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Celebrating cutting edge advances in the Doublethink of the 90's

Written by Wayne Grytting

Tax Breaks for Bambi Lovers

For the past 20 years, one of the Federal Government's least heralded programs to promote the environment has been the use of Conservation Easements. These tax breaks are for the owners of 740,000 acres of scenic land, like Ted Turner, who've promised to limit development on their land forever. But critics have long complained these tax shelters have all been for the rich. Fortunately, Denver real-estate attorney Willis Carpenter has stepped forward to put to put these cynics in their place. "It really is a rich person's bill," admits Carpenter quite openly. But that is all to the good, he says, because "rich people own the really desirable scenic ranches and rich people need tax deductions." Like bees need flowers, like Beavis needs Butthead, rich people need their deductions. Amen to that. (WSJ 12/26)

Cereal Killers

The best scandal of the month was the revelation that in the 1940's, Quaker Oats and the Massachussets Institute of Technology teamed up to feed radioactive cereal to developmentally disabled students in an effort to understand how oatmeal was absorbed into the body. But even juicier was MIT's defense of their action. Although only minute amounts of radiation were involved, MIT committed the sin of feeding the kids nuked cereal without telling parents, while the children were only told they were to be members of the "Science Club." Fortunately, MIT reassured all who would listen, the school now has in place safeguards to "assure informed consent of human subjects." Then breaking new ground, MIT noted that its researchers had "acted properly under then-existing standards." As have, I suppose, generations of Southern redneck sheriffs towards Blacks. (WSJ 1/2)

The Return of Air Safety

Airlines will begin this year "profiling" travelers using computers to track down potential terrorists. Fortunately, David Fuscus, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association, says the system will not discriminate against anyone because of their Muslim religion or Arab nationality. It will just single out travelers who have been going to countries with Muslim religions or Arab nationality, an important difference. In a major endorsement for computers, Fuscus adds,``There is no way the system operates that it could discriminate against people.'' But our ATA spokesman saves his clincher argument for last, noting that "the system had been approved by the Justice Department." Upon hearing this, the ACLU reportedly cast aside its objections, folded camp and crept off into the desert. (NYT 12/31)

Getting Our Priorities Straight

At the Kyoto climate summit, U.S. negotiator's gained recognition for the nearly sacred right of the Pentagon to pollute. The inclusion of a mere two sentences will shield the police actions of our military forces (when under a U.N. flag) from any agreement to curb greenhouse gases. This means, say unnamed administration officials, that "international police actions and humanitarian missions remain unfettered by future curbs in fossil-fuel emissions." Another unnamed representative of our newly "unfettered" military put it best: "We didn't want to create a disincentive for future humanitarian operations." Without the exemption the Pentagon fears other countries might be relunctant to join our multinational exercises in altruism. Strangely, the humanitarian operation of sending food to impoverished nations was not covered by the agreement while the "humanitarian operation" of sending them bombs and soldiers was. (W.P. 1/1)

Newspeak is posted weekly except when I'm engaged in humanitarian operations. One very bad pun was provided by Geov Parrish. You can jump on the mailing list via and telling me why you like to see an "unfettered" military.