SeaViews: Insights from the Gray
(formerly the _Rochester Rag_, formerly the _News
Motto: The surest way to get a reputation for
being a trouble maker these days is to go about repeating
the very phrases that the Founders used in the struggle for
-- C.A. Beard
Anon ftp site
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On last month's Fix;
the answer to last month's Fix,
It's the last day of July, and we still
haven't got corn over knee high in the Pacific NW. Any
I know this is a flippant topic, but damn its been cold
here. It's now August and people are still wearing coats to
work. On Aug. 6 my corn was just two feet tall. I have come
to the conclusion that about the only way I'm going to get
the corn to mature is to build a greenhouse over the garden
(and thanks to Matt's letter I now have a good construction
plan). Now some of you may not think that this is not
a very big problem. But for a boy who grew up in the
corn fields of southern Wisconsin, I expect August to be 90
something (that's both humidity and temperature). I'm
having a tough time getting used to the concept of needing
heat in August. The worst part is listening to the
locals bemoan the occasional thunderstorms. It is no
joke when I say that the locals here don't even possess the
sense to get off of the golf course when the lightning is
right overhead. In fact, local hospitals have about
two dozen victims as testament that fact.
Of course, this "Fix" was also somewhat of a jab at the
Global Warming hysteria, which Dave Gay correctly guessed
and responded in kind.
In any case, last night we had the first broccoli from
this year's crop, and if I say so myself that was quite
More MSFT bashing;
While reading the August issue the Puget Sound computer
user, I came across the following interesting snippet under
Steve Dayo's column.
Even though Microsoft has been dragged into
federal court for months, it continues to deny its anti
competitive practices even when confronted with the evidence
of its own records and its own intentionally falsified
testimony. In fact, a handwritten note from
Chairman Bill Gates was found in the testimony submitted for
the court's review which said "shred email".
In March the president of Phar Lap Software discovered
that Microsoft has been secretly and intentionally
collecting unique information about every Windows user, and
transmitting this information to Microsoft through Microsoft
Web sites and the Windows registration process even though
the user may tell the software not to transmit registration
information. First, Microsoft denied the
allegations. Then they denied knowledge of their own
software's actions. Finally, Microsoft admitted it
would stop collecting such information and delete any such
information that it might have. That was two
months ago as of this writing.
That same week however, Microsoft began sending an
unusual email spam to any number of people who
previously registered Microsoft software or visited their
Web site. The email read in part: "We'd like to keep
you informed, but we need your help, actually your zip
code." The email went on to say that Microsoft was updating
its customer database and needed relevant information from
users. Users on various news groups tried to
figure out how Microsoft obtained their email addresses and
why they were targeted for the spam. One user name
Charlie Everett made the following comment on Macintouch,
"Its interesting that Microsoft is asking for ZIP
codes so they can deliver personalized information to you,
as if the biggest thing we were looking for out of them was
local news! My guess is that they can guess at your
demographics by where you live. Since housing prices
vary so much, ZIP codes can be quite a reliable indicator of
other information such as income, education, etc.."
The spam ended with a shocking industry first: a
warranty disclaimer in standard legalese that read in part,
"The user assumes the entire risk as to the use of
information used in this document." The disclaimer also
stipulated, of all things, copyright protection of
Microsoft's spam plus a prohibition against for-profit use
of the spam. Now that's balls. Bill Gates
confounds his enemies yet again and he puts the
responsibility for any misuse of the data on the users
On the limits(?) of Federal Power;
Longtime readers of this rag may be surprised to learn
that I don't lay the entire blame for the destruction of the
Constitution at the feet of Bill Clinton - or even Franklin
Roosevelt. No. It was the Supreme Court in 1857
that actually began to thwart the will of people in penning
the infamous Dred Scott decision. For those of you who
have forgotten, Scott was a black slave in Missouri who had
brought suit claiming that because his master had taken them
into a free territory he had thus been rendered free.
