Rochester Rag July 1996
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(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 independance.

-- C.A. Beard


Steve Langer
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On last month's Fix;

What can the US do to protect its citizens from terrorism?

If it is not to become a police state, probably not much in a preventative sense. The Atlanta bombing has motivated Clinton to ask for a revisitation of some points left out of his crime bill - namely expanded explosives tagging and wire tapping. The 747 bombing in New York has lead to open baggage searches on all international flights. Already, armed guards are a common sight around Atlanta. Ben Franklin once said, "Those who can trade essential liberties for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." America as a nation is rapidly descending that path.

On the Minimum Wage Bill;

Now that it has passed the Senate (July 9), it's only a matter of time before it gets sent up to Clinton for signing. So what will the additional $0.90/hr mean? Well, according to Sen. Paul Wellstone (D, MN)

"The other 60% of Minnesotans will now be able to pay their utilities, their health insurance and send their kids to college."

Wow, all that for an additional $1800/year. Talk about your bargain shoppers. And to think I wasn't even aware that 3/5 of the people I meet are raising families on minimum wage. It's also interesting to hear how Clinton and Hill Dems refer to the bill. "It's about time Americans get a raise." So now it's a raise, and of course those who got the "raise" will be grateful to their "boss".

Of course the interesting part of this "raise" is that the people mandating it are not the ones who are going to pay for it. Normally, when someone pays for something with someone else's money we'd call that theft, but since this is from the govt. we'll call it a tax.

Ah, but who will pay the tax? That's easy. Those evil rich business owners all across America who drive to work in their Jags and play golf at 3:30 (ignore for now the 70~80% of Mom and Pop businesses which gross less than $0.5 million/year and employ 20 or less). Of course, the first law of business is that none ever pays a tax. If they can, they pass the cost onto their customers in the product's price. If the market won't bear the extra cost, the business simply cuts back on full-time employees, or hires part timers that do not qualify for health care and other benefits.

So what has the largesse (bought with other's money) of Congress and Clinton done for the teeming millions who live on minimum wage? Well, for products which can be priced higher, they will be. Naturally this will boost the cost of living, produce inflationary pressures and lead to Alan Greenspan hiking the prime interest rate to combat it. For those businesses that cannot afford to hike product prices, they will either reduce the number of employees, or replace full timers with part timers without benefits. Cost of living, interest rates and the numbers of unemployed/uninsured will all increase. The newly unemployed or uninsured will doubtless seek more Federal and State asssistance and become staunch Dem. (the party of compassion) supporters.

America, enjoy your raise. You'll earn it.

Guest Editorial:

Actually, I had none until today (Aug. 5). Now I do - by me.

On Legal Stuff;
by Steve Langer

For the first time, the Rag has incited someone to complain about copyright violation on my part. It seems that someone has a Web-worm whose goal in life is to search out unofficial duplications of their work. They found an example of such in my Jan. 1995 issue. It was a joke about selling toothbrushes. I have given John Johnson, keeper of the rag archive, permission to replace the offending text with the following;

"Due to a request by the author the humor that we included in this space has been deleted. The author is very angry that we enjoyed his article enough to reprint it. We apologize profusely and instead give you a link to the page on which he discusses why he forbids people to share clips from his site."

Rather than run the risk of violating another copyright by quoting its text verbatim I will add value by interpreting it for you. The bottom line is that facts are not copyrightable, but specific expressions of fact are. Therefore, in the future I will attribute the source of fact, but re-write the expression of it in my own inimmitable style.


1. Brian Donahue writes from his new digs.

>From Mon Jul 29 16:13:13 1996

     I've moved. Please update your e-list accordingly.
     Also, what the heck are you doing these days?

Ed Note: Please note BD's new address. Your's truly is being retained by Mayo as a special projects research consultant while my job hunt continues. Mt. Sinai in NY City and UW-Seattle are both calling me back for a second round of interviews, and I have an industrial offer. By the end of August I should have my next carreer phase settled. How are the lovely women in your life?

2. Sheryl writes in the triumphant aftermath of her 75 mile roller blade for the MS Society.

>From RSC!RSC! Mon Jul 29 18:53:44 1996

To the fix:
Stop having any public events in the US..............or get tough.

In case you didn't know 75 miles on rollerblades is a long way.  4 of my
friends and I rollerbladed 75 miles from Hinckley MN to Duluth MN for the MS
Society.  There is still some untouched beautiful land left in northern MN.
 But, if Sen Rod Grams gets his way and lets motorboats in the Boundary
Waters it is all over.  He says that it will increase tourism and still
maintain beauty -- I say BULL!!!!

3. Beaumont Barb writes;

From: (Barb Chapman)
Subject: "In light of recent terrorist activities, what can the US do to protect
 its citizens."

Not a doggone thing.  If someone is bound and determined to perform a
terrorist act (Atlanta comes to mind), they're going to succeed.  This
particular terrorist had to attack a public place because Olympic security
was so tight and this fact was well publicized.  Do we want to have
ourselves and anything we carry subject to search at any time?  The people
in Atlanta are willing, or so they say so that they can go to that
particular park again.  I for one am not going to hide out in my house
(which could be bombed by one of my neighbors who doesn't like our new color
scheme) for fear of a terrorist attack.

