An Inclusive Litany

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.