Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday, aarghh

So, feeling under the weather, I try to sleep in a bit today. Hah! It's Monday, fool!

Half of our incoming power is down. For those unacquainted with electrical matters, the supply to a residence is typically three wires; one is ground or neutral, while the other two are each about 120 volts with respect to that ground/neutral. But the power company cleverly sets the "phase" of the two hot lines (they're AC, alternating current, which means that the voltage vaires in a sine-wave form 60 times a second) are opposed, such that there is a 240-volt difference between them.

Items that run on 120 volts--lights, wall plugs, minor appliances--are wired as one hot and the neutral; the load is more or less shared (by the way the installing electrician wires up the main board) between the two hot lines. Heavy-duty appliances (such as electric stoves or ovens, air conditioners) run on 220 volts, which is wired as the two hot wires.

Well, somehow one of the two hot legs from the power pole to our house gave out. Apparently the break is in the buried conduit, which makes it more fun yet. So for a good while today, we have had only partial electrical service, meaning some lights and some wall plugs. Our water-pressure pump (we are on a well) wasn't running, meaning no running water, nor was our cooktop or oven available.

We have had an electrician in, and we now have a temporary run, meaning we can use most things; but, because he didn't have a sufficiency of really heavy-gauge wire on his truck, we are a little limited. We have turned off the hot-water heater, and believe (or hope) that that is enough to keep the load manageable even if we are cooking something when the water-pressure pump (3 HP) cycles on.

As a TV character once said, "This is not fun; I've had fun, and this is not it."

A couple of brief notes.

The Washington State primary, which is wholly meaningless to Democrats (all Washington delegates were selected by caucus) and nearly so to Republicans, is still expected to turn out at least 6 times the vote that the caucuses did. I repeat, and will continue to repeat: caucuses are a horrible way to select candidates.

Here's a shocker: people without good medical insurance are grossly underdiagnosed for cancer, and large numbers of them die needlessly, in terrible, protracted agony, because the condition wasn't diagnosed at a stage where treatment could have helped. Gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling about medical insurance, doesn't it? We are the unhealthiest "first-world" nation in the world, yet we pay more per capita for such lousy health insurance as we have than most or all other first-world nations. Think about it.

As I and almost everybody keeps saying, the next president is going to have a historically monumental number of serious problems to deal with, all created by the monsters who have run things for the past two administrations. Here's a modest list of just the foreign-policy matters needing major attention.

And the title of this Scientific American article says a lot: "Many States Elect Not to Use Flawed E-Voting Technology".

Am I the only one getting awfully tired of George "I saved Ireland" Mitchell's endless claims of saving Ireland, because Mr. "Saved ireland" a) didn't save Ireland, and b) had he, would still have made a mockery of sense and fairness with his baseball "report"? Mitchell and Ireland get tied more often than Giuliani and 9/11, and that's saying something.

Good night and good luck.

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