An Inclusive Litany

12/31/95

The Washington Post, August 9, 1995:
The Food and Drug Administration's Board of Tea Experts ... yet again has managed to sniff at its critics politely, pour itself another cup of oolong and beat Washington budget-cutters.

Taxpayers will likely pick up about 60 percent of the board's $200,000 tab in the next spending year so they can be guaranteed that imported tea is up to certain standards of "purity and wholesomeness."

Joseph P. Simrany, president of the Tea Association of the U.S.A. [said,] "It's the first line of defense relative to keeping bad tea out of the country."

From a news release of the National Association of Attorneys General, listing 1995's top ten frivolous lawsuits filed by convicted prisoners:

  1. Donald Edward Beaty v. Bury: A death-row inmate sues corrections officials for taking away his Gameboy electronic game. (Arizona)

  2. Inmate, calling himself a sports fanatic, complains that, as a result of cruel and unusual punishment, he was forced to miss the NFL playoffs, especially between Miami and San Diego, San Diego and Pittsburgh, and Dallas and San Francisco. (Arkansas)

  3. Brittaker v. Rowland: Inmate says his meal was in poor condition. He claims his sandwich was soggy and his cookie was broken. (California)

  4. Jackson v. Barton: Prisoner who killed five people sues after lightning knocks out the prison's TV satellite dish and he must watch network programs, which he says contain violence, profanity and other objectionable material. (Florida)

  5. Spradley v. Rathman: Prisoner sues to be served fruit juice at meals and three pancakes instead of two. (Florida)

  6. Brown v. Singletary: Prisoner sues to be given Reeboks, Adidas, Pony or Avia high-tops rather than inferior brand sneakers issued by prison. (Florida)

  7. Beverly v. Groose: Suit says inmates working in prison law library should be paid same rate as attorneys. (Missouri)

  8. Young v. Murphy: Prisoner sues for not receiving scheduled parole hearing, though he was out on escape when the hearing was to be held. (Mississippi)

  9. Murderer sues for $25,000, claiming a "defective" haircut resulted in lost sleep, headaches and chest pains. (New York)

  10. Trice v. Reynolds, et al: Ex-chef sues because the food was bad, yet he wanted bigger portions. (Oklahoma)

12/25/95

An employee of New York's state-funded Legal Aid Society tried to incite prisoners to force a "lockdown" in all maximum-security prisons. This was to commemorate the 1971 Attica riot and to protest conditions in New York prisons.

In Little Rock, Arkansas, Joshua Martinez shaved his head in solidarity with his mother, who lost her hair due to chemotherapy. Apparently, some kids didn't appreciate this show of devotion. They decided Josh must be one of those nasty skinheads they've heard so much about and beat the crap out of him.

Professor Diane Davis of Old Dominion University in Rhetoric Review, Fall 1995:
The building frustration over this impasse for feminists has been evidenced lately in the promotion of Lorena Bobbitt to near demigod(dess) status. The rabid celebration of Bobbitt for having had the ovum(?) to bobbit(t)-off with a kitchen knife is symptomatic of an epidemic of feminist ressentiment that's as infectious as the flu. But it seems to me that what's worthy of celebration in the Bobbitt bobbing has nothing to do with the rape or the mutilation, with the repayment of a violation with a violation. What's worth celebrating here has nothing to do with revenge. The following is a slow-moed creative re/viewing of Lorena's story that lets the spotlight fall precisely on what our logocentric perceptions have no capacity to recognize. Recognition, in this instance, calls for the engagement of an/Other sensibility entirely. Lorena, this essay suggests, should indeed be celebrated—not because she cuts it off, not because she keeps it—but because she pitches it. And in pitching it, she dis/covers a way out of the binary system all together, and so a way out of phallocentrism. Let's zoom in on her dilemma.
[Ed.: Not only did Ms. Bobbitt cut off her husband's penis, she threw it out of a car window just past a "No Littering" sign.]

A week after the temporary shutdown of the federal government, approximately 200 National Park Service employees flew to Orlando, Florida, at public expense for a "training workshop" on how to become better tour guides. There they were treated to backstage tours of the Magic Kingdom and spent time unwinding at Sea World. When not unwinding, they attended such lectures as "The Power of Magic in Shaping History" and "Goofy (and Educational) Nature Songs."

12/22/95

The Library of Congress exhibited a series of photographs depicting southern plantation life, from the point of view of slaves as represented in their narratives. But immediately after the exhibit went up, about twenty black employees objected. The pictures of white overseers on a plantation reminded them, they said, of the white "overseers" at the library. The exhibit eventually had to be moved to the Martin Luther King Memorial Library.

New York legislator Michael Nozzolio became somewhat upset when he discovered that the state spends $700,000 a year on hormone pills for about 70 prison inmates who are changing their sex from male to female.

A new depiction of the comic-book heroes the Lone Ranger and Tonto features the two characters as equals who squabble over ethnic sensitivities ("I'm not your Indian"), and presents Tonto as an activist for Native Americans who disdains the term "Indian" as politically incorrect.

From a correction in the New Yorker regarding a statement by former Secretary of Education William Bennett in an article by Michael Kelly:
In criticizing the political views of Patrick Buchanan, Mr. Bennett said, "It's a real us-and-them kind of thing," not, as we reported, "It's a real S&M kind of thing."

12/19/95

In a measure to excise gratuitous religious references, Stanford dormitory gift-givers are no longer referred to as "Secret Santas," but rather as "Secret Snowflakes." In one dorm, they are referred to as "Equally Accepting Nondenominational Gift Bearers."

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, quoted just hours after the acquittal of O.J. Simpson, said: "O.J. can now be a big force, in my judgement, in taking the lead against domestic violence."

Mr. Simpson, apparently with less ambitious plans, issued the statement: "When things have settled a bit, I will pursue as my primary goal in life the killer or killers who slaughtered Nicole and Mr. Goldman."

Sportswriter George Vecsey in the New York Times, October 19, 1995:
So now we have the politically incorrect World Series. The series should be about long-suffering Cleveland or long-suffering Atlanta finally winning another World Series.

Instead, this so-called World Series—another outdated concept—is going to offend millions of Americans whose roots go back before the Mayflower and all the other ships.

The only way newcomers tend to notice American Indians is from the growth of casinos on tribal lands. I don't list gambling among the top thousand admirable human activities, but I won't demand that American Indians stop running gambling joints until Trump and Bally and municipalities do.

My real question is, what do we do about these demeaning nicknames for the next week or ten days? I cannot twist my sentences enough to refer to "the team from Cleveland" and "the team from Atlanta" but I respect the writers and even entire newspapers that will perform that enlightened act of contortion.

Serving three life sentences for three murders, Massachusetts prison inmate Anthony Jackson won a procedural motion on appeal, thus keeping alive his lawsuit against the prison system for refusing to assign him to a no-smoking cell.

12/18/95

Dean Hilda Hernandez-Gravelle of the Office of Race Relations and Minority Affairs at Harvard University called for a ban on 1950s nostalgia parties because racism was rampant in America at that time.

Heileman Brewery was banned from selling Crazy Horse beer in Minnesota when state public safety commissioner Michael Jordan ruled that the brand implies an association with the Indian leader.

The Chumash Indians of southern California are demanding that the town of Malibu require that oceanfront building sites get an inspection for Indian burial grounds, which can be carried out only by a certified Indian at rates up to $46,000.

In Bailey, Colorado, two local whites, one of whom claims a Chaddo Indian grandmother, are suing in U.S. district court after neighbors in the residential area objected to the pair's starting raging fires in the yard of their home in enactment of a "Lakota sweat lodge rite."

