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School Busing

We have an oil shortage? We need to save fuel? This doesn't make sense. We spend billions of dollars to bus our kids to school (many being picked up door to door) and then build million dollar gymnasiums to give them exercise. What is wrong with this picture?

George Dorunda


So...even after four airplanes were hijacked and used to kill more than 5,000 people on September 11, you're still a little squeamish about letting commercial airline pilots carry guns?  Then it's time for a story.

It happened on July 6, 1954.  During this time, pilots routinely carried pistols.   They carried pistols because they hand-carried the mail from the plane to the terminal, and postal regulations required pilots to be armed.  American Airlines had their pilots buy .380 semiautomatic pistols.  The late Captain William "Bill" Bonnell of Fort Worth, Texas, had bought one too.  He kept it in his flight bag.  He was no stranger to guns, having flown in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

That morning, Bonnell had flown the American Airlines DC-6 from Fort Worth to Cleveland.   There were 58 passengers on board.  They were all seated.  Bonnell spoke to a young mother with two small children seated at the front of the aircraft.  Then he entered the cockpit and locked himself, his co-pilot, and the engineer inside.

Then the cockpit door opened.  It was a teenager--a big kid armed with a pistol.   He told Bonnell and his crew, "I want to go to Mexico--no stops."

Bonnell and the co-pilot tried to explain that the plane didn't have enough fuel to fly to Mexico.  But the teen wasn't convinced.  Flight engineer Bob Young told the kid that they would take off as he ordered--but it was necessary to throw a switch behind him before the plane could taxi.

The hijacker turned to look for the switch.  That's when Bonnell reached into his flight bag, pulled out his gun, and shot the hijacker.  The hijacker tried to shoot back--but his gun misfired.  Bonnell shot him again.

After the hijacker was taken to a hospital, Bonnell flew the DC-6 back to Fort Worth.   In mid-flight he received word from Cleveland that the hijacker had died.  His name was Raymond Kuchenmeister, and he had run away from home, stole a pistol, and planned to hijack an airplane earlier in the day.

Here's a man who saved the lives of his 58 passengers and his crew.  He proved that armed pilots can stop hijackers from taking control of an airliner.  Yet our federal government still refuses to arm commercial pilots--and in the same breath resolves to send Air Force fighter jets to destroy a hijacked plane before it can be used as a weapon.

Letter From A Serviceman!

Dear American's,

When I opened my e-mail this morning I had about twenty forwards of the article written by Gordon Sinclair, the Canadian who so eloquently praised the United States. What most of you do not realize is that this commentary was written many years ago. Those of us in the Military Service have known about it for a long time. Now, Americans are flooding the net with it as if it were new. It is not. When it was written most Americans didn't read it, because most Americans did not care. The tragedy that befell all of us on September 11th shocked America. America no longer feels safe. Many of you have said, "The government should have known! 30 Billion Dollars is spent on intelligence! What about the Military!?" Just a reminder America, you voted our government into office. For years you allowed some dishonest politicians and twisted television media personalities to shape your ideas about the defense of our nation. Why? Because most Americans were too lazy to look beyond the three minute sound-bites on the evening news. Here's a news flash not being broadcast much, "On September 11th, America had the exact level of protection, both militarily and intelligence, that it was willing to pay for".

Only yesterday the Congress and the Senate approved 40 BILLION dollars as a "Down Payment" to fight this War. A short time ago, our politicians said a 100 Million dollar increase for the Navy budget was substantial. In that same bill they ordered the Navy to conduct an 85 Million Dollar Study on...guess what America!? Missiles Defense?! No. Desperately needed parts for our fighter aircraft? Wrong again. Training for Navy Seals? Nah uh. They wanted Breast Cancer research. Yes, America, your elected officials decided that the US Navy needed more mammograms and less missiles. Was this an under the table sneaky move? No, it was right out in the open. The Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Navy both opposed it. A New York Senatorial Candidate (Yes, she's the one) was enraged that the Military would be so sexist and irresponsible to the needs of civilians and wanted the Navy to give the money back immediately! But the media paid it little mind. So, America paid little attention.

Did any one ever watch CSPAN? Particularly when the Heads of our Armed Services essentially begged OUR representatives to give the Military more money to fight terrorism and maintain a strong defense? Did you see the debates by the Heads of the Intelligence Services that terrorism was the new threat? They told the committees of Congress that the CIA, the FBI, and the Service did not have the money to build the necessary intelligence networks in the areas where terrorists were being harbored. They warned again and again that there was clear and present danger within America's borders. America must have been watching one of the other 114 satellite channels.

The Military said: "We need more money to maintain military readiness and Combat Training."

America Answered : "What the Military needs is Sensitivity Training! You're all sexist homophobes! I saw it on 60 Minutes!"

The Military said: "We need money to build ships, planes, tanks, and improve our technology. America still has credible threats throughout the world. Terrorism will come to America's doorstep."

America Answered: "You're all part of a vast right-wing conspiracy. There is no more Soviet Threat! My Senator told me so! He/She says we do not need such a big military! You're dinosaurs trying to hold onto the Cold War! We need Social Programs!"

The Military said: "We need to recruit more Americans into the military. We need to increase our force."

America Answered: "You're not taking my kids! We're going to shut down the ROTC programs at our high schools and universities, because you discriminate against alternative lifestyles! ROTC teaches CHILDREN (under 21) how to shoot guns! You just want another Columbine! Rosie and Oprah say so!"

The Military said: "We can't keep interfering in the civil wars of small insignificant countries. It wastes our time, expends our resources, decreases training, and demoralizes our troops. The men and women of the United States are Warriors trying to defend OUR nation, we are not the third world's police force."

America Answered: "You heartless bastards! Can't you see the tear in the eye of that starving child!! There are flies on her face for Christ's Sake!? Get Moving! Jesse Jackson on CNN said that is what we pay you for!"

The Military Asked: "Why isn't America enraged over the terrorist attack on the USS COLE that killed seventeen AMERICAN Sailors? How about the Air Force barracks bombed in Saudi Arabia? The embassy staffs in Africa? The Soldiers mutilated and dragged through the streets in Somalia?"

America Answered: "We don't have time right now! We're busy defending Animal Rights! Our schools are handing out automatic weapons! The federal government is discriminating against cross-dressing Bolivian hermaphrodites! The police are all members of the Ku Klux Klan! The lack of Ozone is ruining my tan! If they cut deeper into Food Stamps those poor women will have to move down to Size 18/20 Channel dresses! AND THE WORST! Corporations are raising the prices of their products sooo high I might not be able to afford the multi-disc DVD Player for my 36'" digital ready TV! Besides, YOU GUYS ARE PAID TO DIE!

So, America, while you sit on your couch or around your office coffee pots and ask, "Why did those terrorists kill innocent civilians? Why didn't they go after the Military?"

Remember this America: They already had but America didn't care. These Terrorists realized that they needed to kill American Civilians, and lots of them, before they could have their desired reaction from the people of this country. Well, now they have it.


Every one of us in this country might as well be wearing a bull's-eye on our chests.  We need to gear up for a war--because once the bombs start dropping on Afghanistan, retaliation by terrorists is a certainty.  One senator who attended a closed-door briefing of the Select Intelligence Committee said it's not a matter of "if" the terrorists will strike again, but "when."

With that in mind, it's time for President Bush and John Ashcroft to work on expanding, not hampering, the ability of Americans to keep and bear arms for self-defense.

A few modest proposals to get the debate going:

1.  Let's start with arming commercial airline pilots and allowing armed sky marshals.  We've gone over this one.  Right now the airlines and the federal government trust pilots to move hundreds of tons of aircraft and hundreds of people from one place to another--yet they don't trust pilots with firearms.  This just doesn't make sense.  Think of the deterrent effect an armed crew would have against a would-be hijacker.  Remember--El Al, Israel's national airline, has had sky marshals for decades--and no El Al aircraft has been hijacked in more than 30 years.

2.  Allow law-abiding Americans with concealed-weapons licenses to board aircraft with their guns.  Special training for an “aircraft endorsement?”  Sure, no problem.   Then give them frangible ammunition so a stray shot won't punch a hole in the fuselage.  Will a hijacker be so bold if he thinks the guy sitting beside him could be armed?

3.  Allow national concealed carry.  Make every state a "shall-issue" state with uniform procedures for obtaining a concealed-weapons license.  Create uniform laws concerning the interstate transport of firearms.  Allow concealed carry reciprocity in all 50 states.  Right now the laws are a jumbled mess, and only about 30 states allow their residents to carry concealed weapons.  The rest either don't allow concealed carry or make them nearly impossible for the average citizen to obtain.   Studies have shown that mass shootings tend to drop by 84 percent after states enact "shall-issue" concealed carry legislation.

4.  Repeal the Clinton Crime Bill's absurd ban on high-capacity magazines.  Most Americans can still own magazines that were made before the 1994 ban, but they're expensive and harder to find.  Handguns and rifles nowadays come with magazines that are limited to just 10 rounds.  Terrorists aren't known for their adherence to the law--so why should we assume that they'll only have wimpy 10-round magazines for their AK-47s?  If they're going to start something in America, then American civilians should be able to meet them with the maximum firepower available.

5.  Allow Americans with concealed-weapons permits to carry on school grounds.   In the vast majority of states, this is still a no-no.  Schools in Israel were a favorite target of terrorists in the early 1970s until Israel started arming and training their teachers.  School shootings in Israel are virtually nonexistent--the terrorists have moved on in search of softer targets.

Yes, the gun grabbers are going to raise all kinds of hell over these proposals.   They'll say that arming Americans will only result in a bloodbath on the streets.   Road rage and air rage will boil over into mass shootings.

Yet the evidence points to an overwhelmingly positive deterrent effect.  Predators of all kinds avoid areas where they know people have guns.  They'll avoid these areas because they don't want to get shot while they're committing a crime.  This applies equally to burglars, muggers, rapists...and terrorists.


When is the proper time to say this?  After the mourning?  Before we get a chance to fire our first shots?  Talk about this too early and you lack respect for those who died and those who still cry.  Say it too late and it’s …..well, too late.

Americans – if you love freedom; I mean if you truly love freedom and not just pay the word lip service – don’t let your guard down.  These are very dangerous times for liberty, and the threat doesn't only come from terrorists.

We are in the mood to grant our leaders and elected representatives extraordinary temporary powers right now.  Surely some extraordinary powers will be needed to fight this difficult war.  This is where the danger lies.

Let’s turn back the clock about 60 years to the beginning of World War II.  Then, as now, our politicians asked citizens to indulge them some temporary extra powers.  With Pearl Harbor still coated with a layer of oil and blood Americans were in no mood to say “no.”   Here’s one example.

Up until W.W.II Americans would pay their taxes once a year.  They would figure out how much they owed from the previous year’s salary, write a check, and send it in.  Under this system there was not one taxpaying American who did not have a clear idea of just how much money he made and how much of that money he sent to the federal government in taxes. 

Well – the politicians needed to step up the cash flow a bit.  There were uniforms and equipment to buy and the government truly couldn't wait until the next tax payments were due.  The politicians went to the people of The United States with a plan.  That plan was called “withholding.”  It was really very simple.  While America was fighting the war the government would go to our employers and ask them to take out the income taxes before the paychecks were written to the employees.  This would be entirely temporary.  When the war was over everything would return to normal.   Enter the era of “take-home pay.”

If there is one word that best explains the ability of politicians to constantly expand the size and scope of government, and thus their own power, without raising an alarm among and incurring the wrath of the electorate, that word is “withholding.”

To put it mildly, working, salaried Americans really don’t know what they’re paying in federal income taxes.  Walk up to a co-worker on April 15th and ask them how much they had to pay in taxes this year.   You’re going to get one of two answers.   Either they will say “I didn't have to pay anything, I’m getting some back!” Or they will quote a figure equal to the check they actually had to include in their tax return.  All of those taxes collected out of every paycheck and bonus for the entire year?  Gone and forgotten … never an issue.  Now, ask your friend how much he makes?  My bet is that the answer – if he does answer – will begin with the words “I take home …. “  Ahhhh, the magic “take-home pay.”

If Americans don’t know how much they make, and how much they pay in taxes, how are they going to get upset at our over burdensome tax rate and the obscene growth in government?

Another example of temporary restrictions  in time of national emergency?  How about the wage freezes during W.W.II?  These wage freezes caused employers to seek other ways to compete for valued employees.  From this came the idea of “benefits.”  Benefits like health insurance.  Now the conventional wisdom in America is that the employer, not the employee, is responsible for the employee’s health care.  The concept that someone other than the individual is responsible for that individual’s health care is the primary causative factor in the spiraling cost of health care in the United States.

I have been saying for years that Americans are, by and large, increasingly willing to trade freedom for security.  Now – with the arrival of terrorism on our shores – that willingness may increase.  I've lost count of the national leaders, Gephardt, Daschle, Lott, Brokaw, Jennings and others who have talked of our need to give up some of our freedoms for a little increased security.  Ronald Reagan had an answer for that.  He said that there was no “s” on “freedom.”  It is indivisible.  You’re either free, or you’re not.

Over the next days, weeks and months we are going to see a multitude of proposals and ideas coming from legislators and pontificators.  Many of these ideas will involve encroachments on the privacy of individual Americans and on our basic freedom.

Try, for instance, the idea of a National Identity Card.  I have seen this idea proposed at least a dozen times since the attacks.  Presumably we would show these ID cards when we board airplanes or enter secure or sensitive areas.  Most Americans are just about ready to accept this idea, right?  After all, ID cards might have helped prevent this terrorist tragedy.

Well --- let’s spin the clock hands forward a few hundred days.  Let me tell you where the National ID card idea will undoubtedly lead.  This all stems from the basic concept that the more information a government has on its citizens the easier it is to rule those citizens.

Times of national peril present a wonderful opportunity to politicians to increase their power.  Yes, they feel the same patriotism we all do … but their desire for power doesn't diminish. 

Just keep your guard up.

Gun-Free Zone Terrorists

These terrorists knew that an airplane would be a gun-free zone; an area where their victims would have no means of self-defense.  Throughout the country the statistics reflect the same stark fact:  People who pass background checks and obtain concealed carry permits present NO threat of criminal activity.  What if there had been such a person on either of the three aircraft that reached their target.

I'll draw a parallel for you.  Luby’s Cafeteria, Killeen Texas.  Shoney’s Restaurant, Anniston Alabama.

In October of 1991 a deranged gunman shot 23 people to death in a Luby’s Restaurant in Killeen, Texas.  None of the victims were armed.  There was one woman there with a permit to carry a gun – but Luby’s had a rule, no guns!  That woman left her gun in her car while she went inside to have lunch with her parents.  The gunman didn't care about Luby’s rule.  When he opened fire the woman who had left her gun in her car watcher both of her parents die.

Anniston Alabama – several months later.  Two predators with guns enter a Shoney’s restaurant.  They tell everyone to get up and head to the back of the restaurant.  One of the diners had a gun.  He pulled it out and fired.  Result?   One dead predator, the other captured.

Oh – by the way.  The media gave extensive coverage to Luby’s.  None to Shoneys.   No surprise there.

Is there a chance some nut-case would get a permit?  Sure there is!  Is there a chance that these terrorists might have decided that airliners aren't a good target if there is a possibility that there were armed people on board?  You decide.

Man sentenced to listen to polka music

By The Associated Press

CAMBRIDGE, Ohio (AP) A man was sentenced to listen to four hours of polka king Frankie Yankovic's greatest hits for driving through the city with his windows rolled down and his truck's stereo blaring.

Municipal Judge John Nicholson found Alan Law guilty of disorderly conduct and ordered him to pay a $100 fine or listen to polka tunes.

Law chose to face the music.

Nicholson picked Yankovic's music because he thought the 19-year-old Law would not be a fan of the Cleveland polka legend, who died in 1998.

"Most of the time I try to impart the Golden Rule to people: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. You may enjoy listening to your music, but many people do not want to hear your music," Nicholson said.

Law listened to the full four hours of Yankovic's hits, which include "Blue Skirt Waltz," "Who Stole the Kishka" and "Too Fat Polka," in a police station interview room Thursday.

Anti-Gun Illogic

All you anti-gunners out there who think gun manufacturers should face liability for the misuse of their products...think about it.  I know it's hard for you, but sit down and noodle it out for a few minutes.  By your logic...

...Drivers could sue cell phone manufacturers for causing car crashes.

...Victims of drunk drivers could sue liquor companies.

...Rosie O'Donnell could sue spoon manufacturers for making her so fat!

Gun control and logic just don't mix.  Emotions dominate the gun control argument--do it for the children, save a loved one's life, and whatnot.  But the facts show that America is safer because its citizens are armed.

The easiest way to shut a gun grabber up is to use cold, hard facts.

Fact: "It's For The Children"

Whenever you hear a politician say, "It's for the children" it usually means its going to cost you more of your freedom and/or more of your money.



  The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.  Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.


The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.  Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

CBS, NBC and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.  "America" is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper, and everybody cries, then they sing "It's Not Easy Being Green."   Bill and Hillary Clinton make a special guest appearance on the CBS Evening News to tell a concerned Dan Rather that they will do everything they can for the grasshopper who has been denied the prosperity he deserves by those who benefited unfairly during the Reagan summers, or as Bill refers to it as "Temperatures of the 80's."

Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton stage a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing "We shall overcome". Jesse then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake.

  Al Gore exclaims in an interview with Peter Jennings that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his "fair share". Finally, the EEOC drafts the "Economic Equity and Anti-Ant Act", retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.

Hillary gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that Bill appointed from a list of single-parent welfare recipients who can only hear cases on Thursday's between 1:30 and 3:00 PM when there are no talk shows scheduled. The ant loses the case. The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him since he doesn't maintain it. The ant has disappeared in the snow. And on the TV, which the grasshopper
  bought by selling most of the ant's food, they are showing Bill Clinton standing before a wildly applauding group of Democrats announcing that a new era of "fairness" has dawned in America.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.

Gun owners aren't held liable for safekeeping

Appeals court ruling follows case involving man who stole his parents' gun and shot an Allen County police officer.
July 25, 2001  

The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that gun owners do not have a duty to the public to reasonably care for their firearms.

The 2-1 decision upholds a trial court decision dismissing a lawsuit against the owners of a gun used to kill an Allen County police officer.

Deputy Eryk Heck was killed when he exchanged fire with burglary suspect Timothy Stoffer on Aug. 15, 1997. Stoffer, who also died, stole the gun used in the shootout from his parents.

The Heck family sued Ray and Patricia Stoffer, in 1999, claiming Timothy Stoffer had criminal and violent tendencies and his parents had a duty to ensure that he did not gain access to the handgun used to kill Heck.

The appeals court said that some Indiana cases require reasonable care in other contexts, such as by dog owners or people waxing a public floor.

Those cases are different, though, because they don't involve a constitutionally protected right, the decision said.

"I'm happy. It was a good decision," said David Hawk, the Stoffers' attorney. "You can't owe a duty to the whole world. If so, then no one can do anything without fear of liability."

Hawk said he hoped the decision would bring some closure to the tragedy, but he said he believed the case likely would be appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court.

John Theisen, the attorney representing the Heck family, said he will recommend to his clients that they appeal.

"It is a cutting-edge question that courts are going to have to address," Theisen said.

Judge Patrick Sullivan dissented, saying the Stoffers knew of the likelihood that their son might break the law.

"The duty of reasonable care is owed to the persons who foreseeably might be injured by unauthorized possession and use of the gun," Sullivan said. "Deputy Heck was just such a person."

Another case of zero-tolerance gone awry!

This time it's in Washington state.  A student wrote a poem about a fictional mass murder on campus.  Government school administrators freaked out and expelled him.  And a federal appeals court ruled on Friday that his expulsion was appropriate. 

Suspension of student for poem of violence upheld

Saturday, July 21, 2001

A Washington state school district acted appropriately when it expelled a student for writing a poem about a fictitious campus mass murder, a federal appeals court in San Francisco said yesterday.

The case weighed a student's First Amendment right of free expression against school officials' needs to provide a safe campus environment in the wake of shootings at several high schools.

The decision hands school officials, who are struggling to cope with campus violence, the authority to expel a student if the school holds a reasonable belief that the student may pose a danger.

"Parents and the public expect schools to protect their children and that is getting more and more difficult in modern times," said Tyna Ek, the lawyer for the Blaine School District, which expelled the student. "This says that schools can act when there are danger signals without knowing for sure that violence is going to happen."

The decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court's ruling that Blaine High School "was not acting reasonably" when it expelled student James LaVine, whose poetry detailed the methodical mass killing of 28 people at a school.

The student's lawyer, Breean Beggs, said the decision could chill student speech and perhaps give educators leverage to punish students for their ideas.

LaVine, a 16-year-old junior at the time, was expelled for 17 school days in 1998 after submitting his poem.

Government Waste!

Alderman Irene Smith was filibustering a redistricting debate at the St. Louis Board of Alderman when she asked to use the rest room. James Shrewsbury, the board's acting president, refused the request, apparently in hope of ending the filibuster. Instead, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "about 40 minutes later, friends of Smith held a tablecloth, sheet and quilt around her" while she "appeared" to relieve herself in a wastebasket. "What I did behind that tablecloth is my business," Smith told reporters.

Zero tolerance nonsense strikes again!

Clark County School District:Expel first,questions later

In his fourth-hour class at Woodbury Middle School the day after April Fool's, Joseph K was doing the work of any 14-year-old Clark County School District student when Principal Joseph Murphy summoned him to the hallway.

Joseph K., not his real name, had no idea what was up. Maybe the A/B student was being recognized for his outstanding grades? Maybe he'd received another award for his devotion to the Boy Scouts?
Before his teen-aged mind had time to process the fact that the principal wasn't alone, three school police officers turned him around and slapped on the handcuffs.

It would be three more days before Joseph K. or his grandparents would learn specifically why he'd been arrested, and 10 more days before he'd be allowed to return home.

