a pack.

    Most of the money raised — about $289 million of the forecast $350 million — would have gone to Missouri's hospitals to help pay for the care of the state's lowest-income patients.

    The Missouri Hospital Association, the major supporter of the failed amendment, says it's not giving up.
That's the spirit, Missouri Hospital Association, you continue finding ways to have the taxpayers chip in to bolster your and your members' bottom lines. Don't give up.

Oh, I know, you're saying, "There goes MfBJN, attacking the poor again," but note, fellows, that any wide-ranging industry serves the poor. Just because it's health care doesn't mean it's exempt from my free market-loving scorn.

I mean, how many poor people could be served with the money spent in the Missouri Hospital Association's budget? Plenty, I would guess, but no doubt that capital is doing more good paying salaries and expenses for lobbyists who are self-selected to do the work for the poor.

City of St. Louis to Deploy Red Tape To Deter Thieves
As the price of scrap metal has risen, bad men have begun stealing or destroying working and expensive equipment to get at the copper or aluminum within. The City of St. Louis will do something to help deter the thieves. No, not rigorous enforcement of existing laws nor increased patrols and police presence on the street. Perish the thought.

The city will introduce new regulations that deputize (and burden) private industry and inconvenience law-abiding citizens:
    Alderman Lyda Krewson has an idea of what to do. She's proposing a law requiring scrap buyers to pay only by check and to photograph, fingerprint and even take the license plate number of every seller.

    Police say the paper trail would help stop the scourge of thefts from businesses and homes that has risen with the price of recycled metals.
Because it's easier to catch businesses in breaking the law because they don't run as fast nor do they shoot back at law enforcement.

Red tape: It's like duct tape for the government.

Sunday, November 12, 2006
All Veterans The Same to St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch profiles a veteran for Veterans' Day. Lest we think the paper might lavish some attention on an American veteran or, hell, even an ally who fought with the Americans in some war or another, don't worry: the Post-Dispatch sepia-tones an opposing soldier from World War I:
    On this Veterans Day, consider that rarest of veterans, Walter Heiman of University City.

    First, he’s 105 years old and a World War I veteran.

    Second, in WWI, he wore the field-gray uniform of the German army.
Funny, I don't think the paper would have profiled a Confederate soldier or a Nazi soldier with the same affection, but World War I is just forgotten enough that the paper hopes we can help celebrate all sides and all veterans the same. Or maybe it hopes we can celebrate our opponents and keep them close to our hearts at all times.

To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."