The Department of Education ruled after a year-long investigation that Chief Illiniwek can remain the University of Illinois's Native American mascot. A group called Native American Students, Staff and Faculty for Progress had filed a lawsuit alleging that the chief and the name of the university's athletic teams, the fighting Illini, caused them to suffer verbal harassment at sporting events and created a "racially hostile environment." If the Education Department had concurred, the university would have been at risk of losing federal aid.

12/6/95

In a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, an Alabama state court ruled that a convicted arsonist did indeed receive a fair trial despite the fact that Circuit Judge Roy S. Moore began each court session with a prayer and also had the Ten Commandments displayed on the wall.

Michigan's Mackinac Center has announced the results of its Outrageous Law Competition. Among the winners: the city of Harper's Woods, which forbids the painting of songbirds; the Village of Lyons, which makes it unlawful to allow an indecent exposure of any animal where they may be seen by passers-by; and the state of Michigan itself, which forbids people from placing the insignia of organizations to which they do not belong on their cars. That means an awful lot of Detroit Tigers fans are breaking the law.

Something to think about from the Atlantic Monthly, June 1995:
Paid maternity and parental leaves and safe, affordable day care, which are taken for granted by citizens of other nations, remain out of reach in the richest economy in the world.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the Chicago firm of Daniel Lamp Co. in 1991, despite the fact that it employed a 100% minority work force. The company had the wrong mix of Hispanics and African-Americans.

12/2/95

Less than three months after he had sold federal land worth $1 billion in mining rights to a Danish company for $275, Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt was forced to sell another $2.9 billion piece of land in Arizona for $1,745. Babbitt is required to make these sales under the Mining Act of 1872, which western senators refuse to change. In 1994, under the same law, Babbitt signed over land containing about $10 billion in gold to a Canadian company for about $10,000.

Freshman orientation at Williams College, Massachusetts, features a "Feel-What-It-Is-Like-To-Be-Gay" meeting. Representatives of the Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Union tour the freshman dorms and require students to declare, "Hello, my name is ____________, and I'm gay!"

A typical school year features the following celebrations: National Coming-Out Week, Women's Pride Week, Students of Mixed Heritage Week, Queer Pride Week, Bisexual Visibility Week and Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

[Ed.: Some female students complain that they are compelled to use unisex toilets and showers in order to make them feel "less self-conscious about their bodies."]

11/18/95

The New Republic:
In drafting an anti-bigotry resolution, the Walworth County [Wisconsin] Board changed a reference to white supremacist organizations from "hate groups" to "unhappy groups."

The San Antonio Express-News:
Rev. William Hoover resigned after admitting he had molested a twelve-year-old, but he retains the support of some parishioners. "He is very well-liked and very well-respected here," said Fern Bombadier, "and he has touched a great many people."

In order to "support housing for people with disabilities," the Department of Housing and Urban Development gave a $1.2 million grant to build an "Ecology House" in Marin County, California, for sufferers of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, a malady that allegedly causes symptoms from even small exposures to a variety of chemicals. Builders spent almost $10,000 extra per apartment on hypoallergenic building materials, and HUD also subsidized the rent of residents who claim to suffer from MCS. HUD regional director and former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos told the Los Angeles Times that even if the symptoms of the illness were psychosomatic, its victims would still be eligible for assistance.

Some of the building materials in the house were "pre-tested" by MCS sufferers. Barry Karr, a past president of the Environmental Health Network and a self-proclaimed MCS sufferer, explained the testing process: "I was one of the sniffers. We would take things to bed with us. If we got up in the morning and felt terrible, forget it."

Despite the efforts of the builders, two-thirds of the residents claimed to be worse off than before they lived in Ecology House. Tenant Barbara Ruch, a fiction writer, told the San Francisco Chronicle: "They call it Ecology House... I would call it Pathology House. I have to escape this place." Tenant Mary Bussell complained that odor from the walls and cabinets made her chest hurt and her breathing difficult: "I can't even think in here. I feel like I'm going to pass out." Tenant Jan Heard agreed: "No one is able to sleep in their bedrooms [with their building materials]." One outspoken MCS sufferer, a self-described "refugee," told the Los Angeles Times that she chose not to live in the Ecology House in part because it was not built "on a bluff near the ocean."

At the World War II commemorations held in the Pacific, President Clinton referred to the battleship USS Missouri as an "aircraft carrier" and pronounced the bow of a ship as in "bow-tie" rather than as in "bow-wow."

In an effort to beautify the nation's scenic highways, the Forest Service has leaned on transportation officials to paint rocks on parts of some highways. When rocks are newly exposed because of landslides or construction, it takes them years to age. Rather than wait, the Forest Service has recommended artificially aging them.

In Hyde Park, New York, a move to make the city seal a profile of Franklin Roosevelt has run into opposition from people upset that FDR is portrayed with his famous cigarette holder clenched between his teeth.

Linda Douglass comments on the temporary shutdown of the federal government, "CBS Evening News," November 16, 1995:
Though some VA and Social Security workers will return next week, the backlog of cases will be tremendous, and in the rest of government, problems are worsening. Imported Christmas toys, which could be unsafe, are not being examined by safety inspectors.

A Louisiana woman filed a lawsuit for injuries she received after she received the Holy Spirit at a tent revival meeting and passed out on the floor. Another woman in a similar state of delirium fell on top of her, breaking three of her ribs.

11/6/95

The University of Southern California has announced the creation of the [Barbara] Streisand Professorship of Contemporary Gender Studies.

Snoop Doggy Dog comments on the international entertainment market:
It's like, in Sweden there's no violence. Now if a motherf***er came out of there kickin' a Swedish rap about killin' motherf***ers and rapin' hoes, it wouldn't sell because it don't take place there.

The Greenville News (South Carolina), August 3, 1995:
Though he had no experience, [Jerry] Kleen was hired as an announcer at KTOZ-AM [in Springfield, Mo.], a tiny 500-watt station that plays big-band music, swing, jazz and blues from the 1920s to the '90s.

For his once-a-week, four-hour stint at the microphone, Kleen is paid the same as other disc jockeys at the station—nothing.

The U.S. Labor Department ... which is investigating KTOZ's use of about two dozen volunteer announcers and office workers, contends a for-profit business can't legally be run by volunteer labor.

KTOZ general manager Ron Johnson expects the government to sue the station to force it to cough up about $20,000 in back wages for the past year, plus taxes and penalties, and make him start paying his volunteers.

That could be the death of KTOZ, which was spared bankruptcy 14 months ago for $40,000 by Johnson and 18 other investors who share a love of big-band music.

An Indiana high school student began a campaign to get his school to drop its Red Devil team mascot because, he says, it "glorifies evil and promotes satanism."

From a Knight-Ridder story in the Wisconsin State Journal:
Orenthal James Simpson has petitioned the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to make a legally protected trademark out of his well-known first initials.... Simpson requested the trademark rights on a whole host of merchandise. The list includes: windup toys, skateboards, video games, puppets, jigsaw puzzles, newsletters, rubber stamps, crayons, ski suits, bathing suits, sweatbands, berets, nightshirts, belts, and aprons. Gloves are nowhere to be found.

[Ed.: Mr. Simpson also worked out an agreement with the Florida Department of Citrus over the use of the trademark "O.J." There was little apparent concern that consumers would have trouble distinguishing between the two products.]

When Italy passed a law in 1993 forbidding the imprisonment of people with terminal illnesses, it became a boon for a few thousand career criminals. One gang of HIV-infected bank robbers has been arrested numerous times only to be freed within hours of each capture. They are suspected of taking at least $155,000 in their thefts.

The Syracuse, New York, school system has banned midnight basketball from their gyms after a gunfight among teenagers broke out during a tournament.

"PBS To the Contrary" host Bonnie Erbe comments on partial-birth abortions, November 3, 1995:
But aren't most medical procedures, when you describe them in detail, pretty disgusting? Isn't, for example, the production of veal, when you describe it in detail, and how people eat meat, when they crunch down on the flesh of living beings, formerly living beings with their teeth. Isn't that pretty gruesome, too?

