-- C.A. Beard
Steve Langer email@example.com
anon ftp site ri-exp.beaumont.edu
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On last month's Fix;
the answer to last month's Fix,
"What - if anything - should be done to protect the nation's children from the ravages of the internet?"
Well, as you might I guess, I don't think anything should be done to the internet. If you want censorship, move to a semi-secure OS (like UNIX or NT) that forces someone to log in, and whether you're a parent (or paternal System Administrator), then give that account access to only certain specific things. Makes a helluva lot more sense to me then encumbering millions of sites with age verifying crap that can be easily broached anyway.
On the Joys of Travel;
I learned a long time ago to avoid checked baggage if at all possible whenever flying. Unfortunately, sometimes circumstances require taking more than will fit in carry on luggage. Such was the case when my lovely bride spent the past week visiting friends in Scottsdale AZ this past week. Using the Green Monster (a huge duffle bag gotten last Xmas to replace another bag that was destroyed in an airport) to haul her gear, Sheryl arrived in AZ. Upon reaching the baggage area, she was greeted with a broken frame, missing wheel and a six inch gash out of which her clothes were spilling. She took the evidence to Alaska Airlines cusotomer service where she was told, "We don't cover loss of a wheel and rips are considered normal wear and tear." It turns out that basically Alaska Air exempts almost anything you can think of from being a reimbursable expense.
When NW Air tore up my suit bag, I accepted it. When NW tore up Sheryl's last bag, we were miffed but didn't get really worked up. But (and this is bad luck for Alaska) three times in a year is just getting to be a bit much, and this time we will get damages. Stay tuned for progress reports.
The Balanced Budget and Teen Health: Up in Smoke
by Steve Langer
Last summer, the tobacco industry was supposedly shaking in their boots when FDA's David Kessler announced that he had convinced a former researcher for one of the comapanies to turn over research documents that showed that the companies were intentionally adding nicotine to make ciggarettes more addicting. With that evidence, the industry came to Washington DC, hat in hand, to bargain for mercy.
Mercy came in the form of a "deal" first described during the 1997 Fall. The industry was to pay up $330 billion over the next 25 years, in exchange for eternal freedom from anymore legal liability. Clinton trumpeted the victory, and was so glib about the cash windfall that he declared in his 1998 State of the Union Address that with the states recieving this much money, significant savings in MediCare were anticipated. Such savings were anticipated that it in fact led CLinton to proclaim that there would be a balanced budget by 2001.
The press were ecstatic. Finally, a balanced budget, and under a Dem President! Saints be praised!!
Furthermore, with only two years since the banning of the infamous "Joe Camel" Clinton was claiming a victory in reducing the number of teen smokers. Yet even this was not enough. Clinton proposed to further raise the tobacco tax another $1.50 a pack to raise yet more billions (although some, including me, were wondering with the declining number of smokers, who was going to be left to pay the tax). But not to worry friends, and you Virginian Tobacco farmers, don't you fret either. We're only after those evil big corporations.
It was, and continues to be great theatre. Destroying an industry (but not the growers of its product), and raising new revenue from taxing an activity that supposedly is declining 15%/year.
But wait, in a cruel attempt to out Democrat a Democrat, Rep Sen. McCain tried to up the ante this Winter. By the time the revised deal was done, it would have required the Tobacco industry to cough up over $550 Billion dollars and there would be no immunity from further lawsuits.
RJR's head, Steven Goldstone, finally said, "Enough" and took his company off of the deal. Philip Morris, US Tobacco and three other companies followed the lead. This act prompted MN Attorney General Hubert Humphrey III to announce, "The fact is Congress doesn't need this outlawed industry's permission to pass tough legislation." [Pssst. Hubert, you let the cat out of the bag. Most Americans don't know yet that your ultimate plan is to ban tobacco.]
Within one week of this, the news is now graced with headlines that teen smoking is the highest it's ever been, the budget won't be balanced, and Social Security will be $600 Billion in the hole by 2005.
Mother always did say, "Don't count the chickens before they're hatched."
