In the can’t-buy-good-news department, Irving-based group purchasing organization Novation, still under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (“Hijacking at the Hospital,” Nov. 23, 2005), was all ready to break out the champagne, thanks to a major coup last month: The National Health Service, the public healthcare arm of the British government, announced a deal by which it would hire the Texas company to haggle with suppliers on its behalf for an annual £4 billion worth of goods.

Not so fast, said the British paper The Times, (and The Daily Mail, the BBC news service, and even The Socialist Worker), which published accounts of Novation’s troubles in the U.S. of A. Those, of course, include the feds’ investigations into charges that Novation overcharged Medicare, as well as lawsuits filed by companies claiming that their superior products were squeezed out of the market by Novation’s tactics. Long story short: The NHS is now facing the prospect of a strike by unions representing healthcare workers, who oppose handing the reins of English healthcare to Novation. Static thinks maybe they’re worried about ending up with only one supplier of tea and crumpets – at premium prices.

Flirting with Disaster


Just about the time Static had decided that the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s front-page obsession with inane trivia (Hollywood stars’ birthing habits, movie reviews, the T. O. show) couldn’t sink any lower, it did.

Aug. 2, front-page breaking story: How to Flirt From Your Car (with instructions, yet.) “Next time someone gives you a signal in traffic, it may not be to indicate a right turn. Or to invite you to race. Or even to express road rage. It could be the start of something romantic,” the writer crooned.

Or it could be a stalker. Or a serial rapist. What were they thinking? Encouraging women – this sexist story focused on female flirts – to pick up strangers on the road. Did the S-T editors give a thought to the fact that its next front-page story could be about the 17-year-old girl who was raped and killed after giving that cute guy in the BMW a wink and a nod?

Of course, with such an important story to report, there wasn’t room on the front page that day for the bad news that in Iraq (where winking from your car could mean you’ll never wink again), more than 70 civilians and soldiers had been blown to bits by car bombs. Or that Israel had sent 10,000 troops into South Lebanon in a major escalation of the new Middle-East war where more children than soldiers are being killed every day. Those stories were on page 11.

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