Rochester Rag November 1995
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ROCHESTER RAG November 1995

(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;

the answer to last month's Fix,

"Design a hurricane resistant house and community."

As it turns out this is not a trick question. Hurricanes Opal and Roxanne passed by during my brief Florida residency, and ground zero for Opal was in a little town just east of Pensicola. Some subdivisions were washed away while others were left standing. The difference was in their foundations. Those homes built on concrete slabs had the sand eroded out from under them, and cantilevered concrete does not hold up too well. The homes which stood were built on pilings driven 20 feet into the ground. They could withstand a LOT of erosion and still not have their "legs" cut out from under them.

On this issue

This issue is abbreviated since I will be in Chicago for RSNA the week after Thanksgiving and do not want to have an issue cross into the next month. However, this means that Dec's issue may be really big.

On the "Crisis"

It is 14 November and the feds just had their first day off courtesy of the evil and tyrannical right wing. All the nightly news broadcasts just showed the whining of America: a women who couldn't get her passport, another who was unable to sign up as a first time Soc. Sec. recipient and a family that was turned back at the entrance to Rocky Mountain Natl. Park. Will America survive the govt. shutdown foisted upon it by the Evil Gingrich?


Some history. The President prepares a budget and sends it to the House for their advise and consent. When Reagen submitted his first budget in 1981 (which was balanced, by the way), then Speaker of the House, Jim "KeatingFive" Wright (Dem TX) held it up and said, "This budget is DOA." The Dems then shoved back a counter budget which was loaded with increased welfare (read "deficit") spending and Reagen vetoed it. This led to a govt. shutdown.Dems said it was all Reagen's fault that people were out of work and lacked Polls of the day showed that the country concurred. Reagen faced a tough choice: hold firm and be blamed for unemployment or cave and continue Washington's deficit spending. He chose the latter and is blamed today for the deficits of the 80's. In 1990 it was Bush's turn. Another govt. shutdown occured and Dick Darmond, Bush's budget director, made a deal with the House. Bush signed the House version with increased spending and taxes with the understanding that the House would reduce spending in the following year to reduce the deficit. Care to guess what spending reductionsoccured? Naturally, Bush is credited for continuing the "Reagen Deficits."

Of course, none of this behavior should be surprising coming from a body that passed the Gramm-Rudman Balanced Budget Act in 1985.The bill only allowed deficit spending in the event of a national emergency. I guess the country has been in a continual emergency for several years.

From this, a reasonable observer might conclude that the guy in the WhiteHouse should always get the blame for causing deficits and govt. shutdowns. But that reasonable person would be ignorant of the media bias.The person responsible for deficit spending and govt. shutdowns today is the Speaker of the House - Newt Gingrich and his band of Reps.

Some facts. The current budget "crisis" is unique in US history. It is the first time that the House has responded to a Presidential budget with one that spends less money. Clinton and his Chief of Staff Leon "Panacea" Panetta are claiming that Rep. "cuts" in Medicaid and Medicare will throw the grandparents out on the street and have them eating dogfood. THERE ARE NO CUTS!!! Clinton's budget calls for Medicaid- Medicare increases on the order of 8%/year while the Rep. plan is about 6%/year. The actual cost increase projected by insurance companies is about 3%/year. Clinton's plan increases Medicare premiums from an average of about $40/month now to $82/month in the year 2000. Rep. planned premiums go to $90/monthin the year 2000. So for $8/month, the Rep. are evil and Clinton is the second coming. Gee, perhaps we should see what track record Clinton has on being nice to the AARP lobby:

-From detnew93.may

Sunday Morning w/Brinkley, May 17: 
  Paul Rubin, the Clinton budget director, said today that the tax 
changes which the admin. is proposing will be retroactive to the 
beginning of this year. When asked by George Will how Joe taxpayer 
was supposed to come up with the money by April 15 since the 
withholding on current W2's would be inadequate, Rubin said the 
taxpayers will have a choice. Either they can pay the extra debt with 
a short term loan or opt to have the withholding trebled or quadrupled 
for the last few paychecks of the year.    

