In October, Los Angeles physician Gershon Hepner pleaded guilty to 25 felony fraud and theft charges, admitting to stealing up to $8 million through false insurance claims. Now Hepner receives state disability payments for the stress he says he suffered since getting caught.
Last year, the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 140, a ballot initiative that limits the number of terms someone may serve in the state legislature and cuts the budget for the legislature by 38 percent. This March, the assembly committee that oversees the state judiciary retaliated by cutting the high court's budget by an equal percentage.
French Culture Minister Jack Lang recently named Sylvester Stallone an officer of the Order of Arts and Letters for his contribution to the cinema. This occurred, of course, before Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was released in Europe.
In Greenville, South Carolina, Al Palanza Jr. got a letter from the county department of social services addressed to his recently deceased brother. It read: "Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances."
George Peach, chief prosecutor for the city of St. Louis, has spent most of his 15 years in office cracking down on obscenity and prostitution. In March, Peach was arrested for solicitation. At first, he denied the charges, but he has now admitted his sins. He says, however, that he still plans to run for re-election later this year. Presumably, he wants to continue his campaign against perverts.
Last month, Brickbats reported that The Oregonian will no longer print Indian nicknames for sports teams. We have since learned that one of the teams affected by this move is the Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon. The school's sports teams—the Braves—will no longer be referred to by their nickname in the state's most important paper.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have found that beef and cheese contain a cancer-fighting compound called conjugated linoleic acid. A quarter pound of ground chuck, for example, contains millions of times more CLA than it has mutagens.
On the other hand, alfalfa sprouts contain a potent natural toxin called canavanine. Esquire magazine reports that in a recent test to determine the effects on monkeys of a diet high in alfalfa sprouts, one-third of the animals developed autoimmune disorders and other significant abnormalities. Jeremy Rifkin probably isn't going to take this well.
In Dayton, Ohio, the U.S. Postal Service is on trial in an employment-discrimination suit. The Postal Service's attorneys, who are based in Philadelphia, had to file documents with the court. The papers had to get to the courthouse absolutely positively overnight, so the attorneys sent them by USPS Express Mail, which promises next-day delivery. You guessed it. The documents actually arrived 10 days later.
Elizabeth Vick has filed suit against the city of Mountain View, California, for damages she suffered while spending the day at a city park. The 52-year-old woman says that she came across a used needle and syringe while flying her kite. She picked up the needle and accidentally stuck herself in the hand. She feels the city is liable because it didn't keep the place cleaner.
Regular Brickbats readers know that Florida is obsessed with buttocks. From Palm Beach to Orlando, local officials have been trying to ban thong bikinis. The latest front in the Butt War is St. Augustine. After several all-night emergency meetings, the St. John's County Commission has passed a law forbidding people from exposing their buttocks. So there is no misunderstanding, the law contains a 136-word definition of buttocks.