An Inclusive Litany


The Washington Post, June 29, 1995:
In 1987, an advertisement in the Durango (Colo.) Herald touting the Animas-La Plata [dam and irrigation project] captured in just five pithy sentences what critics see as the essence of federal water policy. "WHY WE SHOULD SUPPORT THE ANIMAS-LA PLATA PROJECT," began the ad. "BECAUSE SOMEONE ELSE IS PAYING THE TAB! We get the water. We get the reservoir. They pay the bill."


A memo, reprinted in the Washington Post, from Jack Ward Thomas, chief of the Forest Service, to his staff:
Subject: Horizontal Behavior.... In two recent situations, we have responded to requests for information from Congress by asking a single staff group to prepare information. These incidents have been identified as the personifications of "linear" as opposed to "horizontal" behavior in the organization. A previous set of operative language would have contrasted this as "functional" as opposed to "corporate" behavior. Please be sensitive to these perceptions—which do have merit—in assigning or responding to such requests.

A housewife in a northern Chicago suburb answered an insistent knock upon her door only to find not one but three IRS agents demanding to see her daughter. They wanted to know why $1,400 in savings account interest reported by a bank had not been declared by her daughter on her Form 1040. The terrified woman called her husband, who called their accountant, who called the agents to explain. The money was a gift from the daughter's grandparents, he told the agents. But why wasn't the daughter available to personally explain that to them, the IRS agents asked? Sorry, said the accountant. She was away for the day—in her second-grade class at school.

The Disney Corporation promoted its film on the life of Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson in Paris, with full-page newspaper ads showing him with part of the Constitution. However, as all high school students ought to know, Jefferson was not involved with the drafting of the Constitution, since at the time he was in Paris serving as ambassador to France. In fact, he is the author of the Declaration of Independence. Informed of the error, a spokeswoman for Disney said they became aware of the mistake immediately after the ads appeared. She said, "We all walked in Monday morning and said, 'Oh, f***.' "

An administrative judge at the Small Business Administration ruled that Arnold O'Donnell, a white contractor from Washington, D.C., was "socially and economically disadvantaged" because the community was mostly black and most construction work was automatically set aside for black firms, which made O'Donnell, too, eligible for preferences.


Dr. Noel A. Cazenave, a sociologist on the faculty of the University of Connecticut, in the Hartford Courant, February 24, 1995:
If you still don't think whiteness matters in America today, try this little experiment. The next time one of your friends or colleagues refers to himself or herself as being white say, "That's funny. You don't look white. Do you really consider yourself to be white? What does it mean to be white?" ...

This takes me to my modest proposal. For the sake of discussion let's call it project 2000. Just as the 1960s was a time when African-Americans explored the depths of blackness, European-Americans should now take a close look at what it means to be white in America.

This might entail having people who identify themselves as white get together to reflect on the meaning of their whiteness.

If it is decided that whiteness as an identity should be relinquished, those in agreement might want to sign a proclamation that would be shared with the public.

Whiteness is, of course, difficult to relinquish because of the huge economic, political, social, psychological and emotional investment millions of Americans have in this identity and status.

Maybe it's time for so-called white Americans to wake up from the nightmare we have all been living and just let their whiteness go. By their relinquishing their whiteness, we can all experience some release from the bondage of racial oppression.

Letter to the advice column of the Syracuse Herald American, March 5, 1995:
Dear Pat: My therapist has encouraged me to write you and share a ritual I conceived of to celebrate my decision to lead a single life. Next month I will be 30. Instead of being depressed about hitting "the big 3-0," and being unmarried, which is something I have decided against, I'm having a different kind of wedding party. In front of close friends, I plan to marry myself. I will ask for their blessings, anticipating some will read poetry, others may play a song on the guitar, or read something they have written especially for me. Then I will place a beautiful jade band on my "ring finger," symbolizing my marriage to myself.

After Navy Lieutenant Kara Hultgreen, one of the first female fighter pilots, lost her life while attempting to land her plane on an aircraft carrier off the coast of San Diego, the Navy publicly blamed mechanical problems for the accident, a conclusion that was trumpeted by Congresswoman Pat Schroeder and columnist Ellen Goodman. Goodman wrote: "So it was the engine after all. Not the pilot. Lieut. Kara Hultgreen did not die on the later of political correctness or reverse discrimination."

But in fact, two formal investigations and a confidential internal Mishap Investigation Report primarily cited "multiple instances of pilot error. The reports cited Hultgreen's badly overshot landing approach, her excessive overcorrection and then her failure to follow the standard, designated procedures for recovering from a single-engine landing emergency," which resulted in her ejecting directly into the ocean.

