Observations on the News: 2005-03-08 (Wednesday)

I haven’t done any observations on the news in a few days, so…

  • Food poisoning kills 29 children. Food poisoning is a tragedy, and I grieve with those parents that lost their children. However, this observation is more about the vendor that sold the tainted food. According to the article, when told that she was selling tainted cassava balls, the vendor “insisted nothing was wrong with them and ate a few to prove the point. Now she, too, is in critical condition.” Here we have a walking example of “not the brightest bulb in the bunch”. Folks, when told that the food you’re serving is poisoned, don’t say, “Oh it’s fine. See I can eat it.”. Sigh. Oh, and remember to cook your cassava root thoroughly before eating. In case of death, discontinue use.
  • Kids’ Rooms Becoming Multimedia Centers. AP is reporting that nearly a third of kids 8 to 18 say when they’re doing schoolwork at home, they’re often talking on the phone, surfing the Web, instant messaging, watching TV or listening to music at the same time. This is based off of a Kaiser Family Foundation survey that showed that 54 percent of children’s bedrooms had a VCR or DVD player last year, up from 36 percent in 1999, and 31 percent of kids had a computer in their room, up from 21 percent. Well, I know my daughter may hate me for it, but all she has in her room is a CD player and a phone (the phone is a remnant of when it was in her room so we could call the pediatrician when she was an infant). The TV and computers are in the main family area. The computer will remain there; she won’t get a TV until she’s much older. Parents need to know what their kids are watching, and where they surf. I think the findings of this study are even more an indictment of parents than children!
  • LexisNexis: 32,000 Consumers’ Data Stolen and Credit Card Data Stolen From Shoe Retailer. Remember when the viruses and worms started to hit, and people became really aware of the problem. Remember when the same thing happened with spam and phishing. Mark my words: articles such as this, as well as the recent ChoicePoint and Bank of America thefts, are serving to make people really aware of the identity theft issue. I know there are numerous bills (search on the string “Identity Theft”) in the California State Legislature on the issue. Some good advice I heard on this: you get three free credit reports a year (one from each company). Stagger the requests over 4 month intervals. Haven’t requested yours? Visit here, or if they aren’t free in your area yet, here.
  • Coach Accused of Licking Player’s Cuts. I liked the translation of this headline on this morning’s Morning Sedition on Air America: Nation’s Schools Unveil New Health Care Initiative.
  • Kroger’s Recovery Is in Slow Checkout Line; Loss Widens. And yet we see more fallout from the recent supermarket strike. Even with deep discounts, they haven’t been able to lure shoppers back to Ralphs and Food 4 Less. Gee, could it be that even with their “discounts”, the prices are higher, the service worse, and the quality poorer? Nah! Consider where the business has gone: “Ralphs hasn’t been able to attract all the customers it lost to rivals such as Trader Joe’s, Costco Wholesale Corp. and Stater Bros. Holdings Inc. during the 4½-month-long strike and lockout.”

Well, that’s it for today. In closing, a quote I saw in email this morning: “mere possession of a CISSP does not automatically make one an arrogant security moron, or drastically reduce one’s mental faculties.”


Observations on the News: September 22, 2004

Another of my periodic “Observations on the News”:

Albertsons Moves Upscale With Bristol Farms Purchase. The Los Angeles Times (registration required). Sigh. And another one bites the dust. At least we still have Gelsons. We’ve given up on the major markets in Los Angeles: We actually find Ralphs and Vons to be higher priced than Gelsons, and Lucky’s (oops) Albertsons, well, we’ve never liked them. More business for Trader Joes.

Twinkies’ maker files bankruptcy. CNN/Money is reporting that Interstate Bakeries, the makers of  Twinkies, Wonder Bread, and numerous Hostess, Dolly Madison, and bread brands is filing Chapter 11. Guess Atkins did them in. I remember touring a Wonder Bread plant when I was a little boy.

Clandestine Filming Ban Broadened. The Los Angeles Times (registration required) is reporting that the Governator has signed legislation making it a misdemeanor to secretly videotape people in their bedrooms, whether or not they are clothed. Violators face punishment of up to a year in county jail, a $1,000 fine or both.  Now, I agree with the surface intent of this bill, which would relate to the same problems as hidden cameras in bathrooms. But now, think about the effect on “Nanny Cams” that montor child-care workings in a child’s bedroom (not to mention Private Investigators getting the goods on cheating spouses). For all the places the government is placing cameras, individuals can’t monitor their own homes. Yet again, if you think about it, this is an attack on civil liberties, cleverly disguised. Aren’t you glad now you didn’t fly in June

… and I’m not even going to express my disgust at how well our government is protecting our civilians who are working to reconstruct Iraq.  After all, according to our President, our policy in Iraq is a “catastrophic success”. Better to spend our energies considering Cat Stevens to be a threat. Just an odd question to the President: What would prevent the kidnap squads in Iraq from doing the same in America? Not one bomb is required, and knives and swords are easily available.