Biased Journalism Vol. 2, issue 5

Biased Journalism: a net magazine designed to compensate for the shortcomings of the professional news media.

Copyright 1996 Shelley Thomson; all rights reserved.

Mail, articles and comment may be directed to Netiquette will be observed with all communication, except for the following: harassing or threatening mail will be posted to the net immediately.

Table of Contents for Biased Journalism.

Biased Journalism Volume II, issue 5 March 31, 1996.

  1. Footbulletin: Grady vs. the Church
  2. Gerry Armstrong in court
  3. The Return of Xenu
  4. Clams (contributed essay)
  5. Public Service Announcement from the ARSCC
Read at your own risk. This is Biased Journalism!

1. Grady Ward in Court: Dispatch from San Jose, March 29, 1996

Friday was a clear, cool day in San Jose. It was a good day for Murphy's Law. Our staff reporter survived a horrific freeway bottleneck to find that court was running very late. Several cases had been scheduled before Religious Technology Center v. Grady Ward; some optimist had expected all of this to finish by 10:30 a.m. It was not to be.

Judge Whyte methodically plowed through his cases. He looked vaguely cranky. The Judge was as soft-spoken as we remembered; everyone strained to hear his words over the hiss of the air conditioning.

We noticed that the podium (for whomever is addressing the judge) is provided with a microphone. Once in a while speakers remembered to use it. The Judge does not have a microphone. This makes the courtroom very quiet because no one wants to miss anything he says.

The public seating was comfortably filled. The seating area is divided in two. On the left were miscellaneous well-dressed citizens with a sprinkling of familiar faces. A subtle anti-authoritarian vibe hung in the air. Clearly this was the ars section. Keith Henson appeared in a blue suit and striped tie, looking like a corporate CEO.

On the right side of the room, in the front row, we noticed Helena Kobrin, appearing peaked but cheerful in a bright blue suit and stylish, very high heels. A blue suit was reported in the Lerma hearing; we wondered if this could be it. Warren McShane sat next to her in a gray suit and loud tie; he gave our reporter a nod and a smile. In the back row we noticed Jeff Quiros, OSA, from San Francisco, next to a dark haired younger man whom we didn't recognize. After a minute it dawned on us that the right side of the room was entirely filled with lawyers. We counted suit colors. All suits were gray (except Ms. Kobrin's).

Judge Whyte called Grady Ward's case.

Thomas R. Hogan undertook to speak for the plaintiffs. Grady Ward presented himself pro se. Hogan and two colleages took possession of the left hand counsel table. Grady Ward put his briefcase on the right hand table.

We had last seen Grady entertaining the pickets at the demonstration in San Francisco. Today in court he was comparatively solemn and businesslike. He wore a tweed sport jacket and a red tie, the type of thing a country businessman might wear; this contrasted sharply with the smoothly tailored RTC lawyers, who seemed to have bought their gear at Spare No Expense, Inc. Seen together, the lawyers reminded our observer irresistibly of a group of gray skinks.

[skink, n. {L. seineus, fr. Gr. skinkos.} Any of a group of pleurodont lizards (family Scincidae) mostly small, with stout scales.]

The Judge announces that the clerk has handed him papers just filed by Grady Ward. After verifying that Mr. Hogan has received a copy, he starts reading. While the judge reads, Grady watches him attentively. He fidgets, evidently eager to get the hearing under way.

All is quiet while the Judge continues to turn pages. He strokes his chin thoughtfully, with long scholarly fingers. Whatever Ward has written has engaged his attention.

[`Oh! So Bill's got to come down the chimney, has he?' said Alice to herself. `Why, they seem to put everything upon Bill! I wouldn't be in Bill's place for a good deal: this fireplace is narrow, to be sure; but I THINK I can kick a little!' --so saying, Alice proceeded to kick Bill the lizard [a skink] right up the chimney. We were just beginning to dwell on the other comparisons with Alice in Wonderland when:]

Suddenly he looks up. I can't say that I've read everything, but essentially- [he is talking to Grady] with respect to Exhibit C (the NOTs) you have not and do not intend to publish these documents on the internet. Scamizdat is not something you're involved with.

Grady affirms that he has no intention of publishing any NOTs.

