The Portland Oregonian has stopped using the names of sports teams that might offend ethnic groups. Editors won't discuss the new policy, but it doesn't seem to apply to all groups equally. The only names specifically banned are "Braves," "Redskins," "Indians," and "Redmen." (The paper now refers to "the Atlanta baseball team," for example, not to "the Atlanta Braves.") Meanwhile, the Vikings will still be sullying the reputations of Scandinavians in Minnesota, the Fighting Irish will still be perpetuating the image of the angry mick in South Bend, and the Los Angeles Dodgers will still be an affront to Democratic presidential candidates.
Meanwhile, the Oregon legislature is considering a bill that would require people living in houses designated as historical monuments to open their homes, free of charge, to the public.
In California, U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner William Allen is running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. Allen is both a conservative and a Christian, but apparently neither conservative enough nor Christian enough to suit God. It seems a group called the Christian Political Leaders in California wrote a letter to Allen warning that his candidacy indirectly aids "the forces of darkness" and that he would be disciplined by God "however he sees fit." Some of the group's members have ties to one of Allen's opponents, Rep. William Dannemeyer.
A group of motorcyclists has filed suit challenging California's new mandatory-helmet law. A Sikh contends that the law forces him to violate his faith by removing his turban; a hard-of-hearing man says the law is biased against the handicapped because helmets generate head-pounding feedback from his hearing aids. But Assemblyman Richard Floyd (D–Gardena), the concerned legislator who authored the law, dismisses the suit. Regarding the Sikh, Floyd said, "Quite frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. He can wrap his turban around his helmet." As for the hard-of-hearing man, Floyd said, "As far as I'm concerned, that SOB can walk."
In Greenfield, California (it's been a silly month for the state), city planners now require builders to put two bicycles in every new home. The city wants to reduce smog by encouraging people to bike. Greenfield has one stoplight, 8,000 residents, and a city council with too much time on its hands.
And all over the state of California, members of the California Teachers Association are trying to sabotage efforts to put a school-voucher initiative on the November ballot. David J. Harner, head of the group sponsoring the initiative, says that CTA members are threatening people who sign the initiative petition and physically blocking people from signing petitions. In one case, he says, CTA members actually formed a human chain around the petition. Threats? Physical confrontations? Civics classes in California must be interesting.
A few years ago, the Italian socialists got porn star Cicciolina a seat in parliament. In a possible effort to catch up, the neofascist MSI party is now running a topless model for a seat in the legislature. Pollsters say the model, Alessandra Mussolini (who is also the granddaughter of a former European leader), has a good chance of winning.
Washington City Paper editor Jack Shafer reports that he recently got a phone call from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, the left-wing press critics. FAIR is checking into rumors that Washington Post writer Sally Quinn might be having an affair with former Post editor Ben Bradlee. Shafer said he didn't know anything about an affair, but Bradlee and Quinn have been married to each other for 13 years.