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New Element
A major research institution has recently announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. This new element has been tentatively named "Administratium." Administratium has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 111 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by a force called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Administratium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Administratium causes one reaction to take over 4 days to complete when it would normally take less than a second. Administratium has a normal half-life of 3 years; it does not decay but instead undergoes a reorganization, in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons and assistant deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Administratium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization causes some morons to become neutrons forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to speculate that Administratium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as "Critical Morass." You will know it when you see it...

VeeJay highly recommends some New York Times articles.

The Two Enron System, by Frank Rich, February 16, 2002
Democrats want to believe that Enron is the Republicans' Armageddon. Republicans hope Global Crossing will prove the Democrats' comeuppance. Dream on.

And In This Corner, March 8, 2002

All the President's Enrons, by Frank Rich, July 6, 2002
"Mr. Bush says that only "a few bad actors" are at fault. Why is the administration so lax about bringing them to justice? That may have something to do with who those "few bad actors" are. Speaking on ABC's "This Week," Richard Grasso, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, tossed out a range of 1 to 15 as the rough count of corporate culprits, "in comparison to more than 10,000 publicly traded corporations." The fact remains that so far at least five members of that theoretically tiny club have direct ties to the Bush administration: Enron, Halliburton, Andersen, KMPG and Merrill Lynch - the last three all former clients of the president's choice as Wall Street's top cop, the S.E.C. chairman Harvey Pitt. Five for 15."
"On Wednesday a judge threw out an S.E.C. action against the accounting firm Ernst & Young because the S.E.C. could not muster the quorum of conflict-free commissioners required by law to bring its case; both Mr. Pitt and another Bush S.E.C. appointee had previously worked for Ernst & Young. Mr. Pitt's conflicts also include meeting privately with Xerox and KPMG executives while their companies are under investigation by his agency. 'It's like the mob's consigliere running the F.B.I,' in the words of Marshall Wittmann, a T.R.-minded conservative Republican at the Hudson Institute."

Succeeding in Business, by Paul Krugman, July 7, 2002
"the administration has so far gotten the press to focus on the least important question about Mr. Bush's business dealings"

The Cycles of Financial Scandal, by Kevin Phillips, July 17, 2002
"In the new management handbook as rewritten by finance, the concerns of employees, shareholders and even communities could be jettisoned to raise stock prices. Major companies could make (or fake) larger profits by financial devices: writing futures contracts, investing in stocks, juggling pension funds, moving low-return assets into separate partnerships and substituting stock options for salary expenses. Enron was only the well-publicized tip of a large iceberg."
"Whether the current proposals are the beginnings of that debate or mere window dressing remains to be seen. "

Some Washington Post articles VeeJay recommends.

Deception As a Weapon, by Richard Hart Sinnreich, February 26, 2002
"What disturbed my father was not the overflight program, which he probably would have approved had he known of it. He was, after all, a military man. Rather, what devastated him was the public exposure of the president of the United States as a liar, to his own citizens and the world's. For Dad, an immigrant from the Old World, the U.S. government's reputation for telling the truth however embarrassing was among America's most powerful weapons, our strongest defense against the propaganda that had become a standard feature of totalitarian regimes. He simply could conceive of no momentary political advantage, however compelling, that would justify the sacrifice of that reputation."

Stalled Venture In Gaza Shows Enron's Daring

Lying in Style, by Michael Kinsley, April 19, 2002
"Honest administrations are all alike, but each dishonest administration is dishonest in its own way. Actually, there are no honest administrations. But each presidency does bring its own unique style to the task of deceiving the citizenry. And at least you can derive some truths about a president from the way he chooses to lie to you. Consider the latest three."

The Can-Do Brit, by Sebastian Mallaby, May, 5, 2002
"Which is why Tony Blair is fascinating. He is the quintessential winner, from his two electoral landslides to his outsized grin. He has imported the American art of spin doctoring, which is to say he's constantly claiming that his policies are wonderful. He embraces the Clintonian 'Third Way,' meaning that he aims to succeed at everything, even at tasks that seem mutually exclusive. He is, in other words, profoundly unBritish."

Economists in Denial, by Mark Weisbrot, August 4, 2002
"This week's trip to South America by Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill is Washington's latest response to growing discontent about economic failure in the developing world. O'Neill, who has become known for his blunt remarks about economic policy, should take an honest look at what has happened to most low- and middle-income countries during the past 20 years. For these countries, the last two decades of the 20th century were witness to the worst economic failure since the Great Depression."

