When I was growing up, there was a notoriously bad barber in town called "Wild" Bill Knighten.

Bill's preoccupations, while cutting your hair, were telling long, loud, pointless stories to waiting customers and attempting, attempting, mind you, to spit globs of tobacco juice into a brown-sludged Folger's coffee can by the door eight feet away.Inevitably, Bill would notice that in his distraction from the business at hand, he had messed up the haircut. He would then begin to clip it closer and closer to cover up the mistake until there was nothing left but a burr crew cut. You then paid Bill $1.25 for his trouble.

I have read your paper's outlandish reporting of the fictitious "deal" between Rep. Jim Hansen and the administration and your bizarre editorial, "A deal is a deal except . . ." attempting to blame others for simply not having checked the facts. It looks like your readers have been clipped better than anything "Wild" Bill ever achieved.

I'd say they all owe you a dollar and a quarter.

Mine is enclosed.

You've earned it.

Mike Gauldin

Director of communications

U.S. Department of the Interior

Washington, D.C.