Issue Number 56
                      March 27 - 2000 

       Ideas - Opinion - Personal Experience

"I love life. I wake up everyday excited to wake
 up. You want to know what I think? I think you
 have to stop feeling sorry for yourself, and start
 thanking the day instead of scowling at it."

                      -- Goldie Hawn --
            ~ Look Who's Talking Today ~

  "More In Common Than Many Would Guess"
                      By Dick Epler (52)

                Be Careful at the Y2K All 
               Class Reunion Snake Dance
                 By Denny Damschen (62)
                           Shell Games
                       by John Allen (66)

                     Ludicrous Lawsuits 
                by Mary (Ray) Henslee (61)


    SANDBOX #56  Salutes: The Class of 1956
                 Check Out the Web Site:             
                   Find E-Mail addresses
                 Personal Web Page Links
                And lots of other good stuff.  
               Say Hello to Someone There!


Moderator's Notes:

    Well, people, looks like the year 2000 is
 going to be a very busy year for YOUR SANDBOX,
 as your contributions and the year's news both
 continue to accelerate!  It would appear that one
 SANDBOX per week just "ain't gonna cut it."
 Today's news, which you've been commenting
 on regularly, can get old very fast and you
 deserve to have your poignant topical comments
 not appear outdated.  There are a bunch of you
 waiting "in the wings," already, with articles
 about saving the Snake River salmon as well as
 a lot of other stuff.  As long as this great
 enthusiasm to express your own ideas, opinions
 and personal experience in this continues, I will try 
 to get Your Sandbox issues out more  frequently.
 It's always great hearing from each of you about 
 things that are important to you!

                         - Al Parker -

And Now For This Issues Entries:

More In Common Than Many Would Guess
From: Dick Epler (52)

For Marc Franco (66)

Thanks, Marc, for your comments
 expressed in Issue #54. I've
 often  thought that we two
 probably have more in common
 than many would guess. 

However, I need to correct the
 impression that I was worried   
that(in words you mistakenly
 ascribed to me) "McCain might
 ‘repeat' some of Clinton's
 ‘catastrophic   mistakes'." Not
 true. Rather I worry that McCain
 is prone to making catastrophic
 mistakes while avoiding all
 responsibility by the use of
 Clintonian techniques," which I
 then went on to enumerate in
 issue #53.

Regarding Clinton himself, I
 agree with you that except for
 Monica, Clinton's genius has
 always been the avoidance of
 responsibility for ANY mistakes;
 by design, he ALWAYS leaves
 himself an out. Even with
 Monica, he might have gotten
 away with a perjureous lie
 except for DNA testing of
 Monica's dress. Once out of
 office, of course, he may yet be
 prosecuted. Nevertheless, the
 democrats are right. As bad as
 perjury is, the incident was not
 a catastrophic mistake on the
 national level. But McCain is
 NOT Bill Clinton. With McCain, I
 DO worry about CATASTROPHIC
 mistakes being made at the
 national level.

My main concern these days is
 always the possibility that the
 country would consider electing
 a person (either republican or
 democrat) whose main
 qualification to the Presidency
 is the ability to Clintonize bad outcomes. 
 In the case of McCain,
 both his military and political
 records have been littered with
 disasters and bad decisions, but
 the media seems overly
 fascinated with his Clintonesque
 strategy while ignoring his lack
 of substance.

McCain's gone now (almost), but I
 think we all need to learn from
 this experience. We can't depend
 on the media. We need to do our
 own research. For Richland
 Bombers and other intelligent
 computer users, the Internet is
 the best place to start.
Subject: Snake Dance
From: Denny Damschen (62)

Take Precautions With Physical Activity (R2K
 Snake Dance)

If you're single and in your mind "getting a little
 action" means you don't need to take a laxative
 or "getting lucky" means you find your car in the
 parking lot then you're getting a little older and
 you should slow down when you participate in
 the R2K Snake Dance.

If you're a married male and your wife gives up
 sex for Lent and you don't know about it until
 the 4th of July or if you're a married woman and
 you don't care where your spouse goes, just as
 long as you don't have to go along, you're
 getting older and you should take your time
 when Snake Dancing.

We don't want anyone to get hurt so if you have
 stopped growing at both ends and have begun
 growing in the middle or if it takes longer to rest
 than to get tired, take it easy Snake Dancing.

If your mind is slipping or your memory lapsing
 or...uh...  I forget the rest....

