Swedish authorities recently sentenced eight teenaged criminals to a six-month, $80,000 rehabilitation cruise to the Caribbean. The youngsters were convicted of assault, theft, burglary, and vandalism. But not to fear. Three social workers will accompany the misunderstood and misguided youths, teaching them constructive ways to deal with their aggression. Now, let's get this straight: Crime does not pay.
Only in California, Part I. The city of Pasadena has a problem. City law specifically states that Armenians are a "protected minority," entitled to the same affirmative action benefits as blacks and Hispanics. Unfortunately, no one knows how many Armenians live in Pasadena, so the city can't set accurate goals. The solution: a special census that will cost somewhere between $90,000 and $210,000. Wait till the Turks hear about this.
The Pentagon has found religion. Actually, it has found a couple of them. The Air Force recently gave permission to Airman Patricia Hutchins, a witch (her own description, not ours), to observe her faith's ceremonies and holidays. Meanwhile, a Defense Department audit has found that it accidentally paid a monastery in De Pere, Wisconsin, $141,000 last year. The monks claim they never did any work for the Pentagon and never received a check. It seems that the military doesn't treat all religions equally. Thousands of dollars for Catholic priests, but witches only get holidays off.
Ah, the beauty of nature. The Yosemite Art Museum removed all but two of the outdoor nude studies it commissioned from photographer Ken Marcus. Park officials thought the photos were just a little too natural. The photos were replaced with pictures of dilapidated park buildings.
Only in California, Part II. Two police officers in Hayward beat a blind man with their nightsticks after mistaking his collapsible cane for an illegal martial arts weapon. It all began when the officers spotted what they thought were a pair of nunchakus (pieces of wood connected by a chain) in David St. John's back pocket. Since the cops were in uniform, they didn't bother identifying themselves when they demanded that he hand over the contents of his pockets. St. John thought he was being accosted by young toughs and tried to defend himself. "I did what my self-defense training and my instincts told me to do," said St. John. The officers struggled with the man until a bystander pointed out to them, "He's blind!"
A survey of hotel bills from last year's National Religious Broadcasters Association convention found that 80 percent of them watched an X-rated movie in the privacy of their rooms. Just doing a little research on the enemy, we suppose.
An Ohio postal carrier who called bulk-rate advertising "junk mail" in a newspaper interview and said the best parts of his job were pay day and quitting time was suspended for two weeks without pay. Richard Mendenhall, a 23-year veteran of the Postal Service, was suspended for "conduct unbecoming a postal employee." That's a great attitude to have. Break a package, misplace a letter, hey, accidents happen. But call bulk-rate business mail "junk mail," and buddy, you'll answer to your superiors.
Not even in California. Dr. Seuss, call your office. The Associated Press claims that in Russia, the cat is the hat. Cats are increasingly popular in the Soviet Union. About 30 million people there keep cats as pets, and millions more have an even closer relationship to the little furballs. Cat fur, it seems, makes really great headgear. Just the thing for those long Moscow winters. Purrestroika, anyone?
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".