Judge Whyte asks if he has any connection to SCAMIZDAT. (The Judge has trouble pronouncing the word. For a moment we see him as a human being adrift on a strange sea, trying to navigate to some known port.)

Grady Ward firmly denies that he is behind SCAMIZDAT.

Do you know who is doing it? the Judge asks.

No, I do not, Grady replies.

A discussion of the TRO ensues. Grady does not mind being enjoined from doing things he had not planned to do anyway, but he is unsure of the scope of the proposed order. Diffidently he brings up fair use.

The Judge wants to tie the matter up before it can develop into a protracted conflict. You have no intent to do anything with respect to the Exhibit C documents? he queries Ward. Hogan assures the Judge that Plaintiffs did not contemplate enlarging Exhibit C.

Judge: "The Order dealt solely with Exhibit C documents. Is this all that is really sought?

Hogan: well, if Mr. Ward is really willing to enter into a permanent injunction...

The Judge spots Hogan trying to steal a base. Immediately he scotches the idea of a permanent injunction. That hasn't been discussed, and trade secrets are a hotly contested issue.

Hogan, looking even more like a skink, ducks his head briefly in shame. He reformulates what he wants. A preliminary injunction, then, and, his clients want to know Mr. Ward's relationship with SCAMIZDAT and "any others" who may have been involved. Lerma and other defendants have been found to be linked [FACTnet, our observer surmised]. His clients want to know about these possible relationships. "We want discovery...on an accelerated basis."

His clients want to know "who has been working with him in concert, for the last year. We want a preliminary injuction and accelerated discovery."

Judge Whyte (finding a bug in the salad): you are asking for a deposition of Mr. Ward.

Hogan (grimly): as soon as possible.

Grady (brightly helpful): this is reasonable with relation to the [NOTs] documents, and SCAMIZDAT, and any public postings.

At this juncture Judge Whyte offered to delay the proceedings until Ward found an attorney. Grady said he could not afford an attorney, and had talked to two law firms about pro bono work. Unfortunately both firms said they had a conflict of interest. He was vague about whether he would get an attorney, or continue to defend himself.

Judge Whyte was uncomfortable. You are entitled to have counsel, he urged. It is not my desire to have one party wipe the floor with another because they are better financed. [the observer heard smothered laughter from somewhere in the back of the netizen contingent, but it failed to carry to the bench.]

The Judge outlines a preliminary injunction: Grady Ward is prohibited from publishing specific Exchibit C documents, and to allow RTC to take Grady Ward's deposition.

Again he offers Ward a delay to get counsel. He is almost insistent. Ward politely declines to ask for a delay. [It is defninitely Murphy's day for the Judge, the observer concluded.]

This avenue exhausted, the Judge tries a new tack. He now tries to stuff the toothpaste back into the tube. Whyte paints a word picture of RTC and Grady Ward agreeing to resolve their matter without impacting the trade secret issue.

Grady Ward then says that he was just given the Plaintiff's memorandum in rebuttal, and hasn't had time to study it yet. "But the RTC has unclean hands here. They have forged electronic mail documents..." In his brief remarks, the phrase "unclean hands" recurs several times.

Judge Whyte states that he wants to enter a Preliminary Injunction, enjoining Grady Ward and anyone acting in concert with him from the publication of the Exhibit C documents listed in the Order on the net. The RTC (Whyte says) can take Ward's deposition at a mutually convenient time within ten days, for a time not to exceed, say, four hours. "But if you want counsel before I make it a final decree, or want to file something further, let me know."

"That sounds eminently fair, Your Honor," Ward replies.

The Judge asks each party if he is comfortable with this. Hogan replies that he is willing to make it crystal clear that we are only talking about Exhibit C. The mention of "advanced technology" was inadvertent and should be removed. He says he is comfortable "if we can do discovery."

Judge Whyte asks what discovery Hogan wants, beyond the deposition.

Hogan: well, that's primarily it. But it might take more than four hours.

Grady Ward next remarks that he only solicited legal copies of the documents.

Judge Whyte again states that the case only deals with Exhibit C documents. He explains that if someone mistakenly thought he had obtained the documents legally, and mailed them to Grady, Grady might think the documents were legally obtained [and publish them]. This is a loophole. The Judge will not allow a request for legal copies of the documents.

Grady continues. Church attorney Helena K. Kobrin has been threatening people on the net. She has been using your order [he tells the Judge] to intimidate.

