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SeaViews: Insights from the Gray Havens 
October 1998

(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,
"The Washington Makah Indians want to kill gray whales as part of a tribal ritual. Green Peace and others are trying to stop them. What to do? "

 To be sure the Green Peace leadership are in a bit of a pickle this time. While it is their usual contention that only pale male Europeans are the focus of evil, they now find themselves fighting their very own earth brothers. Formerly, of course, Native Americans have been held to be the pinnacle of the noble savage, deeply in love with all living things, killing only the creatures they love and only for self-preservation. How un-PC then, that the noble savage should want to kill five gray whales (the state has determined that bag limit), and sell the meat and organs to Japanese sushi shops and aphrodisiac makers. And make no mistake, that is what the tribal leaders say they will do with the meat that they cannot themselves eat in a timely way.

The Makah elders themselves are saying whaling is part of their ritual culture and way of life. Without it, they say, the tribal youth are adrift and prone to alcohol and other drug abuse. They hope that learning the ways of their elders will reanchor the moral stability of the young, and cement their sense of responsibility to the earth and her bounty.

Surely, the tribe's ancestors who have already preceded the Makah to the happy hunting grounds will be proud to see their offspring go whaling in the traditional log-hewn 12 man hunting canoe. It remains to be seen though how those ancestors will feel about dispatching the animals with  .50 caliber armor piercing dum-dum bullets in addition to the traditional harpoon, or the motor driven processing boats which will inflate the whale carcass with compressed air to  keep them from sinking.

So while the GreenPeace leadership officially neither condones, nor opposes the hunt, they understand that some of the members are going to go out in their own inflatable boats and try to use hyrophones to make scary sounds to chase the gray whales away.

Meanwhile, what is the correct thing to do? Well, I for one agree that the Native Americans have been given a raw deal, and the solution, as near as I can figure out is to give the reservations true sovereignty over their lands and citizens. See, I have this crazy notion that the reservations should be considered nation-states within the US, with the Indians in that nation responsible to and for themselves. That means that should they choose to go hunting, fishing or build a casino, that is their right. But, they are also responsible for their own citizens and not entitled to receive any more US aid that any other nation (like Mexico, for example).  For those indians who think this is a raw deal, fine. Let them renounce citizenship in the reser-nation and become automatic citizens of the US, with all the rights and responsibilities that the rest of us have.


In 1973 Hillary Rodham was a newly minted lawyer on the staff of the Special Counsel Investigating Richard Nixon. Bill Clinton was just running for Govnr. of Arkansas. During that election, Clinton was taped during a TV debate. Asked about the Nixon scandal he said, "I think any President who lies to the American people should resign."

Well sir, we're waiting.

On getting a passport;

Thus far I have avoided going through the FBI background search known as applying for a passport. But for personal and professional reasons I now find it almost a requirement to get one. Only problem is, the State of Wisconsin cannot admit a mistake. You see, you need to give the Feds a sealed, official copy of your Birth Certificate to validate your citizenship. I have an old one that correctly spells the maiden name of my mother, but it didn't have the State of Wisconsin seal. So last month we sent $14 to the State records office and they gave me a new official copy with my mom's maiden name misspelt.

We called the records office and told them as much. "I'm sorry sir, but the records are accurate, they are entered into the State's computers that way." Well gosh I'm sorry but anyone who lives in and around Mauston Wisconsin knows that my maternal name is spelt "Neustadter" and not "Newstader". A quick glance of the area phone book will verify this.

Oh, but the state is never wrong. So I went to the Feds, coughed up my $60 bucks and the guy behind the window raised his eyebrow at the difference between the spelling on the Birth Certificate and on the forms that I filled out. So I raised my right hand and said the information which I filled out is accurate and true. I said nothing about the accuracy of what the state filled out. But now doubtless in 4 weeks I'll find a letter telling me the passport was denied, and I'll get to spend another $60 (plus probably another $14) because the records office never makes mistakes.