The chief justice Roger Taney wrote the five to four opinion
declaring that blacks "were not intended to be included
under the word "citizen" in the Constitution and he
(Scott) could not bring suit in federal court". Taney
went even further, and found that the Missouri compromise
(which Congress had passed to limit the spread of slavery)
was unconstitutional. This would effectively prevent
any other slave in the border areas of Missouri from trying
to bring suit if they happen to wander into a free
territory. In finding the Missouri compromise
unconstitutional, Taney had effectively said to the
legislative branch "I know more about the original intent of
the Constitution then you". This, even though some of
people then sitting in Congress had actually been alive
during the writing of the Constitution.
This first insult to the separation of powers was not
alone for very long. By 1962, an even more egregious
insult against the Constitution was led by the founding
father of the Republican Party - Abraham Lincoln. It was
Abraham Lincoln who effectively declared the 9th and 10th
amendments obsolete. For those of you may not be aware
the ninth and 10th amendments state the following:
Amendment 9: The enumeration in the Constitution of
certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage
others retained by the people.
Amendment 10: The powers not delegated to the United
States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the
states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the
So what does this mean in a practical sense? For
one thing it means that it was not illegal for a state to
secede from the union. The Constitution gave explicit
instructions on how a state was to be admitted to the union,
but was absolutely silent on the matter of the state ever
choosing to leave the union. But that didn't stop Abe from
deciding that such an act was illegal and therefore worthy
of being put down by the Civil War.
So given this history, the story I'm about to relate now
should come is no surprise. Last November Washington, Oregon
and California all voted to permit medical use of marijuana.
However, while the state law says one thing, doctors who
have prescribed marijuana have found their
prescription privileges have been revoked by the feds
under the authority of the DEA In fact, a U.S.
District Attorney General in the state of Washington even
had the gall to say on state television that "the
federal jurisdiction trumps state law every time". To say
the least, such a display of arrogant ignorance by an
attorney - is disturbing.
While looking at my phone bill, I was also reminded of
another principal of our government; the idea that trade
between states should be free and unrestricted.
Towards that end, we developed one common currency and
forbade interstate trade tariffs. However, I see that
my long distance phone calls (which constitute interstate
trade) are taxed quite heavily. In fact, on the
interstate long distance bill of 85 dollars, I paid fed
taxes of $17.50. That is over 20 percent.
Now there are those that would argue that this is simply
a sales tax. However, it is not applied to in-state
phone calls. Only interstate calls. So I would
argue that this is a sales tax on interstate trade.
And yet the federal government frowns on individual states
were they to attempt this exact behavior. I eagerly
await the day when people inside the Beltway will decide
that state lotteries are unconstitutional and replace them
with a federal one.
On the Book of the Month;
Why should Oprah have all the fun? Each month I'm going
to suggest a book of the month. This time it's Bill Gertz's
"Betrayal: How the Clinton Administration Undermined
American Security." Gertz is the defense and national
security advisor for the Washington Times. He is also
lecturer at the FBI academy and the national defense
University. In his book he explains:
How the Clinton Administration helped China develop its
nuclear weapons which are now targeted at U.S. cities.
Why the Clinton Administration thwarted U.N. weapons
inspectors in Iraq, and the real reason Clinton bombed
Why the Clinton Administration has routinelly covered up
Russia's sales of weapons to China.
Highlights from the Cox report on how American government
and corporate ties to China have endangered national
Why a Naval American intelligence officer was blinded by
a Russian laser and then abandoned, medically and legally,
because the timing of his injury came at a politically
sensitive time as Clinton was meeting with Boris
On the RailRoad Killer;
Some of you may recall last month's editorial on the
railway killer Rafael Resendez-Ramirez. You may recall how I
brilliantly demonstrated that this man's alleged crimes
illustrate the bias for gun control by both the mass media
and the Clinton Administration. In that editorial I
also predicted that within a month we would hear little more
about this case.
