SeaViews: Insights from the Gray Havens 
July 2003

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

Disclaimer: The editor speaks only for himself, and sometimes even he is wrong.


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On last month's Fix;

the answer to last month's Fix,
"If school prayer cannot be allowed because of separation of church and state, then why can states have dry
   counties and refuse (as in MN) to sell alcoholic beverages on the Sabbath? Mind you, only the Christian
       Sabbath is affected, alcohol can be sold on Saturday -  the holy day of Muslims and Jews."

Matt is concerned in his letter below that this "Fix" was flame bait, but in fact it was just an attempt to state the very obvious fundemental hypocrisy present in every aspect of our judicial system. The "Supreme Court" is held in awe by many, and imbued with an almost hysterical faith that it will render unbiased opinions on the divisive questions of the day. In fact nothing could be further from the truth. Since at least the 60's, the court has been a liberal activist legislative force, accomplishing via judicial fiat what could not get through the legislatures, but Reagen and Bush appointments have narrowed the gap. Witness the recent spate of 5/4 decisions.

However, this trend to the right is not without danger either. Both extremes on the courts are activist, and have created exactly the scenario warned of by Judge Robert Bork during his confirmation hearings when Reagen tried to appoint him. That is, the Court has become so tainted by political winds and bereft of a Constitutional foundation that the last word - isn't.

Nothing makes this inconsistency more clear then banning school prayer (yet upholding so called Blue Laws) based on what is in the Constitution, and creating law (ie Roe v Wade) based on what is not in the constition (defining  fetal rights subordinate to those of the mother).

It is a sad day when Congress forgets the Constitution and passes so called Campaign Finance Reforms which essentially bans free speech. But it is alarming that the Supreme Court upholds such things, and creates more items of the same stripe.

Guest Editorial:

U.S. May Already Have Iraq’s WMDs
Joel Mowbray (back to web version)

July 31, 2003

  As WMD hysteria reaches a frenzied pitch, comments by the head of the U.S. team searching Iraq for
WMD evidence should give pause to the "Bush lied" crowd.

  Dr. David Kay—the 63-year-old former U.N. weapons inspector now heading up the American WMD
team—recently remarked that the United States will be “starting to reveal” WMD evidence in six months.

  Though he was circumspect at best, Dr. Kay’s comments could indicate that U.S. investigators know quite
a bit more than they have revealed thus far.

  Buzz inside the beltway has been intensifying in recent days that the administration may have significantly
more evidence than it has publicly released, and Dr. Kay’s comments have triggered even more chatter.
Some of it may be wishful thinking, but considering that some of the people doing the talking are
administration officials, declarations that there are no WMDs may be premature.

  Why would the Bush folks keep such politically high-value information secret?

  Possibly because, given the sheer number of guerrilla forces present inside Iraq, U.S. investigators believe it
would be foolish to leak evidence piecemeal. Sources and methods of intelligence-gathering could be
“compromised”—a polite way of saying those helping us or their families could get killed—and the U.S.
team's efforts could be hampered if other would-be informants hold back out of fear.

  And with many of Saddam’s former henchmen still around, U.S. investigators tipping their hand could make
it easier for Baathist thugs to destroy evidence or sabotage discovery efforts.

  Not that critics of President Bush—the people who wanted to wait endlessly while U.N. inspectors played
footsy with Saddam—are waiting for the canvassing to be completed before slamming the

  Liberal legend Teddy Kennedy (D-MA) has charged that President Bush led the country to war "under false
pretenses." His colleague and presidential wannabe John Kerry (D-MA)--who voted for the war--now is
retreating to the warm embrace of his liberal base, claiming that, in essence, Bush duped him into supporting
the liberation of Iraq.  Mincing no words, New York Times Paul Krugman stated flatly, "There is no longer
any serious doubt that Bush administration officials deceived Americans into war."

  That there is WMD evidence inside Iraq - or possibly Iran or Syria - makes logical sense, as there are really
only three WMD scenarios: 1) Saddam didn't have any WMDs, 2) Saddam destroyed everything just before
the war began (or snuck it into Iran or Syria) or 3) the evidence stuck around longer than Saddam did.

