"It's a simple image: He hasn't got what it takes to handle such a 'controversial,' world-class event."

From dope to dupe

After reading "Happy-face hypocrite?" (1/27) I see that a new image of our beleaguered mayor is finally emerging—that of a misinformed dupe.

The image that came out of the WTO tear gas clouds was an ill-tempered, naive chief executive who, "confident we will not overreact," managed to both underreact and then overreact. It's a simple image: He hasn't got what it takes to handle such a "controversial," world-class event. More evidence that his planning and policies were inconsistent just adds to this image of simple incompetence.

The new one that seems to be spinning out of the mayor's office, however, should have been anticipated by observers long ago. First, the Secret Service threatened to cancel President Clinton's visit on Wednesday, December 1, if measures weren't taken. That was when the police riots began. Then a paper from a mayor's office file emerges saying the FBI's "Threat Assessment" was wrong. Now the mayor's spokesperson says that his actions should be viewed in "the largest possible context."

I think that we'll see a shift from dope to innocent dupe as the investigations progress and the mayor mounts his public defense. But just because it may be the best face he can put on it doesn't mean it's not true. The city's mismanagement created or allowed the worst of the violence, and the violence only obscured and discredited the protest. The federal government was supporting the activities of the WTO, so it would have been in their interest to see the protest damaged.




How easy it is to be on the outside looking in and knowing just what to do—on Monday morning looking back and pointing out what should have been done in the game or event that just occurred. Of course public evaluation of community events has to occur, but can't it be done objectively, presenting facts and information that are accurate and not always putting a spin on it that usually is very unfair—like "Happy-face hypocrite?" (1/27)?

I'm glad Schell was in charge and not Rick Anderson.



Paul is a patsy

Geov Parrish says, ". . .while a few cops were out of control, the anger many protesters have toward rank-and-file police is largely misplaced; they were only carrying out orders, and all indications are those orders were given by Schell" ("Who's a wuss?" Impolitics, 1/13) That's the Nuremberg Defense. I'm not as much concerned with the "few" cops who were out of control as I am with the great many who were in control, because we saw what that control amounted to. And somewhere along the line a person has to decide whether or not to do what they are told.

As for Schell being the buck stop, I think that's a bit weak. It's hard to imagine our mayor, despite his inflated self-image, telling Madeleine Albright to just lump it while she's fuming in her hotel room. Or telling Clinton's people to mind their own business, this is my town and I do things my way.

No. Paul is a patsy—he was a patsy for big business, and now he's a patsy for the big cover-up. And every single one of those overarmored police drones had a choice to make. We all do. The anger is justified and so is the investigation.



Synecdochal radicalism

On the one hand, I sympathize with DAN and whoever are planning to shut down or at least annoy the Microsoft juggernaut ("Next stop: Microsoft," Impolitics, 1/13). But that this is to occur on the anniversary of a general strike should give us pause. A general strike is a much greater threat to capitalism, both symbolically and in terms of economic loss, than would be a demonstration at Microsoft. It is possible to win concessions, it possible to make Microsoft behave better. But the rhetoric of such "class warfare" remains firmly within (i.e., does not challenge) the state capitalist framework and seeks only to improve the worker's lots within it. It seems to me that attacking Microsoft is some kind of synecdochal radicalism. Which is OK for now. Though it seems far too early to even talk about this, at some point must we not consider whether or not piecemeal, incremental reform leading to a more "humane" capitalism is possible, or whether or not the vision they envisage demands a greater assault, or if it must involve . . . the dreaded "r" word.




"Broiler 'n' Nutter Present: Seattle's Best-Kept Secrets" (1/13)—great stuff! I fell out of the habit of reading your paper several years ago because I found it a bit obtuse for a simpleton such as myself. You've got me back for as long as you publish these two goofballs!



Cheers to you too!

May Broiler 'n' Nutter's debut (1/13) be their finale. Such infantile pap is better suited for the poorer editions of the UW's Daily.




