Modern U.S. elections have their problems, but at least election laws aren't as blatantly racist as they were as late as the 1950s. For instance, in Oklahoma, in the 1950s, if you wanted to run for public office you first had to file a form with the state declaring what race you were. There were only two options. If you were of "African descent" you were "Negro." If you were anything else (Chinese, Australian aboriginal, etc.) you were "White." If you indicated you were "Negro," then this descriptive term was placed in parentheses after your name on the ballot. "Whites" were not similarly labeled.
A black Oklahoma City attorney, A.B. McDonald, filed suit against the State Election Board in 1954 alleging discrimination. The District Court dismissed his case, ruling that, "The placing of the word 'Negro' on a ballot after the name of a candidate is merely descriptive and properly serves to inform the electors of the fact that the candidate is of African descent."
The Supreme Court eventually overturned the District Court's ruling, deciding that the Oklahoma law was unconstitutional. As for A.B. McDonald, I haven't been able to find much information on his subsequent career. All I found was a short paragraph in Jet magazine (Mar 1959) indicating that he had some other problems in his life:
A lesbian* same-sex couple decided to procreate and there was an acceptable and willing male donor available. From this point on the whole thing fell apart, the FDA got involved, and now the prospective mom is filing suit against them for meddling where it is not wanted.
It seems that one can not, legally, artificially inseminate themselves even if/when they already own a turkey baster which, BTW, would have been a pretty good idea if the obvious method was really off the table. One needs, by law, to get the medical profession involved at the cost of about $2,000 a (no pun intended) shot.
Why Ms. Namewithheld chose this arduous route to motherhood is unknown to this reporter but you're more than welcome to read all about it by clicking here!
First up, apologies if this post contains more typos than usual, I'm sending it from my new ultra-small netbook and I'm still getting used to its itty-bitty keyboard. Which brings me nicely to my first story. That according to a survey for satellite channel SKY-HD, British consumers waste £52 billion a year on hi-tech features they don't use. For example, half of the people polled did not know their high definition television also required a hi-def signal source such as a blu-ray player or HD satellite receiver – like the ones sold by SKY-HD perhaps (Telegraph).
And it's not just the the British, military officials in Russia recently discovered 100 front-line battletanks parked and forgotten by the side of the road near Yekaterinburg in the Urals. Locals say the tanks, which were unguarded and unlocked, have been there for several months and lack only ammunition and the all important starter keys (Reuters).
Someone who might have had a use for those tanks were guests at a wedding in New Delhi in India recently. The Hindu ceremony was somewhat marred when an elephant hired for the event went on a rampage after becoming aroused by the smell of a nearby female in heat. The amorous pachyderm then proceeded to crush 20 limousines, smash through a nearby mall and mount a truck before it could be tranquilised (Orange).
Also losing it this week was the man on the RyanAir flight who found he had won 10,000 euros on a scratchcard he bought on the budget flight from Poland to the UK. Furious that the airline had not seen fit to equip all their planes with the requisite amount of cash onboard, hence he could not be given his prize there and then as he demanded, the unnamed passenger ate the winning card rather than wait to claim it at his destination (BBC News).
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).
John Ryan, writer and illustrator, and creator of the popular children's character Captain Pugwash died, aged 88, last Friday.
Ryan's most famous creation, the eponymous, bumbling, pirate and his equally inept crew (with the exception of the ever resourceful cabin-boy) were a staple of British children's television in the 50s and 60s, and even returned to UK screens for a brief revival in the late 90s. But it is for a quite different reason that most people will remember the series. Sometime in the 1970s, when the TV program had been off-air for nearly a decade, the urban rumour started that the characters had all been given double-entendre names. Pugwash's crew, it was claimed, had included characters called "Master Bates", "Seaman Staines" and "Roger the cabin-boy". In reality, the crew of The Black Pig, Pugwash's ship, were Master Mate, Barnabas and Willy, along with the cabin-boy, Tom. The legend became so well accepted that it was carelessly repeated as fact by both the Sunday Correspondent and Guardian newspapers, leading Ryan to sue, successfully, both papers for libel in 1991 (Obituary - Guardian).
The animation style used in Pugwash, as well as his other programs, Mary, Mungo and Midge, and Sir Prancelot, was unusual in that it was not done using stop-frame photography but by making articulated paper figures that could be moved like puppets in real-time.
In this age of "You can't sue me because I'm suing you first!", the idea of a lawsuit against a theme park such as Sea World or Disney World is not so weird. However, the Orlando Sentinel was kind enough to prepare a website listing all of the lawsuits against all of the area's theme parks. Most of them are your basic slip-and-fall types, but some are completely off the wall. For instance, at Busch Gardens, "A woman said she concocted blood infections after a vulture at a bird show landed on her leg and clawed it." And at Epcot Center, "A woman said she suffered bleeding in her brain due to the G-forces and jerking movements on the Mission: Space ride." But I think my favorite is the woman from Wet and Wild who "said she was struck in the head and neck and injured by an umbrella that blew out of a mount in a storm."
But apparently he's just as scary. A woman from Abbeville, Louisiana has filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart because the local store allowed their pet Nutria to run loose without alerting the shoppers. Rebecca White was so freaked out when she spotted Norman that she jumped back and her cart rolled over her foot, breaking two bones. This begs a number of questions... What's a Nutria? It's a large furry rodent (pictured, right). Why was one running around the store? Why did the employees name him Norman? And what the heck did she have in her cart that was so heavy? You can read more about it here.