Of Virgins and other interesting things
As this column is being published, Wonder Wife and this observer are just returning from a voyage out into the eastern Caribbean where we have been doing research on our next novel which will be called: The Panama Conspiracy. President Bush said it is patriotic to go out and spend money. This month, we are being VERY patriotic.
Also, we read somewhere that the United States purchased the Virgin Islands in 1917 from Denmark because the islands guard the seaways leading to the Panama Canal. Anyway, that was reason (excuse) enough to for us to go there.
The United States paid $25 million in 1917 dollars for the U.S. Virgin Islands, which works out to be $295 an acre -- but no oil. We only paid two cents an acre for Alaska and it has oil. Hmmn. Even worse, since President Carter gave the Panama Canal back to the Panamanians, they have turned the operation of the Canal over to an operating company owned by the Red Chinese. No kidding.
Meanwhile, our journey has permitted some reflections on matters back in the good ‘ol US of A. For example, did you know the Clinton Administration spent seven times more money trying to punish MicroSoft (let no good software go unpunished) for the benefit of its cry-baby competitors than it did in trying to catch Osama bin Laden?
Every time our Windows 98™ does something wonderful like switching automatically from daylight savings time to standard time, I scratch my head. What were Bill Clinton, Janet Reno and Senator Orin Hatch (R) of Utah thinking when they went after MicroSoft? Of course Novell, which objected to MicroSoft’s entry into the server network business, is based in Utah. That may explain why the then head of the Senate Judiciary Committee let Janet Reno turn her dogs on MicroSoft.
Recently, Fox News Channel financial whiz, Brenda Buttner, mentioned that the downturn in the stock market (especially, the NASDAQ) began when Clinton-Reno-Hatch filed suit against MicroSoft. And now that the Bush Administration has reached a reasonable settlement with MicroSoft, the NASDAQ is going back up.
In days of yore, when it was perceived that the filthy rich were the only ones with a stake in the stock market, these facts would not be big news. But now that so many blue-, pink- and white-collar workers have money in 401K plans, IRAs and other retirement accounts that are invested in the stock markets, we are talking about the long-term economic prospects of a lot of folks. As gubernatorial candidate Janet Reno tries to win the votes of all those pensioners down in Florida she has, as Ricky Ricardo used to say: “A lot of splaining to do.”
Have you noticed that all of the Anthrax cases have occurred in urban areas? The obvious reason is that the attacks have been directed against official Washington and the New York news media. But the fact that people fell victim to Anthrax may have another aspect to it.
For example, growing up out here in “fly-over” country, this observer always thought that there is a certain ambient amount of Anthrax in feed lots and farm fields. Indeed, if the Anthrax investigators got to sniffing around agricultural America, they would find Anthrax spores in lots of places.
So, it just may be that we who grew up out here on The Great Plains may have a degree of natural immunity to the kind of Anthrax that has been sitting out in our farmlands for centuries. Anyway, that is one possibility.
Another view, and one put forth by someone who shall remain nameless, suggests that the ranchers – the people most likely to be exposed to farm-field Anthrax -- do not inhale the spores because they never cut their nose hairs. While that observation may be valid, it probably isn’t good science.
They’ve hit the airlines and the postal system. Which system is next?
William Hamilton, a nationally syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today, is co-author of The Grand Conspiracy by William Penn – a novel about foreign terrorism directed against the United States.
©2001. William Hamilton.