"That's typical," Judge Whyte says calmly.

She should not be able to intimidate other people, Grady states.

"The Order doesn't apply to persons not acting in concert with Grady Ward," the Judge says firmly.

Grady won't give it up. "Fear of litigation has infringed free speech on the net."

Judge Whyte: "I will see that is taken care of."

Thomas Hogan wants his shot at Grady. Ward is here "pro se, and I have no desire to run over him" [snickers from the ars benches] but what he has said is not true. He now wishes to introduce his colleague from the New York Bar, Roger Milgrim. With the Judge's permission, Mr. Milgrim wants to talk about the Order.

Roger Milgrim is duly attached to the case. In an oily voice he explains that one of the SCAMIZDAT posts contains a message header addressed to Grady Ward.

Judge Whyte: "If I enter the Order, what's the problem?"

Grady Ward has his turn again. He wants to have it all explained to him because "I go to prison if I violate your Order, isn't that right?"

"Well, conceivably," says the Judge, waving the idea away with a deprecating laugh. He does not want to send Grady to jail. He wants the toothpaste to go back into the tube, if only it will.

By this afternoon, or Monday at the latest, the Judge says he will issue an order. He proposes a six hour limit on the deposition.

Hogan has a request. With reference to the proposed order on discovery, six hours is not enough. He wants Grady to submit records and documents in advance.

[The observer sneaked a look at Helena Kobrin. She was sitting bolt upright, looking wired and witchy. "That's what this is about," the observer realized. "they don't care about the injunction; it's the discovery that they're really after."]

"You want all documents in his possession with reference to Exhibit C," the Judge suggests.

"That's part of it," Hogan replies. It develops that he wants Exhibit A and B materials as well. [Exhibit A is an item RTC claims Grady posted in February. Exhibit B is the SCAMIZDATs. Exhibit C is the NOTs documents which the church claim have never been published.] Hogan refers to Lerma again; apparently he also wants material related to Lerma. [this is the second time Lerma has been mentioned]

Grady Ward responds that this "may be the prelude to a very abusive discovery process. I deny possessing any SCAMIZDAT material."

The Judge says that he will allow the deposition as soon as possible, at the convenience of the parties, to be done within ten days. After some discussion, Hogan agrees to take Ward's deposition in Redding. In return, Ward offers to be deposed for a longer time.

The judge limits the deposition to one day. He informs Ward that the Plaintiffs can ask him to bring specified records to the deposition. Then if [during the deposition] you feel it is abusive, say "I think this is abusive" and stop it. Call the magistrate, whose number I will give you [and ask for a protective order].

Hogan explains that he is willing to be accomodating. It would be easier for the Plaintiffs if Ward had a lawyer. Plaintiffs are willing to delay the deposition if Ward wants time to look for one.

Ward lets this go by again.

Milgrim puts in a word. "Can we send a list of things to Grady Ward to provide in advance?"

Judge Whyte: "Fine. Give him a week to respond."

Thomas Hogan has another request. He wishes to introduce two more lawyers in the case. He presents Mr. William Hart, Mr. Milgim's partner, and Mr. Eric Liebermann, from the Rabinowitz firm, that has been active for Plaintiffs for a long time. These lawyers are from the New York and Massachusetts bar.

Judge Whyte admits them to the case. With the image of eight lawyers deposing Grady Ward vividly in mind, he administers a lecture to Hogan. "I expect this deposition to be dignified. There will be no intent to harass and intimidate..." The Judge is clear in his instructions. He takes the trouble to assure Mr. Hogan that he is sure Mr. Hogan would not conduct himself in other than a professional manner, but nevertheless, he wishes it understood that he will not allow any abuses. The Judge scents trouble: it is a serious warning.

On this note, the hearing came to an end. With preternatural quickness the Judge slipped out of the room, followed by three students who had watched the proceedings from the jury box. A group collected in front of the clerk's desk. Our observer handed over a package of complaints from netizens and their isps, concerning email received from church attorney Helena Kobrin.

Net citizen Keith Henson asked the clerk to inform Judge Whyte that he was in the courtroom in case the Judge wished to hold him in contempt. As she took in the picture of the amiable citizen politely trying to have himself arrested, her eyes widened and her mouth made a small o of dismay. She hurried off to bring the news to the Judge, who was at that moment [we surmised] wishing he had never heard of scientology.

