[Note: All links are to web sites outside Reason.com and were functioning at the time of publication. Reason is not responsible for maintaining outside files, and some links may no longer function.]
Defense of Marriage Act
Police in Dubai raided an alleged gay wedding and arrested more than two dozen men. Homosexual behavior is banned under the Islamic law goervning the United Arab Emirates, and the Interior Ministry says the men are being screened psychologically and may be given hormone treatments to deter them from homosexual behavior. They also face up to five yers in prison and lashings if convicted.
Who Made Chuck Berry Principal?
When eighth-grader Mac Bedor found a camera in the ceiling of the boys' bathroom at the Jasper County (Georgia) Comprehensive School, he and took it out and took it home to his mother. She called the principal and found that he had put it there. The mother says her son was then suspended for taking school property. The principal orginally said he intended to put the camera back in the bathroom, to catch vandals. But Jasper County superintendent Jay Brinson says it won't be put back in.
Every Breath You Take (12/28)
When another student accused Carter Barron of drinking at school, administrators at Georgia Peachtree Ridge High School had Barron take a breathalyzer test. School policy says Barron had a right to refuse the test, but he says he wasn't made aware of that right. Nor were his parents informed about the test. It showed no trace of alcohol. But when Barron's bag was searched for booze, officials found a cigarette lighter, and he was give a week of in-school suspension for that. The student who accused him of drinking wasn't punished.
Don't Look Now (12/27)
Provincial authorities in Manitoba, Canada, say they will fine the Maples Surgical Center. Not for botched surgery or unsanitary conditions, but for charging patients for MRI scans. Government statistics show Manitobans wait an average of eight to 15 weeks for an MRI in the government-funded system, and that's after a specialist says it's needed. Scheduling that visit can also take months. But Maples says it will allow patients to get an MRI within 48 hours, if they are willing to pay for it. The government says that violates the Canada Health Act. "If the minister of health wishes to be heartless enough to sanction people who provide health care to people who need it, then that's certainly his prerogative," said Dr. Mark Godley, medical director for the clinic. But Godley says the clinic will fight any sanctions in court.
Drunk With Power (12/26)
Pima County, Arizona, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik wants to crack down on drunk driving by targeting drivers who aren't drunk. Dupnik has called for a law banning drinking and driving, even if the driver isn't impaired. Not surprisingly, his proposal has the support of officials with Mothers Against Drunk Driving as well as the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.
Just a Little Donation
If you are driving through Adams County in Washington state, you may get a speeding ticket. Seattle's KIRO-TV reports the area is "notorious for that." But the station found out that the local prosecutor may waive that ticket—if you make a donation to a local museum, which just happens to be run by a former employee of the prosecutor, an area animal shelter or the local DARE program. The station reports that prosecutor Randy Flyck could not immediately say how much money those organizations had collected with his office's help.
Oooohh, Fudge! (12/22)
Just in time for Christmas, the Waukegan, Illinois, city council is considering a bill that would require the registration of BB guns. The council has asked staff to draft a bill mandating that stores provide police with the names and addresses of anyone who buys air guns, BB guns and any weapon powered by carbon dioxide. Public Safety Committee chairman Sam Cunningham says some senior citizens are scared by some of the BB guns. "If we see windows shot out we'll know where to start looking," said Police Chief William Biang. So presumably the next time a window is shot out the police will question every 12-year-old boy in Waukegan.
France, You Ignorant Slut
Rapper Monsieur R faces up to three years in prison and a 75,000-euro fine for referring to France as a "slut" and a "bitch" and saying "I piss on Napoleon and General de Gaulle" on his latest album. Daniel Mach, a member of parliament, filed a complaint against the rapper, whose real name is Richard Makela, and a court has agreed to investigate the matter. Mach calls the lyrics "an attack on the dignity of France and of the state."
Mo' Money, Mo' Money (12/20)
"We don't want to write tickets for the sake of writing tickets. We do traffic enforcement for one reason—safety said Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Police Chief Jack Beaton. But facing a budget crunch, the city council has a different take on the issue and has voted to require the department to come up with an extra $1 million in "revenue." Council member Bob Hawkesworth, who pushed for the additional money, says the plan will give people a bigger incentive to drive safely.
Five Brides for Five Strangers
Almost 10 years ago, Amna Niazi, now 22, was married to a man she has never met. A village council in Pakistan ordered her and four other girls, all cousins, to be married to males from another family after the father of one of the girls killed another man. Now, their husbands want their brides to come live with them. The girls have refused, and the same village council has ordered that they should be abducted and raped or killed for refusing to go. And it has pronounced a death sentence on their fathers for refusing to turn them over. The Pakistani legislature has banned so-called honor marriages, but the law is widely ignored by local village councils.
The Torch I Bear Is Scorching Me
For 20 years, Looe, England, has hosted a torchlight procession for Christmas. Not this year. Although no one has ever been injured in the event, local officials have banned torches from the procession, citing safety concerns. They have, however, bought about 500 glow sticks for marchers to carry.
The Bitch Is Back (12/15)
For years, Lois Tobin has given out T-shirts and other mementos with her bar's name—The Bitch's Corner Bars - to customers. But when she replaced her outside sign, which had read simply Corner Bar, with the full name, Lingle, Wyoming, police came calling. They gave Tobin a citation for violating the town's obscenity ordinance. She faces a $200 fine. But her attorney says she will fight the citation. "'Bitch' is not a profane or obscene word so far as I can determine," said Jerry Smith.
Don't Do the Time, If You Haven't Done the
Allysan Isaac spent three months in jail and a year on work release for possession of a controlled substance. Only after she had completed her sentence did anyone notice that the drug found in her possession, an anti-anxiety drug called Buspirone, is not a controlled substance. "You were incarcerated for a case that was not a crime," said Mesa County, Colorado, District Judge Brian Flynn, the judge who incarcerated her. Neither the judge, the district attorney, law enforcement nor her first defense attorney could explain why no one realized she hadn't broken the law. But Isaac's legal troubles aren't over. While on work release, she received the drug Cloezepam, which is a controlled substance, and she was caught sharing a pill with another inmate. She was sentenced to probation and mental health treatment.
Green Acres (12/13)
Zimbabwean farmers say armed police are seizing tractors, graders, and other supplies and equipment and selling it at auction. They say they don't know where the money from those sales is going. Nor is it clear whether the seizures are sanctioned by the central government. Some report being show months-old letters authorizing the seizures signed by a minister who is no longer in charge of land reform.