Marion Barry, the former mayor of Washington DC and now a Councilmember, has reportedly taken a stand against taxing yogurt
, saying that a yogurt tax is "crazy," and pointing out that "Yogurt is really more healthy than some other things, as is cottage cheese."
However, there isn't actually a yogurt tax. Barry apparently misheard a reporter who asked him about a so-called "yoga tax," which is a proposed tax on gyms and health clubs.
I grew up in DC when Barry was mayor, so it gave me a warm glow to see that he's still making the news.
And from the 'are you freaking kidding me' file we have a city in Canada that gives out tickets for sitting on the grass in a public park. Surely it is a small fine, a pittance you say? Guess again! (and don't call me Shirley) Its $147.00
for sitting on the grass. They don't charge that hefty of a fine for smoking it here for goodness sakes.
First up, a UK judge has spoken out to say children should
be allowed to take knives to school. Not all children mind you, just Sikh children. Justice Mota Singh, a Sikh himself, is talking about the kirpan, a ceremonial three-inch knife worn as a show of faith by devout Sikhs, the wearing of which by one boy was banned by a North London school earlier this year. Singh later supported the boy's family's decision to withdraw him rather than accept their compromise offer that he carry a 'disabled' equivalent claiming the school's refusal was discriminatory (BBC News
Meanwhile another UK court last week ruled that particularly pious Hindu Davender Kumar Ghai can
have the open-air cremation he fervently desires. It's been a long battle for Ghai, who found his proposal to site traditional funeral pyres on land outside Newcastle blocked by the city council in a decision later upheld by England's High Court. Now the UK Court of Appeal has said that the open-air ceremonies can go ahead, and that the requirement that all cremations occur 'within a building' could be met by any reasonable structure and did not dictate that structure have walls or a roof. Davenda Kumar Ghai, who is 76 and in poor health, can now go ahead and build his roofless crematorium, once he gets planning permission to do so, from Newcastle City Council (Times
And in yet another landmark decision, the councillors in Reading, England have given the local Muslim community permission to carry out their own burials in the borough's cemeteries at weekends, which council gravediggers do not work. Many Islamic traditions favour burial very soon after death, and the delays caused by the weekend closures was cited as a significant cause of stress for relatives. In response, the council have agreed to dig some graves beforehand for later use in a pilot scheme expected to last one year, or until the first Saturday night drunk falls in one and sues (GetReading
Mind you, even once you're in the ground you're not always safe. A row over the siting of a new museum on a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalen has boiled over this week with families who claim to have relatives buried there petitioning the UN. The cemetery, which dates back several hundred years, is due to be excavated to make was for a new “Center for Human Dignity – Museum of Tolerance” being built by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who dispute the families' claims. “The Museum of Tolerance project is not being built on the Mamilla Cemetery. It is being built on Jerusalem’s former municipal car park, where every day for nearly half a century, thousands of Muslims, Christians and Jews parked their cars without any protest whatsoever from the Muslim community,” said founder Rabbi Marvin Hier (Telegraph
It’s been a weird week for divorcees, starting with an Indian couple from Pune near Mumbai. After years of arguments over the wife’s penchant for Hindi soap operas, the husband finally barred her from watching them any more. She promptly filed for a divorce, which was granted on the grounds of his “cruel treatment” of her (World News AU
Next is the case of the divorce granted to the Chinese couple who had not seen each other since their wedding, three years previously. The ceremony took place in China’s Machong district and was the result of an arranged marriage by the parents of the couple, called Ma and Mo, who were good friends. But Ma, the groom, left for a job elsewhere straight after and the newlyweds did not even try to stay in touch. With no children or property to argue over, the divorce went fairly uneventfully (China Daily
Staying in China for a moment, Shoutsee Li and Han Fucheng of that country’s Mentougou district are hoping a judge will annul their marriage so they can marry again, this time legally. The couple originally married in 2006 after meeting nine years earlier, but Li was in China under false papers and now faces deportation. But while the police don’t recognise Han and Li’s marriage, the registrar does, and will not let them remarry until their current marriage is dissolved (People’s Daily
Not so likely to remarry are recently separated couple Robin Williams and Anthony Hull of Kingsfold in England. Attempts to reach an agreement on how to divide their £500,000 ($850k) house have stalled amid arguments over who keeps the cheese grater and whether paint pots are communal property. The couple have now taken their grievances to Britain’s High Court (Daily Express
Also in court this week was Stanley G. Hilton of Hillsborough, CA who is suing San Francisco, its airport, every airline that uses it, and the manufacturers of the airplanes landing there for $15 million each
for ruining his marriage. All in all Hilton, a former attorney (now disbarred), cites 37 parties as contributing to the breakdown of relations with his wife, which amounts to a cool $555 million in the unlikely event that he wins (Wired
Just some un-themed oddities that caught my eye:
Plans to chop down a tree to make way for a roundabout in Jaslo, Poland have revealed that the oak was in fact planted to commemorate Hitler's birthday when the town was occupied during World War 2. The town's mayor, Maria Kurowska, called the choice between traffic improvements and the living memorial "simple," but not everyone agrees. "It's a historic curiosity," said local Kazimierz Polak, who was present at the planting ceremony as a child 67 years ago, adding, "It's not the tree's fault" (Reuters
Two Bengal white tigers in a zoo in South Africa have given birth to a tiger cub that's not only white, but stripe-less (London Paper
). Surely that's just called a lion?