Henson chatted with friends, waiting for word from the Judge. It was a long wait. Finally the clerk returned, seeming flustered. No one was in contempt; no one would be arrested. No, the Judge would not come out. She finally told Henson "you are not a defendant! go away!"

Meanwhile, the rest of the occupants of the courtroom were in the corridor. The space was crowded with RTC lawyers and a few OSA personnel. (We said hello to Jeff Quiros, who indignantly refused us an interview.) At the far end of the corridor Grady Ward discussed arrangements for the deposition with Helena Kobrin. At close range Grady noticed that both Kobrin and Warren McShane looked exhausted.

This was not quite the last of the matter. Grady, Biased Journalism and a few netizens repaired to the cafeteria downstairs to wait for Henson. The cafeteria was next to the main entrance. The RTC lawyers emerged from the entrance, and then arrayed themselves in front of it for a group photograph. Then someone noticed the netizens watching, and the lawyers did a comical double take. Most of them (perhaps not wanting to show up on strange web pages) quickly turned their backs. The new lawyers (New York and Massachusetts) were amused and mugged cheerfully for the cameras.


Judge Whyte clearly stated that the TRO applies only to Ward and those acting in concert with him. It does not apply to the net as a whole, or to individuals who are not acting in concert with Ward. To pursue the matter, the church must obtain a separate TRO against each of these individuals.

Grady Ward will be deposed. As of this writing he is representing himself. The deposition will occur within ten days and is limited to one day in length. Ward can stop the deposition at any moment if he decides that the process is being abused.

Meanwhile, numerous other netizens have requested copies of NOTs. Keith Henson posted his letter to the Judge, including one of the NOTs documents, to ars, throwing down the gauntlet to the church.

Will the next week see an explosion of new TROs? Will the entire net troop through Judge Whyte's courtroom? The Judge made it clear that he does not want this to happen. He has done everything he can to contain the problem. Can one man stop the netwar?

Stay tuned.

2. March 8, 1996 Dispatch from San Rafael

[Background: As a scientologist Gerry Armstrong was entrusted with the task of preparing a biography of L. Ron Hubbard. He was given access to historical archives; however, when he attempted to have some of the official statements about Hubbard's background corrected to reflect the truth he ran afoul of the church. He was expelled and subsequently harassed by the church. Together with several other people he sued. The church settled the lawsuit by payment of sum of money. As part of the settlement Armstrong signed an agreement promising never to discuss scientology under any circumstances (with *very* limited exceptions). Living under these restrictions was more onerous than Armstrong had anticipated, and conflicted with his conscience. He talked to reporters. The church brought suit against him, before Judge Gary Thomas in San Rafael, California. As reported in previous issues of Biased Journalism, the church won the lawsuit. The Judge issued an order enforcing the agreement; if Armstrong violates it, he can be sent to prison for contempt of court. The following is a last ditch effort by Gerry Armstrong to persuade Judge Thomas to change his mind.]

It is a hot day in the San Francisco Bay Area; earthquake weather, by local tradition. The sky, which started the day blue and as plain as the bottom of a bathtub, has gradually acquired a pewter overcast.

The courthouse in San Rafael is unusually busy. Cars are parked all the way out on the access road. For such an opulent structure, the amount of public parking available is actually quite modest.

When we arrived Judge Thomas was presiding over an argument over legal fees. We gathered that a jury in a civil case had failed to return a verdict for the plaintiffs. The defendants had hoped to have their legal fees paid by the plaintiffs. Instead the judge had ruled that each side must pay its own expenses. Neither attorney was pleased with this outcome. The losers were sore about having lost, and the winners were sore about having to eat their own expenses. [So judged our correspondent.]

The discussion was technical, and our attention wandered. The court reporter, in a coral knit dress, tapped away on her machine. We noticed a large cannister of some sort on the desk of Judge Thomas's clerk. Bullshit repellent? Naw, couldn't be... but we could not quite make out the logo. We noticed that the upper lights, white hemispheres recessed in a circular dome, looked like drops of milk oozing out of the ceiling. The room suddenly reminded us of a giant everted br- strike that word.