Now, more than two months later, Joseph K. and his grandparents are all in professional counseling--his grandmother broke down in tears during an interview two weeks ago--to deal with the recurring nightmares and sleepless nights. Joseph K. has never been allowed back into school, and was formally expelled recently.

But that's not the worst of it, his grandparents say. What's worse is that the school district has forever labeled their grandson. During his expulsion hearing, district officials said Joseph K. fits the "profile" of a potentially violent student: He's well-groomed, gets good grades and is well liked.

In other words, a menace to society.


Days after Joseph K. was kicked out of the eighth grade, one of his teachers addressed his former classmates, looking at the empty desk Joseph K. usually occupied. "Be careful what you say, or someone you know might not be here anymore."

But neither Joseph K. nor his grandparents understand how something he said at home to a couple of flirtatious girls could have led to his arrest, jailing and expulsion from school.

It was March 30, about 11:30 p.m., when Joseph K. got the phone call that changed his young life. Two girls from Chaparral High School, one of them an acquaintance, called to ask him out on a date, of sorts: Would he escort them to the 7-Eleven to hang out? It didn't take him long to answer: "I didn't want to hang out," he recalls, "It was late."

The girls then put him on hold. He waited patiently. Some 15 minutes later, they got back on the phone, and Joseph K. was a little steamed.

"I said, 'It's people like you who get on the Columbine lists,'" he recalls. His reference was to the now-infamous April 1999 killing of 13 at Columbine High School in Colorado by students Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris.

He had no idea that the school-shooting reference would stir police to action.


To learn about the type of investigation school police conducted to justify Joseph K.'s arrest, Las Vegas Weekly made an Open Records request for police reports. To protect the identities of juveniles involved, the paper asked that their names be blackened out. Sgt. Ken Young, school police spokesman, said school lawyers had not finished reviewing the reports before the Weekly's deadline. Young offered a synopsis of the police investigation.

"The kids started reporting to administration, and we started getting information from administrators at Chaparral and Woodbury," Young said. "And (Joseph K.) had some other issues he was dealing with."

Those "issues" might have had something to do with the fact that Joseph K. has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a condition treated with prescription drugs. Since being treated, his grandparents say, his grades have skyrocketed from Fs and Ds to As and Bs. And after a court ruling 13 years ago, Joseph K.'s grandparents became his legal guardians.

But Joseph K.'s medical condition isn't what sealed his fate with police. Columbine did. Young was very open about the state of mind of the Clark County School District and its police department during the month of April.

"This was leading up to the Columbine time," Young said, referring to April 20, the two-year anniversary of the Colorado shooting. "So any type of rumor, any kinds of threats of joking, jestering or kidding, we were following up on. This was one of those cases. If the kid makes any type of threat with a weapon, and he has access, whether (it) belongs to the parent in the home or not, they are automatically taken into custody."

School police also found in Joseph K.'s locker and backpack more "evidence:" a class report he'd been writing about the Holocaust, which included sketches of Nazi symbols. Also taken was an essay he'd written for another class, answering the question: What's the biggest problem facing schools today? Joseph K.'s essay focused on school violence.

After questioning the teen--Is he depressed? Did he have a "list?" Did he hate anyone?--police took him to his grandparent's house, grandpa signed a consent form specifically letting them search Joseph K.'s room, according to the grandfather. They not only searched the kid's room, including his computer files and email, they also went through grandpa's closet, where they found his shotgun. They took it and the boy's BB-gun.

"We're thinking at the time that he did something real stupid in school, and they're going to punish him somehow," grandpa says, explaining why he didn't oppose the search

When grandpa asked what the boy was being charged with, police replied: "You'll get a call," and took the teen away.


During a family court hearing the next day, Joseph K. and his grandparents were only told that the teen was being charged with "harassment." They received no paperwork detailing what prompted the charges: They weren't even allowed to have a copy of the paper that listed "harassment" as the charge.

Sgt. Young says the boy was deemed a "habitual disciplinary problem," a term defined by the state Legislature two years ago to mean anyone who "threatened or extorted, or attempted to threaten or extort, another pupil or (school employee)" in a year's time. By state law, a student who has never had a problem before can be deemed a "habitual" troublemaker with one erroneous act.

None of that came up in court. Sylvia Beller, the juvenile special hearing master, refused to release Joseph K. to his grandparents until he'd been evaluated by county psychologists. The teen got out a week later. He couldn't return to Woodbury--he first had to wait for the district's Pupil Personnel Services to schedule an expulsion hearing. But in the meantime, Woodbury gave him an award for being a good student: He got a "Smart Card" for his efforts. He appreciated it almost as much as the one he got while taking classes in the juvenile jail.

To say Joseph K. got an education during his 10 days in jail would be a grave understatement. He says he saw teens strapped in chairs, as punishment, for what seemed like days on end. And every time his grandparents visited, he was strip-searched--anally and under his scrotum. "I was trying to make the best of it," he says, sheepishly recalling the searches.

His grandparents weren't so calm. "You think it's going to go away, because it's so ridiculous," says Grandpa, his face turning red. "You expect any day a call from the police saying it was a big mistake. They never did."

Some of it went away June 6, when Beller dismissed all charges. (The teen's grandparents marveled at Beller's decision, especially since Mike Gardner, Joseph K.'s Clark County public defender, told them he wanted Joseph K. to plead to lesser charges.)

Despite the court's dismissal, the school district went ahead and formally kicked Joseph K. out of school for one quarter on June 13. It was during his expulsion hearing that Joseph K. and his grandparents were told that his "type"--well-groomed, good students who are well liked--fit the profile of kids who shoot up schools. No one from Pupil Personnel Services returned calls for comment from Las Vegas Weekly.

Last week, Joseph K. enrolled at the so-called Washington Opportunity School, a series of prison-like trailers at Lake Mead Boulevard and White Drive.


Though juvenile crime rates had been falling long before Columbine (the percentage of students reporting that they were victims of crime fell from 10 percent in '95 to 8 percent in '99), school paranoia, here and around the country, is on the rise. During April alone, Young said, there were more than 20 arrests in the school district.

"We were chasing down rumors for what seemed like the whole month," said the sergeant. "It was ridiculous."

It's all part of what Allen Lichtenstein, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, calls the district's "zero intelligence," rather than "zero tolerance," policy.

"We're talking about insanity and it just gets worse and worse," said Lichtenstein. "What it's really all about is insurance and liability and the school district saying, 'hey, no one can ever accuse us of anything.' So zero tolerance equaling zero intelligence is really the key."

A block from Woodbury Middle School at Joseph K.'s home, grandpa is still waiting to get his shotgun back, and his grandson is facing new dangers at Opportunity School, which his grandfather describes as situated in a neighborhood infested with gangs.

And still, there's disbelief.

"What have I learned?" grandpa says, looking down, shaking his head, "God, this can happen to anybody's kid. Anybody's. And how many more times is it happening that we never hear about?"

Thank God! PETA has finally met its match

It's finally happened. After hassling Burger King, McDonald's, Vogue Magazine and cancer-stricken New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, PETA has met its match.

When the militant bunny-huggers launched a broadside against a Beach church for a goldfish giveaway at a fair this spring, they may have thought they were taking on a country curate. A reticent reverend. A turn-the-other-cheek Christian chump.

Instead, they crossed swords with the outspoken, chain-smoking Rev. Tom Quinlan -- just call him TQ -- pastor of the Church of the Holy Family in Virginia Beach.

In response to PETA's attack on the goldfish prizes, Quinlan anointed himself ``Cruelty Caseworker to the Human Race'' and unleashed a blistering counter-attack filled with something missing from PETA's barrage: logic, and compassion -- for people.

``I had never thought much about PETA before,'' Quinlan confessed when I called him this week after a proud parishioner delivered a copy of his letter to my house. ``But I could hardly believe the level of their arrogance.''

It began on May 21 with a typical PETA screed sent to the carnival chairman of Quinlan's church. In it, Amy Rhodes, PETA ``Cruelty Caseworker,'' claimed that the animal rights group had received ``calls of concern'' about the welfare of goldfish that were given away at the Holy Family church fair.

Rhodes fired off the usual sanctimonious PETA-prattle, accusing others of a casual attitude toward ``sentient'' animals and scolding the church for distributing the little fish. The inane epistle brought a whole new meaning to the word ``carping.''

She closed the letter with a cursory ``May we hear from you?''

Be careful what you ask for, Ms. Rhodes.

TQ immediately went on the offensive, penning a brilliant response replete with theology, deontology, ichthyology -- and even a curse.

Dear Ms. Rhodes, I waited until after our parish fair was over before responding to your calumnious, judgmental, inane and arrogant letter.

Calumnious -- it doesn't get much better than that.

TQ then vivisected PETA's high-handed letter bit by bit.

You write: ``Sadly operators of these booths view the animals as expendable commodities.'' How could you possibly know that? That is a sin of calumny againt human animals. You are totally out of ethical order.

You go, Father.

In response to PETA's assertion that a ``casual attitude about the disposability of animals'' abounds at church carnivals, Quinlan demanded that Rhodes ``prove it'' before letting loose with a searing attack on PETA's callous attitude toward humans.

In the near future I plan to picket your cavalier attitude about children by having a few starving young-uns standing in every dog food, cat food, pooper-scooper and litter box aisle in all the local grocery stores, drawing attention to their plight and asking folks not to purchase these costly consumer products thus allowing these creatures of God to die a natural and happy death.

(And the good reverend probably didn't even know that PETA has been waging a relentless campaign against the March of Dimes, trying to pressure corporations to stop supporting the charity that works tirelessly to stamp out birth defects. PETA is outraged because sometimes saving children from a lifetime of misery involves animal research.)

Quinlan pointed out that before lecturing church folks about goldfish, PETA might want to study Catholic teachings that direct the faithful to be compassionate, concerned and nurturing towards all of God's creation.

He saved the best for last, of course:

Finally, I hereby cast a curse upon PETA: May the Gush Emunim succeed in rebuilding the Third Temple in Jerusalem so that there will be the daily slaughtering of thousands of lambs, bullocks, and goats in worship.

Quinlan postulated that such an animal holocaust would force PETA to uproot from Norfolk and move to Israel.

``That part was tongue-in-cheek, of course,'' Quinlan told me of his good wishes toward the Israeli fundamendalists.

So far, the silence from 501 Front St. in Norfolk has been deafening.

``What can they possibly say?'' Quinlan asked, laughing. ``I'm right.''

Score one for the Cruelty Caseworker for the Human Race.

Whoopi Goldberg on Communism!

It happened on ABC’s Politically Incorrect Tuesday, July 3, 2001.  Two of the guests were Whoopi Goldberg and talk show host Dennis Prager.  The conversation turned to fighting Communism.   Here is the exchange between Prager and Goldberg:

Dennis Prager: Why is fighting Communism not a damn good reason? Fighting Nazism was a damn good reason to sacrifice your brothers. Why was fighting Communism morally different?

Whoopi Goldberg  : I'll tell you. Because to me, I'm not sure that Communism is necessarily a bad thing.

You read it right. Aren't these entertainers just wonderful?

Fourth Right Dreaming

Lowell Ponte - July 4, 2001

"GOD FORBID WE SHOULD EVER BE 20 YEARS without such a rebellion," wrote Thomas Jefferson, author of America’s Declaration of Independence, to a friend in 1787 regarding Shay’s Rebellion. "….what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms."

Reading Jefferson’s words on a hot, sticky night on the week of the Fourth of July, I felt sleep overtaking me. In what might have been a dream, I found myself watching the Founding Fathers as they prepared and began a revolution against the British rulers. But something had changed. History had frame-shifted by three centuries, and now their revolution was happening not in the year 1776 but in 2076 in a brave, new world full of modern technologies and laws that have emerged.

I watched a small group of the Founders, wearing Tee shirts and track shoes, gathered in an air-conditioned Philadelphia basement. I recognized Washington, despite his healthy teeth, and Jefferson and the others without their powdered wigs. But where was John Adams, whose urging had made Jefferson the Declaration’s drafter, celebrated today in David McCullough’s best-selling biography?

"The British detected Adams’ rebellious traits in kindergarten, using psychological tests for anti-social tendencies," a ghostly spirit at my side explained. "He was given tranquilizers and sensitivity training at age five that cured his politically-incorrect anti-monarchist tendencies, and the same happened with his firebrand cousin Sam Adams. They both now love and support King George III."

"And John’s wife Abigail was arrested at Boston’s Logan Airport. She tried to avoid surveillance by dressing like a man – but since the 1990s, security scanners have allowed government agents to look completely through unsuspecting men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing down to their genitalia, and Abigail did not have male genitalia. She also bought a ticket with cash, something that brings instant government surveillance. She, too, now loves the King."

And where, I asked, is John Hancock, who boasted of penning his name so large on the Declaration of Independence that the king could easily read it? "Surveillance cameras using artificial intelligence programming identified him despite his Indian disguise at the Boston Tea Party – the same kind of surveillance cameras used in parts of London as early as 2001," the spirit said. "Hancock and his Sons of Liberty were convicted of violating the environmental laws by polluting Boston Harbor with tea. Their properties and fortunes were confiscated under asset forfeiture laws, and they too all received appropriate sensitivity training and brain-adjusting medication."

Was Paul Revere among those arrested? "Of course," replied my mysterious companion. "And the British were able to use agents provocateurs and a phony telephone call to trick the farmers of Lexington and Concord into bringing their guns out of hiding to confront the Redcoats sent to seize their gunpowder. But, of course, the colonists had the new legally-required ‘safer’ guns that could be ‘fired only by their owners’ – you know, the type with computer circuitry inside. So when the colonists aimed them at British commandos, the Redcoats merely switched on a jamming device that turned off all the American guns from a distance and made them useless. The farmers were chained and sent to psychiatric hospitals for pain-compliance training and neural re-channeling, but most remain in prison for violating the Universal Peoples Firearms and All Other Weapons Confiscation Act of 2013 signed by President Hillary Clinton."

Where, I asked, is Alexander Hamilton? "The King’s ‘Echelon’ system monitoring of all telephone calls that uses computer pattern-recognition to detect key words identified Hamilton as a dangerous terrorist against the Crown," answered the strangely-ethereal voice. "He tried to flee, but the Global Positioning Satellite transponders in his car with names like LoJack and OnStar, and implanted in infancy under his skin, made Hamilton easy for the government to track."

"And you know the computer circuits built into cars since 1987," my guide continued, "supposedly to improve gas mileage? When Hamilton drove across a control web beneath the roadway – the kind the U.S. has at border crossings like that between San Diego and Tijuana since the 1990s – the Royal police simply activated an electromagnetic pulse from the web that turned off his car’s motor. When Hamilton tried to run, he was stopped with a cloud of soma vapor and a tranquilizer dart. He now serves the King too."

Did the same, I nervously asked, happen to George Mason of Virginia? "He and many others in the subversive ‘Committees of Correspondence’ were identified and monitored by the King’s ‘Carnivore’ system that uses computers to scan all emails," said the spirit.

"And they were easy to track using ‘Fincen,’ the government’s secret system that since the 1990s has recorded all citizen financial transactions and credit purchases, whenever they used any credit card. Those who tried to evade such monitoring by using cash were reported to the drug authorities, as all laws now require. And the cash itself now has those secret electronic tracking strips that let the King know whatever hands it passes through by requiring merchants and banks to scan all bills bigger than $5 into a Fincen-linked device. The royal government is also thus able to block any credit card or declare any currency counterfeit as a way of leaving rebels unable to buy anything such as food or fuel or airline tickets.

Where, I trembled to ask, is Benjamin Franklin. "He published politically incorrect things in his Poor Richard’s Almanack, advising men to take an old or unattractive mistress if they wished to be happy and such," said the ghostly shade. "He was accordingly sued for hate speech under the Sensitivity Laws. A jury of older citizens found him Not Guilty, accepting his argument that the laws protected free speech rights. But when he resumed publication, the government filed billions of dollars in nuisance lawsuits that bankrupted him."

"When Franklin continued to make insensitive remarks in public," the ghostly guide continued, "a mob urged on by Al Sharpton chased him into a building and set it on fire. Ben Franklin died in the blaze, and the government refuses to arrest any who were in the mob. You’ll remember that beginning in the 1990s the government simply killed those it found too distasteful. Tom Paine met the same fate. Like the mythical James Bond, 007, government agents such as Lon Horiuchi have been licensed to kill any approved target without fear of being tried or convicted. Pamphleteer Tom Paine was imprisoned, put into solitary confinement, and died of a mysterious heart attack – exactly like the witness against Bill Clinton named James McDougal."

So the only ones left to fight for America’s freedom, I asked, are the handful in this room? "They will soon be arrested too," said the shade. "Their cell phone calls are routinely recorded by the government, the same imperial government that prohibited the manufacture of encrypted cell phones – and that in 2000 required that future cell phones include a chip so that the secret police can zero in on its exact location using satellite surveillance and other means. Some will be killed by using targeted government radio commands to detonate the transponders implanted in their bodies. Even this room right now has secret royal bugging devices in it. The only question is whether the rebels will be punished under the royal laws or world government laws – not that these two are really different."

So does this mean, I asked, that the American Revolution will be killed in its cradle, that we will never be free? "From the moment Bill Clinton became Governor of all the colonies," my guide replied, "international meetings at the highest levels with his cooperation began making and implementing 33-year plans to systematically remove all weapons, all privacy, and all power, mobility, property, wealth, and rights from individual citizens."

"Leftists support this transfer of power because they love big government and believe they will be the ones controlling it," the shade continued. "And many conservatives have also been tricked into supporting the loss of individual freedom in the name of the War on Drugs or other moral crusades. Let’s face facts, Lowell – as you once explained in a column, some European-style conservatives don’t like individual freedom or free market capitalism any more than socialists do."

So is freedom doomed? "On Planet Earth it is," said the shade grimly, "because too many people have become addicted to government handouts, the same kind they tell tourists not to feed to the bears in Yellowstone lest the creatures become unable to feed themselves. We no longer have many like America’s Founders, many of whom were the richest people in the colonies and could have led lives of ease, willing literally to risk their lives, fortunes, and sacred honors for freedom."

"But the smartest and most noble ones among us, the ones able to run the technology, are Libertarians and individualists," said the apparition. "Many of them are working for freedom so secretly that even the King’s spies are unaware."

"And on the Fourth of July 2176," the ghostly figure continued, "Libertarians and fellow freedom activists on Earth will activate a few concealed programs in Big Brother’s computers to neutralize his space warships. And their brothers and sisters on the red planet at the same moment will declare the Independence of the 13 Mars colonies. They will succeed and give humankind a rebirth of freedom on another New World."

Who are you, I asked my guide, and how do you know all this? "I am the Spirit of ’76," he said, fixing me with his steady, clear-eyed gaze. "And despite how often the tyrants and dictators, the kings and Stalins and Hitlers and Hillary Clintons have tried to kill me, I live forever in the hearts of every authentic human being. Freedom is sometimes eclipsed, and sometimes its children get lulled to sleep, but woe to the tyrants when it reawakens…."

I felt my body floating upwards, as if under water, then burst into a world where I could breathe again. I opened my eyes, surprised by the dawn’s early light shining into them. It was morning again in America, the morning of the Fourth of July.

This Independence Day night, the bombs are again bursting in air, and how symbolic it is that power-hungry politicians want no private citizens – but only the government – to control even the tiniest fireworks that represent America’s revolutionaries fighting against the king who had oppressed them. These politicians, of course, pretend they are taking our freedom to protect our safety – the path, as Franklin said, that leads to neither freedom nor safety – and that they are enslaving us "for the children."

On this sacred night, on the Fourth of July with lights in our eyes and a smell of gunpowder in our nostrils, we will again all be asking – some with more attention than others – the question with which our politically-incorrect National Anthem ends. "Oh, say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave, o’er the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave?"

Does it? It's a question each generation must ask and answer anew, every 20 years or so. As Jefferson understood, each new generation is its own nation.

Government is a power-mad weed, and unless its tendency to grow is pruned back with each generation it will soon take over the entire public square and reduce human beings again to slaves and serfs – as it has nearly done at the dawn of the 21st Century, the third millennium.

The revolution each generation must fight need not be violent, Jefferson knew. His own election as America’s third President he called "the Revolution of 1800," as indeed it was. By then the nation was already running up a huge national debt, raising taxes, trading arms for hostages with the Barbary pirates, and jailing journalists and even congressmen under the Alien & Sedition Acts for the crime of criticizing the government of John Adams.

Jefferson reversed all those evils, and thanks to him we retain today at least a few vestiges and memories of liberty.

But many politicians are eager to remove every freedom you now enjoy and turn you into a slave on Big Government’s plantation. Every enlargement of government is paid for with more loss of your liberty, and every politician who seeks the expansion of government is your and your children’s mortal enemy.

"A little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical," Thomas Jefferson wrote in a personal letter to his protégé James Madison in 1787. "It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government."

You were born with an inheritance of freedom purchased with the blood of those who risked and died to win it. Jefferson’s point is that such liberty must be cherished, honored, and asserted anew by each generation – or it will be taken from you, bit by bit, by those who love government more than you love liberty.

What are you prepared to do to shrink a federal government that has grown many times more taxing and oppressive than the government of King George III? As in my dream, the chains of your slavery are being forged right now in hundreds of surveillance and police state laws and activities. If this does not concern you, then sleep well. But get ready for the American Dream to become a nightmare.

Thomas Jefferson had a motto by which he lived his life: "Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God." Think, pray, and act upon what freedom means during this special week, and have a happy Fourth of July.

Retiree Makes Permanent Home on Cruise Ship

LONDON (Reuters) - A retired British woman has decided to sail round the world permanently on a luxury cruise ship because it costs no more than staying in an old people's home, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

Beatrice Muller, 82, only pays 55 per cent of the official brochure price for making her home on the QE2 due to loyalty bonuses from five previous world cruises.

