An Inclusive Litany


Rules protecting the red-cockaded woodpecker put parts of North Carolina timber farmer Ben Cone's land off-limits to forestry uses. Cone said that $1.8 million in timber was caught in the protected zone. He responded by clear-cutting all other trees on his land in an effort to prevent the woodpeckers from spreading to any more of his trees and thus putting any more of his property under the protective rules.

In 1992 Roy Clendinen, then an inmate at the Mohawk Correctional Facility near Syracuse, New York, filed a million-dollar lawsuit claiming "cruel and unusual" punishment for incidents stemming from a guard's refusal to refrigerate the prisoner's ice cream.

Another New York inmate, ulcer-suffering Reginald Troy of the Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Wallkill, also sued. He claimed it was unconstitutional not to provide him lamb, veal and oysters for his meals—foods allowed, but not prescribed, by his doctor.

Although 97 percent of prisoners' suits in federal court are dismissed before trial, there were still 33,000 in 1993, about 15 percent of all federal civil suits, and up from just a few hundred in the 1960s. New York State Attorney G. Oliver Koppell estimated that it takes 20 percent of his department's resources to defend against such suits.

A White House memo, dated June 16, 1994, concerning preparations for President Clinton's trip to Normandy for the 50th anniversary of D-Day:
RE: Reimbursement for Items Removed from the Ship

The executive officer of the USS George Washington has relayed that a number of items were removed from Staterooms on the ship during the White House visit. The following items are unaccounted for:

13 Blue Towels with GW Insignia$11 each
4 GW Bathrobes with Insignia$35 each
12 Plain White Bathrobes$15 each
55 White Towels$1.80 each

As you know, the ship and the U.S. Navy served as our gracious hosts during this trip. They provided these items for our use, not as souvenirs. They have requested reimbursement of $562 from the White House for the above items.

If you are responsible for removing one or more of these items from the ship, please remit payment to Michael Lufrano in Room 185 of the OEOB. Make any checks payable to the USS George Washington. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call either of us at 456-7560 or Capt. Rogers at 456-2150.

During the Spanish American War, the federal government discovered that its Army recruits were poor shots, so it instituted the Civilian Marksmanship Program to produce a better pool of reservists. Nine decades later, attempts to eliminate the program have failed, following a lobbying effort on the program's behalf by the National Rifle Association. The $2.5 million subsidy provides guns and ammunition to about 1,500 marksmanship clubs, including the Boy Scouts summer camp program.


Vice President Gore's 168-page report, "Creating a Government That Works Better and Costs Less," cost taxpayers $4 per copy to print—$3.10 more than the 90 cents allowed for a standard government report. The report arrived late and had to be put out on a rush schedule over the Labor Day weekend, using high gloss paper and two-color printing. Gore's office justified the extra cost—$46,209 in taxpayer dollars—as necessary to create a good first impression. "We printed them in that kind of quality to be user-friendly," said Elaine Kamarck, Gore's senior policy adviser.

Gore has six more aides on the payroll than his predecessor Dan Quayle, plus an executive office staff of 21. The Reinventing Government plan, which recommends cutting 252,000 federal jobs, excludes his own office.

San Diego County Supervisor Leon Williams has objected to county literature warning people about a dangerous new strain of bees that has made its way up from South America. He's upset that a bee that is "aggressive and nondomesticated and attacks you" is referred to as Africanized, even though the bees do come from Africa.

ABC reporter Jack Smith on "This Week with David Brinkley," August 28, 1994. The second quote is from the same show, one week later:
Stocks had their best performance in months this week, on news of sustained growth with negligible inflation, and the job picture is good as well. But does the President get credit? No.

. . .

The recovery of the 1990s does not seem to be translating into better living standards. Wages are generally flat, job creation last month slowed, and the new jobs are often low-pay, dead-end service jobs, roughly one-fifth of them with temporary agencies.


In Illinois, the Avery Coonley School has been banned for two years from the state science fair, but not because they were cheating or engaging in any other kind of misconduct. After taking its fourth straight championship, the team was banned by officials who wanted to give other schools a chance to win the title.

