Issue Number 52
                Sunday - February 27 - 2000

   "Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae
 velis et quae sentias dicere licet."

   ("These times having the rare good fortune that
 you may think what you like and say what you
           --- Tacitus A.D. 55 or 56 - c. 120
                          Histories i.1

                            ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

           This week's articles and comments:
            Choosing a Presidential Candidate
                        Dick Epler (52)
                        "In my view...."

                      John Allen (66)

             More About Dam Breaching
                     Mike Cram (95)
        Have you considered the silt factor?

               MORE TO TALK ABOUT
                       Al Parker (53)
            Sales Taxes and The Internet
                    Credit Card Fraud


From:  Mary (Ray) Henslee (61)

Subj:  Regarding Eva (Clark) Perry's (49)
 apocryphal submission:
From: (Jerry Lewis)

And, just possibly, some very interesting
 comments from YOU!
                              - - - - - 

Choosing a Presidential Candidate
Title:   In My View
By: Dick Epler (52)

Dateline: President's Day, 2000.
This is President's Day, and the news is all about the
 Bush-McCain primaries. And we love it. It's all
 great entertainment. Most of us like to sit back and
 score the "news" of the day the way we would a
 beauty contest or a football game. The problem,
 however, is that we disagree a lot because we don't
 know the rules of this weird game. So we tend to
 depend on the media for help. But electing a
 President is serious business, and we shouldn't have
 to depend on anyone else to help decide winners
 and losers. In particular, we shouldn't depend on
 the media who likes to view themselves as the
 fourth branch of Government.

The media is not an unbiased or disinterested party
 in this process.  Generally, the media is fairly liberal
 primarily as a result of the nation's journalism
 schools. Given that they have the power to spin an
 issue/event any number of ways, we readers need a
 way to filter the news of the day to find the stuff
 that really matters. I have some suggestions, but
 first let me give you a quick example of what I

In last week's Average Frank column (Blue
 Mountain Eagle) the journalist castigates George
 Bush for having too much political money as if that
 were a bad thing. Eventually, he implies that Bush
 can be "Presidential" by restricting the use of his
 war chest. Strange logic, but not unlike what
 John McCain has been preaching. It's been a
 popular diversion of the media to focus on Bush's
 money, family, and prep-school background to the
 exclusion of his legislative record and issue
 definitions. They did the same thing to Steve Forbes
 and now we have one less voice for responsible
 government. Money didn't help Forbes and, in New
 Hampshire, it didn't help Bush. So why this
 diversion? The only reasonable explanation is that
 Bush's money represents a threat to both the media
 and to McCain. That and the fact that Bush has a
 better message than McCain and the money helps
 him to get his message out in spite of the media. It
 also helps Bush to defend himself against all this
 mischief in what McCain and the media likes to call
 "negative ads." But I'm not a shill for Bush or
 anyone else. People need to make up their own
 minds about the candidates. I'm more interested in
 the media's infatuation with McCain with
 comparisons to Clinton.

In many ways John McCain is our kind of guy: a war
 hero and a maverick who wants to reform
 Government. Yeah … most of us over here in Grant
 County are patriotic and are mavericks. And lord
 knows we'd like to reform Government.  
 More than that, according to Average Frank,
 McCain has the "right stuff" to win – image, party
 affiliation and lots and lots of memorable quotes.
 Too many memorable quotes according to Average
 Frank to be Presidential. Well, maybe. Actually that
 stuff doesn't bother me much (I'm not very 
 politically correct and Jesse Ventura doesn't bother
 me either). I have other concerns. Basically I worry
 that McCain's a Clinton wannabe who would be
 prone to making catastrophic mistakes while in

Given what the media's let us know about McCain
 that has to be a shocking statement. But I say that
 based on evaluating McCain's military record and
 the way he's run his Presidential campaign. McCain
 spent 22 years in the Navy and 18 years in
 Congress. So far as I can tell, neither was
 particularly noteworthy with the possible exception
 of his 5-1/2 years in a North Vietnam POW camp.
 McCain seems to agree as that's the ONLY thing
 he likes to talk about. He uses that POW thing like  
 a club to cut off discussion about things he's not
 comfortable with (abortion and character mostly).
 As he told Alan Keyes in the debates, "I've seen my
 share of killing, and I don't need YOU to lecture
 me on the value of life." Hmmm … I think he
 missed the point, but it was effective as Larry King
 promptly cut Keyes off.

