Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

NOVEMBER 9, 1998: 

Dateline: Japan--Japan is hoping that the newly enacted "Happy Monday" law will boost a sagging Asian economy. The law, which went into effect earlier this month, will shuffle some of the nation's many public holidays next to a weekend as a way of encouraging people to have more fun. Japanese economists are hoping that these new three-day weekends will boost consumption, encourage travel and bolster the entertainment industry. The newly created Association for the Promotion of Three-Day Weekends believes that the new Monday/Friday holidays will create an estimated 520 billion yen ($4.37 billion) windfall for the sluggish Japanese economy.

Dateline: Montana--A hunter from Great Falls, Mont., got a two-for-one trophy when he bagged an unusual buck on the opening day of hunting season. Robert Kercher shot a large male deer only to discover the head of a second buck tangled in its antlers. Biologists for the state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks surmise that the second skull was the loser in a head-butting battle. The two combatants apparently became entangled during an antler-clash. One of the bucks was eventually killed, possibly by predators, and dragged around until its body fell off. Wildlife officials aren't sure how long the buck carried the other antlers around with him.

Dateline: Oklahoma--An Oklahoma City judge taught a courtroom spectator that justice is not a game when she sentenced him to two days in jail for playing with a yo-yo. Judge Nancy Coats sent 34-year-old Charles Knost to jail for contempt for behavior "totally inappropriate for a courtroom." Knost, who was in the courtroom with a defendant, told the judge that he had just quit smoking and played with the yo-yo when he got nervous.

Dateline: California--A San Diego judge was publicly admonished last Monday for asking his female clerk to sign a "sexual harassment waiver" and then repeatedly pestering her with inappropriate personal advances. Shortly after hiring the unidentified woman, Judge Harvey Hiber of the San Diego County Municipal Court, presented the clerk with a large, two-page scroll written in calligraphy and entitled "Absolute, Unconditional and Total Waiver of Harassment." The clerk refused to sign the document, which would have waived any and all objections to whatever verbal and physical advances the judge might make. Despite her refusal to endorse the waiver, Hiber began a pattern of "insistent and unwelcome behavior," which included telling her dirty jokes, kissing her and passing her suggestive notes from the bench. A San Francisco-based performance commission voted unanimously to admonish Hiber, calling his actions "unjudicial" and "improper."

Dateline: Georgia--Members of a Gainsville-based Ku Klux Klan chapter thought they had found a major loophole in a Georgia law that bans anyone from wearing a mask, hood or any type of device that conceals a person's identity in public. The anti-Klan law, however, exempts Halloween costumes. According to Gary Mallicoat, a spokesman for the "American Knights," the Gainsville group planned to march in full Klan regalia, including robes and pointed hoods on Halloween day "because we thought we could get away with it." Hall County Sheriff Bob Vass cut short the Klan's plans, though, by announcing that any masked Klan member would be arrested--Halloween or not. Vass said his officers "know the difference between Klan hoods and Casper masks."

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