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SeaViews: Insights from the Gray Havens 
May 2000

(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 the direction of the federal govt. on the right track, when we punish legal businesses with bankrupting policies, purposely distort the markets, and return political refugees to dictatorships?

Act one.  Elian Gonzalez, currently a guest of the U.S. taxpayer at the Wye River Plantation, is undergoing freedom detox.  His closest friends, family and psychoanalysts from Cuba are reintroducing him to the true  path of the Young Pioneers, an education and propaganda tool of Fidel Castro for children.  The only recent photos to be released show him wearing the young pioneer uniform while studying.  And so, we are about hand over this child to the Communist dictatorship from which his mother sacrificed her life to save him from.  He was taken at gunpoint from his family.

Act two. Over 20 children are burned to death an in a religious compound in Texas my administration who claims to be interested only in "saving the children".

Act three.  The 14 your old boy he shot back while fleeing towards his father from armed intruders.  Several hours later, his mother is shot in the head while holding her infant.

Act four.  The retirement nest eggs of millions of Americans are destroyed as the current administration selectively targets and destroys the tobacco industry, the gun industry, and high-tech industrys (software, drugs, biotech).

Act 5.  The President signs an executive order that turns thousands of acres of Utah, and the minerals and coal beneath it which would bring great wealth to the landowners, into a federal Park.  In the past, creation of national Parks has required an eminent  domain vote of Congress, but this President did it by executive fiat.

Liberals claim to want to help the helpless, the children, aged, and those who cannot help themselves.  They speak for the speechless, defend the defenseless, in other words-play Robin Hood.  Except... Robin Hood did not bankrupt his allies, or kill their children, or send them back to the sheriff of Nottingham.

While the coming election in November may to some portend the reversal of the lawlessness of the past eight years, I'm not so sanguine.  I have an abiding fear that we've past a watershed in this country, where the only justice that can be had now will be measured in the size of one's campaign contributions, and not even a token of justice will remain.

Guest Editorial:

 From Canada's GLobe and Mail Newspaper;

                    ... This corporation -- let's arbitrarily
                     honour comic Phil Silvers and call it BillCo, shall we? --
                     BillCo has had a spot of legal trouble lately, in one of the
                     larger adjacent nations. Less said the better, of course, but in
                     essence a large-ish number of folks there feel Billco is (a) too
                     big, (b) less than competent, and (c) a bit of a bully.

                     There's even been loose talk lately, at the higher levels of that
                     nation's justice system, about crippling or dismantling BillCo
                     by government fiat. In the business world, this sort of thing is
                     considered undesirable. It wakes up the stockholders.

                     It was at this cusp in BillCo's corporate history that an
                     unfortunate occurrence unfortunately occurred. One of the
                     most popular of its many products contains an innovative
                     feature -- ironically, one of the few genuinely original features
                     ever offered by BillCo -- called "scripting," which
                     unfortunately is really not a feature but a bug. A gaping
                     security flaw, in fact, begging to be exploited: a backdoor big
                     enough to admit a Visigoth horde in full kit without waking the

                     Get this: BillCo's e-mail agent -- let's call it LookOut! -- was
                     deliberately designed to let strangers send you e-mail that
                     can issue commands to your computer without consulting
                     you. No, really! If you use BillCo's operating system -- let's
                     call it OpenWindow -- and run LookOut!, your computer's
                     no longer merely user-friendly: It's now a user-slut; one too
                     dumb to carry condoms, or even take names.

                     Perhaps the thinking -- if any -- was that somehow only
                     corporations as big and respectable as BillCo would ever
                     take advantage of this wide-open back window. But last
                     week the worldwide Pea-brained Vandal community, after
                     months of inexplicable restraint, finally decided the time to
                     party had come, and things quickly got ugly. Dismayed
                     LookOut! users soon found their promiscuous program had
                     given them not just viruses, but worms, which is as horrid as it

                     Turns out quite a few people use LookOut! and some version
                     of OpenWindow. Collectively they lost a fair amount of time
                     and data -- and money -- and it's safe to say many are
                     unhappy. It's only a matter of time before they all wise up,
                     and figure out out how the vandals got in. When they do,
                     they'll have things to say, and some may decide to say it with

                     If I were a BillCo lawyer, already sweating a momentous
                     verdict, I'd have spent the last week restocking the bunker
                     with supplies against yet another long siege. And if I were
                     (shudder!) a BillCo PR flack, I'd have spent the week
                     racking my brains for some way to make BillCo come across
                     warm and likeable and beleaguered by bureaucrats. Hearken
                     to what they did instead.

                     There's another operating system I can call by its right name
                     here, because nobody owns it. Linux is open-source:
                     Anybody can get under the hood and suggest or demonstrate
                     improvements; good ones get adopted by the community.
                     This makes for superb, cutting-edge software -- free! A few
                     years ago, for instance, volunteers developed Kerberos: an
                     open-standard security system that authenticates the identity
                     of users who log into Unix networks. Theodore Ts'o and
                     others worked on it together until it was Way Cool, inviting
                     others to use and/or improve it. Then BillCo showed up at the
                     barn-raising, eager to help.

                     Next thing you know, OpenWindow 2K has a version of
                     Kerberos built in. Only theirs is copyright. Proprietary rather
                     than free. And funny thing: It doesn't interact effectively with
                     Unix or Linux computers . . .

