-- C.A. Beard
On last month's Fix;
the answer to last month's Fix,
"Will the recently signed Telecomm bill broaden data availability at the expense of censorship?"is
Maybe. That is to say maybe data availlability will increase. There is no question that censorship is already ocurring, and with Clinton's endorsement of the V chip and Internet police (i.e. the FBI), it will accelerate. So what's new?
On the Attempt to Repeal the Assault Weapons Ban;
Last night (March 21) the Jim Lehrer News Hour had a debate on the wisdom of Congress' current attempts to repeal the ban on "Assault Weapons" that went into effect last year. On the Dem side was Congressman Chuck Schumer (D. New York) and on the Rep. side was a gent whose name escapes me. The Rep. made some interesting points, namely;
"These weapons have absolutely no legitimate sporting purpose."
Would someone point out to me and Mr. Schumer where in the Constitution it says, "A full belly being necessary to the security of a free state, the right to hunt with antiquated weapons shall not be infringed."
"The FBI fully supports the ban as an effective crime fighting deterrent."
A report written by FBI Director Luis Freah (a Clinton appointee), supports his sponsor. What an unimpeachable endorsement!
"Shootings are down 20% in many cities."
Down 20% from banning a weapon which was responsible (FBI's own numbers) for 1% of shootings. Hmmm. I don't suppose a map showing states that passed "three strikes and your out" laws, and a map of those 20% areas, could be laid on top of each other with any degree of correlation. No sir.
"We banned those guns with those (gesturing to his shoulder ) take down things."
Those things, Mr. Schumer, are called stocks, and how a piece of wood, metal or plastic against the shoulder determines the killing power of a weapon eludes me. Of course, what Schumer meant to say is that he and his buddies banned things that looked militarish. Now what's that word that we use when people are banned based on looks?
"We also banned those long things (again gesturing ) that hold lots of bullets."
Once again Mr. Schumer, those things are called clips. Now as an attorney, your stock in trade is words and their meanings. You've been on the gun control band wagon for over ten years and should know these terms by now. Are you an incredibly incompetant attorney, or just a bad liar?
"The only reason that the House is even taking up this issue is that Newt Gingrinch promised the NRA that he would."
That may or may not be true, but in any case it speaks volumes that Newt keeping a promise is regarded by Schumer with such distaste. To be blunt, Mr. Schumer, you are a lying sack of BS who is only in Congress because your techniques of persuasion were too obvious for a used car lot.
On the Psychology of Diamonds;
You've got to hand it to deBeers. Prior to the turn of the 1900's, engagement rings used to consist of a gold setting for the lady's birth stone. Diamonds were no more special than - say - topaz or ruby or saphire. Then the deBeers cornered S. African diamond production, hoarded them, prices sky-rocketed, women were convinced that, "If he really loved you, he'd hock a quarter years salary to put this rock on your finger", and we have arrived at our current state of events.
Today, women treat diamonds as a reflection of the value their man places on them, in other words, a bride price. I think it was Winston Churchill, who during one of his drunken interludes, was trying with some bauble to bribe a lady of the peerage to go home with him. She is reputed to have said, "Why Sir, what kind of women do you take me for?" Churchill replied, "Madam, I already know what kind of women you are, I am just trying to arrive at the terms of payment."
If you think this is cold, just listen to the women at your place of work when one of them shows up one day with an engagement ring. Immediately following the oos and aahs, the ring wearer will usually quite loudly own up to the price of the thing, as if to say, "My man paid this much for me." If she has more class, she may whisper the price to her pals instead, nevertheless confident in the knowledge that by the end of the day every women in the place will know to the penny its value.
So men, I have a suggestion for you. Cut out the middle man. Just get a roll of 1000 dollar bills, or a check, and take them to an origamist. Have him roll that wad into a nice ring, with the numeric value proudly displayed on top, and present it to your lady. This will avoid all that tedious smalltalk among the women at work, who will now know, at a glance, exactly what the bride price is.
We've come a long way baby.
Since the election is rolling on the course that I predicted (namely, Dole will get the nomination and be creamed by Clinton), I thought I'd excercise my presience further by informing you all on the claims that Clinton will make, and debunk them before he even makes them.
First I should say that the one way Clinton could lose is if the Whitewater investigation gets around to indicting Hillary and possibly even Bill himself, but in the likely event that this does not occur, Bill will;
Claim that he and Al Gore have cut the federal payroll by 160,000.
This is patently false. In September of 1995 Bill and Al said that their reinventing govt. had cut 160,000 federal jobs. According to OMB, the figures are (source American Spectator, Feb 1996)
Year Reduction 1993 86,100 1994 34,900 1995 35,900What Bill and Al neglected to mention was that the majority of these cuts came from civilian workers for the Defense Dept. as a result of base closings and contract cutbacks that occured in the aftermath of the end of the Cold War. The Base Closing Commission, on the Bush watch, was responsible and indeed Clinton pointed to this during the 92 election as an example of Rep. cruelty.