11/3/95

To review the new book, The Secret World of American Communism, by Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes of Yale University, the London Spectator commissioned David Caute, who has long been devoted to a viewpoint opposite from that of its authors. Drawing on recently opened Soviet archives, the book offers documentary proof that the American Communist Party was largely a cover for an extensive Soviet spy ring, vindicating hotly contested accusations by Whittaker Chambers and others frequently characterized as Cold War "witch hunt" leaders.

In his own 1978 book, The Great Fear: The Anti-Communist Purge Under Truman and Eisenhower, Caute concluded that the supposed communist threat was a ruse on the part of Joe McCarthy and others to stifle dissent and restrict American liberties. In his review, Caute writes: "The Soviet threat, whether real or perceived, served as a pretext for reversing the New Deal and keeping Negroes in their place." Faced with the book's evidence, Caute also complains the Yale scholars received generous foundation support for their research.

After a woman, five months pregnant, was rescued after being locked for six hours in the trunk of her car by two thugs, a local New York newscaster concluded her report of the incident by saying, "Both mother and baby are well." This was followed by a brief look of consternation, then a correction: "I mean the fetus, of course."

An Associated Press story from Sonora, California:
A former Forest Service worker tried to escape punishment for stealing truckloads of government property, claiming that his eyesight was so bad, he couldn't see how much he'd taken.
[Ed.: The accused employee claimed to suffer from Usher's syndrome, which causes visual impairment.]

The Sarasota Herald Tribune:
Bonnie Turner was suspended from Tavares Middle School for having Tylenol in her backpack, and will not be allowed to take classes this fall until she completes a "substance-abuse awareness" course.

Jay Marshall, supervisor of student services, defended the policy. "A student is not to have any kind of medication on their person ... because they are potentially dangerous to students that would ingest them. People commit suicide by taking Tylenol."

Anita Hill comments on the Bob Packwood case in Newsweek, September 18, 1995:
Even for the Senate, the Packwood call was clear. But most cases will not be so easy. And before we begin to discuss sexual harassment in the past tense, consider that if even an easy case requires 33 months of political pressure and 10,000 pages of testimony to be resolved, the average complainant has little hope for a swift and certain resolution. Packwood may be leaving, but for many women the dismal reality remains. I look forward to the day when just one woman's word is enough to make the Senate—or any institution—act responsibly.

Peggy Bargon gave a gift of an Indian dream catcher to First Lady Hillary Clinton. A dream catcher is a talisman made of feathers, which are supposed to catch bad dreams but let good ones through. Bargon used feathers from bald eagles, snowy owls, robins, and bluejays. She killed no animals for the gift, using only feathers collected from zoos and on the ground. Still, the Fish and Wildlife Service heard about the gift and prosecuted her under a law that makes collecting feathers of certain birds illegal. Bargon faces a year in jail, a bad dream in its own right.

New York Times television critic John J. O'Connor, November 6, 1995:
Can prime time support two successful hospital shows? Absolutely. As Newt Gingrich and company stir up national anxieties about the future of medical care, viewers are very much in the mood for watching tales of crisis and stabilization.

A New Hampshire teenager was awarded a $50,000 settlement from the manufacturer of a basketball net in which the boy's teeth had become entangled as he went up for a dunk shot, requiring massive dental work.

[Ed.: At the 1996 World Dental Congress in Orlando, Florida, delegates learned of a rash of front-tooth loss among young white males averaging 5 feet 3 inches in height who use a springboard to jump to a basketball hoop their shortness preevents them from reaching normally. Evidently, their teeth are caught in the hoop's net on the way down and are pulled out.]

In a report on regulation of brothels in the Netherlands, the Sunday Times of London reports that "clients involved in sadomasochistic acts would have to be bound and gagged in such a way that they could work themselves free in an emergency in a maximum of 30 seconds." Klein Beekman, a supporter of the new rules and the proprietor of the Pink Flamingo in Apeldoorn, comments that "a lot of people don't realize what can happen if you are bound up and there is a fire and everyone else is running out of the room and just leaving you there." Although there have been no reports of anyone having been injured in such a manner, Beekman insists that "you cannot be too careful."

Holland has also instituted price controls to combat the influx of foreign prostitutes willing to undercut local prices; licensed prostitutes are also fully pensioned. Leatherware is tax-deductible along with other bedroom gear. A 6 percent sales tax applies to essential items such as milk, butter, and condoms, while a prostitute's service is taxed at the higher general rate of 17.5 percent. After their net income is taxed again, prostitutes are often left with as little as 40 percent of their earnings, a time-worn complaint in that line of work.

10/27/95

In Roanoke, Virginia, Warren Smith has sued his palm reader for giving him losing lottery numbers. He's asking for $3 million, the amount he would have won if he'd had the right numbers, plus punitive damages.

When Charles Hayden of Pittsburgh learned that his son was in danger of failing seventh grade at Harrold Middle School, he took action. He tutored the 13-year-old two hours a day for 11 weeks. The boy finished with an 85.8 average. His father was arrested for taking him out of study hall for the home teaching.

The Washington Post, May 27, 1995:
For two years, travelers in North Korea have reported increasing hunger around the nation. The government reportedly has posted signs in many cities saying "Let's Eat Two Meals Per Day, Not Three!"

Following a long dispute, the Federal Labor Relations Authority ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration might have to tear out the interiors of the offices in the radar tower at Denver International Airport. The FLRA found that the FAA had installed the tiles, wallpapering, and carpeting without consulting the air traffic controllers' union, which didn't like the color scheme.

10/25/95

Roll Call reports that a new dorm for Senate pages cost just under $8 million. That works out to $264,200 per bed. The median cost for a university dorm, on the other hand, is $22,600 per bed.

In Pasadena, California, a private nurse applied for unemployment insurance. This prompted the state to send a letter to her former employer asking to verify the nurse's reason for leaving her job. The letter threatened action if the employer didn't respond within 10 days, but the employer disregarded the notice. As the nurse noted on her application, the reason she left was that the employer had died.

During a planning session for the United Nations' 50th anniversary celebration, Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali suggested that the event be promoted by posters showing a beautiful woman in an expensive car driving by the headquarters in New York City and exclaiming, "Ah, the United Nations!"

The European magazine reported on an exhibition at a church in Murcia, Spain, by performance artist Marcelli Antunez. Antunez's performance consisted of hooking his body up to a machine connected to a computer and "inviting the audience to inflict pain and (possibly) pleasure on the body by moving around a computer mouse." The performance is highly interactive, for "individuals have to choose which part of Antunez's body to caress or punish and the degree of force to be used: one of the most popular tortures is an orthopaedic contraption that administers a blow to the buttocks."

Ned Goldstein, senior vice president and general counsel of Ticketmaster Corp., relates that the following suits have been filed against the company:

  • A teenage boy sued after being injured in the "mosh pit" at a rock concert, an area where the less inhibited slam-dance and pass each others' writhing bodies over their heads.

  • A man bought a ticket to a Chavez fight, became drunk, got into a fight himself, fell down a flight of stairs, and died. His family sued Ticketmaster, along with the fight promoter, the venue, and vendors who sold products at the venue.

  • A man who received a gift certificate for tickets but failed to redeem it before the expiration date filed a class action lawsuit under the theory that expiration dates constitute an "unfair business practice."

  • A man who was so anxious to buy tickets to a concert that he decided to sleep on the street next to Pennsylvania Station in New York for three days so that he could be the first in line when tickets became available was mugged, and he sued Ticketmaster four years later.

