Michael Jordan’s Pittance

Wow. Michael Jordan is going to donate $5 million dollars to aid teachers. He wants the money to “focus on giving kids an opportunity to excel and to achieve their dreams”. The program is called “Jordan Fundamentals”. Teachers can receive up to $2,500 in grants.

Can you believe the class and generosity of this guy! What a personal sacrifice! He saw a need, and just reached into his pocket and wrote a check!

Ooo. Wait! It looks the money will come from the proceeds of the “Nike Sporting goods Jordan brand”. Huh? The richest Athlete in the world doesn’t have a check book?

In other words, this is a marketing ploy. We are going to see ads asking you to contribute to the Michael Jordan Nike Jordan Fundamentals Program to help children excel and achieve their dreams. Yeah. And one of their dreams might be to become so rich and greedy and self-centred that you can have your accountants and lawyers create phony charities to raise money on behalf of your good name without having to sacrifice a penny of your own real wealth. You can drive around in your limo with your bodyguards and jewelry and pretend that all those suckers who pay $150 a ticket to watch you play basketball are investing their money in virtue and goodness.

Jason Kamros, a math teacher in Washington D.C., says “Yipeee!” You see Kamros had been spending up to $1,000 of his own money to use photography to help teach math to this grade sixers. He’s going to apply for some of Jordan’s “largesse”.

That $1,000 probably represents about 1/20th of Kamros’ annual take-home salary. Jordan’s $5 million potentially represents about 1/20th of his annual income, except for the fact that Jordan isn’t actually going to contribute a penny of his personal income. He’s going to contribute his name, which cost him nothing, last I heard. YOU are going to contribute the $5 million dollars by buying Nike Shoes. And your purchase of Nike-Jordan Shoes helps keep children in Indonesia employed in sweat shops at 15 cents an hour. And how much you wanna bet that Nike isn’t getting a cut as well?

It is one thing to demand a monumental pile of money to play basketball and then pretend not to be greedy. It is one thing to pretend to be generous and self-sacrificing when you are not. But surely it crosses all boundaries of decency to take money from your fans, give it to a charity, and then call the media’s attention to your “generosity”.

If I were Jason Kamros, I’d tell Jordan where to stuff it.

Soma

A man writes Ann Landers:
“I am a 60-year-old man who doesn’t have any interest in anything or anyone. I’m bored with everybody I meet. I am bored with my job and bored with my life.”

Ann solves his problem: “You aren’t bored; you are depressed. But you don’t have to stay that way the rest of your life. See a doctor; and ask for an anti-depressant that will help you.”

Was there ever a better illustration of the rampant hypocrisy of our society’s stand on drug abuse? We spend billions of dollars a year trying to stamp out the recreational use of drugs by teenagers and the inner-city poor, and then turn around and, through that paragon of bourgeois values, Ann Landers, advocate that we go running for a quick hit whenever we feel a little depressed with the world.

In the meantime, a woman in Illinois has just been released after serving 20 years in prison for merely being in the same car as a drug dealer. I am not making this up. The drug dealer– classy guy, I guess– freely and immediately admitted that the three pounds of heroin were his and his alone, and that the woman didn’t even know about it.

The courts said, “We don’t care.” Those new “get tough on crimes laws” made it possible for the prosecution to convict her anyway.

While she was in prison, she acquired some legal skills and now plans to work as a paralegal. Ann Landers, however, is still on the loose.

What, really, is the difference between the Lithium this man’s doctor will probably recommend, and the cocaine sold on the street corners? They are both addictive. They are both escape hatches from the pressures of life.

The difference is, the class of people who use them.

* * *

Judy Sgro, who dared to challenge some behaviours by the police during her tenure on the Toronto Police Services Board, has been pushed out of the position of vice-chairperson. Somehow this really reassures me that the police are out there to make sure our civil liberties are well-protected.

November 1999: Once again, even though the crime rate is going down, the police in Waterloo County, Ontario, are requesting more money and more officers. So while Mike Harris keeps telling the rest of us to tighten our belts and make sacrifices for the good of the economy, the police get to go on fattening their budgets and payrolls and throwing their weight around as never before.

When the crime rate went up, the police said they needed more officers because there were more criminals. Now that the crime rate is going down…. well, I guess it’s too much to expect. Just as it might be too much to expect that the police, when the crime rate goes up, might admit that they’re not doing a good job, instead of asking for more money.