       Ideas - Opinion - Personal Experience

From:    John Allen ('66)
Wed. 15 Mar '00

Last Sunday, Wayne LaPierre and Charleton
 Heston of the NRA offended the delicate
 sensibilities of William Jefferson Clinton by
 implying that he was a liar and more directly that
 he was willing to accept a certain level of
 violence in this country in order to promote his
 agenda on the subject of gun control.  The very
 next day, El Presidente was, predictably,  front
 and center with his "hurt and indignant" act.  Mr.
 Heston's statement, contained within the body of
 a national NRA advertisement, will be
 considered by many to be extreme.  "How can
 Moses call the President of the United States a
 liar on national TV?" people will ask.  The more
 appropriate and obvious question is, "How can
 he not?"  Of COURSE Clinton is a liar.  He has
 been found to be one by a Federal District Court
 Judge (Susan Webber Wright) and has paid a
 $93,000 fine for having lied under oath in her
 courtroom.  Additionally, there is a better than
 even chance that he will be disbarred in the
 State of Arkansas for having lied in federal court. 
 It's just NOT a question any more.  The man is in
 his mid fifties and his adult character was carved
 in stone long ago.  For those of you who like to
 delude yourselves with the theory of "divisible
 integrity" (which basically says that some public
 officials will lie about certain things but never in
 their official capacity), let me suggest to you that
 there is absolutely no evidence to support the
 theory.  The simple truth is that liars lie.  It's
 what they DO, and they quickly arrive at a  point
 where it becomes reflexive, as much as
 considered, behavior.  "Divisible integrity" is no
 more a possibility than being a little bit pregnant.
 The really aggravating, and more importantly,
 TRULY FATIGUING problem with Clinton is
 not just that he is a liar, but that he is such a
 GREAT liar.  Every time he opens his mouth to
 say anything of substance (gun control legislation
 included), we have to stop and slap ourselves to
 be reminded that there is no better than a 50/50
 chance that what he is saying is true.  No matter
 how convincing he sounds, we must to look at
 EVERY SINGLE WORD to see where he might
 be shading, bending, or completely dispensing
 with the truth.  I don't know about all of you,
 but I'm overly tired with always having to
 wonder "what the meaning of is, is."   Wouldn't
 it be more simple in the future to elect someone
 who does not already have a light-year long
 track record of deceit?  In any event, Moses is
 right, and don't you dare forget it.

Where Mr. LaPierre's allegation is concerned, the
 truth is not easily arrived at, but although his
 suggestion about a level of violence being
 acceptable to the administration is extreme, it is
 neither ill-considered nor indefensible.  Evidence
 of Clinton's Machiavellian propensities is hardly
 in short supply.  In the last three years in this
 country, over 6000 students have been caught
 inside our schools in the possession of firearms. 
 Only 13 (thirteen) were federally prosecuted
 and NO parents; WHY?   Further, the very act of
 a felon attempting to buy a gun is itself a felony. 
 But of the over 250,000 felons the Clinton
 Administration likes to brag about having
 prevented from legally buying a gun, none of
 them have been prosecuted either; WHY?   Do
 we really believe that having been denied the
 legal purchase of a firearm and left on the street,
 these felons will not simply obtain one illegally?  
 Finally, Project Exile which emerged in the state
 of Virginia and which has been promoted by the
 NRA and prosecutors throughout the country,
 would automatically put a felon in the slammer
 for five years if that felon is caught in possession
 of a firearm.  WHY is it that the Clinton Justice
 Department has resisted all attempts to introduce
 this kind of "result getting" legislation on a 
 national basis?   If the Clinton Administration is
 unwilling to put people in jail for their felonious
 behavior, there has to be some reason.  If it
 is not that they are willing to accept a certain
 level of violence to put more gun control
 legislation on the books, then WHAT IS THE

 REASON?   Could it be that passing laws is
 relatively easy, whereas ENFORCING them is
 messy (real people actually going to real jail). 
 This administration has never been big on law
 enforcement in general (it's kind of a "sixties"
 thing), in part because if they were, there is no
 telling how many of THEM would be in jail right
 now for Campaign Finance law violations among
 other crimes.  Simply passing new gun laws
 primarily accomplishes one thing:  It gives voters
 the false sense that something is actually being
 done so that "credit" (read that "votes")
 can be collected.  But however much (and
 however temporarily) it makes us "feel good" to
 pass new gun legislation, when it is rarely
 enforced, it does nothing to solve our problem. 
 In many cases, no amount of legislation will ever
 make a difference.  Far too many in our society
 have come to the false hope that somehow we
 can eventually legislate a perfect world where
 nothing bad ever happens.  That government is
 the answer to all our problems, is the implicit and
 unbelievably arrogant snake oil which primarily
 liberal law makers are prone to pedaling.  That
 snake oil doesn't exist, and some day we   
 "boomers" must finally accept the wisdom our
 parents possessed; that the actual exercise of
 individual responsibility will always surpass the
 legislative efforts of vote hungry politicians who
 are all too eager to please, to promise and to

