Below the Fold for Nov. 2


Not Wild About Mascots

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has asked Southern University and Louisiana State University to release their college mascots, a jaguar and a Bengal tiger, respectively. The schools have declined politely.

Meanwhile, no word on whether PETA (search) also will seek the liberation of banana slugs -- the mascot of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Party Time

Eugene Dilbeck, the head of the Denver Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau recently decided to throw a party for his hard working staff. He made sure to go by the book: He patronized an establishment that belongs to the convention bureau. He didn't use government money. But he also didn't use his brain, for this "after hour program" took place in the Diamond Cabaret strip club.

Dilbeck, who has worked at  the bureau for a decade, has been placed on paid leave.

Toast of the Town

Tom Finnie, the city manager of Springfield, Missouri, recently rejected a decision by the city personnel board to reinstate police officer Michael Murphy. That has set off a political tempest, and prompted Murphy's attorney to threaten an improper dismissal lawsuit.

Murphy was canned after he took 70 bottles of beer confiscated earlier this year by the city's underage drinking task force and followed the departmental policy -- which is to dispose of such beverages.

The key issue: What the meaning of “dispose” is. Says Murphy's attorney: "Turning beer into urine is disposal."