Muller chose to make the liner her full-time home after the death of her husband two years ago. She pays 3,424 pounds ($4,818) a month to reside in Cabin 4068.

The very basic, minimum cost of living in an old people's home in London is about 2,000 pounds, she told the Sunday Express.

And while her fellow pensioners while away their hours in a retirement home in Britain's damp climate, she travels the high seas, stopping at sunny destinations, playing bridge and dancing with handsome stewards.

``This is where I live and I love it,'' she told the newspaper. ``I don't have to do any shopping, I don't need to do any shopping, I don't need a car and there aren't any gas or phone bills.''

She enjoys films from the ship's cinema and communicates with her family by e-mail from the computer room.

``I would have to pay around the same to stay in an old people's home and it wouldn't nearly be as much fun as here,'' she told the newspaper.

Thomas Jefferson

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.

Thomas Jefferson, 1791


Next Wednesday is the 4th of July.  This is the day we’re supposed to be celebrating freedom and the signing of The Declaration of Independence.

A group called The First Amendment Center went out there and polled Americans about our freedoms and the First Amendment to our Constitution.  The results?  Almost one-half of Americans (47%) cannot name one single freedom protected by the First Amendment.  Not one.

Of those who could identify one of those freedoms:

Now --- get this --- 39 % of Americans say that the First Amendment goes too far in protecting and guaranteeing freedoms.  That’s almost four out of ten Americans!  This number has doubled in the last ten years.

Another frightening finding:  Over 70% of Americans say the government should keep the media in check.  Seven out of ten “freedom loving” Americans say that the government needs to ride herd on the media.

This is exactly what you would expect from a population that is more interested in Entertainment Tonight and Extra than it is in a basic newscast.  It’s the professional wrestling generation on display.  If this survey is accurate, we’re screwed. 

Are you planning your escape route?

PETA claims fishing is cruel to fish.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has new billboards out that claim fishing is cruel. I totally agree. The last time I went, all I caught was a sunburn, three hooks in the back of my thigh and hell from my pals for forgetting the Off.

Unfortunately, this is not what PETA means. PETA means fishing is cruel to the fish. Seriously. PETA plans to put up billboards across the U.S. and in Canada that show a Labrador retriever with a hook in his bloody lip. IF YOU WOULDN'T DO IT TO A DOG, the signs say, WHY DO IT TO A FISH?

And, of course, the answer is: Because fish do not bring me my slippers.

Look, I wailed for the whales. I fumed over fur. I emotionally clubbed myself over the baby seals. But I'll be damned if I'm going to weep over a walleye.

PETA says fish feel pain and that to snag one with a steel hook, drag it along for 50 yards or so and then haul it out of the water so it suffocates is sick. "Why do we throw a Frisbee to some animals and a barbed hook to others?" PETA asks on its website.

And, of course, the answer is: Because fish really suck at catching Frisbees.

PETA thinks it's evil to eat fish, too. But why should we stop eating them when they eat each other? Besides, they had their chance to evolve. They could've crawled out of the primordial ooze with us, but they didn't. They decided to stay behind and swim in the water they pee in and go around never blinking. When fish lift their scaly butts past us in the food chain, they can eat us. Until then, pass the tartar sauce.

PETA even says catch-and-release is cruel. They say the harm and stress caused by being caught and released is sometimes enough to kill the fish later on. As if the fish go straight into therapy after being caught.

Fish: I'm telling you, Doc, I was just minding my own business when I got hauled into the sky, examined by some weird beings and then thrown back!

Fish psychiatrist: Lemme guess. A UFO, right?

I mean, what's PETA going to do? You'll be sitting at the counter in the deli, and suddenly, the PETA police will come running in, shouting, "All right, back away from the tuna melt and nobody gets hurt!" My God, we're talking about fish here. Fish have a brain the size of a corn kernel.

Professor James Rose, a University of Wyoming neuroscientist, studied fish for years and determined that they lack a neocortex (parts of which process the brain's response to pain), much like Cubs fans. Besides, if fish are so smart, why can you catch a fish, throw it back and then, two hours later, catch the same fish? I mean, do you really want to save something dumber than Robert Downey Jr.?

Didn't Jesus fish? He seemed like a pretty sensitive guy. When He zapped up all those fishes for 5,000 people, what do you think He did with them, throw them back?

I know, I know -- I hate hunting. But sitting in the back of a pickup, taking a rifle with an infrared scope and killing a deer from 1,000 yards away is not nearly the same thing as standing up to your spleen in icy rushing river water, trying to cast the perfectly tied fly into the perfect eddy to catch a rainbow trout. Is it our fault that the trout falls for it? Tell you what: I will get behind hunting when hunters come up with a shoot-and-release program.

Why does PETA stop at fish? Where does PETA stand on the plight of the worm? And plankton? And the 1,000,000 micro-organisms that are crushed by your boots every time you go on a nature hike? Have these PETA vegetarians ever gotten close to a broccoli to hear its screams as it's violently yanked from its birthplace and boiled to death?

Fishing is cruel? I always thought fishing was one of the most peaceful things you could do. What are fathers and sons supposed to do together, knit sweaters out of each other's navel lint? What are we supposed to read, Hemingway's Old Man and the Parking Lot?

I'll tell you one thing. Before I agree to this whole fish-human truce, somebody had better have a long face-to-face with the sharks about it. I say we send a bunch of PETA members down right away.


There’s a new law in Michigan that allows law abiding citizens to apply for and receive a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Ohmigosh!  You ought to hear the blatherings of the left on this one!

A former prosecutor tells the Chicago Tribune “I can guarantee you that I've honked my last horn at an intersection in Michigan.”

Police groups are saying that police officers will now be in jeopardy from all of these guns.  The same argument Cynthia Tucker at the Atlanta Constitution used.

Well, how would you like to step away from the leftist, anti-Second Amendment hysteria for a while and absorb some actual FACTS!

The National Center for Policy Analysis has compared the crime statistics for people with permits and those without.  Guess what?  You probably already suspect this --- but adults with concealed weapons permits are 5.7 times less likely to be arrested for a violent offense than the general public!  Yeah, a real dangerous crowd, right?

Oh .. and this bit about increased jeopardy for police officers?  Throughout the entire United States there has never been one single incident in which a person with a permit to carry a concealed weapon has used that weapon to kill a police officer acting in the line of duty.*  Not one!  See if you can pry that little statistic out of the anti-gun groups.

*   Now let me deal with that little asterisk.   We did have one shooting of a cop in Georgia.   The shooter had a permit.  He caught the police officer in corpus delicious with his wife.  Not exactly in the “line of duty.” 

We'll end this with a little quote from Sammy “The Bull” Gravano.  He’s the mobster whose testimony sent John Gotti to jail.

"Gun control? It's the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I'm a bad guy, I'm always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You will pull the trigger with a lock on, and I'll pull the trigger. We'll see who wins." 

Colin Powell and the Social Security System!

Fox News Sunday, 06/17/01, being hosted in the first segment by Tony Snow. The lead off guest was Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State.

Colin Powell stated, "Finding the Russian scientists may be a problem being that Russia does not have a Social Security System, as here in America, that allows us to monitor, track down and capture an American citizen." 

EMPHASIS added to the word CAPTURE!

Are you beginning to get the picture?

Benjamin Franklin on Liberty!

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Benjamin Franklin

Thomas Jefferson Was Right!

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground."

Thomas Jefferson


A 6-year-old is suspended from school under an zero tolerance drug policy.  His crime?  He shared a lemon drop with another student.  The school actually called an ambulance for the kid who ate the lemon drop.


Defensive Gun Use Statistics

Among 15.7% of gun defenders interviewed nationwide during The National Self Defense Survey conducted by Florida State University criminologists in 1994, the defender believed that someone "almost certainly" would have died had the gun not been used for protection -- a life saved by a privately held gun about once every 1.3 minutes. (In another 14.2% cases, the defender believed someone "probably" would have died if the gun hadn't been used in defense.)

In 83.5% of these successful gun defenses, the attacker either threatened or used force first -- disproving the myth that having a gun available for defense wouldn't make any difference.

In 91.7% of these incidents the defensive use of a gun did not wound or kill the criminal attacker (and the gun defense wouldn't be called "newsworthy" by newspaper or TV news editors). In 64.2% of these gun-defense cases, the police learned of the defense, which means that the media could also find out and report on them if they chose to.

In 73.4% of these gun-defense incidents, the attacker was a stranger to the intended victim. (Defenses against a family member or intimate were rare -- well under 10%.) This disproves the myth that a gun kept for defense will most likely be used against a family member or someone you love.

In over half of these gun defense incidents, the defender was facing two or more attackers -- and three or more attackers in over a quarter of these cases. (No means of defense other than a firearm -- martial arts, pepper spray, or stun guns -- gives a potential victim a decent chance of getting away uninjured when facing multiple attackers.)

In 79.7% of these gun defenses, the defender used a concealable handgun. A quarter of the gun defenses occurred in places away from the defender's home.

Source: "Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun," by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, in The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, Northwestern University School of Law, Volume 86, Number 1, Fall, 1995

A fatal accident involving a firearm occurs in the United States only about once every 6 hours. For victims age 14 or under, it's fewer than one a day -- but still enough for the news media to have a case to tell you about in every day's edition.

Source: National Safety Council

A criminal homicide involving a firearm occurs in the United States about once every half hour -- but two-thirds of the fatalities are not completely innocent victims but themselves have criminal records.

Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports and Murder Analysis by the Chicago Police Department

Here's what a 1995 federal study investigating juvenile crime found after looking at 20,000 randomly selected households:

Relationship between type of gun owned and percent committing street, drug and gun crimes.

Illegal gun:
Street crimes = 74%
Drug use = 41%
Gun crimes = 21%

No gun:
Street crimes = 24%
Drug use = 15%
Gun crimes = 1%

Legal Gun:
Street crimes = 14%
Drug use = 13%
Gun crimes = 0%

"The socialization into gun ownership is also vastly different for legal and illegal gunowners. Those who own legal guns have fathers who own guns for sport and hunting. On the other hand, those who own illegal guns have friends who own illegal guns and are far more likely to be gang members. For legal gunowners, socialization appears to take place in the family; for illegal gunowners, it appears to take place 'on the street.'"

"Boys who own legal firearms have much lower rates of delinquency and drug use and are even slightly less delinquent than nonowners of guns."

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, NCJ-143454, "Urban Delinquency and Substance Abuse," August 1995.

Making it legally possible for civilians to carry concealed weapons does not make society more violent or result in shootouts at traffic accidents.

The rate of criminal misuse of firearms by the hundreds of thousands of persons licensed to carry concealed firearms in Florida is so low as to be statistically zero. In fact, homicide, assault, rape, and robbery are dramatically lower in areas of the United States where the public is allowed easy access to carrying concealed firearms in public.

Sources: Florida Department of State, Concealed Weapons/ Firearms License Statistical Report and "Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns," by John R. Lott, Olin Fellow in Law and Economics at the University of Chicago Law School and David B. Mustard, graduate student, Department of Economics, Journal of Legal Studies, January 1997.

Making guns less available does not reduce suicide but merely causes the person seeking death to use another means.

While gun-related suicides were reduced by Canada's gun control legislation of 1978, the overall suicide rate did not go down at all: the gun-related suicides were replaced 100% by an increase in other types of suicide -- mostly jumping off bridges.
"The authors describe suicide rates in Toronto and Ontario and methods used for suicide in Toronto for 5 years before and after enactment of Canadian gun control legislation in 1978. They also present data from San Diego, Calif., where state laws attempt to limit access to guns by certain psychiatric patients. Both sets of data indicate that gun control legislation may have led to decreased use of guns by suicidal men, but the difference was apparently offset by an increase in suicide by leaping. In the case of men using guns for suicide, these data support a hypothesis of substitution of suicide method."

Source: "Guns and suicide: possible effects of some specific legislation," Rich, Young, Fowler, Wagner, and Black, The American Journal of Psychiatry March, 1990

Here is the actual text, written in 1988, by Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center, outlining how they intended to manipulate the media and deceive the American public into confusing semi-auto handguns and rifles with machine guns, making it possible to ban them:

"Assault weapons—just like armor-piercing bullets, machine guns, and plastic firearms—are a new topic. The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun— can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons."

"Assault Weapons and Accessories in America"--Conclusion, Violence Policy Center Study

Surprised by the facts?

Maybe it's because the TV networks are deliberately not telling you about them.

According to a January 5, 2000 special report by Geoffrey Dickens, Senior Media Analyst of the Media Research Center, "In 1997, criminologist Gary Kleck estimated that over 2.5 million people a year defend themselves from an assailant or burglar by exercising their constitutional right to bear arms. Yet how many times did television networks report such acts? In the past two years, out of 653 gun policy stories, exactly 12 times. By making a blockbuster story out of several school shootings—while leaving out the millions of times citizens use guns to stop crime each year—they presented a very misleading picture to the average viewer that firearm use brings more harm than good, and thus should be limited or even banned."

The study further went on to document that instead of reporting on firearms in anything approaching an objective manner, "In 653 gun policy stories, those advocating more gun control outnumbered stories opposing gun control by 357 to 36, or a ratio of almost 10 to 1, while 260 were categorized as neutral. Anti-gun soundbites were twice as frequent as pro-gun ones—412 to 209—while 471 soundbites were neutral. Gun control advocates appeared on the morning shows as guests on 82 occasions, compared to just 37 for gun-rights activists and 58 neutral spokesmen."

Read "Outgunned: How the Network News Media Are Spinning the Gun Control Debate, a January 5, 2000 Special Report by the Media Research Center.

NASA aims to move Earth

Scientists' answer to global warming: nudge the planet farther from Sun

Special report: global warming

Sunday June 10, 2001

Scientists have found an unusual way to prevent our planet overheating: move it to a cooler spot. All you have to do is hurtle a few comets at Earth, and its orbit will be altered. Our world will then be sent spinning into a safer, colder part of the solar system.

This startling idea of improving our interplanetary neighborhood is the brainchild of a group of NASA engineers and American astronomers who say their plan could add another six billion years to the useful lifetime of our planet - effectively doubling its working life.

'The technology is not at all far-fetched,' said Dr Greg Laughlin, of the NASA Ames Research Center in California. 'It involves the same techniques that people now suggest could be used to deflect asteroids or comets heading towards Earth. We don't need raw power to move Earth, we just require delicacy of planning and maneuvering.'

The plan put forward by Dr Laughlin, and his colleagues Don Korycansky and Fred Adams, involves carefully directing a comet or asteroid so that it sweeps close past our planet and transfers some of its gravitational energy to Earth.

'Earth's orbital speed would increase as a result and we would move to a higher orbit away from the Sun,' Laughlin said.

Engineers would then direct their comet so that it passed close to Jupiter or Saturn, where the reverse process would occur. It would pick up energy from one of these giant planets. Later its orbit would bring it back to Earth, and the process would be repeated.

In the short term, the plan provides an ideal solution to global warming, although the team was actually concerned with a more drastic danger. The sun is destined to heat up in about a billion years and so 'seriously compromise' our biosphere - by frying us.

Hence the group's decision to try to save Earth. 'All you have to do is strap a chemical rocket to an asteroid or comet and fire it at just the right time,' added Laughlin. 'It is basic rocket science.'

The plan has one or two worrying aspects, however. For a start, space engineers would have to be very careful about how they directed their asteroid or comet towards Earth. The slightest miscalculation in orbit could fire it straight at Earth - with devastating consequences.

It is a point acknowledged by the group. 'The collision of a 100-kilometer diameter object with the Earth at cosmic velocity would sterilize the biosphere most effectively, at least to the level of bacteria,' they state in a paper in Astrophysics and Space Science. 'The danger cannot be overemphasized.'

There is also the vexed question of the Moon. As the current issue of Scientific American points out, if Earth was pushed out of its current position it is 'most likely the Moon would be stripped away from Earth,' it states, radically upsetting out planet's climate.

These criticisms are accepted by the scientists. 'Our investigation has shown just how delicately Earth is poised within the solar system,' Laughlin admitted. 'Nevertheless, our work has practical implications. Our calculations show that to get Earth to a safer, distant orbit, it would have to pass through unstable zones and would need careful nurturing and nudging. Any alien astronomers observing our solar system would know that something odd had occurred, and would realize an intelligent lifeform was responsible.

'And the same goes for us. When we look at other solar systems, and detect planets around other suns - which we are now beginning to do - we may see that planet-moving has occurred. It will give us our first evidence of the handiwork of extraterrestrial beings.'

Didn't the Three Stooges try this?


Meet Ryan Oleichi, a 13-year-old student at Labay (Government) Middle School outside Houston, Texas.  He's one kid the government won't be "educating" anymore.

Back in February, Ryan got in trouble with the school administration.  He dared to wear a shirt with a Confederate flag patch on it.  The patch measured one inch by one and a half inches.  He'd worn the shirt to school several times before without incident--but this time he was to serve three days in detention.  He was then forced to apologize to all of the school's black students for being a racist.

Melinda Hill, Ryan's mother, knew that the school dress code calls for a one-day detention for such an infraction.  But the assistant principal, Cheryl Morrison, told her, "We must make an example of Ryan.  He is a racist."  Hill insists that Ryan is a good student who loves his southern Confederate heritage.

Things went downhill for Ryan after that.  Students started to harass him. On April 20, a student walked up and slapped him, then threatened to sic her "posse" on him.

Then came April 26, which is Confederate Memorial Day in Texas.  Ryan was working on his book report on General Robert E. Lee during his first period class.  A black student noticed that the book Ryan had checked out from the school library had a Confederate flag on it.  A Hispanic student called Ryan a racist and threatened him.   The black student tripped Ryan, slammed him against the lockers, and threatened him too.

The two students beat him up after school.  The Hispanic student had steel-toed boots.  Ryan refused to fight back even though he had a black belt in Taekwondo.   He only put his hands up to protect his face.  Ryan was beaten and kicked into unconsciousness.  He spent three days in the hospital.  The school did nothing.   They said that since Ryan had tried to protect his face, it was "mutual combat."  The district attorney refuses to file charges.  To administrators and the indoctrinated students, Ryan Oleichi got what he deserved ... because the school wanted to make an example out of him.

See, Ryan and his Confederate heritage don't belong in the ideal society of the future.   He's capable of independent thoughts on personal freedom and liberty.  He has to be dealt with.

A week after Ryan returned to school, his mother withdrew him.  He'll be schooled at home from now on.


The young lady on the left is Lindsay Brown.  You can see that she's not too happy.   So, why isn't Lindsay happy?  She's getting ready to graduate from Estero High School in a few weeks. What's more, she'll be wearing a gold tassel on her graduation gown, a tassel which honor's her position as a National Merit Scholar.  After summer vacation Lindsay will start at Florida Gulf Coast University where she was awarded an academic scholarship. Well, not really.  Yes, she's a National Merit Scholar.   Yes, she has an academic scholarship.  But she won't be wearing that gold tassel.  She won't even be wearing the graduation gown.  Lindsay, you see, is our latest victim of the hysterical and intellectually vapid zero tolerance crap that permeates our insipid government schools across the nation.

Last weekend Lindsay Brown moved some of her belongings to her new apartment.  During the move a kitchen knife - not a steak knife, not a butcher knife - just a simple little kitchen knife fell out of a box and became wedged under the front passenger seat.

When Lindsay drove that car to school on Monday the knife was spotted by a security officer.  Lindsay was arrested and taken to jail.  Taken to jail because there was a kitchen knife in her car.  The local Sheriff's office considered the presence of this kitchen knife to constitute probable cause to believe that Lindsay intended to use this knife as a weapon to hurt someone.

Lindsay Brown spent nine hours in jail.  NINE HOURS!  Nine hours in the custody of the state because of a kitchen knife in the car!  Now she won't get to graduate with her friends.  She won't go to the Senior class breakfast.  She won't get to go to the yearbook party.  Yeah, she'll get her diploma - and a record -- a record for bringing a "dangerous weapon" onto school property.

This is nothing less than mindless hysteria.  The leftist mania over guns has brought us to the point where common sense is virtually lacking in the operation of our government schools.

A kitchen knife is a weapon?  Consider this.  If you had to retrieve a weapon from your car, which would you chose?  A kitchen knife or the jack handle?  How about the tire iron?  Every single car in that parking lot at Estero High School has a tire iron.  They have transmission dip sticks that could be used as swords.   They have spark plug wires that could be used as garrotes.  The car itself could be used to mow down a fellow student.

Mindless, abject stupidity!

Aren't we supposed to be trying to teach our kids how to think rationally? Is there anything rational about this zero-tolerance nonsense?

Lindsay is just one in a long list of victims of these idiotic zero-tolerance policies.

There was that Eagle Scout in Florida.  Remember him?  He had a Scout meeting one night at which he taught young Boy Scouts the proper handling of a hatchet.  The hatchet was in the trunk of his car, along with the rest of his Scouting gear, when he went to school the next day.  Suspended.  Kicked out.

How about that girl in Atlanta who was kicked out of a government school because she had a Tweetie Bird key chain?  The school principal said the chain could be a weapon.

Then there was that boy who took a knife away from a young girl who said she was going to use it to kill herself.  He locked the knife in his locker.  He got kicked out of school for four months.  Two days later that girl did try to kill herself, but failed.  Maybe if she had tried with that knife the kid took from her she would have succeeded.   Maybe he saved a life!  Doesn't matter, kick him out of school.

This left-wing generated mindless politically correct hysteria over weapons in our schools MUST STOP!

Oh Say Can't You Sing!

A group of high school students visiting DC got more then they bargained for when they stopped at a national monument last month. The students were the winners of a nationwide patriotic essay contest.

It all happened at the Jefferson Memorial, a monument to one of our founding fathers. The award-winning group of high school students became so filled with patriotic pride, they spontaneously burst into singing the National Anthem.

"It was an awesome feeling. You just thought, I am so blessed to be a part of this great country," said Kirsten Winston, student. However, that feeling did not last long.

