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  THE WEEKLY RUNDOWN FOR OCTOBER 24.  
   
   
   
 

 

No more chances to have a bigger dick? The U.S. Senate passed anti-spam legislation Wednesday. Not only could it one day be illegal to spam with porn, financial requests or medicinal remedies, but it could also be a crime for spammers to disguise themselves. Spam comprises 60 percent of the e-mail messages sent every day and apparently costs about $10 billion a year to deal with. Since when is hitting delete so expensive? Besides, for a precious 30 seconds a day you can pretend you got a lot of e-mail from your "friends."

The Senate's bill won't let you sue spammers. Instead, suits will only be allowed against e-mail account providers, such as Yahoo or Earthlink. A provision of the bill orders the Federal Trade Commission to come up an anti-spam registry, similar to the Do-Not-Call Registry. Considering The Black Table is a little lonely sometimes, we'll miss all the missives from Teenage Sluts. And that poor guy from Nigeria who just needs our bank account number.

 


   
 

 

Heckle on, Australia. President Bush was heckled by protestors during a brief visit to Australia on Wednesday. Bush spoke to a joint session of parliament to thank Australia for its contributions to the war in Iraq. Two Australian senators yelled at Bush during the speech, questioning his decision to go to war and the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, two of whom are Australian. Outside of parliament, about 1,000 protestors demonstrated outside the U.S. Embassy in Canberra. Bush reacted lightly to the interruption, telling the chamber, "I love free speech." This was news to The Black Table, who thought the president's avoidance of the news media and his administration's criticism of those who questioned its policy meant he didn't like free speech. Our mistake.

 

 
   
 

 

So that's why Wal-Mart is so cheap. A Federal sweep of Wal-Mart stores nationwide netted in the arrest of 250 illegal immigrants. The immigrants worked in 61 stores in 21 states. Seems that Wal-Mart, the country's largest retailer, contracted with janitorial companies that employed illegal workers. The greatest number of arrests were in Pennsylvania and Texas. Wal-Mart said in a statement that it required its contractors to use only documented workers. However, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement said its investigation revealed that some store managers and Wal-Mart execs knew about the illegal employees. So next time you buy that edited CD or look in vain for a sexy mag, think of how illegally clean those Wal-Mart floors are.

 

 
   
 

 

Another good one gone. Indie musician Eliott Smith died Tuesday at the age of 34 from a single, self-inflicted stab wound to the chest. Smith, whose troubles with drugs and alcohol were common knowledge, is best known by the mainstream for his soundtrack contributions to Good Will Hunting. His song "Miss Misery" was nominated for an Oscar in 1998. His fingers skipped about the guitar frets with a bewitching grace. His voice whispered sad stories you knew were true. His music was a gift; his death, a tragedy.

 

*BT*

Aileen Gallagher, author of three children's books, (and another one, about muckraking, on the way!) writes Weekly Rundown every Friday.