Enough prostletizing.  Am now the driver of a 1992 Geo Metro, 5-speed, no
whistles or bells, but gets 40-50 miles to the gallon.  Nate is now the
official driver of the brown minivan.  Nate is now working for Borrelli
three days a week.  This Summer position may turn into somethign more
permanent if 1) Borrelli and Nate are mutually agreeable and 2) we get
Michelle's position reclassified as a co-op position.  Maja is raking in the
$$$ babysitting this Summer.

How's the job search going?

Love ya,

Ed: Job search is making me busier than a one legged guy at a butt kicking festival. I'll know more in a month.

4. Texas Tom Hall pens;

>From Tue Jul 30 13:33:39 1996
Subject: Re: Lastcall

>"In light of recent terrorist activities, what can the US do
>to protect its citizens."

Um, tell everyone not to go to the Olympics or fly out of New York?

Or maybe blow everything up first before they get a chance to?

Or just close all our borders, physically and electronically, for 
ten years.  Screw the Marshall Plan--let's work on our problems for 
a bit.

Oh, since this is a political discussion forum, I'd like to thank 
Ross Perot for associating with a one-word party, instead of that 
crazy "United We Stand America" thing.  Much easier to talk about 
the "Reform" party now, isn't it?


Quotes(s) of the month:

"Stop crying and suck it up. There are lots of people watching."

-- US Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller's coach, lending an understanding ear after the vaulting error that put her out of medal contention for the individual all around competition.

Fix of the month:

Borrowing from Sheryl's letter;

"How should one balance the competing interests for usage of the national parks?"



1. Bloomington, Aug 3: There is an expression, if something can happen, sooner or later it will. At the Mall of America, a chain of free-standing escalaters ascend 5 floors above a rotunda and offer a breath-takingly unobstructed view. Today, someone balancing on the handrail experienced that view for the last time and fell 80 feet to their death. It remains to be seen if the boy's family will sue the Mall for inadequate containment measures.


1. Univ. of Chicago, Aug. 2: A sample size of 3054 counties over 15 years shows that the 31 states which allow concealed weapons to be carried have without exception experienced a decline in violent crime. Furthermore, the guns often did not need to be used. The uncertainty alone was sufficient to deter many potential attacks.


1. Royal Oak, Jul5 5: Dr. Jack Kavorkian attended the death of a 33'rd patient this week.


1. Philly, July 21: Attendees of the American Assoc. of Medical Physicists meeting were treated to a recital of the achievements of Philadelphia's Mayor during the opening ceromony. Given at the convention center in the center of downtown near Chinatown, the Mayor crowed of the crime reductions made under his admin. However, he conceded that two attendees were mugged the previous day in front of the center at high noon, and promised that security would be further improved.


1. Atlanta, July 14: Among the final touches of equipping the health facilities for the Olympics was the delivery of several cases of condoms, each containing 12, one gross boxes.

2. Atlanta, July 27: Mayoral boasts of impregnable security not withstanding, a pipe bomb detonated during a rock concert killed one and injured at least 100 more.

New York

1. New York City, 15 July: Fearing lower earnings, inflation and higher interest rates from the increased minimum wage, investor sell-offs pushed the NYSE's Dow Jones average down 500 points in the last three sessions.

Net News;

1. Some news on the risks of smoking.
Subject:      cigarettes and lung cancer

Just an observation I'd like to share with others who might like to comment.

I DO NOT endorse the activity of smoking, but ....

as I have perused the charts of lung cancer patients treated at the
radiotherapy clinic I have worked at for the past several years I find a
clear association/correlation that these patients invariably (~100%) smoked
one or more cigarette packs per day for DECADES.  I find it noteworthy that
the lungs can tolerate this activity for such a long length of time before
the respiratory system collapses via cancer/emphysema leading to eminent
death. This suggests that smoking has a low toxicity and/or the lungs have a
robust capacity to deal with the smoke irritant.

I find it interesting that it takes such a long time and a concerted effort
on the part of the smoker to screw up their health.  I think we tend to look
at smoking as something highly toxic, but the excessive length of time
people smoke until their health begins a quick slide to death seems to
suggests the opposite.

2. And the same topic continued.

Subject:      Two cigarettes a day may reduce chances of lung cancer

 A couple years ago I visited a medical scientist at the U of Kansas who
told me he had good evidence that 2 cigarettes a day will reduce lung
cancer but he didn't intend to publish studies. I think part of the
argument is the following. Studies of number of cigarettes smoked per day
vs. lung cancer incidence drops rather sharply as on goes to fewer
cigarettes per day. The line crosses the nonsmokers incidence at about 5
cigarettes per day. One could reason that two cigarettes per day may be
	While it might seem wrong to encourage any smoking I find that I
can tell young women that they can continue to smoke and perhaps reduce
their chances of lung cancer below normal if they smoke two a day.  The
mechanism may be the same as that from radon vs lung cancer shown in Bernie
Cohen's Feb 1995 HPJ article. A small challenge builds up the defense
against cancer.
	I don't recall the name of the researcher at UK but I think I can
find out if someone is interested. I thought at the time he should publish
his results. The same type of thinking probably kept some papers that
showed radiation hormesis from being published over the years.
	Remember there is a huge biological variability among humans and
what is good for one person is not necessarily good for another. It is this
approach that allows the NCRP keep saying that even the smallest amount of
radiation can cause cancer while they ignore the millions of radioactive
disintegrations in our body each hour.
	I long ago stopped comparing risk from radiation to smoking one
cigarette. The poison is in the dose, and one cigarette a day may be
irritating to the people who share the air with the smoker, it is possible
it is even beneficial for both the smoker and the nonsmoker!
	Don't let any of this upset you. John

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