  As Rumsfeld said before the war, “Any country on the face of the earth with an active intelligence program
knows that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction.” No one argues, in fact, that Saddam didn't have active
WMD programs when the U.N. inspectors left the country more than four years ago. So for the first
possibility to be correct, Saddam would have had to have voluntarily ceased an operation that had been his
primary obsession for some two decades and kept no records of having done so.

  Which leaves us with two other possibilities, either of which confirms Bush's pre-war arguments. It is
possible that Saddam destroyed stockpiles and his mobile labs on the eve of war, but it is at least as plausible
that he would not part with his treasures so easily. With a high street value and relative portability, though, it is
also possible that Saddam sold off at least part of his stash. Or he could have used the time-honored tradition
of simply hiding his arsenal.

  But until we have examined every last square inch of Iraq—and Syria and Iran—the entire WMD debate is
premised on a hypothetical.

  In the end, the investigators may only find indirect evidence of WMD programs - human sources and
documents - as opposed to the kind of weapons “stockpiles” for which our image-driven media salivates. A
lack of camera-ready evidence could be a problem, but a mountain of documents and numerous human
testimonials from Saddam's former scientists could be enough to reaffirm the obvious: Saddam had WMDs.


1. Matt pens ...
Subject:             lastcall
       Date:             Mon, 28 Jul 2003 09:42:22 -0700
      From:             Matt Birkholz <>

> From: serge <>
> Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2003 06:49:00 -0700
> Please complete your response to this month's fix;
> "If school prayer cannot be allowed because of separation of church and
> state, then why can states have dry    counties and refuse (as in MN) to
> sell alcoholic beverages on the Sabbath? Mind you, only the Christian
> Sabbath is affected, alcohol can be sold on Saturday -  the holy day of
> Muslims and Jews."

I feel like I am falling for flame bait.  What are you asking for?  A fix?
The question asks how unconstitutional laws get written, but we all know
you know how that happens.  Maybe you simply wish to make a point.  In
Boston they were called The Blue Laws.  I forget why -- for the high-handed
BLUE-blooded Puritan/Brahmans that made the laws?  When I left Watertown MA
in '95, The Blue Laws were still being followed, with exceptions.  I bet
there was NO enforcement by that time.  Grendel's Den in Harvard Square may
still have a framed collection of articles on their '70s legal battle with
Cambridge to sell liquor within several hundred feet of a church.  They
eventually won, I believe, after appealing to the state supreme court.


2. And Doug expresses his concerns ...

Subject:             Re: lastcall
       Date:              Mon, 28 Jul 2003 09:22:40 -0500
      From:             "Douglas E. Wilken" <>
        To:             <>

Quit giving the ACLU free ideas!

> "If school prayer cannot be allowed because of separation of church and
> state, then why can states have dry    counties and refuse (as in MN) to
> sell alcoholic beverages on the Sabbath? Mind you, only the Christian
> Sabbath is affected, alcohol can be sold on Saturday -  the holy day of
> Muslims and Jews."

Quote(s) of the month:

"If you ever write about my family again, I will f***ing find you and I will f***ing hurt you."

-- Compassionate actor Tim Robbins, defending the honor of his wife Susan Sarandon, when Washington Post writer Lloyd Grove wrote that Sarandon's mother is an active GW Bush supporter.

Fix of the month:




1. Seattle, July: State Congressmen Larry Burbank proposed a latte tax - $.10 - that would be used to help finance the state schools. The tax would not be applied to regular coffee or tea.


1. Moose, June: AP. Researchers who spent five years lobbing urine soaked snowballs at moose in Alaska vs those in Wyoming's Grand Teton Park have noted that the Alaskan variety react more strongly to the scent of wolf and grizzley bear urine. Researchers Joel Berge and Sanjay Pyare did the forefront research which will be published in Biological Conservation.


1. Mount Sterling, June: Jo Hamlet, a retired farmer, wants to ban lying in his town of 56 people. The 69 year old mayor is concerned that when the local boys get to hanging out at the local sportsman bar, they tell big fibs about the fish and turkeys they caught. So now they could be punished by a night in jail and $50 fine.