A flier distributed by Change of Heart, Inc., in Austin, Texas, Spring 1994:
Austin healing woman and spiritual counselor Shamaan Ochaum had a vision of the Mother asking us to use roses to pray for peace, gathering their petals, and drop them from the air over Bosnia. When the petals hit the ground, the ice in the men's eyes will melt.

Please bring roses or send envelopes full of petals to this address: 227 Congress Ave., Austin TX 78701

Los Angeles county pays three photographers $334,000 annually to snap photos of county supervisors on the job, at such events as ribbon-cutting ceremonies and award presentations.

According to Canada Customs Notice N-198, depictions of "submissive acts such as the licking of another person's boot in a sexual context" are not allowed into the country. Images or language depicting "group ejaculation" or even "excessive ejaculation" are also forbidden in Canada.

Beer lover Richard Overton brought a $10,000 lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch, claiming false advertising and failure to deliver on its promises. No matter how much Bud Light he drank, the scenes depicted in the commercials—that of young friends and women with tiny bikinis frolicking on beaches—never materialized. What's more, he sometimes got sick when he drank. So in 1991 he sued, alleging emotional distress brought on by Anheuser-Busch's failure to provide "unrestricted merriment." A trial court threw out the case, but Overton took it to the Michigan Court of Appeals, which ruled for Anheuser-Busch.

Following protests by Native American groups, Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson signed into law a bill that bans the use of Crazy Horse as a brand name for a malt liquor.

After a 14-year-old Boy Scout became separated from his party and was lost in the New Mexican wilderness for two days, a search helicopter finally spotted him. The Forest Service was asked permission to land and rescue the youth. Permission was refused, on the grounds that "mechanized vehicles" are banned from wilderness areas and that a life-and-death situation did not exist. The boy spent another night alone in the wilderness before the Forest Service changed its decision.


From a United States Information Agency plan that calls for streamlining bureaucracy:
The organizational structure should be extroverted with more "surface" exposed to the American intellectual, policy, and media environment and with more sensing mechanisms for recognizing emerging changes and the implications for our work.

The Boston public schools enforced a strict anti-gun policy when it suspended 7-year-old Amber Nickoles after her gun was taken by another student and used in a shooting. She was suspended for three days and ordered to undergo psychological counseling. The gun in question was a pink water pistol, which she had concealed in her bag.

The International Society for Animal Rights promoted a "Homeless Animals Day," which included coast-to-coast candlelight vigils to bring attention to the "millions of homeless dogs and cats" in America.


During a power outage, 16-year-old James Gallagher figured out a new way to find his way around in the dark. He filled a bowl with Final Net hairspray and lit it. The flames ignited the bottle he was still holding, causing it to explode. The boy suffered second- and third-degree burns over his face, arms, hands, and chest. He's now suing the manufacturer, claiming that the label on the bottle of hairspray warning that it was flammable was too small. Perhaps the court will also decide how large the warning would have to be for it to be legible during a power outage.

Letter to the editor, the Los Angeles Daily News, April 24, 1994:
This letter is written in response to the April 14 article that informed us of Octavia the Octopus's death.

I am absolutely enraged that such a careless accident was allowed to happen. I am no expert, but even I am aware of the octopus's agility and perseverance. That drain must have been a constant focus point for an octopus forced to live in a much too small tank, and whose full attention must have focused on getting out of that "trap."

Octopuses are very determined and intelligent creatures, and to be faced with such a desperate situation would only heighten these characteristics. Octavia felt she must escape and return to her home at any cost. She never would have given up.

An animal with that kind of drive and determination surely must be classified as a cognizant being, and as such has the same rights and freedoms to which we are all entitled...

I feel great anger and sadness at this beautiful animal's unfortunate encounter with humans. Organizations who purport to be "pro-animal" should, at the very least, live up to the responsibilities inherent in such a claim and show the respect and concern that all living beings have a right to. Institutions such as Cabrillo Marine Aquarium need to devote themselves to the study and understanding of the world which we co-occupy with so many others.

