Monday, October 30, 2006

Zooming in on the truth

Many think they can tell when someone's lying. They watch their eyes, their hands, the tilt of the head. Or they hook up a whirring machine that sends ink pens scurrying across strips of graph paper. Now there's a whole new world in the quest for demonstrable falsehood:
"By peering directly into our brains, its keepers aim to set a new gold standard for the recognition of honesty in everyone from politicians to criminals to lovers"
There's more, in the Washington Post.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Insulating the Times from Wall Street

If you followed my discussion early this year about the sale of the Knight Ridder newspapers to satisfy impatient investors, you may be interested to learn of signals that the venerable New York Times may be bought into private ownership. Here's the scoop from Forbes.

Comma comedy costs a bundle

An extra comma in a 14-page contract is costing a telphone company a million dollars (Canadian). It's a prime example of why you should listen very carefully when your teacher explains grammar. A key line from today's story in the New York Times:
Citing the "rules of punctuation," Canada's telecommunications regulator recently ruled that the comma allowed Bell Aliant to end its five-year agreement with Rogers [Communications, of Toronto] at any time with notice.
The costly comma occurs in a 57-word sentence that was intended to make the contract a five-year deal that was renewable for five years at a time unless one side or the other gave a year's notice. See if you can tell why it's not working that way. Here's the sentence in question:
Subject to the termination provisions of this Agreement, this Agreement shall be effective from the date it is made and shall continue in force for a period of five (5) years from the date it is made, and thereafter for successive five (5) year terms, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice by either party.
If you're registered, you can read the story here.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Congress helps farmers double-dip at your expense

Here's a good example of how our political system is being abused. Thank the Washington Post for the disclosure.
"The result is that farmers often get paid twice by the government for the same disaster, once in subsidized insurance and then again in disaster assistance, a legal but controversial form of double-dipping, a Washington Post investigation found. Together, the programs have cost taxpayers nearly $24 billion since 2000.

The government pays billions to help farmers buy cheap federal insurance, billions more to private insurance companies to help run the program and billions more to cover the riskiest claims. And on top of all that, it spends billions on disaster payments."

Monday, October 09, 2006

Foley: Public ambitions, private demons

Lots of Floridians have been asking, who the heck IS this guy Mark Foley? The able Frank Cerabino supplies the answers, in the Palm Beach Post.

Friday, October 06, 2006

How the Democrats Can Step Up

David Ignatius sensibly writes today in the Washington Post:
The Democrats are talking about a culture of corruption in Washington, but what are they going to do about it? That's the question Democrats should address over the next month if they want a mandate for change. If they win the House of Representatives, will the Democrats embark on a two-year binge of investigations and score-settling? Or will they get serious about solving the country's problems?