Civil Disobedience

Brickbats

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-Joseph A. Shepard Sr. sat in a St. Louis jail for two years on drug charges, apparently forgotten by the court, prosecutors, and even his own attorney. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that he was held in his cell 23 hours a day. Now that they know he's there, prosecutors are going to press on with the case. They say if he's convicted he'll get credit for time served.

-Students at Minnesota's Prior Lake High School will no longer be able to wear hats or hooded shirts during the school day, so that security cameras can always capture their faces.

-In 2003 Great Britain gave local officials greater power to place people under surveillance and trace their telephone calls and email. The government said the new powers werenecessary to fight terrorism. Instead, the Telegraph reports, councils have mostly used their authority to investigate noisy children, noisy dogs, selling cigarettes and alcohol to minors, and selling pizza without a license.

-Eight-year-old guitarist Tallan "T-Man" Latz has jammed with Les Paul and Jackson Browne and played at bars and clubs across the nation. Then someone sent an anonymous email message to state officials saying Latz is too young to be playing in bars. Sure enough, that's just what child labor law says. The state threatened Latz's father with fines of $10 to $250, and club owners with fines of $25 to $1,000, for each day his son performs in a club.

-Tiffany Dickson of Lawton, Oklahoma, told officials the father of her child was named Michael and his last name might be Thomas. So the state Department of Human Resources hounded Micheal Thomas of Tulsa and his mother for almost three years, taking money from his paychecks and seizing his tax refunds—even though Dickson says she's never met him, and even though two different DNA tests showed he wasn't the father.

-Australia's Belgian Gardens State School has banned all cartwheels, handstands, and other "gymnastics" during recess.

-Shirley Preiss has voted in 19 straight presidential elections. But she may not be able to vote in this year's contest because of Arizona's voter ID law. Preiss was born in 1910 in Kentucky and never got a birth certificate. She hasn't had a driver's license in ages and never had a passport. She tried to get her school records to prove her citizenship but found the school no longer exists. Officials suggested she get a delayed birth certificate—but that requires witnesses, and everyone who can attest to her birth is dead.

-Seagoville High School in Texas adopted a new dress code this year mandating that students wear only brown or black belts with a "standard buckle" and no designs or logos. Students were informed of the new dress code on a Monday. The next day, the school suspended between 150 and 500 students for wearing unapproved belts.