HOUSE VOTES FOR EMACS BY NARROW MAJORITY

                         Tuesday, March 26 1985

After weeks of debate and a crescendo of lobbying effort, the House handed
President Ronald Reagan a major victory by voting for Emacs late today.

Emacs was originally proposed years ago as a technological replacement for
its aging predecessor.  Strategists were beginning to worry that with the
old system they would not be able to respond quickly enough to new
challenges.  With its dynamic reconfigurability and MIRWs (Multiple
Independent Retargetable Windows), Emacs was supposed to restore the
nation's strategic edge.

Opponents of Emacs could not see it as any improvement over existing
systems.  They claimed that it was far to costly and that it was extremely
de-stabilizing because of the grave consequences that would ensue if the
President were to push the wrong button.  (Many analysts privately conceded
that they had their doubts whether the Supreme Commander would remember the
difference between Control-K and Meta-K.)

After much intense debate,  Congress agreed on a compromise whereby they
would tentatively go ahead with Emacs, but it would be based in the existing
ASR-33 teletypes, specially hardened to handle the violent carriage
movement.

This year, new arguments began to fly fast and furious.  Supporters of Emacs
received fresh impetus when it was estimated that the President's new Star
Wars proposal would require from 10 to 100 million lines of code.

Politicians in high-tech states like California and Massachusetts came under
intense pressure from their constituencies where reportedly thousands of
people's daily lives depended on the continued support of Emacs.

President Reagan said earnestly and eloquently that Emacs was a bargain
chip; critics shook their heads and responded with "There he goes again".

The Senate, as expected, voted for Emacs,  but there was some doubt whether
the Opposition-controlled House would do the same.

On Monday,  the President escalated the pressure by recalling from Geneva
E.Max Kampelman,  a dedicated hawcker,  to woo wavering wimps.  Buffers-full
of fence-sitters were paged into the White House to hear his persuasive
spiel.  The strategy apparently was hugely successful -- an adequate working
set was assembled; more than a half-dozen representatives were irreversibly
modified.

Today's late vote once again sent liberal editors across the nation to
consign their words to the scrap files,  laid to waste once again by the
abilities of the Great Communicator.




(forwarded from INFO-COBOL)