Brickbats: April 2023

News of politicians, police, and bureaucrats behaving badly from around the world.


Quebec business leaders say a new law that requires many companies to use the French language will increase costs and could make it harder to serve clients. Bill 96 requires firms with more than 25 employees to conduct business primarily in French and to make sure other languages are spoken in the workplace as little as possible. The law also mandates that contracts be in French, even if both parties would prefer another language. Firms would have to justify to regulators if they recruit employees who speak a language other than French. Companies that violate the law face fines of up to $30,000 ($22,500 U.S.).

Hays, Kansas, Police Chief Don Scheibler says his officers did not "raid" the hospital room of Greg Bretz, 69, who is suffering from inoperable cancer, as media outlets reported in December. Rather, he said, they responded after a hospital worker reported Bretz for vaping marijuana to relieve his pain. Scheibler wants you to know cops didn't arrest Bretz for possession: They merely issued a citation. He further wants you to know that the officer later felt bad about the citation and requested that it be revoked. The citation wasn't revoked, though, until after local media reported on the incident.

(Illustrations: Peter Bagge)

Shots were fired into Michael Gill's Milwaukee home in two separate incidents in 2022. Both times, he reported the shootings to police. They haven't solved those crimes. But Gill did get a letter from the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office saying if it happened again, the house could be declared a nuisance and Gill fined. After a local TV station contacted the district attorney on Gill's behalf, the station was told the letter had been sent in error.

Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, director of March for Life U.K., has been charged with four counts of failing to comply with a "public space protection order" when she was found silently praying outside an abortion clinic in Birmingham. The city has banned all forms of protest outside abortion clinics. Vaughan-Spruce was carrying no signs or photos.

(Illustrations: Peter Bagge)

Agriculture accounts for about half of New Zealand's exports. The nation is the largest dairy exporter in the world. But farmers are warning that could change if the government adopts a planned tax on the "emissions" of their cattle: burps, farts, and excrement. Government officials said the tax is part of their plan to cut methane emissions 10 percent by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2050.

Makayla Crandall, a school health technician at Florida's Destin Middle School, was charged with three counts of grand theft of a controlled substance, five counts of child neglect, and one count of failure to maintain narcotics records. Crandall reportedly stole prescription medicines she was supposed to be holding for and administering to students. In some cases, she replaced the medicines with over-the-counter pain relievers.

The French government will ban flights between cities connected by trains if the train trip takes less than two and a half hours. Officials said the move is aimed at increasing train ridership and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The ban is slated to last three years, but it could be extended.

(Illustrations: Peter Bagge)

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says his government will introduce legislation that will allow the Office of Communications to regulate streaming services such as Netflix and to fine them up to £250,000 ($308,000 U.S.) for violating a code of conduct. Sunak's announcement follows the airing on Netflix of a documentary on Meghan Markle and Prince Harry that was criticized for inaccuracies and allegedly misleading editing.