—Susan Ellas
La Crescenta

The Chicago Tribune reported that six South Korean athletes were reinstated in the Summer Olympics at Barcelona. The athletes had been banned before the games because urine tests indicated that they had been consuming steroids, but a further examination showed that the athletes' evening meals were the source of the steroids—the South Koreans ate dogs that had been given steroids before being slaughtered.

Representative Peter Torkildsen (R-MA) reported that he received a death threat unless he voted for the 1994 crime bill.

A Dutch group, discerning a need to "pay the sea back for all that man has stolen from her," built a 100-foot figure of a man and filled it with 20,000 loaves of bread, planning to tow the statue out to the North Sea to "replenish" it as a "National Gift to the Sea."

Organizer Kies Baker insisted detractors didn't understand his project—"this is a positive act," an "offering to the sea" in return for all that man has "stolen" from it over the ages. "Holland feels guilty," according to Baker and other supporters, because a third of Holland's land was reclaimed from the sea.

The statue cost $545,000 and the 20,000 loaves of bread were baked by a dozen local bakers from grain grown on reclaimed land with water drained from an artificial sea. Supporters could sponsor a loaf of bread for only $7.

The Denver Post:
Members of the Association of Black Psychologists said yesterday in Denver that the Los Angeles riots were a healthy outlet for black oppression, and if the Rodney King verdict had not sparked the violence, something else would have. "We think it is a healthy sign, instead of repressing all those feelings," said Richard Webb, chairman of the Association's social action committee. About 300 people are attending this annual conference this week, examining racism, violence prevention, and other issues affecting the black community.

The following universities now have their own SWAT teams: Ohio State University, the University of Illinois, and the University of California at Berkeley and Davis.

At Berkeley, A machete-wielding 20-year-old woman killed by Berkeley police left a note: "We are willing to die for this land." She had been angry about construction of volleyball courts in People's Park.

New Republic Senior Editor Robert Wright in a Time cover story on infidelity, August 15, 1994:
One standard conservative argument against antipoverty policies is their cost: taxes burden the affluent and thus, by lowering work incentive, reduce economic output. But if one goal of the policy is to bolster monogamy, then making the affluent less so would help. Monogamy is threatened not just by poverty in an absolute sense but also by the relative wealth of the rich. This is what lures a young woman to a wealthy married or formerly married man. It is also what makes the man who attracts her feel too good for just one wife. As for the economic consequences, the costs of soaking the rich might well be outweighed by the benefits, financial and otherwise, of more stable marriages, fewer divorces, fewer abused children and less loneliness and depression.

When homeless couple Maria Ramos and Darryl Johnson decided to have sex on the tracks of a New York City subway station, their passions were abruptly interrupted by an oncoming train. Johnson suffered a dislocated pelvis, neck injuries and lost part of his left foot; Ramos was unhurt. The couple sued the transit authority for $10 million, alleging "carelessness, recklessness and negligence" because the transit authority sent a train along a rarely used track without warning commuters of the change. Said the couple's attorney, "Homeless people are allowed to have sex, too."


Fashion critic Emily Prager in the "Styles of the Times" section of the New York Times, May 22, 1994:
Fashion is generated by disparate sources, and one of the surest, if least obvious, is television news. Between April 26, when the South African elections began, and May 6, when Nelson Mandela won, I watched the nightly news without the sound to see what sort of style elements were penetrating our psyches.

What a delight it is to report that the intricate African stylishness, and expertise with line, drapery, texture, inventiveness, and detail that outclasses that of the French, will now become more evident to Americans through the nattiness and taste of President Mandela.

He is so stylish! He looks handsome in Western suits and ties. And his high-collared patterned shirts, buttoned to the neck, beautifully cut, look at once monarchical and grandfatherly. The shirt he wore for an interview with Peter Jennings, with its black yoke and its black-and-gray stripes, not only was modern but also looked perfectly suited to the leopard skin and beaded crown he later donned in a bow to history.

