L. Neil Smith's
Number 284, August 15, 2004

Limited edition "Unauthorized Protester" tee shirt!

[Letters to the editor are welcome on any and all subjects. To ensure their acceptance, please try to keep them under 500 words. Sign your letter in the text body with your name and e-mail address as you wish them to appear.]

Letter from Chris Goodwin

Letter from Bruce A. Standlee

Letter from Jim Lesczynski

Letter from Scott Bieser

I have been thinking about the whole terrorism color wheel and its statements: "High risk of terrorist attack," "Significant risk of terrorist attack," and the like.

But how do they know? I mean, there has never been a terrorist attack when the risk has been "significant" or "high." You'd think that when the risk is "high" then there would be an attack.

The terrorists will never attack when the threat level is orange, or red, when we're expecting it. They'll wait until we're not expecting it, when it's at blue or green (if it ever is). Thus, we have a paradox: the risk of attack is actually higher when it's low and lower when it's high.

It's not physically possible to maintain a heightened state of alert for long periods of time. The body and mind need rest, or they start to break down. The threats start to lose their edge, and the color scale resonates with cries of wolf. At some point, regardless of what our overlords in Heimatsicherheit—excuse me, Homeland Security—tell us, we will no longer be as alert at yellow as we used to be. Yellow will, in short, be the new green. Perhaps this is what the terrorists are counting on; when yellow becomes the new green, and orange becomes the new yellow, and red similarly moves down the scale, we will be just a little slower to react. As time continues, and we spend more time at orange, then orange will become the new green, and red the new orange. Perhaps then the politicians will come up with condition black and condition ultraviolet: "Really, really high risk of terrorist attack" and "No, we really mean it this time!"

The color scale is therefore useless at either predicting or communicating the level of risk of a terrorist attack.

Chris Goodwin

Re: The 3 'E's of the Minimum Wage, by bkMarcus


"By George, I think you've got it!" Or something with the same emotionally congratulatory tone. You have succeeded in answering the nagging feeling I've had, in discussions about a wide range of libertarian/Austrian topics, that I was missing some key argument needed to persuade my interlocutor.

Thanks again.

Bruce A. Standlee

Get your limited edition "Unauthorized Protester" tee shirt while supplies last! Make a fashion statement at the Unauthorized Protest in Central Park, and have a lovely souvenir of the hijinks.

These are high-quality 100% cotton shirts, black with white lettering.


RNC 2004
New York City

We don't need no
stinking permits!


These tee shirts were originally priced at $12, but because of a delay in shipping our order, I was able to negotiate a price reduction... and pass the savings on to you! They're now priced at a ridiculously low $10!

We have sizes medium to XXL. If you're in Manhattan, I can probably meet up with you to hand off your shirt and take payment. Outside Manhattan, I can ship it to you for an extra $2 to cover postage. Send your payment and shipping instructions via Paypal to lesczynski@mailvault.com

Jim Lesczynski


ROUND ROCK, Texas—BigHead Press announces its second graphic novel: The Probability Broach: The Graphic Novel, by L. Neil Smith and Scott Bieser, will ship from the printer in late October 2004. The book of 192 full-color pages presents a graphic adaptation of Prometheus Award-winning The Probability Broach, a prose science-fiction novel by Smith first published in 1980 by Del Rey.

"We believe the expanding graphic novel market, which is bending the boundaries of genre and storytelling conventions into new shapes, will appreciate the kind of story we're offering," said Frank Bieser, owner of BigHead Press. "Broach combines the style of a '50s hard-boiled detective story with an alternate-history twist, a sprinkling of jibes at some sci-fi tropes, and a provocative social theory. All with a bit of romance and some broad humor to make a satisfying experience."

The story, written 25 years ago but strangely fresh today, concerns a Denver Police homicide detective, one Lt. Edward "Win" Bear, who begins investigating the murder of a Colorado State University physicist and quickly discovers that some people—clues point to the Homeland Security Police—are trying to kill him as well.

They almost succeed, but Lt. Bear is instead blown into a very strange new world, an alternate universe in which high-speed automobiles zip along streets are paved with crabgrass, air pollution a distant memory, humans live on Ceres, poverty is practically non-existent, and everyone carries guns or blades, except those who carry both, and there is almost no "government" as we would recognize it—and yet everyone is remarkably polite and peace-able. Oh, and there are also talking apes hanging around and an alliance with dolphin civilization.

Just as Win is getting his bearings in this strange new place, his enemies attack him again, and he must quite literally find himself, along with some other new friends, to help defeat these "federalists" and their evil scheme of nuclear blackmail.

The original novel was the first of 23 for Smith, who also wrote two comic book scripts for Marvel Comics, as part of their Open Space anthology (only one of the scripts was drawn and published, the other was shelved when the anthology was cancelled).

Scott Bieser drew comics and colored covers for Malibu Graphics' various imprints in the 1980s, but in 1992 turned his full attention to a booming career in computer game graphics. By 2001 the game industry had "matured" and, declaring "it's just not fun anymore," Bieser has returned to graphic storytelling. His most recent work was a graphic novella, A Drug War Carol, co-created with Susan W. Wells and published in 2003 by BigHead Press.

The Probability Broach: The Graphic Novel is 7"x10" square-bound and carries a retail price of $19.95. It is in the August Diamond Previews catalogue and will ship to the comics direct market in late October.


Scott Bieser, producer, BigHead Press

Scott Bieser, production director
BigHead Press

Help Support TLE by patronizing our advertisers and affiliates. We cheerfully accept donations!

to advance to the next article
  Table of Contents
to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 284, August 15, 2004