By CHUCK SHEPHERD
To counter the now-well-publicized culture of rape in India, three engineers in Chennai said in March that they are about to send to the market women’s anti-rape lingerie, which will provide both a stun-gun-sized blast of electricity against an aggressor and a messaging system sending GPS location to family members and the police about an attack in progress. After the wearer engages a switch, anyone touching the fitted garment will, said one developer, get “the shock of his life” (even though the garment’s skin side would be insulated). The only marketing holdup, according to a March report in The Indian Express, is finding a washable fabric.
In March, Washington state Rep. Ed Orcutt, apparently upset that bicyclists use the state’s roads without paying the state gasoline tax for highway maintenance, proposed a 5 percent tax on bicycles that cost more than $500, pointing out that bicyclists impose environmental costs as well. Since carbon dioxide is a major greenhouse gas, he wrote one constituent (and reported in the Huffington Post in March), bike riders’ “increased heart rate and respiration” over car drivers creates additional pollution. (Days later, he apologized for the suggestion that bicyclists actually were worse for the environment than cars.)
Latest human rights
n In Bristol, England, Anthony Gerrard, 59, had been arrested for possessing child pornography, but after an inventory, police found only 11 images of his massive 890GB porn stash were of children (which Gerrard said he unknowingly downloaded in his quest for legal, adult pornography), and he went to court in January to demand his collection back (minus the child porn). So far, police have said that it is “impractical” to cull the child porn images.
Fine points of the law
U.S. companies large and small legally deduct the expenses of doing business from their gross profits before paying income tax, but purveyors of marijuana (in states where possession is legal and where prescription marijuana is dispensed) cannot deduct those expenses and thus wind up paying a much higher federal income tax than other businesses. As NPR reported in April, “Section 280E” of the tax code (enacted in 1982 to trap illegal drug traffickers into tax violations) has not been changed to reflect state legalizations. The effect, experts told NPR, is that legal dispensaries in essence wind up paying tax on their gross receipts while all other legal businesses are taxed only on their net receipts. (The federal government, of course, continues to regard marijuana as illegal.)