Balance Sheet



Digital Nostalgia

Both Sony and Universal Music will reissue classic recordings in digital form. Long out-of-print work from the likes of Jacques Brel will turn up in online stores in coming months.

Asset Management

Spurred by articles in The Des Moines Register, Iowa homeland security officials decrease their list of 11,600 "critical assets" that need protection from a terrorist strike to 1,360. Even that number includes many targets of dubious value, such as county courthouses.

Police Action

A federal appeals court rules that a D.C. police official who ordered the summary arrest of 400 people in Pershing Park in September 2002 can be held personally liable for the action. Police tried to contain an anti-globalization rally by stuffing protesters and passersby alike into buses for up to 36 hours.

Speech Talk

DePaul University reverses a ban on "propaganda." The original rule had been deployed to stop College Republicans from handing out flyers featuring quotes from an upcoming campus speaker, 9/11 apologist Ward Churchill.

Blog Splitting

Microsoft clarifies its policy on blog content. It's still willing to remove a blog after an official legal request from a country with jurisdiction, but the content will be blocked only inside the offended country, not in the rest of the world.

Scary Politics

The spirit of Jesse Ventura lives on! Jonathon Sharkey is running for governor in Minnesota under the banner of the Vampyres, Witches, and Pagans Party.


Empty Dragnet

The New York Times reports that the NSA's focus on supposed domestic terror links turned up schoolteachers, among thousands of other dead ends.

No-Name Offense

Ohio Gov. Bob Taft signs the "Ohio Patriot Act," a measure that requires anyone in the state to produce ID on demand from a police officer. Failure to comply could mean jail.

All-Seeing Eye

Britain becomes the first nation to attempt to monitor all roadways, all the time. One official's defense of the program: "Criminals use cars; it's as simple as that."

Working Hurdle

A bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives would apply employer penalties to anyone who helps an undocumented worker get a job. Nonprofit job agencies would have to verify each person's immigration status or risk fines of up to $40,000 per worker.

Malibu-Skank Barbie

Concerned Women for America worries that Barbie dolls send the wrong message to American girls. Whereas womanhood should be about "getting married, having kids, building a home," the group argues, Barbie stands for "bisexuality" and "gender confusion."

Snow Job

Federal weather watchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration come up with the "snowfall impact scale" to describe snow storms. Storms will now be "notable," "significant," "major," "crippling," or "extreme." Because measuring snow in inches is too confusing.