Brickbats

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? Miguel Gonzales of Honolulu was sentenced to an anger-management class after he assaulted his girlfriend. It turned out to be a death sentence. He showed up drunk for one class, and his instructor allegedly got angry and beat him, leaving him brain dead. The instructor, Charles Mahuka, was on parole for attempted murder.

? On CNN's Inside Politics, presidential hopeful Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Tex.) joked that the "people of New Hampshire talk funny and therefore they think I talk funny." But New Hampshire Rep. Bill Zeliff didn't appreciate the joke. He called it "an insult to the people of New Hampshire" and demanded a "Texas-size apology."

? Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) was speaking to a group of high school students, reports Playboy. The talk turned to his opposition to federal funding for art that shows people doing "offensive things." Someone asked him for an example of these offensive things. The congressman reportedly replied with "an 11-letter word for anal intercourse." He later told reporters that a euphemism just wouldn't have had the necessary impact.

? In Newark, New Jersey, a band performing in a high school talent show was suspended from school and hauled off to the police station. Their offense? They chanted the word "Oi"–a cockney interjection that's used in a variety of circumstances, but as a chant has become associated with music liked by racist skinheads. But that isn't why the band was suspended. It seems some people in the audience thought they were chanting "Oy," a Yiddish expression of dismay. They were called anti-Semites and punished. But all turned out well. The police, not knowing what they were supposed to do with them, let the boys go. The American Civil Liberties Union got on the case, and the suspension was lifted. And by week's end, the teenagers were performing their new song "Oi is not a Crime" on MTV.

? The Oakland Tribune reports that the city pays about $9,500 a year for cellular phones for its five council members. The phones were supposed to be used only for emergencies, but the members often used them for personal calls, including long-distance chats with relatives. Council members wonder why people are upset. After all, there's no official policy against using the phones for personal calls. Said Councilman Nate Miley, "Until there's a policy, there can't be an abuse."

? In San Francisco, Joni Lynn Yorks has been arrested for filing tax returns listing fictitious dependents. Yorks is a special agent for the IRS investigating tax-evasion cases.

? Cook Michael Maxon became known for creating bizarre hamburgers using such ingredients as eggplant and hummus. The burgers were so popular he started his own restaurant called the Crazy Burger Cafe. You guessed it: He is now under fire from advocates for the mentally ill. They want him to change the name of his restaurant and get rid of items such as the Neurotic Burger, the Loco Burger, and the Just Plain Nuts Burger.

? The Washington Post reports that eight percent of the District of Columbia police force is under investigation for possible criminal or departmental violations.

? About a year ago, someone stole Washington, D.C., resident Darryl Cox's auto tags and put them on another car. He alerted the police, but he began to receive notices that he owed money on tickets placed on the car with his stolen tag. So far, he has $400 in citations. When Cox asked how to get rid of the tickets, he was told the only way was to pay the fines and add a $10 fee for each ticket he wanted to challenge. The traffic board will review his appeal. Incidentally, neither Cox nor his counsel will be allowed to be at the appeals hearing.

? Juanita Wilson had just gotten out of prison and wanted to get back together with her ex-boyfriend. When she found out he was seeing another woman and didn't want her, Wilson did what any woman who outweighs her man by 40 pounds would do: She sat on him until he promised to take her back. Wilson has been charged with assault, reckless endangerment, and stalking.

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