The courtroom was almost deserted. Andrew Wilson, representing the Church of Scientology, sat alone in the jury box. He looked harried and bored. We essayed a nod but he gave us a beady-eyed look. (We had just sat down near Gerry Armstrong, who was busily writing notes.)

Judge Thomas assured the attorneys they would each have to pay their own expenses. He then called the Armstrong case.

Gerry Armstrong had asked for the hearing, and was granted the right to speak first. He sounded a little nervous, but his voice had good carrying power and his careful, precise manner of speaking served him well.

Armstrong began by saying that it was clear that, for whatever reasons, he had not been listened to by the court. For the sake of their future relationship [himself and Judge Thomas] he wanted to address the inconsistencies between the agreement, orders which had been sought, and orders which had been granted. [The agreement is the contract between Armstrong and the Church of Scientology.]

Judge Thomas intervened to say that there were no present items of controversy. [In a tentative ruling made the previous day, he had granted a summary judgment to the Church of Scientology.] To render a summary judgment, he would have to rule that there are no controversies in the present and that none are likely to arise in the future. "I don't like to rule on the future," the Judge soliloquized. He went on to say that philosophers have various concepts of the future; some even say that it is possible that nothing is possible. [apologies for the rough rendering. The Judge was fluent and eloquent. His flight into philosophy took us by surprise.]

Armstrong resumed his argument. He made three points. First, Judge Thomas had a qualification in his order permitting Armstrong to assist government agencies. This is (Armstrong said) prohibited in the agreement. "If you are not enforcing it," he said, "how can you say it is enforceable?"

Secondly, Armstrong raised the question of the avoidance of service of process. He indicated that such avoidance is a part of the agreement, but Judge Thomas's order did not mention this subject. "Am I to avoid service of process?" Armstrong asked. If yes, isn't that obstruction of justice?

This led into his third point, clearly the major focus of his argument. He suggested that the agreement itself should be looked at as a whole, with respect to obstruction of justice and the historical behavior of the Church of Scientology. Armstrong pleaded that the agreement itself is unreasonable. Can he communicate about Judge Thomas's court order? To whom? The agreement forbade him to discuss [matters involving Scientology] with his lawyers, his minister, his doctor, anyone.

While this was going on, Andrew Wilson, in a rumpled but expensive gray suit, fidgeted and looked at the ceiling. His hands were clasped behind his back in a gesture of self restraint which we have often seen in this courtoom.

Armstrong moved on in an elegantly phrased argument. Since he could not extricate himself from this litigation, he requested that the Judge explain his orders. "Am I gagged? If not, to whom may I communicate? If I communicate to a government agency [as Judge Thomas's order allowed] must I communicate in secret lest someone else overhear?"

Andrew Wilson fidgeted again. Our observer could not decide whether Armstrong had touched a nerve, or Wilson simply disliked being upstaged.

Again Armstrong raised the issue of use of past history, and what each party to the agreement is free to say about the other. Can the Church say anything about Gerry Armstrong, he asked, and is Armstrong forbidden to defend himself? If the Church can refer to the past [to attack Armstrong] he should be able to refer to the past history of the church in his defense.

At this point Armstrong produced a copy of the recent decision by the California Court of Appeals in the Church of Scientology of California vs. Lawrence Wollersheim. The Church lost the suit and the Appeals court confirmed that ruling. It is a major victory for Wollersheim.

Wilson suddenly came to life. "We object to the inclusion of the Wollersheim case. It's irrelevant and it is improper for Mr. Armstrong to bring it up now." "Sustained," Judge Thomas said.

Gerry Armstrong argued, quietly but with sincerity, that the religious issues in the case should be considered. He proposed to read a section from the Bible. He brought copies and offered them to the Judge and to the opposing attorney. Andrew Wilson, veteran of courtroom war games, refused: "I am quite familiar with the Bible, thank you." Judge Thomas accepted his copy with appreciation and directed Armstrong to give it to his clerk.

"And he spake a parable unto them," Armstrong said. And he proceeded with the parable of the unjust judge [Luke 18: 1-8] which concludes "Nevertheless when the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"

"That is why I am here," Armstrong declared. "Your Honor must look to and address the religious issues in this case."

Armstrong is asking for a trial, apparently to challenge the agreement as a whole. He opposes the summary judgment.

