Academia

Brickbats

|

? G. Roger Davis, a music professor at Miami University of Ohio, has sued his employer, claiming it violated his First Amendment rights by refusing to let him wear a thong bathing suit in the school's swimming pool.

? All public schools and many public libraries in Utah use filtering software provided by the Utah Education Network to keep people from accessing objectionable Web sites. The UEN says its software is very effective, but it must judge effectiveness by how many sites it blocks. A new report by an Internet watchdog group found the software blocks many non-pornographic sites, including pages with information on safe sex and on legal issues involving homosexuality. The software also blocked pages devoted to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The UEN says it has received few complaints about its software. But wait until people find out that it blocks sites devoted to conference reports by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

? In Malaysia, married couples must now carry proof of their marriage at all times. Islamic law forbids unmarried people of opposite sexes from being in close proximity, and Muslim authorities often raid places that are suspected of harboring such malefactors. Now married couples will have cards to present to the police if they're mistakenly busted.

? The British government has generously opened up over 4 million acres of mountain and moor land to hikers. Private owners must allow so-called ramblers access to their land without compensation.

? Lee Williams doesn't know how to spell villain, so he's suing Eternal Tattoos. Williams, a student at Michigan's Wayne State University, wanted to have the word tattooed on his forearm. The tattooist asked him how to spell the word, and that's how he wound up with villian on his arm. Williams wouldn't even have been aware of the misspelling but for a brighter friend who made fun of the tattoo. Now he wants $25,000 to have the word removed.

? Those working in the fingerprint and photo unit of the Seattle Police Department have to go through special training. They are taught to properly sit in a chair. "Take hold of the arms and get control of the chair before sitting down," read department instructions. The course was added after several employees fell out of their rolling chairs. The department says it may also add a course on how to open cabinet drawers.

? Al Gore might want to keep this one in mind. Norway has banned the construction of new shopping centers outside city centers. The ban is aimed at reviving downtowns, cutting sprawl, and reducing auto use.

? Since taking power, Afghanistan's Taliban has established a harsh police state enforcing the Koran as law. It has banned music, TV, cameras, and now leather jackets. The jackets are prized during the nation's harsh winters, but religious police will slash them if they catch someone wearing them.

? Richmond, Virginia, has banned any "performance that appears to be pornographic if the performance might be attended by minors." The law is aimed at keeping performers such as Marilyn Manson out of the Richmond Coliseum.

? Fayetteville, Georgia, is a nice middle-class suburb of Atlanta. It's also home to the Rolling 5 Crackas, five teenage boys who hang out together. They have a Web page devoted to their little group. It praises whiteboy rapper Vanilla Ice as the greatest cracker around. Such behavior has them facing jail time. They've been busted under a Georgia law which makes it a crime to solicit members for a gang that commits violence. They've been charged despite the fact that they've never threatened anyone with violence and as far as the authorities know, have never done anything worse than spray-paint their names on a bridge. But the police say they have to nip these violent gangs in the bud. One boy, age 17, is charged as an adult, and faces up to 10 years in jail.

Advertisement