Sometimes, I’m not totally opposed to the conservative agenda. It’s the rank hypocrisy that bothers me. If Mike Harris had declared that all of Ontario, teachers, the poor, the rich, industry– everyone– is going to have to tighten their belts, I could have seen some benefit to that. But inevitably, with the Republicans in the U.S. and the Conservatives in Canada, the real agenda is not to reduce taxes, but to shift the burden from the rich to the poor. When Harris talks about reducing taxes, he’s not talking about you and me. He’s talking about those people who inhabit the private boxes at the Skydome, and with whom he’d rather spend his off-hours anyway.

Cry Me a River

I just watched Bill Clinton’s State of the Union Address. Coming as it does, in the middle of impeachment hearings, it was extraordinary. It may well be the best political speech I have seen in the past ten years. You could not have guessed that the man delivering it was living his life under a cloud.

The Republicans are playing a peculiar game. The State of the Union Address was a no-win situation for them. Sit and growl and you look like sore losers. Stand and applaud, and you have to answer the question: why are you trying to impeach him? Conservatives say that the Republicans are showing a lot of principle here– they are willing to buck a year’s worth of polls that show, with uncanny consistency, that the voters utterly reject impeachment.

Is this really “principle”? I don’t believe it. Remember, we’re talking about politicians here who routinely accept large donations from big corporations in exchange for altering or creating legislation that favours their interests. Remember, we’re talking about politicians who want to rely on chemical companies to tell us if they think some of their products might be doing harm to the environment. Remember, we’re talking about politicians who not only give away our forests to the lumber companies, but also charge the taxpayers for the cost of building logging roads, and who think that “global warming” is a left-wing hoax. Remember, we’re talking Jesse Helms, and Bob Barr, and Henry Hyde here. They ask us to believe that nothing matters more to them than “principle”.

I suspect that many of the hardcore conservatives in the Republican Party have come to believe that polls reflect the effects of some kind of magical spell woven by the Clinton administration and the media, which will evaporate like moon-dust the minute Clinton is actually removed from office. They firmly believe that in two years, the voters will not care who impeached whom, and will once again vote for the “righteous” party, the party of self-interest, the party of guns, the party of big military bands, the party of Star Wars, the party of Kenneth Starr.

* * *

If anyone needed any further convincing that Kenneth Starr is a modern day Grand Inquisitor, consider the case of Julie Hiatt Steele. (If you haven’t already been convinced by his treatment–harassment, rather– of Webster Hubbell and Susan McDougall).

Julie Hiatt Steele got a phone call from Kathleen Wiley one day. Kathleen Wiley was going to tell the media that President Clinton had groped her on a visit to the Oval Office. She didn’t want anyone to think she had made up this story after hearing about all the other scandals involving Bill Clinton so she asked Julie Hiatt Steele to tell a reporter that Wiley had told her about the groping long before the headlines about Monica Lewinsky. Long before the book deal.

Julie Hiatt Steele agreed to do so. She called a reporter and confirmed the story.

A few days later, she called the reporter for whom she had confirmed Wiley’s story and told him that she had lied, and that Wiley had asked her to lie. The story wasn’t true.

I don’t think any of us will ever know why exactly.

Julie Hiatt Steele has now been charged, by Grand Inquisitor Kenneth Starr, with perjury and obstruction of justice. Her tax, bank and telephone records have been seized by Starr’s office. Her brother, accountant, and former attorney have been called in to testify. She could receive up to 54 years in jail. Julie Hiatt Steele has no other involvement in this case. She has never been to the White House. She has never had any contact with any person from the White House. She has recently adopted a Romanian orphan. She is a single mother. Her sin was to dispute Kathleen Wiley’s account of what happened after her meeting with President Clinton, testimony that Starr wanted very badly in order to persuade the Senate to impeach Clinton.

Kenneth Starr, beneath that smug, pious exterior, is a fanatic with unlimited power who is out of control. If the Republicans really believe that he has been impartial, they should sign a pledge that they will renew the Independent Prosecutor’s position when it comes up again even if there is a Republican President.

Kenneth Starr believes that Julie Hiatt Steele conspired with the Clinton White House to sabotage Kathleen Wiley’s allegations. This is kind of a strange idea, because, until the reporter called on Ms. Steele, nobody even knew who she was. It’s hard to imagine how the White House could have gotten to her before anybody in the media knew her name.

