Bad idea. A rodeo clown at the Missouri State Fair is facing more than just an angry bull after he donned a mask of President Barack Obama’s face and asked audience members whether they wanted to see him run over. The clown’s performance, which included the announcer saying, “Here’s our Obama dummy, or our dummy of Obama,” drew bipartisan criticism this morning, with Republican lawmakers saying the antics were disrespectful and didn’t represent the best Missouri manners. But the crowd, evidently, loved it. One man who attended the weekend event said the level of enthusiasm and cheering was so wild it scared him: “It was sickening. It was feeling like some kind of Klan rally you’d see on TV.”
A step too far. A federal judge this morning struck down the New York City Police Department “stop and frisk” policy critics said violated minorities’ constitutional rights. The judge agreed. Feeling pressure to increase the number of stops officers made, police often frisked young, minority men for weapons or searched their pockets for contraband. That violated the Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures, the judge ruled. Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration contended the search policy helped reduce violent crime and took illegal weapons off the streets.
Judicial activism? Meanwhile, in Tennessee, a county judge has ordered a baby boy’s name changed from Messiah to Martin. “The word Messiah is a title, and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person, and that one person is Jesus Christ,” Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew told local television station WBIR-TV. The parents had gone to court to settle a dispute over the boy’s last name—both wanted him to take their own name. In issuing her ruling, Ballew said the boy’s name could “put him at odds with a lot of people” in the predominantly Christian part of the state where he lives. The mother plans to appeal, and it’s not clear whether the judge really has the legal authority to change the boy’s name, even over concerns about his well-being. And, unfortunately, Messiah’s not that unusual as far as names go. According to U.S. Social Security Administration statistics, it was the fourth fastest growing name for boys between 2011 and 2012. Last year, it was the 387th most common boys name.
Tech news. And for all you technophiles, Apple is expected to announce the latest iteration of the iPhone during a Sept. 10 press event at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. The new phone is rumored to have a faster processor, a better camera, and a finger print scanner. The company has already announced an updated version of the phone’s operating system. Other smartphone manufacturers, including Motorola, have already released new models, giving Apple some stiff competition in its battle to retain dominance in the personal electronics market.