Hoarded at
Celebrating cutting edge advances in the Doublethink of the 90's Written by Wayne Grytting

The Culinary Arts

None other than the president of Dow Jones, Karen Elliott House, came forward with sound advice for President Clinton during his moment of deliberation over Iraq. Recounting a 1990 interview she had had with Saddam before the invasions, Ms. House wrote, "I asked how he felt about being known as the butcher of Bahgdad. Without hesitation or remorse he replied: "Weakness doesn't assure achieving the objectives required by a leader.'" Then without any similar hesitation or remorse, Ms. House drew the obvious conclusion. "That's sound advice for President Clinton," she said, "as he contemplates using force against Saddam..." Then he too can earn the coveted title of the butcher of Bahgdad? Or, Ms. House, how about butcher of the month? (WSJ 2/11)

Crop Failures

This month's award for Best Defense of US Policy in Iraq goes by acclamation to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In Ohio, Ms. Albright faced a large audience described by an unnamed senior State Department official as showing "general support for our position despite a few bad apples." One of the bad apples quoted a statement by President Carter that 100,000 Iraqi civilians could be killed if we started bombing again. In a response that failed to gain the press attention it may have deserved, Ms. Albright did not bother to deny the figures. Instead she announced, "I am willing to make a bet to anyone here that we care more about the Iraqi people than Saddam does..." Air Force personnel were reportedly working around the clock to carve the message "We care more" on US bombs. Ms. Albright finished by reaching out to gang members and drive-by shooters with this argument: "If he does the totally uncivilized thing of putting women and children to guard his regime, then the fault is his." (NYT 2/19)

Psycho: The Ad

Drug companies are dropping their practice of limiting the advertising of prescription drugs just to medical professionals. Now even mental health drugs for depression and schizophrenia will be marketed directly to the consumers. Alan Holmer, president of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Association, defends this direct marketing to potentially unbalanced consumers in these words: "This is the information age and more information empowers patients to be able to have more meaningful conversations with their doctors about cures and treatments." Right on. I remember just how empowered I felt after watching the latest McDonald's commercial. And those of you who haven't been having your share of meaningful conversations, well maybe a few more ads would do it for you. Fortunately, says the Wall Street Journal, "There is no shortage of experts helping drug companies learn to think more like a Coke or a Nike." (WSJ 2/10, NYT 2/17)

The Welfare Avoidance Dept.

With the end of the Cold War, many of you may be wondering why we still need to spend billions so our Trident submarines can run around the oceans with nuclear missiles. Aren't our bombers and ICBM missiles enough now? Dead wrong according to Rear Admiral Jerry Ellis, commander of our Pacific submarines. Admiral Ellis warned an audience recently at the Bangor sub base in Washington state that "It's only a matter of time until a weapon of mass destruction falls into the hands of a rogue nation or group." Certainly a real threat. But from this our admiral goes on to conclude, "The Trident sub fleet will continue to be needed as a deterrent..." I know if I were a terrorist, a mere 10,000 nuclear bombs and missiles aimed at me wouldn't stop me unless I started seeing periscopes in the harbor. Let's keep those Navy guys employed. (Seattle P-I 2/14)

Upstairs, Downstairs in the Friendly Skies

Airlines are responding to the growing gap between the rich and the rest of us by, in the words of Business Week, "making the plush seats even plusher' and catering more to the needs of their business passengers. Socially conscious airlines like TWA will be squeezing coach seats 15% closer so that first class passengers can enjoy more space and seating. (Coach class passengers will presumably enjoy more... togetherness?) Mark Shields of Mercer Management Consulting says that "Increasingly people will be handled in subtly but importantly different ways." Much of the credit goes to computer software that now allows airline employees to target "profitable" customers and so meet their needs better. (BW 2/23)

Modern Farming

What is the value of a human life? How could we even determine it? Fortunately these age old philosophical questions now have answers. Or at least we know the value of a human embryo, which is, of course, $5,100. That's $5,000 for the egg and $100 for the sperm, which may seem a tad bit unfair until you consider the testing, hormone treatments and suctioning that women must endure to produce marketable eggs. But how is this value determined? According to Dr. Joseph Schulman, the price is "ultimately determined by the balance between supply and demand." (What else could it be?) And with medical centers willing to ante up big amounts, fertility specialist Dr. Mark Sauer reports that "egg donation is becoming like an auction." That's why it only seems natural the process of siphoning out women's eggs is now referred to as "harvesting." (NYT 2/25)

Smile, You're on Candid Camera

One of the big growth areas in the field of electronic surveillance is in the use of remote-controlled camera networks. Whole cities can now be viewed block by block by hundreds of strategically placed cameras feeding video images into a central control room. The Port of New York and New Jersey has taken the lead with a grand total of 1,200 cameras monitoring its bridges and airports. Private companies are springing up to fill the need for complete video surveillance by police and TV stations. In New York, a video controller for the privately controlled Metro Networks is quoted as saying "Rule of thumb, if you can see the Empire State Building, we can see you." Fortunately there is an important safeguard protecting citizens' privacy. Says Kevin O'Reilly, operations manager for Shadow Traffic Network, "But really, we don't have a lot of time to look at people's apartments." That's the safeguard. (NYT 2/22)

CEO Watch

It's been a long wait, but finally someone has descended from the country clubs to publicly defend the exorbitant salaries and bonuses our top executives have been raking in. Ira T. Kay, remember that name, came out in the pages of the Wall Street Journal to defend high CEO pay as a "crucial factor making the US economy the most competitive in the world." And why does paying our CEO's roughly 10 times more than their Japanese counterparts help make our companies more competitive? Obviously you're not a professional economist if you need to ask. Because without the incentives, our CEO's would be in the same boat as Japanese managers, with "no economic incentive to face up to difficult management decisions, such as layoffs." So supporting those executive bonuses so we can get... fired, is Mr. Kay's inspired message. (WSJ 2/23)

Small Ain't Beautiful No More

Those of you still spouting environmental themes about consuming less and living litely upon the planet need to check out the latest ads for the Lincoln Town Car. You are out of date. The latest Lincoln magazine ads feature the "spacious comfort," "distinctive design," and "quiet elegance" we would expect from a luxury car. But this stylish sedan has attitude as well. As the ad's headline proclaims, "This should finally put an end to all that 'less is more' nonsense." And then they ask the critical question: "Whose idea was this 'less is more' business anyway. Certainly not ours." Most certainly not! Lincoln knows what it proudly stands for. Its raison d'tre - "Because having it all is what this car is all about." It must feel great being all the way out of the closet. (US News 3/2)

Special thanks to the eagle eye of David E. Ortman. NEWSPEAK should be appearing twice a month and if it doesn't, whine until it does (just kidding). To get on the e-mail list, write some pseudo-witty remark to