Now it is Andrew Wilson's turn. He promises the court to be quite brief, and he is. The court has listened to Mr. Armstrong "ad nauseum." His interpetation of the agreement is incorrect. And even if parts of the agreement prove to be unenforceable, there is a severance clause which provides that the enforceable parts of the contract shall be enforced. There is no controversy with respect to the claims at issue in the cross complaint.

[Our observer had the sense that he had waited all morning to say this. From his perspective, he is a busy, highly paid attorney who would rather have spent his morning doing something important. Instead he has to go all the way out to San Rafael for a case which is, essentially a done deal.]

Judge Thomas takes up the case. Drily he remarks that in view of Armstrong's many actions in court, Armstrong is clearly not intimidated by the Church. With respect to declaratory relief, the argument has gotten down to 7i and 18e of the agreement. The Church has never tried to specifically enforce either of those provisions. The Judge must decide whether there is a present or a probable future controversy. There is nothing (he says) in the present. He cannot see anything in the future. Accordingly, he grants a summary judgement on the cross complaint.

"Thank you, Your Honor" say Wilson and Armstrong. By the time Armstrong has gathered up his notes from the table, Wilson has whisked out of the room. Even a few seconds later he is nowhere to be seen. [Did he teleport?, the observer wondered uneasily. But Wilson is not a Scientologist.]

Where things now stand: summary judgement has been granted to the Church of Scientology. Judge Thomas's order will be enforced. Armstrong may now decide to appeal. Perhaps he will fare better with a different judge.

Footnote: it was briefly mentioned in today's hearing that the bankruptcy proceeding has been closed. Armstrong had filed for bankruptcy, and the Church had opposed him, challenging the transfer of some of his assets. As we understand it, the Church's challenge was unsuccessful and that proceeding has now been closed.

Comment: Of all of this the single thing that impressed us most was Armstrong's declaration that he was entrapped in this litigation and foresaw a future in which it continued without end. This disturbed us because we think it is true. The provisions of the agreement and Judge Thomas's order are so sweeping that future litigation appears, to us, foreordained. We are not a lawyer, but this bothered us. Should a contract that is a fountain of endless future disputes be enforced?

We don't know, but we don't think this legal process is at an end.

Future events will be reported in Biased Journalism.

Note: Gerry Armstrong did not contribute to this report. we happen to know that his mailing address is: 715 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, San Anselmo, CA 94960. He does not benefit from any defense funds and would undoubtedly appreciate donations.

3. The Return of Xenu

In the cosmology of scientology, a long, long time ago in a far, far distant galaxy the evil overlord Xenu tricked and imprisoned our spirit ancestors. They were shipped to Earth (then known as Teegeeack) in DC-8 aircraft, imprisoned in volcanos and blown up with nuclear bombs. Then they were implanted with various false ideas designed to keep them from realizing their full spiritual potential. These ideas included the world's major religions and political parties. Eventually Xenu himself was imprisoned in a mountain on Earth.

But "That is not dead which can eternal lie
and with strange aeons even Death may die."
--H.P. Lovecraft
About 185 miles east of San Francisco as the crow flies, in the pleasant resort town of Mammoth Lakes, something is happening. The tall trees have begun to die. An increase in carbon dioxide outgassing has been cited as the reason, but many scientists believe that the true explanation is subsurface heat from a rising plume of magma. There are other signs of volcanism in the region, leading the U.S. Geologic Service to issue a level C volcano warning.

The latest earthquake bulletins show an increasing number of larger earthquakes, magnitudes 3 and 4, at progressively shallower depths. The following data are from the U.S. Geologic Service:

  Event Date and Time:   03/29/1996      18:14:49.3 GMT
                         Fri Mar 29 1996 10:14:49 AM PST
  Preliminary Magnitude: 3.9   M  coda
  Preliminary Location :   37.6255 N (37 deg. 37.53 min.)
                          118.8565 W (118 deg. 51.39 min.)
                            9.3 km. deep (   5.8 miles)

  Event Date and Time:   03/29/1996      18:58:02.8 GMT
                         Fri Mar 29 1996 10:58:02 AM PST
  Preliminary Magnitude: 2.7   M  coda
  Preliminary Location :   37.6193 N (37 deg. 37.16 min.)
                          118.8597 W (118 deg. 51.58 min.)
                            9.7 km. deep (   6.0 miles)

