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SeaViews: Insights from the Gray Havens 
March 2001

(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,
""Is deregulation of power companies a bad thing?""

No. Fourteen states have deregulated their power grids, and not all of them have California's problems. In Calfornia, they deregulated the industry as far as allowing the grid managers to buy power from other states, and mix their fuel sources. But the state still maintained a cap on what could be charged - and worse - did not license any new production plants in over 15 years. This all worked becuase CA enjoyed cheap WA hydro power - until this year when our snowfall is 1/2 normal.

Bill Clinton effectively masked this by granting CA use of the Strategic Patroleum reserve, but when Bush cut off that valve, the magnitude of the problem was revealed.

Interestingly, CA has tried to roll out the use of renewable energy, most notably wind power. But then environmentalists noted that big, slow California Condors (an endangered species - and one will soon see why) tended to fly through the large propellers of the windmills, and often emerged in more pieces then the way they entered. So naturally, wind power has been deemed unsafe and the windmills have been stalled.

So now there are 3 types of people in CA. The true tree huggers who will be happy to live as physically in the dark as they do mentally, the average schmo who leans tree hugger until his Latte is cold, and the bigoted right-wing sexist homophobes who naturally vote Republican and want 3 SUVs in every driveway.

Take heart, the Latte stand is hosting a college Rep. meeting.


On the economy;

In the same manner as the CA energy crisis, the true state of the economy is being revealed. For those, such as your humble editor, who had the vision to see, the US economy has been heading south since at least last March. You can trace the market falls to the Justice Decisions on Microsoft and Biiiig Tobacco. Since last fall, the biiiiig 3 automakers have been laying off. Of course, one of the most telling bits of evidence was that if the economy was really doing so great under Clinton/Gore, Gore should have shouted from the rooftops that he and his boss were the sole hope for continuing prosperity. But, did Algore paint himself as a econ guru? No.

Of course, right up until after GW stold the election with his supreme court coup, the press still largely buried this stiff. Oh, there was the Wall Street Journal and Investor's Business Daily - whise job it is to point this stuff out. But your New York Times, Chicago Trib and Wash Post did not get on board until mid-Decemeber, when it was clear (and again your truly predicted) that it would be laid at the feet of a guy who was not even sworn in yet.

Of course, the media had an answer for that one, "He's not yet President, but his negative talk is hurting the economy."

Sure, its possible that consumer confidence can be hurt with doomsaying, but that doomsaying has to have a seed of truth to succeed.

For 8 years we've had no energy policy, no effective foreign policy, and we've gutted the military to pay for social programs. That bill is going to come due.


Guest Editorial:

Kathleen Parker

April 7, 2001

Wage-Gap Equation Is Calculated On Spurious Assumptions

Gender feminists may as well go ahead and admit they're communists. It'll make things so much easier if we understand our terms. By "gender feminist," I mean those who believe in equality regardless of obvious differences. "They" want equal outcomes, period. The rest of us - Normal Feminists and Other Great?Americans - want fairness but understand that "gender" connotes differences and that equal outcomes aren't possible without draconian (read: communistic) government intervention.

In other words, "they" believe in equality even if it isn't fair; "We" dirty rotten capitalists, who sometimes come in female flavors, believe that a free market is fair. The pay-equity jihad is a case in point.

Those of you who've been busy making a living and upgrading your bomb shelters may have missed Equal Pay Day this past Tuesday(APRIL 3). I know, you were still nursing hangovers from celebrating Women's History Month and it slipped by. Not to worry; April's foolish days are entrenched and destined for sequeldom.

The now-annual Equal Pay Day was sponsored by the National Committee on Pay Equity, which contends, despite contrary research and common sense, that women still earn significantly less than men do. The exact figure seems flexible, but the latest is 28 cents less on the dollar.

Whatever the mythical amount, the wage-gap equation is calculated on spurious assumptions. To support their thesis, the equal-pay number-crunchers use the median wages of all men and all women in the workforce, regardless of age, educational level, occupation, experience or working hours. Golly, you mean bosses earn more than assistants? And coal miners earn more than typists? And Ph.D.s earn more than high school dropouts?

Well, not in Cuba. And not here, if the NCPE is successful in pressuring Congress to enact corrective legislation. Keep an eye on Hillary "Hey, Love Your Flatware!" Rodham Clinton, that champion of open-market principles.

The real deal on the wage gap is that women and men who work comparable jobs generally earn comparable wages, plus or minus a few cents. The actual gap is closer to three cents on the dollar, according to independent and well-respected research.

A 1993 study by economist June O'Neill, using data from the Department of Labor's huge database (National Longitudinal Survey of Youth) and published in the Journal of Labor Economics, for instance, found that childless women age 27-33 earned 98 percent as much as their male counterparts.

This two-percent difference suggests that motherhood, not gender, is a more likely explanation of wage differences. Yet the NCPE contends that when women earn less, it's because they're women. Ergo, discrimination.

Never mind that workplace discrimination has been outlawed since the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Never mind, too, that a gender-based wage gap makes no sense. If women are so much cheaper to employ, why aren't companies dumping their male employees in favor of females?

