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web posted July 23, 2001

Miss Liberty to appear at Laissez Faire Books

Jon Osborne, author of "Miss Liberty's Guide to Film and Video", will host Laissez Faire Books' forum discussion July 24th - July 30. Come join in the discussion and let the author know what you thought of her book. Now is your chance to give feedback on this great book.

For a preview of the discussion to come, here are a few words posted by the author on their site:

"One of the reasons I think this guide is important is that the visual arts have become the dominant media through which people adopt values, form opinions, and gather information about the world. The average person watches literally hundreds of films for every book read. Hopefully, by identifying libertarian-themed films, this guide will help to promote them. I also hope that this book will become a useful outreach tool, as it seems like a fun way to become familiar with freedom-oriented ideas."

Every month, Laissez Faire Books' invites an author to its discussion board. Everyone is welcome to post questions. Please let us know if you'd like us to invite your favorite author, send us your suggestions - we love to hear from our participants.

The Laissez Faire Discussion Board can be found at:

http://www.laissezfairebooks.com/cgi-local/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?az=list&forum=DCForumID12&archive=

Rush Limbaugh signs deal through 2009

Rush Limbaugh has renewed his contract through 2009 in a nine-figure deal that Premiere Radio Networks says is the highest priced in the history of radio syndication.

The network would not specify the dollar amount, though there are reports that it's as high as $250 million with a $35 million signing bonus.

"I am frequently asked if I expected this level of success and the honest answer is yes. At least it was the goal, so why should I feign surprise when it happens?" Limbaugh said in a statement on July 16.

The 50-year-old conservative broadcaster will continue his daily program, ``The Rush Limbaugh Show,'' and "The Rush Limbaugh Morning Update," a 90-second commentary, which reach 20 million listeners on nearly 600 radio stations nationwide, according to the network.

The network also will continue to oversee "The Limbaugh Letter," a monthly newsletter with more than 400,000 subscribers, and Limbaugh's Web site, RushLimbaugh.com.

Limbaugh's show has been in syndication since August 1988.

The obligation to bear arms

The founding fathers guaranteed U.S. citizens the right to bear arms. Now another southern Utah town is considering an ordinance to protect that right by making it an obligation to own a gun.

On July 17, the city of Escalante voted on a plan that would require all heads of households to own firearms. The measure, proposed by a councilman, is similar to one passed by the town of Virgin earlier this year.

Supporters say the ordinance is an effort to protect citizens.

Critics say the proposal is an attempt to lash out at environmentalists over the protection of public lands, especially the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

The proposed ordinance says "special interest groups are misusing federal, state and various laws and regulations to further their own agendas and restrict the use of private and public rights."

Members of the Escalante Wilderness Project say such language suggests that supporters of the law may be considering using violence. At the very least, said group member Patrick Diehl, it is vague and unclear.

House backs Ashcroft push to shorten retention of gun records

The House voted on July 18 to back Attorney General John Ashcroft's plan to shorten to one day the time the government keeps background-check records of gun buyers, delivering a setback to gun control advocates.

In the year's first major vote on the volatile issue of guns, lawmakers voted 268-161 to reject an effort by Rep. James Moran, D-Va., that would have required the FBI to keep the records for at least the 90 days currently mandated.

Ashcroft proposed truncating that period last month, arguing that the shorter period would still let the records be audited for fraud and abuse while better protecting the privacy of legal gun purchasers. The National Rifle Association, which lost a federal lawsuit aimed at destroying the records immediately after the checks were conducted, has called Ashcroft's proposal a "step in the right direction."

"There is no reason whatsoever for the government to retain those records," said Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga.

Moran and others argued that it is important to keep the records longer so the FBI can determine whether the instant-check system is being used fraudulently, such as through the use of false identities by dealers or buyers.

"If we don't have a reasonable retention period, this system is not going to work," Moran said.

The ultimate fate of Ashcroft's plan is unclear. In the Democratic-controlled Senate, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has introduced legislation that would require the government to keep the records for at least 90 days.

The debate came as the House voted 408-19 to approve a $41.5 billion measure financing the departments of State, Justice and Commerce in the coming fiscal year.

The gun records are kept under an instant-check system set up by the so-called Brady Law, which is aimed at preventing felons, drug addicts and others from purchasing guns. The system electronically checks millions of law enforcement records while buyers wait to pick up their guns, with nearly all checks completed within two hours.

The system has stopped 156,000 illegal purchases since it began in November 1998, according to the FBI.

Until recently, the records were kept for 180 days. But that period was halved due to a Clinton administration rule that took effect this month.

Author of Bush biography commits suicide

The author of a book about George W. Bush has killed himself, police said.

James Howard Hatfield, 43, wrote Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the making of an American President in 1999.

The unauthorized biography accused Bush of covering up a cocaine arrest. But during interviews about the book, Hatfield lied to reporters about his own criminal past.

A hotel housekeeper discovered the man's body about noon on July 18, Springdale police Detective Al Barrios said the next day. Barrios said the man apparently overdosed on two kinds of prescription drugs.

Police don't suspect foul play.

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