(en) Top NEWSPEAK Stories of the Week #90 (fwd)

Lyn Gerry (redlyn@loop.com)
Thu, 13 Nov 1997 01:18:17 +0000

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------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Wed, 12 Nov 1997 22:17:01 -0800 (PST) From: MichaelP <papadop@peak.org> Subject: Top NEWSPEAK Stories of the Week #90 (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Wed, 12 Nov 1997 00:57:46 -0800 (PST) From: Wayne Grytting <wgrytt@animal.blarg.net>

AMERICAN NEWSPEAK. Hoarded at http://www.scn.org/newspeak Celebrating cutting edge advances in the Doublethink of the 90's Written by Wayne Grytting

Superior Wages Await You

Nike was burned once again when an internal report on working conditions by accounting firm Ernst and Young was leaked to the press. The report describes a factory near Ho Chi Minh City where employees were working an average of 65 hours a week to earn an entire $10. Besides great wages, Ernst and Young also looked at the quality of the work environment and discovered the factory exceeded local standards for carcinogens by a mere 177 times. But lest you begin worrying, it should be known that Nike has an "action plan" to deal with the situation. They also have reassuring words spoken by PR representative Vada Manager. "There's a growing body of documentation," he says, "that indicates that Nike workers earn superior wages and manufacture products under superior conditions." Mr. Manager would not say where they were growing their documents, or which fertilizer they were using. (NYT 11/8)

"You've Come a Long Way, Baby"

In 1950, Citibank had $23 million in gold bars sitting in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. But they had a slight problem. The bars had these nasty looking swastikas emblazoned on them. Worse yet, gold taken from Holocaust victims, politely referred to by historians as "non-monetary gold," was contained in the bars. Perplexed as to what to do, Citibank turned to the U.S. Treasury Department who came up with the simple solution of melting the gold, or "purifying" it, and recasting it with the fine words, "United States of America," emblazzened on them. They described this, using a nicely sanitized verb, as a "reissue." And how does Citibank explain how their firm could have trafficked in Nazi gold? According to spokesman Jack Morris, "This all happened in an era when there wasn't as much introspection about this kind of transaction." I mean, where would we be without the new improved introspection on Wall Street today? (NYT 11/2)

The Great Swooshing Sound Revisited

Sometimes it helps to cast fresh light on old problems. For example, when NAFTA began, critics predicted that greedy U.S. corporations would shut down their U.S. plants and reopen them in Mexico. But thanks to a recent report by John Sweeney of the Heritage Foundation, we can now see the situation in its proper perspective. It turns out that industries like our automobile makers have not been fleeing the country. Instead says Sweeney, "The automotive industry--one of the most important sectors of Michigan's economy--has engaged in greater cross-border, intra-industry specialization since NAFTA went into effect." Now isn't that a more positive way to describe corporate flight? Mexico specializes in production, we specialize in.... ("NAFTA's Positive Impact on the United States," 11/6)

Class Divisions in the Cat World

In Bloomfield, Ohio, two teenagers broke into an animal shelter late at night and beat 16 cats to death with baseball bats. No known motive. Should this offense have been punished as a mere misdemeanor or treated seriously as a felony worth a possible 10 years in prison? For the jury in this case, the whole issue turned on how much each cat was worth. A felony in Ohio requires at least $500 of property damage. Thus the prosecution had to prove that each cat was worth $31.25. If the cats had been pure bred Siamese, there's no question the killings would have been a felony. But in this case the cats were strays and defense attorney Kirk Daily successfully argued that because the shelter got them for free, they had no economic value. There's a valuable lesson for teenagers here somewhere. Meanwhile rumor has it the jury is hard at work on a math book based on the trial with problems like "How many cats can Bob and Ed club if they are worth $20 a piece..." (AP 11/7)

The Rural Renaissance

Long declining farming communities have found two new ways to prop up their economies. The New York Times reports the growing prison industry has become "a tool for rural development." Small towns are now competing hard for the once feared "hotels, " because, in the words of Mayor Ruth Carter of Canon City, Colorado, "We have a nice non-polluting, recession-proof industry." Reassuring news. At the same time, many family farms are now abandoning growing vegetables for the more lucrative field of "agritainment" or "agritourism." They are opening their farms to city slickers hungry for authentic old time experiences, and charging money for hay rides, petting zoos, u-pick fruits, and corn mazes. Says farmer Rich Hodgson, "Entertainment farming is the wave of the future for small farmers." And it took our country how many years to evolve the concept of "entertainment farming"? (NYT 11/2)

Special thanks this week to Michael G. Smith and Maarten Ultee. Newspeak is posted weekly (or weakly) and you can get on the mailing list if you know the capital of Nebraska and can write to wgrytt@blarg.net.

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