Look for the slavery label
Congress has scheduled its first hearing on Saipan's sweatshops, those bastions of free-market economics and indentured servitude so strongly endorsed by House Majority Leader Dick Armey. ["Our man in Saipan," February 19].

On March 31, the Senate Energy and Resources Committee will hear the Clinton administration's proposal to end the exploitation of foreign garment workers on U.S. soil in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas.

"That the administration can make its case to Congress is a major first step," says David North, an Interior Department spokesman. Still, there's no similar movement in the House, where Armey and Majority Whip Tom DeLay from Houston are firmly behind the status quo.

Meanwhile, the Interior Department is exploring whether all those $1 billion worth of clothes expected to be made in the Marianas this year were actually made in the Marianas.

There has been speculation that some of the clothes are made in China or elsewhere in Asia then shipped through the Marianas to avoid U.S. tariffs. The Interior Department has retained Tom Gray, a former Customs official and expert in Asian trade violations, to explore the rumors.

Buzz hopes they prove false. It would just tear our jingoistic, flag-waving hearts to think that Chinese slaves in China were sewing our polo shirts, instead of good old American-Chinese slaves in Saipan. As Armey and DeLay know, that's an important distinction.

Take that, you knave!
Some dinosaurs, Buzz vaguely remembers learning in grade school, had short little arms and small brains. Apparently, however, their arms were long enough to reach a keyboard and their brains large enough to write for The Dallas Morning News editorial page. Take, for instance, William Murchison's recent column mourning the passing of rules for sexual conduct, vis-a-vis Bill Clinton.

"No one knows the rules for sexual conduct...there aren't any...The rules were erased partly on the instance of the feminist movement so that women henceforth and forever might (1) have abortions, love affairs and easy divorces and (2) chase the Iraqi Republican Guard across the desert..."

Murchison--who apparently doesn't date much, or he would know there still are rules for sexual conduct--pines for the days of face-slaps and horsewhips for cads like Clinton. (His view is a touch paternalistic, but then this is a guy who probably misses dickies and spats too.)

Buzz was drawing dinosaurs in a Big Chief notebook back when the feminist movement got under way, so someone tell us: Was the desire to 1) get laid and 2) go to war really the impetus for the feminist movement? We vaguely remember hearing something about equality.

Now hear this
Buzz has always been something of a fan of the Libertarian Party, largely because of its mind-your-own-business philosophy when it comes to the government's role as moral watchdog.

So we were disappointed to hear that the party opposes a U.S. Department of Education program that provides money to caption the Jerry Springer, Ricki Lake, and Montel Williams shows for the hearing-impaired.

"Libertarians are fervent supporters of free speech, so we don't object to such shows being broadcast," the party's national chairman, Steve Dasbach, said in a news release. But the party objects to using tax dollars to fund what it called "Sodom and Gomorrah-style perversity."

We're tempted to ask why the hearing-impaired should be spared the blaring of the daytime-TV geek shows. More importantly, we wonder why defenders of free speech can't grasp that any decision on funding based on content is tantamount to censorship.

Swing low, sweet UFO
The lord's spaceship is scheduled to touch down in Garland on March 31 to carry us all home, according to members of God's Salvation Church. That's enough to make Buzz wonder why we bothered kicking out another column this week.

Because the members of God's Salvation Church are nuts, that's why.
Hey, somebody had to say it. Coverage of the church, particularly in the Morning News, has just been a little too polite and politically correct. There's something out of whack when the media covers the leader of the free world like a circus act, but takes the patently weird leader of a cult seriously. Is everything sacred?

Before you defenders of the cult whip out your pens to rain vitriol down upon Buzz's head, please understand that we would equally smack around any religion--Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, spacefaring Garland immigrants, etc. All organized religions appear a little loopy in Buzz's eyes, particularly those featuring Taiwanese tourists pedaling bikes around Garland and wearing white cowboys hats that make them look like Bob Wills' Eastern Playboys.

And God appearing on cable? On March 25, a week before the alleged touchdown, God's Salvation Church expects God to appear on Channel 18. Buzz is a TCI customer, and we find it hard to believe that Satan's own cable service will be carrying the good word.

Still, Buzz is hedging our bets. By the time you read this, we'll have tuned in to watch for God's message to humanity. We figure that if we were wrong, we still have a week to get religion. By Buzz's reckoning, that's six days of debauchery and one day of solemnity.

--compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams

Buzz is waiting for you with open arms at [email protected]

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams