Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "California's new governor," Oct. 4, 2003

House arrest

Murder suspect Brandon Kent Henderson picked the wrong house when he tried to steal a car. Phoenix-area homeowner Jim Cook was hosting a Bible study-and the group chased down the perp. The six men were discussing Bible prophecy when they heard a noise coming from the garage. They discovered Mr. Henderson trying to back away in Mr. Cook's car. Mr. Henderson then ditched the car and tried to flee on foot, but the group tackled him and held him down until police arrived. The six had no idea that Mr. Henderson was wanted for murder and armed robbery. "We thought he was just a two-bit crook," group member Tony Smith told The Arizona Republic.

Ball and chains

Marcus Tian Washington will never forget Sept. 22, 2003. It was the day he was married to his girlfriend and sentenced to extra prison time-by the same judge. After adding 6-23 months to Mr. Washington's current prison sentence, Chester County (Pa.) Judge Paula Francisco Ott ordered that his right hand be uncuffed so the wedding could proceed. Mr. Washington had been caught hiding marijuana while serving a 4- to 8-year prison term.

Flying the coop

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The Dixie Chicks were a little bit country; now they're a little bit rock 'n' roll. The trio told German newspaper Der Spiegel last week that they were leaving country music. "We now consider ourselves part of the big rock 'n' roll family." "We don't feel part of the country scene any longer," said fiddler Martie Maguire. "It can't be our home anymore." She said that the group was hurt when country singers failed to give them support when lead singer Natalie Maines criticized President Bush and the war in Iraq during a London concert. She cited how rock stars, though, like Bruce Springsteen, came to their defense. Another factor in the group's decision to leave country music, she said, was that they struck out at the Country Music Awards: "Instead, we won three Grammys against much stronger competition." It probably did not help that the CMA not only shut them out of the awards, despite numerous nominations, but that those in attendance-not just musicians but producers, songwriters, recording engineers, and radio executives-actually booed at every mention of their name. (See WORLD, May 31.) Ms. Maines also told Der Spiegel that the controversy helped them understand their genre better, making them realize just how conservative the country music industry is. In contrast, rock musicians and actors are expected to be liberal. The Dixie Chicks built their enormous success by putting contemporary structures on the foundations of traditional country music. Does this mean they will change their musical style, getting rid of the fiddle and banjo just to defy supporters of the Iraq war? Or will they keep their signature twang, while trying to move with the Eminem crowd? Artistic integrity means refusing to compromise one's art in the face of commercial or political pressures. What is it when artists reject their art to make a political point?

Chronicles confirmed

In what Hershel Shanks, editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, calls "one of the dramatic confirmations of the Bible," scientists last month confirmed that the "Siloam tunnel" in Jerusalem was built around the time of King Hezekiah, as recorded in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. Some scholars had argued that the tunnel, which connects water from outside the walls of old Jerusalem to a pool inside the city, was much newer than the Bible records. Geologists from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, using radioisotope dating on stalactite samples and plant material from the tunnel, found that those scholars were mistaken. "It's nice to have scientific confirmation for what the vast majority of biblical scholars and archaeologists believe," said Mr. Shanks.

Keystone crooks

"Divide and conquer" may not have been the plan of a Mishawaka, Ind., 7-Eleven clerk during a robbery attempt last month, but that was the result. After two would-be robbers gave the clerk a note, she told one of them that she didn't understand what the note said. He responded that he didn't either because his accomplice had written it. The crooks began to argue, and then left the store-sans loot.

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