SeaViews: Insights from the Gray
(formerly the _Rochester Rag_, formerly the _News
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
-- C.A. Beard
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On last month's Fix;
the answer to last month's Fix,
"The Rep. candidate for President is all but ordained over a
year ahead of time. Is this good? Is this fixable?"
Several years ago I raised this question. I think
at the time I presented two possible alternatives: that all
candidates be allotted a certain amount of public money to
spend as they saw fit for campaign advertising time, or that
all spending caps be eliminated but the amounts and sources
publicly disclosed. The problem with the former idea
is that if campaigns are totally financed from public money
(i.e. taxes) then the incumbents will set up the rules by
which the money gets dispersed, and such rules will no doubt
be favorable to incumbents.
The second alternative is repugnant to Democrats, because
they feel it is to the advantage of evil rich
Republicans. However, it does seem more in concert
with the concept of freedom of speech, if one extends that
concept to the freedom to contribute your candidate of
choice. And, if the press would do their job, I think
the American public is smart enough to figure out not to
vote for a candidate if he's being funded by billions of
dollars from gangster Chinese Communists.
Someone once said something to the effect, "in a
democracy/republic you get the government you deserve, not
necessarily the best one." To the extent a biasedly
unskeptical media do not do their job, that quote is
On Republicans: the party of isolationism?
This past Sunday (Oct. 17), the Sunday morning new shows
were dominated by administration officials claiming
that the Republican Party, led by Patrick Buchanan, is now
the party of isolationism. In fact, one of the most
impassioned arguments was given by former Clinton campaign
adviser James Carville. Carville claimed, alternately,
that the Republicans were led by Pat Buchanan, but that
Buchanan should not leave the Republican Party because he's
their leader. [For those of you missed last
month's issue, it is widely anticipated that Pat Buchanan
will join the reform party.]
Now, some of you may be a bit confused by this.
Join the club. In fact, Pat Buchanan is not the policy
leader of the Republican party which is why a he's so
disagrees with them that he is willing to split and join the
reform party. Furthermore, some of you may recall that
it was the Republicans who provided the votes in the Senate
to ratify NAFTA (the free-trade agreement that Clinton
promised to get passed in his first term) while Clinton's
own party voted unanimously to oppose it.
In 1992, Clinton ran on the platform that George Bush
didn't care about his countrymen, but only about foreign
policy. Remember, "It's the economy stupid!" Remember,
"It's the worst economy in 50 years!" Clinton damned Bush
then for paying too much attention to foreign policy, while
today he denigrates the Republican controlled Congress for
the exact same philosophy which he espoused in 1992.
The sad thing is, this group has learned the best lessons
of Hitler's propaganda machine. That is, if you tell a
big enough lie often enough, it becomes the truth. We
can expect within the week that the major media will back
the White House line without question or reservation.
Perhaps the majority of journalists in his country don't
have any memory, but I do.
Two Overwhelming Oversights on the Test Ban
By L. Brent Bozell III
October 21, 1999
Reporters all over Washington
and New York were angry. They wailed, they moaned,
they gnashed their teeth. They
railed against the poisons of partisanship and how
interests were outweighing the
national interest. This means only one thing.
had won something.
The U.S. Senate had voted down
the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, the
clearest defeat of a liberal
proposal since Clinton's second term began.The news
magazines fancifully imagined that
this was horrendous political news for the Republicans
and Bill Clinton. Time's headline
was "Mutually Assured Destruction," while U.S. News
& World Report echoed "A
Mutually Assured Destruction."
Predictably, journalists began
by bashing the Republicans for their obsessive hatred of
Clinton, that tired old spin they
use every time Republicans stand on principle. But they
also bashed Clinton for not working
hard enough to sell Senate moderates and the public
on the treaty. Los Angeles Times
columnist Ronald Brownstein exemplified the mood:
"Atlanta used to style itself
[as] the city that was too busy working to hate.
has become the city too busy hating
Before we all get vertigo from
the media's lofty perch on Mount Olympus, let's
two overwhelming oversights in all
this media ranting and raving about all those sullied
First, if the media cared so
darn much, where were they? Don't get me wrong. I don't
want to see three network newscasts
full of test-ban propaganda. But it's hypocritical for
all of these reporters to go on
chat shows and complain about how Clinton didn't take
time to sell this treaty to the
public when these very same chat-meisters -- the
political experts -- didn't
get to the story until days before it was mercifully put to
The serial silliness of network
political coverage was underlined by Matt Lauer and Tim
Russert discussing the treaty
defeat the next morning on NBC's "Today." Lauer mourned:
"There has been bad blood between
the President and Republicans in Congress for a
long time, certainly since the
impeachment hearings, probably before that. But Tim, it
seems as though even the appearance
of civility between these groups is now gone out
the window." Russert replied:
"Absolutely. It's poisonous down here. It is very, very
No one asked how many interviews
"Today" had aired debating the test-ban treaty.
