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H ere's some news you rarely hear about: what's going on in Indonesia. For years, countries such as East Timor have suffered horrible fates at the hands of their own governments. But is it reported in the U.S.? Hardly. Leave it to an alternative weekly to spread a little news about recent events in Irian Jaya.

Other news catches up with recent events in the lives of Bill "nerd" Gates and Steve Jobs; monitors industry conflicts regarding student-loan interest rates; and catches up with a koo-koo controversy involving Tom Tomorrow's "This Modern World" cartoon (see last week's news section for more details).

We've also got news, views and side issues regarding the recently-deceased James Earl Ray. Ray, believed to be Martin Luther King, Jr.'s killer, claimed innocence right up to the very end. Denial, or conspiracy?

But what I'd really like to talk about are this week's columns and opinion pieces, which are a strange lot. I mean, what's with this piece about people who discriminate against those who don't have AIDS? Short of infecting himself with HIV, the author's chances of getting the job aren't looking too good.

Also off the beaten path is Michael Ventura's essay about the meaning -- and lack thereof -- of "freedom of speech." But will anybody hear his message?

Weirdest of all are these pieces: One is about an old pal named GianCarlo, another's a tirade in support of anti-virginal high-school dress codes. If you keep up with Jeff Smith, you'll want to read about the beginning of what will be his series of road-journey reports. And here's a rather surreal personalized look at candles. Yes, candles. Writer John Bridges has created a whole new art form based on writing about household objects.

When you're done, dip in to Odds & Ends and Mr. Smarty Pants, a couple of lively quick reads. They make a great dessert.

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No HIV? No Job.
An applicant discovers that sometimes the HIV-positive have a double standard too. [9]
Mubarak S. Dahir

Letters at 3 AM
Is your speech "free" when not linked to the ability to act upon your speech? [10]
Michael Ventura

The Teflon Presidency Continues, Scratch-Proof
A look back at Clinton's women woes. [11]
Marcos D. Martinez

Holy Gangbangers!
Angry young man or cranky old fart? You decide! [12]
Cap'n O

Volume I, Issue 48
May 4 - May 11, 1998

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More human rights violations in Indonesia brings more speculation about Freeport-McMoRan's involvement. [2]
Robert Bryce

Still a Nerd -- But a Rich Nerd
Bill Gates -- once a nerd, always a nerd. [3]
James Hanback Jr.

Loan Sharks
The big banks want to squeeze every last dime out of their student loan business. [4]
Jennifer Shecter

Desperately Seeking the News
The controversy over some nekkid people in a Tom Tomorrow strip -- I mean, cartoon. [5]
Henry Walker

James Earl Ray
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Guilt or Galt?
James Earl Ray, we hardly knew ye. [6]
Beverly Keel

The Missing Link
How a fugitive genius contributed to the astonishing makeover of James Earl Ray. [7]
John Branston

Hell, Yes
When James Earl Ray gets there, how will Pol Pot greet him? [8]
Wayne Wood

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Ciao, GianCarlo
Late-night lament over the loss of a true friend. [13]
Turk Pipkin

Flame Thrower
A tornado reacquaints John Bridges with candlelight. [14]
John Bridges

Off to Montana
Our boy's no fool -- he be goin' where it's cool. Of course, he's taking along his mobile hot tub... [15]
Jeff Smith

Odds & Ends
Timed-release news capsules from the flipside. [16]
Devin D. O'Leary

Mr. Smarty Pants
Our resident know-it-all unearths the latest trivia. [17]
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. [18]

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