Balance Sheet

January 2007.



Texas Floor 'Em
Officials bow to reality and open a 500-mile stretch of Texas highway with an 80 mph speed limit.

Big Bully
A judge in Miami sides with Take-Two Interactive, maker of the video game Bully, and against gamer nemesis Jack Thompson. Thompson had asked the court to ban the sale of the game in Florida, arguing that it's a "Columbine simulator."

Sen. Spliff
During a book promotion tour, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama admits prior drug use. "I inhaled—that was the point," he says.

Fat City
Economists at the University of Toronto discover that the sprawl-causes-obesity claim is exactly backward. Their research finds that people who are more likely to be obese choose to live in "sprawl," not that sprawl makes people who live there obese.

Wright Stuff
The Wright Amendment Reform Act of 2006 gradually sunsets the 1979 restrictions on airline flights from Dallas' Love Field, an anti-competitive bottleneck for Texas and surrounding states. Still, it will take eight more years to end what should never have been.

Loose Moose
Moosehead Breweries sends more than 1,700 cans of Moosehead Lager to Canadian troops fighting in Kandahar. Canadian defense officials contacted the brewery about buying the beer and sending it to Afghanistan, but Moosehead officials said they'd be happy to send it free.


Shocking Death
Kip Black dies in a hospital after police in North Charleston, South Carolina, zap him nine times with a Taser. Two weeks before, another local police force had zapped Black six times.

Barry Squeezed
James South, chairman of Marquette University's Philosophy Department, asks a Ph.D. student to take a "patently offensive" Dave Barry quote off his office door, which is apparently not among the school's "free speech zones." The offending quote: "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government."

The 29-Year-Old Virgin
New federal guidelines say the government can use millions in abstinence-only education funding to persuade men and women up to age 29 to keep their virginity. Ominously, the National Center for Health Statistics says over 90 percent of adults ages 20 to 29 have already lost it.

The American Family Association tells members to steer clear of Wal-Mart because the giant retailer inked an agreement with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce to help sponsor some of the group's events.

Café Americain
France is expected to ban smoking in all public places, including bars and restaurants, sometime in 2007. Can a foie gras ban be far behind?

No Charge
Though never charged with a crime, Ali Partovi remains behind bars more than five years after he was first incarcerated. Partovi is the last person still in custody from the federal government's post-9/11 PENTTBOM dragnet.