Simple. None. They were too busy
devoting entire half-hours to more important things,
like the eternally unresolved
JonBenet Ramsey murder case. Or "Today" viewers could
have learned about the Harry Potter
book craze or whether baby-walkers cause more
harm than good.
In fact, you wouldn't run out of
the fingers on one hand counting the morning-show
interview segments in the last
couple of years on the treaties on carbon-dioxide
emissions, on a ban on land mines,
on the establishment of a world criminal court, on
chemical and biological weapons.
None of these noxious treaties has gotten the time of
day -- yet journalists still feel
justified to point their fingers at everyone else.
"In-depth political coverage" is
now defined as the networks just parachuting in after
vote and decrying everyone involved
like a bunch of clucking kindergarten hall monitors.
Don't bore the audience with
concepts like verifiability or nonproliferation policy.
compare the whole debate to food
fights and ruined play dates.
Second, if the world is growing
more dangerous, whose fault is that? Most journalists
blame the Republicans, such as U.S.
News owner Mort Zuckerman, whose back-page
column claimed the Republican
rejection vote "borders on xenophobia" and warned,
"Last week, this great country
became Little America, and the world became a more
At Clinton's tantrum-filled
press conference after he lost, reporters let Clinton
nonproliferation efforts in answering seven questions on
test-ban treaty. Not one of those
reporters noted how it might be curious for Clinton to
accuse others of endangering world
security when Chinese espionage mushroomed on
Clinton's watch, and China is a
major proliferator to rogue nations like Iran and Libya.
Not one could cite, as Sen.
Jesse Helms did effectively in the Wall Street Journal, that
Clinton administration has looked
the other way as Russia aided Iran's and Iraq's
attempts to build weapons of mass
destruction. Or that the Clinton team has loosened
export controls on supercomputers
that will make it easier for Russia and China to
nuclear weapons without violating a
In the end, not every reporter
gave Clinton a political thumbs-down. On "Meet the
Press," Tim Russert suggested to
David Broder: "Every time the Republicans seem to
engage the President, whether it's
the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, tobacco, campaign
finance, government shutdown,
fairly or unfairly, the President seems to win
with his big megaphone." Broder
replied, "No question about it."
But Clinton and his "big
megaphone" lost this one. The winners shouldn't let the
sniping change that fact.
1. Rafe Donahue writes;
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 11:31:27 -0400
From: "Donahue, Rafe" <email@example.com>
To: 'LANGER STEVEN C' <sglanger@Oakland.edu>
Subject: RE: lastcall
Not necessarily good.
Recall that Bush was kicking ass after the Gulf War and
then Clinton came up with his first big lie: we have the
worst economy in fifty years. As soon as the press bought
that, Bush was toast. With the lies coming so fast and
furious over the past 8 years, conservatives have been on
defense the whole time.
Who knows if AlGore or Bradley can acheive the same low
level of ethics and morals shown by Clinton? (I never
dreamed I'd tell my sons "Whatever you do, don't be like the
president.") If one of them (Algore or Bradley, not my sons)
can create enough bullshit, George W might be faced with
joining his father in the toaster.
All my love,
Rafe Donahue, PhD
Senior Statistician II
Glaxo Wellcome Inc.
POBox 13398, RTP, NC 27709-3398
2. Doug Wilken shines some light.
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 15:19:21 -0500 (CDT)
From: Doug Wilken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: LANGER STEVEN C <sglanger@Oakland.edu>
Cc: Doug Wilken <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: lastcall
> "A year ahead of the election and the Rep. candidate
> is all but ordained. Is this good? If not, what can be
It is bad, not good. However, Governor Bush has plenty of
time to keep alienating his "conservative" base and
eventually screw himself up royally. Remember: We haven't
had one lousy primary yet. Lots of time for things to happen
and I predict that they will.
Quote(s) of the month:
"This man has performed an illegal operation and has been
-- A suggestion for Bill Gates' tombstone, BBC radio 4
"The thought of gunfire in a place of worship should be
-- Attorney General Janet Reno on the shooting in a Fort
Worth TX Baptist church last month.
