? The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms was looking for a cache of illegal arms, but when its agents raided the Mueller family's home one night, they didn't even find a BB gun. Agents in St. Charles, Missouri, broke down the door, held the family at gunpoint, and ripped the place apart. It was only after the raid was nearly finished that they bothered to show the terrified family their warrant. The agents left without so much as a "sorry for the inconvenience." The BATF blames its error on a mistaken tip from an informant.
? A shopowner in Buffalo, New York, wasn't much luckier. A burglar alarm drew three officers to his convenience store. The store's surveillance cameras later revealed that the cops had barely arrived before they started helping themselves, at the store's expense, to snacks. The three police officers were later suspended.
? Officials at St. Joseph's High School in South Bend, Indiana, knew Jody Martinez wasn't a Catholic when they hired him to coach basketball and teach three years ago. That didn't matter then; he was by all accounts a good teacher, a devout Christian, and a good role model. But when officials found out that he was a Catholic before he became a Baptist, they demanded his resignation. Bishop John D'Arcy said, "For him to continue to teach here would be a counter-witness against the mission of our church."
? No sooner had William Luster been hired as transportation commissioner in Boston than he was forced to resign. City authorities didn't find out until they'd put him in traffic safety that he had five tickets and three accidents on his record. But the final straw was the ticket he got for blocking a handicap ramp while he was in town interviewing for the job.
? Remember how cool shock therapy looked in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? OK, maybe not. But the procedure is coming back into vogue, and some sources suggest that might be because it's covered by Medicare. A Texas study showed seniors are 360 percent more likely to get the treatment than 64-year-olds not yet eligible for Medicare.
? In the South Pacific nation of Tonga, a journalist has been given an 18-month suspended prison sentence. His crime: By printing a letter to the editor accusing the government of harassing pro-democracy forces, he violated a law against angering a government official.
? Christopher Kerins was arrested for bank robbery by Cincinnati police after he led them on a six-mile chase. The police found 346 doses of heroin in Kerins's hotel room and added drug-trafficking charges. Kerins, a New Jersey police officer, was in Cincinnati for a law enforcement convention.
? A group of deaf fans is suing the San Antonio Spurs and the National Basketball Association under the Americans with Disabilities Act. They are demanding captioning on big-screen TVs and on smaller monitors in basketball arenas to display game commentary, announcements, and referee calls.
? Militant Muslims attacked cyclists and staff at a Tehran sports complex. The religious reactionaries want to ban women from riding bicycles, calling it indecent.
? And in related news, Republican Reps. Roscoe Bartlett, Chris Smith, and Robert Dornan are trying to ban the sale of Playboy on military bases.
? Pouty-sex-symbol-turned-animal-rights-nut Brigitte Bardot has angered Muslims. Each year in France and elsewhere many Muslims commemorate Abraham's sacrifice of a sheep. They do so by, well, slaughtering a sheep. Bardot disapproves. She wrote an editorial in a paper decrying the ritual, and she complained that "my homeland, my earth, is again invaded, with the blessing of successive governments, by an overpopulation of foreigners, notably Muslim."
? Speaking of France, each year the new vintage of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild bears a label designed by a well-known artist. This year it's a discreet drawing of a nude adolescent by Balthus. But apparently it's not discreet enough for America. After complaints from anti- porn activists, the BATF rejected the label. So all the bottles sold in the United States will have blank space where the drawing was.