Brickbats

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There's no sign telling you not to take a photograph of the building at 3701 North Fairfax Drive in Arlington, Virginia. But if you do, expect to be stopped by a police officer, have your personal information recorded, and be told to delete the photo. That's what happened to Keith McCammon, who later found out the building houses the federal Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The government apparently has a list of buildings it won't allow people to photograph. But citing security concerns, it refuses to release the list or warn people in advance that they can't photograph the buildings.

Warren Blackwell spent three years in a British prison after being falsely accused of rape. After an appeals court freed him, he expected to get some compensation for being wrongly imprisoned. Instead, he got a bill for nearly £7,000 for "board and lodging."

For 35 years, students at Colorado's Middle Park High School have raised money for a two-day field trip of hiking and rafting. This year, when they got to their access point on the upper Colorado River, they were met by Parks and Recreation Department officer Andrew Maddox. Maddox said that they were violating a state law requiring commercial river outfitters to have a state license. He stopped the expedition and cited one of the teacher chaperones.

Maria Carrasquillo went to the Kissimmee, Florida, police department to get fingerprinted, a requirement for employment as a licensed practical nurse. Instead, police arrested her on an outstanding drug warrant. She spent nine days in jail before police checked her identity and found that the warrant was for another woman with the same name.

In Stafford, England, Morgan Smith's parents decided to throw him a pirate-themed party for his sixth birthday. When they ran a Jolly Roger up their home's flagpole, a neighbor complained to the Stafford Borough Council. Council officials feared the skull and crossbones might be "unneighbourly" and said the couple should have applied for permission, including a study of the impact the flag would have on the neighborhood, before flying it.

By a 148-to-5 vote, Iran's parliament approved a bill that would provide for the death penalty for pornographic performers, directors, producers, and photographers. There's no real porn industry in Iran; the bill was a reaction to one homemade video allegedly showing a popular Iranian actress having sex with a man.

Jill Coccaro pulled down the front of her painter's jumpsuit to cool off during an art show. A police officer, who apparently didn't know it has been legal for a woman to expose her breasts in public in New York City since 1992, told her to cover up. When Coccaro tried to explain the law to him, he busted her for indecent exposure. She spent 12 hours in custody, where she says she was forced to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.


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