"We got to almost the very end and we were at the last stanza when the National Park Service asked us to stop," said Kirsten.

A Park Ranger asked them to stop because according to a federal regulation, any time a group of 26 people or more gathers at a national monument and attracts an audience, it is considered a demonstration, which requires a permit.

The students were the winners of the VFW sponsored essay contest, ironically entitled: What Price Freedom?

"I wish I could have been there. I'd have sung with them," said Cmdr. John Gwizdak, Veteran of Foreign Wars. The Commander in Chief of the 2.7 million member VFW was so outraged he demanded an apology.

"It sends the chills up and down your spine and all of a sudden, here we go, putting them down, making them feel ashamed of being a part of this country," said Gwizdak.

Late Wednesday, the apology came and the National Park Service blamed a new employee.

"I believe this was an employee who cared deeply about the memorial and this is how they thought they needed to behave. But this is a mistake we won't make again," said Robert Fudge, National Park Service.

The National Park Service would not get into the specifics of the disciplinary action taken, but did say that employee has been reprimanded and won't be stopping anyone from singing the National Anthem again.

Global Warming?

Check out this story on a physicist from the Great White North, "A Canadian scientist is pouring cold, unfrozen water on the notion that global warming is melting arctic sea ice like a Popsicle at the beach," writes The Canada National Post. "Greg Holloway galvanized an international meeting of arctic scientists Tuesday by saying there is little evidence of a rapid decline of the volume of ice in the northern oceans."

Now, how many of you are living under the impression that the global temperatures are skyrocketing so much that the polar ice caps are melting, icebergs are melting - and it's a crisis? Seriously. That "news" is all over the place out there, and it works because of the proclivity we all have to believe doom and gloom. We believe apocalyptic things. When somebody says that this is the last day, we believe that this is it.

If somebody tells you that tomorrow is going to be the greatest day of your life, you get all cynical and say, "Don't try to bump me up with this false optimism. It's not going to be that great a day." But boy, you fill people with negative stuff, and they'll just lap it up. This is one of the tricks of the environmentalist wackos - to convince as many people as possible that we are at the point of no return on the environment.

Despite breathless media reports and speculation of an ice-free Northwest passage, Holloway, a scientist with the Institute of Ocean Science in Victoria, suggests that it's far more likely that the ice has just been moved around in the cycles of arctic winds. "It's more complicated than we thought," The Canada National Post quotes Holloway as saying. The original theory was based on declassified records from the trips of U.S. submarines under the ice.

Satellite photos have clearly shown that the surface area of the ice has decreased about 3% a year for the last 20 years. The question always was: How thick was it? Here's the truth, from a physicist - sound science, not junk science rooted in fear - sea ice is not melting as we've been told. Do you have the courage to believe it?

Cooling earth temperatures between A.D. 1000 and 1900 have been linked to deforestation during that period, according to environmental researchers. Using computer simulations to test their theories, researchers at the Lawrence Livermore laboratory concluded that the regions on Earth which cooled more over those 800 years were also the hardest hit by deforestation. The researchers' discovery casts doubt on the debated notion that a great abundance of trees on earth can slow global warming. It's just the opposite.

In fact, the answer here is, if there ever is global warming, if it ever does really happen, the answer to it is clear-cut! The answer is more baseball bats, more virgin paper, more pianos, more homes, more of the beautiful things you can do with trees once you chop them down.

Here's another story for you: "The protective ozone layer over the North Pole appears to have stabilized after years of thinning but the gain may be temporary," scientists from the United Nations World Meteorological Organization said on Tuesday. This, again, illustrates the amazing power of negativity. The power of doom and gloom is awesome to me. By the way, these U.N. scientists say the ozone thickening fight may have been caused by a warmer-than-usual winter, and not by global cuts in the use of "harmful" chemicals. Of course not! The sun creates ozone, which is why we couldn't destroy it if we tried.

Phillip Duffy, leader of the Lawrence Livermore lab group that conducted the study said, "This complicates life for people like me who are trying to predict climate change. It's saying that there is one more factor we have to account for when we want to predict future climates." Predict climates? Does that not sound just absolutely egocentric? Why does anybody take that seriously? You can't predict the weather beyond three days.

These "climate predictors" have now learned that deforestation results in cooling, and as a result, they are actually complaining! A monkey wrench has been thrown into the works that upsets the whole political agenda of global warming - because cutting trees is never, ever good. Now, we find out that the number one environmentalist wacko cause, global warming, can be retarded, maybe even averted by clear-cutting - and that these warmer temperatures are actually healing the ozone and not causing the ice caps to

These are the same people that, on one hand, consider human beings to be no different than any other life form, and tell us that we're certainly not superior. But then, on the other hand, we are so superior and so capable, we can study and predict climate change, centuries of years out - and possibly bring about the end of the world.

Scientists often chase grant money. They feed off the government, many of them, so they don't have to work for a living. They go wherever they can get the grant money, and if they do some scientific research into something some senator or some political group wants established, the scientists can siphon a little bit of the grant money off. This is an incentive to produce desired results, and doesn't keep you objective.

Ben Affleck, Hollywood Hypocrite

In the final hectic weeks of Campaign 2000, no celebrity worked harder for the Democratic ticket than Ben Affleck, Hollywood's young prince. The 28-year-old Academy Award winner crisscrossed the country in support of Al Gore, repeatedly delivering a get-out-the-vote plea: "It's very important to vote. The president will appoint three or four Supreme Court justices."

During the final week of the race, Affleck stumped for Gore in California, Florida, and Pennsylvania. During a stop in Pittsburgh, the star--along with Helen Hunt, Martin Sheen, Rob Reiner and other actors--spent an hour at a phone bank calling registered Democrats. "People in my generation have a low voter turnout. One of the reasons that I'm here is to demonstrate that no matter who you are going to vote for...I think it's important to get involved and get out and vote," Affleck told reporters. "But I'm going to tell people to vote for Gore." Affleck was the celebrity caravan's youngest member and the one Gore backer guaranteed to be greeted on the trail with shrieks and swoons from younger voters.

In addition to backing Gore, Affleck had been a big supporter of former President Bill Clinton and also pushed New Yorkers to elect Hillary Clinton to the U.S. Senate. On October 28, for instance, Affleck flew with the First Lady to Ithaca, New York, where he introduced her at a Cornell University rally. Affleck told the college crowd that Clinton had been advocating for women and working families since "Rick Lazio was running around the frat house in his underwear." Lazio, then a Long Island congressman, was Clinton's Republican opponent.

On Monday, November 6, the final day of the campaign, Affleck was one of several A-list celebrities summoned to Miami Beach by Miramax Films boss Harvey Weinstein for a late-night Gore rally, just hours before polls opened nationwide. The Gore campaign's last event, a final effort to energize South Beach voters, didn't end until about 1 AM, but Affleck still had one more piece of campaigning to do. He flew back to New York that morning and made a surprise live appearance on The Rosie O'Donnell Show. It was 10:15 when the groggy actor made his final public pitch from a Rockefeller Center studio, noting that he was "a little bit tired...I've been out getting involved, doing stuff and trying to get people to vote. And that's why I came by here."

As returns came in that night, Affleck told Salon's Amy Reiter, "I'm nervous this evening, but one of the things that's exciting to me is the amount of people who voted. No matter who wins, I think it's a healthy thing for our country that so many voters have come out and participated in the process. Either way, I think the most important number will be the turnout." Reiter interviewed Affleck at an election night party thrown at Elaine's by Miramax and Talk magazine.

Given his role during the 2000 race, it probably should not have come as a surprise that Affleck dreams of a future in politics. In May's GQ magazine, the Oscar winner said, "My fantasy is that someday I'm independently wealthy enough that I'm not beholden to anybody, so I can run for Congress on the grounds that everyday people--be they singers or poets or bankers or lawyers or teachers--should be in government." Just the kind of altruistic thoughts you'd expect from a square-jawed leading man who's starring as a heroic fighter pilot in this summer's big blockbuster, the $150 million epic "Pearl Harbor."

So imagine The Smoking Gun's shock and dismay when--after a week of diligent searching--we could not find a shred of evidence that Affleck actually bothered to vote last year.

TSG checked records and spoke with election officials in Massachusetts, Los Angeles, and New York City and discovered that Affleck did not pull the lever in any of those cities--and apparently hasn't done so in eight years. TSG examined documents in those locales because after reviewing scores of newspaper and magazine articles and a variety of computerized databases, they were the only three cities in which Affleck appears to have lived over the past decade.

The Smoking Gun began its review in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the actor's hometown and where he lived until he was 18. The Cambridge Election Commission had no records of Affleck voting in 2000. And a check of documents dating back to 1990 turned up no prior registrations in Affleck's name, according to Teresa S. Neighbor, the commission's executive director. Affleck grew up in a Cottage Street home in which his mother still lives (and from which she is currently registered to vote). He moved to California in 1991 to pursue an acting career.

Registrar of Voters records show that Affleck signed up to vote in Los Angeles in September 1992. He registered as a Democrat and gave his address as an Altivo Way home owned by family friends. Affleck voted in that November's general election, the first presidential race (Bush vs. Clinton) for which the actor, then 20, was eligible to vote. Affleck would eventually move from the Altivo Way house and live in a series of L.A. apartments before settling down in the Hollywood Hills.

But the Registrar's documents also reveal that Affleck subsequently cast no other ballots--either in person at a polling place or through an absentee ballot--in state or federal races held in 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000. Records of odd-year elections--held for local offices like mayor and city council--are maintained by a separate City of Los Angeles elections board, which does not keep registries for more than six months after an election. County records show that in January 2000 Affleck's voter registration was
changed to an "inactive" status after a routine mail check determined that his Altivo Way address was no longer current. A TSG check of voter registration records in the neighboring counties of Ventura, Orange, and San Bernardino turned up no record of an Affleck registration.

Motor vehicle records show that Affleck currently has a driver's license issued by the State of California and that the license carries a Los Angeles address. In April 1999, the actor paid $1.6 million for a 7500-square-foot home on La Presa Drive in the Hollywood Hills. In February, the Los Angeles Times reported that Affleck has listed the home for sale, in part because "he is said to be planning to spend more time in New York."

But none of that Big Apple time has passed inside a voting booth. Since Affleck owns a Tribeca loft, TSG checked city Board of Elections records, but came up with no current or past registrations for him (though brother Casey, whose given name is Caleb, signed up to vote in 1996 from a Manhattan address). We checked every person registered to vote from the star's Walker Street address and there were no Afflecks (or any variation of the spelling) registered from the eight-unit building.

In a November 12, 2000 Boston Globe article, Affleck said he bought his New York loft and Hollywood Hills mansion "'cause I just get so tired of that feeling of not ever being home, of always being on the road. So I got two places where I can just kind of hang my hat."

During his November 7 visit with Rosie O'Donnell, Affleck said, "Today is the get-out-the-vote day and...I think this is the time to get involved, especially the young folks who are here." The studio audience, packed with teenagers awaiting an appearance by 'N Sync, screeched its underage approval. "I'm about to go vote," Affleck then said, adding later, "I am personally gonna vote for Al Gore."

So where did this supposed vote occur? Affleck was 3000 miles away from the city where his voter registration was termed inactive (though he would have been allowed to vote had he showed up at his old polling place). And he wasn't registered from his Tribeca loft or, for that matter, anywhere else in New York City. Ben, it seems, doesn't limit his flights of fiction to film scripts.

Asked about Affleck's voting record, spokesman David Pollick initially said that, "I would be shocked if he didn't vote." He then claimed in a e-mail sent Tuesday (4/24) afternoon, "Despite Ben's attempt to vote on election day 2000, a bureaucratic snafu at the polls prevented him from doing so. Fortunately, the candidates he supported carried New York state without his vote." Pollick provided no other details of this supposed "snafu" or why no New York City elections records show that his client was even registered to vote.

During his recent GQ interview, Affleck reflected on the lure of public office: "Not to get too Susan Sarandon on you, but part of what I'd get off on would be the oration, the speechmaking and the idea of leading." Well, Ben, Sarandon found her way to the polls in November. So did Harvey Weinstein. Not to mention your ex-girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow. This high-profile trio all voted in Manhattan--and it took TSG all of five minutes to locate their registration and voting information.

We'll wait to hear Affleck's explanation for this colossal display of hypocrisy, though it's certainly not the first time a celebrity failed to get out his own vote. But usually a wannabe politician waits until he's safely in office before unleashing such a torrent of falsehoods and distortions. This Affleck kid will go places in Washington.

Forbidden Clotheslines in California

You won't believe this - a story in The San Francisco Chronicle on clotheslines. They're cheap, easy to install, and the state's energy czars call them the ultimate money saving substitute for one of the biggest energy suckers in the house. But although hardware stores cannot stock enough of them, many Californians are forbidden from using them because they're just
not pretty enough.

Even in the death grip of an energy crisis, many California neighborhoods would rather look good than save money and power. And so the clothesline is a social pariah, banned in neighborhoods from San Francisco to San Ramon. They're shunned for looking low rent and scorned for bringing undesirable elements into a community, like the public display of undergarments.

"It's just unsightly," said Linda Appleton, president of the board of directors of the Blackhawk Homeowners Association, a gated East Bay community. She does, however, point out that the town is doing its part to conserve energy. "You can drive around here at night and see that people have their lights off." But don't even think about putting up a couple of mismatched socks on a line in the backyard.

They're not the only ones either. You can't fly your knickers outside in one neighborhood in the middle-class working city of Crockett. Do you believe this? These are the environmentalist wackos themselves - and we're not even talking about the property rights aspect of this.

They are in the midst of an electricity crisis, people are being told that there are rolling blackouts in the state of California, and the clothes dryer sucks up electricity because of its need to produce heat. They're trying to be good citizens by washing their clothes and then hanging them to dry outside. And by the way, how are they washing them? They're beating them up against rocks down by the riverbed.

Your washing machine? We've got controversy there, too, front loaders versus top loaders. We're wasting too much water and detergent. So now you've got to take your clothes down by the rocks in the riverbed and beat them to smithereens. And if you hang them on a clothesline all hell breaks loose because it's not pretty, because it's not good-looking, even in a gated community.

We've got the environmentalist wackos renting space, top-drawer buildings, throwing big-time parties, celebrating their wealth, consuming adult beverages, but they cannot even be allowed to hang clothes on a clothesline because it looks ugly - in the midst of a power crisis! This is how wacky this movement is. If this doesn't help you understand just how insincere they are about the energy conservation, I can't think of another story that would.

Here are people who genuinely want you to believe that a return to a more primitive lifestyle would benefit all. What's more primitive than hanging your clothes outside to dry and not using any electricity, any precious fossil fuels or power that's in such short supply? But you can't or else homeowners associations will take you to court. It's too ugly. It's too unsightly. This is not what we moved into our gated community for!

On a hot afternoon this summer, Californians are expected to use 1,000 megawatts of electricity to dry their clothes -- while burning 970 watts to power air conditioners, according to the California Energy Commission. An electric dryer costs $85 to run annually; 50 feet of clothesline will set you back $3.29. Trees not included.

If you still think these people are driven by the purest of motives, you better think again. They are nothing but a bunch of total frauds, folks, masquerading as people with big hearts, lots of compassion and tremendous concern. They're nothing but a bunch of self-absorbed, selfish idiots, when you get right down to it.

Global Warming?

A story in The Philadelphia Inquirer titled "Global Warming Still Causes Some Scholarly Debate," caught my eye over the weekend. Basically, some scientists still don't buy the "theory" of global warming. It is not a fact. It is an unproven theory - and these intellectual heavyweights don't think it can be proven.

Some of the holdouts on catastrophe are notable. They include the hurricane forecaster William M. Gray, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University; Richard S. Lindzen, a highly regarded professor of meteorology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and John Christy, a University of Alabama researcher."

The paper writes, "Lindzen notes that the future rate of temperature rise is very much in doubt. For that matter, the temperature record is not absolutely clear," and then gives us a huge piece of data you'll never hear anywhere in the mainstream press: "Warming in the Northern Hemisphere has been counterbalanced by cooling in the Southern Hemisphere."

If Guns Are Outlawed, Only the Government Will Have Guns.

Last year Georgia made it easier for a citizen to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The liberals in this State were absolutely enraged! Cynthia Tucker, the Editorial Page Editor of The Atlanta Constitution, wrote that it would be "open season" on police officers, and that police officers would die in large numbers if it were easier for private citizens to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons. This is a good example of the aversion to facts that most lefties have on this issue. The fact is that there has never been one documented incident anywhere in this country where a police officer was shot in the line of duty by a private citizen carrying a concealed handgun for which he had a permit! Just where did she get this "police will die in the streets" nonsense? Straight out of her illogical mind, that's where. (Actually, Cynthia is really a nice person. She just can't think all that well.)

Oddly enough, the statistics --- the FACTS ---- show that violent crime rates go down when it becomes easier for private law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons. The reason is simple, and logical. Criminals don't like the idea that their victim may be armed!

An interesting thing happened in Florida in recent years when the law was changed to make it easier for people to get carry permits. The violent crime rate, including murders and armed robberies, went down. The predators were afraid! Finally they figured out where they could find some victims who would most likely have some cash, and who most likely would not have guns! Get them coming off the airplanes at Miami International Airport! These people are coming to Florida for a vacation, so they have cash. They have just been through airport security, so they don't have guns. Now that's the type of victim the predators want! Unarmed ones!

This is a fact that draws a blank stare from the gun control crowd. They have no idea in the world how to handle it. Out of all the privately owned handguns, legal and illegal, in the United States, guess what percentage of them are not used in a murder in any given year? Guess what percentage of them are not used in a crime of any type?

99.998% of all privately owned handguns in the U.S. are not used in a murder in any given year.

99.96% of all privately owned handguns in the U.S. are not used in any crime in a given year.

Now that really screams for gun control, doesn't it?

How about some CRIMINAL control?

Global Water Shortage?

A scientist recently said that the earth has basically the same amount of water every day of the year. It's just in different forms and different places. But the amount of water is the same. Sometimes there's less of it where you live than other times, and sometimes there's more of it in other places, but with evaporation, condensation, rain, snow, and snow melt, there's a certain amount of water that gets recycled throughout the earth-ecosystem-atmospheric process.

We do have more people who are using more water, leading to a higher per capita use, but the idea that we're running out of water is silly. I'm not for wasting things, don't misunderstand, but the word "shortage" is used to create the notion that there is less of X than there has been, and that is not the case.

No More Noise!

A condition we have on our highways and in our communities is the excessive pounding noise coming from many vehicles, a problem which appears to be increasing exponentially. We have a law in Florida, which addresses this issue.

FL 316.3045 Operation of radios or other mechanical soundmaking devices or instruments in vehicles.

(1) It is unlawful for any person operating or occupying a motor vehicle on a street or highway to operate or amplify the sound produced by a radio, tape player, or other mechanical soundmaking device or instrument from within the motor vehicle so that the sound is:

(a) Plainly audible at a distance of 100 feet or more from the motor vehicle.

The pounding emanating from these vehicles can be heard at distances far greater than the 100 foot distance specified in this law. I suggest the enforcement of this law will help rid our highways, roadways and communities from these excessive and unnecessary annoyances.

George Dorunda

New evidence casts doubt on global warming!

Claims are "based on false data," international team of scientists says.

Fresh doubt has been cast on evidence for global warming following the discovery that a key method of measuring temperature change has exaggerated the warming rate by almost 40 percent.

Studies of temperature records dating back more than a century have seemed to indicate a rise in global temperature of around 0.5C, with much of it occurring since the late 1970s. This has led many scientists to conclude global warming is under way, with the finger of blame usually pointed at man-made emissions of such greenhouse gases as carbon dioxide.

Now an international team of scientists, including researchers from the Met Office in Bracknell, Berkshire, United Kingdom, has found serious discrepancies in the temperature measurements, suggesting that the amount of global warming is much less than previously believed.

Measuring water, not air.

The concern focuses on the temperature of the atmosphere over the oceans, which cover almost three-quarters of the Earth's surface. While scientists use standard weather station instruments to detect warming on land, they have been forced to rely on the crews of ships to make measurements over the vast ocean regions.

Crews have taken the temperature by dipping buckets into the sea or using water flowing into the engine intakes. Scientists have assumed there is a simple link between the temperature of seawater and that of the air above it.

However, after analyzing years of data from scientific buoys in the Pacific that measure sea and air temperatures simultaneously, the team has found no evidence of a simple link. Instead, the seawater measurements have exaggerated the amount of global warming over the seas, with the real temperature having risen less than half as fast during the 1970s than the standard measurements suggest.

Reporting their findings in the influential journal Geophysical Research Letters, the scientists say the exact cause of the discrepancy is not known. One possibility is that the atmosphere responded faster than the sea to cooling events such as volcanic eruptions.

A big cut.

The findings have major implications for the climate change debate because sea temperature measurements are a key part of global warming calculations. According to the team, replacing the standard seawater data with the appropriate air data produces a big cut in the overall global warming rate during the last 20 years, from around 0.18C per decade to 0.13C.

This suggests that the widely quoted global warming figure used to persuade governments to take action on greenhouse gas emissions exaggerates the true warming rate by almost 40 percent. The team is now calling for climate experts to switch from seawater data to sea-air temperature measurements.

One member of the team, David Parker, of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research at the Met Office, said the discovery of the discrepancy "shows we don't understand everything, and that we need better observations--all branches of science are like that." Yet according to Parker, the new results do not undermine the case for global warming: "It is raising questions about the interpretation of the sea-surface data."

Even so, the findings will be seized on by skeptics as more evidence that scientists have little idea about the current rate of global warming, let alone its future rate. Climate experts are still trying to explain why satellites measuring the temperature of the Earth have detected little sign of global warming, despite taking measurements during supposedly the warmest period on record.

Some researchers suspect the fault may again lie with the ground-based temperature measurements. They say many of the data come from stations surrounded by growing urban sprawl, whose warmth could give a misleading figure. A study of data taken around Vienna, Austria, between 1951 and 1996 found that the air temperature rose by anything from zero to 0.6C, depending on precisely where the measurements were made.

