By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
*Ms. Courtney Mann, head of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of White People, was rebuffed in an attempt to join a Ku Klux Klan-sponsored march in Pittsburgh in April, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Though she has been in the NAAWP for at least four years, the Pennsylvania KKK Grand Dragon turned her down because Mann is black. "She wanted me to send transportation [for the rally]," said the Grand Dragon. "She wanted to stay at my house [during rally weekend]. She's all confused, man. I don't think she knows she's black."
*April's annual religious fertility celebration in Nagoya, Japan, designed to improve the rice harvest, featured as usual a twelve-foot-long, bright-pink plastic penis carried through the street, followed by displays of smaller organs and a giant banner of a vascularized penis, testicles, and pubic hair. Souvenir candy of the same shape was sold during the event. At the end of the parade, the giant organ was placed on the fertility shrine.
*In mid-April, five weeks before the national elections, the governing party in Indonesia determined through "scientific calculation," according to one leader, that President Suharto had won re-election with 70.02 percent of the vote.
*Edmond James Ramos had his first-degree burglary charge (burglary of an occupied dwelling, a more serious crime than burglary of a vacant dwelling) thrown out by a Los Angeles appellate court in January. His lawyer proved that the only occupant had died of natural causes minutes before Ramos's entry, so the dwelling was legally empty.
*In February Maryland Circuit Court Judge Thomas Bollinger, Sr., agreed to remove from Charles Weiner's record his adjudication on a spousal battery charge, after he completes probation. The sole purpose of expunging the record was to help Weiner join a country club, which had rejected him because of the conviction. (In 1993 Bollinger gave a rapist probation for attacking a drunken woman, remarking that finding an unconscious woman on a bed was "the dream of a lot of males, quite honestly.") Bollinger later reversed his decision and recused himself from all domestic violence and sexual offense cases.
*In March border guards discovered a tube, running from the home of a bootlegger in Latvia to a field 400 meters away in Estonia, through which flowed the vodka they accused him of smuggling. The Latvian man was taking advantage of higher prices in Estonia.
*In April in Houston, Robert Perry Russell, Jr., age 44, was sentenced to twenty years in prison for the sexual assault and diapering of a fourteen-year-old boy; police say the true number of victims may have been as many as ten. According to police, Russell liked to take boys out in a boat and tell them a tale about a headless killer who kills everyone except toddlers, whom he tries to rescue from the dangerous lake. Russell would then suggest that the boy put on the diapers he just happened to have with him in order to fool the killer into thinking that the boy was really a baby.
*In October, after more than three years of litigation and eighteen days of trial, a judge in Chicago awarded condominium owner Eleanor Mellick $217,000 in her lawsuit against the condo board. According to the lawsuit, the board president had moved a Dumpster away from his own parking space, decreasing Mellick's space from 111 inches in width to 93. Parking in the cramped space had aggravated her arthritis.
-- By Chuck Shepherd