"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 29 June 2000. Updated every WEEKDAY.



In an apparent fulfillment of early-internet predictions about frictionless economies, Patrick Naughton, the former Infoseek executive and Java star now best known as the New Economy's Humbert Humbert, has proven that a skillful programmer can even cut a good deal with his jailors. A story in the San Jose Mercury News details Naughton's efforts to provide sleuth services to the FBI in exchange for a lighter sentence. We generally get nervous when we find ourselves agreeing with the good people in the 2600 crowd, but how is it a schoolyard sultan like Naughton still gets to benefit from his expertise while Kevin Mitnick, who despite a half-decade of timeout could undoubtedly show the Man a few tricks of his own, still has to do all his writing with a quill? Is Disney so powerful that even the memory of having starred brings clemency to former execs? Or is this just a new sign of the Feds' more enlightened approach to attempted crimes of the flesh? If so, the Sucksters, whose office looks out on a high school with one of the West Coast's most fetching student populations, can only applaud the change. It's high time for some common sense in the war on sex offenders.


Homeless people speak out on the genome breakthrough:

Richard, seated panhandler with sign reading "Please help"

Scientists announced this week that they have deciphered the three billion figures of human DNA. What do you think?

I saw it on the news, but I don't know nothing about it. I don't know if it's pro or con for cloning food or stuff like that.

This is supposed to have important ramifications for prediction and treatment of illness.

They said that back in the seventies and eighties, and violence was gonna be stopped. And it never happened; it got worse. It just goes to show you, if you're not filthy rich, if you're not out of the city and the urban plight, then you're in a living hell. And that's what I'm going through now.

Are you concerned about the possibility that employers or insurance companies might use genetic information to discriminate against employees or customers?

All these small towns are running out the homeless and they're coming to the big cities and that sucks, because when you start in the cities you've got to start in the ghettoes and it's all a bunch of crack — excuse me but it's all a bunch of crack niggers, and they'll kill you because you're white. And that's what I'm going through. If you're trying to live an honest life it's one of the hardest fucking things to do. If you didn't get an early education and stick with your job and go through the ranks and be a business person, and know how to run computers and be an expert, then you might as well be driving a trash can, because you're going to be making more than you would trying to work at McDonald's.

Our local McDonald's has help wanted signs all over the place.

At McDonald's you get nowhere. You've got a different color skin than they do, you go in there speaking English and it's all minorities in there. They're going to run you around and stick you in the butt if they can. That's just the way it is. And it sounds biased and prejudiced, but if you look at the true fact of the matter for what it is, it's the same thing all over California. You can go up to these small towns up north and it's all Hispanic. And they hate your white-boy guts.

Ed, Street Sheet vendor

Do you have any physical ailments you're hoping they might be able to treat more effectively now that they have all this genetic information?

No, unless they can reduce my age by about 20 years.

Debbie, wheelchair-bound chain smoker

What do you think of the potential for breakthroughs in treating hereditary illness?

It would be great if they could do it. I really don't think they can, though.

Why not?

I just don't think they can really do all that. I know they can do a lot with DNA, though.

Any concerns about privacy of your genetic records, and the possibility of discrimination by employers or insurance companies?

That's always a possibility.

Ken, Street Sheet vendor

What do you think of having the entire human genome mapped?

I think that's invading your private realm. It's an invasion of your privacy.

Do you think research like this should be left to government organizations like the National Institutes of Health or to private companies like Celera?

If it was left to anybody it should be the government.

Which has more impact on your life — your genetic makeup or your environment?

The government, because they have more resources.

Jeff, seated panhandler on median strip

Have you heard about the genome breakthrough?

I haven't been reading the paper in the last couple days because I've been so depressed.

Having all this genetic information is supposed to have profound implications for medical treatment. Are you optimistic about that?

Well, my liver isn't doing so well because of past you-know-what — past behavior.

But that's not genetic.

