Balance Sheet



Domain Win

The Oregon Supreme Court upholds Measure 37, a requirement that property owners be compensated when land use regulations limit development opportunities.

Searching Questions

In Massachusetts officials at the Newton Free Library demand that local police and the FBI obtain a warrant before they examine library computers for traces of a terrorist threat. Several hours later, the search resumes with a warrant.

Grounded Notion

Congress considers selling some government-owned land back to the public to pay the massive tab for Katrina relief. Even excluding National Park lands from the sale, there are millions of acres that could raise up to $148 billion.

Patriot Acts

After the Baptist minister Fred Phelps and followers protest military funerals, holding that dead soldiers are God's response to a nation that embraces homosexuality, 5,000 motorcyclists crisscross the nation in a dramatic counterprotest.

Cyber Cafeteria

Houston's massive 250,000-student school system uses software from Cybersoft Technologies to allow parents to rope off some cafeteria foods from their kids' prepaid accounts. School officials say the system makes the line move faster too.

Toking Ticket

Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek of Johnson County, Iowa—home of the University of Iowa—tells legislators he would like to treat possession of small amounts of pot like a traffic violation, keeping students out of his crowded jail.


Porn Patrol

Two members of Montgomery County, Maryland's $3.6 million homeland security team tell startled public library patrons that no porn is allowed on library computers and begin to confront computer users. Librarians call the real police, and the county says the whole thing is a misunderstanding.

Watching, Waiting

Driven by easy federal grant money, police forces and officials from Houston to Chicago embrace 24/7 surveillance. Bellows Falls, Vermont, has 16 surveillance cameras—two for each member of its police force.

Unfair Use

The recording industry tries to convince the U.S. Copyright Office that making digital copies of your own CDs requires prior authorization from copyright holders. Goodbye "fair use," hello "customary historic use."

Times Wasted

The New York Times directs newspapers that subscribe to its syndicate to delete columnists' e-mail addresses from their columns. E-mailing columnists is for paying Times Select customers only.

Bad Company

The United States joins the likes of Iran, Zimbabwe, China, and Sudan in blocking two threatening organizations from joining the U.N. Economic and Social Council: the International Lesbian and Gay Association and the Danish Association of Gays and Lesbians.

Foul Balling

A D.C. Court of Appeals judge dismisses the case of Robert Siegel, who was trying to keep D.C. from forcibly taking his porn shop to make room for a baseball stadium. The judge says the city's $165 million cap on acquisition costs had nothing to do with the $161 million it offered to buy stadium land in the neighborhood.