Weekly Wire

News & Opinion

W e have a truly odd assortment of news stories this week. There's no way to categorize them; they just are. Among the most internationally interesting is a look at the "Tamil Tigers," a terrorist (if you believe Amnesty International) organization fighting for the national independence of the Tamils, one of Sri Lanka's many ethnic groups. To be honest, I'd never heard of the Tamils or Tamil Tigers; they sound like something you'd make up for a movie parody. But they're real and they're very, very serious -- right down to their cyanide-capsule necklaces. Just ask the Tamil Tiger spokesman interviewed in the story. Don't be afraid, he won't bite.

For some reason Canada has a large population of Tamil emigrants, which is nice because it allows me something resembling a segue into an article about curling. Yes, curling -- the popular Canadian sport everybody made fun of during the Winter Olympics. Admit it: you jumped on the icewagon and cackled when those people chased after that big rock, sweeping like the wind. You're in for some major guilt when you read the story. (For a more lighthearted take on the Winter Olympics, head over to the Arts section.)

We've also got some groovy little articles about the Organic Foods Production Act and those dubious B-1 bomber planes that, in spite of billion-dollar price tags, have all the strength and lasting power of rigatoni. But what I really want to talk about are the following two articles: one about prison violence and overpopulation in Texas, and one about Utah policemen encouraging neighbors to snitch on each other if they think they might be involved in drug trafficking.

Each article could apply to any state in America, but that's not my only reason for highlighting them. I want to point out that, taken together, they paint a telling picture about the lack of progress we've been making in "The War on Drugs." It's my contention that, just like alcohol never disappeared during prohibition, the drug war will never end. Supply and demand will always beat law enforcement -- no contest. The overpopulated prisons and neighborhood distrust depicted in these articles just goes to show: the war costs far more than it's worth.

Okay, thus endeth the lecture. Got comments? Share them with us on our BBS. Otherwise, enjoy Weekly Wire and see you next week!

Volume I, Issue 39
March 2 - March 9, 1998

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The Partisan
The militant Tamil Tigers are tearing up Sri Lanka while their cause is championed from an unlikely Massachusetts seaport. [2]
Ellen Barry

Cruel and Unusual
The death of James Barker raises concern about prison violence, but will anyone listen? [3]
Janet Heimlich

Calling All Snitches
Do you suspect your neighbors of keeping odd hours, making money disproportionate to their occupations, or having strange visitors? The Sheriff's office would like to hear from you. [4]
Ben Fulton

Heart of Stone
Stop laughing at curling -- these guys are serious. [5]
Tom Scocca

The Flying Sausage
B-1, be gone! [6]
Robert Bryce

The Mouse That Roared
The story behind the proposed national organic regulations -- and all the attendant acronyms. [7]
Steve Sprinkel

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Violence is Not the Solution, Then or Now
25 years ago this week. [8]
Sue Schuurman

Pride of Place
Sibling rivalry visits the Renkl household with a vengeance. [9]
Margaret Renkl

Odds & Ends
Timed-release news capsules from the flipside. [10]
Devin D. O'Leary

Mr. Smarty Pants
Our resident know-it-all unearths the latest trivia. [11]
R.U. Steinberg

Now What?
Can't get enough news? You're in luck -- more news is created every day. Our Now What? page offers a plethora of recommended links to help keep you living in the present. [12]

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