Ed: I wonder if the Branch Davideans felt that way
"Sometimes the staple doesn't go all the way through and
the last pp. get lost. I'm sure that's what happened
-- anonymous Department of Justice source, answering a
reporter in the Washington Post on how a Justice Department
memo sent to congressional investigators was missing the
last couple of pp. wherein the FBI admitted that flammable
gas was used in Waco.
Fix of the month:
Is it okay to kill people, who have killed people, to
show that killing people is wrong?
1. 29 Oct.; A number of state referendums are coming up
that promise an exciting Tuesday. Ref. 695 wants to replace
a VAT on car tabs with a flat $30 fee. Linked to the bill is
a provision that all future state tax increases will have to
be voted on by referendum. Opponents say, "But then the
voters will have to see every little nickel and dime tax!".
Proponents say, "Exactly."
Ref. 696 promises to kill all commercial net fishing
within the state's controlled waters and 3 mile offshore
limits. Opponents point out that Canada will still be able
to fish the migration paths that feed the Washington
schools, and that housing developments are more damaging
(because they strip the vegetation and watersheds).
2. 25 Oct.; Biologists claim that samples of Orca blubber
show that Washington's whale pods have the highest
concentration of PCP's ever recorded. This is somewhat
worrisome since PCP use in the state has been strictly
controlled this decade, and points to the persistence of the
stuff in the food chain.
1. LA: Monica Lewinski's father is suing the writers and
producers of the show "Law and order: special victims unit"
because on one of their recent shows, one character asked if
a male colleague had a "Lewinski" performed on him by a
female client.Said Mr. Lewinski, "Damnit there is a real
family behind that name!"
1. Those of you who like me attended the University
of Wisconsin-Madison, may recall that Donna Shalala was once
the chancellor of the school (before her college friend,
Hillary Clinton, got her her current gig as secretary of
Health and Human Services). Well it turns out that
Shalala is still doing her best to help out the
Chad Alverez, 23, happens to be the son of the football
coach for the Badgers, Barry Alverez. Chad also
happens to be in a bit of trouble with a law. It seems
that after a dispute with a fraternity brother, Chad grabbed
the student's pet Parrot and fried it in a microwave
oven. Chad could face two years in prison and a $10,000
Shalala wrote to the Wisconsin Judge William Foust: "The
proper balance between punishment and an opportunity to get
professional help will give this young man an opportunity to
survive, mature and straighten out his life and future."
1. 28 Oct, NY Times: Coca-Cola has finally figured out
how to apply the law of supply and demand to vending
machines. The new generation of Cole machines will have in
on-board thermometer and raise the price with an increase in
temperature. So the warmer it is, the more that ice cold
Coke is going to cost you.
2. NY City: on one of the morning talk shows, Monaco
Lewinsky explained that, "it's been nourishing for me
emotionally to work with colors and different
fabrics". Monaco has come out with a new line of
purses marketed at www.therealMonicaInc.com.
3. New York Times: A September article in the New
York Times, written by William Glaberson, predicted that
within the next ten years a great ape will appear in the
courtroom. Some kind of lawsuit, perhaps protesting
the ape's imprisonment behind bars, will be filed in the
animal's name and it will then testify using sign language
or a voice synthesizer that contrary to centuries of law, it
has legal rights including the right to Liberty.
Animal rights law is a subspecialty taught at some of the
best law schools, and animal rights lawyers admit that they
are planning strategies to bring such a suit, perhaps within
the next ten years. The one outstanding problem is,
could an ape be sworn in as a witness? The problem, writes
Glaberson in his article, "is that the law generally
requires proof that the witness knows the difference between
right and wrong. How would we know that an ape understands
the concept of truth the way a human would?"
Ed: Heck, we have some recent politicians who have done
great work to lower the bar on that issue.
1. Orlando: the First Lady showed up the Kennedy
space Senator to view a space shuttle launch. Local
channel 9 news anchor Steve Rondinaro announced on the air,
"there she comes, the old battle ax." Rondinaro
immediately apologized for the "offhand and flippant comment
that just slipped out."
Editor: I'm not sure that the First Lady any longer
believes that things just slip out.