I've had hepatitis C, and I've probably had it for 20 years. I don't drink anymore like I used to, not to excess anyway. I might drink a couple beers now and then, but that's it. It don't do me any good anymore, and I'm not enjoying it.

Kay, Street Sheet vendor

Have you heard about the genome breakthrough?

Oh yeah, where they mapped the whole... I've been following that because, what happened was, nobody in my family — my mother, my father, my sister and brothers — don't have diabetes. And all of a sudden I developed it. So I talked to the doctor, and he said, "It's in your genes." He said, "It could have come back from six generations, when your people were in Africa." He said it could come back. So my sister did a family tree, but they didn't keep records back then. But I have developed what's called Adult Onset Diabetes, and it's type 2. It's in my genes, but I don't know — it could have come back from seven or eight generations ago. But they said they could pinpoint — that's something else, where they can find out what's gonna go wrong with you. I've been listening to the news.

So do you think it's good news? Because a lot of people are concerned about privacy: If they know all your genetic information they can discriminate against you.

Who cares? If it's gonna help you with your health, who cares? I wouldn't care, if they could find out how to stop this diabetes. I wouldn't care where it came from.

There's a dispute right now: Some scientists say we have 50,000 genes, some say 100,000. Which do you think it is?

That's a hard question.

Yeah, even they don't know the answer.

So why you asking me?

Everybody's entitled to an opinion.

I don't know. But at least we know it's in the genes. Because my mother don't have it, my father don't have it. My grandparents on each side didn't have it. And I didn't get it until I was 52 years old.

You're 52 years old?

I'm even older than that.

You don't look a day over 40. And your parents are still alive?


So you've got hearty genes anyway. You've got a long-living family. That's good news.

Yes. But like they say, they can go back and find out anything.

Supposedly most of the genes don't seem to be doing anything. Have you got any genes like that, that you don't think are doing you any good?

I don't really know about all that.

Well like, if I could I'd get rid of my nearsightedness genes. Get myself some better eyesight. I've been going blind since I was about seven.

I've been going blind since I was about five. Look at these glasses.

Wow, they're like mine. That sucks. But at least you'll live to be a hundred.

I don't think so. But I believe in the man upstairs.

David, seated panhandler in front of Walgreeen's

What's your opinion on the genome breakthrough?

I think it's potentially dangerous.

How come?

Because it gives people the ability to pick and choose what other people will be. There'd be nothing random in nature — if they succeed in what they're trying to do.

Do you have any concerns about privacy? Some critics have expressed concern that employers or insurance companies might discriminate against you if they know you have a disposition toward a certain disease.

Or if you're somebody like me who is HIV positive. See, there's a good side to this coin. With that genetic information they could take away the diseases like the one that I have, find out which people fight it off and which people don't. Cancer, glaucoma, all kinds of hereditary diseases.

Should this kind of research be left in the hands of the government or of private companies?

I think the companies should have control. I don't think the government should have control. I think Thomas Jefferson was right: We should have a revolution every five or six years, so the people can control the system rather than the system taking control of them.

Initially, scientists said humans have a total of 100,000 genes, but now many of them say the number is closer to 50,000. Which do you think it is?

Probably 100,000, I would say. 50,000 doesn't sound like that much. There are a lot of traits in a person. There are probably a lot of proteins and such that create all the traits.

But overall you're more concerned about this news than optimistic?

I'm not a religious person, I'm a spiritual person. But I think we could be playing with dynamite.

Which do you think has more impact on your development: heredity or environment?

I think the environment has more to do with it. If you're talking about whether you succeed or not, has that been proven to be in the genes? Because there are morons in genius families.



