Intl. Notebook Dec 2 2008
SHROOMS CAPPED
Good times in Amsterdam severely curtailed by mushroom ban.

The Dutch ban on mushroom sales, passed earlier this year, went into effect yesterday. The ban follows several highly publicized incidents involving mushroom usage, including the reckless joyride of a Danish tourist who careened through a public campground in his car, narrowly missing campers, and the death of 17-year old French girl who jumped from a bridge. Amsterdam’s city council hopes the new law will help change the international perception of the ’Dam as a sex, drugs and vice metropolis, but owners of “smart shops” where the fungi are sold say hundreds of jobs may be lost.

One shop worker complained in an interview with Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper that the problems were all the fault of tourists, especially Brits, who misuse alcohol at home then come to Amsterdam and do the same with hash and mushrooms. While it is true that vacationing Brits are notorious for binge consumption, the reputation of Amsterdam was established long before anyone began complaining about the behavior of tourists. Only time will tell if the mushroom ban will make people stop thinking of the city as a place to buy drugs, but in the meantime tourists can get the same trippy feeling by staring hard at a Van Gogh.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
February 27
1922—Challenge to Women's Voting Rights Rebuffed
In the United States, a conservative legal challenge to the nineteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution establishing voting rights for women is rebuffed by the Supreme Court in Leser v. Garnett. The challenge was based partly on the idea of individual "states rights" to self determination. The failure of such reasoning as it applied to basic human rights created a framework for later states rights losses involving the denial of voting rights to African-Americans.
February 26
1917—First Jazz Record Is Made
In New Orleans, The Original Dixieland Jass Band records the first ever jazz record for the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York. The band was frequently billed as the "Creators of Jazz", but in reality all the members had previously played in the Papa Jack Laine bands, a group of racially mixed performers who helped form the basis of Dixieland while playing under bandleader George Laine.
February 25
1947—Prussia Ceases To Exist
The centuries-old state of Prussia, which had been a great European power under the reign of Frederick the Great during the 1800s, and a major influence on German culture, ceases to exist when it is dissolved by the post-WWII Allied Control Council comprised of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union.
1964—Clay Beats Liston
Heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay, aged 22, becomes champion of the world after beating Sonny Liston, aka the Dark Destroyer, in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. It would be the beginning of a storied and controversial career for Clay, who would announce to the world shortly after the fight that he had changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
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