I'm a Korean War Vet, USAF, five years. I like the
 idea of voting for someone who's had combat
 experience. But I've NEVER seen another vet use
 his "hero" status to trash an opponent. It raised a
 red flag, so I checked McCain's military record.
 With one exception, it looks pretty good. As many
 know, McCain is an Annapolis graduate with
 combat experience, AND a POW hero who retired
 in 1981, after 22 years, with the rank of … Captain.
 And therein lies the problem. With those
 qualifications, not achieving Flag rank is unusual.
 Especially considering that both his father and
 grandfather were Navy Admirals. How did John
 miss out? I don't have an answer (yet) but
 consider that during this same time period one of
 McCain's contemporaries entered the Army with a
 ROTC commission from CCNY, did two tours in
 Vietnam, got his first star in 1978 and went on to
 become a four star general AND Chairman of the
 Joint Chiefs eleven years later in 1989.  And this
 was a black guy ... Colin Powell. Yeah, I think I
 know who Powell is and I trust him. He's definitely
 not a Clinton wannabe.

Other vets I've talked to (McCain supporters) shrug
 off McCain's behavior by saying he's just a
 politician. I suppose, but I never remember Dole,
 Kerry, or Bush, Sr., ever pulling that stuff. The only
 politician I know who shamelessly pushes the limits
 like that is Clinton. In case you haven't been
 paying attention the last seven years, here is the
 Clinton Formula for getting elected:
First, the candidate needs to realize that to get
 elected in the new era, the TV, press and
 entertainment industry will attempt to expand their
 role as the "fourth branch of Government." To
 boost your chances, give them what they want.

Understand that the media needs to have daily
 access to a potential front-runner. Be ready with an

 "issue of the day," and be sure to include
 multiple 5-second sound bites for the evening news.

Pay attention to your dress and personal
 mannerisms. Consult with experts from the
 entertainment industry to develop just the right
 image for your particular political style.

Second, once elected, cultivate and develop a
 network of people for use in subsequent damage
 control. These need to include Federal judges and
 prosecutors as well as the bulk of the government's
 investigative machinery (FBI, CIA, etc.). Adhere to
 the following principles:

1.  Be positive. Spin all news items as an
 affirmation of your policies ignoring any
 inconsistencies. Most people are gullible with poor

2.  When shading the truth, get your message
 out early AND OFTEN until your version gets

3.  Anticipate being caught in a mistruth and be
 prepared to attack immediately. Never allow
 yourself to be surprised.

4.  To put your opponent on the defensive,
 become a "victim." You can render your opponent
 powerless by making yourself look pitiful. Tears
 and lip biting are effective.

5.  When justifying any particular political
 position, do it on the basis of "helping the children"
 or some other powerless group.

6.  When engaged in political dirty tricks,
 indignantly accuse your opponent of doing the
 exact same thing.

7.  When bad news is imminent, leak the news
 first in a way most advantageous to you.

8.  Promptly reward what you want more of.
 Promptly punish what you want less of. Your
 supporters will quickly learn that you need
 "plausible deniability" at all times.

9.  Never admit to a lie or a crime. Redefine the
 language and the law as necessary. Demand the
 unqualified support of your party!

10.   If worse comes to worse, have a fall guy
 waiting who will go to prison for your crime (pay
 the going rate … it'll be worth it).

11.   Use polls to see how well your message is
 being received. Use focus groups to modify your
 message as necessary to achieve the desired result
 on the populace.

