Daily Archives: July 26, 2009

Cruise Ship Docks With Whale Impaled On Bow

The Sapphire Princess docked in Vancouver on Saturday with a dead fin whale impaled on its bow. A necropsy has been completed, but the results still need to be analyzed, Canada Press reports. In January Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas arrived at Puerto Montt, Chile, with the carcass of whale caught in the prow. Biologists later said the whale was already dead when the ship hit it.

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The National Mall Is A National Embarrassment

A walk through the National Mall in Washington, D.C., gives an unmistakable impression of a nation in decline, a country that can’t spare the money to even trim and maintain its former glory.

The grass is worn away, sidewalks are crumbling, reflective pools are filthy and infested.

The Associated Press laid all this out in a story last week. It described how Congress lavishes millions to keep the Capitol grounds lush and manicured, but can’t fine enough money to keep the National Mall clean and repaired. It explained how the District of Columbia has no powerful friends in Congress, no favors to trade.

I remember the tremendous pride I felt in Washington when I was a child and my parents brought the family there to visit. The broad lawns, the monuments, the sparkling fountains, the brilliant museums — it was a vision.

I’m going to take my niece to Washington in September, because there’s still so much to see and do there. And I’m going to apologize for what my generation has let happen to the National Mall. I’ll tell her how it used to look, how the Mall and the reflecting pools really were something to behold, back in the day.

And I’ll hope that Congress will develop some regard for the National Mall, the public whose patrimony it is and the image this fine nation ought to project to its own citizens and to the world.

Close Encounters With Credit Card Fraud

I’ve been reading for a while now that credit card and debit card fraud is on the increase, and lately it’s gotten personal.

Several week ago my daughter’s debit card was cloned and used to withdraw cash from her bank account. She had bought gas at a Valero station in Goleta, Calif., where police later discovered credit card skimming devices on the pumps.

Shortly afterward, I got a call from CitiBank asking me about a fraudulent charge on my Mastercard — about $650 spent with an Internet retailer in Australia. It’s not clear how that happened, but I had to get a new card and account number.

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