  • A Colorado woman held an outdoor concert at an Indian swap meet and decided to do the ticketing through Ticketmaster. She then advertised the event at a nonexistent venue and signed up obscure artists to take part. On the day of the event the temperature soared to 104 degrees, and attendance was sparse. She sued Ticketmaster for $300,000, even though all of Ticketmaster's contracts explicitly state that there is no guarantee of minimum ticket sales.

10/23/95

Activist Al Sharpton led a 170-mile protest march, called "the march of the poor," to New York's capital in Albany—a demonstration made somewhat easier for Sharpton by the presence of a chauffeur-driven Mercedes whose driver fetched him coffee.

Syl Jones in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 4, 1995:
I want to make it clear that I am not claiming never to have ogled a woman. The difference, however, between me and the snickering rabble who claim their right to use their eyes as they damn well please, is simple: I recognize the act of "throwing amorous, languishing or insinuating glances" in public as among the more base and degrading instincts I have. It is not something of which I am proud. In fact, ogling is an instinct which we men need to unlearn as we teach its opposite—deep respect for women—to our male children. Furthermore—and this is the essential fact—I have found it to be the source of wisdom not to ogle women because it sets me up on the wrong path and hinders my relationship with every woman, including my mother.... And when one of us exploits a woman, even by undressing her with our eyes in public, we show that we have lost touch with the woman inside us—the mother who gave us life.

An account of an anti-Pete Wilson rally in the San Francisco Chronicle, July 20, 1995:
The children, excited by the prospect of seeing [Jesse] Jackson, were also addressed by San Francisco civil rights lawyer Eva Patterson: "Some very bad people don't want you to go to college. They want you to be homeless and go to jail and go on welfare, so they can cut welfare so you can't even live."

Efforts to publicize the continued existence of slavery in parts of Africa have been met with a good deal of silence from American black leaders.

"As you read this," began an article in New York's City Sun, "in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Black Africans continue to be enslaved by their Arab Berber masters.... In the Islamic Republic of the Sudan ... Black women and children (mostly Christian) are being captured in raids on their villages and sold as chattel slaves." Another article in the Daily Challenge featured a Mauritanian exile who, as a picture caption read, was "tortured by Arab Muslims during Mauritania's murderous 1990 anti-Black pogrom, bared to his scars to a horrified audience in Brooklyn's House of the Lord Church." At an Abolitionist Conference held at Columbia University, many grass-roots black activists made common cause with the American Anti-Slavery Group (AASG) and African exiles.

As a result of the attention focused on the issue, the Nation of Islam is speaking out—in defense of Sudan and Muslim enslavers. So is the Amsterdam News, America's largest black weekly. Louis Farrakhan's international representative Akbar Muhammad noted that the AASG research director, Charles Jacobs, is "a Jew, maybe a Zionist" intent upon besmirching Islam and dividing blacks.

Augustine A. Lado, president of the human rights group Pax Sudani Network, complains that the "Congressional Black Caucus, Trans-Africa, the Rainbow Coalition, the Nation of Islam, and the NAACP [have] forsaken us." Charles Jacobs likewise relates, "for two years we tried to get Rev. Jackson on the record against slavery, [but he] returned our document packages unopened. A staff person told us that Jackson wouldn't touch the issue because it seemed anti-Arab." Jackson wouldn't even give Samuel Cotton of the City Sun a statement. He "is busy with affirmative action," an aide explained. "Right now, slavery is not on his agenda."

In 1993, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) sent Benjamin Chavis, then executive director of the NAACP, two letters about "kidnapping, slavery, and the export of women and children from ... Sudan." "Please let me know if the NAACP is willing to step forward," Wolf wrote. There was no response to these or to similar pleas Wolf made to apartheid foe Randall Robinson. Robinson promised exiled Sudanese that he would "do something about Sudan after Haiti."

[Ed.: After Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan challenged the press, "If slavery exists, why don't you go as a member of the press?" two staff reporters from the Baltimore Sun went to Sudan and purchased two slaves, ages 10 and 12, from an Arab trader for $500 each at a remote marketplace, then returned the boys to their parents.]

The Atlantic States Gay Rodeo Association held its annual Gay Rodeo in Maryland, only to be met with protests from three animal-rights groups, including the Gay and Lesbian Animal Rights Caucus of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. At issue wasn't just the usual rough-and-tumble of lassoing and smacking steers to the dirt, but certain "camp" events such as goat dressing, in which contestants get hold of a goat's hindquarters and fit it with drawers. "They don't need to force panties on a goat," insisted one lesbian protestor.

10/18/95

In Santa Cruz, California, street performer Cory McDonald, while wearing a clown costume (complete with big red nose) in his role as "Mr. Twister," was ticketed for "unauthorized deposit of coins" after a metermaid spotted him slipping coins into a stranger's meter. "I was just being nice to people," said McDonald, adding that he wouldn't pay the $13 ticket and "no matter what they do to me, I'm never going to stop." The clown got a lawyer, Ben Rice, to take his case for free, on a "pro-Bozo" basis. They planned to fight the citation and start a campaign to change the law, complete with "Free Mr. Twister" postcards and bumper stickers requesting, "Mr. Twister Feed My Meter." Facing adverse national publicity, City Manager Richard Wilson asked the court to dismiss the infraction against Mr. Twister, and also sought to repeal the law. "The intent of our ordinance isn't to punish clowns," Wilson said.

Shortly after Cincinnati opened a leaf disposal program, the city collection sites were struck by a crime wave: people dropping off bags of leaves during hours when the sites were closed. (The sites were only open from 3:00 to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays and 11:00 to 6:30 p.m. on weekends.) A local environmental officer told the Cincinnati Enquirer that people who dumped their leaves in bags outside the site's gates when it was not open could face fines of up to $10,000 plus jail time.

In Petaluma, California, an ex-rock star and ex-drug user sued the local government for refusing to hire him as a policeman. The rocker claimed it was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act for the police to refuse to hire an ex-addict.

In Minneapolis, a policeman who suffered from diabetes collapsed into a coma while driving his police cruiser. The cruiser crashed, causing minor damage. The police department, concluding that the risk of further comas was too high, discharged the officer. The policeman sued, claiming that the department should have accommodated him and kept him in his job.

In Orlando, Florida, elementary school custodian Leroy McMillon attacked the school principal during a job evaluation. When the school system fired McMillon, he sued, claiming that he suffered from a disability. (McMillon swore that he had forgotten to take his thyroid medicine that day.)

A federal court heard the case of two women who sued the Caravan of Dreams nightclub in Dallas. The women, both of whom have respiratory ailments, claimed that the nightclub had violated their civil rights when it failed to prohibit every other person who wanted to go to two jazz concerts from smoking. (A federal judge rejected their charges.)

Margi Chong sued her employer, Columbia Sportswear of Portland, Oregon, claiming that they discriminated against her by requiring that smokers pay a higher fee than non smokers for group health insurance. As Business Journal Portland noted, "The suit asserts that Chong's addiction to tobacco gives her protection from employment discrimination under the ADA."

The Madison, Wisconsin, Capital Times, May 27, 1995:
You turn a "th" sound on the beginning of a word into a "d" sound.

"The" becomes "duh."

That's one of the rules of Black English Vernacular that Eyvonne Crawford-Gray shared Friday with fourth- and fifth-grade students at Lincoln Elementary School.

The kids seemed to enjoy the presentation.

Another rule: "r" on the end of a word becomes silent.

"What does 'door' become?" Crawford-Gray asked.

"Doe," responded the children from Jeffrey Maas' open classroom.

The students first met Crawford-Gray when she was running for a seat on the Madison School Board....

Crawford-Gray told the students that Black English Vernacular is a separate language because it has its own rules and patterns.

Some of the children responded as she explained the rules. "That's how we talk at home," said one.

"That is something to be proud of," Crawford-Gray said. "You speak two languages."