It is also hard to imagine an act more cynical, unscrupulous, and devious, than to indict this woman for perjury on the day of the State of the Union Address.

If you get a chance, watch Julie Steele in interviews. She seems like a very bright, articulate, decent person. She answers questions directly, quickly, with apparent candor. She is frightened and astounded that this indictment could happen to her in the United States of America, under the statute that gives Kenneth Starr almost unlimited power. We’re talking about a single mother here who has never committed a crime in her life being threatened with 54 years in prison. Even Marlin Fitzwater, the press secretary for George Bush, said he was appalled.

It appears that Kenneth Starr is punishing Ms. Steele for failing to collaborate his increasingly hysterical views of the Clinton White House.

Remember we all laughed when Hillary Clinton alleged a right wing conspiracy. Well, I sort of laughed. I thought it was a cheap shot, a political statement, not meant to be taken seriously. It’s smart to be skeptical of both sides on this issue.

Now I’m beginning to wonder. You have to keep in mind that the Jones case itself only survived judicial scorn through the efforts of wealthy Clinton foe Richard Scaife.

I suppose it is possible that Ms. Steele is an amazing liar. Either that, or Kenneth Starr is one amazing little fascist.

* * *

If the Senate does call witnesses, as everyone says they will, it becomes increasingly difficult to comprehend the Republican “strategy”. It is said that they favour calling Monica Lewinsky, Vernon Jordan, and Betty Currie.

I can’t imagine what they expect to gain. Monica is likely to repeat her statement that nobody promised her a job in exchange for her silence, or asked her to lie. If the managers from the House hope to intimidate her or shake her testimony, they will have to resort to some rather ham-fisted tactics, which don’t play very well on tv. I would expect the Republicans will try to have these hearings closed to the public, but, like I said, Republican strategy here is baffling.

How will it look on TV, to have frisky little Monica Lewinsky testify in front of 91 white men who are all old enough to be her father, and 9 women?

Betty Currie is another dangerous witness for the Republicans. Picture the svelte, sensitive Bob Barr, or Henry Hyde questioning this middle-age black secretary about who really arranged for the gifts to Monica Lewinsky to be returned. If she says, “I don’t really remember”, will one of the Inquisitors really go, “Come now, Mrs. Currie!” In front of the nation? Will William McCollum crack his whip or his wit? Will Trent Lott offer her a smoke, courtesy of the Tobacco Industry he has served so well in exchange for generous contributions, or invite her to a meeting of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a racist group to which he has given fawning keynote addresses?

How many people, besides myself, will glance around the Senate at that moment to determine who many black members are sitting? Take a guess.

lottbigots.jpg (19927 bytes)
Trent Lott (2nd from left) with CCC members.

Then there is Vernon Jordan, the real bogey-man for the Falwell-inspired conspiracy buffs. Who is this mysterious man, operating in the shadows, elusive and silent in the face of all this cacophony? Well, by all accounts, he is a very shrewd, very intelligent man, who might just slice the Republican inquisitors to ribbons with his replies. The Republicans want to play with this witness?

And what if the Democrats call Linda Tripp? What if they call that slime-ball book agent from New York who first advised Linda to tape her conversations with Monica Lewinsky– Lucianne Goldberg? One could not imagine more appealing witnesses favourable to the prosecution other than Dracula and Frankenstein. What if they highlight Linda Tripps’ perjury, when she declared that she had no interest in writing a book on the subject to a Grand Jury— while tapes show that she was discussing with Ms. Goldberg how much information to hold back from Newsweek so she would still be able to command big bucks for an exclusive book contract?

* * *

Perhaps one of the most hysterically absurd myths about the Clinton scandal is that the media is in cahoots with the Democrats. I am in cahoots with the Democrats, and I have never been as infuriated with the media as I have been for the past year. I have watched endless hours of CNN– the 24-hour impeachment channel– and ABC and NBC and CBS. I’ve seen Dan Rather summoned back from Cuba to analyze the profound social and political implications of a semen-stained dress. I’ve seen reporters stare into a camera with a straight face and tell the world about the gravity of a situation which I found utterly hysterical and ridiculous. I’ve seen Larry King–divorced and re-married five times himself– solemnly pronounce that the entire nation was disgraced by Clinton’s sexual behavior.

And these are Clinton’s allies?