                     A few programmers have been discussing this lately at a
                     website called Slashdot . It bills
                     itself as "news for nerds," and that's exactly what it is: a big
                     public bulletin board on which nerds rap with each other. No
                     matter how heated the discussion might have become, there
                     was no possibility of any tangible consequence in the real
                     world. Until BillCo decided to try and censor it.

                     I'm not joking: BillCo last week asked Slashdot to delete the
                     Kerberos discussion-thread. No specific "or-else" was
                     named . . . but it was lawyers who did the asking (it's alleged
                     that some miscreant revealed secrets of BillCo's proprietary

                     Say again: The sergeants of BillCo -- which is seriously
                     threatened with the corporate equivalent of lobotomy and
                     castration, and which just this month damaged millions of its
                     customers through apparent gross internet-security
                     incompetence -- decided in their corporate wisdom that this
                     is the moment to make sure not only Linux weenies, but
                     everyone who is literate, thinks of them as creeps and bullies.

                    B.C. science-fiction writer Spider Robinson has been a
                     Mac user since 1984. Bantam will publish his new novel
                     Callahan's Key in July.


Quote(s) of the month:

"We've reduced gun crime to, I think, a 31 year low.  But it's not enough."
-Joe Lockhart, White House spokesman

Ed: Yes Mr.Lockhart. We know.

"The party of death! That's what the Republican's stand for, tobacco, guns ..."
--Paul Begala, former Clinton aide on MSNBC's Equal Time

Ed: I can't seem to recall any Rep. President sending machine gun toting shock troops into unarmed people's homes to get a kid.

Fix of the month:

"Should China get permanent MFN status?"



1.  East of Merced CA, the University of California is planning to build a new campus.  It will require bulldozing  at least 7000 vernal pools-home to many endangered species, such as the fairy shrimp and Tiger frogs.  You with thinking that the Sierra Club, the nature Conservancy, and other environmental groups would be up in arms.  You would be wrong.

You see, the University is promising environmental groups that the new campus will be dedicated to... environmental study programs.  Which means lots of jobs-and government grants-for environmentalists.  So now it's just fine to destroy 10,000 acres of some of the last remaining open grasslands and vernal pools in the Central Valley of California.  Where is Al Gore, the author of "Earth in the Balance" when we need him?  Federal biologists told the San Jose Mercury News that Al Gore has exerted  intense political pressure to clear land for campus construction as quickly and quietly as possible.

New York;

 1. NY City, May 25: TV personality Rosie O"Donell created a stir by requesting that her bodyguard get a gun. This in and of itself would be somehwat hypocritical, but the request caused an even bigger stir when it was announced that the body guard would be packing heat when he dropped off Rosie's adopted son at his grade school. The school, which of course has a no tolerence policy for guns, announced that the guard would have to be off school property, or disarm himself before dropping off the boy. Rosie and the body guard complained that this would make her son a sitting duck for "wackos that like to stalk celebrities."

2.May 25, NY City: The Natl. Rifle Assoc. has applied for a city permit to open a restaurant in Times Square. The ever open minded editorial board of the NY Times suggested that any land owners on the Square should price their rents beyond the reach of the NRA, which would be both discriminatory and illegal.

3.  May 8, New York city: Janet Reno was awarded the Ellis Island award for her "Unceasing efforts to ease the plight of immigrants in this country."


1.  8 May, Minneapolis: a member of the Cuban baseball team, playing an exhibition game against the Twins, defected while in town.


1. May 24, Little Rock: The State Bar Association has recommended that Bill CLinton's license to practice law be revoked - owing to his comitting perjury during testimony in the Paula Jones case. Clinton defenders have said that their client was not acting as a lawyer, but rather as a defendant, and thus the perjury should not count against his legal career.


1.  8 May, Miami: a group of 12 Cubans were picked up in a 10 ft. Aluminum boat several miles offshore.  They are seeking asylum.

Washington D.C.

1. May 14, Mother's Day: On this Mother's Day, led by TV personality Rosie O'Donnell, a "million mom march" descended upon the mall in Washington.  While the Clintons declined to appear in person (claiming that they could not be assured of adequate security), Rosie informed the throng that they were present in spirit.  As indeed were the financial spirits of handgun control Inc. and other organizations to the tune of about two million dollars in backing.

Meanwhile, across town a counter demonstration was held by maternal gun advocates.  While they numbered only in the 20,000 range, they also did not receive any donations from the endless pockets of the NRA.  One woman, who watched her parents get gunned down in a Dallas TX restaurant, described how she felt that she was partly responsible for their deaths because she chose on that date to leave for handgun in the glovebox of her car.  Asked by a reporter if she didn't believe that the presence of guns caused crime, she replied "if the presence of a lot of guns causes crime,  shouldn't there be mass shootings at gun shows?  Or trap shoots?  Or sporting clay sites?"  The reporter asked no more questions.

2. May 24: While techincally we still have a treaty in place to defend them if China attacks, the Clinton administration has leaked that they now consider Taiwan a hostile power. Those in the know consider this the opening excuse to disolve the treaty, and let China have Taiwan without lifting a finger.

3.  May third: the general accounting office has audited the IRS, and found that the IRS cannot balance its own books.  Among the many violations were: 1 million dollars in employee theft, 51 million dollars of bookkeeping errors that accountants failed to spot, and over one billion dollars in fraudulent claims due to the earned income tax credit.

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