Well that month has now passed, and the tale of the
railway killer has not been shown in any televised reports
that I've seen. However, only yesterday (Aug. 10) I
saw both ABC and CBS devote six minute lead stories to the
re-opening of the Columbine high school whose massacre
occured last April. In contrast to the U.S. media, I
happened to be in Vancouver BC at the end of June. In that
city there has been a series of murders strikingly
reminiscent of the Jack the Ripper tales from the last
century in London. In Vancouver, over thirty prostitutes
have turned up missing in 11 years. However, the
killer or killers have always left behind a dismembered body
part. Clearly this is a work committed by a knife
wielding murderer, yet the Seattle media (which has no
trouble covering shootings in Vancouver) remains oddly
What have we been treated to? The news is full of
the latest shooting spree, now in Atlanta, by a man who
allegedly went bezerk when he lost thousands of dollars in
day trading. Even here however, the story is weighted on how
the suspect used a nine mm pistol to kill several traders in
a financial building. Very little weight was given to the
fact that he already killed his wife and child by beating
them to death.
"So what? What does it matter that the news
belabors the gun violence? Surely Steve, you have to admit
that there are too many shootings and it has got to
To which I respond, what has to stop? The
violence? People will always find ways to kill each
other. The idea that keeping law-abiding people from
getting their hands on guns will significantly reduce
violence is dangerously misguided. Just ask any inmate
at a federal penitentiary. There's a deeper issue that we
have to look at. That is, why are Americans
significantly more violent than other industrialized
nations? And for that deeper question, there has
unfortunately been little effort or progress to report.
On a Stunning Prediction;
OK, you know my love for Microsoft is without peer. But I
will now predict something that I should have thought of a
long time ago. As I've documented time after time, the
history of MS is to bury all competition, either by outright
buyout, backdoor licensing agreements, or the so-called
"embrace and extend" (MS words) strategy. As I've also
mentioned, embrace and extend really means "embrace and
break" (look at Java, or OS2).
So what I predict now is this: within a year, MS will
make an MS Linux.
What?!?!? Yes. You read that right. They will make an MS
Linux, but immediately search for ways to avoid the GNU
license so that they can add proprietary enhancements that
will not be publically documented. Within 2 years, everyone
will be switching over to the new, slicker MS Linux and when
that happens -- SHAZAM -- MS will kill the project taking
most Linux users with it, but offering Win2005 in exchange.
And that may well be the end of that.
Remember, you read it hear first.
Those of you familiar with Linux should be aware of Eric
Raymond. Following is Eric's explanation of how good
Libertarians can hate both the govt. and Microsoft.
Why Libertarians Should Not Love Bill
Bill Gates seems to confuse the thinking of a lot of
libertarians. The Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit
has spawned among libertarians at least two vocal camps of
opinion both of which bid fair to damage libertarian
One camp holds that Bill Gates is a big enough
devil to justify the government in coercively putting him
down. Another camp (largely, and predictably, composed of
Randites) canonizes Gates, casting him in the Roarkian role
of hero-entrepreneur beset by statist little men.
The argument of the devil-Gates crowd is that the
Microsoft monopoly is a classic case of market failure,
requiring government intervention to set it right. These
people need a remedial course in economic history; the
antitrust laws have a very bad record, having been used
mainly as a tool with which to reward the well connected and
injure the politically disfavored. Thus, it would not be a
sufficient defense of antitrust law to establish that it
happens to be whacking a real villain this time. We have to
look at its accumulated record over time.
After all, even legislation as wrongheaded as the
anti-drug and anti-gun laws catches a real villain
occasionally. As libertarians we judge the cost in lost
freedom too high for the good they occasionally do. So too
we should judge antitrust law.
Market failure is only solved by freer markets.
Historically, monopolies are unstable with a half-life of
around fifteen years unless propped up by government-created
barriers to market entry. Any public-choice economist will
tell you that government intervention is chronically subject
to political failure, a cure worse than the disease.
In fact, not only does government intervention fail to be a
reliable cure for `market failure', it is the primary
cause of market failure -- as Theodor Vail, the
founder of the government-sanctioned Bell Telephone
monopoly, knew full well.