On the week's weather;

Sunday: 53 degrees and rainy
Monday: 53 degrees and rainy
Tuesday: 53 degrees and rainy
Wednesday: 53 degrees and rainy
Thursday: 54 degrees and rainy
Friday: 53 degrees and rainy
Saturday: 53 degrees and rainy

Tough town to be a weatherman in.

On the Next Issue;

There is a very good chance that the next issue will be a combined November/December one since business will put me on the road from Thanksgiving though Dec. 19. Just fair warning. Either that or the November issue will be early, which is probably a better idea.

Guest Editorial:

Why Character Matters in the Media too
by Steve Langer

Last month I wrote to the effect that character and integrity are a useful trait in elected officials. This month I've seen polls showing that while Americans trust the Republican party more, they agree with Democrats more on the issues. Can any of you tell me what the next polling question should be at this point? Hmmmmm? Ah hell, I can't wait anymore.

If you can't trust them, then who the hell cares what they say?

Of course, such a blatant question never gets asked for the same reason that no one covering global warming  asks, "Why don't you guys set up your computer models to the weather conditions of 1940 and try to predict the weather of today?" [Actually in the scientific journals this has been written about, but the main stream press won't cover it. Why? Cuz there is no consistent answer - which of course doesn't sit well with a media that only prints what it "knows" to be true.]

So just to buttress our faith in the mass media I have a list of some things that occurred in just the last couple of years. And by the way, this comes from the August 1998 LImbaugh Letter, so its obviously all a lie.

  2. In May the New Republic fired associate editor Charles Lane for writing a hoax article about a teen age computer hacker. Twenty seven other articles by Lane have now been proven to contain have had faked quotes and sources while 41 more articles are suspect.
  3. In mid June, the Boston Globe fired Patricia Smith falsified sources and quotes in 4 stories and possibly 48 more.
  4. Steven Brill of Brill's Content apologized to the Wall Street Journal for his hit piece on Ken Starr based largely on a interview with WSJ's Glenn Simpson. Simpson notified Brill that he taped the phone interview, and could prove he was mis-quoted. Attorneys for Newsweek, Time, ABC, NBC and The Washington Post also issued corrections in their papers as they based their follow-up Starr stories on Brill's.
  5. Also in June, the Cincinnati Enquirer paid $10 Million to Chiquita for a piece by Mike Gallagher and ran a full page apology for three days straight.
  6. In July, Peter Arnett of CNN retracted the story where he indicted the US military for using sarin gas and hit squads to hunt down Viet Nam war deserters.
  7. In June, NBC was ordered to pay a trucking company $0.5 million for libel.

As for the neutrality of  the "respectable" news magazines, how about Time's reporter Nina Burleigh in a July/August interview in Mirabella? Here she describes playing cards with Clinton on Air Force One.

"The president's foot lightly, and presumably accidentally, brushed mine once under the table. His hand touched my wrist while dealing the cards. When I got up and shook hands at the end of the game, his eyes wondered over to my naked legs. And slowly it dawned on me that he found me attractive. I felt incandescent. It was riveting to know that the president appreciated my legs. If he asked me to continue the game of hearts back in his room, I would have been happy to go there and see what happened. At the time, that seemed quite possible.

It tool several hours and a few drinks in the somehow romantic Arkansas night to shake the intoxicating state in which I had been quite willing to let myself be ravished by the president, would he have but asked."

Later in the same interview, she admitted, "I would be happy to give him oral sex just to thank him for keeping abortion legal."

Now I know you probably think, "Omigod, somehow Steve has put the latest Daniele Steele novel in this editorial." You can be forgiven for thinking this, but sadly this is the quality of the people who cover the White House for Time. So the next time someone tells me that this or that must be true because it came from a "reliable" source, forgive me if I seem - underwhelmed.



