Balance Sheet

Absurd news bites, served fresh every day.


Fee Simple

The Prescription Drug User Fee Act of 1992 has not resulted in companies buying federal approval of new drugs. A University of Michigan study finds the $1 billion in fees bought big, politically active firms no advantage before the FDA.

Stubborn Ash

The tony Players Club in New York City challenges the city's smoking ban on First Amendment grounds -- as a violation of "expressive association."

High Rolling

On the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers' first flight, Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites becomes the first private company to send up a piloted rocket at supersonic speeds.

International Calamity

Countries with a functioning Net beat back a bid by the U.N. to "manage" the Internet for the good of mankind. Instead, Net operations will be studied, with a report due in 2005. Whew.


An Oslo appeals court upholds a lower court's ruling that Jon Lech Johansen, a.k.a. "DVD Jon," did not intend his DeCSS software to be used to pirate DVDs.

Learning Curve

Some local school systems say "thanks, but no thanks" to No Child Left Behind, preferring to do without federal funds rather than submit to a one-size-fits-all education plan.

Club Rules

Finding that suspicionless drug screenings of students may violate the state constitution, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court allows a challenge by two students to proceed. One justice says the policy asks students to "choose one: your Pennsylvania constitutional right to privacy or the chess club."

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