(en) Top NEWSPEAK Stories of the Week #94

Lyn Gerry (redlyn@loop.com)
Thu, 25 Dec 1997 21:36:01 +0000

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------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Thu, 25 Dec 1997 18:22:17 -0800 (PST) From: MichaelP <papadop@PEAK.ORG> To: "invisible.names":; Subject: Top NEWSPEAK Stories of the Week #94 (fwd)

AMERICAN NEWSPEAK. Hoarded at http://www.scn.org/newspeak Celebrating cutting edge advances in the Doublethink of the 90's Written by Wayne Grytting

Outgrowing Censorship

One of the many gains from the ending of the Cold War is the fact our government no longer needs to resort to censorship. Case in point: when the Voice of America planned to air an interview with an exiled Chinese dissident which could potentially have irritated U.S. - China relations, our government made no effort to block the broadcast. Said White House spokesman Mike McCurry, "We would not make any effort to violate what is a very important principle, the independence of the Voice of America." But in his very next sentence, Mr. McCurry had a small qualification to add. "At the same time," he said, "it is perfectly appropriate for the Voice of America to understand what the consequences of some of its broadcasts might be from our perspective." Would that be like no jobs for you guys in the future? (AP 12/18)

The Weekly Microsoftspeak

After Microsoft got in trouble with the U.S. Justice Department over its efforts to require users of its Windows software to use their web browser, many people may have gained the wrong impression about the software giant's views on free choice. Fortunately a new case has emerged to help set the record straight. Sun Microsystems, makers of Java, have a new program, called the Activator, that circumvents Microsoft's restricted version of the Java programming language. Activator can scan a user's computer for the software it needs and if it doesn't find it in Windows, for example, it can just download the software from Sun's Web site. But Microsoft quickly perceived that this "sounds like Big Brother technology." Tod Nielsen, Microsoft's general manager of developer relations proclaimed that "Having software mysteriously search a user's machine and then replace it with something it views as kosher isn't what Microsoft's about. We believe in customer choice." Expect an anti-monopoly campaign any day now from Gates World. (WSJ 12/18)

1997's Best Legal Argument

Attorney Paul Martin made his claim to Newspeak fame when he argued before the Supreme Court that government employees should not be punished for lying. The case involved a social worker named Jeanette Walsh who had been accused of having sex with a patient and then lying about it to her supervisor. An appeals board ruled that she should be punished for having sex, but not for lying. Emboldened by this victory, Martin told the Supreme Court that "employees should be allowed to falsely deny allegations of wrongdoing without fear that theyll face stiffer punishment than if they told the truth." He compared it to pleading ``not guilty in a criminal case. If only Nixon had had this man during Watergate.... (AP 12/8)

Rendering Unto Caesar...

Theologians have been debating for years about the role of the church in our secular society. Little did they know that AT&T had already answered the question. More specifically, church steeples have an important role in today's world as antenna towers for cellular phones! Across the country, churches are cutting deals with phone companies to use their steeples and thus get around zoning regulations that bar the building of antenna towers. And why are the churches eager to link hands with phone companies? Says Church deacon Marshal McStay, "We love that cash flow." Congregationalist church trustee James Inashima adds that a steeple that isn't earning money is an "asset that is not being used." Another asset not being used is reportedly located between the ears of.... And how soon until your church is proudly described as a subdivision of AT&T? (WSJ 12/23)

Lawyers Appreciation Time

You might have thought the tobacco companies would have been angry at the hordes of attorneys who teamed up to produce the $368 billion tobacco "settlement." But no. In an act that can only be described as altruistic, the tobacco companies threw aside their animosities and agreed to help the opposing attorneys receive fair compensation for their efforts. While the anti-tobacco lawyers stand to rake in a windfall in the billions and are facing mounting criticism, the tobacco industry has taken the lead by making a side agreement not to "take any position adverse to the size of the fee award requested." In fact tobacco representatives agreed they would not even "express an opinion if asked." Remarkable cooperation that we could all learn to emulate. Meanwhile the lawyers continue to insist the monetary windfall wasn't important, protecting children was. (WSJ 12/15)

On Not Sharing Our Wealth

In a real setback for free trade, Mexico has ruled that nude dancers do not meet the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which allow visas for "high-technology" workers. The NAFTA agreement permits the transfer of employees of multi-national companies who possess "special skills." After hours of deliberation it was determined that table dancers, and indeed, artists in general, do not possess "special skills" as defined by the agreement. So once again an important U.S. export has been lost. (Knight-Ridder 12/18)

Special thanks this week to Richard Kohl. The column will resume @ January 6th so hold your horses and happy holidays. To subscribe e-mail wgrytt@blarg.net telling me why I deserve to go skiing this week.

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