1. Chuck S writes;

Date: Sat, 24 Oct 1998 13:16:47 -0400
From: Charles Scripter <>

>  "The Washington Macah Indians want to kill Humpback whales as part of a
>  tribal ritual. Green Peace and others are trying to stop them. What to
>  do?"

   Hmmm...  Hows-about we let the Indians hunt Green Peace, instead?  ;)


2. and Doug pens

Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 09:12:32 -0600 (EST)
From: Doug Wilken <>
Subject: Re: lastcall

Dear Steve,

> "The Washington Macah Indians want to kill Humpback whales as part of a
> tribal ritual. Green Peace and others are trying to stop them. What to
> do?"

It is hearing about supreme amusing ironies like this that bring a
serene smile to my face as I slug down my coffee.

The answer is to do absolutely nothing but record (for posterity) the
high-seas rifle/harpoon duel which has a high probability of occurring.

Sit back and enjoy the spectacle!  :)

-Doug Wilken

Quotes(s) of the month:

"With each parting of the waves by a ferry in Rich Passage comes a parting of the ways between three distinct parties."

-- The type of prose which distinguishes the Bainbridge Island Review as a distinguished newspaper of distinction.

"I am pleased to sign into law S.24, the Independent Counsel Act, a foundation stone for the trust between the government and our citizens. It ensures that no matter what party controls the Congress or the Executive branch, an independent, non-partisan process will be in place to guarantee the integrity of public officials and ensure that no one is above the law. In fact, the independent counsel  statute has been in the past and is a force for Government integrity and public confidence. This is a good bill that I sign into law today; good for the American people and good for their confidence in our democracy."

-- President William Jefferson Blythe Clinton, June 30, 1994. Two months before Ken Starr's appointment.

"Defending Bill Clinton as a great president is like trying to defend Microsoft Windows as a great operating system. You have to extoll bugs as features, and excuse deceitful marketing as necessary because of user ignorance. "

-Steve Langer

Fix of the month:

"There are now home drug test kits available. Should we respect our children's privacy, or blow that off as protective parents?"




 1. Seattle, Oct. 20; Mary Kay Letourneau has recently been returned to prison after giving birth to her second love child by her 15 year old student Vili Fualaau. Fualaau, who has recently returned to Seattle and school after taking off four weeks in France to promote their book "Their One Sin - Love", has strangely been ducking the press in his home town. While a Washington state law prevents felons from profiting from their crime, the money from the book will go to the children's escrow accounts. No doubt mom and dad hope the kids will give them a chunk on their 18'th birthday.

2. Seattle, October 28; Vila Fualaau has been suspended from school after being back for only 2 weeks. This time for smoking pot in campus.
[Ed: OK, so maybe love wasn't the only sin.]

3. Seattle, Oct 29: Four GreenPeace demonstrators were arrested for trying to remove "old growth" boards from a Home Depot hardware store without paying for them. The demonstrators claimed the boards were from old growth timber, but in fact the wood was from a fast growing pine species that's harvested every 40 years.

New Jersey;

1. Freehold, 22 Oct. : Saying, "I'm really truly sorry for what I've done - OK?", Melissa Drexler was sentenced for 15 years, but could get out in three, for killing her baby just after it was born. Attending her Senior prom, Drexler gave birth in the bathroom, strangled the infant, and returned to the dance floor.
[Ed: And who can blame her for being confused. If only she would have had the presence of mind to strangle it during birth, she could have claimed it was just a partial birth abortion.]


1. Cambridge: As climate experts firm up their view that human activity is seriously altering the atmosphere, one voice stands out in clarion dissent. It is that of Dr. Richard S. Lindzen of the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a shoemaker's son from the Bronx who has risen through the academic hierarchy as a leading expert on the physical processes of the atmosphere.  Is there truly cause to worry that emissions of waste industrial gases
that trap heat like carbon dioxide could disrupt the world's climate?

