PS... A Column
By Paul E. Schindler Jr.
Some things are impossible to know, but it is impossible to know these things.
February 8, 1999
Get It Over With!
I have a day job, so I need to make it clear to anyone who comes here that the opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent those of my employer, my family, or your great-aunt Mathilda. Offer not valid in Wisconsin. You must enter to win.
Table of Contents:
Last week's column was dated Tuesday not Monday. That wasn't a plan to change my day of publication; it was an error
Don't Be Fooled, It's Still A Witch Hunt
In the immortal words of the old Saturday Night Live Francisco Franco sketch, the Impeachment trial is still over. It's dead. It just hasn't had the sense to fall down yet.
My prize for the most intelligent statement of the week goes to Douglas Llamas, 48, of Washington, D.C., arrested and facing imprisonment for shouting from the Senate Gallery, "God almighty, take the vote and get it over with." Right on, Douglas.
A thin veneer of bipartisanship was spread over the exit strategy, but don't be fooled. First of all, the very intelligent motion to dismiss was voted down on straight party lines (only wacky Russ Feingold crossed over), showing again what a GOP vendetta the whole process is.
A lot of people want to focus your attention on the 100-0 vote to put the videotape into evidence. Let's look at the other votes. Every Democrat, without exception, voted to keep Monica's live testimony off the floor. It passed only because some Republicans crossed over. That's not bipartisan voting, that's ass-saving. Only two Republicans broke ranks on "Show the whole video on the Senate floor." And the vote to give the White House a chance to defend itself against random snippets selected by the House persecutors drew exactly zero Democratic votes.
Plain and simple. I don't know how many times and in how many ways I have to say this. This is not a fair, bipartisan impeachment over real issues (ala the Nixon impeachment), this is a partisan Witch-hunt (ala Andrew Johnson) by a group of GOP haters who, if there is a God in Heaven and justice on this earth, will pay for the perfidy and bile come Election Day, 2000.
I feel better now.
Even Rocky's Nephew is fed up
Most of the readers of this column are old enough to remember Nelson Rockefeller, the exemplar of a breed that has died out almost entirely, the Liberal Republican. That phrase, of course, is now an oxymoron. But there was a time, children, when the GOP really was a big tent, and welcomed East Coast liberals as well as sun-belt conservatives. Or at least tolerated them. Now, of course, Trent Lott is on a campaign to wipe out the last vestiges of Republican liberalism.
I bring this up, because Ross Snyder forwarded this message to me. It comes from Wes Boyd of moveon.org. I think it is spot-on, so I am sharing it with you.
I've received hundreds of messages from Republicans who are frustrated and angry with the actions of the Republican majority in Congress. They too feel unheard by their representatives, but also by their party. To help give voice to these anti-impeachment Republicans, we are starting a new web page in partnership with Larry Rockefeller. Mr. Rockefeller is a Republican, an environmental attorney, and nephew of the late Nelson Rockefeller, Vice President under Gerald Ford.this page.
We will compile and transmit this feedback to key members of Congress and Republican party leadership. Mr. Rockefeller's statement is appended below.
I am particularly intrigued by Mr. Rockefeller's use of the phrase "I didn't leave the party, the party left me." That's what Ronald Reagan used to say about the Democratic Party. Perhaps the pendulum of history has begin its swing.
Computer Industry News
When Is Evidence Not Evidence?
Craig Reynolds message to me on this was titled "Specs, lies and videotape." I liked that. In fact, I used it on TechWeb. Week 14 was the most enjoyable week of the whole trial so far, as one of Microsoft's most stiff-necked, stonewalling, hardball executives was hoist on his own petard multiple times. Jim Allchin was caught with egg on his face on the stand, a sight that was second only to watching spokesman Mike Murray spin like a windmill on the courthouse steps, with William Neukom, Microsoft's chief counsel, performing a slightly more dignified version of the same act.
It was a tactical blunder because showing false evidence in court is never a good idea, especially when you're caught, as Allchin was. More importantly, Microsoft clearly wants to bore the media out of the courtroom by dragging the trial on in endless examination of arcane sub-points. By submitting a false videotape, they created a media circus and insured that the courtroom was jammed and the trial coverage moved from the business pages onto the main pages. Couldn't happen to a more deserving corporation.