Well, lately, maybe they are. CNN has taken a more sober perspective. Jeff Greenfield now finds the impeachment somewhat bizarre. Greta Vansusteran now concedes that no reputable prosecutor would have proceeded with the case. Larry King arches his eyebrows and frowns while interviewing the indicted Julie Hiatt Steele. Bernard Shaw appears to grimace just a little while interviewing Bob Barr.

But Sam Donaldson still looks pretty solemn as he interviews Larry Flynt.

For the record, I would defy these people to name a single commentator in a major American television news department or news magazine who has given a “liberal” view of things, which is, that this has never been and never will be anything else but a desperate attempt by the Republicans to sabotage and destroy a Democratic administration. Yes, some of them may genuinely believe that Clinton’s offenses were serious. Most of them have simply been absorbed into the hysteria. They have no idea of what is up or down, left or right, rational or hysterical. They are simply in the middle of a political vortex that continues to spin out of control.

The real truth was accidentally revealed by Henry Hyde on Saturday. He said, “you may disagree with us, but at least we believe in something”. In other words, we arch-conservatives can’t believe that we are wrong. We refuse to accept. We can not admit it. We can’t tolerate those who disagree with us because their values are not real. We are the only arbiters of truth and justice. If we only had an army….

* * *

What made Clinton’s “State of the Union” speech so good? He struck a tone of non-partisanship. He showed no sour grapes. He touched upon all of the current hot-button issues for voters and took the “correct” position. He pre-empted the Republicans on every issue except tax cuts. He laid out a clear, specific agenda, with realistic goals and achievable results. He reminded America that times are very good, indeed, knowing that most Americans will identify the current levels of prosperity and growth with his administration.

The Republicans keep parroting that history will remember Clinton as the first President, since Andrew Johnson, to be tried for impeachment. To the contrary, I believe history will remember this era as “the good old days”, and exciting period of change and innovation–and prosperity– and it may well become known as the Clinton era.

On the other hand, some politicians may be remembered for voting to impeach the most popular president of the past fifty years. Or they may be forgotten as voters cast them aside.

When people look back today to assess presidents, what do they remember? Who is currently the most popular?

John F. Kennedy, who really accomplished very little, but looked like he had a lot of potential. And Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who carried on an affair for many years. Why is Roosevelt remembered so fondly? Because he communicated very well. He led the country through a decade of prosperity and continued growth. He made sane, rational decisions that seem, in retrospect, to have been the right ones to make.

Ronald Reagan? He was liked on a personal basis, but a lot of people have not forgotten that, thanks to his fantastical “trickle down” economic theory, he took the budget from a $45 billion deficit to a $540 billion deficit. I’m not kidding. You can look it up. How is it that the Republicans continue to pass themselves off as the “fiscally responsible” party?

Clinton has taken the budget from hundreds of billions in the red to about $80 billion in the black. The Republicans like to say they did it, all by themselves. But they also want you to believe that Ronald Reagan was a great president. But he couldn’t have done without the Democratic Congress. I guess we remember what we want to remember.

Think about it. This is a fact, confirmed by the most extensive scientific polling ever conducted– and the November elections: Bill Clinton is the most popular president in forty years.

The bottom line, for many Americans, is really quite intuitive. Two ships are in the harbour. Both are going to the same destination. One of them is captained by Kenneth Starr, and he introduces his officers to you: Bob Barr, Lindsey Graham, Asa Hutchinson, Newt Gingrich (hey– he got this ball rolling), and the rest of the gang. They explain that there is going to be lots of rules and they will be enforced strictly. Homosexuals are not allowed on board. No smoking or drinking, or rock’n’roll. Rich people get all the big cabins. They have to pay more for them, but only rich people get to dine with captain or use the pool. Religious services are held every Sunday and attendance is obligatory. Let’s pray first. And you’all be sure and have lots of fun.

The other ship is captained by Bill Clinton. He introduces his officers. Vernon Jordan, Betty Currie, William Cohen, Al Gore, and Hillary. You notice there are lots of buxom maids with big teeth. Can’t afford a ticket? You can work your way across the ocean in the kitchen.

Which ship will you choose?

Bad Kitty. Bad, Bad Kitty

I just read in the Toronto Star that an elderly man who was missing for four and half years was finally found. Just think– missing for four years! His family must have been absolutely thrilled to find him.

Except that, well, he wasn’t feeling very well when they found him. In fact, he was sicker than a dog. He was so sick, there wasn’t much of a pulse. A long time between beats. They’re still waiting for one.