Jimmy Sturr's Mission? Make Polka Hot
Washington Post
Friday, March 30, 2001; Page WE15

JIMMY STURR and His Orchestra have now won 11 straight Grammys in the polka category.

Which, his label points out, is more than Madonna and Whitney Houston combined.

Yet Sturr's never been invited to perform on the Grammy show and he's never been able to break through the late night hegemony of Leno and Letterman.

"You can't even get to first base with these people," Sturr says from his office in Florida, N.Y., (we'll explain later). "They probably picture old guys in lederhosen, and that's just not the way it is anymore."

It really hasn't been that way since Frankie Yankovic became the King of Polka in the late '40s and helped kick off a national polka craze that lasted into the early '60s. Since then, polka has felt a little like the Rodney Dangerfield of music genres -- it didn't even get respect from the Grammy folks until 1986, when the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences finally instituted a polka category.

"I know that I'll never be on the top like those guys that go up that ladder and suddenly, a few years later, they start to go down," Sturr says confidently. "That will never happen to me because polka music will never be on the top, and I know that.

"And that's what makes me work constantly at this, trying to always gain popularity, not just for the band, but for the word 'polka.' A lot of people think they've nailed the word 'polka.' They feel it's just for old people, that it's only done in a beer hall -- and that's just not true."

Not if Jimmy Sturr has anything to say about it. Over the last 20 years, he's turned into something of a pied piper -- or, technically, pied clarinetist-saxophonist -- leading audiences out of their preconceptions with albums that appeal to both traditionalists and initiates. Sturr has done this with perpetual touring -- 160 dates a year both here and abroad -- and an incessant flow of albums. June's "Gone Polka," featuring Willie Nelson and Brenda Lee, will be his 103rd!

And, in recent years, Sturr's done it by emphasizing connections between polka and other ethnic musics. He's recorded with Tex-Mex legend Flaco Jimenez and Cajun star Jo-El Sonnier. Sturr's most recent album, "Touched by a Polka," features fiddler Frank Urbanovitch's polka-Cajun blend on the Jimmy C. Newman hit, "Thibodeaux and His Cajun Band," as well as a "St. Patty's Polka Medley" (not that surprising since Sturr is Irish American). On 1999's "Polkapalooza" album, he mixed things up further by having Jimenez play on the Cajun two-step, "Bayou Pon Pon," along with the band's two accordion stars, Gene Bartkiewicz and Wally Czerniawski.

"It's all music played with a polka tempo," Sturr says, pointing out that anything in a two-beat rhythm can easily be turned into a polka. "Take that Cajun music, that Tejano music, some of that Western Swing -- it's nothing more than a polka played a little bit slower, or a little bit faster. You can't get away from that lively sound of a polka. The biggest problem in polka music is exposure."

This explains the country connection, which began in 1995 when Sturr's band became the first polka orchestra to perform on the "Grand Ole Opry" and began appearing regularly on the Nashville Network. The connection has included touring with Asleep at the Wheel and reviving Western Swing classics like the Bob Wills tunes, "San Antonio Rose" and "Time Changes Everything."

Sturr enlisted country star Mel Tillis for "Touched by a Polka" and previously recorded with Bill Anderson, the Oak Ridge Boys and Willie Nelson, who sang three tracks on 1996's "Polka! All Night Long." Nelson invited Sturr and his orchestra to open last year's Farm Aid concert at Nissan Pavilion and joined the band on several numbers -- they got a standing ovation from a crowd that probably wasn't expecting to polka so early in the day.

"Which is why I like to do shows with other people," says Sturr. "We get that all the time."

"A lot of people say Jimmy Sturr wants to be country because he records with Willie Nelson or Mel Tillis, and that's not true," Sturr says. "For instance, Willie loves polka music and we enjoy recording with him because he's such a great guy. I do it because I want to reach out to a lot more fans and I also want to keep the ones that we have happy. That's why I always put a handful of songs that are traditional on the albums, as well."

The notion of someone who identifies himself as "100 percent Irish" championing music born in 19th-century Czechoslovakia and adopted by 20th-century Eastern European immigrants is the quintessential melting-pot process. Sturr was born and raised in Florida, a small town just outside West Point. He boasts: "We are the onion capital of the country -- about 30 percent of the country's onions -- and so they're all farmers up here. They came from Europe, predominantly Poland and Germany, and settled in this area to work on the farms.

"And they brought all their traditions with them," Sturr says. "So our high school dances were played by polka bands. The local radio station played polkas every day. Those three-day Polish weddings? They had those every weekend. And every Saturday night I would tune in to the 'The Lawrence Welk Show' and I would just sit there until [accordionist] Myron Floren played his polka. And that was enough for me."

Hooked on polka, Sturr started saxophone and clarinet lessons in third grade and eventually wound up in both a school band and a commercial one. After college and an Army stint, he started playing again but worked in a bank for 12 years before deciding he wanted to do music full time.

Sturr began his prolific recording output at 15 -- he's now 50 -- and before he hooked up with Rounder, he had great success through late-night TV ads (one late-night offering sold 675,000 copies).

"Now, with Rounder, we're starting to get into the stores," Sturr says. "But for many years, you would never see polka records in any of the major stores."

When he's not on the road, Sturr can be found in Florida, N.Y., though he also has a condo in Florida, which, fortunately, does not have a town called New York ("You can't imagine what I go through" with forwarding mail and other address-oriented dilemmas, Sturr jokes). In hometown Florida, he lives in the house he grew up in and operates his various businesses (production, publishing, booking, travel, radio syndication) in an office building across the street from his old high school.

And, yes, Sturr and the band did make a pilgrimage to Poland.

"I'd heard so much in the songs about Poland that I always wanted to go there," he says of the performance at Warsaw's Palace of Culture a few years back, when Poland was still under communist rule.

"They told us what we could not play, especially 'patriotic music,' " Sturr recalls, adding that there were 3,000 people in the concert hall, including 500 Polish Americans who had flown over to visit relatives.

"I said 'It's a shame people can't see that while our two countries may be at odds with each other politically, people are sitting together, laughing together, crying together . . .

"And then we went into 'God Bless America' . . . and we got a standing ovation like we never got before. It was just incredible!"

Student Sues Over Ban On 'Straight Pride' Sweatshirt

WOODBURY, Minn. - A Minnesota teen-ager told he couldn't wear a sweatshirt with the words "Straight Pride" on it because it was offensive to some students at a public high school has sued the school district in federal court claiming his free speech rights were violated.

Elliott Chambers, a 16-year-old student at Woodbury High School outside St. Paul, says he was called into the school principal's office in January and told the shirt was not allowed in school because it was offensive to gay, lesbian and bisexual students.

The sweatshirt carried the trademarked logo "Straight Pride" on the front, and the stick-figure symbols of a man and woman holding hands on the back.

"A student actually approached me and she said she was offended by my shirt and some of her friends were offended by the shirt and she didn't want me to wear it anymore," Chambers told Fox News. "She said if I continued to wear it, she would go to the principal and he would deal with me."

The principal told Chambers he couldn't wear the shirt "because of the recent racial violence at our school, and that it might incite
straight-versus-homosexual violence," he recalled.

Officials at the school district have declined to comment on the case other than to say principal Dana Babbitt, a co-defendant in the case, was trying to keep his school safe.

In wearing the shirt, Chambers said he did not intend to insult anyone. "It's not meant to bash gays or anything like that at all," he said. "It's just a simple shirt that says 'Hey...I have pride in being straight.'"

But others at the school interpreted it differently.

Paula Borochoff, a special education teacher, told Fox News that the shirt is a form of harassment that should be banned. The language makes gay or lesbian students, or those with gay or lesbian family members, uncomfortable, she said.

"It's just like kids can't wear racially unethical things or they can't come to school with sweatshirts that advertise beer," Borochoff said. "I think that in order to make the school comfortable for everybody, school principals have an obligation to ban things like that that are hurtful to other people."

Before enlisting the help of the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy, a Christian group that has joined the lawsuit, the Chambers, who are themselves Christian, visited the principal to express their concern about what they said was a double-standard.

The school attempts to foster an atmosphere of tolerance by displaying inverted pink triangles around designated "safe" areas of the school. The "safe" areas are set aside for student/teacher discussion and counseling regarding homosexuality and other non-traditional relationships.

Elliott's mother, Lana Chambers, said she was concerned that moral lessons being taught at home (the Chambers oppose homosexual acts on Christian principle) were being undermined in school.

"It upsets me that the school system is destroying what I'm trying to build at home," she told Fox News. "Is it too much to ask that they just focus on what's important and let the moral education be done in the home where it belongs."

When she raised her concerns, Lana Chambers said, principal Babbitt called her "homophobic."

Stephen M. Crampton, Chief Counsel for the American Family Center, called the situation "a case of classic viewpoint discrimination.

"The school has chosen to openly embrace homosexuality and bisexuality, and it does not welcome dissenting points of view," he said.

Free speech only counts when you agree with the politically correct crowd. The idea of straight people is offensive to gays?   Yup!  A student in a Minnesota high school cannot wear a "Straight Pride" sweatshirt at school.  The reason?  It would be "offensive." There is nothing negative about the shirt but the school wants to ban it. And these people think they are open-minded? Think about this.

This Santa Claus suit comes with lawyers!

Friday, March 30, 2001

DEERFIELD   -   The people at Yankee Candle Co. would be well advised not to shout, pout or cry: Santa Claus is coming to town, and this time he's got a lawyer.

Sixty-three-year-old Greenfield resident David A. Montmeny, the candle maker's former Santa Claus, says he was fired in 1999 for taking too many bathroom breaks and buying candles on company time. His suit claims age and handicap discrimination and seeks $110,000 in back wages and compensation from the candle maker.

In the suit filed Tuesday at Franklin Superior Court, Montmeny charged that the company disciplined him for a series of minor infractions, and later fired him, all in retaliation for his requests for more bathroom breaks.

"I think they just wanted to get rid of me for a younger man," Montmeny said in an interview shortly after his termination in September of 1999. He did not respond to an inquiry sent via his lawyer yesterday.

Montmeny's lawyer, Lawrence J. Farber of Amherst, wrote in the suit that the would-be Santa suffers from a medical condition requiring more bathroom breaks than the three he was given during his eight-hour shift as St. Nick. This condition, not named in the lawsuit, counts as a handicap as it has "substantially limited one or more of Montmeny's major life activities," Farber maintained.

"Montmeny's complaints about being forgotten in Santa's Toy Shop when he needed a break to use the toilet went largely unheeded," Farber wrote. "He was known to his employer as a person with an impairment."

According to the suit, Montmeny received disciplinary warnings from the company after complaining for more breaks, and after allegedly chastising a co-worker for double-parking. He said he was also put on probation for using an automatic teller while on the job.

He was let go after purchasing $18 worth of tea lights on company time, he said.

"Because I bought candles, they fired me," Montmeny said. "That's the most idiotic reason to let me go."

In the suit, Farber suggested that this was just a ruse to replace Montmeny with a younger man lacking a disability.

Officials at Yankee Candle declined comment.

In 1993, Montmeny was hired for his Kris Kringle-like features and real whiskers, and was known for his elaborate Christmas season entrance aboard a helicopter. According to Montmeny, he earned $38,000 a year for portraying St. Nick full-time, year-round. He had planned to stay on until retirement at 65.

Montmeny had portrayed Santa Claus for three decades, impersonating the jolly old elf at malls, private parties, and for a photography studio. He was one of 40 applicants for the Yankee Candle job, and made the final cut in part because he was of the age that he could sport a real Santa-style beard, he said.

A year ago, Montmeny filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, but no action was taken on the complaint. He's withdrawing the complaint in order to file the lawsuit, Farber said yesterday.

No Pictures of Weapons! Not in this School!

A third grader at the Lenwill Elementary School – his last name is Walker and he’s a honor student – has a relative serving in the U.S. Army.  He’s rather proud of this relative.  Looks up to him.   He drew a picture of this relative in uniform.  The soldier was holding a canteen in one hand, a knife in the other.  He drew the Army fort where his relative might be stationed.  He listed what weapons and supplies might be found inside the fort.  Then he showed his drawing to another student, and a teacher got a glance.  The next thing you know young Walker finds himself suspended from school. The Principal of this wonderful government institution said that “We have zero-tolerance for drawings with guns.  We can’t tolerate anything that has to do with guns or knives.”  Another school official said that the picture depicted violence. 

So, here we have an eight year-old guy who is proud of his relative who’s a soldier.  He draws a picture depicting his hero’s life – only to find out that his relative is bad.  He’s dangerous.  He’s all about violence, and that’s bad. 

Young Walker’s father says that now he is going to have to try to teach his child that being in the Army isn't a bad thing. 

Maine Butt Bill!

A Maine state legislator is tired of seeing used cigarette butts all over the place, so he plans on making them returnable, like soda bottles or cans. Representative Joseph Brooks' returnable butt bill would impose a deposit of one dollar on every pack of cigarettes. Then the evil smokers would get a nickel for each butt they returned to bottle redemption centers. Clerks would inspect the butts to make sure they are properly marked for refunds. What a fun job that would be. The CDC has got to love that.

Backers of the Butt Bill handed out information packets that included plastic bags full of smelly cigarette butts. All this high-minded talk of fighting litter is just smoke in the taxpayers' faces. Brooks and the other supporters of the Butt Bill admit that many if not most of the 2.2 billion butts that Maine smokers hold between their nicotine stained fingers every year will never be returned.

The Butt Bill sets up a returnable tobacco products fund allowing state politicians to take an estimated 50 million dollars a year in what cannot be called anything other than new taxes. Just be honest about it. Just have the state militia invade the homes of those people who smoke, slap them around a little bit, and then take some money out of their wallets. If you are going to mug somebody, at least be honest about what you are doing instead of calling it an anti-litter campaign. For crying out loud, just admit it's a tax increase.


You may have heard that crime is down in America - well, not against women. Crime against women is everywhere. But I am happy to report that Fort Worth, Texas is one place where they are not soft on male-on-female crime.

At Dee McRae Elementary School a lascivious abuser named Seth Shaw has been thwarted. He is a counselor and was in the midst of his crime spree in early November when he was caught by school trustees. First they were going to transfer him to another school and allow him to resign at the end of the school year. But now they decided to suspend him for twenty days without pay.

See, Mr. Shaw picked on the wrong woman, He picked on a woman trying to conduct Sexual Harassment workshops. Don't you have fond memories of your own elementary school sexual harassment workshops? I know I do.

Classic Radio Comeback!

This has got to be the all-time classic comeback! This is an exact recount of US National Public Radio (NPR) interview between a touchy-feely female broadcaster, and US Army General Reinwald who was about to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop visiting his military installation.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: " So, General Reinwald, what things are you going to teach these young boys when they visit your base?"

GENERAL REINWALD: 'We're going to teach them climbing, canoeing,archery, and shooting."

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: "Shooting! That's a bit irresponsible, isn't it?"

GENERAL REINWALD: "I don't see why, they'll be properly supervised on the rifle range."

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: "Don't you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?"

GENERAL REINWALD: "I don't see how, ....we will be teaching them proper rifle range discipline before they even touch a firearm."

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: "But you're equipping them to become violent killers."

GENERAL REINWALD: "Well, you're equipped to be a prostitute, but you're not one, are you?"

The radio went silent and the interview ended.

Boy Suspended for Pointing Chicken

Wednesday January 31 6:59 PM ET
Boy Suspended for Pointing Chicken

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - An 8-year-old boy was suspended from school for 3 days after pointing a breaded chicken finger at a teacher and saying, ``Pow, pow, pow.''

The incident apparently violated the Jonesboro School District's zero-tolerance policy against weapons. The boy was suspended last week.

Kelli Kissinger, mother of first-grader Christopher, said she believed the punishment was too severe.

``I think a chicken strip is something insignificant,'' she said. ``It's just a piece of chicken. How could you play like it's a gun?''

South Elementary principal Dan Sullivan said he was prevented by law from discussing Christopher's suspension.

Sullivan said the school has zero-tolerance rules because the public wants them.

In March 1998, four students and a teacher were killed and 10 others wounded when two youths opened fire on a schoolyard at Jonesboro's Westside Middle School.

``People saw real threats to the safety and security of their students,'' Sullivan said.

A school discipline form provided by the boy's mother and signed by Sullivan says the child was suspended because he ``took a chicken strip off his plate, pointed it at (a teacher) and said 'Pow, pow, pow,' like he was shooting her.''

Sullivan said punishment for a threat ``depends on the tone, the demeanor, and in some manner you judge the intent. It's not the object in the hand, it's the thought in the mind. Is a plastic fork worse than a metal fork? Is a pencil a weapon?''

Now it's those killer chicken fingers. Next it will be killer fries!

George Dorunda

Study: Gore would not have won on recount!
MIAMI - Former vice president Al Gore would not have picked up many new votes in Miami-Dade County - and might have lost ground in the county - if the hand count of ballots that he requested had been completed, according to an independent study done for USA TODAY, The Miami Herald and Knight Ridder Newspapers. Gore would have had a net gain of 49 votes if the most-lenient standard - counting even faintly dimpled chads - had been used, the study found. If the standard had been more stringent, George W. Bush probably would have gained votes.

Oops! … Britney Said a Bad Word

Wednesday January 24 08:30 PM EST

Pop princess Britney Spears, whose racy outfits often belie her squeaky-clean music, revealed that she also has a mouth that would make many a mother blush.

Before she took the stage Thursday at Brazil's massive Rock in Rio festival, the young diva was apparently furious with the way the concert was being run.

"Don't tell me they're just letting the audience f*cking stand out there like that," she said, apparently not realizing that her mic was on and that her words were being recorded. "Oh my God … Let's hurry all, seriously. This is retarded. They told me they were going to do a vamp."

Luckily, the P.A. was not on, so the crowd was unaware of the star's rant.

"Vamp" is a stage term for music played repeatedly before an artist takes the stage — the 19-year-old singer didn't want to take the stage in silence. But her next comments were harder to understand.

"Oh, shit, oh, no, what are they doing!?" she shouted. "Oh, my pants are too short, I grew, I thought they were going to … I know, I'm not just going to stand out there, I thought they were going to f*cking vamp! OK, thanks. This is retarded."

The pre-show freakout was inauspicious. Though her set began well enough, the packed house of Brazilians didn't take well to the giant American flag that appeared on a screen behind Spears during her performance of "Lucky."

The crowd began booing and chanting "Brazil."

The recording was first played on Los Angeles radio station KROQ.

Just what we need. Another role model?

George Dorunda

Quote About Florida Recounts 1948!

"Let me tell you about Florida politicians. I make them out of whole cloth, just like a tailor makes a suit. I get their name in the newspaper. I get them some publicity and get them on the ballot. Then after the election, we count the votes. And if they don't turn out right, we recount them. And recount them again. Until they do."

- Edward G. Robinson to Humphrey Bogart in the movie "Key Largo" (1948!)

Global Warming?

British researchers have found evidence that the world has become 10 degrees Celsius chillier in the last 3.2 million years.

The cooling off is five times greater than experts had previously believed, enough to bring about changes that have sent human evolution into overdrive, it is claimed.

Cooling was especially rapid about two million years ago, according to the findings reported in the journal Science.

Jeremy Marlow, of Newcastle University, who led the team of British, American and German scientists, said: "People have been looking for a climate event that could explain what is seen in the geological record.

"We postulate that this dramatic cooling could be it. Up to two million years ago the vegetation across southern Africa was fairly rich and typical of a temperate climate where evolutionary pressures were not that great.

"Then you get this sudden cooling. There's less evaporation from the sea, less rain, and you start to see a build up of savannah appearing.

"Resources become limited; food is harder to get and there's less tree cover, increasing the danger from wild animals. The hominids around then would have been under greater pressure to survive, and they would have switched from gathering to hunting."

This would have provided the spur needed to push human evolution forward, said Mr Marlow, a Phd student at the university.

The scientists discovered tell-tale signs of the fall in temperature in the molecular fossils of microscopic marine algae.

Examining the pattern of deposition of algae sediments revealed evidence of a climate change cycle spanning thousands or even millions of years.

It showed that the Earth has been cooling for about five million years. During this time threshold points were reached which saw sudden and pronounced temperature dips.

A Successful Getaway Was Only A Clicker Away

A pair of burglars would have gotten away with their haul of televisions if it wasn't for one factor. As the pair were about to speed off, they realized they had forgotten the remote controls, so they returned to get them. By then, a resident had already alerted police after she'd spotted the two men outside her neighbor's house Sunday loading a television into a sport utility vehicle. Police said they found Jaron Grosby, 20, behind the wheel of the SUV, and Wesley Jackson, 20, hiding behind the vehicle. Jackson reportedly confessed to the officers that he and Grosby stole the televisions after breaking a window to get into the house.

Clinton House!

It looks as though we'll all be footing the bill for the Clintons' place in Chappaqua purchased by the first couple for $1.7 million when Hillary had to demonstrate her New York roots. The Secret Service needs a place on the property to house its agents, and the Clintons have been so good as to make available the structure for the Secret Service body guards. By an amazing coincidence, the rent matches the monthly mortgage payment for the entire property.

Global Warming?

How about global warming, ladies and gentlemen? There really is a lot of evidence of it out there, is there not? In fact, the global warming crowd will tell you that these record low temperatures we're seeing around the world come as a result of global warming. Apparently the cold is a by-product of global warming. These mad shifts, the extreme temperature changes, are all due to global warming.

Well, if it's global warming, how in the hell could it be 70 below zero in Siberia? Have you heard about this? It is - literally, 70 below zero Fahrenheit. It has gotten down to 40 degrees below in Moscow. It has been this way for a couple weeks. Last week a hundred people died in Moscow because of it.