No Prisoners Taken in Mr. Clinton's War by Wesley Pruden, Editor Washington Times Kenneth Starr met his critics more than halfway yesterday, giving up his golden parachute into Malibu and offering to let someone else investigate an astrologer's claim that rich conservatives had tainted his star Whitewater witness. But what Mr. Starr will soon learn, if he has not learned it already, is that Bill Clinton is not interested in righting wrongs or settling conflicts. He wants to destroy the investigator and his investigation because he knows the feds have at last got the goods on the Whitewater gang. The closer Mr. Starr gets to laying out his case against the gang, the more reckless the gang will get in trying to protect their leader. If he goes down, they will, too. The depth of their desperation is the gang's eagerness to pin their case against David Hale, the star Starr witness, on a yarn spun by Caryn Mann, the Hot Springs part-time astrologer, part-time psychic and full-time flake. Mrs. Mann first said she saw "right-wingers" press money onto Mr. Hale, then she said, well, no, she didn't actually see it herself, but her 13-year-old son did, and he told her about it. She thinks. Maybe. Mrs. Mann can't quite remember all the details, but she does remember that she directed U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf through mental telepathy. And she can turn the rain on and off through mind control. She's sure about that. She knows where Jimmy Hoffa is buried, too. Mrs. Mann was the live-in girlfriend of Parker Dozhier, once a Little Rock television reporter, who opened a bait shop on Lake Catherine, near Hot Springs. He let Mr. Hale, an old friend, sleep in a shack on the property, and worked as a stringer for the American Spectator -- during the time that the prosecutor was not Ken Starr, but a Justice Department lawyer, and after, not before, he gave his statement to the FBI and the J-men. He was paid $1,000 a month for clipping stories from the local papers and sending the clips to the Spectator. The Whitewater gang, through David Pryor and a local novelist, sometime book reviewer and part-time columnist named Gene Lyons, has attempted to portray this lavish ($1,000 a month! Wow!) outlay by the Spectator -- a fraction of what news organizations routinely spend in a day for a lot less -- as witness tampering, obstruction of justice, breaching national security and aggravated mopery. No one, and surely not someone smart enough to have got himself elected to the U.S. Senate, actually regards this as something to be taken as seriously as a discarded script from "Saturday Night Live." But in the present climate, with the White House spin men in hot pursuit of anything to divert attention from Mr. Clinton's perversion and dissembling, grown men must act as if they do. In a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno, Mr. Starr wrote that his office "has developed several proposed alternate mechanisms for investigating this matter." He didn't say what they were. How do you investigate a spurned girlfriend's spiteful fantasy? Mr. Starr acknowledged that there might be an "appearance of a conflict," but the Justice Department itself may have "multiple actual conflicts" because David Hale, tainted or not, provided information damaging to Mr. Clinton. Mrs. Mann is the most credible witness against the Starr investigation that David Pryor, the former U.S. senator who went home to be Bill Clinton's surrogate as leader of the Whitewater gang, has turned up yet. Mr. Pryor seems to be indulging a taste for overage Spice Girls. His first trick was to try to charm Judge Susan Webber Wright into cutting a secret side deal for Susan McDougal, now languishing in prison in California for refusing to give evidence about the original Whitewater bank robbery. Mr. Pryor's charm, which captivated an entire generation of elderly women in Arkansas, was probably not wasted. Judge Wright didn't bite on his appeal for Susan McDougal, but she threw out Paula Jones' lawsuit against the president a few weeks later. Some ladies still melt at low temperature. Mr. Pryor, acting as Mr. Clinton's surrogate, now appears to be working on another front. Gene Lyons was dispatched to wake up Henry Woods, the 80-year-old senior U.S. District Court judge in Little Rock who was thrown off the original Whitewater trial by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals because he was thought to be unable to put aside a crush on Hillary. ÝÝÝÝÝ The appeals court also took a look at Judge Woods' sordid past, particularly his manipulation of a state grand jury that was about to indict him years ago, when, as a governor's top aide, he was suspected of helping himself to money set aside to build highways. Millions are still missing. Now Judge Woods wants someone to investigate how this effluvia from his past came to the attention of the appeals court. He thinks I'm the man responsible, and he's mad. More to come.