Barbara Ehrenreich in Time magazine, August 7, 1995:
But there is a theme implicit in the [Susan] Smith story that ought to be familiar to every woman with a functioning heart, and the theme is love. Not the good kind of love, obviously, the kind that results in homemade cookies and all-night vigils with feverish children, but the ungovernable, romantic kind of love that the songs tell us about, as in "addicted to love" and "I would do anything to hold onto you." Whether Smith intended to kill herself or just wanted to win back her lover by getting rid of the kids, we will never know for sure. Either way, she was an extremist in the cause for love.

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan threatened to file a federal suit to seek a recount of the official estimate showing that 400,000 black men attended the Million Man March he organized. He said the march drew "well over a million people," adding that the lower figure reflected racism and hatred of him personally.

10/10/95

Suddenly... some expert analysis from ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson, on "Peter Jennings' Journal," October 31, 1995:
For instance, projected Medicare costs will rise over the next seven years by ten point five percent a year if left alone... the Republicans would reduce that increase to six point four percent a year. But that's still an increase, says Gingrich, not a cut.

Well, I got to thinking about that and I must tell you I think Gingrich is wrong. Take a family of four. Suppose that family earns enough to buy a loaf of bread each day and everyone gets a fourth of the loaf. That loaf costs a dollar. Now, I know it really costs more, but let's just keep this simple.

Suddenly, mama gives birth to another child. It is now a family of five and the head of the house comes to Mr. Gingrich and says, "I'll need another quarter please to buy another quarter loaf of bread."

And Mr. Gingrich says, "No, sorry. I'll give you another twelve and a half cents. But not a penny more." I suspect that family will think it's just suffered a cut. No longer can everyone have a quarter loaf of bread a day... now everyone has to have less. Even though Mr. Gingrich will say, "Why, that family got an increase in its budget."

Now, any way you slice it, the Republicans are cutting the budget. Perhaps a good thing. Who needs a quarter loaf of bread a day anyway?

On the presidential campaign trail with Sen. Richard Lugar, Mark Leyner describes the senator's smile in the inaugural issue of George, October/November 1995:
Lugar smiles. Lugar's smile is constant. It's toothy, but tinged with a certain sadness, I think. Initially it reminds me of a podiatrist's smile—that resolutely sanguine yet ever-so-slightly mournful look of someone who's known the joys of shaving a corn off a young ballerina's toe so she can dance the part of Clara in that night's Nutcracker, but who's also had to tell a heartbroken little figure skater that, because of an inoperable bunion, she'll never do another salchow.

Leyner goes on to describe Lugar as someone who looks a bit young for his age:

Immunologist Walter Pierpaoli of the Biancala-Maser Foundation for the aged in Ancona, Italy, and Vladimir A. Lesnikov of the Institute of Experimental Medicine in St. Petersburg, Russia, have offered experimental evidence that the pineal gland plays some part in regulating the rate at which the body ages. Pierpaoli has further stated that "we can dramatically interfere with aging by interfering with the calcifying of the pineal." Although Newsweek columnist George Will has noted that Senator Lugar has "an unreasonably unlined face between his sparkling Chiclets teeth and his thick shock of silvery hair," not a single credible journalist has suggested that Lugar might be rejuvenating himself by somehow—through highly experimental means—inhibiting the calcification of his pineal gland. Although sources tell me that the instruments required for pineal decalcification could be easily procured at almost any office equipment and beauty-supply store, a cursory inspection of Lugar's Manchester headquarters—including the back room—reveals no paraphernalia that would be consistent with such a procedure.

Jennifer James, "an urban cultural anthropologist and author of six books," answering a reader's query in the Seahurst, Washington, Spokesman-Review, May 28, 1995:
Hello Jennifer: You stated some million Native Americans were killed by bounty hunters in California.... Please give me specifics about documentation of this atrocity. —Lael

Dear Lael and others: The source of my California information was a PBS documentary titled "Ishi," produced by WGBH in Boston.... I called the Burke Museum at the University of Washington for more detailed information, but they were too busy to help callers.

I suggest you become researchers and, using your local library, contact the leading Native American museum in California and find out what it has on the California bounty system of the late 1800s and early 1900s.

You may find good records that confirm the documentary statistics or reveal other atrocities. The important thing for me, however, is not whether the data add up to a million or a few hundred thousand or whether Native Americans died because of bounties or other violence.

The important information, in this case, is not in the details; it is in awareness of some of the patterns of our history.

The Wall Street Journal, October 10, 1995:
Activists dressed in lobster suits have berated diners entering Gladstone's, a restaurant in Pacific Palisades, Calif., that serves as many as 10,000 lobsters a month. The shadowy Crustacean Liberation Front has tagged San Francisco cafes with pro-lobster graffiti. In England, underwater saboteurs in scuba gear have prowled the deep at fishing tournaments, herding away trophy carp and snipping off lures.... Last month, PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] declared a National Fish Amnesty Day, and plans to call for more fishing-free days in the future.

10/9/95

As part of Stanford's new core curriculum there is no graduation requirement in American History, but students must take courses in race theory and feminist studies. In Feminist Studies 101, assignments have included writing (but not necessarily sending) a letter to parents "coming out as a lesbian." In "The Psychology of Gender," which meets one of the new requirements, students went to a local pizzeria to monitor "gender discrepancies in pizza consumption."

The Washington Post, June 3, 1995:
Debra DiCenso ... was arrested Wednesday for working out in the men's weight room.... The problem, DiCenso explained, is that the heaviest dumbbells in the women's weight room are 30 pounds—compared with 65 on the men's side—and that the other equipment for the ladies is, well, lightweight stuff. "It's my constitutional right to work out with weights I can lift," said DiCenso, a political science major at Northeastern University and aspiring lawyer.

William Simpson in the Chicago Tribune, July 23, 1995:
Reading a letter on [July 16], I was moved to empathize with the writer's feeling for "horrible suffering" inflicted on fish by bowfishmen. ("...Every day is hellish for the wildlife kingdom..."). Then my continuing unresolved philosophical problems about my encounters with ants arose anew.

Where I walk to pick up my Tribune every morning, many of the cracks in the sidewalk are the homes for ant colonies. Even when trying not to, I step on countless ants, snuffing out their lives.

Then I ask myself: What is the relationship between me and those ants and other wildlife? Do I make life "hellish" for those ants I step on every day? And for those insects and rodents I try to eradicate from my home? Do bowfishmen make life hellish for the fish?

Without trying to invest the questions with more philosophical weight than they deserve, the issues of humans misusing lower forms of natural life are very active ones today, with "animal rights" battles going on everywhere. And the ants in my path to the goal of getting the Tribune are a big part of the debate for me.

[Ed.: The gardening catalog of Smith and Hawken offers a $130 electronic mosquito catcher called Insectivoro that uses a different mechanism than standard bug zappers: "A powerful fan sucks [the bugs] into a filter drawer, where they desiccate over time—or they may be released back outside at the end of the day."]

The University of Nebraska's proposed harassment policy defined harassment as "a form of discrimination in which unwelcome, severe, or pervasive speech or actions are directed at individuals or groups on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, veteran or marital status, sexual orientation or political views, either directly or indirectly."

After Katharine Ann Power surrendered to authorities for her role in a 1970 Massachusetts bank robbery that left a police officer dead and that was motivated by a radical political agenda, she accepted a plea bargain of an 8-12 year sentence for manslaughter and armed robbery. As part of the deal she agreed that for 20 years after she eventually is paroled, neither she nor anyone representing her would profit from selling her story of her revolutionary activities or her 23 years on the lam.

Later, Power brought suit in the Massachusetts Supreme Court, claiming that her First Amendment rights were violated by the agreement, but the court disagreed with her, so she appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. One of her lawyers in the Supreme Court appeal, asked if there was a book or film deal in the works, responded, "I really can't answer that."