The United States is not setting any records here for warmth this winter, either. Even Florida is cold this year. Florida highs during December and January are normally 75, but you can count on two hands the number
of days in December 2000 and January 2001 that it has reached 75.

To the environmentalist wackos, this cold weather has all been due to global warming. Yeah, right.

Land rights dousing

This is a horror story and one which I hope "compassionate conservatism" will do something about after Jan. 20. The case was brought to my attention by the Pacific Legal Foundation.

First the chronology:

In spring 1989, Ocie Mills bought two small lots totaling half an acre in a Florida subdivision in Santa Rosa County, 20 miles east of Pensacola, on which to build a house for his son Carey. In preparation for construction, they dumped 19 loads of clean builder's sand on the lot. A 300-foot drainage ditch ran between the two lots. They drained the ditch to get rid of a mosquito breeding ground. The Florida Department of Environmental Regulation (FER) had ruled in advance that their actions did not affect wetlands and that no permit was needed for the work.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers disagreed with FER and brought father and son into federal court. They were charged and convicted by a jury under the federal 1977 Clean Water Act on four felony counts of knowingly discharging "fill material" in "wetlands" and "dredging a canal [in] navigable waters" without a federal permit.

For such monstrous crimes, father and son were each sentenced to 21 months in the federal prison camp at Saufley Field in Pensacola, each fined $5,000. Subsequently, they were denied eligibility for parole and ordered to restore the affected site within 90 days of their release.

The U.S. District judge barred testimony by FER employees that state officials had authorized placement of fill materials on the land and determined that the two lots were not a wetland as defined by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regulations. I find it is hard to understand why the federal judge didn't indict the FER employees as co-conspirators with the Mills family.

Here is an example of a bureaucracy gone mad with power so that it corrupts a congressional law intended to protect the nation's waterways, aquifers and municipal water supplies from pollution. Under the Clean Water Act, you may not discharge dredged or fill material into "navigable waters" without a federal permit. Fine. But over the years the Corps of Engineers, says the Pacific Legal Foundation, has so broadened the term "navigable waters" that it includes "areas of dry land that need never be wet."

When the Mills were finally freed, a new ordeal began. They were hauled back to court in March 1991 charged with not having "restored" the property within 90 days to its pristine state. U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson went to the scene of the "crime" and then told the Corps of Engineers that the Millses "had complied with the site restoration plan."

In 1992, the Millses appeared before Judge Vinson and asked to have their felony convictions erased. Reluctantly, the judge upheld their convictions but in his decision he made two points:

(1) Congress had abdicated its authority by allowing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, an unelected administrative agency, to define environmental crimes.

(2) The Clean Water Act had been interpreted like something out of "Alice in Wonderland" by which, to quote his written decision, "a landowner who places clean fill dirt on . . . dry land may be imprisoned for . . . discharging pollutants into the navigable waters of the United States."

In 1996, an explosive event occurred. One of the jurors who had voted for the Millses conviction called the senior Mills and told a story of what is surely serious juror misconduct during the jury deliberations. The juror said Ocie Mills had threatened environmental people with a gun, an event which was not introduced in the trial but it influenced the jury which convicted.

The Millses, aided by the Pacific Legal Foundation, are going back to the U.S. Supreme Court, which had turned them down once before, requesting a new trial on the grounds that their right to a trial "by an impartial jury" had been violated. This battle against an entrenched bureaucracy has been under way for 11 years and it is time a new administration began to rein in these officials — or did the Congress which passed the Clean Water Act intend that people like the Millses should be jailed for non-existent crimes? It's time the American people got an answer.

Taxes, Taxes!

Alex Rodriguez is getting slightly more than $25 million a year - pretax. So it's actually a $125 million contract. Stop and think about that, folks. Here's a 26-year-old guy, and over the next ten years he's going to be paid $252 million-plus, because there are a lot of incentives built in. He's in Texas, where there's no state income tax - but he's still going to lose about half of that money in taxes.

So his $250 million is now $125 million. Of course, people say, "Well, that's fair, because look at what he's left with." Well, on the other hand, look at what's being taken from him by people who had not a thing to do with producing it, generating it or earning it.
The wealthy have been so demonized that people think it is entirely fair - and, in fact, not just fair but right - to take half of what people make. Many people in America today believe that it's "just not right" to earn that much money.

No matter how large the contract, this complaining happens every time new ground is broken. Somebody is going to make more than this somewhere down the line, and it isn't going to take long. The New York Yankees still have to deal with Derek Jeter, and Derek Jeter can argue that he has some better numbers than Alex Rodriguez - and he plays in New York, with the New York Yankees.

When you get down to it, these people are being paid this money because it is assumed by the people writing the checks that they are generating it one way or another. Or it's being paid to them because it is assumed by their employers that if they don't, then somebody else will. It's like any other commodity or item that you want: if you really want it, and it's in short supply, you pay what it takes to get it.


Word is that the Clintons are ready to put their Chappaqua, New York, house up for sale.  And they're going to use a strategy that helped them out in the past. Here's how it's going to go down, according to the New York Post's Neal Travis:   "You get yourself elected, find a place in D.C. and shake the dust of Chappaqua off your sensible flat shoes.  As a bonus, one of your well-heeled pals buys the mansion at a huge premium, giving you a fat profit. (Even a stranger would pay a bonus to boast that he lives in a house once--albeit briefly--occupied by the first family.)"

A source in Chappaqua says Travis was right...and that the Clintons put up the house for sale only three days after Hitlary won her Senate seat.

Do the words "Castle Grande" ring a bell?  That's the land-flip heist at the center of the Whitewater scandal.  A real estate option Hillary prepared was used to deceive federal bank examiners about the payments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in real estate commissions to the father-in-law of Webster Hubbell.  Now the Clintons are about to flip their Chappaqua home for a big profit.   And they're going to do it in broad daylight.

Hillary will probably keep a small apartment in New York City, just to give the impression that she's a Senator from New York...but she won't spend much time there.  She'll be in Washington for the bulk of her Senate career, which ought to last four years.

I hope you New Yorkers realize just what a bunch of suckers you are. After making such a hoo-hah about finding a home in New York and settling there, The World's Smartest Woman is ditching you.  All of you.  You're no longer useful to her.  She's had her way with you, and now she's kicking you to the curb.

“Vote Your Heart and Your Conscience and You May Be Surprised What Happens”
By Governor Jesse Ventura

A LITTLE LESS than two years ago the people of Minnesota elected me their governor. Many political insiders, editorial page writers, and the academic elite in Minnesota and the nation shook their heads in disbelief and asked themselves how the heck my election could have happened.

Amazingly, two years later, Democratic and Republican insiders, the media, and much of the academic world are still scratching their heads, wondering how it happened, and if it could happen again.

Keep reading. I’ll tell you how it happened in Minnesota and how it could happen again.

It happened because the people of Minnesota were sick and tired of listening to the same old traditional singsong political talk that the Democrats and Republicans give them year after year, election after election.

Minnesotans, like the character in the movie Network, said “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

It happened because middle-class, middle-of-the-road centrists rose up and said to heck with the radical liberals on the left and the radical conservatives on the right.

It happened because 60 percent of the electorate in Minnesota does not strongly identify with either major party. They are independent thinkers.

It happened because a third Minnesota party obtained major party status in the 1994 election when a candidate for the U.S. Senate got five percent of the vote.

That made it easy for me to get on the general election ballot in 1998, make it a three-way race, and qualify for public campaign financing.

It happened because Minnesota’s election laws allow same-day registration.

Did you know that 15.8 percent of Minnesotans registered on Election Day, with the overwhelming majority of these voters casting their ballots for me?

And that fully one voter in eight admitted to voting only because I was on the ballot. Independent-thinking voters made their move in Minnesota.

You other states better be looking over your shoulder because I don’t think this independent movement is done yet.

Especially if Congress and state legislators get smart, provide easy access for voting and public financing for campaigns in all the states.

In 1998, when I was elected, 61.4 percent of Minnesota’s eligible voters went to the polls.

This compares to the national average of 36 percent for the same year.

It is interesting that year in and year out Minnesota and Maine generally lead the nation in voter turnout. Is it a coincidence that Minnesota and Maine are the only states with independent governors?

All these things help you, but you also have to have a candidate who believes in candor and not pander.

And of course that reminds me of debates. Have you been watching the presidential debates?

Unlike this year’s presidential debates, in my election in Minnesota, even though I was a third-party candidate, I was allowed to debate.

In fact, before the debates I was polling less than 10 percent. But once I was allowed to debate, my numbers started to climb, and the rest is history.

Let’s face it, the Democrats and Republicans are operating as though they don’t have a clue to what democracy is all about. To them democracy is to make it hard to vote, limit choices, and campaign only on issues that appeal to special interest groups that can deliver votes.

I don’t know about you, but I found this year’s debates very boring.

When I debated in my campaign I stood next to the two traditional candidates, smiled, and said: If you like what they represent, fine, vote for them. If you want honest and principled leadership, then vote for me.

And I never used notes.

In one of the televised debates my opponents Hubert H. Humphrey III and St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman came with stacks of notebooks filled with research.

After the debate had started a woman from the League of Women Voters thought she was doing a nice thing by handing me a yellow legal pad and a pencil.

She whispered to me, “You’ll probably need this.”

I handed her back the pencil and paper and said “No thank you, ma’am. You see, if you speak from the heart and tell the truth, you don’t need a long memory.”

It seems to me that one of the most important things to look for in a debate is whether the candidate is real. Are the thoughts and ideas coming from his or her heart, or from a carefully calculated political strategy developed by a campaign consultant?

I think I was successful in my debates because I was authentic and not programmed. If I were you, I would look for authenticity. If you didn’t see it and feel it in the presidential debates, check out the third-party candidates.

Another reason I won is because I didn’t spend a lifetime running for the job. I came from the private sector, and when this is over I’ll go back to the private sector.

I think that’s the way the people want it.

If you spend a lifetime pandering to the 15 percent on the radical left and right, well good luck, because the 70 percent in the middle are going to send you packing.

Then of course you won’t have a clue what to do with your life because all you’ve ever been is a politician. So then what? You go to work for a special interest.

Let’s talk about special interests, lobbyists, and money.

When I became governor, many in the press and all the lobbyists shook their heads and said, well, he got elected but he sure as heck can’t govern.

I think the lobbyists were upset because they gave all their money to the losers and I wouldn’t take any of their money. Just think, I won an election, have been governing for almost two years, and I haven’t taken a dime from a special interest group.

Washington politicians ought to try it. It’s not only fun — it works. Of course, a lot of people who like the traditional system of pandering and fundraising are out there just waiting for me to fail.

I hate to disappoint them, but I will not fail. You know why?

Because when I stood in front of the student body in a high school in St. Cloud, Minnesota, last week, I was looking at the potential of our state. I said to them: “People can criticize my dress or criticize my style, but rest assured — I will govern and I will not fail.”

I will not fail because I am not torn by allegiances to special interest groups that give me thousands of dollars. I will not fail because I am free to do the right thing and not the politically correct thing. I will not fail because I have a smart, hardworking cabinet, and together we can seek bold reforms and not worry about the political fallout.

I will not fail because if I am not reelected, I will go back to the private sector and not miss a wink of sleep.

Because this year’s elections are close, more than ever your vote can make a difference. Starting today, you should engage and begin choosing your candidate.

And remember, there are no wasted votes.

Also remember what they said in Minnesota during my election: A vote for Jesse Ventura is a wasted vote. Well, I wasted the Democrats and Republicans with wasted votes.

Voting is a privilege, and your responsibility is to vote your heart and conscience. Elections are not horse races. Be true to your convictions and your principles, and you may be surprised at the results.

I could spell out the issues and tell you whom I think you should vote for. But I’m not going to do that. You can study the issues on your own.

My advice to you is this: Look for a candidate who pays attention to ordinary folks who pay the bills and don’t want hassles in their lives.

Life can be a struggle sometimes, and the last thing we need is a candidate who wants the government to be a bigger part of our lives.

We need a president who believes in accountable, responsive, and limited government. I always say: Love is bigger than government, so let’s just stay the heck out of the way of people and let them live their lives. I think personal responsibility and opportunities for self-sufficiency should be high on the list of the presidential candidate you vote for.

People must make smart decisions. And if they make a mistake, well I’m sorry, but it’s not government’s job to make up for every dumb mistake a person makes. You can’t legislate against stupidity.

And let’s vote for candidates who will bring government back to the people. I love the people. But I just don’t understand why most elected officials don’t get it. They go out there and try to involve people in the oldest and dumbest ways you can think of.

In Minnesota last year the Republicans and Democrats went through the same old stuff. Pander to the left, pander to the right, kiss up to the special interests and lobbyists and then try to tell us that it’s a grassroots campaign. What a bunch of baloney. I’m telling you, if candidates go out there and spend all their time with the radical left and the radical right, given a choice, 70 percent of the people will just sit on their hands and not get involved.

Sadly, I think that is where we find our country today. But you have the power to change it all. It will take time. And you will have to vote your heart and your conscience.

Think about it. You may be surprised with the result.

E-mail Hoax an Issue in N.Y. Senate Debate

Sunday, October 8, 2000; 1:45 PM

Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Rick Lazio agreed on one issue when the two New York Senate candidates met in their second debate Sunday: They are absolutely opposed to a bill that would tax e-mail to raise revenue for the U.S. Postal Service.

The trouble is the bill the moderator asked about doesn't exist. It is the subject of a completely fictitious hoax e-mail message that has been forwarded among Internet users for more than year and a half.

The subject came up near the end of the debate, which was televised in New York on WCBS-TV and nationally on CNN, when moderator Marcia Kramer of WCBS asked about "Federal Bill 602P." Kramer said the legislation was "now before Congress" and would let the Postal Service "bill e-mail users five cents for each e-mail they send."

"Well, based on your description, Marcia, I wouldn't vote for that bill," Clinton said, acknowledging that she's never heard of the proposal. "It sounds burdensome and not justifiable to me. I have been a supporter of the moratorium on taxation on the Internet."

Lazio was also adamantly against Bill 602P. "I am absolutely opposed to this," he said. "This is an example of the government's greedy hand in trying to take money from taxpayers that, frankly, it has not right to."

Neither the New York congressman nor the first lady will have to vote on "Federal Bill 602P." The much-circulated hoax e-mail message on which Kramer's question seemed to be based gives credit for the idea to a non-existent "Congressman Tony Schnell." Not only is there no Rep. Schnell, but a lawyer and law firm mentioned in the e-mail are also made up and the bill number does not follow the convention for naming and numbering legislation in Congress.

Nonetheless, the hoax e-mail was so pervasive last year that the Postal Service issued a news release denying that there was any such bill. "No such proposed legislation exists. In fact, no 'Congressman Schnell' exists," said the May 1999 news release, which the Postal Service still links to prominently on its Web site. "The U.S. Postal Service has no authority to surcharge e-mail messages sent over the Internet, nor would it support such legislation."

Kramer's question Sunday was one of a handful she based on e-mails submitted by viewers, according to a statement released by a spokesperson for WCBS. "The debate's moderator, Marcia Kramer, was unaware that there was no such bill," the statement said.

Sunday's debate was not the first time real politicians have tackled this imaginary issue. In May, real Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) introduced real legislation blocking any proposal to tax e-mail messages. The bill had more than 140 real co-sponsors, passed the House in May and is awaiting action in the Senate.

"The perception really does become the reality," Upton said at the time, noting that members of Congress had been swamped with messages from constituents on Bill 602P. "The reality is that more people are communicating with us on this than on any other subject -- more than abortion, more than Elian, more than gas prices. . . . My legislation stops it in its tracks."

Couple Sues Over Hot Pickle Burn

Saturday, Oct. 7, 2000; 3:44 p.m. EDT

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. –– A woman who claims she was permanently scarred after a hot pickle from a McDonald's hamburger fell on her chin is suing the restaurant for more than $100,000.

Veronica M. Martin claims in a lawsuit filed in Knox County Circuit Court that the burn also caused her physical and mental pain. She is seeking $110,000. Her husband, Darrin Martin, is seeking $15,000, because he "has been deprived of the services and consortium of his wife."

The hamburger "was in a defective condition or unreasonably dangerous to the general consumer and in particular to (Veronica Martin)," according to the two-page lawsuit, which was reported in The Knoxville News-Sentinel on Saturday.

Representatives with Mar Inc., owner of the McDonald's franchise, did not return a telephone call from the newspaper.

The lawsuit says the Martins bought hamburgers at the McDonald's on Oct. 6, 1999.

"While attempting to eat the hamburger, the pickle dropped from the hamburger onto her chin," the lawsuit reads. "The pickle was extremely hot and burned the chin of (Mrs. Martin)."

Mrs. Martin had second-degree burns and is permanently scarred, according to the lawsuit.

In 1994, a New Mexico woman was awarded $2.7 million after suing McDonald's for burns she suffered when coffee she bought at a drive-through window spilled in her lap.

A judge later lowered the award to just under $500,000.

Massachusetts Statehouse Now Available For Weddings & Banquets!

It can match the lure of the finest venues, with its ancient portraits, marble halls and grand staircase. But renting the Massachusetts Statehouse requires something more than cash -- an inside connection.

When John Swift, brother of Lt. Gov. Jane Swift, wanted to get married, he asked his sister to help him rent the statehouse for the reception. He's not the only one who has used inside connections to take advantage of this perk; other lawmakers have sponsored similar events for others.

Access to the Statehouse is a little-known perk that is only available to ordinary citizens if they can get sponsored by an elected official.

Swift isn't the only top official to secure the building for a private reception. In 1998, Democratic House Speaker Thomas Finneran sponsored the wedding reception of a Quincy woman at the Statehouse, an administration spokesman said.

John Swift said it was the couple's idea to use the Statehouse.

"It still seems like a fine idea. It's a public building rented out for different functions and I don't see anything wrong with it," John Swift said.

"It is open to everyone. The problem is that it is not widely known as it should be," said Swift aide Jason Kauppi. "It's the people's house and everyone should have access to it, if they want it."

The reception's $1,350 price tag appears to be a bargain, considering the Statehouse's location and historic appeal.

Rates for renting spaces at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts range from $3,000 to $4,500. At The Ritz-Carlton Boston, the minimum charge for 150 people to rent the ballroom and have a meal is $32,000.

About 150 people -- including Jane Swift -- gathered Oct. 9, 1999, in the Great Hall and the Grand Staircase of the 200-year-old building to celebrate the marriage of John Swift, an engineer, and Kimberly Harrington, a stock trader.

The couple paid for the use of the building from noon until about 1 a.m. They paid a "user fee" of $500 -- half the $1,000 fee charged for 150 people under the state's own rental rules.

Local wedding consultants said they were not aware the Statehouse could be used for receptions.

"I've been printing The Wedding Guide for five years and I've never heard of it," said Bill Pelosi, a local wedding consultant and disc jockey for two decades. "I've never seen it advertised."

There is no mention of the fact that the Statehouse can be rented on the Internet Web site of the Bureau of State Office Buildings, the office that oversees Statehouse functions.

The state is now considering advertising the Statehouse on Massachusetts' home page, according to administration spokesman Cort Boulanger.

The state requires an elected state official to sponsor the event to ensure accountability for the events, Boulanger said.

Critics say access to the building must be made common knowledge to avoid the appearance of special treatment for elected officials and their friends and family.

"Anytime anyone uses a public facility the expectation is that access and charges will be equal for all," said Ken White, executive director of Common Cause of Massachusetts, a government watchdog group. "If that was not the case, it adds to the perception that insiders ask for, and get, special treatment."

The Statehouse is perhaps the most historic building in the state. John Hancock donated some of the land where it sits. Paul Revere and Sam Adams laid the cornerstone in 1795. Famed architect Charles Bullfinch, who helped created the Capitol in Washington, designed it.



Suddenly, he’s not ready for prime time.

NBC News released coverage plans for the Republican and Democratic national conventions on Thursday -- a schedule that would push President Clinton's speech at the Democratic event off the NBC broadcast network!

NBC said it will limit live coverage to just one hour on the Wednesday of the convention and 90 minutes on Thursday, Elizabeth Jensen is planning to report in fresh edition of the LOS ANGELES TIMES.

President Clinton is expected to speak on Monday, opening night.

Clinton’s speech will be covered on NBC’s cable news outlet, MSNBC, average viewership 179,000 households.

The first lady's convention speech would also be pushed to cable.

White House spokesman Jake Siewert tells the paper: "Americans who want to hear the President's speech at the Democratic Convention will have ample opportunity to do so, and we have long since learned that second-guessing network news decisions is pointless -- and not to mention fruitless."