1. Oct. 15: In light of recent law suit decisions,
gun maker Colt has announced that it is getting out of the
cheap handgun business, but strongly challenges news reports
that it's abandoning the hand gun market altogether. Rather,
company president Steven Sliwa has announced that Colt will
develop and sell "Smart Guns" which will only fire when in
the hands of their registered owners. Colt notified
distributors that it would continue to produce its
single-action Army revolvers and custom-made "classic"
handguns--such as the Colt revolver romanticized in Western
films--but would discontinue seven models, including its
double-action revolvers and small 9mm pistols.
2. Oct. 25: Pat Buchanan has finally made it official -
he's joining the Reform Party and hopes to be their
Presidential nominee. Also joining, real estate magnate
Donald Trump, who has not yet announced that he is a
candidate. The two join the ranks of Ross Perot and Jesse
Ventura as possible contenders.
3. Oct. 26: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
has implemented a new Presidential order that from now on,
employers of illegal aliens must treat them to the same
benefits and non-discrimination practices that are enjoyed
by citizens. This is a somewhat confusing state, since these
illegal alien workers now have standing in US courts to sue
in discriminatory termination cases, and as part of the
restitution, the employers can be forced to knowingly hire
the illegal back and then be fined for it.
An EEOC spokesperson said they hope that the result will
be that employers take more care to not hire illegals in the
4. 26 Oct.: As part of an effort to retain more recruits
in the Armed Forces, Congress voted to have a 4.5% raise in
pay for military members. They are also considering giving
soldiers special codes for their ATM cards so they won't be
charges withdraw fees.
Ed: Wow, that's compassion. They may save a whole $6 a
month. How about just suspending income tax on active duty
5. Some of you may have wondered, while listening
to National Public Radio's fund drives, why it costs so darn
much to keep a radio station going per hour. Well, it
turns out that it's not all dog eat dog journalistic
competition. This month it was revealed that the
public broadcasting system traded their donor lists with the
Democratic party. This is raised the ire of Congress
(for Republicans anyway) when looking at the latest 300
million dollar public broadcasting funding request.
What is not as widely known, but was reported in the
Weekly Standard, is that some of the money just doesn't go
for Big Bird, but for in-house massage services at public
broadcasting's headquarters in Alexandria Virginia.
"It's to relieve the stress from sitting at a desk 8 to 10
hours a day, using the computer and talking on the
phone," said Dara Goldberg, associate director of
communications at PBS headquarters.
1. In in the Aug issue of the British medical
journal, professors George Davie Smith and Stephen Frankel
write that health fanatics who run around warning people to
stay out of the sun to prevent skin cancer are really
preventing a simple human pleasure that boosts happiness,
increases levels of vitamin D., and even reduces heart
disease. The article points out that skin cancer
deaths total < 2 percent of deaths from heart
disease. So even a modest protective effect of solar
exposure could result in a substantial reduction of
mortality from other means.
Christopher New, who works for the British health
education authority as their skin cancer coordinator, told
the London Telegraph that the article "runs the risk of
undoing many years of good health education."
1. A high-tech fleet of trucks patrols the Kuwait
border near Iraq. Air and soil samples can be analyzed
in seconds designed to warn the West if Saddam Hussein uses
biological or poison weapons. In Aug. a cloud of fumes
wafted past the fleet. Soldiers alerted U.S. Army
generals that they could be under a chemical attack.
However, further tests revealed that the source of the
biological attack was not Saddam. An army spokesperson
admitted: "An alarm was caused when a herd of camels passed
upwind and changed the air."
1. ON: Those of you who were born in the '60s and
grew up watching the original Warner Bros. cartoons may
recall the Bugs Bunny episode called "Bewitched Bunny"
wherein Bugs is being chased by a witch. He eventually finds
a bottle of magic powder which he throws on the witch
converting her to a beautiful female rabbit -- although with
a cackling laugh.While walking arm in arm with her into the
sunset, Bugs turns to the audience and says "Ah sure I
know. But aren't they all witches inside?"
When this aired on Canada's Global television channel in
July 1998 it didn't set well with a certain female
contingent of the viewership. A woman viewer demanded
that Global's president offer a televised apology for "This
anti-woman cartoon." Global defendant itself, "we do
not believe that this episode contravenes any provision of
the sex role portrayal code." (In Canada, they have a
sex-role portrayal code.)
Next the woman went to the Canadian broadcasting
standards council, which last month gravely ruled that
"nothing in the demeanor of Bugs Bunny or any other
character in the episode could be broadly interpreted as
constituting negative or degrading comments on the role or
nature of women."
© Steve Langer, 1995-2000