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August 21, 2001

Threatening teachers
Education Commissioner Charlie Crist and GOP lawmakers are backing off a sneaky effort to destroy the teachers' union, but the threat hasn't disappeared.

Drawing a line on copyright
The battle over Napster, the formerly free music-swapping Web site, added the word "copyright" to every junior high-schooler's vocabulary. But what they might not have understood is just how far copyright law has now gone in keeping vast quantities of creative material out of the public domain. A lawsuit that has so far failed to put a limit on the excesses of current copyright law should be given a hearing by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Smoke-free workplaces make healthy sense
Every year, there are a million asthma attacks in children, 255,000 respiratory infections, 3,000 deaths due to lung cancer and 53,000 premature deaths due to heart disease. All are caused by secondhand smoke. It contains more than 4,000 chemicals such as cyanide, benzene, tar, polonium and arsenic.  

Taking jobs, alienating customers
For weeks Americans have been told that the outsourcing of high-tech jobs is good for our economy. So said Greg Mankiw, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers in a recent report signed by President Bush. So, too, writes Thomas Friedman of the New York Times in articles praising the rise of call centers in India used for everything from making airline reservations and reading medical X-ray films to providing tech support for American computer firms.

Philip Gailey: Democrats fall off campaign finance reform wagon
Well, what do you know. Soft money is back, and it's making hypocrites of all those Democrats who fervently championed the McCain-Feingold campaign reform law, not to mention those Republicans who objected to the law's restrictions on issue advocacy.

Bill Maxwell: Who is for the farm worker?
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is touting legislation to improve the lives of Florida's 300,000-plus farm workers, who endure institutional and systemic injustices each day in our fields and groves and their personal lives.

Robyn E. Blumner: For some defendants, an American gulag
In Bernard Malamud's masterpiece The Fixer, inmate Yakov Bok was subjected to psychological torture in a Soviet gulag through the humiliations of constant shackling and repeated strip searches.

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