An Inclusive Litany


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.