1. Matt writes;
Date: Wed, 22 Apr 1998 13:08:02 -0700 (MST) From: Matt Birkholz
Reply-To: Matt Birkholz To: LANGER STEVEN C Subject: lastcall LANGER STEVEN C writes: > > A reminder for letters for this this month's "News". Also, in the > interest of maintaining a lighter tone, I'd also appreciate any > humourous anecdotes from your respective locales. Try to keep > them under 100 words each, if at all possible. > > And please include your response to last month's survey. > > "How do you preserve free speech on the internet while > protecting children?" Judging from what I have been hearing from *my* child in response to similar questions, I am guessing that my sweetheart would tell you to take your "protection" and stuff it up your sanctimoniousness, but maybe that is just *my* child. So I have a cable modem and a domain name: birkholz.chandler.az.us. You want to mirror your newsletter here? I would like to exercise my equipment -- my Apache Linux server, that is. Do you have an archive I can FTP? I would also like to exercise my skills with a mailing list... maybe let people subscribe for email delivery of MIME/HTML or simple text-ified versions. (If you want an account, you will have to help me debug my ssltelnet. :-) And where is your image manipulation code? Shall we make it into commercial GIMP (http://www.gimp.org/) modules and "advertise" with the www.gimp.org people? Matt Birkholz Send mail for PGP 2.6.2 public key.
Ed: What image manipulation? Oh you mean the stuff for Radiology? Well that is based on the DICOM image standard, but I suppose it would not be a bad idea to investiagte the gimp lib for LUT mappings, image co- registration and other routines. To be honest I haven't worked on the project since moving to Washington.
"Everyone knows that having sex can give you AIDS, but it took Bill Clinton to remind us that aides can give you sex."
"Is Microsoft a monopoly? Is so, what should be done about it?"
1. Hanford, April 20: In yet another example of the wisdom of big govt., the Hanford Nuclear site is one of the largest producers of nuclear bomb material in the country, and it lies on the shores of the Columbia River. Not surprisingly, the contents of many of its buried casks is starting to show up in said river, which is somewhat annoying to those who rely on the water for drinking. Finally, the Dept. of Energy has admitted that they need help and have invited nuclear waste disposal experts from Britain and France to examine the mess, and design a glassification system to encapsulate the waste. Such systems have been in use in both nations for two decades, but simlar work in the US has been stymied by ignorant political activists, who by their actions have brought about the realization of the very thing they sought to prevent.
1. St. Paul, April 8; Defending itself in a $2 Billion lawsuit against the State of Minnesota, RJR Tobacco attorneys pointed out that the "Evil Joe Camel" was not the only cartoon character used in advertising. WHile RJR has ceased to use Joe Camel because of claims that the cartoon entices children to smoke, RJR attorney John Redgrave pointed out that the Minnesota Lotto adds prominently feature Bullwinkle The Moose in legendary Frostbite Falls MN. Says Redgrave, "So is the State of MN trying to turn children into gambling addicts?"
1. Detroit, April 20: At least two witnesses to a small plane's crash in a Detroit ballpark helped themselves to the plane's cargo -- bundles of marijuana -- as the pilot lay dying, area residents who saw the crash said.
The small, homemade plane, carrying more than 300 pounds of marijuana, crashed in the ballpark Sunday at 6:11 p.m., apparently out of fuel after a trip of about 1,500 miles. Three U.S. Customs Service planes had followed the craft after it crossed the Mexican border near Big Bend National Park, south of El Paso, Texas.
Officials believe the pilot might have been trying to escape to Canada. Agents denied taking any action to force the plane down.
1. April 20, Chicago: Bill Gates was on hand to demo Win98 on the opening day of Spring Comdex (the computer industrie's largest trade show). Boasting that the new operating system will allow Plug and Play devices to be plugged into the computer while its running, an assistent tried to demonstrate the feat with a Scanner. The machine promptly locked up, prompting Gates to admit, "Well, I guess there are still a few bugs. That must be why we're not shipping it yet." Gates was compelled to move on to a new computer.
1. April 20: Whitewater prosecutors have written at least one draft indictment of Hillary Rodham Clinton, but they remain divided over whether to charge the first lady with lying about legal work she did for a failed Arkansas real estate project.
Lawyers and others close to the Whitewater probe said the draft became "a work in progress" after Mrs. Clinton's January 1996 grand jury appearance, when prosecutors concluded she made false statements under oath in denying doing legal work for the 1,050-acre Castle Grande venture.
