Dispatches > Quick Takes

Quick Takes

Issue: "Staying underground," May 3, 2003

Man bites dog story

Paul Russell of Syracuse doesn't "really remember" what happened, but police say he bit a police dog last month during a brawl outside a bar. A police report says Mr. Russell began choking and biting Renny, a German shepherd, after fighting with bouncers who had told him to leave the bar. Renny was injured but recovered: "He'll be back for his regular shift," said a police spokesman. Mr. Russell's explanation for the dogfight: "I was pretty drunk."

Stutter step

Does a man have a fundamental right to dedicate a song on the radio to his ex-wife? St. Louisan Robert Tart thinks so, and he filed a complaint last month with the Missouri Human Rights Commission against WIL-FM for refusing his on-air dedication allegedly because he stutters. Mr. Tart says that the issue is the dignity of stutterers. "We have rights, just like everybody else," he said. "All I want to do is dedicate a song."

Count the silverware

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Some unexpected culprits turned up among the looters in Iraq: American reporters and soldiers. U.S. Customs officials last week seized palace weapons, artwork, and Iraqi bonds from a Fox News technician (who was later fired) and a painting and other war souvenirs from Boston Herald reporter Jules Crittenden. Meanwhile U.S. soldiers tried to ship gold-plated weapons from Iraq to Fort Stewart, Ga., but those too were seized upon arrival.

Risking men's lives to save man's best friend

Some might call Jarrod T. Martin of Nashville, Tenn., a hero, but he's in the police's doghouse. Authorities last week cited Mr. Martin for misdemeanor disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment after he rescued his dog from an apartment fire. Mr. Martin crossed a safety line, climbed to his apartment on the second floor, and broke a window, from which the dog escaped. Authorities say Mr. Martin's actions could have created a "backdraft" explosion, putting firefighters, himself, and the dog in jeopardy. "Firefighters knew the dog was in the apartment and would have taken action ... when it could be done safely," said police spokesman Don Aaron. The fire displaced 16 families, but Mr. Martin, who suffered a minor cut, was the only person injured.

Rather surprising

His liberalism may have inspired the bumper sticker "Rather Biased," but Dan Rather didn't veer left when covering the Iraqi war, according to the Media Research Center. The conservative watchdog gave Mr. Rather a "B-plus" for his war coverage. The CBS veteran's grade topped the "B" given to the Fox News Channel. FNC lost points because imbedded reporter Geraldo Rivera revealed troop movements to viewers. ABC's Peter Jennings received the lowest individual grade, an "F," while Fox's Brit Hume killed the curve with an "A." MRC research director Rich Noyes noted that Mr. Rather's grade doesn't reflect his career. "This is just on the war," he said. "It's not a lifetime achievement award."

Name dropping

Hamburg, N.Y., is the latest windmill for the animal rights group PETA to tilt at. The liberal group last week proposed the town change its name to Veggieburg; PETA even offered to beef up the deal with $15,000 worth of non-meat patties. The town, which claims to be the birthplace of the hamburger, rejected the proposal instantly. "With all due respect, I think it's a delicacy in our community," said Hamburg Supervisor Patrick Hoak. In 1996, PETA asked officials in Fishkill, N.Y., to change that city's name to Fishsave. PETA said Fishkill's name conjured images of dead fish. The town was settled by the Dutch in the 17th century, and the name means "fish stream."

Grateful Dane

Pro-American Danish pizzeria owner Aage Bjerre puts his kroner where his mouth is. Mr. Bjerre, whose restaurant is on Denmark's tourist-heavy Fanoe Island, began refusing to serve German and French customers in February because their home countries were anti-American. Danish authorities last week charged Mr. Bjerre with "discrimination." If found guilty, he could face a $735 fine.

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