  Event Date and Time:   03/29/1996      18:59:32.5 GMT
                         Fri Mar 29 1996 10:59:32 AM PST
  Preliminary Magnitude: 2.2   M  coda
  Preliminary Location :   37.6245 N (37 deg. 37.47 min.)
                          118.8580 W (118 deg. 51.48 min.)
                            9.0 km. deep (   5.6 miles)

  Event Date and Time:   03/29/1996      19:01:26.5 GMT
                         Fri Mar 29 1996 11:01:26 AM PST
  Preliminary Magnitude: 3.0   M  coda
  Preliminary Location :   37.6202 N (37 deg. 37.21 min.)
                          118.8628 W (118 deg. 51.77 min.)
                           10.5 km. deep (   6.5 miles)

  Event Date and Time:   03/29/1996      20:53:15.1 GMT
                         Fri Mar 29 1996 12:53:15 PM PST
  Preliminary Magnitude: 3.6   M  coda
  Preliminary Location :   37.6218 N (37 deg. 37.31 min.)
                          118.8587 W (118 deg. 51.52 min.)
                            9.3 km. deep (   5.8 miles)

  Event Date and Time:   03/30/1996      05:57:29.7 GMT
                         Fri Mar 29 1996 09:57:29 PM PST
  Preliminary Magnitude: 3.5   M  coda
  Preliminary Location :   37.6278 N (37 deg. 37.67 min.)
                          118.8602 W (118 deg. 51.61 min.)
                            8.5 km. deep (   5.3 miles)

  Event Date and Time:   03/30/1996      06:14:23.3 GMT
                         Fri Mar 29 1996 10:14:23 PM PST
  Preliminary Magnitude: 3.5   M  coda
  Preliminary Location :   37.6315 N (37 deg. 37.89 min.)
                          118.8618 W (118 deg. 51.71 min.)
                            8.8 km. deep (   5.5 miles)

  Event Date and Time:   03/30/1996      06:49:27.1 GMT
                         Fri Mar 29 1996 10:49:27 PM PST
  Preliminary Magnitude: 3.3   M  coda
  Preliminary Location :   37.6287 N (37 deg. 37.72 min.)
                          118.8650 W (118 deg. 51.90 min.)
                            9.4 km. deep (   5.9 miles)

  Event Date and Time:   03/30/1996      13:58:53.3 GMT
                         Sat Mar 30 1996 05:58:53 AM PST
  Preliminary Magnitude: 3.6   M  coda
  Preliminary Location :   37.6267 N (37 deg. 37.60 min.)
                          118.8698 W (118 deg. 52.19 min.)
                            9.1 km. deep (   5.7 miles)

  Event Date and Time:   03/30/1996      15:22:23.7 GMT
                         Sat Mar 30 1996 07:22:23 AM PST
  Preliminary Magnitude: 4.0   M  coda
  Preliminary Location :   37.6250 N (37 deg. 37.50 min.)
                          118.8598 W (118 deg. 51.59 min.)
                            8.1 km. deep (   5.1 miles)
  Event Date and Time:   03/30/1996      22:21:29.8 GMT
                         Sat Mar 30 1996 02:21:29 PM PST
  Preliminary Magnitude: 3.5   M  coda
  Preliminary Location :   37.6270 N (37 deg. 37.62 min.)
                          118.8560 W (118 deg. 51.36 min.)
                            6.9 km. deep (   4.3 miles)

  Event Date and Time:   03/30/1996      23:15:18.5 GMT
                         Sat Mar 30 1996 03:15:18 PM PST
  Preliminary Magnitude: 4.0   M  coda
  Preliminary Location :   37.6275 N (37 deg. 37.65 min.)
                          118.8658 W (118 deg. 51.95 min.)
                            7.2 km. deep (   4.5 miles)

  Event Date and Time:   03/31/1996      08:20:25.9 GMT
                         Sun Mar 31 1996 12:20:25 AM PST
  Preliminary Magnitude: 3.4   M  coda
  Preliminary Location :   37.6200 N (37 deg. 37.20 min.)
                          118.8627 W (118 deg. 51.76 min.)
                            7.2 km. deep (   4.5 miles)

