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The definition of the word mull.
Mullings by Rich Galen
A Political Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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    Snow Day

    Monday August 18, 2003

  • Let's step back for a second from the excitement and drama of the


  • It was the equivalent of a snow day.

  • Period.

  • In fact, it was better than a snow day because there's no snow to clean up.

  • All Thursday afternoon and evening breathless reporters were on the streets of New York - East Side, West Side, all around the town - looking for someone who had panicked. Unable to find one they searched for someone who was angry. Unable to find one they settled for people who had been inconvenienced.

  • One out-of-towner, unwilling to play along on Friday, told the reporter he and his wife had slept in the lobby of a Marriott and it would probably turn into the annual Thanksgiving Dinner story: Tell us again, uncle Al, about that time you and aunt Crystal had to sleep in the hotel lobby.

  • The North American Energy Reliability Council which tracks such things has determined that, including last week, there have been seven grid failures since the big one on November 9, 1965.

  • None lasted for more than a day.

  • Let's go to the blackboard:

  • Mr. Mullings. Didn't we talk about this math and physics business last time?

  • Yes, but this is just long division, not quantum mechanics.
  • The number of days between November 8, 1965 and August 14, 2003 is 13,793.
  • The number of days in which some portion of the national power grid failed during that period is 7.
  • Dividing 13,793 into 7 we get 0.000507504
  • Moving the decimal two places to the right (and rounding up) we get a failure rate of 51 THOUSANTHS of one percent.
  • Stating it the other way, the power grid (which was described by former Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson as being like one in a "third world country") has been up 99.949 percent of the time over the past 37 years.

  • Mr. Mullings? Is that a good number or a bad number?

  • When you get on a commercial airplane you expect to get off in the city your ticket suggests you should be going to, right? You know what the actual percentage of getting on a commercial airplane and getting off in your expected city is? No?

  • 96.6 percent according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

  • Where's the outrage? Where are the Congressional hearings? Where is the wall-to-wall coverage? Where is � Ok, you get the idea.

  • As this is being written, it appears the


  • was caused by a failure in some transmission lines south of Cleveland exacerbated by the malfunction in an alarm system which should have alerted engineers to the disruption in the line.

  • The blackout the Democrats are suffering is this: They seem to have forgotten that Bill Clinton was President from January 1993 until January 2001.

  • New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson was Secretary of Energy for the last 18 months of that term - following a successful stint as Ambassador to the United Nations and career counselor to Monica Lewinsky. Richardson has been acting like a 287 lb. Arianna Huffington in his zeal to elbow his way in front of national television cameras over this blackout business.

  • He appears to be claiming that at 11:59 am on January 20, 2001 the electrical wiring system in the US was hunky dory. ONE MINUTE LATER, when George W. Bush was sworn in as President, the whole thing rusted out and the Bush Administration has done nothing to fix it.

  • Last February, nearly 18 inches of snow fell in the Washington, DC area - with the far western suburbs getting as much as 30 inches. Schools were closed for four days for that storm alone. They were closed for nine days over the course of the winter.

  • You want an interview with someone who's distraught - nearing panic? Find any mom with the kids home from school for four straight days because of a snow storm.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to a power outage chart since 1965, a link to the Arlington County school board announcement of makeup days, a NOAA satellite photo of the blackout area; a really silly Mullfoto and the usual things.

    --END --
    Copyright © 2003 Richard A. Galen


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