Weekly Daily Brickbats Archive 2009 March 1-31

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Where's My Car?

Chris and Mike Thompson weren't happy when they found the wheels and tires of their Audi had been stolen and the car was sitting on the street on cinder blocks. They filed a police report and waited on replacement tires. But before the tires came, the Washington, D.C., Department of Public Works had the car towed, on the cinder blocks. Thompson said the car suffered about $20,000 in damage while being dragged to the impound lot.

What Were They Smoking?

When a police helicopter's infrared cameras picked up a heat image from Colin Rowe's workshop in West Yorkshire, England, police were convinced he was growing marijuana in there. But when they knocked down the door and searched the place, they found no drugs, only a wood-burning stove Rowe uses to heat the building when he's working on cars.

We Tax Harder

Chicago has started to tax transactions outside its city limits. The city's Department of Revenue has told rental car companies in a six-county area surrounding Chicago that it is presuming that all car rentals are subject to the city's 8 percent tax. That means rental companies outside the city will have to collect the tax and send it to the city. City officials say that if the companies photocopy the renter's driver's license, get him to sign a sworn statement he won't spend more than 50 percent of his time driving in Chicago and send all that in, they won't have to collect the tax on that rental.

Bite This

Florida has become the latest state to ban fish pedicures. Asian spas have long used some species of fish to nibble dead skin on customers' bodies. But at least five states have banned the practice, saying it's impossible to disinfect fish between pedicures.

Don't Startle the Teachers

Paula Anderson asked students in her communication course at Central Connecticut State University to make an oral presentation on a "relevant issue in the media." John Wahlberg talked about campus violence and how allowing students to carry weapons might have stopped some campus shootings earlier. That night, campus police asked Wahlberg to come in. They had a list of weapons registered to him and began grilling him about where he kept them. It turns out that his teacher had filed a complaint claiming Wahlberg's talk had "scared" other students.

Butt Out

Lazaris Michael, 76, had the bad luck to be walking down the street in England when police got into a scuffle with two shoplifters they were trying to arrest. In the melee, Michael had a cigarette knocked from his hand. Before he could pick it up, a local warden gave him a £60 fine for littering. A spokesman for the Thanet Council says the city has a zero tolerance policy on litter and the warden acted appropriately.