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The catch is right there on the information label: "Olestra may cause abdominal cramping and loose stools." Both Frito-Lay and P&G claim their test marketing hasn't turned up any unforeseen health problems. Nevertheless, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the watchdog organization that warned Americans against the fat content of movie popcorn, is lobbying the FDA to rescind its approval of olestra, claiming that the additive is not as harmless as claimed.
Consumers nationwide should be able to decide for themselves by 1998. And they will have something else to consider besides the label's warning. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a 14-oz. bag of regular Ruffles potato chips costs $2.99. A 13-oz. bag of MAX Ruffles in the same store sells for $4.19.
LIVE FREE OR DISRUPT COURT
It can be easier to end an armed standoff than a delusion. Last week Emmett Clark, 68, was in court to hear a new set of indictments against him and 13 of the 24 self-styled Freemen of Jordan, Montana. Clark, a leader of the group, listened carefully to the litany--false tax claims, bank fraud, threats against federal officials, firearms violations--and then refused counsel. "All these things are better done by a lawyer than a lay person," admonished U.S. Magistrate Richard Anderson. "This isn't a game, Mr. Clark." To which Clark replied, "Well, I haven't granted you venue or jurisdiction yet."
Talk about stubborn (or, if you prefer, principled). After an 81-day siege on the former Clark farm last spring and another six months in jail, most of the Freemen have remained faithful to their professed belief in the Federal Government's illegitimacy. They have largely refused counsel, objecting--and belching loudly--at pretrial hearings. Two weeks ago, a federal judge authorized "such reasonable force as necessary" to take their finger and palm prints. Trials are expected to begin no earlier than March 1997.
There is no peace for the loved ones of Jessica Dubroff. The death of the seven-year-old pilot, who had been attempting to become the youngest person ever to fly cross-country, tore at the nation's heartstrings after her Cessna went down shortly after take-off during an icy rainstorm near Cheyenne, Wyoming, last April. Perhaps inevitably, Jessica's survivors are heading to court: her stepmother, Melinda Dubroff, is suing Jessica's natural mother, Lisa Blair Hathaway, over the life-insurance benefits of Jessica's father, who also died in the crash. Hathaway, for her part, has filed a claim against the proceeds from a policy in which Melinda Dubroff is the beneficiary.