Tragically, Hultgreen had been allowed to fly despite previously failing the carrier landing phase of her training, recording seven crashes in combat conditions, a record that would have grounded any male pilot. Apparently aware of pressures to promote her regardless of merit, Hultgreen had also appealed to Rear Admiral Robert Hickey on behalf of female naval aviators, saying, "Guys like you have to make sure there's only one standard. If people let me slide through on a lower standard, it's my life on the line. I could get killed."

Following the massive cleanup of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in St. George's Bay, Alaska, environmentalists may have been gratified to learn that oil-soaked stretches of coastline receiving no human attention were returned to their naturally pristine state faster by natural processes than those that had.

The Passaic County, New Jersey, chapter of the National Organization for Women is asking parents of young children not to hold same-sex birthday parties, since such festivities teach sexual discrimination.

A Reuters report from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, June 9, 1995:
A group of German entrepreneurs wants to make the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie the focal points of a new Florida theme park, a spokesman said yesterday.

Berlin Wall Project Inc. is trying to persuade investors to put up $30 million for an amusement park that will give visitors "the feeling of being on the east side and the west side" of the Berlin Wall during the Cold War, said engineer Hans-Michael Pelzl, a member of the project.

The amusement park would include authentic East German army uniforms, weapons, watchtowers, jeeps and concrete from the Berlin Wall, materials the group began buying in 1990 after the wall came down, Pelzl said.

"We have a historical connection between Berlin and the United States," said Pelzl. "This was the area where the two big atomic nations played with their muscles." [sic]

He said the park would include events, shows, rides and theme restaurants.

One ride might involve visitors being confronted at a barbed-wire-topped wall by machine-gun-toting soldiers in authentic army uniforms. Another could involve a balloon ride over the wall, recreating the method used by some East German escapees.

"It would recreate the feelings of the Cold War," said Pelzl. "The park could be a symbol of the war ... and allow people who served to show their relatives, their grandkids what they experienced."

The theme park, to be called "Dei Mauer"—German for the wall—would be constructed near Fort Lauderdale and would employ up to 250 people, Pelzl said.


The Boston Globe reports that the Harvard Medical School is investigating a tenured psychiatry professor, Dr. John Mack. He has written a book, Abduction, in which he argues that occasionally earthlings really are abducted by space aliens, his psychiatric tests often being unable to prove otherwise.

[Ed.: Two years later, Simon & Schuster announced its plans to publish The Threat: The Secret Alien Agenda, by Temple University history professor David Jacobs. The book, based on testimony gleaned from hypnosis, alleges aliens' secret and widespread practice of stealing men's sperm and impregnating women in order to create a new hybrid species. Professor Jacobs reportedly disdains the scholarly quality of Dr. Mack's earlier effort.]

Construction of the San Bernardino County Medical Center was halted because eight endangered Delhi Sands Flies were "believed to occupy the site." After a year's delay, an additional $3.3 million in expenses, and numerous negotiations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Game, the facility was redesigned and relocated to provide almost two acres of protected habitat for the insects. The cost per fly came to $413,774.25, approximately what it costs to treat 494 inpatients or 23,644 outpatients at the medical center.

The Fish and Wildlife Service initially demanded that the county set aside the entire 68-acre hospital site as a fly preserve. One official even demanded that Interstate 10, a heavily trafficked eight-lane highway, be shut down—or at least that the speed limit be reduced to 15 m.p.h. during August and September, when the fly is past its pupae stage, airborne, and in danger of ending up on a car's windshield. When Robert H. Gerdeman, a county representative, balked at these demands, the official threatened to arrest him and fine him $25,000, according to his sworn affidavit.

Eventually the county sued the federal government following a dispute involving improvements to a nearby intersection to allow increased emergency access to the hospital. The county argued that the land-use restrictions to protect the fly were unconstitutional, falling far outside Congress's authority to regulate interstate commerce. But U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina ruled in favor of the federal government. "The government has offered uncontroverted evidence that the Fly is, and would likely continue to be, an article in interstate commerce," Judge Urbina wrote. As evidence, the government showed that a total of five Delhi Sands flies legally entered the stream of interstate commerce before the fly was protected under the Endangered Species Act. At the time, the flies sold for an average of $2 each.

A small Kansas City construction company had fifteen hourly employees, of whom three were not white. Among these hourly employees were two truck drivers, both of whom were white. The company received a letter from the labor department saying it had "failed to exert adequate good faith efforts to achieve the minimum minority utilization goal of 12.7 percent for truck drivers."

