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The Cheat Sheet

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1 Researchers from Cornell University have prowled the swamplands of central Arkansas but have found no trace of the ivory-billed woodpecker. Once thought extinct, the bird was supposedly spotted -- and even heard -- by other searchers two years ago. Considering that poachers kill elephants for their ivory tusks, maybe this wily bird is avoiding humans for the same reason.

2 Catholics carry signs and even hold prayer vigils to protest the showing of The Da Vinci Code outside the Paradiso cinema. It is a book of fiction, people. Calm down.

3 A proposed bill to defeat the so-called estate tax -- which Senator Bill Frist has described as "the most offensive tax of all" -- will affect 362 people in the entire state of Tennessee. In other words, just 362 people in the Volunteer State make enough money to be affected by the tax ... and one of them just happens to be Senator Frist. Imagine that.

4 A recent report shows that violent crime in our area has increased in about every category possible. Meanwhile, the City Council rejects a proposed pay raise of just 1 percent for the Memphis Police Department. Does anyone see something wrong here?

5 Fox television decides not to pick up Southern Comfort, a pilot filmed in Memphis, for a TV series next fall. Supposedly, Fox executives didn't find the show "violent or edgy" enough. Boy, if that's all that matters, those guys would have passed on I Love Lucy and The Waltons.

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