Friday, 18 Feb 1994 Washington, DC
1. HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE BRACES FOR YET ANOTHER TSUNAMI!
It's been just a little over a year since House Democrats ousted
ailing octogenarian Jaime Whitten (D-MS) from the chairmanship of
Appropriations (WN 11 Dec 92), only to replace him with his close
friend William Natcher (D-KY) who is a year older. Now Natcher's
health is deteriorating. Next in seniority not counting Whitten
who is still on the Committee--sort of--is Neal Smith (D-IA), who
is only 73, but David Obey (D-WI), a mere 56, is reportedly ready
to challenge Smith in the Democratic Caucus. Regardless of who
replaces Natcher, the subcommittee chairs will be reshuffled.
2. ADVANCED LIQUID METAL REACTOR SURVIVES THE LOS ANGELES QUAKE!
Congress finally passed an emergency supplemental appropriations
bill last Friday that included $7.8B for Southern California, but
it was proposals to offset the emergency spending with cuts in
other programs that rattled windows in the Capitol. The final
score was $11B in new spending authority and $3.4B in cuts. The
cuts included an Administration proposal to rescind $97M from DOE
Energy Supply R&D, but instead of taking the money out of several
controversial nuclear reactor programs as the Administration had
asked, the cut was spread evenly across the entire $3.2B account.
Care was taken to protect earmarked projects, but superconducting
magnetic energy storage was singled out for an early death. Other
amendments, including Penny-Kasich
(WN 4 Feb 94) were defeated.
3. ALTERNATIVE SCIENCE UPDATE: COAST GUARD SAILS INTO THE NEW AGE
The Strategic Planning Staff of the U.S. Coast Guard figured they
could do a better job of planning if they knew where the world is
headed, so they hired the Arlington Institute to tell them. The
result was "The Road to 2012," 348 pages of clairvoyance. It is
very informative. One learns, for example, that we will be able
to tap the zero point energy in the vacuum. The technology for
this is, the report says, "revolutionary," but, alas, it is
protected by international patents. "Cold fusion," the report says,
may simply be a manifestation of zero point energy. It gets even
more exciting: "Dozens of studies have shown that the prayers and
meditations of widely separated individuals correlate with
significant improvement of the health and well-being of others."
(Presumably it also works if they are close together.) "The well
known phenomenon of dowsing may be a spontaneous twitch of muscle
as one is moving over a geological gradient due to variations in
extremely low intensity geophysical fields." Or how about this:
"Herpes has been linked to loneliness." Now that's revolutionary;
everyone else recommends being alone as a sure-fire preventive.
"Remote perception, or the ability to ascertain information
non-locally, has been demonstrated....Mind interacting with matter
transcends the limitations of ordinary space-time." To perceive
what this report cost, we were able to transcend the space-time
limitations of the U.S. Coast Guard bureaucracy using non-local
means (the telephone). The cost to the taxpayers was $100,000.