The devil-Gates crowd is making a bad mistake,
copying statist rhetoric and statist arguments in a way that
will end up benefiting only statists. But the hero-Gates
crowd is doing something much worse. They are
teaching non-libertarians that libertarians cannot be relied
upon to condemn behavior that is clearly wrong.
In some other contexts, libertarians routinely
distinguish between behavior which is criminal (aggression,
fraud) and behavior which, though not criminal and indeed
protected by individual rights, is nevertheless wrong (hate
speech being perhaps the classic example).
We have no difficulty both defending the
hate-speaker's right not to be censored and condemning the
hateful content. Similarly, we we should be able to defend
Microsoft's right not to be coerced by would-be
`trustbusters' while condemning Microsoft business practices
that are genuinely monopolistic and price-gouge the software
Whatever one may think of the law underlying the
DOJ suit, the trial evidence exposes a long-established
pattern of Microsoft seeking monopoly lock-in through
mendacity, intimidation and anticompetitive tactics such as
tying agreements. The Halloween
Documents amply confirm the sleaziness of Microsoft
tactics with Microsoft's own words.
Libertarians must be willing to forthrightly
condemn such behavior. Otherwise we will justly be
accused of desiring a future in which such tactics are the
norm. If we are not willing to be part of the market
`invisible hand' that non-coercively punishes Microsoft for
its misbehavior, we invite the argument that only coercion
The only principled response to the facts is to
condemn both the DOJ and Microsoft. That one party is
a villain does not make the other a saint, and even the fact
that one side is clearly using coercion does not
automatically redeem the other from the charge of having
Indeed, publicly taking a position condemning both
antitrust law and Microsoft could provide libertarians with
a valuable opportunity to set a moral example and educate
the public about our values.
Eric S. Raymond <email@example.com>
1. David Gay writes;
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 16:36:37 -0500
From: "David H. Gay" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: LANGER STEVEN C <sglanger@Oakland.edu>
Subject: Re: lastcall
> "What can one do in a climate (Seattle - where
> wearing coats in Aug.) to make one's garden grow? I've
> corn that's 3 feet tall that's personfully
> to make a cob"
I think there is only one thing you can do. You must
Warming initiatives. You must run your car continuously,
burn down all
the trees you see, raise cows lots of the methane generating
work to turn get all the nuclear power plants turned
If this isn't successful, move south.
2. Matt writes from sunny AZ
Date: Sun, 22 Aug 1999 20:39:33 -0700 (MST)
From: Matt Birkholz <email@example.com>
To: LANGER STEVEN C <sglanger@Oakland.edu>
Warm earth (warmed by tubes in the bottom of your beds,
connected to a
solar water heater?) might ameliorate the effect of cold,
I saw Norm Abram (The New Yankee Workshop) build a small
greenhouse from a
kit that used double-paned extruded Lexan panels
They have a UV-protective film on one side. I do not know
what it costs.
I also have a "Gothic Arch Greenhouses" brochure
(Trans-sphere Corp.) that
intimates their "4 oz./sq.ft. weight super-clear fiberglass
acrylic-modified plastic panels" run approx. $1.32/sqft -
area. The supporting frame will at least double that
The fiberglass/acrylic corrugated sheet looks like
another type of GE
Plastics glazing sheet (with specs at
probably comes with a 10 year warrantee against yellowing
(except in AZ?
If it is sunlight you lack, there are always
3. Jeff Thorne writes.
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1999 16:12:14 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jeff Thorne <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> "What can one do in a climate (Seattle - where
> wearing coats in Aug.) to make one's garden grow?