Being touchy-feely isn't what it used to be. When some female members of Great Britain's Green Party became uncomfortable when offered congratulatory or supportive hugs from male party members, they worried that the men would feel "lonely, confused, and rejected" if they turned them down. So the party started workshops detailing the three acceptable forms of hugging. They are: the side by side (hand on shoulder is the only body contact allowed), the frontal (hands on shoulders and an object must separate the bodies), and from behind (the huggee must be specifically asked, "Do you want a hug?" and the only body contact allowed is, again, hands on shoulders).

The Washington Post, June 8, 1995:
In the midst of a hiring freeze that has left schools with temporary principals and classrooms with substitute teachers, the Montgomery County [Maryland] Board of Education took out help-wanted advertisements to fill a pair of board staff positions at salaries of up to $98,000.


The American Civil Liberties Union has opposed as unconstitutional the following practices, based on the establishment clause of the First Amendment:

  • The inscription "In God We Trust" on coins and postage, or on the city seal of Zion, Illinois
  • The words "under God" in the pledge of allegiance
  • A city employees' Christmas pageant at the local zoo
  • The singing of "Silent Night" in the classroom
  • Christian anti-drug groups citing their belief in Jesus before public school students
  • A commemorative Christmas postmark, offered by the community of Nazareth, Texas, with an inscription depicting a Nativity scene
  • Government census questions concerning religious affiliations
  • The building of a wooden platform by the city of Philadelphia for an address by Pope John Paul II
  • Formal diplomatic relations with the Vatican
  • Kosher inspectors working for the city of Miami Beach, Florida
  • A nine-foot underwater statue of Jesus Christ placed three miles off the coast of Key Largo, Florida
  • A custom in Milwaukee County whereby delinquent tenants could not be evicted during the two weeks around Christmas
  • A "Motorists Prayer" printed on the back of a state highway map in North Carolina
  • The word "Christianity" in the town seal of Milledgeville, Georgia
  • A plaque with the Ten Commandments in the courthouse in Cobb County, Georgia
  • The opening of court session each morning with a prayer by a North Carolina state district judge
  • Pre-game prayers by public school coaches
  • The Pierce County, Washington, sheriff's use of volunteer chaplains to provide crisis intervention services
  • Legislation that would criminalize damage to religious buildings and artifacts
  • The right of two campus singing groups from Washington State University to perform in area churches
  • Armed service prohibitions on wearing yarmulkes while in uniform
  • Employment of chaplains in the armed services, prisons, or Congress
  • The policy of Catholic schools or the Salvation Army not to hire homosexuals
  • The right of the Christian Science Monitor to fire a lesbian
  • Public expenditure for bus transportation for parochial students
  • Access of private schools to publicly funded counselors
  • All school voucher plans and tuition tax credits
  • All blue law statutes
  • Criminal sentences compelling drunk drivers to attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous

Development Business, February 16, 1995:
Ghana [is] the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank's star pupil in Africa....

Yet, as the World Bank notes in Ghana: 2000 and Beyond, with an annual per capita income of US$390, the country remains among the poorest in the world....

The real success of the recovery program [in the view of Ravi Kanbur, who recently returned to Washington after several years as the World Bank's representative in Accra] has been to raise government revenue from 5 to 15 percent of GDP.

University of Denver faculty member E.K. Daufin in the Rocky Mountain News, November 10, 1994:
The recent Focus article about a woman who sued her employers because they refused to accommodate her stress-related body odor ended with an unsympathetic jury foreman's quote that the trial was a "waste of time." Unfortunately, many readers may share his brutish sentiments.

As an author, feminist and spiritual healer, I think the jury's notion that the case was frivolous and their agreement with the defendants that the plaintiff should just practice minimal personal hygiene, reeks of sexism and inhumanity. Often there is the assumption that if only women would wash, we wouldn't be so musky and "unvirgin like," at least olifactorily. But plaintiff Beatrice Shaw has a real and demoralizing problem.

I became a college buddy's best friend because my yogic breathing practices made me the only one in our department who could bear to be near her when her bromhidrosis acted up. I knew no one would smell like that on purpose. As we became friends, I saw that she showered each day, used deodorant, and was unaware of her periodically horrible body odor.

She, like Shaw, only needed a loving reminder that stress had overcome her regular hygienic habits. Often we, like the jurors, are too willing to dismiss a problem we don't understand, especially if it's just another case of an "unclean woman."

The Modern Language Association Committee on the Status of Women includes "malicious humor against feminists" on its official list of behaviors classified as "intellectual harassment."