From an anonymous letter sent in February, 1995, to Eastsideweek, a Seattle newspaper:
Why a Lot of Men Will Be Winners by Becoming Feminists

Until recently I was against the feminist movement and even hated women, although I am a straight man. The reason was very simple: for many years I did not have enough sex. (I still don't have enough.) I was wondering why, since I am not ugly, I dress well, and I am not disabled or mentally retarded. A lot of men I know who don't make a lot of money have the same problem. I have never been wealthy, so I thought that women were causing this sexual problem because they were being too materialistic.

Recently I realized that it is not women but we men who create this situation. Men with a lot of money not only can but usually do have several women. IRS statistics show that more than 15 percent of Americans have incomes greater than $50,000 per year. As we know, the majority of people with big incomes are men, so it makes sense to assume that at least 20 percent of the male population are making more than $50,000 a year. Meanwhile, another 20 percent of men make less than $20,000. These men can hardly afford to impress a woman with their standard of living. Not so for the big money maker: he can afford not only to have a more impressive standard of living (housing, car) but also to pay for several women (restaurants, vacations, cash, expensive presents). The rich 20 percent can easily satisfy 40 percent of the nation's women, thus creating a big shortage of sexually unsatisfied women.

What surprising conclusion did I draw from this? Become a feminist. Let as many women as possible become big moneymakers so that the number of male big moneymakers decreases, thereby increasing the supply of unsatisfied women! The message for men is simple: when you need a service, go to a woman; when you vote, vote for a woman; use the Women's Yellow Pages whenever possible. Don't help a man become stronger financially and thereby eliminating you sexually. The faster we spread this message, the sooner we will feel the results.

9/20/95

New York officials set up special bins to collect the newspapers of commuters coming through the Penn Central railroad station. Police arrested a Lynbrook, Long Island, woman after she retrieved a newspaper out of a recycling bin for a quick look during rush hour.

Paulette Caldwell, a New York University law professor, won tenure for an article that started as follows: "I want to know my hair again, to own it, to delight in it again, to recall my earliest mirrored reflection when there was no beginning and I first knew that the person who laughed at me and cried with me and stuck out her tongue at me was me."

Margaret E. Montoya, law professor at the University of New Mexico, also dwelled on the subject of hair in her essay "Mascaras, Trenzas, y Grenzas [Masks, braids, and messy hair]: Un/masking the Self While Un/braiding Latina Stories and Legal Discourse": "One of the earliest memories from my school years is of my mother braiding my hair, making my trenzas."

The Justice Department ordered the Washington, D.C., subway system to place raised bumps on the edges of its subway platforms to alert blind people, a change that was estimated to cost $30 million. However, the National Federation of Blind People opposed the mandate because it believed that blind people would be likely to trip over the bumps and fall in front of trains.

The D.C. Metro already features a number of conveniences for its disabled passengers, including platforms that are slightly sloped away from the track bed in case someone's wheelchair should happen to become unlocked.

After a drunken ship captain wrecked an oil tanker and caused one of the worst oil spills in modern history, costing Exxon $5 billion in punitive damages, Exxon responded with tough new drug and alcohol standards for employees in safety-sensitive jobs. The company is now facing 107 lawsuits by employees claiming discrimination against alcoholics and drug users.

A Labor Department judge declared: "Public perception of the Valdez incident as having been caused by a recovering alcoholic does not justify discrimination against all recovering alcoholics."

The Maine supreme court ruled that Mrs. Jeannine Pelletier, a golfer who hit herself in the face with her own golf ball, can collect the $40,000 awarded her in damages by a jury.

A Reuters report from Stockholm, Sweden, September 19, 1995:
Cheap red wine will be used to power environmentally friendly buses in Sweden because of an ethanol shortage, a spokesman for the Stockholm City Council said today.

The council has been granted permission by the European Union to import 5,000 tons of surplus red wine from Spain, said the spokesman, Kenneth Forslund.

"There has been a representative from the commission here checking that we are only using it for the buses," he said. Wine has to go through an industrial process to be turned into fuel.

The price of ethanol, made from wood, has jumped about 30 percent in one year, Mr. Forslund said.

Many of Sweden's buses are powered by ethanol.

Lehigh Valley Legal Services, a Pennsylvania agency funded by the federal Legal Services Corporation, filed a lawsuit on behalf of an indigent 16-year-old boy to help him seek custody of the child he had fathered by rape. Legal Services helped the boy challenge the constitutionality of the Pennsylvania law that denies rapists the chance of custody.

9/18/95

Among the products forced to gain approval by the Food and Drug Administration as "medical devices" are New Freedom Ultra Thin pads, McDonald's sunglasses, a baby highchair insert, a dental bib, a dental tray, a foot comfort massager, a low-pressure mattress, a wheelchair cushion, mint-flavored dental floss, spectacle frames, an Amish country spa, and Super Poli-Grip denture adhesive cream.

[Ed.: FDA Commissioner David Kessler later proposed to reclassify cigarettes as "drug-delivery devices," and thus under the FDA's jurisdiction.]

Selections from Guidelines for Bias-Free Writing, by Marilyn Schwartz and the Task Force on Bias-Free Language of the Association of American University Presses. The following guidelines may shed some light on how to refer to women using the English language:

  • "Scholars normally refer to individuals solely by their full or their last names, omitting courtesy titles." [Section 1.41, lines 4-5]

  • "Because African-American women have had to struggle for the use of traditional courtesy titles, some prefer Mrs. and Miss." [Section 1.41, lines 23-25]

  • "Most guidelines for nonsexist usage urge writers to avoid gratuitous references to the marital status of women." [Section 1.41, lines 1-2]

  • "Ms. may seem anachronistic or ironic if used for a woman who lived prior to the second U.S. feminist movement of the 1960s." [Lines 7-9]

  • "Careful writers normally avoid referring to a woman by her first name alone because of the trivializing or condescending effect." [Section 1.42, lines 1-3]

A fair housing organization in Pennsylvania sued a realty company for using the term "rare find" for a house it offered. The house was in a black neighborhood, and the fair housing activists claimed that "rare find" was a racially discriminatory phrase indicating that it was rare to find nice homes in black areas.

Long Island Housing Services sued a newspaper for permitting the use of the term "professional" in classified ads. A spokesman for the group claimed that the word "professional" was a racist code word.

The Chicago Tribune reported that realty professionals in various parts of the country had been told the term 'walk-in closet' is unacceptable because it discriminates against wheelchair-bound persons, and that 'master bedroom' likewise suggests slavery.

The New York Times noted in November 1993: "Anyone shopping for a house these days is likely to find brokers reluctant to answer the question of which community has the best schools, particularly in metropolitan suburbs. While this is a major concern of the buyer, brokers know that an inappropriate answer could be considered a violation of the Fair Housing Law." The Westchester County, New York, Board of Realtors discourages its members from giving out average Scholastic Aptitude Test scores of local schools even though the figures are published in the newspaper. Board attorney Edward Sumber observed, "There is some feeling that high SAT levels imply a non-racially mixed area."

In Iowa, a woman accused of shoplifting a $25 sweater had her $18,000 car—specially equipped for her handicapped daughter—seized as the "getaway vehicle."

A Massachusetts man won a court victory in summer 1994 on his right to subsidized Section 8 housing even though he was judged to be a pyromaniac.

The parents of Eleanor Glewwe, who is Chinese-American, and Hana Maruyama, who is Japanese-American, wanted to take advantage of a public school "choice" program by transferring the girls from Takoma Park Elementary School in Takoma Park, Maryland, to Maryvale Elementary School in Rockville, Maryland, which features a curriculum in which only French is spoken. But the Montgomery County Board of Education rejected their applications because if the girls transferred it would mean too few Asians in their old school, thus increasing the "ethnic isolation" of the remaining Asian students.