When he went missing, they must have hunted high and low for, well, at least fifteen minutes. Actually, there was no “they”. Nobody looked for him, because if anyone had looked for him, they would have found him right where he could almost always be found. He died in his own home.

In his bedroom.

No one noticed. For four years. No one missed him. No one wondered why he didn’t answer the phone anymore. No one checked to see why they didn’t get their usual Christmas card or anniversary phone call. No one, so it appears, even wondered why he hadn’t paid his heating bills.

I guess he must have lived in some isolated cabin somewhere, deep in the woods, far from any cell phone service.

Somewhere about two blocks from his wife and daughter. In the same town. Just down the street.

The body was not– how shall we put this delicately?– “pristine”. In fact, the body wasn’t there at all, which leads you to wonder what the police meant when they said they found “a body”. What they found were pieces of bones and stuff. Actually, the stuff was all gone. But they did find the bones. And the skeletons of a few cats. I don’t know if they used carbon dating or what, but it has been established that the cats died after the man did, of starvation, but not, as it were, before exhausting all the protein available in the house. Bad kitty.

Of course, some things are better left unspoken. And I’m sure the RCMP forensics laboratory has better things to do with their time, but I really think we ought to investigate the shady activities of those cats. Consider this: a few years ago, a man in London, Ontario, was given a fine for trying to drown some puppies in a creek. Now, if we are going to regard humans killing animals as criminal activity, why shouldn’t the reverse be true as well? And seeing as there is fairly compelling evidence here that those cats may have exceeded the bounds of feline decency, I think there ought at least to be an investigation. No one is advocating the death penalty here– but I think that at least a hefty fine is in order, if only as a deterrence.

Mostly, I am moved by the fact that a man can lay dead in his home for four years. He was a baby once, crying for his mama’s tit, gurgling and giggling at his grandpa’s faces. He was a toddler, exploring and playing and stretching and dreaming of noises and flashes, and a young boy on a tire swing seeking adventure, and a youth impatiently wishing he could be grown up, and a man going off to war because it seemed honorable, and an apprentice learning his craft, hoping to be a success. He met a girl, was charmed, and he courted and maybe even loved, and in the first flush of marriage was possibly an attentive, caring husband whose arrival home from work everyday brought laughter and joy into the house. He had children whom he bounced on his knee and sang little nonsense songs to. Maybe he changed jobs, moved to different places, tried to learn new trades, to provide for his family, to pay for the rare pleasure of a trip to the lake and an ice cream cone for everyone. He bought his first car, got cheated, smashed his fist on the hood in anger and learned painful lessons of commerce. He must have had friends, and relatives, with some of whom he was not on speaking terms. He probably had some disappointments, some bitter defeats. Perhaps he started drinking, and grew sullen and unpleasant. His friends died, moved away, disappeared, argued with him, and stopped coming to visit, and stopped inviting him to join them for a drink or two and checkers down at the Legion. His own former wife and daughter lived two blocks away and never came to see him, not once, in four years, not at Christmas, not on his birthday. He must have spent a long time in his room, watching the world go by on a blue glass tube, hearing the noises of the outside world, and believing that his life had completely unwound itself and the only thing to wait for was hiding for him, behind the grimace of a cat.

The World is Watching You

A new CMOS digital camera image sensor now costs only about five bucks to produce. This is the component of electronic products that translates an image into digital I/O for a computer.

There a lot of websites devoted to people who put these little cams into their apartments or bedrooms and invite you to watch them live their lives. But with these camera’s getting so cheap, we are going to see them everywhere.

You are going to see shoe-cams, so you can record where you walked. Your kids will wear hat-cams while playing baseball. You will have a car cam, so your wife can see if you’re sticking to the speed limit. There is going to be a camera in every phone-booth, so people can try to figure out what you were doing in a phone booth when you have a cell phone. There will be cameras in your lunch box, to see if you really eat your tuna salad sandwich, and in your office, so your boss can see if you’re in.

Fakes

I have before me a Comstock photographic catalogue. This is a lovely little colour magazine that lists hundreds of pictures which you can buy to use in your advertising or internal communications.

The pictures are technically gorgeous. Outstanding colour and composition. Every defect, human or not, has been air-brushed into oblivion. This is about image. If you want a picture of a rugby team to help convince your sales staff to work together, here it is: woman, man, woman, man, perfect teeth, blue eyes, fake sweat on their brows.

