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P eople have such short memories. Not more than 10 years ago, Tipper Gore and the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) conducted self-righteous, time-consuming hearings about music with "harmful" lyrics. The backlash was stronger than they expected, and those involved ended up looking mighty silly. Thankfully, record companies appeased everybody by putting warning labels on their albums -- for which teenagers the world over rejoiced, since it meant they'd know in advance where to find the raciest, most parent-annoying lyrics.

But Big Brother isn't satisfied with warning labels anymore. Wal-Mart and K-Mart have undertaken an aggressive censorship campaign, doing exactly what we feared they'd do when they started edging out small, local businesses: abusing their ubiquitous power. And now state politicians, hungry for easy votes from citizens unfamiliar with the Bill of Rights, are getting into the act. In Tennessee, one lawmaker is targeting businesses, while in Texas, a "rider" bill has put the pensions of state employees in jeopardy. And all because nobody trusts parents to be parents. Follow the links and read all about it.

Speaking of government paternalism, what happens to the rights of homeless people who enter programs designed to help them stay off the streets? Seems that in order to become a self-sustaining adult, you have to let the state treat you like a child for a while. We're talking allowances, strict schedules, the works. What's it like? A story from a former homeless man's observant neighbor provides some insight.

There are plenty more parental platitudes to be found in this issue of Weekly Wire. Walter Jowers's Helter Shelter column laughs at the absurdity of warning labels for household items, while Margaret Renkl's always-great Home Brood column frets over the privacy perils of pregnancy. I couldn't make sense of this piece about Dr. Spock, but I'm sure some of you parents can. After all, you're OK, and so am I. Or something like that.

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. [11]

Volume I, Issue 42
March 23 - March 30, 1998

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A Bad Rap
A new budget rider may force Texas to sell stock in companies that own interest in rap labels. [2]
Robert Bryce

Unfair Warning
A debate in Nashville's state legislature ensues over how to protect children from nasty song lyrics. [3]
Beverly Keel

The Homeless Guy Across the Hall
Scott Webb examines the life of a once homeless man who now lives in the apartment across from him. [4]
Scott W. Webb

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Without Prescription
John Bridges examines his youth minus the wisdom of Dr. Spock. [5]
John Bridges

Riding the Swell
If you're pregnant, don't show off around Margaret Renkl. [6]
Margaret Renkl

Placing the Blame
Walter Jowers examines the need for a warning label on a ball of string. [7]
Walter Jowers

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Vietnam Lies on the Front Page
30 years ago this week. [8]
Sue Schuurman

Odds & Ends
Timed-release news capsules from the flipside. [9]
Devin D. O'Leary

Mr. Smarty Pants
Our resident know-it-all unearths the latest trivia. [10]
R.U. Steinberg

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