VeeJay recommends articles from the New York Times. :

Elephant's 'E' Irks G.O.P., by Amy Harmon, February 16, 2002
"It comes as no surprise that the Republican Party of Texas does not find the Web site www.EnronOwnsTheGOP.com as amusing as the Texas Democrats who run it."

1 Country, 2 Futures, by Thomas L. Friedman, February 27, 2002
"The China school dismisses the idea that Saudi Arabia will collapse in five years. It notes, instead, that for 50 years, someone has come out with a study every five years that says Saudi Arabia has only five more years.
Which school would I bet on? Ask me in five years."

U.S. Rejects All Support for New Court on Atrocities, May 7, 2002, by Neil A. Lewis
Washington, May 6 - "Bush administration officials said today that the new International Criminal Court should expect no cooperation from the United States, and that its prosecutors would not be given any information from the United States to help them bring cases against any individuals."
"'By putting U.S. men and women in uniform at risk of politicized prosecutions,' Mr. Rumsfeld said, the court 'could well create a powerful disincentive for U.S. military engagement in the world.'"

America the Scofflaw May 24, 2002 By Paul Krugman
"But what good are new agreements if we won't honor the old ones?"

W.'s Grand Tour, by Maureen Dowd, Moscow, May 26, 2002

Bismarck's Lessons for Bush May 29, 2002 By Josee Joffe, Hamburg, Germany
"What is the critical strategic problem for the United States, a nation that dwarfs all others in terms of "hard" (military) and "soft" (cultural-economic) power? It is how to prevent the rest of the world from unifying against No. 1. After unification in 1871, Bismarck's Germany found itself in a similar position in Europe: more powerful than any other country, yet threatened by the resentments of all. The United States is Bismarck's Germany on a global scale. Its power is more overwhelming than that of any previous hegemon since the Roman Empire."

Heart of Cheapness, by Paul Krugman, May 31, 2002
"Poor Bono. He got stuck in a moment, and he couldn't get out of it. In one of the oddest enterprises in the history of development economics, Bono - the lead singer for the rock band U2 - has been touring Africa with Paul O'Neill, secretary of the treasury."

Global Warming Follies June 8, 2002
"On Tuesday Japan ratified the Kyoto agreement, as have the members of the European Union. These countries do not expect Mr. Bush to drop his opposition to Kyoto. But they have a right to expect something more than a casual rejection of inconvenient truths."

'A New Kind of Science': You Know That Space-Time Thing? Never Mind, June 9, 2002, by George Johnson

The Hypocrisy of Wall Street Culture, July 14, 2002, by Kate Jennings
"In 'The Devil's Dictionary,' Ambrose Bierce famously defined a corporation as 'an ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.' Bierce and his wicked definition came to mind when President Bush called for a 'new ethic of personal responsibility in the business community' during his Wall Street speech."
"'The savings of many in the hands of one.' - Eugene Debs"

Odds and ends...

Enron Execs Remain Free - Why?
Bush/Cheney Co.'s Used Offshore Shelters
President Bush got caught yesterday in another stunning example of what is becoming a string of contradictions between his own corporate behavior and his newfound angst over crime in the suites. Bush confided to reporters early yesterday that he was "troubled" by the growing practice of US companies sneaking offshore to avoid taxes. "I think we ought to look at people who are trying to avoid US taxes as a problem," he said. "I think American companies ought to pay taxes here, and be good citizens." At that very moment the New York Daily News was breaking the story that Bush's own Harken Energy Corp., a Texas oil company, had itself set up an offshore presence in 1989 to hide potential revenues from its new Bahrain drilling operations. Later in the day, the White House confirmed that Harken Energy Corp., where Bush was a director from 1986 to 1993, set up a subsidiary in the Cayman Islands. It was also reported that Vice President Dick Cheney's company, Halliburton, registered as many as 44 subsidiaries offshore while Cheney was chief executive from 1995 to 2000. When asked later about his own company's move offshore, Bush was clearly unprepared, and stammered, "Ah, as far as the Harken issue, we'll try to answer all your questions on that." Previous questions about Harken's business dealings have been deflected with suggestions that reporters can find the answers in Harken's own board meetings and SEC documents. But, the administration has refused repeated requests for them to call for Harken and the SEC to make those records available.

