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Brickbats

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? Deanna Emard was convicted of stabbing her common-law husband to death, but the Vancouver woman doesn't think she should go to jail. Why? Because she's a Metis Indian, and Canadian law tells judges they should consider aboriginal background a mitigating factor when handing down sentences. The Vancouver Metis Association plans to speak in court on Emard's behalf. Emard isn't the only person trying to use the law. Jamie Gladue, also convicted of stabbing her husband to death, has asked an appellate court for a lighter sentence than the three years she got. If the two win their cases, it could make marriage to a Canadian Indian a dangerous thing.

? Not that other people don't have rights in Vancouver. Ronald Brown has been declared by a judge there to be an "irredeemable drunk." The judge based his decision on, among other things, the fact that Brown has been repeatedly fired from jobs for his drunkenness. This ruling qualifies Brown for monthly disability payments.

? Remove your child before folding the baby stroller. If you think that advice is so obvious that it doesn't even need to be said, you aren't a manufacturer of baby strollers. That was the winner in the Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch's Wacky Warning Label Contest. Among the runners-up: a warning on sleeping pills that they might cause drowsiness and a label on a laser printer cartridge advising people not to eat the toner.

? Rosie Nelson is dead, and she's not too happy about it. Her problem started with a phone call from her bank. The Treasury Department had called the bank asking it to return the Social Security check she deposited. The feds said she was dead. Nelson disputed the claim. It was the third time in four months that the U.S. government had declared Nelson dead and tried to stop her Social Security benefits.

? Indian authorities have banned a play that depicts the late prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru as a lovesick man pining for the wife of Lord Mountbatten. Hindu nationalists, who wanted to stage the play, blame Nehru for the partition of India. But the government said the play might spark violent protests.

? Meanwhile, in Pakistan, the country split off from India, the national assembly approved a constitutional amendment obliging the federal government to enforce prayers five times daily and to collect religious tithes.

? Actor Christopher Reeve, paralyzed in a horse accident, wants to walk again, and he's become an advocate of spinal cord research. That has made him an enemy to many animal rights activists. Even some in the Hollywood community have turned on Reeve. "The sad thing about this is just because it's Christopher who is injured, researchers are breaking animals' spines by the thousands in order to find out how to get nerve regrowth," said actress Linda Blair.

? Dwayne Richardson wants to be a subway motorman, but he was turned down after he failed a timed walking test. He thought the requirement unfairly discriminated against him, so he sued New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority. Though he won the case, it isn't clear that he'll ever be a motorman: At 450 pounds, he may not be able to fit into the phone booth-sized cabs.

? If you go to a strip club in Plainfield, Connecticut, bring plenty of cash and a photo ID. Clubs must not only check your age, they must also make sure you aren't on a list of sex offenders. The town will fine establishments if they admit known offenders. It wants to keep perverts from getting worked up and committing sex crimes. But strip club owner Joseph Quinn says if that's the logic behind the law, it should also require cable companies to conduct checks before they let someone see a sexy R-rated movie, the phone company to check before someone can call a phone sex line, the library to keep sex offenders from viewing prints of nudes, and the community pool to keep sex criminals from looking at all the people in bathing suits.

? Bob Jones University, a fundamentalist school, sent letters to alumni threatening to arrest any gay graduates who return to campus. The university has since backed down partially. It says they may visit the school's museum, since a ban could affect the gallery's tax-exempt status.

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