Weekly Daily Brickbats Archive 2008 January 1-31

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Running on Empty

Lancashire, England, police fined Ken Hardman £30 for to warm up his car on a cold day. Police say leaving your car running invites thieves to take it. But Hardman says he's able to lock the doors of his Mercedes even when the engine is running, making it more difficult to steal.

No Tea

Bob Munley says a healthy diet and drinking Kombucha tea helps him cope with epilepsy. And when he saw that no one was making the stuff commercially in Columbus, Ohio, he saw an opportunity. He now makes about 10 gallons of the stuff a day and sells it to local health-food stores and cafes as well as at a local community market. But the Ohio Department of Agriculture says he must stop selling the tea since he brews it at home. Officials say he must move his production to a commercial kitchen, but Munley says he can't afford that.

That Smell

A Frederick County, Maryland, sheriff's deputy had an unusual reason for stopping a car driven by Mauricio Arellano. The car, say officials, had too many air fresheners hanging from the mirror. Arellano says he believes he was stopped because he and the other occupants of the car are Hispanic. The deputy asked each for ID. The passengers produced Marylan driver's licenses. Arellano, who is in the United States on a temporary visa, showed the deputy a Mexican driver's license and an international drivers license, which, according to The Frederick News-Post, allows him legally to operate a vehicle in the state. But the deputy still arrested Arellano for not having proper ID.

Standing Up to Bullies

Videotape from Williamson County, Tennessee's Fairview High School shows part of the story. It shows a girl grabbing junior Rachel Davis from behind. Davis walks away and the girl follows and confronts her again. Davis walks away once more, out of camera range, and the other girl follows. That's when the other girl struck Davis on the face with a bag or purse, lacerating her jaw, according to Davis father. The two girls ended up on the ground wrestling before a teacher broke it up. The other girl was charged with simple assault. And she received a five-day suspension from school. The school also suspended Davis for five days under its zero-tolerance policy. That policy bans fighting, even in self defense.

Don't Go There

Steve Kahn lives and works in Massachusetts. He also keeps a private plane there that he sometime flies to Maine to pick up patients in rural areas and bring them to Boston, free of charge, as part of the Angel Flight program. He also sometimes flies the plane to a vacation home in Maine. And those flights, say Maine officials, make the plane subject to that state's use tax. They've sent Kahn a $26,000 tax bill. The Associated Press reports there's a growing effort by several states to collect sales and use taxes on planes that fly into those states, even when the planes are bought and based in other states.