A spiritual "healer" in Puerto Rico may want to re-read the manual today, after accidentally dropping a lit candle into the bath of alcohol he had instructed he lady patient lie in. The victim, who was suffering financial and marriage issues, can now add 50% burns to her list of problems (Metro
The Swiss state of Appenzell went the whole of the second world war without a single German invader, so was perhaps unprepared to come under sustained assault by German hikers dressed in nothing but their socks and boots. Naked hiking, which has become a popular Alpine pastime apparently, has generated a stream of complaints from Swiss locals, and the authorities of the Outer and Inner Rhodes provinces of Appenzell have responded by imposing stiff fines of 200CHF ($175) on anyone caught without clothes, though where they expect the hikers to produce the money from is not explained (Cape News
). To publicise the ban, the Swiss officials have ordered signs banning nude hiking, to the surprise of designer Dan Walter, who originally drew the sign as a joke (Metro
The Iraqi government has banned organised outings to the grave of Saddam Hussein after it learned that local schools were regularly taking groups of pupils on visits. The tomb is still regularly visited by supporters of the former dictator, who was hanged for war crimes in 2006, but now these must only be informal affairs and not arranged or supported by local or ministerial authorities (BBC News
Two words: "flashmob" and "tapshoes".
First up is a story I have been trying to track down for over a week. Chichester Town Council in the UK were unable to remove a garbage bin that had been illegally dumped in a four-inch deep stream, because they did not have anyone qualified to use wellington boots (Chichester Observer
The three man crew of a specially eco-refitted yacht, had to be rescued from hurricane force gales on the outward leg of a voyage billed as the "Carbon Neutral Expedition" and designed to raise awareness of green issues. Their rescuer? An oil-tanker delivering 680,000 barrels of crude (The Guardian
The CEO of the company that supplies and installs most of the speed cameras for the UK Highways Agency has been banned from driving for six months after he was caught speeding at over 100 mph (The Times
Sikhs serving in the UK police force are looking to develop a bulletproof turban so that they can meet the requirement to wear protective headgear of the force's armed response units without having to break their religious prohibition not to remove them (The Telegraph
Finally, plans for a Berlin Monument of National Unity, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, had to be scrapped after the spoilsport jury rejected all the entries as too weird. Not one of the 538 submissions from members of the public, which included a 30 meter high gilded banana, a German version of the Statue of Liberty holding a Rubik's cube, a group of Smurfs dancing on a recreation of a section of the wall, and a giant statue of a man pushing a shopping trolley, was accepted. The jury has now invited contributions from selected professional
artists (The National
You say your child was kidnapped? Sorry, but that means you may no longer be able to claim him as a dependent on your taxes. Topic 357
of the tax code provides guidelines for this situation:
You may claim a kidnapped child as your dependent if the following requirements are met:
1. The child must be presumed by law enforcement to have been kidnapped by someone who is not a member of your family or a member of the child's family, and
2. The child had, for the taxable year in which the kidnapping occurred, the same principal place of abode as the taxpayer for more than one-half of the portion of such year before the date of kidnapping.
If both of these requirements are met, the child may meet the requirements for purposes of determining:
* The dependency exemption
* The child tax credit, and
* Head of household or qualifying widow(er) with dependent child filing status.
This tax treatment will cease to apply as of your first tax year beginning after the calendar year in which either there is a determination that the child is dead or the child would have reached age 18, whichever occurs first.
Link provided by Prof. Music who notes: there is cold, and then there is. . . . COLD
What do you think this license plate says? If you think it says, "I love Tofu" then you think like vegan Kelly Coffman-Lee who tried to order it for her car.
If you think it says, "I love to F.U." then you think like the Division of Motor Vehicles, which denied Coffman-Lee's request. [msnbc.com
Maryland-resident Mercedes Clemens has been forced to shutter her horse massage business. Although she's certified to massage humans, she's not certified to massage animals. According to the Associated Press
She shut down her equine massage practice in a Washington suburb after state officials told her state law only allows veterinarians to perform such services. Now she's suing two state agencies, saying regulators are unfairly barring registered massage therapists who want to practice on animals. Animal massage regulations vary from state to state, with some allowing only veterinarians to practice. Clemens' case is being closely watched by those in the animal massage industry, who say business has grown steadily along with interest in other alternative treatments and pampering for pets.
In other news, THERE ARE ANIMAL MASSAGE REGULATIONS!
(Thanks, Big Gary!)
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