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For the week of April 26 through May 2, 2000

Don’t laugh—Earl Holding may be on to something!

Commentary by PAT MURPHY


Fie on naysayers! Fie on provincial thinking! Fie on fears of plagiarism!

Sun Valley Co.’s Earl Holding, a master at making one dollar do the work of two, may have something in possibly re-naming his Utah Snowbasin ski operation as another "Sun Valley."

Jeepers, imagine lackluster places with unappealing names, no historical cachet or meticulously created reputations suddenly booming if re-named overnight as glamorous geographical clones of the genuine article.

That pimple of a ski mountain outside Boise now known as Bogus Mountain could be re-named Baldy (after Sun Valley’s famous ski mountain). Skiers from afar not knowing any better could be lured by Boise’s promoters to the bogus Baldy, thinking they’d skied one of the world’s best.

And what a way to ease overcrowding by foreign tourists at Grand Canyon. Those big crevices outside of Lubbock, Tex., could pass for a canyon to tourists from Fiji and Morocco, if renamed Grand Canyon.

And just think of expropriating the names of Miami Beach, Malibu and Cape Cod and giving them to dismal spots and a fresh new image.

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For those who stubbornly believe that pro athletes who run afoul of the law are just average guys gone bad, a new book about darlings of TV who drive expensive cars, live in expensive homes and are "heroes" to America’s kids should end the fantasy.

"Pros and Cons: The Criminals Who Play In The NFL" documents the police rap sheets of dozens of NFL players —from homicide and rape to drunk driving, drugs and spousal assault.

Authors Jeff Benedict and Don Yeager conclude that 21 percent of NFL players—one out of five!—have been charged with serious crimes.

And for first-rate hypocrisy, there’s Green Bay tight end Mark Chmura, a conservative "family values" father of two children who refused to attend a 1997 White House reception because he considered President Clinton to be immoral.

Chmura, 31, (ho-hum) was charged April 11 with sexual assault on a 17-year-old babysitter he allegedly lured into a bathroom during a party and seduced into intercourse.

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Republicans who promote law-and-order images must have a terrible time wrestling with their consciences.

Take Trent Lott, majority leader of the U.S. Senate, the world’s most powerful legislative body; and George W. Bush, who wants to be president; plus a whole string of lesser light Republicans in Congress.

All of them either explicitly said, or implicitly suggested, it’s okay to defy the law: anyone who decides questions on the U.S. Census form are "intrusive" should not answer them.

The fact that the Constitution requires the census every 10 years; that federal law requires residents to comply; that Congress approved the questions before some members began pandering to right-wing crazies—that doesn’t seem to concern politicians who take oaths to uphold the law.

But then, maybe that explains why no one ever expects much more from politicians.

 

Pat Murphy is the retired publisher of the Arizona Republic and a former radio commentator.

 

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