Balance Sheet



Cuban Revolution

Citing the need to protect innovation, billionaire techie and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban comes to the aid of the file-sharing network Grokster. Cuban promises to pay the legal bills Grokster has racked up fighting the movie industry over copyright issues.

Tolerating Tolerance

Texas, Indiana, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania are among the states whose schools are stepping back from brain-dead "zero tolerance" regulations. Adopted in the '90s in a frenzied attempt to combat drugs and violence, the rules have spawned nothing but harsh punishment for trivial violations.

High Cotton

Upholding a complaint by Brazil, the World Trade Organization increases pressure on the U.S. to lower subsidies for cotton farmers. Should other countries follow Brazil's lead, more subsidized crops may be found to violate WTO rules.

Pre-Calc Precondition

A Texas judge tosses out a high school student's lawsuit against mandatory summer homework. Peer Larson argued that Whitnall High School's honors pre-calculus class had to stick to the 180-day school calendar. The judge said Larson should have read the class requirements.

Leaning Legal

The New Mexico state Senate backs several bills to allow cancer patients and others limited use of marijuana. Gov. Bill Richardson appears to support the idea.

Blocking Tackled

The Federal Communications Commission fines a small ISP that tried to block Voice Over Internet Protocol traffic, even though that use was not forbidden by its terms of service. The Net phone traffic competed directly with the phone service the company was trying to sell. The $15,000 fine–roughly $75 per blocked customer–isn't much, but it does send a message.


Powder Corrupts

Pennsylvania state Rep. Jeffrey E. Habay is charged in an anthrax hoax case. Habay, a five-term Allegheny County Republican, claimed he found white powder in a letter from a constituent who was critical of him.

Bank Dicked

Qusair Mohamedbhai says a Colorado bank denied him a checking account because it assumed he was a terrorist. The signs? His Florida Social Security number, and his presence at the bank with a white woman, his "cover."

Empire State

The New York Court of Appeals rules that a programmer has to pay income tax to the state of New York because he works for a New York?based labor union–even though he telecommutes from Nashville.

Nicotine Fixed

A handful of state attorneys general and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives make buying a carton of cigarettes online just about impossible. Officials convince American Express, MasterCard, Visa, Discover, Diners Club, and PayPal to refuse to do business with tobacco-selling sites.

Veiled Threat

The new Iraqi parliament includes women, but most of them belong to the conservative United Iraqi Alliance, which has the implementation of Islamic law as a primary goal. Adopting Shariah would ensure that men have a dominant position in Iraqi society.

Stryker Out

An Army study of its Stryker combat vehicle finds big problems. The extra armor put on the vehicle to fend off attacks in Iraq slows it down and wrecks the suspension while the onboard computer is too slow to be of much use. Speed and networkability were to be Stryker's strengths.