Pepco: No More Mr. Nice Guy

Today this site's readers are getting some highly diverse guest testimony -- Xujun Eberlein introducing the mystery of the American-run "concentration camp" near Chongqing that is legendary inside China and unknown in the United States; Bruce Holmes, long of NASA, on what a "Sputnik moment" looks like from the inside -- plus hearing from the plain old regular host too. This time with an update on how Pepco, the DC-area electric company, is responding to widespread complaints about even more widespread, days-long power outages caused by a 6" snow storm last week. (As noted here, here, and here.)

Problem: lots of tree branches falling onto power lines. Solution! The scene out the front window early today:


The wood lying on the truck bed had been standing along the street, in the form of trees, when dawn broke. I'm fully signed up for the idea that you can complain about a 45-hour heat-and-power loss, or you can complain about cutting down trees, but you can't gracefully complain about both. So I will say that I'm impressed by Pepco's look-ahead, "how do you like us now?" attitude, and I trust that the storm that's coming tomorrow will leave the juice on. We don't have much firewood left after last week's storm. Now I turn the stage back to the guests.
Presented by

James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"


This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.


What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.


Is Minneapolis the Best City in America?

No other place mixes affordability, opportunity, and wealth so well.

More in National

From This Author

Just In