By the Way…


• If it's a product of Western science and if it could improve the lives of vast numbers of people, you can count on Jeremy Rifkin to be against it. Sure enough, when the cold fusion miracle was announced, he denounced it as "the worst thing that could happen to our planet." With cheap, inexhaustible power, the impoverished masses of the world could become fast-growing industrial societiesâ€"need he say more? Better for the lives of the world's majority to remain nasty, poor, brutish, and short. Not for them the creature comforts Rifkin can take for grantedâ€"let alone the luxury of leading the life of an activist. For the record: Paul Ehrlich (now this really would lead to overpopulation) and Barry Commoner (desperately seeking solar) also object. Well, maybe they'll get lucky this time. It looks increasingly like cold fusion isn't so simple. On to the next threat to poverty.

• Moves are afoot in Congress to give FDR his own memorial, just like Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington. Trouble is, the thing will cost $38 million, and the president's budget earmarks only $19 million for it. Raising the rest privately would cause more delaysâ€"and certainly wouldn't be in the Rooseveltian spirit.

With that weighty dilemma in mind, we have a proposal: Why not designate some existing structure as the Roosevelt Memorial? The socialist realist statue in front of the FTCâ€"of a man subduing a wild horse (representing capitalism)â€"would do nicely and could be relocated. Or Congress could rename a building after Roosevelt; the Pentagon, the Supreme Court, and the Social Security Administration spring to mind. Or they could create a tour, like Boston's Freedom Trail, through Washington's many New Deal monuments. All that would take is some paint for the sidewalks. And they could use the $19 million to pay some of those approved-but-unappropriated reparations to Japanese-American internees.

• Poland's government seems to have learned a trick from Nicaragua's. Dr. Krzysztof Ostaszewski, a mathematician at the University of Louisville, reports that the Union for Realpolitik is running in Poland's June election on a free-market platform. Although the country's new political climate allows it to exist, it is the only party denied a paper quota by the government.

"The Communists have paper, Solidarity has paper, nationalists have paper, but Capitalists get no paper." Ostaszewski is looking for donations of newsprint. "The truly capitalist way to handle this would be to buy it and ship it there," he admits, "but my personal resources are small." Anyone with an oversupply of newsprintâ€"or adviceâ€"can contact Professor Ostaszewski at (502) 637-8514 or Unia Polityki Realnej at 011-4822-410877.

• REASON, like most magazines, gets some interesting mail. We don't print all of it, but sometimes letter writers tell us things too extraordinary to keep to ourselves: "The Spaceshuttle Discovery was shot down in orbit by the Russian spacecraft and a duplicate spaceshuttle landed in California with a full complement of 5 synthetic crewmembers."

We hope they like it here.