12.   Use government power to acquire and to
 control as much money as possible. Don't keep any
 more than is necessary for expenses. Spread this
 money as quickly and as widely as possible to build
 loyalty. When spreading the money, use the tax
 code only as a LAST resort, as you don't want
 people to get the idea it's their money.

13.   Know your supporters as well as your
 opponents. Both can do considerable damage. Use
 the government's investigative agencies to keep
 your "files" up to date!

14.   Use Executive Orders to accomplish what you
 can't get done through the legislative process even
 though it's unconstitutional.

15.   Never let anybody, not even your closest
 associates, know everything about your "grand
 legacy plan." Neutralize anyone who tries to define
 you and your grand plan. You will lose if you get

16.   Realize that what you say and what you do are
 two different things. Always express a profound
 belief in the Constitution, Law and Order, virtue
 and morality; but never let any of these things get in
 the way of achieving your "grand legacy plan."

17.   Don't make big changes. Use an incremental
 approach to go a step at a time. Likely no one will
 notice where you're going until you're there.

18.   Realize that timing is critical. Be ready to use
 opportunistic disasters to pass the more difficult
 aspects of your plan. In time you'll get everything
 you want.

As McCain's famous ad against Bush said, "We
 don't want another four years of someone like
 Clinton." For McCain, that's an application of #6 in
 the list. I'm concerned that, given the chance, he'll
 run through all eighteen. He's already made a good

Of course, McCain's not the only politician
 emulating Clinton. Clinton seems to have become
 the poster child for the new political era especially
 for the democrats. But so far as I can tell, no
 Republican is quite as aggressively as McCain in
 adopting these techniques.

So what to do? Well as it turns out, it's not really
 that hard. Basically we need to pick candidates with
 a legislative record that mirrors their words.  That's
 easier for Governor types than for Congressional or
 Vice President types, as the latter necessarily have
 to implement policies not entirely of their own
 making. Still there are signs. But don't accept the
 media or the candidate's words. Instead, spend a
 few minutes on the Internet with a good
 search engine like
   to get
 the facts. When evaluating the candidate, score
 points for a consistency of purpose and for a
 genuine respect for the Constitution. Deduct points
 if the guy is a media favorite, or is a lawyer. Now,
 isn't that simple?
Dick Epler

                              ~ ~ ~ 

From:       John Allen (66)

A little over a year ago, I wrote a different article
 with the same title.  Here is further evidence that
 "The more things change, the more they stay the

In the summer of 1976, during the ten year reunion
 for our class, a girl who had been a good friend in
 high school, showed above average courage by
 approaching me to offer an apology she felt I was
 due.  I had forgotten in the intervening years, but
 apparently I had asked her out on a date during our
 senior year.  Despite my poor recall of that
 instance, I have every reason to believe that this
 occurred, for she possessed that rare combination
 of being intelligent, talented, very attractive AND
 tall.  As she reminded me, she had initially agreed to
 the date but then ultimately made some excuse and
 the date never occurred.   In making her apology,
 she proceeded to tell me the real reason for backing
 out was that her mother had forbade her to go out
 with me for no other reason than that I was a
 Roman Catholic.  While I would never have
 assigned any blame to her for having obeyed her
 parents, it was obvious she felt perhaps, that at 18
 years of age, this was one time she should not have
 obeyed.     The point is that this was the one and
 only time in my life to that point where I was aware
 that I had been  discriminated against for my
 religious beliefs.  My parents had told me stories of
 their early marriage in Muskogee, OK where they
 were necessarily low key regarding my mother's
 Catholicism for fear that my father might lose his
 teaching position at the local high school, and
 I certainly remember sufficient vitriol surrounding
 the 1960 presidential election when the first
 Catholic president was elected.  Nevertheless, in my
 youth and even in my adulthood, I have been under
 the secure impression that this ignorance was/is not
 widespread, primarily because it never affected me. 
 Even after having my bubble burst to some extent at
 the 10 year reunion, I pretty much considered it
 as an isolated incident.