-From detnew93.sep
  Clinton's BTU tax, which he called the principle part of his plan, 
was scrapped in favor of a 4.3 % increase in the gasoline tax. The gas 
tax could go no higher because Sen. Herb Kohl of Wisconsin promised to 
vote NO if it did  and there were no votes to spare.

-From detnew93.dec  
  Increasing taxable Soc. Sec. income from 50 to 85% of benefits.
Yes sir, Bill's a friend of the Senior Set - you bet. However, don't fret about grandma and grandpa. We're picking up the tab for them.

>From the San Jose Mercury News, Monday June 5th, 1995
>From an opinion column titled "Elderly are big winners in tax
>benefits", by Timothy Taylor, an economics consultant to the Mercury
>News editorial board.

Generational Accounts

The table shows lifetime "net taxes" for people of different ages in
1993.Positive numbers indicate that more taxes will be paid than 
benefits received; negatives indicate that more benefits will be 
received than taxes paid.

Age in 1993          Men           Women
0                 $87000          $53000
10               $130000          $77000
20               $189000         $109000
30               $195000         $109000    [ Of course, at the top ]
40               $158000          $76000
50                $68000               0
60               -$57000        -$101000
70              -$108000        -$140000
80               -$86000        -$111000
90               -$68000         -$65000

And I want to leave you with just a couple more facts:
  A rare thing came out of a Senate committee today - truth.
  The _Bipartisan Committee on Entitlement and Tax Reform_, headed by 
  senators Bob Kerry (D, Nebraska) and John Danforth (R, Missouri), 
  announced the following;
    - the govt. has promised too much and it can't pay for it   
    - entitlements are nevertheless guaranteed to be paid     
    - in 1973, 38% of the Federal budget was entitlements, now 48%   
    - in 2012, entitlements will consume the entire projected budget 
And finally, children born in 1990 can expect to pay an average tax rate of 84% over their life time at current spending rates. Consider this when the nightly media tells you how mean the Reps. are.

On the Federal Employees

Many news shows are demonstrating the hardship being endured by suspended Federal workers. CNN's Wolf Blitzer even intimated that some may have to eat cold sandwiches for Thanksgiving. Welcome to reality. Where in the Constitution does it promise unlimited job security to Fed employees? Only their insulation from the realities of the private sector could lead these people to expect they'd get any sympathy. Besides,in all previous govt. halts, those suspended got paid retroactively. There is no reason to believe this time will be any different.

Guest Editorial:

none this month


1. From Renee Sanger-Redman.
From Mon Nov 20 09:10:36 1995

Hi Steve -
Did you get the map I sent? If not, call for directions 312/503-1690 at work
or 708/780-0356 at home.

And the answer to your question "Design a hurrican resistant home and
community": is simple. Simply, put it in Nebraska.

See you at the end of the week.


P.S. Since you're not bringing Sheryl, I expect a picture.

2. Texas Tom writes;

From Mon Nov 20 13:03:09 1995
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 1995 13:04:32 -0500
Subject: Re: lastcall

> "Design a hurrican resistant home and community"
Step 1.  Go to moon.

I think you can fill in the rest.


3. Keeweenaw Chuck writes;

From Mon Nov 20 18:11:39 1995

Hiya Steve,

   Since you said that things crashed for the last issue, here's a
fresh copy of my submission for last month (now you can gross everyone
else out...Yuck!!)

>    interest of maintaining a lighter tone, I'd also appreciate  any
>    humourous anecdotes from your respective locales.  Try to keep

   I don't know about "local humor", but I got the article enclosed
below from (a very sick ;) someone via email...

>  "Do you read this with a WWW browser?

   Sometimes.  Since you've switched to full HTML, one pretty much has
to...  Though html2latex can usually make it readable.  ;-)

   BTW, I found a DOS version of "lynx", but unfortunately it's HUGE
(a fully functional package, I believe) and appears to gobble up
almost all of the conventional memory (and so it's always swapping
crap to disk, "grind, grind").  It would be neat if someone could crop
out the networking and make a PC html _reader_ out of it.  (any
volunteers out there?)

