Art

Brickbats

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? Workers in Yakima, Washington, forgot just one thing when finishing a building last year. They forgot to connect the building's sewer lines to the main sewage pipe. For almost a year, the pipes filled with raw sewage until they couldn't hold anymore, and the building's toilets basically exploded. The building housed the city's public works administration.

? No one will ever accuse Fresno, California's Women International Network of holding a grudge. The women's group selected as speakers at a charity dinner convicted rapist Mike Tyson and Benjamin Chavis, who was ousted as head of the NAACP following a financial scandal that arose after a former aide accused him of sexual harassment.

? In Moscow, the entire 10th precinct of the city's police force has been suspended for pandering. Reportedly, officers even drove hookers to their clients in police cars.

? A former assistant stage director has filed suit against New York City's Metropolitan Opera. She claims that she was fired because she is not a homosexual man.

? Police had an easy time finding the man who robbed a restaurant in Pittsburgh. He had left his real name, address, and Social Security number on a job application he filled out just before knocking off the place.

? Two white officers in New York's Grand Central Terminal grabbed businessman Earl Graves Jr. and frisked him. They had been alerted to look out for an armed 5-foot-10 black man with a mustache. Graves is 6 feet 4 inches and clean shaven. But he is black.

? A senior official of the Mormon Church warned followers against patronizing groups that purport to enhance one's self-esteem. Instead, he urged Mormons to live their lives according to biblical teaching. So the church has now been sued for $189 million by the owners of Life Management International, a self-esteem company. Although their company was not mentioned by name, the owners claim injurious falsehood, defamation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

? Our Hypocrites of the Month Award goes to CBS Sports and announcer Pat O'Brien. The network ran a hatchet-job piece on the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a no-holds-barred martial arts contest. The piece, which decried the alleged brutality of the pay-per-view event, highlighted some of the tournament's bloodiest moments over the air on a Sunday afternoon. Then O'Brien urged viewers to stay tuned for an upcoming boxing match. This as boxer Jimmy Garcia lay dying in a hospital from injuries suffered in a nationally televised boxing match.

? Three inmates have sued the Mini-Cassia Jail in Idaho, charging that jailers' refusal to give them a midnight snack was cruel and unusual punishment.

? The manager of a Carvel's ice cream store in Southington, Connecticut, has been suspended. He refused to write "Happy Birthday" in Spanish on a cake, telling the customer, "This is America."

? School officials in Wheeling, West Virginia, know just how to deal with students caught smoking or chewing tobacco on school grounds. They take them to court. School officials there now file complaints against those who violate school policies against tobacco. The maximum fine is $5.00 plus court costs.

? The National Rifle Association is all for the Second Amendment. But it seems to be squeamish about the rest of the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment seems to give them particular problems. James Warner, assistant general counsel to the NRA, was set to testify, as a private citizen, against a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning. Then Rep. Gerald Solomon (R-N.Y.), a sponsor of the amendment, got on the phone to the NRA to complain, and Warner cancelled his testimony at the last minute.

? In Camden, New Jersey, the family of an alleged killer who fell to his death while trying to escape jail has filed suit against the facility. They charge officials with failing to maintain a reasonably safe facility.