I am now beginning to wonder if I have not simply
 been naive all these years.  In the last 3 months, a
 man whom I have admired in the past, former
 football record setter with the Seattle Seahawks and
 now Republican Congressman from Oklahoma,
 Steve Largent, had the incredible nerve (indicative
 of much deeper problems) to ask Father Timothy
 O'Brien, a Roman Catholic priest and interviewee
 for the position of Chaplain of the US House of
 Representatives, if he did not think that wearing his
 Roman collar in the House would be "divisive."
 Surely no man with the visual acuity to have caught
 as many NFL footballs as Largent did, could have
 failed to notice that the outgoing Lutheran
 chaplain, Rev. James Ford, had been wearing a
 Roman collar ever day he (Largent) had been in the
 House since his debut in 1995.  Additionally,
 House Speaker Dennis Hastert and House majority
 leader Dick Armey, in defending their choice of the
 #3 recommended candidate, have attempted to
 claim that they did not know the bi-partisan
 selection committee of nine Republicans and nine
 Democrats had placed Father O'Brien as #1 on
 the final list of three which was submitted to the
 House leadership (Hastert, Armey and Gephardt). 
 Armey has been so Clintonesque as to claim that he
 didn't even know FATHER O'Brien was a Catholic
 priest.  Articles from several reputable news sources
 (the AP, New York Times, Boston Globe, Roll
 Call, Washington Post) quoting many of the 18
 member selection committee and Armey himself,
 give lie to these preposterous claims.

Sadly, I am left to conclude that at least 62 million
 US citizens can't completely dispense with watching
 their back where religious discrimination is
 concerned.  Apparently, it is simply buried a little
 deeper.  "The more things change..... "  As I
 understand it however, the full House must vote on
 this matter of who will become Chaplain, AND
 Hastert and Armey have chosen to postpone the
 vote since they have come under some small "inside
 the beltway" fire for their questionable behavior.  I
 wonder sometimes when I hear people cry for John
 Rocker's head on a spike for what he SAID, what
 should be done with people like Largent, Hastert,
 and Armey for what they are actually DOING.   I
 have seen plenty of coverage on an ignorant cracker
 relief pitcher from Georgia, but I don't remember
 seeing even one report on CNN, ABC, NBC or
 CBS news regarding this House Chaplain situation,
 so what should be done with the appropriate
 Network Executives?  Before we start chopping
 heads, perhaps we should consider who bears the
 greater responsibility in matters of prejudice and
 discrimination?  Is it the Congress and network TV
 execs or is it "20 something" relief pitchers.

Reportedly, the vote of the full House will occur this
 month (Feb) and now, having read this little piece,
 you probably have time to further define YOUR
 character by what you do (or do not) communicate
 to your respective House Representatives.

---John Allen (Class of '66)

                              - - - - -

Subj:   About Breaching The Dams
From:   Mike Cram (95)

I will admit that I do not know everything about the
 breaching of the dams.  But here is some of what
 we have discussed in my classes at WSU-TC.  From
 what I gather, the breaching of the dams, will hurt
 economy, draw down the river which will affect
 local habitat, in that, I mean by drawing down the
 level of the river, you then change the ecosystems
 of animals who live in/around the river.  A big
 reason, and one I feel is pushing this, remember this
 is purely my opinion, but the delta, mouth of the
 Columbia where you have these towns on the
 beach, are not getting the sediment deposit in the
 delta like they should. because the dams collect
 large amounts of sediment behind them that would
 usually flow downstream to the delta of the
 Columbia.  The people who first came up with the
 idea of building the dams were just thinking of
 power and jobs. They didn't think into the future or
 consider that all this sediment would build up in the
 Eventually the sediment is going to fill the dams and
 the dams will become huge waterfalls because all
 the sediment will render the dams useless.  It would
 be very expensive to clean all the sediment out. 
 So even though I am not for dam breaching, it is
 going to eventually have to be done.  But anyway,
 the lack of deposition of sediment in the mouth of
 the Columbia tends to lead to larger waves which
 can/will destroy the beaches and eventually the
 towns (far into the future) They are going to, in
 time, start to get  larger and larger waves which,
 unfortunately, do to political pull, because they
 have a much larger population over on the Westside
 will ultimately lead to a breaching of the dams in
 order to save the people/towns.

