SeaViews: Insights from the Gray Havens 
July - August 2005

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,
"Iraq. Is it time to cut and run?"

Just some facts: the US is approaching 2000 dead in Iraq, is spending about  $90 B/yr, and has been at war since late 2002. Bush has defined a new policy of preemptive engagement to protect the homeland, and has also stated that it is the duty of the US to expand liberty and democracy.

With respect, he is not being consistent here. The US is not engaging in N. Korea, nor overthrowing S. American dictators, nor should we.

This editor has never been convinced of the case to invade Iraq, but the dice have been cast, and now the game needs to be finished. To leave Iraq until it is able to defend itself as a strong democracy will create civil and regional war, and let us not forget; when the US entered Germany and Japan as conquerors it set up peace keepers that remain there to this day.

Though it may sound strange, we owe it to the conquered to finish what we started. And to our progeny to develop energy indepedence to wean this nation off of strategic reliance on resources in unstable regions.

On Katrina;

You've all seen the coverage from CNN (the Catastrophe News Network) and other outlets. Dawn to dusk disaster coverage about how the Federal govt, and GW Bush in particular left New Orleans to die. Well, I'd like to ask some questions:
a. Why is there so little coverage coming from Mississippi? IS it because a Rep. Gov. there handled things better and its not "news?
b. Why did the Dem. Govnr of LA and the Dem Mayor of New Orleans leave over 200 busses to drown under water when they could have been used to evacuate people?
c. WHy did a New Orleans Congressmen get to use Natl. Guard resources to rescue his belongings, and also take out of his houes boxes of papers when he was under investigation for corruption?
d. Why did the elected officials of LA not heed 20 years of warnings and build stronger and thicker levees?
e. Why did police in N.O. abandon their jobs or turn looter when the same did not happen elsewhere?
f. Why is there now a sense of entitlement that the US must bail out the area regardless of cost and without requiring Federal approval of how that money is used?

Guest Editorial:

this time, a bit of humor

European Security Levels Raised

The British are feeling the pinch in relation to recent bombings and
have raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved'. Soon though,
security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit
Cross". Londoners have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940
when tea supplies all but ran out.

Terrorists have been re-categorised from "Tiresome" to a "Bloody
Nuisance". The last time the British issued a "BLOODY Nuisance" warning
level was during the great fire of 1666.

Be aware that the French government announced yesterday that it has
raised its terror alert level from "RUN" to "HIDE". The only two higher
levels in France are "Surrender" and "Collaborate". The rise was
precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag
factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

It's not only the French that are on a heightened level of alert. Italy
has increased the alert level from "shout loudly and excitedly" to
"elaborate military posturing". Two more levels remain, "ineffective
combat operations" and "change sides".

The Germans also increased their alert state from "disdainful arrogance"
to "dress in uniform and sing marching songs". They have two higher
levels: "invade a neighbour" and "lose".


1. Walter writes;

fr: Walter T. Willems <>
date: 22 Aug 2005
Subject: What's up?

Man, where have you been? You don't write like you used to. Your articles are getting really dull. And the Letters are really falling off. Have you quit?


[Ed: Nope, we are still here. But the summer was quite busy, yadada. We promise to get more aggressive and timely in the next months.]

Quote(s) of the month:

Other then health care, what industry can fail to deliver what the customer is paying for, yet continue to extract payments under the moniker of  “research memorial”?



Fix of the month:

"WHat is up with Bush's latest Supreme Court pick? "



1. Lansing, July 14: Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm clearly needs some friendly advice.

Last month the state legislature buried the Democratic Governor's top legislative priority, a grandiose proposal to raise taxes on insurance companies, banks and thousands of small businesses that private studies said would have cost up to 20,000 jobs. Ms. Granholm's plan was widely criticized, including in these columns in March and in an op-ed article on the opposite page last Thursday by state legislator Rick Baxter, a Republican, and Hillsdale College Professor Gary Wolfram.

Ms. Granholm was not pleased, going so far as to denounce the op-ed as "treasonous for the state of Michigan." The authors' high crime? Exposing Michigan as a high tax state and criticizing Ms. Granholm for wanting to raise taxes. Her choice of words was no inadvertent slip of the tongue, by the way--a Howard Dean-like temporary loss of sanity. The Governor has used the "t" word repeatedly and has even suggested that Mr. Baxter "should be removed from office."

Sorry to say, the facts laid out in Messrs. Baxter and Wolfram's column and in our previous editorial are well-established. When it comes to high taxes, the Wolverine State ranks fifth both in per-capita terms and as a share of personal income. Michigan also has the nation's highest unemployment rate. There is no shortage of studies that have linked these two phenomena.

Not so long ago, Ms. Granholm was regarded as the rising star of the Democratic Party--innovative, articulate, and attractive--and some even talked of changing the Constitution so she could run for President (perhaps against Austrian-born Arnold Schwarzenegger). But her latest public approval ratings have hit the skids while her legislative agenda lies in shambles. She's now off to Japan in a quest to "bring jobs and businesses to Michigan," and her latest complaint is that her task has been undermined by a global business newspaper--The Wall Street Journal--"bad-mouthing the state."


1. Dan Diego,  July 15:  File under, "SCO still shootging blanks." An internal investigation at SCO in August 1999 reported that not a single line of code in the Linux kernel was found that violated SCO's copyright, according to an e-mail dated Aug. 13, 2002, which was obtained by legal Web site Groklaw.

Bob Schwartz, an outside consultant, spent between four and six months comparing Linux with the so-called AT&T Unix code. SCO was sure that it was going to find evidence of copyright violations," an SCO employee wrote in an internal e-mail. "At the end, we had found absolutely nothing: no evidence of any copyright infringement whatsoever.

The case has been slowly proceeding through the courts nad is slated for a Jab 2007 date, but SCO has not yet produced any proof of the copyright violations. Although the e-mail obtained by Groklaw pleads against SCO, it does not prove that the company has no other evidence that incriminates Linux and IBM.

New Jersey;

1. Sept, Princeton: Proving that govt. can lose money even on a monopoly, the state of New Jersey is selling the famous New Jersey Turnpike. The govnr. has decided that wages and benefits are excessive, and automated updates are too expensive to consider, so the state will sell the road to the private secgtor, but then take piece of the action.
[Ed: Which means that whomever buys it will have to be more then 2x's efficient as the state, so as to make a profit after paying off the school yard bully. Fortunetly, being twice as efficent as a government is not hard.

Washington D.C.

<>1. July 3: A controversial bill that would prohibit excessive pricing of prescription drugs by their manufacturers comes before the D.C. Council July 6. In early May, the 13-member council gave its initial approval to the legislation, introduced by Councilman David Catania, I-at large, who chairs the council's health committee. A final reading and vote on the bill, the Prescription Drug Compulsory Manufacture License Act of 2005, is scheduled for this coming Wednesday.

Catania has told Washington Business Journal that he expects and welcomes legal recourse from the pharmaceutical industry. The bottom line for him is that drug companies record huge profits and continue to raise their prices, while many consumers have to decide whether to get the prescription drugs they need or buy food and pay rent.

Catania introduced his legislation in February and amended it a month later. At first he wanted to use the city's power of eminent domain to force drug makers to lower their prices. His new version of the bill says that if drugs are found to be excessively priced, the mayor may request a compulsory license that would, in essence, allow the city to take patents from brand-name drug makers and reissue them to generic manufacturers that could produce cheaper drugs for the District.
[Ed: If this passes and is upheld, expect some individuals to sieze homes of the supreme Court justices in the name of eminent domain and relabel them the "Lost Liberty Hotel" and the "Just Desserts Cafe".]