Transportation Policy

Balance Sheet

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ASSETS

Stock Stuffer

A market finds value in previously worthless Enron and WorldCom shares. Not the stock market, though. Collectors pay $40 a pop for the notorious pieces of paper.

Clear Code

A U.S. district court judge jettisons nine states' attempt to bust up Microsoft's antitrust pact with the Justice Department. The entire software sector can now fire their lawyers and get back to writing code.

Language Gap

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit says California's Proposition 227 does not discriminate against non-English speakers. The voter-approved ban on bilingual education in public schools was motivated not by racial concerns but by legitimate worries that schools were failing to help kids, decides the court.

Bacteria Bonus

Researchers at Purdue University and the University of British Columbia announce they're getting closer to neutralizing PCBs, dangerous environmental contaminants sometimes found in fish. The team is experimenting on bacteria, trying to get it to digest PCBs the way they do other compounds.

Bad Medicine

A federal court rules the Food and Drug Administration exceeded its authority in trying to police "off-label" pediatric uses of drugs. The FDA had ruled that drug companies had to test all their products for use on kids—even ones intended only for adults.

Site Plan

U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz finds the Americans with Disabilities Act applies only to the real world, not to the Internet. A cottage industry had sprung up to help Web sites comply with the law.

LIABILITIES

Comic Genius

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refuses to hear the case of comic book hawker Jesus Castillo. The Dallas comic store manager was convicted in August 2000 of "display of obscenity" for selling Demon Beast Invasion #2 to an adult and sentenced to 180 days in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Smoke Detectors

Tokyo's smokers have nowhere to hide. Entire downtown sectors are now officially smoke-free, and lighting up in the middle of the street carries a ?20,000 ($164) fine.

Sucker Punch

The U.S. Department of Agriculture awards a $300,000 grant to help beer makers improve their quality control. Mocon Inc. will study how beer ingredients come together and apply microanalytics to brewski.

Wurst Worst

The German government refuses to renew the vending license for the only bratwurst stand at Berlin's historic Brandenburg gate. Outraged local wurst lovers suspect high-end restaurants lining the central square lobbied to kick the humble sausage out.

Pedal Power

Santa Barbara seeks to save its citizens from the terrible threat of…pedicabs. The city government orders FBI background checks, as well as business and driver's licenses, for all bike-taxi operators.

Times Passages

New York's quasi-governmental Empire State Development Corporation moves to condemn and tear down a group of busy Manhattan buildings, the better to make way for New York Times offices. The deal will result in below-market rents for the media giant, critics charge.