>   If yes, do you have an online connection?


>   Would you pay  by the hour for connect time to read
>  this from a central server?"

   I'm more likely to download the file and read it locally.


   And now for some filler...  (Ugh!!!)

- ---Begin Text---

Rectal Impaction Following Enema with Concrete Mix
        -- by Peter J. Stephens, M.D., and Mark L. Taff, M.D. from
           the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology
           8(2):179-182, 1987.

       This article describes an unusual rectal foreign body resulting
from homosexual anal erotic activities. The patient had used an enema
containing a concrete mix which became impacted and required surgical
removal. The use, abuse, and complications of enemas are reviewed.

Key Words: Anal eroticism--Colorectal injuries--Enemas, cement--Foreign

       During the last 20 years, sexual habits have changed in western
society. Both homosexuals and heterosexuals have shown an increasing
interest in anal erotic practices, including the use of enemas for sexual
enjoyment. We report a case of a klismaphiliac who had an impacted foreign
body in his rectum followin an enema with a concrete mix.

                                     CASE REPORT
       A 20-year-old man presented to the emergency room complaining of
rectal pain. A well-nourished, well-developed man without signs of
intoxication was admitted in no apparent distress.

Digital examination of the rectum revealed a stony hard mass. Abdominal
plain films showed a vertically oriented, low-lying radiopaque object
in the rectum. A spherical radiolucency was noted in the upper pole of
the mass. A blood alcohol level was negative. No other drug testing was

       Upon further questioning, the patient said that approximately 4
hrs earlier he and his boyfriend had been "fooling around." After stirring
a batch of concrete mix, the patient laid on his back with his feet
against the wall at a 45-degree angle while his boyfriend poured the
mixture through a funnel into his rectum. After the concrete mass
hardened, it became so painful that he sought medical care.

       Under general anesthesia, the anus was dilated and two Foley
catheters were inserted alongside the rectal mass to relieve suction. A
concrete case of the rectum was delivered without incident.  The rectal
mucosa was intact with a hyperemic and edematous appearance.

       The patient was kept overnight and discharged uneventfully the
following morning. The attending physician recommended a psychiatric
consultation, but the patient declined.

                             PATHOLOGIC EXAMINATION

       Examination of the specimen revealed a perfect concrete cast of
the rectum, measuring 12 X 7 X 5 cm and weighing 275 g (Fig. 2).  A thin
layer of feces coated the surface and crevices. Grooves in the mass were
consistent with rectal mucosal folds. A layer of concrete was chipped off
the upper part of the specimen and revealed a white plastic ping-pong
ball. This corresponded to the radiolucency observed in the abdominal

- ---End Text---

Quotes(s) of the month:

"In politics they say patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundral. In software, performance is always used as the justification for writing poorly documented, non-portable code."


Fix of the month:

This time a challange: Design a federal tax system that would be more fair than a national flat sales tax.




1. Monticello, Nov. 2: Peggy Bargan, well known producer of arts and crafts related to Native American cultures, was fined $1200 by the US Fish and Wildlife Dept. Ms. Bargan, who presented Hillary Clinton with a Dream Catcher, became the target of an investigation when it became known that Hillary's Dream Catcher contained a real Bald Eagle's feather (according to legend, the Dream Catcher only works if the feather is from an eagle). The US F&W tapped Ms. Bargan's phone, watched her home and business, and monitored her banking habits prior to arresting her on trafficing in endangered species parts. Bargan was able to prove that the few real eagle feathers that she used were obtained from a local zoo after zookeepers cleaned the eagle pens. The bulk of her merchandise is decorated with chicken figures. Becuase of these facts, F&W let Bargan go with only the fine. Said Barger, "Human rights mean nothing when you go up against the US F&W Dept."

Ed: Would that the CIA was as complete in its investigation of Aldrich Ames.


1. Korea Town, Nov. 17: Not waiting to get govt. handouts, the people of this LA burrough are creating their own police force. Vigilantism? Perhaps. But residents remember the riots after the Rodney King trial and are not willing to trust their security to the city. Those perps who are apprehended are turned over to the municipal courts.

