PREPARE FOR AIR-CONDITIONER ARMAGEDDON: One of the most-discussed topics being bandied about The Bee’s site this week is Fresno getting dissed by our local monolithic for-profit energy provider. The conversation got kick-started by Bee reader George L. Strasser, who wrote a “Valley Voices” column Jan. 23 for the Opinion section:
As of this January, it costs $241.93 to use 1,000 kilowatt hours a month in Fresno. That much juice costs $121 in Las Vegas, $111.83 in Phoenix, and only $83 in Tucson. Are you surprised?
Bee reporter Tim Sheehan weighed in Monday with a front-page news story:
Contributing to the uproar are concerns over new-fangled meters that measure a home’s power use. The arrival of SmartMeters in the Valley last summer and fall coincided with sticker shock as many customers saw their utility bills jump. For example, Fresno resident Leo Margosian said the September bill for his condo was nearly four times higher than it was a year earlier.
One reader commented:
I have a hard time understanding why my PG&E bill was $375 last month. My heater was set to a mere 63 degrees and I am freezing in my own home. My gas usage was extremely low and nothing else has changed in the last 2 months of usage. I didn’t even put christmas lights on my house this year.
More talking points (ACLU vs. alleged anti-gay professor at Fresno City College, the demise of blogging, a really big Super Bowl mistake) after the jump.
ACLU TAKES ON CITY COLLEGE PROF: Another high-comment story — no surprise — is today’s piece by Cyndee Fontana about the American Civil Liberties Union’s charge that a Fresno City College instructor is wrongly presenting religious-based and anti-gay views as fact in an introductory health class. Cyndee writes:
Elizabeth Gill, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California, said Bradley Lopez is teaching his personal views as science — neglecting the established facts that he should present to students. “Instead of teaching about abortion as an option for women and about the actual health implications, he’s teaching that abortion is murder based on the Bible.”
Gill charged that Lopez has presented homosexuality as a “biological misapplication of human sexuality” that can be treated with counseling or hormone supplements. He also used Bible passages as empirical evidence that life begins at conception to support his assertion that abortion is murder, she said … In a section on environmental health, Gill alleged, Lopez offered a biblical quote about the world ending in flames as “the real global warming we should be worried about.”
Let’s see, we’ve got abortion, anti-gay views, evolution, global warming … is there anything else we could add to this story to rile the Net masses? The 120-plus reader comments collected so far are, ahem, a fascinating window into the diverse thought processes of Central Valley residents.
BLOGGING IS SO TWO-YEARS AGO: According to Rough Type, blogging is now the uncoolest thing you can do on the Internet:
It’s even uncooler than editing Wikipedia articles or having a Second Life avatar. In 2006, 28% of teens were blogging. Now, just three years later, the percentage has tumbled to 14%. Among twentysomethings, the percentage who write blogs has fallen from 24% to 15%. Writing comments on blogs is also down sharply among the young. It’s only geezers – those over 30 – who are doing more blogging than they used to.
What’s the new thing? Tweeting and social media, of course. Those darn blog entries were getting too long, after all. If you can’t say it in 140 characters, you might as well be “War and Peace.”
I’m just waiting for Twitter and Facebook to become passe. Up next: instant psychic neuron-burst transmittal, where all we have to do is grunt to get our point across.
We blew it. Big time. Readers of Monday’s Sports front saw the score for the Super Bowl as Colts 31, Saints 17. The mistake was repeated on Page 9. It doesn’t get much worse. The whole country watches the Super Bowl, the whole country knows the score, and we get it wrong? Preposterous. Unbelievable. Embarrassing.
Here’s the “good” news: You can buy a remade copy of the page, suitable for framing, for 75 bucks.
Think I’ll go crank up the song “Schadenfreude” from “Avenue Q.”