The SkywalkerSwartz Blog

Monday, July 19, 2004

"Girlie Men" in Sactown

A colleague brought the recent story about the Governator calling the California legislature "girlie men" to my attention today. I've seen the clip, and some of the uproar at the comments being supposedly "sexist" or "homophobic." Of course, Arnold was quoting the old SNL "Hans and Franz" skit with Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon--a skit which made fun of him! While people can get upset about this, I think they are upset for the wrong reason.

Why should people be upset? Because, despite being a fairly moderate Republican, Governor Schwarzenegger has bought into the California GOP's maddeningly one-track policy of "no new taxes." His remarks poke fun at the legislature for wanting to "represent those special interests...those unions and trial lawyers," while ignoring the equally strong special interests who fund Republican campaigns. Now, I'm not saying that I want to raise taxes up the wazoo, but taking any non-negative tax changes completely off the table seems needlessly ideological, particularly given the state's overwhelming budget problems. Surely money can be saved by eliminating redundancies, laying off state employees, etc. but at the end of the day, the "goes ins" have to equal the "goes outs," and it's wise to at least consider additional forms of revenue. I don't care if our governor wants to poke fun at the legislature through an old comedy skit--I do care that his party holds that legislature hostage to a comedic tax policy.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Back again!

Why no posts, Luke?
Yes, I've been terrible about posting...and this was exacerbated by my web server going down. If you're interested in web hosting services, $12 a year really is too good to be true. (Note that the previous link doesn't work, and maybe never will...I think the company may have gone out of business!) On the same tangent, I ended up going with IDC Soft, who have thus far been great (and, at $5 a month, it's not too much more than the old plan). I found them at, which is a relatively non-biased ratings website, which also explains the basics of web hosting.

Where are you now, anyway?
I just moved to lovely Ballston Spa, NY, doing the second half of the Navy's Nuclear Power training program--the hands-on part, with a real nuclear reactor, with real neutrons, real Geiger counters (or "AN/PDQ-1's," as we call them) and everything. The official name is Naval Prototype Training Unit (NPTU) Ballston Spa, or "Protype," for short. Why "prototype"? This is because the reactors are used as test facilities by Knolls Power Atomic Laboratory (KAPL), a government subcontractor owned by Lockheed Martin. So, yes, I'm deep within the dreaded Military-Industrial Complex.

Whoa! Geiger counters and everything, huh? So, do you glow in the dark yet?
No, not just yet. In fact, we generally get less exposure in the plant than we would standing outside (because of solar radiation). Still, I got to put on one of those funky "bunny" anti-contamination suits last week! (Just for practice--don't worry, the Navy is obsessed with safety.)

So what's Ballston Spa like?
It's a little town (technically a "village," according to our map) just outside of Saratoga Springs, home of the famous Saratoga Racetrack (or at least I'm told it is famous...I hadn't heard about it before. Supposedly the Saratoga Race Course track is the oldest continuously-operating race course in the country), as well as some natural hotsprings (hence all the "spa" and "springs" popping up in the town names), Skidmore College, and a goodly number of bars. We're about half an hour north of Albany, and 3-4 hours from Boston or New York. It's a fun town, and the weather's been beautiful...I also like being able to visit friends in the Northeast (as well as Montréal...there are tentative plans to go there next weekend!). If you're one of those friends and I haven't visited you yet, pester me to do so! Or send a restraining order, if you'd rather I stay away...

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