New York;

1. Nov. 1: The Wall Street J. confirmed that a jury found Dow Chemical culpable to the tune of $14 million for over 20,000 cases of women with defective breast implants. What makes this decision really interesting is that Dow Corning is the company that made and sold the implants. The only thing that Dow Chemical has in common with Dow Corning (aside from the same first name) is that Dow Chemical was a large stockholder in Dow Corning. But after Dow Corning declared bankruptcy from its ongoing legislative battles, the class action lawyers turned their sights on Dow Chemical. What makes matters even more interesting, if anyone cares, is that free silicone in the breast has never been shown to cause illness.

2. Wall Street, Nov. 16: Clearly, investors are not worried about the govt. shutdown. The DOW crept up to 4985 today, near the virginal 5000 mark.

3. Nov. 20: The govt. went back to work today. The DOW responded by dropping 16 points.


1. Nov. 15: Dem. Govnr. Lawton Chiles has admitted that his campaign against Jeb Bush (G. Bush's son) did go over the edge in the final days. Chiles campaigners resorted in the final week to personal phone calls to voters, explaining how Bush cut backs would starve them, reduce school funding, etc. Chiles said he was unaware of the tactic, but has initiated a bill in the state legislature that would, "... ban direct phone calls for the purposes of propagating half truths."

Ed: Hey, Chiles can afford to be magnanimous. He won.

Wash. D.C.;

1. Nov. 13: Speaking at a weekend meeting of GoPac (a think tank created by Newt Gingrich), Rush Limbaugh joking apologised to his mother that because of his support, Soc. Sec. reform would go through and she would beforced to eat dog food. Said Limbaugh, " ... but don't worry mom, the newcan opener is on the way." Rep. Pat Schroeder (D, CO) delivered a speech on the House floor in response to the quip and said, "So this is finally an honest admission of what this is all about." When someone pointed out to Schroeder that it was a joke, she flustered for a few moments and then claimed, "Well of course it was. I knew that."

2. Nov. 15: Saying that the managment "just doesn't get it", the EEOC (Equal Employment Oppurtunity Commision) has ordered that Hooters Restaurant INC. must hire men, make all servers take gender sensitivity training, and pass all business decisions before an EEOC commision for the next five years.

3. Nov. 15: The Wash. Post reports that the Walt Disney company custom made "Beauty and the Beast" costumes for the Gore's Halloween party for the Wash. press corps. The costumes were flown out from California complete with tailors, at the Gores request, one day before the party. The Post goes on to point out that the Gores never paid Disney, and that this violates a law against solicitation for gifts by a govt. official from a business that is lobbying the govt. Disney is seeking permission from the FCC to buy some more TV networks, and the FCC is headed by a former Algore aid. Algore has responded that Disney just hasn't gotten around to sending the bill yet, but when he gets it, he'll pay the funds out of the DNC (Democrativ Natl. Convention) coffers.

Net News;

1. From the Nov. 1995 APS News.

The Physicist's Bill of Rights

We hold these postulates to be intuitively obvious, that all physicists are born equal to a first approximation, and are endowed by their creator with certiain discrete privilages, among them are a mean rest life, n degrees of freedom, and the following rights which are invariant under all linear transformations:

  1. To approximate all problems to ideal cases.
  2. To use order of magnitude calculations when required (ie. when we can get away with it.)
  3. To use the rigorous method of squinting for solving problems more complex than the addition of real positive integers.
  4. To dismiss all functions that diverge as unphysical.
  5. To invoke the uncertainty principle whenever confronted by mathmaticians,chemists, engineers, psychologists, dramatists and andere schweinhund.
  6. To use bastard notation when conventional math notation does not work.
  7. To justify shaky reasoning on the basis that it gives the right answer.
  8. To cleverly choose convenient initial conditions, using the principle of general triviality.
  9. To use plausibility arguments in place of proofs, and to henceforth refer to them as proofs.
  10. To take on faith any principle that seems good but cannot be proved.

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