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News & Opinion

T his week's News & Opinion section proves that every city has its guilty pleasures. I live in Tucson, Arizona, so I'm well acquainted with those. Not long ago our local Indian reservations erected casinos to build up revenue. Did it work? Are aces high? People go crazy over gambling. Even on weekdays not a single slot machine isn't occupied by some zombie-like senior citizen, compulsively depositing coins like a lab rat that won't stop pushing its morphine self-injection button till it's dead.

A pparently, Utah has its own bizarre version of this phenomenon. Instead of sneaking away to an Indian reservation, repressed Mormons and other Salt Lake City adventurers drive two hours 'cross the border into a small Nevada town named Wendover. Or, as some refer to it, "Bend Over." The writer of this amusing feature wanted to observe the ritual first-hand; he went on a whiskey-soaked magical mystery tour and found that no matter where it happens, gambling has a bittersweetly warped effect on people.

W hen cities don't have gambling, lemming-like behavior manifests itself elsewhere. An article about Nike, for instance, reveals that the Oregon-based company breeds workers so obsessively loyal they chant "Just Do It!" at rallies and tattoo themselves with swooshes. Though you may be less scared by the employees' cult-like dedication than I was, you have to admit there's something wrong when people rationalize Nike's exploitation of foreign workers by saying, "We're helping their culture evolve." Talk about denial.

N ot that the media has never been guilty of denial. This article points out how readily newspapers forfeit their editorial opinions when it comes to accepting advertising money, and this article demonstrates the subjectivity of local news organizations when it comes to deciding what's a "riot" and what's not. (Hint: if it's in your own town, it's a "disturbance"; everywhere else, it's a riot.) That same article points out a few other local-media denials: one involving sex on a balcony, the other involving a fire-department captain who was fined for shooting a bottle-rocket into the station bathroom. Now that's a riot.

T he rest of this Weekly Wire section is devoted to our regular snappy columns. Margaret Renkl's "Home Brood" offers yet another touching insight into parenthood as she describes her five-year-old's first day of school, while "Odds & Ends" provides its usual sampling of the world's insanity. Cranky columnist Jeff Smith weighs in with his feelings about illegal aliens, while Captain Opinion worries over the effects of new "bowel-loosening" high-tech weaponry. He can be a bit juvenile, that Cap'n O, but like I said, we all have our guilty pleasures.

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Volume I, Issue 12
August 25 - September 2, 1997

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The Sin Bus
"And there sits Wendover, in the heart of hell's furnace, looking cool and calm, bank machines cashing and Black Jack tables beckoning..." [2]
Phil Jacobsen

Nike Psyche
Nike has made its employees feel like their work has more in common with Mother Teresa than Henry Ford. Josh Feit explains how they did it, while Tanuja Surpuriya looks at Nike's growth in Memphis. [3]
Josh Feit and Tanuja Surpuriya

Ad Lib
Objections to a controversial newspaper ad raise questions about ethics and freedom of the press. [4]
Jim Hanas

Desperately Seeking the News
The AP helps Nashville define the word "riot." [5]
Henry Walker

Separation Anxiety
Agony at the classroom door. [6]
Margaret Renkl

Odds & Ends
Timed-release news capsules from the flipside. [7]
Devin D. O'Leary

The Right To Life
By resorting to the death penalty, the U.S. falls short on the most basic human right. [8]
Gerald LeMelle & Lurma Rackley

Captain Opinion
New Military Technology a Step Backwards. [9]
Cap'n O

Kick A Canuk
Why bother messing with Mexicans on the U.S. border when there are so many Canadians to abuse? [10]
Jeff Smith

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]

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From The Vaults

Memorial Multiplication
Will Downtown's proposed Holocaust Memorial rob us of a prime loitering spot? [07-28-97]
Cap'n O

Disney Whirl
What's all the fuss about Disney World? At least they keep things running smoothly. [07-02-97]
Walter Jowers

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