Back in April, the Clinton State Department announced that the center of worldwide scariness has moved from the Middle East to South Central Asia. Now the State Department appendage known as the New York Times is pounding the bushes for evidence. In this week's Times Magazine, Jeffrey Goldberg enrolls in a Pakistani religious school (which he dubs a "jihad factory"). His mission: size up the students (Size: short, but growing), get the measure of their Branch Davidian psychosis (Psychosis level: crazier than Hamas and Thulsa Doom's snake cult put together), and assess their manners (Manners: polite but irritatingly eager to challenge a reporter from the country that shoots big rockets across their country's airspace in order to blow up tents and aspirin factories). Everybody who reads these Times adventure stories (or listens to the paper of record's orientalist "Expect the World" radio spots) knows what to expect: two parts State Department definitions, one part reference to Samuel Huntington's theories of "Islam's bloody borders," and nine parts Ripley's Believe It Or Not. What makes this story unique for the Times is that Goldberg, like Robert Ripley, is refreshingly honest about the game he's playing, and takes the opportunity to lard his story with bits of "Is that a Koran in your pocket?"-brand comedy:

In accordance with local custom, Nina was dressed like Mrs. Khomeini at a wake, but to the men of the Taliban, she might as well have been Jennifer Lopez.

Because of his views — and because he is said to have endorsed a 1998 fatwa issued by bin Laden that called on Muslims to kill Americans wherever they may be found — I was not sure how well we would get along.

One student, surprisingly, mentioned that my last name is the same as that of a star of World Championship Wrestling.

On [a poster] was a picture of a split-open watermelon whose flesh was veined in an unusual way. The caption read: "A miracle of Allah: this watermelon contains the name of Almighty Allah."

Does anything good come out of America? He thought about that one for a while. "Candy," he answered finally. "Candy comes from America. I like candy." Did I mention that Mullah Muhammad is 17 years old?

As a look into the heart of America's newest boogeyman, Goldberg's cover story is at least as convincing as Turko the Terrible, and twice as funny. We recommend it highly. Our only caveat: Believe it or not.



When ABC announced that late-night-angry- white-man Dennis Miller was chosen over day-time-angry-white-man Rush Limbaugh for the job of channeling the agit-jock color commentary of Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football, we set to work. Clearly, we felt, if ABC's top two candidates for the open booth slot next to vet Al Michaels were this obnoxious, the other applicants must've been pretty good, too. Thus we present these transcript highlights of the other truly irritating people Dennis Miller beat out, although for the life of us, we couldn't tell you why he did:

Al Sharpton

Five white men off sides tackling a black man and where's the ref? Don't tell me you didn't see that Michaels. A whole nation just saw it and you didn't? A nation saw it, a nation wants justice. Now look me in the eye and tell ME what happened.

Jay Leno

Wow, the Colts are dying out there. Who's their coach — KEVORKIAN? They gotta wake up — or did they all just get elected to CONGRESS? Heh, heh, no really, those cheerleaders are hot. And speaking of CLINTON ...

Darrel Hammond

Al Michaels: Just say something funny or interesting, son. Like we're really calling a game.

Darrel Hammond:...

Don Imus

Imus: The Packers are scumbags. Flat out, whoring, scumbags.

Al Michaels: WHAT?

Imus: (long, awkward pause) You're supposed to laugh at anything I say. That's how I work.

Janeane Garofalo

I don't know. Every quarterback I see makes me think of all the cute guys who would never go out with me in high school. It brings up a lot of body image issues ... I'm not going to lose weight for this job. Well, ok, ok, a little ... God, I hate myself ...

Kathie Lee Gifford

Kathie Lee: Why not?

Al Michaels: Well, you're aggravating, but after we fired Frank, it'd be weird.

Kathie Lee: You think I haven't come close to firing him? I can do this. It's not personal.

Al Michaels: It'd be weird.

The former Navy SEAL from Survivor

I'm irritating? Hey, if you guys knew how to do your job you wouldn't need to be irritating. You can't sell football to the American public?


While fans cheer an 85-yard return by a superannuated salesback, the widest receiver of all is ABC sports honcho Don Ohlmeyer, whose casual ellision of gridiron green and dollar drab seems like a late hit on Theodor Adorno, himself a hard-hitting example of...

courtesy of theSucksters