This is just what I have discussed in class and heard. 
 I have done no real research into it.  But just take it
 at face value.

Take Care,
Mike Cram (95)

                                - - - - -

Sales Tax: Local Business and The Internet

Legislation is pending before the Pennsylvania
 Legislature to eliminate sales tax in the
 commonwealth to allow "brick and mortar"
 retail businesses to be more competitive with non-
 Internet marketers who are not required to collect
 sales taxes.  Of course, the legislature would then
 look for other ways to replace the revenue formerly
 raised by the sales tax.  Do you think such
 legislation would help to create a more free and
 open market place in the state where you live?
 Would it ultimately enhance overall revenue for
 your state?  How would such legislation affect the
 business you are involved in now, or businesses
 you've been involved with before? How might such
 legislation eventually benefit you as a tax payer / as
 a consumer?  Do you want the sales tax to be
 eliminated where you live?

Credit Card Fraud

I have recently learned from personal experience
 that an unscrupulous person who has obtained your
 credit card number, expiration date  and mailing
 address can max out your credit card overnight by
 making mail order purchases.  Many mail order
 companies, apparently, are not at all concerned
 about whether or not the person ordering and
 receiving the merchandise has the same name
 and address as the legitimate card holder.
 Billions of dollars of fraud has been  committed in
 this way.  This is costly to all of us, whether we've
 been directly "hit" or not.  The cost of such criminal
 acts is always passed down to the legitimate
 consumer-tax payer in one form or another.  
The question is this: Should merchandise purchased
 by credit cards require a "pin number" for security,
 just as personal identity codes are required when
 receiving cash?

If enough responses to this question are sent to The
 SANDBOX, I'll send a compilation of your remarks
 to major credit card companies.

 If you simply wish to answer "yes" or "no" to the
 question,  "Should credit card companies require
 personal  identity codes ('pin' numbers,) for
 merchandise purchases as well as for cash?"  You
 can simply paste this paragraph into an E- mail, add
 your "yes" or "no" and send it to:

You may also wish to contact your own
 credit card issuers if you think this idea is
 important enough. This simple change in credit
 card safety could save a lot of people, including you
 and me, ethical businesses, law enforcement and
 the credit card issuers themselves, a lot of dollars
 and a lot of annoying pain!

                              - - - - -

 That's it for this issue of The SANDBOX, folks.
 What's said next is largely up to you.

You may express your opinion about how things
 were, or are, or how they ought to be. You can
 persuade, encourage, explain.  You can  listen to,
 think about and talk about the important concerns
 of  today. You can tell us about that great vacation
 you took.  You can even add some humor if you
 like. So, let's hear from you!  Send what's on your
 mind and in your heart to:


The SANDBOX is an online sharing of Ideas,
 Opinions and Personal Experience by the alumni of
 Columbia High School, also known as Richland
 High School, Richland, Washington.  

Though through the years we have scattered like
 sand throughout the world, the Col-Hi-RHS spirit
 still lives and thrives as we continue to

Here's hoping you have a wonderful week!

Al Parker (53)
Your SANDBOX moderator..   


The SANDBOX is published each Sunday with
 additional issues as sufficient submissions warrant.

If you've missed any past issues of The SANDBOX,
 you can view them all at: eSANDBOX.html   Copy & paste 
that as one continuous unbroken line into your browser,
or just paste in:
 then click on the Sandbox link under Sites of
                             ~ ~ ~ ~ ~