Camouflage has been creeping into fashion in the last two years. And indeed, one of the most prevalent groups on the news recently has been the army: the South African Army, the right-wing South African Nationalist Army, the Bosnian Army, the United Nations peacekeeping forces, the Rwandan armies, the Tanzanian Army, the Haitian Army, the Israeli Army. And all of them wear the most exotic array of camouflage patterns.

Some people will undoubtedly consider it frivolous to mention fashion and killing in the same sentence. Yet warrior fashion is an ancient and elaborate tradition, and nowhere is it more treasured than in Africa.

During the Somali conflict last year, for example, pictures of a Somali warlord's teenage gunmen suddenly flashed onto the television screen. Dressed in faded camouflage shirts and pants, probably army castoffs, they wore long scarfs around their necks and waist cinchers (the kind women in the United States wore in the late 1950s). Where they had gotten the waist cinchers no one seemed to know, but the image of teenage boys brandishing rifles and wearing this odd, Madonna-ish feminine accoutrement was terrifying, and firmly in the tradition of cross-dressing warriors in tribal Africa, Asia, and North America.

In a similar but less spectacular way, a teenage Rwandan gunman appeared on the screen recently wearing faded, obviously cast-off camouflage, a long scarf he must have made around his neck, and a beige, monklike pointy hood on his head. He flailed into camera range, somehow managing to brandish two sticks and a rifle, a crazed look in his eyes. It was a horribly stylish and most chillingly effective outfit.

[Ed.: The following year, Archbishop Desmond Tutu criticized President Mandela for wearing colorful shirts. "He is so elegant in his suits," said Tutu. "I do not like him in his shirts."]

Mr. Melvin Deball, 56, perished after lunging through a window of a moving Greyhound bus when its driver refused to stop for a smoking break.

After Melissa Fontes received an F in her chemistry class at Woodbridge High School in Irvine, California, her grade-point average dropped below 2.5, which required that she be dropped from the cheerleading squad. She then sued the school for denial of due process and equal protection, pointing out that football and basketball players could stay on the team with only a 2.0 average. After the case was initially thrown out of court, Fontes appealed and prevailed in the 4th Appellate District.

Having been graduated from high school, Fontes is now a college student in Oregon, where she contemplates a career in law.

Congressman Henry Waxman of California has made a proposal to ban the use of cartoon figures such as Joe Camel in cigarette promotions.

[Ed.: A 1991 study, based on interviews with 23 Atlanta preschoolers, concluded that 90 percent of children were as aware of the cartoon camel as they were of Mickey Mouse. Other studies have failed to duplicate this finding. The Federal Trade Commission has been unable to prove that Joe Camel has lured a single teenager to begin or continue smoking. This should come as no surprise, since the aim of most advertising is to get a person already consuming a product to switch brands.]

Tim Wolf of Middle Tennessee State University wrote an article for the Children's Literature Journal, identifying continuing parental rejection themes in the works of Dr. Seuss. According to Wolf, Seuss's The 500 Hats of Bartholemew Cubbins is rife with "psycho-sexual implications of a father-figure who is threatened by something on the son-figure that 'always pointed straight up in the air.' " Then there is "the father-figure's decision to solve the problem by 'cutting off' Bartholemew's head, a suggestion of castration and Oedipal revenge."

The theme continues in Green Eggs and Ham, where the top-hatted creature who constantly says "I do not like that, Sam-I-Am," represents parental rejection of the "anarchic and inventive child figure." And Sam-I-Am's repeated offerings of the green eggs and ham is itself symbolic of a child's attempt to win a parent's approval and "to ease adult gloom with the gift of imagination."

Perhaps most unsettling, Wolf says that children's literature is "an absolutely beautiful field for scholars."

[Ed.: The term 'Colonial Studies' usually refers to the legacy of dead white males who traveled to places they didn't belong and foisted their questionable values on the local populace, not to modern academics who do the same.]

