Brickbats

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In Orland Park, Illinois, a mother has filed a $225,000 suit against a local high school for unreasonable search of her 16-year-old son. After noticing a suspiciously large bulge in the crotch of the boy's pants, school officials thought he might have stashed drugs there. But a strip search revealed nothing but teenage boy. Trying to explain the mistake to the mother, a sensitive teacher said, "I don't know how to put this to you delicately, but have you ever heard of [porn star] John Holmes?"

Columnist and backyard marksman Carl Rowan pooh-poohs the idea that Clarence Thomas is the best man for the Supreme Court. "Clarence Thomas is the best only at his ability to bootlick for Ronald Reagan and George Bush." And if anyone knows about licking the boots of white men, it's the man who spent the most important years of the civil rights movement as spokesman for the State Department and ambassador to Finland.

In Massachusetts, the mother of a boy who died after crashing a car he stole is suing General Motors and Consolidated Rail Corp. The suit claims that the defendants or their agents negligently left the keys in a car in an auto freight yard. The suit claims the defendants "knew or should have known" that people might trespass at the yard because six weeks before stealing the car involved in the crash, the boy had stolen another car from the same yard. The nerve of these big corporations.

The thong wars continue in Florida. Following complaints about bikini-clad sidewalk hot dog vendors (See Brickbats, May), the Palm Beach county commission tried to find a constitutional way to cover up the ladies. Commissioners now propose to punish those "appearing" to be naked in public. If the ordinance passes, Palm Beach could be come the first place in America to jail someone for the "appearance" of impropriety.

Meanwhile, the police in Hudson, Florida, have their own crime wave to worry about. Seems that retirees gather on the beach to play penny-ante pinochle. Police busted seven men who regularly wager as much as $2.00 a week. Each faces a $500 fine.

Congress may not be the dumbest organization in Washington, D.C., after all. District police ticketed a car at least once and perhaps as many as three times during a 15-hour period. That's not unusual; the car was in a no-parking zone. What was unusual is that the car's engine was idling and a corpse shot in the head was in the rear seat. Only after a passerby noticed the corpse and notified police did officers suspect anything was wrong.

Also in the running for the District's Dumbest is District Cablevision. After the teenager mowing one District woman's lawn almost strangled himself on a low-slung wire leading to the house, the woman asked the cable company to rehang the wire. When she got home on the day the work was to be done, the woman found the wire still too low and a note from the work crew. The wire was fine, it said, but her house needed to be raised.

In Los Angeles, a judge has found the trendy nightclub Vertigo in violation of state civil-rights laws for turning away those who aren't smartly dressed. The club's lawyer said that making those with no fashion sense a protected class of people "trivializes the Constitution."

California civil-rights laws have also squashed the AMC theater chain's plans to ban children under age 3 from its screenings of PG-13 and R-rated movies. After a parent threatened to sue for discrimination, AMC's lawyers advised it to halt the policy.

NEXT: Bad Trade

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