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SeaViews: Insights from the Gray Havens 
August 1999

(formerly the _Rochester Rag_, formerly the _News from Detroit_)

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 independence.

-- C.A. Beard


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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 helpful thoughts?

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 tasty.

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 themselves.

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 people.

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 it.

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 security.

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 Yeltsin.

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 silent.

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 stop."

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.

Guest Editorial:

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 Gates

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 credibility.

 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 consumer.

 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 will do.

 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 behaved badly.

 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 <>


1. David Gay writes;

Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 16:36:37 -0500
From: "David H. Gay" <>
Subject: Re: lastcall

> "What can one do in a climate (Seattle - where people are
> wearing coats in Aug.) to make one's garden grow? I've got
> corn that's 3 feet tall that's personfully attempting
> to make a cob"


I think there is only one thing you can do. You must support Global
Warming initiatives. You must run your car continuously, burn down all
the trees you see, raise cows lots of the methane generating beasts and
work to turn get all the nuclear power plants turned off.

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 <>
Subject: lastcall

Warm earth (warmed by tubes in the bottom of your beds, connected to a
solar water heater?) might ameliorate the effect of cold, damp air.

I saw Norm Abram (The New Yankee Workshop) build a small greenhouse from a
kit that used double-paned extruded Lexan panels (http://www
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 reinforced
acrylic-modified plastic panels" run approx. $1.32/sqft - $528/20x20ft
area. The supporting frame will at least double that cost...

The fiberglass/acrylic corrugated sheet looks like another type of GE
Plastics glazing sheet (with specs at and
probably comes with a 10 year warrantee against yellowing (except in AZ?

If it is sunlight you lack, there are always flourescents...

3. Jeff Thorne writes.

Date: Mon, 23 Aug 1999 16:12:14 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jeff Thorne <>

Hi Stevey,

> "What can one do in a climate (Seattle - where people are
> wearing coats in Aug.) to make one's garden grow?

This is the easiest question to answer in many many issues.

What you can do is thank the Lord for allowing you to
experience such a heavenly summer.  You can thank the lord
that you are not living in the South.  Here it is too hot
for tomatoes.  I'm serious.  My tomatoes are no longer
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 your summer,

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 far behind?

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 4/24/2002 ...

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 re-evaluating
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" <>
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
        > available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked
        > away.
        > KENTUCKY
        > 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
        > truck. 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
        > license plate still attached to the bumper.
        > I live in a semi-rural area. We recently had a new
        > neighbor call the local township administrative office
        > to request the removal of the Deer Crossing sign on
        > our road.  The reason ..... Many deer were being hit by
        > cars and he no longer wanted them to cross there.
        > I was sitting in my science class when the teacher
        > commented that the next day would be the shortest
        > day of the year.  My lab partner became visibly
        > excited, 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
        > disappointed.
        > LOUISIANA
        > 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 fled,
        > 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
        > committed?
        > ARKANSAS
        > 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
        > immediately and the woman was able to give them a
        > detailed 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 ."
        > SEATTLE
        > 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
        > vehicle 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 Aryan Nation.

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" rule.

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 Monica Lewinsky.
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.

New Jersey;

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 rabid pro-lifers.

Elizabeth Voltz, president of the New Jersey chapter of the National Organization of Women, found the idea dangerous.

Ed Gallagher, spokesman for the New Jersey education association, called the document in question "a little jingoistic".

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 day.

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 memory.

"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.

Washington D.C.

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 care?

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 control?!?

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 childhood.

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?

Net News;

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.

 Question 1-
 If MSFT is broken up into several "competing" companies, yet the
 Windows O/S is kept by only one, explain how that one company
 holding the O/S makes the computer industry more competitive
 than the O/S remaining with the company it is with now.

 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 that
 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 potential
 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 - which
 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 modification.

 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 it  is?

 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