The University of Alaska at Anchorage, delighted to increase representation of Alaskan Indians on the faculty, hired John Smelcer, sight unseen, for a job in the English department. This decision came despite objections from the department to race-based hiring. Smelcer included in his application a letter from the head of an Alaskan Indian group testifying to Smelcer's own native heritage. But as it turns out, Smelcer is blond, blue-eyed, white, and the adopted son of an Alaskan Indian couple. The school is now investigating the matter.


A headline in the Council Bluffs, Iowa, Daily Nonpareil newspaper read, "Woman Admits to Worrying Squirrel." Christine Walter, 23, pleaded guilty to "worrying a black squirrel"; she had been changed for trespassing in Fairmont Park, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of "worrying a squirrel," which in this case is defined as "she drove into the park and the squirrel ran away." A city ordinance makes it an offense to "annoy, worry, maim, injure, or kill" any black squirrel, a crime that can result in a fine of $100 and 30 days in jail.


Atmospheric scientist and former global cooling theory proponent Stephen Schneider quoted by Jonathan Schell in Discover, October 1989, on the subject of global warming:
On the one hand, as scientists, we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but—which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we'd like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and make little mention of the doubts that we may have.
Timothy Wirth, Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, 1990:
We've got to ride the global-warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.
Teya Ryan, Senior Producer of Turner Broadcasting's CNN-produced "Network Earth" series, in the Gannett Center Journal, Summer 1990:
The "balanced" report, in some cases, may no longer be the most effective, or even the most informative. Indeed, it can be debilitating. Can we afford to wait for our audience to come to its own conclusions? I think not.
Boston Globe environmental reporter Dianne Dumanoski at an Utne Reader symposium, May 17-20, 1990:
There is no such thing as objective reporting... I've become even more crafty about finding the voices to say the things I think are true. That's my subversive mission.

In Bakersfield, California, the Fish and Wildlife Service seized a tractor and other farming equipment from Tong Ming Lin, a Taiwanese immigrant who farmed bok choy and bamboo shoots. Mr. Lin was threatened with a $300,000 fine or a three-year prison term after his tractor was allegedly used to kill one to five endangered kangaroo rats. For good measure, the government also demanded that he give up title to 363 acres of his 720-acre holding, for which he had paid $1.5 million, and that he also pay another $172,425 to fund the operation of a wildlife preserve.

On the morning of Sunday, February 20, 1994, state and federal marshals searched Lin's property for Tipton kangaroo rats. Finding bits they claimed were part of a deceased rat, they confiscated Lin's tractor and discing machine. However, after three months the Fish and Wildlife Service was still unable to prove that the animal remains they found were actually part of an endangered species. The only difference between a Tipton kangaroo rat and non-endangered rats is a tenth of an inch in the length of the back feet.

The Fish and Wildlife Service not only charged the farmer, but also brought suit against the manufacturer of the tractor. Bakersfield businessman E.G. Berthold was surprised to receive a set of official documents from the U.S. Attorney's office titled "The United States of America vs. One Ford Tractor, Serial No. Nd1VC715V."


In an effort to protect European toy makers from Chinese competition, European Union officials in Brussels have imposed import quotas equivalent to $81.7 million on dolls that represent nonhuman figures. The ruling does not affect human dolls, however. Popular British dolls such as Noddy, Big Ears, and also teddy bears have been subject to the tax, while Batman and Robin haven't.

A disagreement has arisen over how to treat dolls of characters from the Star Trek television show. Captain Kirk is okay, but Mr. Spock isn't. Dan Madsen, president of Star Trek: The Official Fan Club in Colorado, said customs officials "ought to cut Spock some slack" because his mother, Amanda, was human. But British customs officials are standing firm on Spock. "We see no reason to change our interpretation," says customs spokesman Dez Barratt-Denyer. "You don't find a human with ears that size."

Oddly enough, Europe's toy makers, the supposed beneficiaries of the quotas, oppose the protection. EU companies make doll accessories from imported Chinese toys and fear they will lose $200 million in business and 500 jobs. "The whole thing is a great bungle," says Peter Waterman of the Toy Manufacturers of Europe and the British Toy and Hobby Association. "It seems very strange that we should have customs officials involved in a discussion of whether Mr. Spock is an alien or a human being."