Eleanor's mother Mary Yee then tried a different strategy: because her husband is white, she changed her daughter's racial classification from Asian to white and applied again. But school officials again denied the request, this time citing a policy that discourages transfers out of schools undergoing significant enrollment changes.

9/11/95

The Federal Highway Administration proposed a special waiver program to accommodate the disabled in which truck drivers could be blind in one eye and have weak vision in the other eye.

Hundreds of businesses were held liable for the cleanup costs of the Lorentz Barrel and Drum Superfund site in San Jose, California—even though the California Department of the Environment required the companies to send their empty oil drums to a recycler, and the Lorentz site was the only one in the state.

Movie critic John Powers reviews Apollo 13 in the Washington Post, July 9, 1995, and in so doing manages to come completely unglued:
[T]his particular true story seems tailor-made for today's conservative mood—its Angry White Men and its nostalgia for a homogeneous America that never was. Ours may be the first country ever to pine for its lost glory while still being the most powerful nation on Earth, and in its rose-colored images of bygone days, Apollo 13 makes such nostalgia seem like a rational political position.

In fact, its story line could be a Republican parable about 1995 America: A marvelous vessel loses its power and speeds towards extinction, until it's saved by a team of heroic white men. I can imagine the political commercials in which Hanks morphs into Phil Gramm.

Although the movie's publicity trumpets its historical accuracy, the movie itself celebrates the paradisiacal America invoked by Ronald Reagan and Pat Buchanan—an America where men were men, women were subservient, and people of color kept out of the damned way. And what of satanic '60s counterculture? In one of the most telling subplots, Apollo 13 vanquishes the Jefferson Airplane. Astronaut Jim Lovell's daughter goes from being a rebellious teen with "White Rabbit" on her stereo to a docile young woman restored to the bosom of her family by her father's ordeal. Whatever the dormouse said, she's forgotten it.

A thematic comparison, conducted by columnist Arianna Huffington, of two political profiles by Gail Sheehy that appeared in the November 1987 and September 1995 issues of Vanity Fair:
Newt Gingrich:
He props his hands, as acquisitive and chubby as a baby's, on top of his head.
Michael Dukakis:
He begins moving slowly, sinuously.

Newt Gingrich:
"He completely ignores her," observes a Washington journalist.... "It's my impression the marriage is a dead letter. He is so self-absorbed, she could open the door wrapped in plastic wrap and he wouldn't notice."
Michael Dukakis:
Dukakis is being projected also as an ideal husband.... "The marriage is an inspiration."

Newt Gingrich:
During 1979 and 1980 Newt ... entered a period of crisis. He almost ... "wiped out."... "There were people concerned about his stability."
Michael Dukakis:
All the wunderkinder had a midlife crisis. A screeching inner halt that made him take stock.... For a wunderkind like Dukakis, often the best thing that can happen is a major midlife crisis.

Newt Gingrich:
His blind spot may be his own perceived invulnerability, his faith in his ability to always manipulate opinion.
Michael Dukakis:
The real blind spot for Dukakis lay in operating as a politician too principled to practice politics.

Newt Gingrich:
If you ever fight with Newt on one of those things, he will either go ballistic or he will break down. It's dangerous.
Michael Dukakis:
According to those closest to Dukakis, he is not without emotional range. He can blow up at the kids and Kitty. He gets choked up over tragedies that befall friends.

Newt Gingrich:
But in his mania for immediate headlines, Newt has drawn blood, and his enemies will swear vengeance.
Michael Dukakis:
The opposition laughed him off, as usual underestimating. He won.

Newt Gingrich:
Another expert, a psychiatrist at New York Hospital, elaborates on hypomania.... "And in Gingrich, his upbringing and the hypomaniac flair of the personality might create a double reason for his being grandiose because he's trying to overcome the feeling of tremendous inferiority."
Michael Dukakis:
"I think," says psychoanalyst Dr. Don Lipsett, "he began to examine himself in exquisite detail, in a very cognitive, intellectual way."

Newt Gingrich:
Confusion over his identity was a recurrent theme in Newt's boyhood.
Michael Dukakis:
He was the kind of kid other people's mothers loved to hold up as an example.... Did young Michael even have a failure? I ask his mother.... Finally she remembers one occasion. His sixth-grade teacher kept scolding him for writing small.

Newt Gingrich:
He drives himself monomaniacally, obsessed only with his goal. No amount of personal deprivation—100-hour workweeks, no vacations, no time with his wife—diminishes his narcissistic vision of the global glory that will ultimately be his prize.
Michael Dukakis:
The question is, can Michael Dukakis transmit his personal discipline and sacrifice and unswerving confidence to a nation sliding into the twilight of its youthful supremacy?

Newt Gingrich:
From the beginning there has been an overheated quality to Gingrich's ambition ... a sort of Wagnerian overreaching.... Atrocities are forgiven. Especially if the action is rapid fire.... Speed is unfailingly of the essence. The 100-day Contract With America is the best proof. The Speaker has the tendency to set up accelerated timetables and artificial deadlines, based on the necessity to keep his "frenetic psyche" within some boundaries.
Michael Dukakis:
The wunderkind, who had always been in such a hurry to be ahead of everyone else.... He moved like a bullet train through the next fifteen years.

Newt Gingrich:
He should be stopped before it's too late.
Michael Dukakis:
Dukakis is the living, breathing restoration of the American Dream.

Third World Interim Inc. is a black-owned firm that trains minority workers and helps them get jobs. The New York company was hit by a lawsuit by former employee William Hoff, who charged that he was fired because he was white. The dismissal, he therefore maintained, was "in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibiting racially motivated discharges."

But as it turns out, Hoff wasn't any old white male; he was in fact grand dragon of the New York Ku Klux Klan. He was spotted at a Klan rally in upstate New York and a witness had called his employer.

A brief filed on behalf of Third World Interim by the American Jewish Congress, or AJC, argued that, contrary to Hoff's assertion, he was not fired because he was white but because of his political beliefs. "And it's not illegal to fire someone for his political beliefs," explains AJC lawyer Marc Stern. "It may not always be nice, but it's not illegal."

A federal court agreed with that argument, but one question remains unanswered: Why would a KKK grand dragon want a job that helped to promote minorities?

"I guess it paid well," Stern speculated.

9/9/95

Federal District Court Judge Robert P. Patterson issued an injunction against a twenty-five cent fare increase by the New York City transit authority, deciding that it would have a disparate impact on black and Hispanic riders.

9/5/95

The narcotics unit in Marin County, California, used $227,000 that it had received from the federal government as its share of confiscated property to settle a lawsuit from a policewoman on the local antidrug unit who claimed that two policemen in the unit sexually harassed her. After the controversy of the use of seized money was made public, U.S. Attorney Michael Yamaguchi in San Francisco defended the asset forfeiture program: "It's a very successful program. It has lots and lots of money."

The New York Landmarks Commission banned residents of Manhattan's Soho neighborhood from planting any trees because the commission wanted to preserve the grimy industrial feel of the area that existed in the late 1800s.

A profile of the Rev. George Webber of the New York Theological Seminary that appeared in the New Yorker, July 10, 1995:
Webber graduated from Harvard in 1942 with a degree in history; he has been at the seminary since 1969 and established the prison program. He finds in the Bible "a radical, countercultural Jesus who teaches us to expose the injustices of society and deal with society's victims." By Webber's lights, those victims include violent criminals. "The guys take responsibility for what they did," he explains. "But they can say, 'Look, I messed up, I've done awful things, I've committed murder, I deserve punishment, yet at the same time I was victimized by a vicious, corrupt, awful society that never gave me a chance.' Rarely do I have anybody who wasn't treated like s*** since he was a baby." Of the Sing Sing residents he declares, "They're human beings, not criminals," although whatever else they may be, they certainly are criminals. "Take Don Mason," he says of one of his graduates. "In a fit of rage, he kills his wife. He's not a murderer, damn it all! He committed a murder."