Robert Lee Brock is an inmate at the Indian Creek Correctional Center in Chesapeake, Virginia, where he is serving 23 years for breaking and entering and grand larceny. Brock is well aware that he has done wrong. In fact, he admitted that he was drunk when he committed his crimes and said, "I am a failure as a husband, a Christian, a Cherokee and a prisoner." So he's suing the person responsible—himself.

As the Virginian-Pilot/Ledger-Star reported, Brock's lawsuit indicts himself for violating his own civil rights and religious beliefs and asks for damages of $5 million—$3 million to ease the pain for his wife and children and another $2 million to support himself while in prison. The catch, of course, is that Brock doesn't have the money to pay himself with, so he's asking the state to pay it for him.

Judge Rebecca Beach Smith dismissed the lawsuit in short order, commenting: "Plaintiff has presented an innovative approach to civil-rights litigation, [but] his claim and especially the relief sought are totally ludicrous."


From "Milk in the Memphis, TN, and Paducah, KY, Marketing Areas; Reinstatement of the Orders" (56 FR 6679), issued by the Agricultural Marketing Service of the Department of Agriculture, entered into the Federal Register on February 1, 1993 at 8:45 a.m.:
1097.51a Basic Class II formula price.

    The "basic Class II formula price" for the month shall be the basic formula price determined pursuant to 1097.51 for the second preceding month plus or minus the amount computed pursuant to paragraphs (a) through (d) of this section:
    (a) The gross values per hundredweight of milk used to manufacture cheddar cheese and butter-nonfat dry milk shall be computed, using price data determined pursuant to 1097.20 and yield factors in effect under the Dairy Price Support Program authorized by the Agricultural Act of 1949, as amended, for the first 15 days of the preceding month and, separately, for the first 15 days of the second preceding month as follows:
    (1) The gross value of milk used to manufacture cheddar cheese shall be the sum of the following computations:
    (i) Multiply the cheddar cheese price by the yield factor used under the Price Support Program for cheddar cheese;
    (ii) Multiply the butter price by the yield factor used under the Price Support Program for determining the butterfat component of the whey value in the cheese price computation; and
    (iii) Subtract from the edible whey price the processing cost used under the Price Support Program for edible whey and multiply any positive difference by the yield factor used under the Price Support Program for edible whey.
    (2) The gross value of milk used to manufacture butter-nonfat dry milk shall be the sum of the following computations:
    (i) Multiply the butter price by the yield factor used under the Price Support Program for butter; and
    (ii) Multiply the nonfat dry milk price by the yield factor used under the Price Support Program for nonfat dry milk.
    (b) Determine the amounts by which the gross value per hundredweight of milk used to manufacture cheddar cheese and the gross value per hundredweight of milk used to manufacture butter-nonfat dry milk for the first 15 days of the preceding month exceed or are less than the respective gross values for the first 15 days of the second preceding month.
    (c) Compute weighting factors to be applied to the changes in gross values determined pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section by determining the relative proportion that the data included in each of the following subparagraphs is of the total of the data represented in paragraphs (c) (1) and (2) of this section:
    (1) Combine the total American cheese production for the States of Minnesota and Wisconsin, as reported by the Economics and Statistics Service of the Department for the third preceding month, and divide by the yield factor used under the Price Support Program for cheddar cheese to determine the quantity of milk used in the production of American cheddar cheese; and
    (2) Combine the total nonfat dry milk production for the States of Minnesota and Wisconsin, as reported by the Economics and Statistics Service of the Department for the third preceding month, and divide by the yield factor used under the Price Support Program for nonfat dry milk to determine the quantity of milk used in the production of butter-nonfat dry milk.

    Note: The computation of the basic Class II formula price is affected by a determination document published on September 6, 1984, 49 FR 35078.

    (d) Compute a weighted average of the changes in gross values per hundredweight of milk determined pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section in accordance with the relative proportions of milk determined pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section.

[Ed.: This excerpt represents almost 2 percent of the full text of this particular marketing order, which contains 28,930 words. When printed (mistakenly, in my case) as standard 10-point Courier text, it totals nearly 70 pages. Milk marketing orders set prices for various regions of the country above market-clearing rates in what the Justice Department in 1977 called "one of the most complicated arrangements that government has yet conceived." If the various documents used to set milk prices throughout the nation were stacked on top of one another, the resulting pile would tower over the average person's head. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said of the orders, "There are only three people in the nation who fully understand them, and they are not allowed to talk." The dairy cartels that result from these arrangements, it should also be noted, are exempt from antitrust actions.]