This is the easiest question to answer in many many
What you can do is thank the Lord for allowing you to
experience such a heavenly summer. You can thank the
that you are not living in the South. Here it is too
for tomatoes. I'm serious. My tomatoes are no
producing and they always seem to stagnate here after
say mid-July. I would be happy to trade your
75 degree days for our 100 degree days.
hope the rest of your life is going as beautifully as
Ed: Its only now in the waning days of Aug. that we are
sustaining above 70 deg. Two weeks ago, I kid you not, it
was in the 50's and people were wearing coats. As for your
tomatoes - it seems odd. In Minn. we got 95+ through Aug and
always had good tomatoes. But we did have trees that shaded
the garden from the late afternoon sun so after about 3 pm
they could cool off. I suggest some fast growing shade on
the west side of your garden and misters on timers. That
will knock 10 degrees off.
4. And Dave Dubey becomes the second reader (after Matt
B) to my knowledge to hold elected office. Can Congress be
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1999 13:45:12 EDT
Subject: Re: lastcall
Regarding your corn farming - the only suggestion I have
is to plant earlier.
- Some unrelated news - I have been elected to the
Phantom Lakes Management
District board this month (at the annual lake district
meeting). 98 out of
118 voted for me. I decided it's harder for them to
ignore me if I'm on the
board. Should be interesting. ... edited
I'm not quite sure how long it will last, though.
One thing I left off when
I first told you about this was that I was illegally added
to the district in
'96. (The properties being taxed by the district and
the legal description
of the district don't match.) Because so many of the
people that were
illegally added have complained, they (the county board) are
our lake district boundaries. I might be removed from
the district and have
to give up my spot on the board.
Good luck farming
- Dave Dubey
Ed: Well, we planted end of May, rained out and flooded.
Then the second week of June - same. Finally the last week
of June we planted and the rain held off.
5. Sheryl submits some crime humor.
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 1999 10:16:00 -0400
From: "Langer, Sheryl" <SLanger@krl.org>
Subject: Idiots on the loose
> The Ann
Arbor News crime column reported that
> a man walked
into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan
> at 8:50 AM,
flashed a gun and demanded cash. The
> clerk turned
him down because he said he couldn't
> open the
cash register without a food order. When the
> man ordered
onion rings, the clerk said they weren't
for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked
> Two men
tried to pull the front off a cash machine by
> running a
chain from the machine to the bumper of
> their pickup
truck. Instead of pulling the front panel off
> the machine,
though, they pulled the bumper off their
Scared, they left the scene and drove home.
> With the
chain still attached to the machine. With their
> bumper still
attached to the chain. With their vehicle's
plate still attached to the bumper.
> IDIOTS IN
> I live in a
semi-rural area. We recently had a new
call the local township administrative office
> to request
the removal of the Deer Crossing sign on
road. The reason ..... Many deer were being hit by
> cars and he
no longer wanted them to cross there.
> IDIOTS ARE
EASY TO PLEASE
> I was
sitting in my science class when the teacher
that the next day would be the shortest
> day of the
year. My lab partner became visibly
cheering and clapping. I explained to her
> that the
amount of daylight changes, not the actual
> amount of
time. Needless to say, she was very
> A man walked
into a Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the
> counter and
asked for change. When the clerk opened
> the cash
drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked
> for all the
cash in the register, which the clerk promptly
provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and
> leaving the
$20 bill on the counter. The total amount of
> cash he got
from the drawer? Fifteen dollars. [If someone
> points a gun
at you and gives you money, was a crime
> Seems this
guy wanted some beer pretty badly. He
> decided that
he'd just throw a cinder block through a
> liquor store
window, grab some booze, and run. So
> he lifted
the cinder block and heaved it over his head
> at the
window. The cinder block bounced back and hit
> the would-be
thief on the head, knocking him unconscious.
> Seems the
liquor store window was made of Plexi-Glass.
> The whole
event was caught on videotape.
> NEW YORK
> As a female
shopper exitted a convenience store, a
> man grabbed
her purse and ran. The clerk called 911
and the woman was able to give them a
description of the snatcher. Within minutes,
> the police
had apprehended the snatcher. They put him
> in the car
and drove back to the store. The thief was then
> taken out of
the car and told to stand there for a positive
> ID. To which
he replied "Yes, Officer ..... that's her.
> That's the
lady I stole the purse from ."