Certainly at the very least, the Clinton 
 Administration has some serious "splaining to
 do" about it's paralysis in the area of enforcement
 of current gun laws.  It is hardly without the
 realm of possibility that the only gun law this
 Administration wants to enforce is the one
 currently IN force in Great Britain; confiscation. 
 Unfortunately for the American people, getting
 tough on   true offenders of current law
 certainly does nothing to promote that end.

Finally, on a different note, I would like to say
 that in the past, and to my discredit, I have
 allowed myself to become involved in name
 calling contests with other contributors to the
 Sandbox.  Including my last submission, I will no
 longer be mentioning the names of any other
 contributors, and I am hoping that others will see
 their way clear to follow that example.  I'm a
 good enough writer to express my opinion on
 issues without becoming embroiled in juvenile
 personal disputes, and if you graduated from the
 RHS gene pool, you are capable of the same.

---John Allen ('66)


Subj:   Ludicrous Lawsuits
From:  Mary (Ray) Henslee (61)

I felt compelled to write the commentary that I
 wrote a few weeks ago after reading a news
 release that came out stating that the Attorney
 General of New York was considering a lawsuit
 against the General Electric Company, which I
 thought to be ludicrous.  I decided that we had
 all better try in our own way to make a
 difference before the lawsuit mentality that is so
 pervasive in our society today spins any further
 out of control. 

It saddens me to find out that someone would
 perceive me as unsympathetic to the suffering of
 smokers, especially my own father's suffering,
 just because I choose not to blame the tobacco
 industry for my father's death.  I have just tried
 to look at the situation with the tobacco industry
 objectively and not allow myself to be conned
 into being a blamer by those with an agenda. 
 Although smoking was not as cognizant a choice
 before the warning label, there was some
 knowledge of its adverse effects and definitely
 concrete evidence that cigarettes were addictive. 
 The warning label does not seem to deter a lot of
 people, making it quite evident that smoking for
 many people was and always will be a personal
 choice based on desire, not logic or knowledge.

I think that there is much hypocrisy to be found
 surrounding the tobacco issue, which is why I
 question the legitimacy of the lawsuits being
 waged by state and federal administrations.  In
 1966 the government mandated that a warning
 label be placed on cigarette packs.  The
 government could have attempted to ban them at
 that time, but chose not to.  Now after all of
 these years, the government wants billions of
 dollars from the tobacco companies as reparation
 to help pay for tobacco related illnesses. 
 Shouldn't the government consider itself equally
 to blame since it chose and still chooses to keep
 cigarettes a legal product?  Many advocate
 punishing big tobacco for selling their evil weed,
 but I am yet to hear one elected official or citizen
 suggest that cigarettes should be banned.  Big
 tobacco represents big tax revenues and there
 lies the one and only reason why they are not
 banned, which is hypocrisy at its worst.  The
 tobacco growers have always known that the
 product that they were growing was additive and
 harmful, yet the government continues to
 subsidize them rather than sue them.  Obviously
 it has been known since the first cigarette was
 inhaled by a human being that they are addictive,
 unless in the early days people just did not know
 why they were being motivated to jump on their
 horse and make tracks to the general store for
 some smokes.  It is the nicotine in tobacco that
 makes cigarettes addictive and harmful. 
 Tobacco is hardly a secret ingredient of

A director of a restaurant association wrote a
 letter to the local newspaper recently addressing
 the problem of lawsuits.  Obesity is on the rise
 and there are those who are now blaming
 restaurants for offering foods that cause weight
 gain in tempting large portions.  He has observed
 that the same legal strategies used in class-action
 suits against tobacco companies and gun
 manufacturers are now being talked about as a
 way of addressing obesity related health
 problems.  He feels that as a society, we are
 courting disaster if we continue along this path. 
 I totally agree and I feel that any elected official
 who favors litigation over personal responsibility
 or seeks unreasonable reparation from companies
 for misconduct over a rational resolution sets an
 example that makes any successful individual or
 business fair game for predators.  

I am concerned that if we as a society continue to
 condone the blame game, we will in the end reap
 what we sow......a generation of people who do
 not feel that they should be held responsible for
 their actions because they are only giving in to
 the temptations put before them by others.  

Mary (Ray) Henslee (61)