Year Total Defense % of Total 1993 86100 63500 75 1994 34900 34200 98 1995 35900 33500 94Of the 25,00 or so jobs that were cut from outside defense, 9600 came from the dissolusion of the Resolution Trust Corp. that was created to clean up the Savings and Loan scandals. RTC was dissolved in 1995, its job finished. That means that Bill and Al can take credit for cutting about 16000 Federal jobs. Of that 16000, 95% were managers who accepted early retirement with $30,000 severence packages and the remaining 5% were - temporaries.
Al and Bill will also claim to have cut $60 of their $108 billion target.
Also false. According to Al's Reinventing Govt. report, savings will come from;
Streamlining the Govt. $40.4 billion Procurement Improvement $22.5 Info. Tech. $5.4 Reducing Admin Costs $3.3 Individ. Agencies $36.4 total $108By streamlining Gore means job cutbacks. Peace dividend would be a better name. On procurement improvments, last Nov. Gore lowered his estimate to $12 billion. He has similarly lowered estimates on everything else so that the total now comes to about $50 billion of which 40 is due to defense cutbacks.
As the campaign unfolds, doubtless Bill and Al will come up with other success tales that I have not yet foreseen (being preoccupied with trying to reinvent my imminent unemployment). However, I shall be ready to debunk those myths when, not if, they occur.
From RSC!RSC!SHERYLQ@scc.attmail.com Thu Mar 14 09:51:56 1996 Steve Forbes is dropping out of the presidential race officially this afternoon, he announces that he will endorse Bob Dole. What kind of a financial genius does it take to spend $41 million to get a job that pays $200,000? Now, he's broke and he still didn't get the job!
2. Texas Tom writes;
From ApogeeTom@aol.com Thu Mar 21 15:21:07 1996 >"Will the new telecom bill increase data availability at the >expense of censorship?" Uh......................................................maybe. --Tom
3. Dr. Grimm writes.
From email@example.com Wed Mar 27 00:45:07 1996 Steve: Greetings from the Lone Star State! It's great to be back in God's country, being an engineer again. IN answer to your question, I don't know that "data availibility" will increase because of the bill. More telecom services, seemingly yes. Actual competition for wireline local telephone service, possible. More PWS and satellite comm systems, YES! YES! YES! YES! (to quote Meg Ryan). At the expense of censorship? Well, depends on what is done in the courts. I'll be intersted to see what happens when a local net site with the text of "Huck Finn" or "Catcher in the Rye" (or goodly excerpts) is set upon for indecency, and how that plays out. Its too early to tell, but I think that traditional protected speech won't be censored. Now, should the users of the internet be taxed to pay back the government and DOD in particular for the developmental funding. IF DoD got 1 penny for each MB transferrred/downloaded....... As to news, more of an outrage. Had I been inclined to vote for Bill Clinton in '96, recent events changed my mind. This has to do with the China-Taiwan situation. Remember that we sent two carrier battlegroups there. Well, Clinton let the mainland Chinese interrupt merchant marine traffic in the international sea lanes. Let me repeat: BILL CLINTON ALLOWED THE CHINESE TO STOP INTERNATIONAL MERCHANT TRAFFIC IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS. In addition to this action by China being against international law, our Navy has a strong tradition of making sure the sea lanes are open. By letting this happen in China, this gives coutries like Iran a better case for choosing their maritime exclusion zones. And if you take 12 miles from Iranian territory, there are two islands that let them claim all of the Straits of Hormuz (the entry into the Arabian Gulf) as Iranian waters. Geopolitical considerations aside, Bill Clinton F**ked up bigtime! Until the next exciting issue, Mike G.
Ed: For those of you who don't know, Dr. Grimm is a "moderate" Democrat so this admission is a bit of an eye opener.
4. Rafe Donahue has a new address;
From firstname.lastname@example.org Sat Mar 30 15:45:27 1996Steve,Rafe's new e-address is:email@example.com BSD
"Ach, just go set your house on fire. Its almost as exciting and doesn't cause nearly as much damage."
-- Young girl and old woman, from Lake Wobegone Days
2. St. Paul, March 20: The state legislatures passed a bill that promises to break ground in making Minn. the first state in the Union to have its own Minimum Wage. The bill would require any business that gets over $25K in state aid to pay its hourly workers $7.50/hour. Fortunately, this bill would likely see the Gov's veto pen and its unlikely the liberals have a veto proof majority.
Ed: And I'm sure the next bill would propose to lock down the state borders to staunch the flood of businesses leaving the state.
3. Twin Cities, March 29: NPR has been running daily reports on State Editionfrom the International Congress of Transsexuals which is being held in theCities. Apparently, there are at least 10 or more men that cross-dress forevery one that undergoes a sex change operation. In fact, a group of 40~50year old truck drivers entertained a debate on whether they were best described as male lesbians while being interviewed at the Mall of America.