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The Canadian navy has suspended one of its top commanders after he admitted he'd looked at Internet porn sites last April while surfing the Web during service in San Diego. Eric Lerhe, 52, chief of Canada's Pacific fleet, told superiors that he had downloaded photos of naked women with his navy-issued laptop computer while off duty in his private officers quarters here. He voluntarily admitted the porn perusal after he was ordered to sit in judgment of one of his sailors accused of a similar offense. "There was the strong possibility that I would be the presiding officer, that is, the judge," Lerhe said in a statement. "I pondered this, then informed my superior...that I had also contravened Department of National Defense rules for computer use." As a result of the admission, Lerhe was accused of "conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline." He could face a court martial and dishonorable discharge. The bust made headlines all over Canada last week, pleasing some feminists. "It's dangerous for women to be supervised by someone who looks at those kinds of websites," Geraldine Glattstein, director of the Ontario-based advocacy group Women Against Violence Against Women, told the Boston Globe. But Lerhe has his defenders. "Winston Churchill once attributed the brilliant performance of the Royal Navy in the 18th Century to 'rum, buggery, and the lash,'" A. Peter Ruderman of Toronto wrote in a letter to the editor. "In today's lace-pants Navy, an officer can't even peruse a Web version of Playboy in his off-hours."

Power politics The Sacramento Bee reports that Steve Peace, the state senator from Chula Vista blamed for that 1996 utility-deregulation bill, is making big money out of the ensuing power shortage. His media company, Four Square Productions, whose clients have included SDG&E and other power companies, has made a video offering tips on how to cope with blackouts this summer. "I'm not prohibited to be involved," Peace told the paper. "I could be if I chose to be. But the responsibility and applicable element is disclosure. I have always met and will continue to meet the requirements for full public disclosure."... During his campaign last year, San Diego city councilman Jim Madaffer told reporters that he went bankrupt in the 1990s because of a financial squeeze resulting from the premature birth of his twin sons. This week he was scheduled to bring the children to the Biotech 2001 convention, where "he will tell how modern medical technology saved the lives of his twin boys, who were born ten weeks prematurely," says a news release issued by ex-Susan Golding aide MaryAnne Pintar. "He will share this personal story to call attention to the life-saving and life-changing work being done by biomedical companies."

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