Kids, don't throw away those fake I.D.s that make you look older. You may need them someday. To drum up business for his Wayne, New Jersey, drug store, pharmacist Timothy Brophy offered prescription drugs below cost during a 30-day sale. The state charged him with violating the law that prohibits discounting prescriptions to people under age 62. Now the state supreme court must decide whether it's okay to give a discount to someone who's 62, but "grossly unprofessional conduct" if the customer is 61.
Read the Bible. It will set you free. That's what two inmates of a Maryland jail found out when they used the good book to pick the lock on their cell door. "The Bible cover is pliable and yet strong enough to jimmy the lock," says Sheriff Philip McKelvey. "The locking mechanism itself wasn't working properly, and it should not have been able to be jimmied." Freedom was brief, though, as the felons were caught the next day. They could receive 10 more years to continue their religious studies.
Two members of Feminists Fighting Pornography were arrested for violating New York's antiporn law, which they claim is too weak. To help collect petition signatures and donations, the women displayed a picture from a magazine as an example of the kind of thing they want banned. They refused to take it down when residents complained, and police arrested them for violating the state law on public display of sexual material and for third-degree obscenity.
A Connecticut state law requires that 1 percent of the construction costs of public works projects be devoted to artistic improvements. State Rep. Ruth Fahrbach didn't think it was such a bad law, until she noticed that plans for an 800-bed medium-security prison included commissioned artworks worth more than $750,000. "We don't decorate the walls of our prisons with art," she argues. "We have to make a distinction of what is necessary and what is not." She has proposed an amendment to the law, but the bleeding hearts complain that the poor inmates need a dash of color for the their drab prison walls. Meanwhile, Gov. William O'Neill has signed a $247-million deficit-bailout bill that calls for higher taxes on alcohol, cigarettes, and businesses.
The Bush administration has at least one honest cabinet member. Newly appointed Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan admitted to reporters that he doesn't understand how the federales sell and lease land for coal mining and offshore oil drilling. The admission about a major responsibility of his department came after Lujan flip-flopped all over the place during a 35-minute press conference. "I don't know," he finally conceded. "Scratch whatever I said about all that, because I didn't know what I was talking about. I'm just developing as I talk here. I shouldn't be doing that. That's how I get myself into trouble."
Michael Gianakos contends he doesn't owe his $6,700 American Express bill because he used his charge card to pay for prostitutes. "It is axiomatic that a contract which has as its purpose an underlying illegality cannot be enforced by either of the parties," says Gianakos's lawyer. Gianakos racked up charges for "champagne" at the Club Pussycat and the Jewel Box in downtown Baltimore. If a judge buys Gianakos's legal argument, a lawyer for American Express worries that "everyone is going to be lined up [outside the club] with their charge cards in their hands."
The IRS manual concedes that tax collections might drop following a nuclear attack. But once the emergency is over, "operations will be concentrated on collecting the taxes which will produce the greater revenue yield."
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".