In case you missed the hubbub, bub, here's a good summary. By the way, eventually Microsoft retaped the evidence during a late-night session in Washington with DOJ officials (and Microsoft nemesis Prof. Edward Felton) in attendance.
Microsoft Accused of Altering Video
The way I pick the Web Site of the Week is to look at my own Favorites list, and try to share with you the places I go regularly and enjoy. Or, as in the case of the post office last week and Directions this week, the web sites I now wonder how I lived without.
There are several places to get driving directions on the net. This one is simply the best. And if you leave cookies turned on (as I think most rational, non-paranoid people do), when you come back the second time it will remember your home address.
The maps are clear, the instructions are luridly detailed, the driving time estimates are pretty good, and, although there are mistakes now and then, especially in the distance to some points, overall I have found the accuracy and level of detail to be stunning. Give it a try!
Coming Up: Mildly Smutty Humor
I get a fair amount of risqué humor. That sort of thing isn't for everyone, so in a week or two I will gather it all up, and put in a separate file you'll have to click to on purpose. I don't want to offend the faint of heart--as if there's anyone like that reading this column...
Paul Makes Top 5
I made the Top 5 list this week; check out Number 7;
T H E T O P F I V E L I S Ttop5@gmbweb.com http://www.topfive.com ]
[ To forward or repost, please include this section. ]
[ You like to receive credit for your work, and so do we. ]
Selected from 107 submissions from 40 contributors.
Spell Check Poetry
I must have seen 20 versions of this. In fact, I am finding that format imitation is the sincerest form of Internet humor. Anyway, this is a pretty good one:
Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.
As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.
Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.
What Today's Young People Don't Know
I remember thinking recently that Richard Nixon's impeachment is about as remote to my daughters, aged 18 and 14, as World War II was to me when I was their age. Well, someone has taken this a step further, and I want to share it with you. The fact that it applies to both my daughters rocks me back on my heels... except I do think they remember turntables. At least Marlow does.
Each year, the staff at Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together a list to try to give the faculty a sense of the mindset of that year's incoming freshmen.
A few more of you wrote in to encourage me to keep writing my column. Thanks! Jerry Colonna sent a nice letter that, try as I might, I couldn't edit so it made sense to publish. But thanks, Jerry.
This from Kent Peterman, also encouraged me to go on:
By all means continue to write the column. It is wonderful. I enjoy it and look forward to it weekly. (If it were written weakly instead I wouldn't read it at all.) Too often human nature is such that we write to complain instead of compliment. So consider this a compliment and sail on oh ship of cyberspace!
Yes I have, and yes I did. Have I recommended it to everyone yet? If not, let me do so now. Hysterically funny. Very well acted. Lovely Irish countryside. And a happy ending.
And while we're on the subject (of movies), you can skip Happiness; it may be an art film, but it is a waste of time. I walked out.
Life Is Beautiful deserves all of the praise and none of the pans it has received. It does not make light of the Holocaust; it does celebrate the human spirit. It made me think and then it made me cry.
Thin Red Line is a terrific 90-minute film trapped in the bloated body of a three-hour film.
She's All That is much better than the trailer or the television advertising would lead you to believe, which is to say, it isn't stupid and neither is the protagonist. Touching and realistic (in places) while being fanciful in other places. The choreographed dancing at the prom had Rae and me in stitches. Also, I don't think most high schools, even in LA, have their own Public Address System disc jockey.
God, I wish Hollywood studios could somehow figure out how to market off-beat movies. This year's most egregious example is Stepmom. If you saw the trailer or the TV advertising, you'd be expecting a comedy. It isn't. It's a drama. And all the excerpts used in the trailer come from the first 20 minutes of the movie. Stupid and deceptive. I think people probably would have gone to see it if it had been advertised honestly, but now we'll never know. And Julia Roberts is learning how to act, finally, although putting her in the same film as the mind-bogglingly talented Susan Sarandon makes it clear how far she has to go.
A Simple Story deserves every one of the Oscars it is going to get.
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