Balance Sheet



Ephedra Case

The FDA's ban on ephedra lasts barely a year, as a federal judge in Utah directs the agency to rewrite its April 2004 rule. A dietary supplement maker challenged the FDA finding that ephedra was dangerous, citing years of safe and effective use.

Opening Hey!

Members of the D.C. Public Schools Full Funding Campaign protest at the Washington Nationals' home opener, citing the city's misplaced priorities. The Nationals are slated to get a new $535 million ballpark underwritten by the cash-poor district.

Freedom Drive

Women in the Afghan city of Herat test the local tolerance for female drivers. A new governor for the region means driver's education classes are now open to all.

Connected Costs

Researchers at the University of London Institute of Psychiatry dampen fears about the effect of pot on productivity. A study of 1,100 volunteers finds that cell phones and e-mail have a similar, perhaps more debilitating, effect on attentiveness, I.Q., and…uh, stuff.

Neander Porn

Archaeologists in Germany find 7,200-year-old figurines fashioned to resemble a copulating couple. This is hard to square with the view that human sexuality is an instinctually taboo topic.

Screen Gems

The Government Accountability Office finds that private security did a better job than the Transportation Security Administration's in-house screeners. The exact findings are classified, of course, but the private screeners discovered test threats more often than the TSA did.


Beer Wimps

Anheuser-Busch frets that if genetically modified rice is grown in Missouri, consumers the world over will refuse to drink "contaminated" Bud. A-B's solution? Boycott Show-Me State rice.

Poppy Cocked

Don't look now, but an elite strike team of Special Forces?trained DEA agents is roaming Afghanistan in search of opium fields. The chances of this ending well are slim to none.

Clothing Optional

The Bush administration does not bother to wait for U.S. clothing and textile makers to petition for help; it just goes ahead and starts drawing up plans for quotas on imports from China. This comes despite evidence that American manufacturers who focus on quality do just fine against the Chinese.

Frequent Crier

Airlines try to police consumer swaps of frequent flier miles, suggesting that the miles are given with the expectation that many will be rendered unusable due to cut-off dates and other restrictions. Fliers fight back by swapping vouchers for sports tickets and other goodies.

Board Teens

Classic generational conflict hits Arizona as cities try to find ways to regulate motorized skateboards, scooters, and other kiddie transport. Maybe if kids hook golf carts to skate decks and wear white loafers, no one will care.

Crime Records

Investigators in New Jersey crack an ID theft ring that stole some 500,000 bank and personal records to sell to bill collectors and law firms. Bank employees and branch managers are alleged to be part of the
multimillion-dollar racket.