Dr. Lindzen does not equivocate. "We don't have any evidence that this is a serious problem," he says flatly, with precise diction, in a friendly voice that resonates strongly in his 17th-floor office overlooking Boston across the Charles River.

Admirers see him as a force for intellectual honesty in a highly politicized debate. Critics fault him for professing unwarranted sureness in a field of research rife with uncertainty. Many say he is simply wrong. But everyone takes him with the utmost seriousness because of a reputation
for brilliance that got him elected to the National Academy of Sciences at age 37.

In recent years, while pursuing his main interest of atmospheric dynamics in trying to help "figure out how climate works," he has leveled a variety of criticisms at the idea of serious climatic change, some with telling effect. The idea that has attracted most attention is based on a fundamental point of physics: that carbon dioxide and the other waste gases generate only a
small amount of warming. Something has to amplify that warming for the larger amount of warming predicted by the United Nations panel to materialize.

The main candidate, whose presumed amplifying effect is built into the computer models, is water vapor -- also a heat-trapping gas, and the most powerful one since there is so much of it and it is so pervasive. The theory is that a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, thereby
increasing the warming even more. Without this amplification, Dr. Lindzen argues, the average global temperature will rise by only about a degree Fahrenheit if atmospheric carbon dioxide is doubled. While it is well known that warmer air generally holds more vapor, he says, "we don't know what determines upper level water vapor," a factor he says is crucial, and central to the
predictions of future climate change.


1. Salt Lake City. 28 Sept.; More telling than any reports in the science journals, the University of Utah quietly allowed the patent application on cold fusion to expire, and didn't bother renewing the defense of the claim. Readers may recall that in 1989, two electro-chemists at the school (Pons and Fleischman) shocked the world when they announced that they had discovered a means to produce room-temperature cold fusion. Over the next five years, several other labs failed to duplicate the claim and Pons and Fleischman have left the country.

New York;

1. NY City; NBC News continues to have trouble with limiting its broadcasts to the truth. Some of you may recall that in the early '90s, NBC's Dateline show did a series on the hazards of driving GM Pickup trucks, in particular that they had a high likelihood of explosion in side impact collisions. [In the slow motion footage where Dateline "recreated" this event, it was later discovered that they had placed a fire bomb in the truck's gas tank to make sure it would explode. NBC neglected to mention that however.]

Well, Dateline has hit paydirt again, to the tune of $525,000 dollars that they owe trucker Peter Kennedy and his employer Classic Carriers. When contacted by NBC, Kennedy said that NBC reporters said they were doing a story on the danger of tired truck drivers and wanted to use him and Classic Carriers as a positive example. But when the piece aired, the text of the interview was edited out of context to show Kennedy and Classic in the worst possible light. Fortunately, the interview was conducted via phone and taped. The Maine jury was allowed to hear that tape, and found NBC liable with barely an afternoon's deliberation.

Washington D.C.;

1. Oct. 31; President Clinton on Wednesday signed landmark legislation to protect copyrights in the digital age, a key component of his agenda for fostering electronic commerce but one that also changes one of the traditional premises of copyright law. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it illegal to crack through the digital wrappers, or encryption technologies, that protect intellectual property on the Internet. It also outlaws the manufacture and sale of
devices used to crack those wrappers. The provisions take effect two years from now. Violators could be charged up to $2,500 per act of circumvention.

"For the first time, we are laying down some traffic rules of the road in cyberspace," Jack Valenti, head of the Motion Picture Association of America, said in a recent interview. "We're not saying this is the total that we would like, but it certainly is a fresh and very cheery beginning for putting it in place," said Valenti, who has been a leading lobbyist in the nearly four-year fight for passage of the legislation.

At issue is the fair-use doctrine of copyright law. Historically, it has never been a crime to access or make a copy of a protected work. What has been a crime is the misuse of that information, or the illegal copying and redistribution of that work.  The Digital Millennium Copyright Act changes that, however, by making it illegal merely to access copyrighted material.