Here’s a little Huck Finn guy with a sling shot and chocolate or dirt smeared on his cheeks. I have three children and I’ve never seen a smear like that. It looks like it was stroked on with a paint brush.

Here’s a picture of wrecked computers stacked in a pile. They look like real computers, but the stack doesn’t look real. It looks like it’s been arranged for a photograph.

Here’s a picture of a woman making a presentation. She is perfect, but not too perfect. Yes, there is a tiny bow at the hips to credibility: she is chewing on a pen, and her hair is carefully arranged to look slightly unarranged. The lighting gives it away though. No real office has that kind of dispersed, ambient sunshine. No people in real life look like they’re having so much fun working.

Here are two young, healthy, beautiful couples frolicking on a beach. I have never in my life seen two couples who look like that. Oh sure, I’ve seen lots of beautiful people. And I’ve occasionally seen two beautiful people standing together, in the same frame. But here are four of them: they are absolutely physically perfect. They are little Club Mediterranean Androids. They have perfect smiles, perfect hair, perfect tans, perfect brawny or buxom chests.

Here’s a couple with their two children at a camp-out, in front of a quaint little wood fire. The mom is wearing make-up. The dad has a perfect tan. The little girl is blonde. Even the fire is perfect. The “father” has his arm around the boy, who is toasting a marshmallow on a perfectly twisted little stick. The lighting is magical: their faces are bright, but so is the grass behind them. I picture them all sleeping in a tidy little row of perfectly new perfectly clean sleeping bags: mom, girl, dad, boy, collie. A bear comes along and looks fierce, and everyone cowers behind dad, but he only wants a cookie. A skunk comes by. He isn’t about to spray anything but everyone holds their noses. That’s what you do if you see a skunk: hold your nose. They don’t look like they actually smell anything bad. They look like it’s fun to hold your nose when you look at a skunk and make funny faces.

Here’s an old couple in a canoe. They are looking at each other. Yes, in a canoe. He is leaning to his left, and she is half-turned, looking behind. The canoe is perfectly balanced. His hair looks blow-dried and waxed. She is wearing a floppy hat that looks like someone wrinkled it to make it look rustic They both have perfectly casual yet attractive jackets. They are smiling and happy. Fun, fun, fun.

Here is a picture of the sphinx, a large pyramid, and a full moon, all in one frame, at night, perfectly exposed. Amazing.

CIBC has an ad in which an architect talks about how banking has really improved his architecture. Someone found out he wasn’t really an architect. He was an actor. CIBC says, “What’s the big deal? This is advertising, after all.” But the ad said that “real people” were switching to CIBC. That’s okay. Maybe an actor somewhere opened a new account.

I don’t like Walmart, but in some of their catalogues they use real store employees to model their clothing. I thought that was really cool. This is what you might actually look like if you buy this shirt. And there is a picture of Julie Schiestal in sales, Oklahoma City, wearing the shirt. I only hope that the next time they downsize, they include a few of the laid-off employees in their catalogues. Here’s a new pair of running shoes. Here’s Ed, downsized in Buffalo.¬† He only makes minimum wage so he’ll need good running shoes¬† to get away from all his creditors now!

Republicans of Virtue

Who are these noble men who seek to purify the government by removing that festering pustule of delinquency, Bill Jefferson Clinton, from the sacred repository of all that is noble and good? Let’s meet some of them:

Bob Barr – when he is not busy addressing the John Birch Society or White Supremacist rallies, Bob likes to commit a little adultery himself. In all fairness, Bob claims that he doesn’t really understand what those white hoods are for.

Sonny Bono – died, before he could win a single Grammy for song-writing. But that’s okay: in democratic, freedom-loving America, his wife can have his job, ruling the country and impeaching presidents.

Zach Wamp of Tennessee opposes all government spending, unless it goes to his district.

Henry Hyde had a little fling on the side himself back he was Clinton’s age, but don’t let that fool you: he believes in something, not like those atheist, pagan Democrats!

Helen Chenoweth thinks all people who commit adultery and lie about it should be removed from office. Oops. Seems she committed adultery. I guess she didn’t lie about it. “Hi there. I’m Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth and I’m having sex with your husband.”

Steve Stockman of Texas likes to hang around with those militia groups that stockpile arms for the day of reckoning, when blacks and Jews try to take over America.

Enid Green Waldholtz, Utah, got elected with a little help from her father: $2 million worth of illegal campaign contributions. Oops. Let’s not investigate that.