> When a man
attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor
> home parked
on a Seattle street, he got much more
> than he
bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find
> an ill man
curled up next to a motor home near spilled
> sewage. A
police spokesman said that the man admitted
> to trying to
steal gasoline and plugged his hose into the
> motor home's
sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the
declined to press charges, saying that it was the
> best laugh
he'd ever had.
Quote(s) of the month:
"If you own a gun, I think you should go to prison"
-Rosie O'Donnell, after the Littleton shootings quoted in
the San Diego Union-Tribune.
"There are two kinds of people, those who do the work
and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group;
there is less competition there. "
-- Indira Gandhi
Fix of the month:
Not only have they got our weapons, not only have they
got 12/20 missiles pointed at us (the other 8 are at
Taiwan), but the Chinese are also arming the Pakistanis,
Iran and Iraq. So how much longer should the Clinton Admin
continue to support MFN trade status with China?
1. Seattle, Aug. 3: In a move that will no doubt
warm the hearts of coffee drinkers everywhere, Starbucks has
announced that it will now offer bird friendly coffee.
Yes folks it's true. The coffee, called shade grown
Mexico, will be promoted as a way to preserve the rain
forest and protect the species that live there. While
shade grown coffee eliminates under brush, its spares the
tree canopy of the rain forest. "We think it's fair to
say that people who like birds should be drinking shade
grown coffee" said Russell Greenberg director of the
Smithsonian migratory birds center. Environmental
activists hope the move by the Seattle-based coffee giant
will encourage other coffee suppliers to switch to shade
grown beans. Currently only one percent of the world's
coffee or about 1 million bags each weighing 130 pounds, is
believed to be shade grown.
2. Kirkland, 11 August: A local man, released from jail
only months ago for assault, felt compelled to drive all the
way to Los Angelas and shoot 5 people in a Jewish Community
Center. Saying he was, "Trying to send a wake up call to
other white Supremicicsts to start killing Jews", Buford
Furrow learned his political views while in jail and joined
3. Redmond, 13 August: Don Jones, head of Microsoft's
wide 2000 group, admits that the current Y2K. problem is
only the tip of the iceberg. Jones confirms that
Windows NT version 4 will fail in year 2080, and programmers
using Visual C++ will have date failure in the year 2036
sense the compiler bases its dates on a 48-bit integer which
started on January 1, 1900.
1. 4 August: The California Supreme Court decided today,
that the manager at an Avis car rental shop can no longer
exercise his right to free speech. The case hinges on
a lawsuit brought by two Hispanic employees who claim that
they were racially insulted on the job.In addition to
upholding the $100,000 fine assessed by a lower court, the
Supreme Court presented the employer with a list of words
that he could not use on the job. While some scholars worry
about the precedence of defining what is permitted speech,
the ACLU says that the right to feel secure on the job from
racial epithets outweighs First Amendment rights.
2. San Clemente Island: This year the U.S. Navy will
spend 2.5 million dollars to save an endangered bird -
by killing endangered foxes. The Navy owns the island which
it uses for weapons research, but it is also home to the
loggerhead shrike. Only 13 of the birds are known to exist
still in the wild. The Navy is trying to keep them alive, by
controlling all of their natural predators including rats,
cats and the small endangered Fox which likes to eat the
bird. Last year, wild life experts fitted the foxes
with collars which gave them an electrical shock whenever
they approached to closely to a tree used by the
shrikes. However, this year the Navy decided to
kill 50 of the 700 foxes who had consistently gone beyond
the shock radius of the collar. The justification used
by the Navy to kill these foxes is based on the "two shrike"
3. Aug. 25, LA: A distraught man used his car as a
bettering ram and drove into a child's daycare center,
killing four kids and wounding numerous others.
Ed: Since this is a non-gun violence spree, you won't
hear about it elsewhere.