  Event Date and Time:   03/31/1996      14:09:35.8 GMT
                         Sun Mar 31 1996 06:09:35 AM PST
  Preliminary Magnitude: 3.3   M  coda
  Preliminary Location :   37.6222 N (37 deg. 37.33 min.)
                          118.8648 W (118 deg. 51.89 min.)
                            7.1 km. deep (   4.4 miles)
The series suggests that whatever is causing the disturbance is rising toward the surface. The location is approximately six miles east of the town of Mammoth Lakes. As described by the U.S. Geologic Service,

        10 km (  6 miles) ESE (105 degrees) of Mammoth Lakes
        44 km ( 27 miles) SSE (147 degrees) of Lee Vining
        50 km ( 31 miles) NW  (307 degrees) of Bishop
        66 km ( 41 miles) E   (100 degrees) of Yosemite Valley
        71 km ( 44 miles) NW  (316 degrees) of Big Pine
this is the location of the municipal airport.

Is this a volcano in the making? Apparently we will soon know. But if L. Ron Hubbard is correct, this is Xenu ...and he's heading for the airport.

For further USGS bulletins see ca.earthquakes.

4. Invited Essay: Clams, by S. Barton (

Here are some interesting facts about clams...

The word "clam" comes from the Anglo Saxon for "something closed tight". Paradoxically, the word is related to "clamor" (one who clams up would not make a clamor) but is not related to "clammy". Clammy, meaning cold and wet, probably comes from the Old English for clay and has nothing to do with the subject of this post.

Clams are mollusks. This is the phylum of invertebrates which secrete their hard calcium shell from a gland. Cephalopods like octopi and squid are also mollusks, but they are turned inside out. The secreted shell is on the inside, but is not a skeleton. Clams, along with mussels, scallops and oysters, belong to the class "Bivalvia" meaning they have a hinged two-part shell. They open and close the shells with muscles called adductors and this is what distinguishes the different bivalves. Clams have two adductors of equal size. Mussels also have two, but one is much smaller than the other. Scallops and oysters only have one.

All bivalves subsist on plankton which they filter from water drawn in through an intake duct and vented through an exhaust duct. Clams reproduce sexually and can usually be determined to be male or female. However, some clams have been known to change their sex and there are a small number which are hermaphrodites, giving new meaning to the phrase go ~ yourself.

The fossil record of clams indicates that they existed pretty much as they do now about 600 million years ago. The name "Quahog" (pronounced kwo-hog) is a Native American name for the hardshell clam, the most commercially important species. It was the purple mother-of-pearl of the quahog that was used for wampum. Littleneck, cherrystone and chowder clam are just different names given to various sizes of quahogs. There are many other edible species, including the beautifully named and commercially raised Sunray Venus Clam.

Since clam shells are made of calcium, they are ground and used commercially to supplement poultry feed and also in calcium tablets such as Tums. They have also been used in paving roads.

The largest clam on record was of the South Pacific Giant Clam species. Although this clam had a 43" x 29" shell and weighed 579 lbs, it was not a man-eater as all those old cartoons and B-movies would have us believe. It ate filtered plankton like every other clam. The shell now resides in the American Museum of Natural History in NYC.

Clams do have hearts. Their pulse rates vary widely, from only 5-14 beats/minute for softshell steamer clams to the 60-75 beats/minute range for quahogs.

None of this is what I wanted to tell you about.

(To be continued... same clam time... same clam channel)

                            by S. Barton
This essay is mostly based on facts culled from the book "The Compleat Clammer" by Christopher Reaske published by Nick Lyons Books, NY. It is a fun read whether or not you're interested in clamming. This essay appeared in the Vin Scelsa Show Digest #367 on 2/28/96. For more information, visit the Vin Scelsa Show website at

5. Public Service Announcement from ARSCC:

From: (Brett Achorn)
Subject: Re: March 9 protest

In article <4is3dd$>,
Jeff Jacobsen  <> wrote:

>   What motivated these protesters?  Did the ARSCC order them to go?
>Did ARSCC pick up the tab for them?  Nope, they all came of their own 
>initiative and paid their own way.

   Remember to turn in ARSCC form T4 (covert operations travel and
expense reimbursement) by the end of the month or you'll be assigned
the condition of Slacker.

   And _don't_ try claiming Disney tickets as a valid expense.  We're
not targeting them until August.

[Next issue: a special on the March 9 picket; new developments in the Netwar. We are putting together a mailing list; contact us if you wish to be included.]