Wes Cooley slightly exaggerated his war record. Seems he wasn’t part of that patriotic special operations unit in Korea after all.

Newt Gingrich. Aside from a few dozen ethics violations, such as trying to hide the income from his best-selling books, and the fact that he, like Dan Quayle, avoided military service, and the fact that he is the most ego-centric and unpopular politician in the country…. oh yes. Don’t forget that he engineered a complete shutdown of the federal government in November 1995, one of the most colossal political blunders of all time, because he was still in a snit over not being invited to exit the front door of Air Force One when it arrived in Israel for the funeral of Yitzhak Rabin.

Governor George Bush Jr. Well, let’s just hope Kenneth Starr isn’t still looking into lifestyles of the rich and elected by 2000…. but then again, Starr doesn’t investigate Republicans. That’s what we mean by “independent”. Let’s just say that George enjoyed his youth and leave it at that, shall we?

Fred Heineman of North Carolina thinks most middle class families earn around $700K.

Dan Burton… oh dear… that adultery thing again. He also raised the art of political discourse to a new high with his formal description of the president as “a scumbag”. Can you spell “statesmanship”?

Bob Dole. Let’s not speculate too much here about Mr. Family Values, but merely note, with dignity and restraint, that Mr. Dole’s first wife’s name is not Elizabeth.

Dan Quayle. War record, Dan? You weren’t one of those despicable draft dodgers were you? Chicken-hawk. Indiana National Guard? Oooo. Did you get a chance to lob a few grenades at Birch Bayh?

Robert Livingston. A good decent man who happened to have committed adultery too. What a shame. Good, decent men like Bob Barr forced him to resign.

Dutch Treat

Everybody knows that the Dutch are crazy. While we North Americans spend billions of dollars every year fighting marijuana use, the Dutch have virtually legalized it. What a crazy country! Amsterdam, with its numerous legal hash joints, is known as the “dope capital of Europe”. Here, we call that place “Washington DC”.

But, well, life is strange. According to a recent study by the Amsterdam University and Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics, only about 16% of the Dutch population, over the age of 12, have ever tried cannabis. The equivalent percentage for North America is 33%.

Zowie! That is really weird. Can anybody explain this?

Maybe it can be explained with the old “forbidden fruit” theory. Because it is illegal in the U.S. and Canada, our teenagers want to try it, to prove that they’re not sissies who listen to their mommies and daddies. In Holland, it’s the mommies and daddies (the politicians) that are saying, “Here, try it”, and the kids are saying, “What? Are you nuts?”

Maybe it’s like when your kid threatens to run away from home. One day, you hand her a suitcase and say, “Okay.” That usually stops them dead in their tracks. Maybe it’s the same with marijuana. Now that Dutch society says, “go ahead, use it if you like.” And the kids are going, “Why? Maybe I don’t want to.”

Well, I think we owe it to common sense to give it a try here. If it reduces drug use to legalize drugs, I’m all for it.

But why hasn’t it worked for guns?

Millennial Madness

As a computer professional, I get asked a lot about the Y2K problem.

Well, no, actually, I don’t. I get a lot of statements, not questions. Like, “that’s really something about the Y2K problem, isn’t it?” I always reply, “Well, I won’t be flying anywhere on January 1, 2000.” And that’s true. I have no plans to be flying anywhere at any time in the next few years. I won’t be climbing a mountain on January 1, 2000 either. What’s the big deal?

Is the Y2K problem real? No it isn’t. Ignore it and go back to sleep.

Of course, as everyone knows, the year 2000 is not the first year of the next millennium, therefore, January 1, 2000 is the first day of the last year of the 19th century. Big deal. What people are celebrating is not the first year of the new millennium, but the day on which THREE digits turn over on their watch calendar instead of two. We are so excited by the idea of watching three digits turn over, that we are going to throw a world-wide bash to celebrate it. Well, it is a lot bigger than watching your car odometer turn over to 200,000.

Y2K

As a computer professional, I get asked a lot about the Y2K problem.

Well, no, actually, I don’t. I get a lot of statements, not questions. Like, “that’s really something about the Y2K problem, isn’t it?” I always reply, “Well, I won’t be flying anywhere on January 1, 2000.” And that’s true. I have no plans to be flying anywhere at any time in the next few years. I won’t be mountain climbing on January 1, 2000 either. Big deal.

Is the Y2K problem real?