Balance Sheet



Truth Serum. Candor catches up with Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) in Iowa, where he implies a Democrat-controlled House would raise taxes to keep the federal budget balanced. Gephardt quickly denies his own remarks, saying he wasn't talking about the future.

Code Green. The Census Bureau says that three states without income taxes saw the largest gains in tax revenue between 1990 and 2000. Revenues in New Hampshire and Alaska each rose by over 50 percent, while Wyoming's receipts grew by 19 percent.

Round Won. The California Supreme Court rules that a Miami-based gun maker cannot not be sued because its guns were used in a San Francisco killing spree in 1993. The court rejected the claim that Navegar designed the weapon primarily to kill people.

Clone School. Duke University scientists find that human organs may be easier to clone than those of other animals because a cancer-suppressing gene could prevent fatal mutations. Primates have a more stable cancer-proof gene than do sheep, cows, pigs, or mice.

Toy Story. The First Amendment protects "Food Chain Barbie" images, rules U.S. District Judge Ronald Lewis. Mattel had sued a photographer for snapping shots of Barbie wrapped in tortillas. Lewis found that the pictures were protected parody.

Hard Lessons. Juvenile crime rates have held steady since the 1970s, the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice finds. The Justice Policy Institute reports that 15 percent of high school seniors faced a weapon or assault in school in 1998, unchanged from 1976. "Zero tolerance" policies look even sillier.


Net Press. Record and movie companies succeed in pressuring Internet Service Providers to police users. ISPs, fearing copyright infringement charges, obey lawyer-drafted "requests" that they cancel the accounts of people using Gnutella or iMesh file-trading software.

Phone Homeless. The Wisconsin state budget proposes spending $40,000 to give the homeless free voice mail. A fat universal service fund, swollen to $7 million with fees levied on phone users, would supply the cash.

Red Line. California's state-run power buys put taxpayers in the red. The state could lose as much as $500 million by selling power for as little as one-fifth the price bureaucrats paid for it during energy-crunch hysteria.

Side Out. The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association bans cheering by players on the bench. Chants like "One, two, three, ace!" now count as taunting and will result in a team penalty.

Escort Service. Authorities in Michigan confiscate a 10-year-old girl's 1992 Ford Escort after her stepfather is arrested in the car during a prostitution sting. The girl inherited the car from her cancer-stricken father three years ago, but can't have it back unless she pays $900.

Gas Tanks. The gasoline additive MTBE has spread to ground water far from the places where government regs mandate its use. The cancer-causing compound spreads via tanker trucks, storage facilities, and pipes, a Purdue University study finds. MTBE will be phased out by 2003.