U.S. Forest Service Cracks Down on American Flags

And now the most intriguing two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:

Punishing Patriotism?
The U.S. Forest Service is cracking down on people who fly the American flag outside their vacation cabins located in a national forest in California. For almost a century, citizens have been allowed to build cabins on small lots inside El Dorado National Forest in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Sacramento. Army Veteran David Knickerbocker, a retired police officer, has been flying a Old Glory atop a flagpole outside his cabin in the forest for 23 years. He's now been told by a letter from the forest service that "flagpoles are not authorized for recreational residences and must be removed." He's also been told to take down his clothesline and paint his door to better match the cabin.

Animal Rights Divided
The animal rights people and the green movement are at war. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have taken out after the World Wildlife Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense for their support of research on animals to test toxic chemicals. PETA has given the three green groups a failing grade and started a "Mean Greenies" Web, accusing the groups of a "Greenwash" and urging people to cut off donations. The three groups maintain they, too, are for animal welfare but say that if testing isn't done on animals in labs, humans and animals will end up exposed to more toxic substances.

Unfair Advantage?
Up in Canada, a group of the country's leading women mountain bikers are trying to keep the newest member of the national women's mountain biking squad from competing. They are claiming that Michelle Dumaresq, who has won two races already this year, has an unfair advantage. Michelle, it seems, used to be Michael Durmaresq until the she underwent a sex change operation. She says she has now lost about 30 pounds from the 6-foot-2-inch, 230-pound frame she had as a man. Says Dumaresq, "I really hope I don't get labeled a poster child for transgendered athletes."

Back to the Basics
And out in Ohio, a number of local sheriffs are bringing back those black and white-striped uniforms for jail inmates. Officials says the orange coveralls now so widely used are too easily confused with the orange outfits now worn by hunters, and thus could be dangerous. But the ACLU says the sheriffs are just trying to humiliate the prisoners and look tough on crime.