Weekly Wire

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B efore discussing the contents of this issue of Weekly Wire, I have something I need to get off my chest: the Promise Keepers are a bunch of weasels. Sorry, guys, but your Washington D.C. march, a thinly veiled excuse for the religious right to flex its political muscle, had very little to do with reaffirming marriage vows. And it doesn't take much digging to unearth the anti-feminist and anti-gay attitudes beneath your shpiel. Yeah, you kept your promise -- now keep your distance.

A s long as we're on the subject of religious agendas, let me tell you about one of this week's cover stories, a nicely balanced piece about debate among Latter Day Saints trying to find archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon. One faction claims that the ancient tribes described in the books lived in North America, near the Great Lakes; another faction says the tribes (who were allegedly visited by Jesus) lived in Central America. As you read the article, it becomes painfully apparent that neither side has much evidence to support their theories. Catholics and fundamentalist Baptists better look out when it comes to maintaining their status as the World's Nuttiest Religions; Mormons are right on their tail.

E lsewhere in Weekly Wire, a Tennessee reporter examines the political atmosphere surrounding capital punishment in his state, discovering that judges and other officials who don't support the death penalty are under constant and insidious pressure to change their tunes. Will civil rights continue to erode, or will the pendulum swing the other way?

T o balance out that story about hopeless criminals being put to death, here's one about hopeful children gaining new lives. Families Without Borders profiles several would-be parents who chose to adopt children from other countries, especially (in the majority of the story's examples) Eastern Europe. Though the reasons for adopting from outside of the United States are never addressed, the article's descriptions of parents choosing and heading overseas to meet their new family members are both strange and touching.

B ack on home turf, this article summarizes the Bill Clinton fund-raising mess then pointedly asks, "What's the big deal?" The author wonders, even if Clinton did make some technically inappropriate phone calls from the White House, it's not exactly Watergate, is it?

A nd speaking of politicians in the hotseat: Last week in this space, the Memphis Flyer reported on a hemp-based hullabaloo that happened over at the Nashville Scene (which also contributes to Weekly Wire). Seems a state senator toked up at a party thrown by the latter paper, and one of the staff writers saw fit to include that detail in a profile about the man. That's when the pot really hit the fan. In response, this Scene writer, who almost got fired over the incident, weighed in with opinions about friendship, journalism, and the tricky line that separates them.

B ut that's life at an alternative newsweekly: There's always some little scandal or mix-up to keep the long hours and low pay from becoming tiresome. Utah's Salt Lake City Weekly has one of their own: apparently local cops, aggravated by the paper's reporting, are taking to burning and/or stealing copies of the paper when it comes out. Since the publication is free, they contend, what they're doing isn't really wrong. Suuuure.

i n the opinions departmnet, a columnist sings the praises of flunking school; another one lashes out against rednecks who insist on waving Confederate flags; still another yearns for a world without color newspaper photography; and a doting mother explains what she finds so fascinating about her baby's feet. Meanwhile, Mr. Smarty Pants explains why Joanie Loves Chachi is Korea's top-rated American television show, and Odds & Ends demonstrates that breath mints do not make you jump higher. You absolutely, positively, indubitably won't be bored by these last two items. I promise.

Volume I, Issue 18
October 6 - October 13, 1997

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Families Without Borders
The stories of three Memphis couples who crossed cultures and continents to adopt their children. [2]
Jacqueline Marino

Death and Politics
Mention the death penalty, and most Tennesseans would say they're for it. But what has our intense focus on the execution of that penalty done to the justice system? [3]
Jesse Fox Mayshark

Burden of Proof
Does a new look at the Book of Mormon prove or debunk it as an historical document? A group called the Book of Mormon Students Foundation says that the American Midwest is where it all took place. [4]
Ben Fulton

Desperately Seeking the News
The Scene's media critic 'fesses up. [5]
Henry Walker

Lose the Flag
An Ole Miss football fan considers the school's oldest and most controversial symbol. [6]
Paul Gerald

A Teapot Tempest
Trying to turn the fund-raising flap into a crime is absurd. [7]
Richard Cohen

Just a Little Pregnant
Three unwise men have given Gunnarson clearance to trash our property and first amendment rights. [8]
City Weekly staff

Failing to Fail
Angry young man or grumpy old guy? You decide. [9]
Cap'n O

Photo Finished
John Bridges finds the NYTimes' color wheel square. [10]
John Bridges

Toe Jam
Playing footsie with Margaret Renkl. [11]
Margaret Renkl

Media Mix
Washington bureaucrats have gone mythological on us. [12]

Odds & Ends
Timed-release news capsules from the flipside. [13]
Devin D. O'Leary

Mr. Smarty Pants
Our resident know-it-all unearths the latest trivia. [14]
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. [15]

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Talk Back
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From The Vaults

The Right To Life
By resorting to the death penalty, the U.S. falls short on the most basic human right. [08-25-97]
Gerald LeMelle & Lurma Rackley

Brave New World
Search engines and subject indexes of the Internet. [07-14-97]
David O. Dabney

Brave New World
Ticketmaster and Microsoft squabble about the right to link. [06-20-97]
David O. Dabney




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