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Balance sheet.

Die, Robot

The Pentagon likes what it sees of combat robots built by small start-up firms such as iRobot. Troops note that a $45,000 "Pack-Bot" is well-suited to replace soldiers in dangerous tasks such as cave clearing and urban warfare.

Adult Whim

Jennifer Downey fights local zoning ordinances to bring sex toys to the suburbs. Her small Ambiance chain aims for retail space near malls in Ohio. Local "red light district" laws restrict adult fare to decaying center cities.

Norwegian Could

A Norwegian court finds that a program allowing users to play DVDs on Linux boxes is not an illegal tool for pirates. The Motion Picture Association of America argued that since it didn't license such a player, it was ipso facto outlawed.

Obscene Queen

Utah's budget shortfall claims the position of state porn czar. Paula Houston's two-year reign within the attorney general's office came to an end when the boss decided he needed the money to fight real crime.

Cheap Bouquet

A grape glut in California allows consumers to pay pocket change for good wine, leading even discount retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target to start stocking bottles. One popular variety, Charles Shaw, retails at $1.99 a bottle. The terrible damage wrought by Prohibition may yet be undone.

Rule Book

The Bush administration launches as a one-stop shop for information on the vast regulatory state. Cruising through the thousands of proposals, rules, and notices is bound to make even the most avowed statist a little nervous.

Union Fundraising

Indictments are handed down in a million theft ring-operated by top members of the Washington, D.C., teachers union. A union chauffeur-don't all public-sector unions have chauffeurs?-reportedly stuffed his pockets with $20,000 after cashing one union check.

Snow Balling

New homeland security restrictions intended to keep explosives from terrorists trip up efforts to protect ski areas from avalanches. Nonresident aliens can no longer handle explosives without clearing yards of red tape, which means snow-pack control experts from Europe, Australia, and New Zealand are off the team.

Penguin Hunter

David Boies, who ran the Justice Department's Microsoft antitrust case, now tracks down license violations for a Unix vendor. The Linux community, which often cheered Boies in his pursuit of big, bad Microsoft, is shocked and confused. It shouldn't be.

Justice Schmustice

A federal appeals court rules that Louisiana-born Taliban fighter Yasser Esam Hamdi cannot be represented by a public defender because he is an enemy combatant. The Bush administration contends that Hamdi has no right to a trial and can be jailed indefinitely.

Cold Draft

Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) call for a return to military conscription. War is too important to be left to volunteers, they say.

Smoke That

White House drug czar John Walters refuses to comply with Nevada state law, which requires his office to report how much it spent campaigning against the state's November 2002 marijuana initiative. Walters lit a big doobie and claimed legal immunity as a federal officeholder.
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Author:Taylor, Jeff A.
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2003
Previous Article:High-tech bicycling. (Grassroots globalization).
Next Article:Box check. (Data).

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