1. 3 August, Chicago: A group of scientists at the smell
and taste foundation in Chicago decided to test the the
Pinocchio effect. According to their new study
presented to the American psychiatric association last
month, nasal tissues actually do become engorged with blood
causing them to swell when some people are lying. This
prompts the liar to itch their nose. The researchers point
out that during his "misleading" testimony, President
Clinton was seen to be repeatedly touching his nose,
especially when he was asked about his relationship with
Ed: Of course there is an easier way to tell if the
President is lying. Are his lips moving?
1. Cinncinatti, Aug. 22: A knife wielding man lacerated
three passengers on a Amtrak train before being apprehended.
Aaron Hall, 41, had not motive. None of the hospitalized
victims have dies - yet.
Ed: Since this is a non-gun violence spree, you won't
hear about it elsewhere.
1. State Capitol, 4 August: Last month the New Jersey
state assembly passed a measure which has yet to be acted on
by the state Senate. The new bill, which would require
students in grade school to recite a given passage every
morning, has spawned almost hysterical responses from
different special-interest groups. For example:
Laurie Lowenstein, the head of New Jersey's Right to
Choose, worried the words would turn school children into
Elizabeth Voltz, president of the New Jersey chapter of
the National Organization of Women, found the idea
Ed Gallagher, spokesman for the New Jersey education
association, called the document in question "a little
Columnist Neil Cohen dismissed the measure as a thinly
veiled attempt to eliminate the separation of church and
state by inserting a "secular prayer" into the school
Even Rep. Govr. Christine Todd Whitman has decided she
will table the bill while she considers it.
What is this most disturbing document of which we
speak? Let's see if the following triggers your
"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men
are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure
these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving
their just powers from the consent of the governed."
Yes folks. The Declaration of Independance is now too
dangerous to be taught in school. Can in be long before the
Bill of Rights is found unConstitutional?
1. 25 July: it's a sad day ladies and gentlemen.
The Mustang Ranch, a whore house made famous because it was
taken over by the Resolution Trust Corporation during the
Savings and Loan bailout, is finally closing its
doors. It turned out that the Mustang was actually
owned by individual named Joe ConForte. The RTC siezed
the Mustang to help offset back taxes which ConForte owed
related to his S&L dealings. The Ranch, which is
operated since 1955, will be shutdown sometime in
August. Many Nevadans refuse to believe that the
federal government will actually shutdown one of its
most profitable businesses.
1. 6 Aug: With Democrats and Republicans in Congress
wrangling over the details of whether to give a 700 billion
dollar or a 500 billion dollar tax cut, the bottom line in
any event is that the tax cut will probably never
occur. In the most recent announcement, it's been
decided that people in the 15 percent tax bracket will
recieve a one percent tax cut in the next year.
However, most of us in higher tax brackets would not see tax
reduction until 2005 through 2009 with the full percent tax
cut being incremented 1/4 % each year. So we may see a
one percent tax break by the year 2009 if the Congress
doesn't reverse itself.
2. Six Aug.: Commenting on the recent congressional
tax proposal, President Clinton said "this tax cut won't fix
Social Security. Because of that, I will veto it."
Editor: Now this is a new tack. If the president is
going to base his veto decisions on whether or not piece of
legislation will fix Social Security, then will he also veto
the new gun control bill? Or spending increases for
education? Or his own proposals for health
3. 13 Aug: In light of the most recent shooting spree of
Jews in LA, FBI Director Janet Reno says that she's now in
favor of restricting gun control ownership in the US.
Ed: What, a guy who was already on parole and legally
could not get a gun is going to be stopped by more gun
4. Aug. 6: While being interviewed for a possible
campaign run in the state of New York, Hillary Clinton was
asked about the sexual appetite of her husband. She
suggests that it is possible that being raised by his
grandmother and mother, with no strong male presence in the
home, may have led to certain " gender ambiguities". The
administration's press corps, however, strongly denied that
Mr. Clinton suffered any sexual improprieties in his
5. Aug 25. Long time readers will recall the extensive
coverage in this rag on the massacre of the Davideans near
Waco Texas six years ago. A video came out within a month or
so, "Waco - the Big Lie" that was produced by lawyer Linda
Thompson. The video contained many disturbing events,
including the results of the autopsies of 2 BATF agents that
were supposedly killed by their own "friendly fire".