Sources said prosecutors remain divided over how to proceed in the case. Some believe Mrs. Clinton should be indicted for false statements she made to the grand jury and to federal banking regulators at the Resolution Trust Corp. and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. about her Castle Grande work. They also think she and White House officials tried to cover up her involvement in the venture. 2. April 20: The National Organization for Women had been considering taking on the appeal of Paula Jones who had her sexual harrasment case thrown out of court (on the grounds that her career was not hindered by Clinton after the alledge incident). NOW President Patricia Ireland said that NOW was considering retrying the case based on criminal sexual assault charges. However, over the weekend of the 25'th, Ireland retracted the offer saying that NOW membership felt that Jones had her day in court, and that NOW would perhaps take on the case of other Clinton victims.
3. April 20; In a meeting of the National Press Club, former Sen. Bob Dole and federal Judge Robert Bork announced that they have both been hired by Netscape to represent their interests in the ongoing Justice Dept. investigation of Microsoft. Said Dole, "Microsoft cannot be allowed to continually inhibit competition in the digital age."
1. Cmdr. Berger forwards the following.
><< The Truth About Men > > A frank discussion with answers to commonly asked questions about > men... > > * Why are men such jerks? > > It's a testosterone thing. Much similar to your PMS thing, we men > suffer from testosterone poisoning. Why do you think the average > life span of a male is typically 10 years shorter (and it's not just > from all the bitching and nagging we have to endure)? Hormone modifies > behavior. We're not jerks, just misunderstood. > > > * Why do men always touch themselves, especially in public? > > We occasionally need to adjust our little friend and make him happy. > It's much like adjusting your bra. Being in public is just an added > bonus. > > > * Why do men always say such stupid things? > > We like to. It's actually a whole lot of fun to see our partner > frustrated by a few simple (and well chosen) words. > > > * Why are men so uncommunicative? > > You'd learn to keep your big mouth shut too if every time you open it > you get into trouble with your partner. > > > * Why do men have to act like such retards? > > Well, we don't actually have to; we do it because we enjoy it. It's > the old fashioned pride in a job well done that's missing in so much > of the world nowadays. > > > * Why can't men just share their feelings? > > Do we look like women to you? Why is it so hard to understand that men > and women are different? How are we supposed to share how we feel when > we have no idea how we feel? Unless we're experiencing some extreme > emotion like rage, hatred, disgust, or a brick on our foot, we have no > idea how we feel. Personally, I get a headache whenever I try to figure > out how I feel. > > > * Why can't men cuddle more? > > Please... How many hours do you think there are in a day? We oblige > you as much as we can, but who the heck (besides women) can endure > lying around for hours on end? We men... Men hunters... Need go > roam... Starve in cave... Must go find wildebeest... Now sitting on > our asses for hours on end on the other hand is a whole other story. > > > * How can men sit on their asses all day without moving? > > Men have very powerful sets of sitting muscles developed by evolution > that enable us to sit for extended periods of time without getting > tired. In prehistoric times, it was often necessary to sit in one spot > for extended periods of time while hunting for prey. The more > successful hunters were able to sit very still for very extended > periods of time thereby passing on this ability to their progeny. The > figgidy types were all gobbled up by saber toothed tigers, lions, > etc.. The end result is that almost all modern men are born with this > innate ability. > > > * Why can't men just say "I love you?" > > Men are taught from a tender young age to be self-sufficient. To say > that we love you is equivalent to saying that we need you. Most men > consider that a character fault. It's not easy to admit to one's own > character faults. > > * Why do men say "I love you" when they hardly know me? > > Ho, Ho, Ho... Aren't you special? Well, some men think it's a sure > fire way to get into your pants. Surprisingly, it actually still works > quite well. > > > * What does it mean when men say "I Love You?" > > 1 Please sleep with me. > 2 I'm sorry for whatever it is that I did. > 3 I forgot to get you a gift; this will have to do. > 4 Huh? I'm sorry; I wasn't listening. > 5 What did I forget? This should buy me a little time. > 6 Stop nagging me. > 7 What do I have to do to get a beer around here? > > > * Why doesn't my partner ever answer me? > > We just simply don't have the energy to answer every single one of > your questions. If we think we do not have the answer, or that you > will not like the answer, we simply remain quiet and save the energy > for other things. > > > * Why won't men ever pick up after themselves? > > Why should we? It doesn't really bother us that much. Besides, we > know darn well you'll pick it up. > > > * What's with all the belching and farting? > > This usually only