1. Houston, July: A study from Rice Univ. points out that in the summer, barbecue smoke is a major cause of pollution. Asst. Prof. Matt Fraser from the Environmental Eng. Dept. discovered that the particulates emitted from simmering meat form a large fraction of the fine particles making up Houston smog in the summer time. Come 2004, there may be barbecue bans in Houston, akin to burn bans elsewhere, when air quality demands it.

2. El Paso, June: Twelve year old Sal Santana was suspended from the last week of school - for sexual harassment. Seems the lusty young man asked a classmate to be his girlfriend. When she declined he - prepare yourselves ... stuck out his tongue at her.

Washington D.C.

1. July 29: The Pentagon has a clever new idea ofr catching terrorists: hold a betting pool for predicting furture terrorist actions, and then arrest the winners. The logic goes like this. Say there would be a a category for predicting when the next major attack will come on US soil, the winner "gets" $1 million. If an event happens on or near a date that the winner selected, the "winner" gets a free trip downtown. This brilliant plan may go down for lack of funding though. Congress seems to have found a flaw in it.

Net News;

1. Sheryl writes

Subject:         Minnesota Citizenship Test
   Date:         Wed, 23 Jul 2003 08:22:31 -0700 (PDT)
   From:         Sheryl Langer <>

Application for Minnesotazenship

  Personal Information:

  Name ___________________son

  Sex: ___ Ole ___ Lena

  Home Address ________________   Cabin Address ________________

  Religion: _____ Lutheran ______ Catholic

  Income: ____We do OK ____We're Blessed ____ None of your beeswax  ____

  Qualifications: (check all that apply)

  ___ I own a gas powered ice auger.

  ___ Fargo floods hit a little close to home.

  ___ I can name a dozen celebrities who've stayed at the Mayo

  ___ I've been trick or treating in two feet of snow.

  ___ My grandmother made me eat lutefisk.

  ___ I liked it!

  ___ I've been to a block party.

  ___ My first beer was an Old Milwaukee.

  ___ My snowmobile has more miles on it than my car.

  ___ I have a back up set of jumper cables in my trunk.

  ___ Despite what everyone else says I DON'T SAYS I DON'T HAVE AN

ACCENT!   (For sure, you bet I don't.)

  True/ False:

  ___ I actually listen
 to telemarketers.

  ___ "Have a Nice Day" is an ORDER!

  ___ TV news anchors are celebrities.

  ___ Part of my tongue is on a flagpole somewhere.

  ___ It's not a rubber binder! It's a rubber band.

  ___ They mistake pop for "soda" or "coke" in most other states.

  ___ Hot Dish is neither a beautiful woman nor an overheated plate.

  ___ Paw is both a hand and the male parent.

  Multiple Choice:

  It's time to wear a hat when.

  A) The temperature is below 10 degrees.

  B) Your mother tells you to!

  C) The temperature is -10 and the wind chill is in double digits.

  Essay Questions:

  What "uff-da" means to me   ____________________________________

  What "oopsy daisy" means to me   _____________________________

  You know you're from Minnesota when.....

  1. Your idea of a traffic jam is 10 cars waiting to pass a tractor.

  2. "Vacation" means going to Brainerd for the weekend.

  3. You measure distance in hours.

  4. You know several people who have hit deer more than once.

  5. You often switch from "heat" to "a/c" in the same day.

  6. You use a down comforter in the summer.

  7. Your grandparents drive 65 mph through 13 feet of snow during a

blizzard, without flinching.

  8. You see people wearing hunting clothes to social events.

  9. You install security lights on your house and garage and leave

both   doors unlocked.

  10. You think of the major food groups as venison, walleye, and


  11. You carry jumper cables in your car and your girlfriend knows

how  to   use them.

  12. There are 7 empty cars running in the parking lot at the grocery

store at any given time.

  13. You design your kids Halloween costume to fit over a snow suit.

  14. Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled

with snow.

  15. You think sexy
 lingerie is tube socks and flannel p.j.'s.

  16. You know all four seasons; almost winter, winter, still winter

and   road construction.

  17. It takes you 3 hours to go to the store for one item even when

you're in a rush because you have to stop to talk to everyone in  town.

  18. You actually understand these jokes and forward them to all your

friends from Minnesota.