Ellen Wurzo, a 34-year-old secretary, has announced she intends to file suit against President Clinton because he declined to have sex with her. She had announced her intentions to bed the President to all her friends and coworkers, but when she propositioned Clinton at a fundraising party, he replied, "that's out of the question," and walked away. Wurzo claims that this unexpected rejection cost her $16,000 in psychiatric bills, sent her into utter depression, gave her a nervous tic, and made her contemplate suicide. She wants some money to compensate. "I was so crushed at the rejection," she says, "that you wouldn't believe it."

The Oxford University Press has published a new "inclusive" translation of the New Testament and Psalms, intended, the introduction says, to "provide direction and sustenance to those who long for justice."

In the new text, the word "begat" is not used, since it favors fathers over mothers. Metaphors about darkness as evil and light as good are also removed as racist. References to the blind, deaf, and lame change to constructions such as "those who are blind." "Slaves" likewise changes to "enslaved people." References to the "right hand of God" now become His "mighty hand." Parents "guide" rather than "discipline" their children, who "heed" rather than "obey" their parents. References to God as "Lord" and "King" are changed to "Ruler" and "Sovereign." Likewise the "Kingdom of God" is now the "Dominion of God." Curiously, God the "Father" becomes the "Father-Mother," which any single parent would certainly appreciate (Satan, too, becomes gender-free). Jesus the "Master" now becomes simply "Teacher," and the former "Son of Man" is now "the Human One."

Excerpts from the course description for "Mathematics, Gender, and Culture," an undergraduate course offering from the Mathematics Department of SUNY Plattsburgh:
After taking this course the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the political nature of mathematics and mathematics education.
  2. Describe gender and race differences in mathematics and their sociological consequences.
  3. Examine the factors influencing gender and race differences in mathematics.
  4. Critically evaluate eurocentrism and androcentrism in mathematics.
  5. Describe the role culture plays in the development and learning of mathematics.
  6. Give examples of the historical role of women and people of color in mathematics.
  7. Critically evaluate research on the relationship of gender and culture to mathematics and mathematics education.

Course Requirements: ...

3. Journals: (5 points each) Students are required to keep a journal. The purpose of this journal is to record your thoughts and feelings about the course and the material you are learning and to maintain communication between the instructor and the class. The journal entry should focus on the reading and class discussions of the previous week, giving your personal reactions to the material. In addition, you can use your journal to make any comments to me you wish about the course or anything else....

5. Group Activities: (15 points each) Students will be placed in groups of 4-5 people four times throughout the semester. These groups will be given problems which require the development of a mathematical solution. Each group will then derive a solution and then write a summary describing their solution and the process they went through to derive the solution. Each student will also write a 1-2 page reaction paper to the group process describing how they contributed to the solution and how the group process worked.

6. Mathematical Autobiography: (20 points) Write a 2-3 page paper describing your experiences with mathematics throughout your life. Begin with your earliest memories of mathematics and continue up to the present. Think about your experiences both in and out of a formal classroom setting. Do not just describe what courses you have taken but also how you felt about and experienced mathematics.

7. Biography Paper: (30 points) Choose a mathematician (or cultural group of mathematicians) who are not white male. Research their lives. Write a 3-5 page paper describing the life of the person or persons you have chosen and their contribution to mathematics....

8. Ethnomathematics Project: (20 points) This project will require you to make or do some form of ethnomathematics for presentation in class. This must be an example of mathematics in a non-academic setting. For example you may wish to:

  • Make an Incan quipu.
  • Make a symmetric quilt square.
  • Make an African board game such as wari.

Your example of ethnomathematics will be presented in class. You will be required to hand in a one-page paper explaining the mathematics in your project....

8/28/95

In Camden, New Jersey, the family of an alleged killer who fell to his death while trying to escape jail has filed suit against the facility for failing to maintain a reasonable level of safety.

The City University of New York, faced with an acute fiscal squeeze and potential tuition hikes because of the state's $5 billion budget gap, spent $200,000 on a study to determine if the university needed more women's rooms on campus. University officials said they wanted to establish "potty parity" by constructing more bathrooms for females.

17-year-old Andy Marlowe, a Newport News, Virginia, high-school student who played on the varsity football and baseball teams, spent his after-school hours and summers working for his father's janitorial business and recently won the Duty to God award at his church. When Marlowe needed to raise money to pay for the missionary assignment he wanted to fulfill through the Mormon Church, he hit on the idea of offering to repaint people's house numbers on curbs for $10 each. The idea was an instant success.

It also brought him to the attention of the city's engineering department, which cited him for painting on public property without a permit, and warned him that each painted number (he painted more than 40) would constitute a separate offense. Further, they claimed that Marlowe's activities began four years earlier; the teenager said it had only been a few weeks. Marlowe faces fines totaling $750.

8/26/95

A four-hundred-pound woman sued Southwest Airlines for discrimination after a ticket agent allegedly ordered her to buy a second ticket.

Three inmates have sued the Mini-Cassia Jail in Idaho, charging that jailers' refusal to give them a midnight snack was cruel and unusual punishment.

In Salinas, California, doughnut shop owner Harjeet Singh pleaded guilty to insurance fraud. After an employee was shot during a holdup, Singh dragged the wounded man's body out to the sidewalk to make it appear he was a customer and not an employee, all because Singh did not have worker's compensation coverage.

8/21/95

On January 12, 1991, Denise Perrigo called a local community volunteer center to ask a question about breast-feeding, checking to see if it was unusual for a mother to become aroused while breast-feeding her child. (Perrigo's daughter, Cherilyn, was three years old at the time.) The local community volunteer service referred her to a rape crisis center, where the volunteer she talked to assumed that Perrigo was sexually abusing her daughter. The center phoned the police, who raided Perrigo's house, arrested and jailed her, and gave her daughter to social workers from the Onondaga County Department of Social Services in Syracuse, New York.

Perrigo was interrogated for five hours by the police. She later said that one of the policemen accused her of "having my daughter perform oral sex on me." Perrigo was formally accused of sexual abuse, including "acts of sexual conduct including mouth-to-breast contact." The term breast-feeding was never used.

Perrigo's case went before a local judge the following Monday morning, and the judge threw all charges against her out of court.

But rather than give Cherilyn back to her mother, the Department of Social Services immediately filed another set of charges. The daughter was placed in a foster home. The social workers effectively claimed that Perrigo was a pervert because she was still breast-feeding her three-year-old daughter. Yet, as Dr. Ruth Lawrence, a University of Rochester pediatrician and one of the nation's foremost authorities on breast-feeding, notes, the international average length of nursing is 4.2 years. (One policeman reportedly lectured Perrigo on the night of her arrest that it was "physically impossible to nurse after eighteen months," so she must be nursing for her own gratification.)

The case against Perrigo was heard by a local family court judge three months later—and once again all the charges were thrown out of court.

Yet Cherilyn was kept in foster care, and social workers permitted Perrigo to see her daughter only two hours once every two weeks.

In the following months, Cherilyn was interrogated by social workers and psychologists more than thirty times. Five months later, family court judge Edward McLaughlin again dismissed all charges.

ABC newsman Sam Donaldson, the host of a weekly show that frequently accuses the federal government of wasting tax dollars on a privileged few, received $97,000 in federal wool and mohair subsidies for his New Mexico ranch. Donaldson said he reluctantly accepted the subsidy in order to compete with fellow ranchers.

Donaldson also benefits from the Animal Damage Control Program, which allowed him to call USDA agents over to his ranch 412 times over five years in order to kill 74 coyotes and three bobcats that were preying on his livestock. This service cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.