Economic crisis swells in S. America, Argentina's neighbors swept up in turmoil; investors jittery, by Anthony Faiola, Montevideo, Uruguay, July 31
"The crisis, which analysts had hoped would be contained to Argentina's financial meltdown six months ago, has now spread to its neighbors Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. It has threatened to engulf other politically unstable economies in the region as well, including Bolivia and Venezuela, where analysts predict deep recessions for this year..."

The Signal Quality of Money, Tom Robertson, July, 5, 2002
Issues related to inflation/deflation have mainly to do with the signal quality of money, e.g., to what extent do the abstract values we place on money (relative to time and place) relate to the complex dynamic and energetic reality money can only partly represent. Further, when, as noted in the TV documentary "Commanding Heights," when world trade in goods and services amounts to $8 Trillion dollars and world trade in currencies stands at 36 times that amount, at $288 Trillion dollars, this has to be some kind of a warning that the signal quality of our current economic system is open not only to question but considerable rethinking and revision.
This is particularly serious when more or less official national inflation rates are said to be around 1 to 3 percent or so, with the dollar only increasing some ten times since 1800. This suggests that as electronic funds transfer and manipulation came on line in the early 1970s, we have the "official" inflation rate signaled by traditional inflation--and we have the actual inflation by "electronic money" that is many times that "official" rate. Thus we begin to get a good reason why it is important to not only account in monetary terms, but to also run complementary accounts based on the on the physical (energetic) processes in which our society finds itself.
In the first place, with combined money and energetic accounting, we would have a way of knowing among other things, the free work the natural system does to support our economy; we would have better indications of the relative merit of our energy resource/technologies and the net work they let us do; and we will get more effective warnings of when the signal quality of our money-based economic system goes berserk, as Enron, WorldCom, and the high levels of personal/corporate debt are suggesting is happening. And so it goes...
Tom Robertson, Moderator, EnergyResources Group (39°53'N 76° 59'W)

An Open Letter to George W. Bush from Michael Moore
"The only thing that surprises me more than all the Enron henchmen who ended up in your cabinet and administration is how our lazy media just rolled over and didn't report it. The list of Enron people on your payroll is impressive. Lawrence Lindsey, your chief economic advisor? A former advisor at Enron! Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill ? Former CEO of Alcoa, whose lobbying firm, Vinson and Elkins, was the #3 contributor to the your campaign! Who is Vinson and Elkins? The law firm representing Enron! Who is Alcoa? The top polluter in Texas. Thomas White, the Secretary of the Army? A former vice-chair of Enron Energy! Robert Zoellick, your Federal Trade Representative? A former advisor at Enron! Karl Rove, your main man at the White House? He owned a quarter-million dollars of Enron stock . Then there's the Enron lawyer you have nominated to be a federal judge in Texas, the Enron lobbyist who is your chair of the Republican Party , the two Enron officials who now work for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and the wife of Texas Senator Phil Gramm who sits on Enron's board . And there's the aforementioned Mr. Pitt, the former Arthur Andersen attorney whose job it is now as SEC head to oversee the stock markets. George, it never stops!"

Truth is out there. The beautiful thing about a democracy is that the truth is so easy to obscure with nonsense. You need to be an expert in semantics to figure out the contextual ramifications of each word. Honorable. Right. The honorable Trent Lott says that the right thing has been done to the American people. What a relief. Then he says that you can't trust politicians.
Paul Harvey is no longer with us. It is hard to know the rest of the story.

Here's what we think...
Health care insurance, what a foolish mental straight jacket. The one thing that insurance companies and their actuarial tables do for health care is to make health care more like something which is dependant upon a roll of the dice. That's unassuring. We surely would be reassured if the unsureness of insurance were completely removed from the health care context.
It's astonishing how many people think that there is no useful information in the news. It's there. You sometimes have to follow the story for an extended period of time. Eventually you may be able to figure out whether Social Security will make society secure or insecure. Bill Buckley has finished with the Firing Line program. Maybe he heard about the new kid, Paul Krugman. Krugman means tavern owner in German. Paul Krugman gets the story right quite often. Disclosure: Krugman is a Princeton professor. What does he profess? Read the New York Times.


I'd rather be fishing

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