Some worry that as technology develops, the law will enable copyright holders to impose per-use fees on works that are now widely available free in libraries. For example, some libraries are concerned that the technology will ultimately make it impossible for libraries to place the
digital equivalent of a book or a videotape on their shelves. Others worry that it will mean that friends can no longer pass around copies of their favorite works.

2. Pentagon; File under, "The Times they are a changin." The Uniform Code of Military Justice will still define adultery as a crime, but commanding officers will now be told to exercise their judgment and pursue prosecution only if the situation is unsettling to unit morale.
[Ed; Too bad that female bomber pilot who was drummed out of the Air Force a couple years ago didn't have the good sense to be adulterous after the Commander In Chief set the example.]

Net News;

1. Brenda Sandberg sends this;

Date: Tue, 06 Oct 1998 11:54:26 -0500
Subject: Somewhere in America next week:

 Dad - Son, come in here, we need to talk.
 Son - What's up, Dad?

 D- There's a scratch down the side of the car. Did you do it?
 S- I don't believe, if I understand the definition of "scratch the
 car",  that I can say, truthfully, that I scratched the car.

 D- Well, it wasn't there yesterday, and you drove the car last  night, And  no
one else has driven it since. How can you explain the
 S- Well, as I've said before, I have no recollection of scratching
 the car. While it is true that I did take the car out last night, I  did not
scratch it.

 D- But your sister, Monica, has told me she saw you back the car
        against  the mailbox at the end of the driveway, heard a loud
 scraping sound, saw you  get out to examine the car, and then drive
 away. So again I'll ask you, yes or no, did you scratch the car?
  S- Oh, you mean you think you have evidence to prove I scratched
 it.  Well, you see, I understood you to mean did "I" scratch the  car. I stand
by  my earlier statement, that I did not scratch the  car.

 D- Are you trying to tell me you didn't drive the car into the
 S- Well, you see sir, I was trying to drive the car into the street.
 I mishandled the steering of the car, and it resulted in direct
 contact with the mailbox, though that was clearly not my intent.

 D- So you are then saying that you did hit the mailbox?
 S- No sir, that's not my statement. I'll refer you back to my
 original statement that I did not scratch the car.

 D- But the car did hit the mailbox, and the car did get scratched as
 a result of this contact?
 S- Well, yes, I suppose you could look at it that way.

 D- So you lied to me when you said you did not scratch the car?
 S- No. No, that's not correct. Your question was "Did I scratch the
 car?". From a strict legal definition, as I understood the meaning
 of that sentence, I did not scratch the car... the mailbox did... I  was
merely present when the scratching occurred. So my answer of   "No" when you asked
"Did I scratch the car" was legally correct,   although I did not volunteer

 D- Where did you learn to talk like a complete idiot?
 S- From The President of the United States.

2. And Sheryl writes;

Date: Thu, 29 Oct 1998 08:37:49 -0800 (PST)
From: Sheryl Langer <>
To: Steve Oakland <>
Subject: 3 men (fwd)

Three guys, an Iowan, a Minnesotan and a Wisconsinite  are out
walking along the beach together one day.  They come across a lantern
and a Genie pops out of it.

"I will give you each one wish, that's three wishes total," says the
Genie. The Iowan says, "I am a farmer, my dad was a farmer, and my son
will also farm.  I want the land to be forever fertile in Iowa."  With
a blink of the Genie's eye, 'FOOM' the land in Iowa was forever made fertile
for farming.

The Wisconsinite  was amazed, so he said, "I want a wall around
Wisconsin, so that no one can come into our precious state, ecspecially
those damn Minnesotans."  Again,with a blink of the Genie's eye, 'POOF'
there was a huge wall around Wisconsin.

The Minnesotan asks, "I'm very curious.  Please tell me more
about this wall around Wisconsin." The Genie explains, "Well, it's about
150 feet high, 50 feet thick and nothing can get in or out."

The Minnesotan says, "Fill it up with water."

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