American woman Grace Fuller claimed to have suffered two epileptic seizures on a Southwest Airlines flight, all because the flight attendant quipped “Eenie, meenie, minie, mo, pick a seat, we gotta go”. Fuller and her sister Louise Sawyer, who are African-American, took the comment to be rascist (if you remember the original version you will understand the connotation) and sued the airline — even though nothing remotely racist had, apparently, been said or implied.
Some of the sisters’ claims were thrown out of court and eventually a jury bounced the remainder. But the opinion has created no precedent, so Fuller and anybody else for that matter, are free to sue over the use of a nursery rhyme again if the inclination takes them. Southwest Airlines, meanwhile, has copped the cost of the case.
Stub the smokers out
They aren’t allowed to smoke at their desks, in the stairwells, and even in parts of their local. But things have been taken a step further in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. If you smoke within eight metres of a public doorway, a park or in other public spaces, you could face a $650 fine … or a year in prison. Well, surely they will be allowed to smoke there. The much-maligned social pariahs (smokers) will, however, be able to smoke while they are drinking and gambling. The council seems to have its priorities right. After all, if they’re going to smoke themselves to death, they may as well be the people who are ruining their lives with alcohol and gambling addictions as well.
Authorities in Thailand have decided to address crime problems in three southern provinces by installing cable television in coffee shops in more than 500 villages so teenagers can watch soccer matches. A separatist movement has existed in Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala for decades, but last year more than 800 people were killed in clashes, bombings and beheadings, which has driven authorities to take action.
Interior Minister Kongsak Wantanna said the move would “make teenagers more interested in sports than in going out and killing people”. Well, provided they don’t screen any English matches, they could be on to a winner. Folklaw congratulates Thailand on its approach of tackling the cause of crime rather than just locking up everyone they see.
Watching paint dry
From the proliferation of high-rating television programs about lawyers and the law you would expect a reality show about the same to attract a cult following. However, NBC’s program The Law Firm has apparently died a natural death in America. Well, anyone in the profession would surely have predicted such an outcome from the program’s inception. Watching a lawyer read emails, meet clients, update files and deal with case and practice management … can anyone point me in the direction of some wet paint?
Never in Australia
This is not a complaint you are likely to hear from your own children. Police officers, led by a local magistrate, rescued 12 teachers from a classroom at Jambura High School, near Agartala, India. No, the students weren’t going on a rampage, refusing to attend classes and calling for mutiny. They were punishing their teachers for not giving enough attention to their education.
Magistrate Basir Ali was quoted in The Statesman as saying: “The students have genuine reasons to be angry, as some teachers invariably come late or never attend classes at all”. Some teachers were accused of attending classes drunk and others had smoked while teaching. A report on the students’ allegations has been requested from school authorities.