Thin air

Regarding the article "A worm in the works" (1/13) regarding NT used in SCADA systems, I must congratulate the author on making a mountain out of thin air. It's been less than a month since the media was screaming about the Y2K scare. It seems that your author has already found a way to scare people with a story that's not really a story. He starts out by telling us that the Bellingham pipe explosion could have been caused by a Windows worm in their SCADA system, and yet we find out later in the story that Olympic pipeline wasn't even using Windows to run their control system.

I have 10 years of SCADA experience in the water industry and presently help maintain the Seattle Public Utilities SCADA computers along with many around the state. I'm sure many SCADA engineers got a good huck out of the naivete of the author on the subject at hand. First off, control is rarely done at the backend computer level but happens in small embedded computers known as PLCs (programmable logic controllers). The PC, or UNIX, or VMS backend

computer system is used for data logging, viewing the system (HMI or human machine interface), and changing settings in remote PLCs. A well-designed SCADA system does not depend on these backend computers for real time control because these types of computers are prone to crashing where PLCs keep on running. NT systems are being used for some control around the world, but this is usually in a nonhazardous environment that is easy to deal with if the computer comes crashing down.

The real reason was probably due to the fact that their system was obsolete, as VMS has been around from the '70s and is rarely used in newer control systems as a backend operating system. Their computers were also too slow to handle the system so that when the primary computer failed, the backup died under the load. I would appreciate in the future that you consult a specialist in the field before publishing an article on such a complex subject.



Worms and virii, oh my!

This story ("A worm in the works," 1/13) is one of the most asinine I've ever read. Any system administrator that would allow such a critical system to be exposed to worms and virii in such a manner deserves what they get. Drop the anti-Microsoft drivel.




In your 1/20 letters column, your editors stand by the characterization of Al Gore's infamous Internet remarks in "The Year of the Liar" (12/30/99), stating that "the Internet was created nearly a decade before Gore entered Congress." As tempests go, this one makes the teapot variety look like a tsunami, but in the interests of the big picture you might share with your readers the following assessment by Katie Hafner, author of a history of the Internet: "...[T]here are so many people who did at least one pivotal thing in either creating the network, or encouraging the use of the network, or bringing the network to the public—and Gore was one of those people" (quoted in the Washington Post, 3/21/99).

You might also share the following: "[Gore] held the first congressional hearings on industry's casual disposal of toxic wastes and on global warming, and he was an early champion of the system we now call the Internet" (William Greider, Rolling Stone, 4/1/99).

Of course, the headline "Politician Exaggerates" is kind of "dog bites man," not nearly as eye-catching as "Gore Lies," is it?



Attitude = altitude

I am the Independent Representative of Excel Communications that Orianda Guilfoyle met with when she was researching her article "Unlimited upside!" (1/6). She mentioned she was a freelance writer who sometimes writes for the Weekly. She said she was looking for a way to pay off her college debt. She did not say she was contacting me in order to do research for an article. (OK, I may be naive, but I thought she was looking for a way to make extra money!) I gave her a brochure with information on the business; she also had my Web site address. I go into all this detail because in spite of possessing all of this information so that she could check facts, she still published inaccurate and misleading information.

I don't have a problem with Ms. Guilfoyle being deceptive with me in order to research an article (although it was disconcerting and unpleasant). She was simply doing her job. Nor can I do anything about how she reacted to the way I presented the business or even what she absorbed as she met with me (remember she had printed material to review later). What I find offensive is the fact that she did such a sloppy job.

This business is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It's a legitimate business that is simple and accessible for most people. However, it's not easy. As in most fields, success is determined by one's attitude, belief in oneself (and the company), perseverance, and a willingness to work at it. The most successful Excel representatives are usually the ones that work hardest at helping their downlines succeed. And there are many Excel reps who have bypassed their sponsors in both their promotion level and the amount of money they earn. Where else can you do that?



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