Free Speech Case Gets $3 Judgment

News that merits an honorable mention.

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Welcome back to THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News. I'm Luke Burbank.


And I'm Alison Stewart.

BURBANK: Well, it's about that time in the show where we get the little odds and ends of the news, where we teach you lessons about life and love and…

STEWART: Or theft, as in the case of my first story.

BURBANK: That's right.

STEWART: Let's ramble.

BURBANK: Let's do that.

STEWART: Okay. Somebody stole $95,000 worth of beers from the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, which I must say one of the greatest places on Earth. It's (unintelligible) this summer.


STEWART: And that was a must. I think we going to spent four hours in the Guinness brewery in the museum park, although I did enjoy one of those funky brews.

This guy - you're asking, how do you steal that so much brew? You just drive your car in the brewery, hitch it to a trailer, put 450 kegs of different beers, and then you drive off. A Guinness spokesperson says that part of the brewery always has a lot of vehicles coming and going. But as you know about the U.K. they have those video surveillance cameras everywhere, and they are pouring - no pun intended - over the tape.

BURBANK: You know, the whole key when you're trying to steal something right, it's like just act like you should be there. It's like Tom Landry, the famous Dallas Cowboys football coach, said when you get to the end zone act like you've been there before. You just act like you know what you're doing.

STEWART: Go to the brewery, act like the 450 kegs should be in your car.

BURBANK: Exactly. Act like you've loaded all that Guinness into your car before. Well, I've got Wikipedia opened in front of me to a Pyrrhic victory, which is defined as a victory which is devastating in cost to the victor, which I think describes the situation with Al Flowers pretty well. He was this guy, a public access TV host in Minneapolis. Maybe it wasn't devastating, but let me finish explaining.

Here's what happened in 2005, there was a guest on Al Flowers' public access TV show who made a threatening comment about one of the city council members, called this person a House negro. After that the council members, they convinced the public access station to boot Al Flowers off the air for three months. He took the councilmen to court and the jury found, in behalf of Mr. Al Flowers, awarding him $3, 3 simoleons. And his legal fees were, like, $50,000.

I guess, he didn't have to pay them so that's why maybe this isn't a classically a Pyrrhic victory. But even so the city of Minneapolis had to foot the bill for this. The best line, though, on the story is Al Flowers' waiting for the city council members outside of the court after the verdict was read. They came up to him, and Flowers said, quote, "y'all bring my check now?"

STEWART: The man wants his money.

BURBANK: That's right.

STEWART: He won.

BURBANK: I want my $3.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: While we're on the First Amendment beat - a new shield law for journalists in Seattle is being put to the test. Here's the deal: Three reporters of The Seattle Times, well, they received subpoenas over some reporting they did about police misconduct. It was a series of reports from '05 - '04 and '05 talking about certain police officers who may, or accused allegedly took some favors, took some cocaine. They were eventually fired.

But the city now wants to know who were the reporters' sources on these stories, and they're taking the reporters to court. Now, most states have shield laws which allow reporters to keep their sources secret. Washington State enacted a particularly broad shield law this year, and this lawsuit is seen as a major test of that law.

BURBANK: All right, an update from the BPP gizzard news desk. A Minnesota man's missing ID bracelet has been found almost three decades later inside a chicken gizzard.

STEWART: That's ridiculous.

BURBANK: I'm ridiculous. Here, let's explain. This is, apparently, what happened, Aaron Giles was this - he's a man now, but he used to be a kid when he lost this - he lost his ID bracelet in his grandpa's barn 28 years ago. So fast forward now to 2007, they were slaughtering these chickens at a place called Olson Locker Farm when one of the workers spotted a shiny object inside a chicken gizzard. It was a child's stainless steel ID bracelet. Although Aaron Giles and his folks had long since moved, the Olsons were able to track Giles down in Massachusetts - he's 32, by the way, now.

So here's the theory: The bracelet got lost on Aaron Giles' grandfather's barn.


BURBANK: The barn was dismantled years later.


BURBANK: Some of the material in that barn of that sort of deconstructed barn was then used to build the Olson's barn.

STEWART: Gotcha.

BURBANK: And they think that the bracelet must have somehow been transported with those materials from that barn, and then eaten by a chicken.

STEWART: The hungry chicken ate the bracelet that was in the barn that was from a piece of another barn from the kid's grandfather.

BURBANK: Exactly.

STEWART: Oh, it's so clear.

BURBANK: And y'all, that is The Ramble.

STEWART: Three dollars please.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: I want my $3.

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