[This was shown since the bodies were riddled with 9 mm
Cyclone rounds which the Davideans did not have.]
Even more damaging though, was a view of a tank backing
out of the house. The tank was supposedly injecting tear gas
from its muzzle, but it rather more looked like a dripping
flame thrower. The FBI and BATF worked mightily to discredit
the film and its interpretation of events. Many were
convinced. Until now.
Attorney General Janet Reno announced that the tear gas
that was being used by the FBI was flammable. It was also
known that the Davideans, having their power cut off, were
using gas lanterns for lighting. Miss Reno now admits that
the tank muzzle may have been ignited when it pierced the
building. Somehow, ongoing FBI assurances that the Davideans
burned themselves up seem less convincing.
Also, we were told that there was no direct military
involement which is illegal by the Posse Commitatus Act.
However, Federal officials need to explain why members of
the Army's secret Delta Force anti-terrorism squad were at
the scene the day the compound burned. ``Everyone involved
knows they were there. If there is an issue, it was what was
their role at the time,'' said attorney James B. Francis of
Dallas. ``Some of the evidence that I have reviewed and been
made aware of is very problematical as to the role of Delta
Force at the siege.'.
Ed: So who would you rather trust? A bunch of paranoid
armed wackos or the Branch Davideans?
1. I read the Motley Fool's web page. One of the interest
groups posted a Pop Quiz on the topic of Microsoft and what
shuold be the Justice Dept. reccomendations. The question
and my answer follows.
If MSFT is broken up into several "competing"
companies, yet the
Windows O/S is kept by only one, explain how that one
holding the O/S makes the computer industry more
than the O/S remaining with the company it is with
The answer to this lies in understanding how
MSFT leverages its OS dominance in the Apps arena.
If you ask 1000 UNIX users what productity
software they'd most like to have, 800 will say MS
Office. This is why 3'rd party Windows emulators such
as Sun's WABI, the LINUX WINE project, Soft-WIndows,
etc, all exist. Yet MS officials say, "There is no
consumer interest in doing a UNIX office port."
They base that "survey" on readers of PC Week.
Now look at it from a MSFT marketing standpoint. Do
you develop for competing OSs, over which you
don't have the advantage of knowing its API months
ahead of everyone else, and thereby dilute the "demand"
for the main OS capable of running your apps or
Do you refuse to develop for other OSs (or in
the case of the Mac put 1/2 delayed effort into it) so
people who want that Office suite have to get
your OS in the bargain?
Now, if you were a standalone apps company, it
seems rather unlikely that you'd thumb your nose at
sales by only supporting one OS. Granted, you
probably could not afford to develop for more than
about 3 (given wages and separate coding teams), but
you would likely at least support the 2'nd largest OS
UNIX is right now.
Also, several other posters talked about the
flavors of UNIX. There are more free NIX's than Linux,
freeBSD for one. And there is a standard API called
POSIX which nearly every major UNIX complies with (even NT
gives lip service to it). With the exception of
MSFT-POSIX, apps written to the POSIX API can be
ported with a recompile. I've written programs that run on
SGI, Sun, Intel Linux, HP and Alpha without
The bottom line is - there is only one reason that
Office is not available on UNIX and that is its
developers are beholden to Windows.
And this again raises the point. If Office's
developers did not have inside info months in advance
of the competition, would Office be the 800 pound ape that
Given that we are talking about a company that
didn't come up with a GUI until 1989, that refused to
use TCP/IP until Win95, and only now has a weak
multi-user capability since they bought Citrix, I think we
all know the answer.
Now I have a few questions.
1. What is the surest sign that a monopoly exists
for a given product?
2. Using the answer from 1) can it be shown that
MSFT has a near total
monopoly in the OS/productivity market?
3. How does supporting the break-up of a
non-regulated monopoly render one
© Steve Langer, 1995-2000