Memo blames EPA for gas price increases

July 14, 2000

By Patrice Hill

    An internal Energy Department memo reveals that the Clinton administration knew its own environmental regulations were a
major reason gas prices jumped to record highs in the Midwest last month, even as officials publicly laid blame on "big oil" companies.
     The June 5 memo, obtained by The Washington Times, was written for Energy Secretary Bill Richardson by the department's acting policy director, Melanie Kenderdine, just as a public outcry was rising over gas prices as high as $2.50 a gallon for the reformulated gasoline that the Environmental Protection Agency is requiring in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas this summer.
     The memo came to light as oil prices surged again Thursday and federal energy experts repeated warnings that more gas-price spikes are possible this summer, particularly on the East and West coasts, because of tight supplies. Still, the Senate declined for a second time this year to temporarily ease the burden on consumers by suspending the 18.4-cent federal gasoline tax until fall.
     The Energy Department memo echoes the conclusions of private analysts and even oil company representatives in stating that "high consumer demand and low inventories have caused higher prices for all gasoline types" at a time when crude-oil prices are hovering near record highs.
     "The Milwaukee (and Chicago area) supply situation," the memo says, "is further affected by, among other things, an RFG formulation specific to the area that is more difficult to produce, lower gasoline inventories relative to the rest of the country, high regional demand, and limited transportation links."
     Despite the ample reasons laid out in the memo for the price spike in the Midwest, where prices have since dropped back to the national average, President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Mr. Richardson and EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner all contended that the price spikes could not be explained and were suspicious.
     By mid-June, three federal agencies had initiated investigations into collusion and price-fixing by oil companies. By the end of the month, the administration had enlisted the Federal Trade Commission in its investigative war against the industry.
     Mrs. Browner told more than 30 members of Congress 10 days after the memo was written, at a June 15 meeting in House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert's office, that the EPA regulations were not behind the Midwest price increase. Despite the tight supply situation outlined in the memo, she asserted that it was "not a supply issue."
     But the memo makes it clear that the EPA rules that went into effect June 1 were a central factor in the Midwest blowup, which was magnified by short supplies.
     It states that refineries had been going full blast to produce the EPA-mandated reformulated gasoline, shippers and distributors were straining to deliver enough gas supplies to thirsty drivers, and disruptions of key pipelines had made the supply situation precarious.
     The Chicago-area refineries do not have the capacity to ramp up production when shortages occur, the memo notes, and the specially formulated gasoline mixed with ethanol in the region could not be imported from other areas because few others make the unique blend of fuel.
     While the memo concludes that supplies were sufficient to meet "overall demand" at the time, some independent gas stations might have a hard time getting supplies on the spot market, it said. And the market was "sufficiently tight that any disruption in the distribution system could contribute to Phase II RFG shortages" throughout the summer.
     Drew Malcomb, spokesman for the Energy Department, said the memo was written to help Mrs. Browner decide whether to grant Chicago and Milwaukee waivers they had requested from the clean-fuel regulations. She turned the cities down repeatedly before and after the June 1 deadline.
     Mr. Malcomb said the memo focuses on "supply and demand" rather than "prices," though at one point it states that the new regulations had raised the cost of reformulated gasoline by 3 cents to 7 cents over conventional gasoline and added that "cost . . . is not necessarily an indication of price."
     Mr. Hastert, Illinois Republican, cited the memo Thursday in accusing Mrs. Browner of misleading members of Congress, the media and the public. He demanded immediate action to ease the regulatory pressures on the region.
     "It is clear from the June 5th memo that the DOE, whose primary responsibility is oversight of our nation's energy supply, believed that a lack of gasoline inventories in the Midwest, as well as EPA regulations, were not only 'factors' which led to higher gasoline prices, but in fact the primary causes," he said in a letter to the EPA administrator.
     "Nowhere does this document indicate, or imply, that price gouging was a factor; nor has any other federal study or investigation," the speaker said. "Yet, you continued to point the finger" in what appears to be a "coordinated strategy" with the White House to deflect blame, he said.
     On the other side of Capitol Hill Thursday, the Senate handily defeated an attempt to roll back the federal gasoline tax for 150 days during the peak summer driving season. Sen. Spencer Abraham, Michigan Republican, offered the measure as an amendment to a bill cutting estate taxes.
     The 59-40 rejection drives "a stake through the heart of consumers," he said.
     But opponents — including many Republicans on the budget and appropriations committees —said the tax cut would undermine the highway spending program, which is financed with the gas-tax revenues, and throw as many as 50,000 highway construction workers out of jobs.
     "This tax is more acceptable to the public than any other tax," said Sen. John W. Warner, Virginia Republican. "They see their dollar go directly from the gas pump to the project and employment in the state."

New York declares war on rats as some grow as big as cats!

Thursday, July 13 7:55 PM SGT

NEW YORK, July 13 (AFP) -

After declaring war on jaywalkers and sidewalk spitters, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has declared war on the 70 million rats that grow and prosper in the city.

Rats outnumber residents in New York nine to one, and the situation has lasted long enough, the mayor said in announcing a special unit to combat the growing problem.

Last year, the city was faced with an infestation of mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus that killed seven people, leading the mayor to order fumigation from helicopters.

But rats are stronger than mosquitoes and fighting them is more difficult, so city officials have designed a diverse program to attack the pesky vermin, including birth control schemes.

"We are exploring anything we can in this new age of science," said the city's emergency services director, Richard Sheirer.

Lisa Woodrow, a mother whose family lives in New York, said the city "is a beautiful city to grow children ... but not with rats, some of them are larger than cats."

"They are everywhere, in the stairs and halls of the building. One even came into my apartment this Sunday," she said.

The warm, humid summer weather and a number of large construction projects have brought the rodents out of their hiding places, making them even more visible.

They are as happy in the city's extensive subway system as in the trash bags that line public streets.

They eat everything and are particularly at home in this city flush with restaurants.

"Rats are the best fed residents of New York," Woodrow said.

Giuliani himself said he recently saw several rats while taking a walk around the gardens at Gracie Mansion, the mayor's official residence on the east side of Manhattan.

"They are frightening," he said. "No matter how immune you are to anything and how brave you think you are, rats get you really scared ... because they can bite you, they can spread disease and they are frightening animals."

Several elected officials said the mayor's war against rats is futile.

City Councilman Bill Perkins criticized the mayor, saying "the city has not launched a true, comprehensive, aggressive campaign against the crisis."

And others support the rats.

"Poisoning is absolutely the worst thing you can do in a city like New York," said Stephanie Boyle, a biologist with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. "You'll kill lots of rats, but you won't solve the problem."


President Clinton stunned reporters on Thursday evening when he refused to wear his seatbelt during takeoff aboard Air Force One, in direct violation of federal law!
One reporter stated that as the rest of the plane's occupants were strapped in during takeoff, the president was stretched over a tabletop conducting a press interview.
"He was not wearing a seatbelt," said the source. "He was oblivious, just talking away, as the plane took off. Clearly it was a dangerous situation. We were lucky there was no turbulence during takeoff."
The president was politely reminded that he must wear a seatbelt, but Clinton refused.
Federal and Air Force laws requires everyone to wear seatbelts during landing and takeoff on flights in the United States. On commercial flights, passengers who refuse to wear belts can be fined $1,100 per violation, according to FAA regulations.

Funny Money!

Counterfeiting the newer type of paper money is becoming easier to do with simple software packages and forgery is no longer limited to a few criminal rings. The $100 bill and now $5 and $10 bills are simply forged. Most banks can easily spot the fakes and return them to the Secret Service. Forgeries come mostly through large retail store deposits.
To be on the safe side, ask your bank for bills other than $100 bills. It's simple to discover a fake. Hold a bill flat with both hands and then tilt it about 45 degrees. Real bills have a green fluorescent denomination number in the lower right corner that will turn grey when tilted.

Grandpa Munster Still In The Race!GrampaMunster.jpg (27493 bytes)

Serious. Just consider that Grandpa Munster could be the deciding factor. That's Al Lewis, who played the part in the old television sitcom and is now running as the Green Party candidate for Senate. A recent poll by Zogby found him getting about 4 percent of the vote. "And they all appear to be coming off of Clinton's back," says Zogby. It's an indication of voter malaise, Zogby says. And he thinks the damage to Clinton could be even greater "if Lewis legally changes his name to Grandpa, which he says will happen before Election Day."

You think a gallon of gasoline is expensive?

Diet Snapple 16oz for $1.29 equals $10.32 per gallon
Lipton Ice Tea 16oz for $1.19 equals $9.52 per gallon
Gatorade 20oz for $1.59 equals $10.17 per gallon
Ocean Spray 16oz for $1.25 equals $10.00 per gallon
Pint of milk 16oz for $1.59 equals $12.72 per gallon
STP Brake Fluid 12oz for $3.15 equals $33.60 per gallon
Vick's Nyquil 6oz for $8.35 equals $178.13 per gallon
Pepto Bismol 4oz for $3.85 equals $123.20 per gallon
Whiteout 7oz for $1.39 equals $25.42 per gallon
Scope 1.5oz for $0.99 equals $84.48 per gallon
 And this is the REAL KICKER......
 Evian water 9oz for $1.49 equals $21.19 per gallon
 $21.19 FOR WATER!!
You get the idea?? So next time you're at the pump, be glad your car doesn't run on Nyquil, or Scope, or Whiteout!!!!


Superstar Leo DiCaprio stunned the political world when he announced that he is supporting Al Gore for president!

DiCaprio tells TIME MAGAZINE in an issue set to hit racks Monday that he is a strong Al Gore supporter and he is on the verge of joining his campaign.

DiCaprio was even going to take the stage during the New Hampshire primary to cheer his man.

"I was going to just stand onstage and look hard core," the star of The Beach and chairman of Earth Day 2000 tells the magazine.

Among the main issues motivating DiCaprio to go Gore 2000 -- THE EARTH.

"I shouldn't be eating hamburgers, because the methane gas cows release is the No.1 contributor to the destruction of the ozone layer; and the No. 1 reason they destroy the rainforest is to make grazing ground for cattle. So it's very ironic that I eat beef, being the environmentalist that I am. But then again, if I ordered the tuna sandwich, I would be promoting the fact that they have large tuna nets that capture innocent little dolphins ..."

Al Gore needs more supporters of this caliber. DiCaprio's last large scale effort, The Titanic, was also thought to be indestructible. It sank.

George Dorunda

Why EPA tailpipe test is rusting out

Treadmill tests fail to reflect real-world auto emissions


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's highly promoted vehicle emissions test strategy is rusting out like an old muffler, amid charges of shoddy test procedures, cronyism and an addiction to junk science.

The controversy centers on:

Said Paul Coninx, a Canadian researcher at the Fraser Institute in Vancouver who has studied vehicle inspection-and-maintenance programs, "The fact that these kinds of tests are popular with governments and that they have powerful friends in the private sector has allowed them to escape both organized opposition and the scrutiny appropriate for government programs. Questioning inspection-and-maintenance programs is like questioning the value of cleaner air."

EPA Director Carol Browner personally favored the dynamometer test, and, following the reauthorization of the Clear Air Act in 1990, EPA aggressively lobbied states to embrace the inspection-and-maintenance test or face the possible loss of U.S. highway funds.

But the IM 240 test--so named because it provides inspection-and-maintenance readings while an auto is run for 240 seconds on the dynamometer--has met with intense consumer and engineering resistance in at least seven states.

The Colorado State Auditor ripped the Envirotest results in March, saying investigators "encountered significant problems in accessing and working with the emissions data that are provided" to state agencies. The auditor contended the problem occurred because the format in which Envirotest provided its test data "limits the transferability and use of the data by users, including (the state environment departments)."

Envirotest declined to respond to written questions about its operations and the value of IM programs.

Maine was the first state to scrap the Envirotest system in 1995, two months after it began, when long lines of increasingly irate motorists formed at the centralized testing centers, and some cars were damaged on the treadmill.

Later that year, Pennsylvania canceled its program, but paid Envirotest $144 million. The testing program is now "indefinitely suspended" by order of Gov. Tom Ridge.

California, Texas and Virginia also have balked at inspection-and-maintenance programs, involving dynamometer test equipment from Envirotest and other vendors.

And finally, Connecticut fined Envirotest $140,000 for some 600 procedural violations, including undue delays in testing autos and incorrect paperwork.

In fact, Envirotest has shown little aptitude for its core competency: reporting the results of its test. It was unable to report comprehensible results in Colorado, and encountered problems in Wisconsin as well. The Badger State's IM 240 test results covered 50,000 vehicles in January 1998, but emission test results are listed as "unknown" for nine out of ten of those cars.

In spite of the credibility problems afflicting Envirotest, and the fact that it recorded negative shareholder value in two of the last three fiscal years, the company has emerged as an attractive takeover target by a British company. Stone Rivet Inc. is wrapping up a $17.25-a-share offer for Envirotest. The stock traded as low as $4 a share earlier this year.

The Chicago Tribune investigated the company, and in a Page 1 report summarized, "Since 1995, Illinois has gone easy on testing cars for pollution. Though a tougher system is on the horizon, questions linger over how much cleaner the air really is and over the program's politically connected contractor," a marketing executive named Chester Davenport.

The Tribune article noted the difficulty state and local air quality officials encountered in securing useful data from Envirotest, and it questioned the propriety of awarding the testing contract to Envirotest when it was the sole bidder.

Nevertheless, EPA persists in championing dynamometer testing, and in claiming huge reductions in auto-related air pollution will emerge as a result of inspection-and-maintenance programs. The underlying assumption is that all cars will be tested on a dynamometer, and those that fall short of emission goals will be repaired. The repairs will eliminate the offending emissions, and the air thus will be cleaner by the same amount.

Inspired by that scenario, EPA predicted a 31 percent reduction in Colorado air pollution.

But the facts fail to affirm those and other predictions.

Gary Bishop, an auto emissions specialist in the chemistry department of the University of Denver, noted that one out of five cars that failed the Denver-area emissions test never returned for certification.

Douglas Lawson of the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nevada, told a special Congressional hearing earlier this year that EPA's computer-generated ". . . emissions models may be unique in the regulatory world in that they have no validation against real-world data." In other words, EPA claims that its IM 240 test is identifying non-compliant cars, which are then repaired, and which then produce fewer emissions. But it has no data from actual tests of the air to prove the efficacy of its program.

A few years earlier, Dr. Lawson used actual readings from California's own roadside auto emission checks to compare the level of emissions from cars before and after an IM program began operation. Not only did the results show no difference before and after, the results showed no difference between cars in the California dynamometer test area and those outside it.

The Orange County (California) Register surveyed tests by Dr. Lawson and others, and editorialized, "Perhaps the saddest aspect of this program is that there is little evidence that it was really needed. . . ." Testing all cars for auto emissions requires the creation of a huge infrastructure of stationary emission-testing facilities. But because more than half of auto-caused air pollution is caused by only 10 percent of automobiles, the stationary-test method is far from cost efficient.

The Goldwater Institute concluded in a study last year that "many gross polluters are newer cars that are poorly maintained. In fact, most pollution can be attributed to relatively newer cars simply because there are more of them, and they are driven over longer distances."

Other researchers have reached similar conclusions.

Donald Stedman of the University of Denver supervised millions of readings throughout the United States that used his patented remote-sensing device that measures emissions of cars in motion. His results also show that stationary emission-testing programs either have far less positive results on air quality than predicted by EPA or no discernable effect at all.

University of Minnesota researchers found virtually no change in Twin Cities carbon monoxide levels over a seven-year period that included two years of tests after a non-dynamometer stationary test was mandated.

The Fraser Institute's Coninx suggested in an analysis released last month that "government support for inspection-and-maintenance programs has successfully crowded out more-promising and cost-effective pollution-control alternatives in favor of scheduled vehicle-emission testing programs that are highly lucrative to special interests."

Daniel Klein, an assistant economics professor at the University of California at Irvine, and Pia Maria Koskenoja, a doctoral student, concluded in a 1996 study for the Cato Institute that the use of remote sensors--mobile, roadside emission-sensing devices--could do more to improve air quality than all other approaches combined and at only a fraction of the cost.

Noting that most auto-caused air pollution is caused by only a small percentage of cars, the researchers argued that a system that tests emissions of cars while on the road could target the gross polluters, and thus focus on reducing emissions from those cars instead of cars that are not part of the problem.

Stupid People Do Stupid Things

ORLANDO, Sept. 20 - The parents of a man found naked and dead on the back of a killer whale at SeaWorld Orlando are suing the marine park, alleging the dangerous orca was portrayed as a huggable stuffed toy, a lawyer for the family said on Monday.

PATRICIA AND MICHAEL Dukes of Columbia, S.C., filed suit Sept. 10 in Orange Count Circuit Court seeking several million dollars for pain and suffering at the loss of their only son, Daniel, 27, a drifter who died in July in a whale tank at the Florida theme park.
Attorney Patricia Sigman said SeaWorld is legally liable because it portrayed the killer whale as human-loving.
"The case goes to the essence of the inaccurate image this whale has been given by SeaWorld," Sigman said. "He is extremely dangerous."

SeaWorld general manager Vic Abbey told the Miami Herald the park would vigorously fight the lawsuit.

"I’ve see all kinds of crazy and frivolous things and this is as crazy as they come," Abbey told the newspaper. "We don’t roll over when people try to take advantage of us."
Daniel Dukes whose address was listed as a Hare Krishna Temple in Miami, was believed to have hidden in the popular marine park at closing on July 5. He was found dead on the back of an 11,000 pound orca named Tillikum the next morning.
Authorities said he either jumped, fell or was pulled into Tillikum’s tank, which was filled with 50-degree water. The 14-year-old whale, the largest in captivity, may have played with Dukes’ 180-pound body as if it were a toy.
Tillikum also was involved in a fatal 1991 incident at a park in Victoria, Canada, in which a trainer slipped and fell into its tank and was held under water by the orca and two female whales until she drowned.
"This whale has a history and a known propensity for possessiveness of anything that touches its water. Yet SeaWorld portrays this animal as being a huggable, kissable, human-loving, friendly, ‘I’ll let you ride on my back whale,"’ Sigman said.
"You can’t up-play the danger and at the same time up-play the stuffed animal image," she said.
The lawsuit seeks damages on two counts of liability, one of negligence and one of misrepresentation, Sigman said.
"They (SeaWorld) purposely don’t put up signs and give you warnings," she said. "Why does someone have access to this whale and not know the danger?"

The answer to this question is simple. Stupid people do stupid things. Sea World is not responsible for stupidity. End of story!

George Dorunda

Former Munster May Run for Senate

GrampaMunster.jpg (27493 bytes)ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Anywhere else it would be an oddity, but this is New York's U.S. Senate race.

Al Lewis — better known as ``Grandpa'' on the 1960s television show ``The Munsters'' — says he is considering a Senate run.

The 89-year-old cigar-chomping comedian announced Monday he was setting up an exploratory committee. He also took a shot at his likely rivals, dubbing New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton ``Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.''

All three are eyeing the seat being vacated next year by Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

It wouldn't be Lewis' first foray into politics. Last year, he unsuccessfully ran for governor on the Green Party ticket. He got 52,533 votes.

Lewis conceded that with ``no machine and no money'' behind him, winning a Senate seat or the governorship is ``like climbing Mount Everest barefooted.''

Amherst Wants Smoking Ban Statewide

Health officials in the town of Amherst want Massachusetts to enact a statewide ban on smoking in bars.

The Health Board there has struggled to get bar owners and patrons to comply with its own eight-month-old ban on smoking in taverns with mixed results.

Board members say their job would be easier if the ban was statewide.

Isn't this what Chicopee Health Director, Richard Kendra said a few years ago? All or nothing. A statewide effort would not discriminate against any one location.

George Dorunda

School Discipline!

A middle school in Oregon was faced with a unique problem. A number of girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom. That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints. Finally the principal decided that something had to be done. She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the custodian. She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every day. To demonstrate how difficult it was to clean the mirrors, she asked the custodian to clean one of the mirrors. He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it into the toilet and then cleaned the mirror. Since then there have been no lip prints on the mirror.

The following is a list of dead people connected with Bill Clinton:

James McDougal - Clinton's convicted Whitewater partner died of an apparent heart attack, while in solitary confinement. He was a key witness in Ken Starr's investigation.

Mary Mahoney - A former White House intern was murdered July 1997 at a Starbucks Coffee Shop in Georgetown. The murder happened just after she was to go public with her story of sexual harassment in the White House.

Vince Foster - Former White House councilor, and colleague of Hillary Clinton at Little Rock's Rose law firm. Died of a gunshot wound to the head, ruled a suicide.

Ron Brown - Secretary of Commerce and former DNC Chairman. Reported to have died by impact in a plane crash. A pathologist close to the investigation reported that there was a hole in the top of Brown's skull resembling a gunshot wound. At the time of his death Brown was being investigated, and spoke publicly of his willingness to cut a deal with prosecutors.

C. Victor Raiser II - & - Montgomery raiser Major players in the Clinton fund raising organization died in a private plane crash in July 1992.

Paul Tulley - Democratic National Committee Political Director found dead in a hotel room in Little Rock, September 1992. Described by Clinton as a "Dear friend and trusted advisor".

Ed Willey - Clinton fund raiser, found dead November 1993 deep in the woods in Virginia of a gunshot wound to the head. Ruled a suicide. Ed Willey died on the same day his wife Kathleen Willey claimed Bill Clinton groped her in the oval office in the White House. Ed Willey was involved in several Clinton fund raising events.

Jerry Parks - Head of Clinton's gubernatorial security team in Little Rock. Gunned down in his car at a deserted intersection outside Little Rock. Park's son said his father was building a dossier on Clinton. He allegedly threatened to reveal this information. After he died the files were mysteriously removed from his house.

James Bunch - Died from a gunshot suicide. It was reported that he had a "Black Book" of people containing names of influential people who visited prostitutes in Texas and Arkansas.

James Wilson - Was found dead in May 1993 from an apparent hanging suicide. He was reported to have ties to Whitewater.

Kathy Ferguson - Ex-wife of Arkansas Trooper Danny Ferguson died in May 1994 was found dead in her living room with a gunshot to her head. It was ruled a suicide even though there were several packed suitcases, as if she was going somewhere. Danny Ferguson was a co-defendant along with Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones lawsuit. Kathy Ferguson was a possible corroborating witness for Paula Jones.

Bill Shelton - Arkansas state Trooper and fiancée of Kathy Ferguson. Critical of the suicide ruling of his fiancée, he was found dead in June 1994 of a gunshot wound also ruled a suicide at the gravesite of his fiancée.

Gandy Baugh - Attorney for Clinton friend Dan Lassater died by jumping out a window of a tall building January 1994. His client was a convicted drug distributor.

Florence Martin - Accountant sub-contractor for the CIA related to the Barry Seal Mena Airport drug smuggling case. Died of three gunshot wounds.

Suzanne Coleman - Reportedly had an affair with Clinton when he was Arkansas Attorney General. Died of a gunshot wound to the back of the head, ruled a suicide. Was pregnant at the time of her death.

Paula Grober - Clinton's speech interpreter for the deaf from 1978 until her death December 9, 1992. She died in a one-car accident.

Danny Casolaro - Investigative reporter. Investigating Mena Airport and Arkansas Development Finance Authority. He slit his wrists, apparent suicide in the middle of his investigation.