occurs after months of courting. It's our way to let > you know that we're comfortable with you. Believe it or not, it's > actually a sign of affection. Besides, holding it for extended periods > of time gives us stomach cramps. > > > * Why do men hate shopping? > > It's an evolutionary thing. Men hunt. Women gather. We just want to go > out, kill it, and bring it back. Who wants to spend hours and hours to > look at things we have no intention of killing? err... Buying? > > > * Why can't men ever leave the toilet seat down? > > Have you ever seen one of us pee? The proper position of the toilet > seat is a function of the time spent peeing over the time spent > sitting. The closer that ratio approaches one, the truer the > proposition. Besides, it's actually a courtesy that we lift the seat. > Why would we care if we pee all over the seat. You're the ones that > have to sit on it. You should appreciate the fact that we actually > lift the darn thing. We aim to please. > > > * Why do men find blonde bimbos attractive? > > Are you kidding? Even leaving the physical aside, blonde bimbos are > generally much easier to get along (alone) with. They like having fun > and doing exciting things. They don't walk around with the weight of > the world on their shoulders. They don't ever give us a hard time for > being a dumb male; and plus they laugh at most of our jokes (even the > ones they don't get). What more could any male ask for? > > > * Why do men act like they own the remote control? > > What do you mean act? We do; possession is nine-tenths of the law. > Besides, it is an awesome responsibility not to be entrusted to just > anyone. I believe the only fair way to decide who gets the remote > control is to arm wrestle for it. > > > * Why can't men stay on a single channel for more than two > seconds? > > Are you kidding? What if there is something good on the next channel? > We could miss it if we stay on one channel for too long. (See also: > Why do men fear commitment?) > > > > * Why do men fear commitment? > > Don't be so surprised. Yes; most of us do know what 'commitment' means > and can spell it correctly. It's like an automobile. No matter how good > you think this year's model is, they're always coming out with newer, > faster, better, sleeker, and sexier models. We simply cannot be expected > to purchase the first one we see. We must browse around a bit and test > drive a few. Who wants to end up with a lemon? At least with a car, > there's a slight chance of it eventually becoming a classic. It simply > makes much more sense to lease and upgrade to the younger... err... I > mean newer models every couple of years. Some of them come with fun > extras like dual air bags. > > > * What does it mean when men say, "I'm just not ready for a > relationship right now" or "I don't want a girl friend?" > > It means that we like you enough to sleep with you, but not enough so > that we want to see you repeatedly. > > > * What does it mean when men say, "Can we just be friends?" > > Generally, it means that the recipient of said comment is physically > repulsive enough that no beer goggles may be thick enough to provide > adequate protection. > > > * Do all men really masturbate? > > Yes. It is genetically inherited behavior. It's been passed on from > our most primal forefathers, and it'll be passed on to our sons. > > > > * Why do men generally have greater upper body strength? > > Several factors are at work, namely evolution, heredity, nutrition, > and environment. (See also: Do all men really masturbate?) > > > * Why do men generally have better hand-eye or spatial coordinate > motor coordination? > > It is like with all things. Practice... Practice...Practice... (See > also: Do all men really masturbate?) > > > * Why are men so obsessed with beautiful women? > > As opposed to what? Really ugly women? Face it, if men were obsessed > with ugly women, there would be just as much bitching about why men > are so obsessed with ugly women. No matter how you set this up, some > people are always going to be left out. I don't see anyone screaming > about equal treatment for the stupid people. > > > * Why do men like younger women? > > Well, let's see. Besides the fact that they like older men, they're > easily impressed, they're also perky, energetic, and come with very > little baggage. And gravity has less prevail over their bodies. > > > * Why do men only have one thing on their minds? > > While technically correct, this statement is not strictly true. We may > only be able to entertain one idea at a time, but we do think of lots of > other things besides sex, such as sports and beer. We also get > hungry quite often. > > > * How can men possibly find that other woman attractive (i.e. > whatever do you see in that fat pig)? > > Even if you happen to be Cindy Crawford, once we get the idea that you > are ours, other women suddenly become much more attractive and you > lose a few attractiveness points. I'm a bit puzzled by this one > myself. I think evolution is to blame. We men are just innocent > bystanders in the war of the selfish genes. You should love us despite > our inherent weakness. > > > * Why are men such dogs? > > > How can you say such a horrible thing? Dogs are faithful... loyal... > affectionate... and obedient... You owe dogs an apology! >
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