NJ high court says rats are protected by 1st Amendment

It’s stories like this that make journalism worthwhile.

rat1In a case that pitted an International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union local against a central Jersey town, the high court ruled unanimously that the rodent is protected speech under the First Amendment.

This should come as particularly good news to…

  1. Rod Blagojevich
  2. Bernie Madoff
  3. Tom Daschle
  4. The banking industry
  5. The auto industry
  6. <Insert your favorite here>

Great quote: The state Supreme Court found that the law wasn’t neutral, and therefore was unconstitutional. It said an ordinance “that prohibits a union from displaying a rat balloon, while at the same time authorizing a similar display as part of a grand opening, is content-based.”

Besides, aren’t rats the state animal of New Jersey?

RELATED? Bangladesh crowns champion rat killer. “DHAKA (AFP) – A poor farmer from northern Bangladesh was crowned the country’s rat killing champion on Thursday with a final score of 39,650 dead rodents after a year-long hunt.” That’s a lot of bankers.

Headline of the Day: Vietnam cracks down on hamster craze

Born to be mildFrom next Monday, anyone possessing or trading hamsters faces stiff fines of up to 30 million dong (1,875 dollars), the Vietnam News daily reported, citing a new agriculture ministry directive to enforce a ban imposed last month. The communist government aims to end a youth craze for the fast-breeding animals, which were previously only imported for scientific research, but which have now spawned online hamster forums and real-life hamster clubs.

Apparently the Year of the Ratatouille is to blame for the popularity of the rodents. The government is afraid that they could spread disease and destroy crops.

This crackdown seems to have hit the blackmarket hamster trade very hard: “Amid the stern warning, the state-run Vietnam News reported, the street price of hamsters, many smuggled from China and Thailand without licenses or quarantine checks, has already dropped from over 20 dollars to less than 10.”

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Pixar brings plague of pet rats to Paris

First it was dalmations, now it’s rodents. When Disney’s remake of 101 Dalmations came out it caused such a frenzy for dalmation pups that local animal shelters saw a marked increase in the number of spotted pups being turned in. Now Pixar, owned by the Mouse, has done it again. Thomas Huxley reports in his wonderful blog Upcoming Pixar that:

Gerald Moreau who runs a group which promotes rats as pets has said that hits to his website have risen 40% since the release of Ratatouille in France.

Sadly it is far easier to dispose of a rat one doesn’t want…

Mr. Huxley goes on to ask if anyone not in France has been bitten by the rat (pet) bug.

I must say, Non, but only because Big Brother SSG Collateral Damage had one when we were kids. I was quite fond of John Rat (actual name) but I’m holding out for a different pet … a b-lld-g or two.

BTW, here’s a link to my review of Ratatouille.

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