Paul Wilcher - Attorney investigating corruption at Mena Airport with Casolaro and the 1980 "October Surprise" was found dead on a toilet June 22, 1993 in his Washington DC apartment. Had delivered a report to Janet Reno 3 weeks before his death.

Jon Parnell Walker - Whitewater investigator for Resolution Trust Corp.
Jumped to his death from his Arlington, Virginia apartment balcony August 15, 1993 was investigating Morgan Guarantee scandal.

Barbara Wise - Commerce Department staffer. Worked closely with Ron Brown and John Huang. Cause of death unknown. Died November 29, 1996. Her bruised nude body was found locked in her office at the Department of Commerce.

Charles Meissner - Assistant Secretary of Commerce who gave John Huang special security clearance, died shortly thereafter in a small plane crash.

Dr. Stanley Heard - Chairman of the National Chiropractic Health Care Advisory Committee died with his attorney Steve Dickson in a small plane crash. Dr. Heard, in addition to serving on Clinton's advisory council personally treated Clinton's mother, stepfather and brother.

Barry Seal - Drug running pilot out of Mena Arkansas, Death was no accident.

Johnny Lawhorn Jr. - Mechanic, found a check made out to Clinton in the trunk of a car left in his repair shop. Died when his car hit a utility pole.

Stanley Huggins - Suicide. Investigated Madison Guarantee. His report was never released.

Hershell Friday - Attorney and Clinton fundraiser died March 1, 1994 when his plane exploded.

Kevin Ives & Don Henry - Known as "The boys on the track" case. Reports say the boys may have stumbled upon the Mena Arkansas airport drug operation.
Controversial case where initial report of death was due to falling asleep on railroad track. Later reports claim the 2 boys had been slain before being placed on the tracks. Many linked to the case died before their testimony could come before a Grand Jury.


Keith Coney - Died when his motorcycle slammed into the back of a truck July, 1988
Keith McMaskle - Died stabbed 113 times, Nov, 1988
Gregory Collins - Died from a gunshot wound January 1989.
Jeff Rhodes - He was shot, mutilated and found burned in a trash dump in April 1989.
James Milan - Found decapitated. Coroner ruled death due to natural causes.
Jordan Kettleson - Was found shot to death in the front seat of his pickup truck in June 1990.
Richard Winters - Was a suspect in the Ives / Henry deaths. Was killed in a set-up robbery July 1989

Major William S. Barkley Jr.
Captain Scott J. Reynolds
Sgt. Brian Hanley
Sgt. Tim Sabel
Major General William Robertson
Col. William Densberger
Col. Robert Kelly
Spec. Gary Rhodes
Steve Willis
Robert Williams
Conway LeBleu
Todd McKeehan

Al Lewis At It Again!

AP-NY--Grandpa Munster

Green Party slams campaign contributions and Jenna's Law

(Albany) -- Al ``Grandpa Munster'' Lewis brought his campaign for governor to Albany today. The Green Party candidate held little back, referring to ``Governor George Potatohead Pataki'' and ``Senator Alfonse Pothole D'Amato.''
The 88-year-old Lewis repeatedly told his audience -- quote -- ``I hope nobody gets offended and if you do, that's your problem, it ain't mine.''
Lewis said he appeals to the many New Yorkers who are fed up with politics as usual.
Lewis and fellow Greens -- Lieutenant Governor candidate Alice Green, and U-S Senate candidate Joel Kovel -- said the Democrat and Republican parties stand for one political viewpoint. They pointed to the impending passage of the ``Jenna's Law'' legislation as an example. That bill would sharply curtail parole for first-time violent felons.

Tobacco firm to pay $1 mil to Fla. smoker's family

June 10, 1998 8:35 p.m. EDT

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- A jury came back with the biggest liability verdict ever against the tobacco industry Wednesday, ordering Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. to pay nearly $1 million to the family of a man who died after smoking Lucky Strikes for almost 50 years.

The verdict marks the first time a tobacco company has been ordered to pay punitive damages -- intended to punish and deter wrongdoing -- because cigarettes are inherently dangerous.

``This is the first standard tobacco liability case where the jury got angry at the companies and awarded punitive damages,'' said Richard Daynard, chairman of Northeastern University's Tobacco Products Liability Project, a public health advocacy group.

``The crucial thing is there's nothing that distinguishes this case from thousands or potentially tens of thousands of cases to follow,'' he said. ``It's a tremendous breakthrough.''

Roland Maddox had smoked about two packs a day before quitting in 1995. The grocery store worker was diagnosed with lung cancer a year later and died in 1997 at age 67.

His family sued B&W, arguing that the nation's third-largest tobacco company was negligent, made a defective product and conspired with other tobacco companies to hide the health risks of smoking from the public.

The six-member state jury, which began deliberations Tuesday, agreed and awarded $500,000 in compensatory damages and $450,000 in punitive damages.

The verdict was only the third time a jury has awarded damages in a tobacco liability case. One of those cases was overturned; the other is under appeal. B&W said Wednesday's verdict will also be appealed.

It was plaintiff attorney Woody Wilner's second jury victory against B&W; he also lost two liability cases against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

He called the decision ``stunning.''

``The message here is corporate responsibility as well as personal responsibility and the cigarette industry has not lived up to that standard,'' Wilner said.

Maddox's daughter, Angela Widdick, sobbed when the verdict was announced.

``We made history today,'' she said. ``My father would be very very proud. I don't care if we gathered all the money in the whole wide world, it wouldn't bring my dad back.''

The jury also awarded $52,249 to Blue Cross and Blue Shield as repayment for Maddox's medical expenses.

The Maddox family had asked for compensatory damages of $850,000 and punitive damages of $16 million to $42 million, based on B&W's $843 million net worth.

Juror John Bowman, who smoked for 22 years, said the panel decided to limit the punitive damages because they ``weren't out here to try to make somebody rich,'' but the jurors still wanted to send a message to the tobacco industry.

``I don't think they will have a leg to stand on much longer,'' Bowman said. ``We feel tobacco products, especially the non-filtered ones, are dangerous.''

After the compensatory award was announced, New York-listed shares in B&W's parent, BAT Industries PLC, fell almost 3 percent, or 56 cents, to $19.62 1/2 on the American Stock Exchange. The punitive damage award was announced after the market closed.

The jury heard four weeks of testimony and had a mountain of tobacco company documents to consider during nearly 12 hours of deliberations over two days.

John Nyhan, attorney for the Louisville, Ky.-based B&W, had told the jury that it was wrong to try to use the jury system to get rich by blaming others.

``We're very disappointed,'' he said after the verdict. ``The jurors didn't recognize Mr. Maddox's responsibility for the personal choices he made.''

Maddox's co-workers said he enjoyed smoking, laughed at health risks and called cigarettes ``coffin nails,'' company lawyers argued.

Wilner agreed that Maddox bore some responsibility for his cancer after so many years of smoking, but he claimed the tobacco company also should be held responsible.

Liggett Group Inc. also was a defendant because Maddox smoked one of its brands of cigarettes for a few years. A settlement for an undisclosed amount was reached with the company during jury selection.

The first jury award against a tobacco company in a liability case was won in 1988 by the family of Rose Cipollone of New Jersey. But that $400,000 verdict was overturned on appeal, and the lawsuit was dropped.

In 1996, a Jacksonville jury awarded Grady Carter, a smoker with lung cancer, $750,000 in compensatory damages from B&W. That case is still on appeal. Wilner was Carter's lawyer.

In the only other smoking case to involve punitive damages against a tobacco company, a jury in 1995 awarded a Los Angeles man $1.3 million in compensatory damages and $560,000 punitive damages because his lung cancer was caused by smoking Kent cigarettes made during the 1950s that had filters containing asbestos.

The cigarettes were made by P. Lorillard, a company that after several mergers became Lorillard. Lorillard appealed, arguing that it should not have to pay for the wrongdoing of its predecessor. The Supreme Court last month rejected the appeal.

But unlike other smoking-related suits, that case did not claim damage from the harmful effects of tobacco and nicotine addiction, but instead from a dangerous filter that was concealed by the manufacturer.


Our court system is completely out of whack when a person can use a product WILLINGLY for over 50 years and be rewarded for damages. People must, once again, learn to be responsible for their own actions.

George Dorunda


AP-Governor Munster

Greens may have `Grandpa Munster' run for governor
(Albany, New York) -- Remember Grandpa Munster?
Imagine him as governor of New York.
An activist says Green Party leaders decided over the weekend that Al Lewis might be just right for the ticket. Lewis is 89 and is best known for his work as ``Grandpa'' on the 1960's T-V show ``The Munsters.'' He's also a political and union activist. And he holds a doctorate in child psychology from Columbia University. Lewis' notoriety may appeal to the Greens because they need a candidate who'll get them at least 50-thousand votes. That wouldn't come close to winning the governor's mansion, but it would be enough to give the environmental party an automatic ballot spot for the next four years.

Exxon Seal

The average cost of rehabilitating a seal after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska was $80,000. At a special ceremony, two of the most expensively saved animals were released back into the wild amid cheers and applause from onlookers. A minute later they were both eaten by a killer whale. (That had to be one of the most expensive meals ever prepared for man or beast)

Prank Won't Be on Student's Record


EVANS, Ga. (AP) -- Mike Cameron's Pepsi prank won't be on his permanent record after all.

School officials decided Friday that Cameron and another high school student should not have been suspended for wearing Pepsi shirts to school on a day when Coca-Cola executives were visiting.

``We still think the behavior was inappropriate and disruptive, however, we have decided that another method of discipline may have been more appropriate and we have decided to remove the suspensions from their records,'' Columbia County Superintendent Tom Dohrmann said at a news conference.

Dohrmann said a principal-student conference on appropriate behavior would have been a better way to handle the situation.

``We also overracted in that it wasn't appropriate to suspend the kid,'' he said. ``The penalty didn't fit the crime.''

Last week, Coca-Cola officials went to Greenbrier High School as part of the school's bid to win a $500 contest run by the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Augusta and a larger national contest with a $10,000 prize.

School officials say the shirts were insulting to the Coke executives and ruined a school picture in which students spelled out ``Coke.''

Cameron, 19, waited until just before the picture was taken to remove his outer shirt and reveal a blue-and-white-striped shirt with a Pepsi logo underneath. And Dan Moxley, 17, turned his back during the picture so the red-white-and-blue logo on his Pepsi shirt could be seen.

The students received a one-day suspension for their prank, which school officials called disruptive and rude. Cameron served his suspension at home on Wednesday; Moxley was to serve his punishment in school in April.

Cameron said his principal told him of the decision Friday afternoon.

``I was a little bit surprised. I didn't think she'd give in,'' he said. ``I said, 'Thanks, I hold you in high respect. You were just doing your job.'''

The prank and subsequent punishment at the school 130 miles east of Atlanta, the world headquarters of Coca-Cola, made national headlines. Dohrmann, who said the incident has been blown out of proportion, has even been asked to appear on ABC's ``Nightline.''

``We support the students' first amendment right to wear the shirts, as long as it's not disruptive,'' Dohrmann said.

Let me see if I understand this correctly. If a student wears a shirt to school promoting drugs or violence it is considered to be "free speech". However, don't you dare wear a shirt promoting a soft drink!


George Dorunda

02/13/1998 05:30 EST

School Cracks Down on Hugging

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Students at Nicolas Junior High School in Fullerton are free to be sweet to their Valentines -- as long as they don't hug, kiss, or show public displays of affection.

Students, as might be guessed, are not happy.

``It's wrong and unfair,'' said Alicia Galvan, 15, who challenged the policy Tuesday at the Fullerton School District board meeting.

``I've often been told that a simple hug can ease a troubled mind. In junior high, when troubles are blown way out of proportion, it's amazing what a hug can do,'' said Katrina Weed, 14.

Nobody has been suspended or expelled, but the idea is to prevent ``anything that disrupts the learning environment'' for the school's 980 seventh- and eighth-graders, said Interim Principal Tammy A. Brown.

The policy was enacted about seven years ago, and she began enforcing it in January.

``It's not like I'm trying to be an ogre ... the staff and faculty do not go around being the hug police,'' Ms. Brown said Thursday.

``Hormones run rather high sometimes and these kids hug each other and sometimes they clutch each other and they hold hands,'' said School Board President Robert C. Fisler.

Fisler added that he has nothing personally against hugs.

``I do it myself. I went to a meeting last night and I bet I hugged 20 people,'' he said.

We have nothing better to do than to crack down on hugging. We may be reaching the end of civilization, as we know it!

George Dorunda

Chet Dragon

Letter To The Editor

The Post Eagle

July, 23 1997

Letters To The Editor

Post Eagle

P. O. Box 2127

Clifton, NJ 07015

I have been subscribing to and enjoying the Post Eagle for many years. After reading Bill Flynn's letter in a recent issue, I was compelled to write a letter with my own observations pertaining to the polka industry and Grammy process. I have been in the polka music business as a performer, bandleader, recording artist and radio/television personality for almost 60 years.

Mr. Flynn's letter included his own opinions on the Grammy procedure along with comments obtained via the internet. The internet comments included, "It looks like country western is taking away the polka flavor."

This is nothing new. Bands such as Marion Lush, Happy Louie, Lenny Gomulka, Eddie Forman, Dick Pillar and yours truly in addition to Grammy winners Eddie Blazonczyk, Walter Ostanek and Jimmy Sturr have been performing country selections and re-recording these songs in the form of the polka for many years. Good music is good music and can be reinterpreted in many forms. Many polka bands have re-recorded rock & roll, jazz and old time standards as polka hits. Additionally, a few non-polka bands (rock & roll, country) have recorded polka standards in their own style. This should help polka music bridge the gap to many other cultural groups who listen to various musical styles worldwide. Mr. Flynn and his friends on the internet should be praising these bands for their efforts and not condemn them. I believe we should all work together for the betterment of polka music no matter who wins the Grammy.

Another comment from the internet was, "I don't feel the Polka album of all Polka albums should have anything to do with where it is recorded, or what technology is used."

Most recording bands already recognize the benefits of "state of the art" recording techniques. If polka music is to gain the worldwide respect that it truly deserves, it is important to maintain the highest recording standards possible. Therefore, it is highly important as to where an album is recorded and what technology is used for the recording. I'm sorry, but you can't record a Grammy award-winning album on a $59.95 cassette recorder. CD's are in; 8-tracks are out.

Mr. Flynn added, "What was once a prestigious award for the Polka industry is now nothing more than an embarrassment."

I respectfully disagree. Any opportunity to bring polka music to the stature of national recognition should be welcomed and not chastised.

In Closing, I am not criticizing polka bands for exploring all creative possibilities, but applaud them for their efforts of bringing polka music to the largest audience possible. Loyal polka fans and promoters should respect and support any and all opportunities to promote polka music. Additionally, anyone truly interested in polka music should make an effort to visit the International Polka Hall of Fame in Chicago. You will find it to be an enlightening experience.



Chet Dragon

Judge approves tribal justice

(AUGUST 30) -- An 18-year-old man who in anger toppled over a table in a Greenfield courtroom last month and cursed at a judge will be the first person in the state sentenced under a process traditionally used in tribal societies.

District Court Judge Thomas T. Merrigan has allowed a defense lawyer's request for a "sentencing circle," one of the reforms explored by the Franklin County Reinventing Justice Project. Intendedto rehabilitate the offender, the circle method allows a group of community members to recommend sentencing.

The process enlists community volunteers, as well as supporters of the victim and the offender, to seek the underlying causes of criminal behavior, Merrigan said in an interview. Sometimes called "peacemaking circles," they are composed of court personnel, the prosecutor, defense lawyer, police, and "all interested community members," according to information provided by Merrigan's office.

Gary M. Gauthier of West Chesterfield, N.H., has been charged with malicious destruction of property and disruption of court proceedings stemming from an outburst in Greenfield District Court on July 11. While pleading guilty to separate charges, Gauthier knocked over a table and shouted a profanity after Merrigan questioned him about his level of education.

Mitigating facts

His lawyer, William Mazanec of Greenfield, filed a motion for a sentencing circle, noting mitigating facts in the case and citing his client's family, educational and state social service history and other life circumstances.

Asked by Merrigan about his educational level, Gauthier repeatedly said he didn't know how far he went in school until he "overreacted" and knocked over a table, Mazanec said.

Gauthier had been in and out of the custody of state social- and youth-service agencies.

The case was continued for further discussion in Greenfield District Court on Sept. 30.

Assistant Northwestern District Attorney James P. Clark Jr. said he opposed the motion, arguing that the groundwork for the process has not yet been laid out.

"It's extremely labor intensive" Merrigan said of the circles. Not all convicted offenders can enlist a sentencing circle. An offender first must convince the judge such action is appropriate, Merrigan said.

The practice will be used in Greenfield District Court, but could expand into other communities, the judge said.

Northampton District Court Judge W. Michael Ryan called the new concept "intriguing and interesting."

"I'm really interested in it," Ryan said. "It might be most appropriate for juveniles or young offenders who are still living in the community and plan to continue for a long time"

Merrigan said sentencing circles enlist the help of the community and go beyond the traditional roles of the justice system.

"We in the criminal justice system function like we're at the deli counter at Stop & Shop taking numbers and serving people week after week," he said. "You create a community response (with a sentencing circle). ... It's premised on the idea that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Tribal roots

After accepting Mazanec's request for a sentencing circle, Merrigan drafted a memorandum describing the history of the process and offering guidelines. According to the memo, Merrigan will base the circle on a model used by courts in the Yukon and Saskatchewan provinces, which are adaptations from indigenous tribal methods.

"It's a community-justice approach to addressing the causes of criminal behavior, both within the individual and the community," Merrigan said.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, one of the goals of sentencing circles is to "promote healing" for the criminal and for the victim. The circles aim to give the offender a chance to make amends to the victim, who is given responsibility in finding a resolution.

But one of the problems, according to Clark, is that a sentencing circle requires a community justice committee of volunteers, which does not exist yet.

The defendant applies to the community justice committee, which would include people already trained in such sentencing as well as newcomers, Merrigan said. The committee would meet with supporters of the defendant and determine whether the case should be sent to a sentencing circle.

Clark said he also opposed the plan because Gauthier entered a "capped guilty plea," which gives him the right to withdraw his plea and go to trial if he doesn't like the sentence.

"It appears it would take many hours of community volunteers' time to do this properly," Clark said. "And in the end, if the defendant doesn't get what he wants he has a right to say, in essense, 'No thanks,' and the case goes back to court."

But Gauthier's lawyer, Mazanec, said sentencing circles help lead a person back into the community.

"It holds the possibility for breaking recidivism," he said. "As a counselor, it makes sense for me to help turn another person around ... and head them in a positive direction."

Whatever happened to "Contempt of Court - 30 Days"??????????

George Dorunda

Nicotine Nazi's

Wednesday, August 20, 1997

Smoking ban talk ignites tempers

There were a few anti-smoking activists at the meeting , but the room held more smoking ban opponents intent of speaking out.

AMHERST-- A meeting to discuss a regional smoking ban turned nasty last night when audience members jeered a doctor who described how cigarette smoking affects nonsmokers.

At one point during the meeting at the Bangs Community Center, police arrested a man who stood up and shouted "Seig Heil!" and gave the Nazi salute as Dr. Michael Seigel of Boston spoke about the dangers of "passive smoking"

Seigel was invited to the meeting by the Amherst Board of Health, which had invited health officials from Northampton, Easthampton, Holyoke and Belchertown to discuss the possibility of establishing a uniform smoking ban.

Area bar owners and restaurateurs say their businesses lose customers when one town enacts a smoking ban and its neighbors don't.

The meeting started to grown restive when Seigel said his research showns nonsmokers inhale the equivalent of one to three cigarettes worth of smoke a day.

His remark elicited "Yeah,right," and "This isn't Boston" from the audience of some 100, most of whom seemed to be opponents of a smoking ban.

After about 30 minutes of a session marked by grumblings by ban opponents, a man wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the Tasmanian Devil cartoon character got up, made the Nazi salute and walked out of the meeting room.

Police Sgt. Jerry Millar followed him out of the room and warned him if he did it again, he would be arrested. The man did not go back inside the building, but he got into an altercation with Millar.

Police declined to identify the man, but Millar said the man will be charged with being a disorderly person.

There were a few anti-smoking activists at the meeting, but the meeting room held more smoking ban opponents intent on speaking out.

Samuel Gladstone, co-chairman of the Amherst board, informed the crowd the meeting was held for discussion of the policy among board members only.

He said the public would be able to comment on the proposal when and if the boards draft one.

Gladstone repeated a public hearing hadn't been scheduled. Then he said: "That's the last question I'm going to take. There's a policeman here if things get out of hand" The warning drew laughter.

A few times, people in the audience tried to bait Gladstone. At one point, he said the smoking ban needs much discussion because, "It's a tricky and difficult question."

"We know what you're going to do," someone said, getting no rise form Gladstone.

But after someone in the audience pointed out death is unavoidable, Gladstone said, "We don't want people talking out."

Seigel said he has treated many patients dying of lung cancer. "I have never gone up to the loved one of someone who's dying and said, "Don't be so sad, We're all going to die some day."

The remark drew guffaws and a few claps.

Amherst Health Director Epi Bodhi said the meeting was called in part so he Amherst board could "re-look at how we define bars" in terms of smoking policy.

Amherst allows smoking in bars, but bans smoking in restaurants.

We all have choices to make, but the key word is choice. Could some of these regulations be going too far? To some groups, it seems that opinions don't matter; that is, unless these opinions agree with the group thought. Perhaps the individual who was "charged with being a disorderly person" was more on target than we think! A governmental group making choices for us; a little man in Germany became very powerful only a few years ago using this theory.

George Dorunda


Ray Henry 1923 - 1998

Polka Hall Of Fame - Band Leader - Composer - Recording Artist

"The Maestro"

"The Crocodile Dundee of Polka Music"

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