The fact is, women and men of equal qualifications, experience and work hours are usually paid comparably. In instances where women earn less, nondiscrimination explanations often can be found. One that springs to mind: Women get pregnant and have babies, which leads them to make different choices.

Women who trade higher pay for flexible working hours to rear children aren't whining to
congresspersons about equal pay. They're hiding behind their Wall Street Journals, hoping no one will notice they've placed more value on rearing well-adjusted kids than on shattering the alleged glass ceiling.

As economist Nancy Pfotenhauer, president of the Independent Women's Forum, put it, "Women make decisions all the time based on things other than salary - enjoyment of the job and ability to have time with their families."

Meanwhile, women are entering traditionally male-dominated fields at increasing rates and are being paid comparably, according to a new analysis by the Employment Policy Foundation. Whatever gap remains will adjust itself by the laws of supply-and-demand. Unless the NCPE has its way, in which case you can bid incentive - and the promise of the American dream - a Fidelista farewell.


none this month

Quote(s) of the month:

"What's the big deal, I paid for it right?"

-- Bill Gates, asking a reporter why it was evil for him to use so much more electricity in his home than other people.

Fix of the month:

"What should be done about the US crew members being held hostage in China?"



1. Tacoma. April 2: After February's earthquake, life got to be a bit boring, so the Govnr. decided  that he'd liven things up by promoting drastic measures for the anticipated drought/power shortages that will be coming in summer. [Since much of WA power is hydro, and we dumped alot of water during Dec-Jan to help California, there will likely be both water and power price hikes in August] Citizen vigilante groups are now going around town and overturning anyone's active hot tub.

2. Seattle, March 20: The Seattle Times (which for some reason is considered a conservative paper despite sharing a bilding and editorial staff with the Liberal Post Intelligencer), ran a series of investigative reports. They used the freedom of Info Act to locate the millionares around the area and check their power usage during Feb-March. Then reporters were sent to onsite interviews with the evil miscrants that used over 20% above average. While many of the targets bent over and took their medicine, proclaiming their public shame, Bill Gates in a written reply said, "WHat's the big deal? Didn't I pay for it?"

3. March 30, Whidbey Island Naval Air Station: By now, most of the country is aware that one of our spy planes was crippled in a midair collision with a Chinese Air Force pilot. After the collision, pilot Wang Wei apparently crashed and died, while the US crew of 24 were able to make an emergency landing on China's soil with one bent prop and stuck flaps. While the incident occurred in international air space the landing in China has put the US crew on unsafe footing.

Since Pres Bush has made eirlier statments that he is considering selling arms to Taiwan, it is widely believed here that the Chinese govt will not release the Crew until they get concessions on that plan.

4. 8 April: Even though it was the Senate that tanked the Kyoto Greenhouse Gas treaty a full year ago, as you might expect Greenpeace is laying the mantle of AntiEarth Satan on the current White HOuse occupent GW Bush. The Greeners promise that, "There will be a world wide revolt and boycott of US firms if Bush balks at the Kyoto accords."


Washington D.C.

1. April 2: While much of the country's attention is on the drama of the falling economy and the fate of the US navy air-crew in China, few have noticed that the 1'st Ammendment to the Constitution is about to be shredded by the McCain-Feingold bill that is about to go the the White House for signing. MF, as its called, seeks to ban soft money and other kinds of contributions for political candidates. While there is not particular problem with banning certain types of gifts, such as untraceable soft money, MF goes beyond that and actually puts retraints on the amounts of cash that a candidate can spend. Even if its their own money. Hence, a millionarie would be prevented from spending their own cash for TV adds beyond a certain amount.

This is tantamount to limiting free speech, and everyone in the House and Senate knows it. And oddly, the people voting for it don't want it to pass. The Dems don't want it to pass becuase they know that soft money from Labor Unions is their biggest source. The Reps don't want it to pass becuase they now that a widely liberal media will give free air time to liberal causes, and without $$ to buy time Reps will be shut out. But neither side, up to and inlcuding Bush, want it to be said that they were on teh wrong side of the issue. So Bush will likely sign in into law, and everyone hopes like Hell the  Supreme court will strike it down.

2. April 5: With an evenly split Senate, 3 Reps (including Arlan Specter) broke ranks and  shot down Bush's attempt at a tax cut. It goes back to the House to try to breath life into the proposal, but this cannot be good news for a president in teh 1'st quarter of his term. And oddly, even those who voted against it admit the nation is sliding into recession, which they claim is why the country cannot risk the loss of $1 trillion over the course of 10 years and $23 trillion in spending.

Oddly, they seem to have forgotten that the tax cuts by Ronald Reagen in the early 80's broke the Carter Stagflation (15% interest rates and 9% inflation) and doubled the national revenue by 1988 through growth stimulation.

Net News;

1.  Call it the machine that would not die. Many of you, like me, purchased the Amazing Amiga in 1985. I still have a A1000 with a serial number in the low 1000 range. Since being rolled out by Commodore, the Amiga has been passed from company to company who have all been inept at marketing. But since the hardware technology is still unmatched, and the only OS competition is Linux (or the free BSD clones) the Amiga faithful have kept the machine going. And now it has popped up in a new company that is in my backyard at Snoqualmie Washington ( The Amiga application suite will also be available on a new PDA by Sharp that runs  Linux (