Visit from the Real World

I get a lot of e-mail, much of it hostile (some of that, amusingly so) and a lot of it uncreative (I received some very thoughtful pieces disagreeing with me on outsourcing, and about as many thoughtful pieces agreeing, but mostly folks just told me they hoped my job would soon be outsourced). I get some that is mystifying, too, such as hostile letters from people affected by mesothelioma (angry at me for advocating reforms that would put more money in the pocket of victims and less in lawyers’ pockets — go figure), and many, many letters from people who don’t bother to give any reason at all why I am wrong about something — I just am.

But I also get a lot of really great mail from people I don’t know who share experiences and insights that I have never had. I really enjoy these letters. Here’s one from today. Nothing really major, but interesting insights, nonetheless, about how some of Washington’s regulations work in the real world outside the beltway.

Re: The Mercury Article


Mentioned, but not highlighted in the article was the point that all the recent hubbub about mercury in fish was just another load of crap dumped on the gullible public by the major newsmongers.

It constantly amazes me with the widespread availability of so much information through the use of the Internet, so many people still depend on the TV to furnish them with their world outlook.

On a related matter: the terrible fear of mercury has led to another situation that I encountered a few years ago and still have not been able to resolve. At the time, I busied myself as a remodeling contractor. A small commercial job included readying an office suite for new tenants. I found there and removed several heavy un-marked plastic bottles. Later, I opened them and found that they contained salvaged mercury. To date, after contacting many scrap metal facilities, I have not been able to find anyone who would take this product off my hands. I envisioned making a fair sum from salvage, but the material is still in storage.

This situation is like so many government programs that are for my personal safety and well-being. A product is virtually outlawed, but no vehicle is available to dispose of legally held items. Less troublesome items that come to mind are old tires and banned pesticides. During my travels, I still find that I can buy DDT and chlordane. Both of these items have been banned for years, but I can still occasionally get them at garage sales and estate sales.

I don’t recall ever using DDT, but we found chlordane very effective at ridding the homeplace of huge red ant beds in the days of my youth. It was also very good at eliminating termites. Since it is no longer used, a termite treatment for a house in my area (which 40 years ago didn’t even have termites) now lasts about 5-8 years according to exterminators that I have contacted. With the chlordane, it would last anywhere from 20 years to indefinitely. And with it, you not only got rid of termites, but all household pests like roaches and mice and brown recluse spiders.

Thank you for allowing me to vent a bit,


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