Brickbats

A police officer in Haverford Township, Pennsylvania, put some fear into seven youngsters selling lemonade. He accused them of peddling without a license and asked the mother of four of them to put a stop to it. But it turns out the law requiring a license doesn’t apply to vendors under 16, so the business was perfectly legal. Deputy Chief of Police John Viola said the “officer would have no way of knowing this on the street.”

The British government has told communications companies to keep track of all Internet contacts anyone makes—including email messages, website visits, and use of social networking sites—and organize them in case law enforcement agencies need the information. The government says people should not worry because the databases will merely record contacts, not the content of communications.

Law enforcement officers across Massachusetts regularly use the state criminal records system to snoop on celebrities, according to a state audit. For example, officers have looked for information on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady 968 times.

British officials say they will provide data collected by their planned national ID cards to tax authorities. That will allow tax officials to know each time the card is used to make a large purchase, open a bank account, or complete some other transaction that requires identification.

After Hollywood, Florida, police officer Joel Francisco rear-ended Alexandra Torrensvilas’s car at an intersection, he radioed for backup. Three more cops arrived, and they quickly began discussing ways to pin the accident on Torrensvilas and charge her with DUI. They were so eager to set her up, one of them forgot to turn off the audio on his dashboard camera and accidentally recorded the conversation.

New Zealand officials made a small error in their response to an elderly Indian man’s immigration application. The man had indicated he had atrophied testes, so immigration officials asked him to consult an astrologist to see if the condition would require treatment. They say they meant to tell the man to see a urologist.

The Swedish government has barred a family from giving their new daughter the middle name Michael, in honor of Michael Jackson. Officials say giving a girl a boy’s name is inappropriate.

A broken road reflector ripped a hole in one of the tires on Paul Holden’s car, so he filed a claim with the state of Ohio and paid the $25 filing fee. The state denied Holden’s claim. He figured he was out $25 and the cost of a new tire. Wrong. The state billed him an additional $22 for the investigation and $6 for the postage for the letters it sent him. And just in case he didn’t get the point, it sent him a letter saying it would garnish his wages and bank account, seize his personal property, and foreclose on any real estate he might own in order to recoup the money if he didn’t pay.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement