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Neckties and naps

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There's a bit of urban folklore that says: "Satan wears a suit and tie, and Satan never sleeps." I've came across two recent news items that I think not only confirm the truth of this saying, but also indicate that Satan is winning against the forces of good.

Item No. 1 comes from the Knight Ridder news service, which informs us that the business suit is back — back with a vengeance. In this case, the devil is implementing his torturous will through George W. Bush, the demise of dot-coms and the resurgence of corporate autocracy.

Start with Little George. In an effort to look like an adult, he wears a suit and tie to the office every day and has decreed that all other White House employees must do the same.

Then, with the recent dot-com meltdown, the laid-back, express-yourself-while-you-get-rich dress ethic of the techies' world is now being choked off by tech executives demanding that employees come to work in ties.

Following suit, uptight corporate chieftains are even canceling dress-down Fridays, claiming that casual dress encouraged tardiness, absenteeism, and "overall workplace laxity." So button down, shut up and keep your nose to the grindstone, you drones.

Item No. 2 is from the Miami Herald, which reports on Satan's work in Nicaragua. Asserting that the new global economy demands a more regimented work force, Nicaraguan officials have terminated the siesta. Yes, the age-old practice of people taking off a couple of hours in the sweltering afternoon for lunch and a nap es finito. Now, the government demands that its workers be on the job from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., with no lunch breaks. Well, then they can always grab a siesta after work, right? Not in the new work-till-you-drop global economy. The Nicaraguan chamber of commerce says devilishly that the earlier quitting time will allow people to work a second job.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... The hell with the devil — our world needs more siestas and fewer suits. Jim Hightower's latest book, If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates, has been released in a fully revised and updated paperback edition. E-mail

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