Letter to the Northeastern University Magazine, March, 1994:
While perusing the January magazine, my wife came upon the advertisement on pages one and two. The first page read: "What has 250,000 feet and a multibillion dollar income?" The next page provided the answer: "The 125,000 graduates of Northeastern University." My wife asked me if I thought there was anything wrong with the advertisement. After thinking about it, I realized that it should really have read: "What has 250,001 feet and a multibillion dollar income?" I have a spare leg in the closet.

I realize that sometimes it is easy to forget people are disabled because they don't fit a certain image... The point is, there are many "disabled" graduates of Northeastern. I use quotes because we are all "disabled" in one manner or another, even if the "disability" is only placing mental or physical limitations on others. It's stunning that today, even after passing of legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, this publication would alienate a portion of the population with an advertisement of this type. I'm not offended, but I can understand how other people might be.

—Patrick M. Pickle, BA '91
Mesa, Arizona

The government of Switzerland announced that its Value-Added Tax would apply to sales by prostitutes and that beginning in 1995, customers should be supplied itemized receipts showing the 6.5 percent tax.

Psychologist Carolyn Newberger, reviewing the Disney film The Lion King in the Boston Globe, June 27, 1994:
This movie is full of stereotypes: The good-for-nothing hyenas are urban blacks; the archvillain's gestures are effeminate, and he speaks in supposed gay cliches. The film embeds messages that are hostile to the impoverished and the different. Why should lions be rich while hyenas are poor? The implication here is that somehow the lions deserve what they have and must guard against those who have less. Why does Pride's Rock [home of the lions] deteriorate to barren rubble when the hyenas move in? Because they have too many children—they eat too much. There's no thought of sharing here, no compassion for their unequal plight.

Students at the University of Oregon complained about the filing system that was used for the university's extensive slide collection. For many years, labels on slides having to do with Japan have been abbreviated with the three-letter prefix JAP, a slur upon the Japanese and more recently, upon affluent young Jewish women. However, the prefix was in no way out of the ordinary—slides having to do with Mexico are similarly labeled MEX.

University librarian George Shipman agreed to relabel all 25,000 slides in question JPN, a costly task that could take years. Writing in the student newspaper, the Oregon Daily Emerald, Shipman said that "the university library serves people of all cultures and viewpoints, and the slide collection is an important campus resource supporting multicultural education. The library is happy to make this change in the spirit of diversity, sensitivity, and respect."

From an editorial in Spare Change, a newspaper published and distributed by members of Boston's homeless community, with help from the Harvard Crimson. Vol. 1, Issue 2:
From our very begining we knew publishing a homeless controlled and operated newspaper would be ab achievement without many difficulties but we did it.

...Yet homelessness, with all of it's trauma, is only the edge of the ever increasing darkness. There is also unemployment, deterioraing health care systemss, inferior public education, random violence, rape and murder. And last, but not the least, there is also uniform and mobilized against those who have been named the "ENEMY" by those who created and are responsible for our problems at home.

...The united Nation's standard on human rights call for the right to housing, quality health care and public education, non-descrimination of race and sex, and many others. These are International charters which our goverment has signed in agreement and support of these rights.

...A system which cannot employ those who are willing to work and support those weho for good reasons can't, is a system which is in violation of these same rights. Our goverment must be held accountable for it's commitments to the human rights of our people right here at home.

...A few tems of billions averted from our military budget would be good for starters, but the foundation to any reform of this nature is to CREATE JOBS for those who are willing to work and to provide GUARANTEED ASSISTANCE to those who can't.

...We , the members of the Homeless Empowerment project and the Spare Change share a dream that someday all people can emerge from the darkness and stand in the light of the sun. But it is a runninmg battle, with the darkness spereading faster than ever. So far we have been able to strike a few matches an even managed to get a candle or two burning.