Saggy Pants Crackdown In Flint

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Flint, Mich., is cracking down on saggy pants, and more news worth an honorable mention.

(Soundbite of song "Debra")


Hey, hey. I'm Mike, and this is Dan, and pretty soon some good stuff is going to happen.

DAN PASHMAN: Good job, Jacob. This is a great song. This is a great song. It's got to be said, Mike.

PESCA: What's the name of the song?

PASHMAN: This is "Debra" by Beck, one of his greatest songs, although I think he has largely disavowed it because it's rather comedic in nature.

PESCA: Well, hold on, hold on a second before we get into the virtues, because let me say - let me welcome everyone back to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. We're always online at Yesterday, we talked about Beck, and at is where you can find that. Today, we're going to talk about a whole bunch of other things, and we call this whole bunch of other things The Ramble.

(Soundbite of music)

PASHMAN: I wanted to get that in before he changed the music.

PESCA: I want to talk more - oh yeah, you have to do it then. Anything else you want to say about Beck or "Debra"?

PASHMAN: No, let's keep it moving.

PESCA: All right, go for it.

PASHMAN: There's a new study out today regarding the efficacy of sunscreens. It comes from the Environmental Working Group, which has been described as a, quote, "habitual gadfly to the business world." And the sunscreen studies...

PESCA: I bet they wear that proudly.

PASHMAN: Yeah, well, it's better than being gad flea. But it shows that four out of five sunscreens offer inadequate protection or contain harmful chemicals, and the biggest offenders, according to this study, are the industry leaders, Coppertone, Banana Boat and Neutrogena. Now, three out of three industry leaders are upset with the report, we should add.

PESCA: Yes. It would figure.

PASHMAN: Some dermatologists are accusing the report of hyperbole, but you know, it does underscore some long-standing concerns about sunscreens. One is that they don't do much to stop the deadliest form of skin cancer. Another is that they don't give you blanket immunity.

PESCA: But you know, what does give you blanket immunity?

PASHMAN: What's that?

PESCA: An actual blanket.


PESCA: And that's why it's called blanket immunity.

PASHMAN: See, I'd go with the old, reliable flannel shirt when I'm at the beach.

PESCA: That's good. That could be the phrase. They could say, they don't give you flannel-shirt immunity.

PASHMAN: That's right.

PESCA: Because a lot of people think blanket immunity is immunity from blankets.

PASHMAN: No, it's immunity provided by blankets.

PESCA: Yeah. Just wear a blanket.

PASHMAN: Yeah, that's SPF infinity.

PESCA: Well, when they say that these - they don't work, does it matter what SPF they're at? Or do they claim a higher SPF? And what does SPF stand for?

PASHMAN: Well, SPF - I'm glad you asked, Mike - stands for sun protection factor.

PESCA: Factor.

PASHMAN: And it's a measure of a sunblock's strength. If you usually get burned in 30 minutes, an SPF of 15 means you could stay out 15 times longer without getting burned.

PESCA: That I get.

PASHMAN: But this new report says that those numbers don't work, because the sunscreen starts deteriorating after 15 minutes. The measure doesn't account for sweat and rubbing and various issues.

PESCA: A sunblock that doesn't account for rubbing? How are you supposed to get it on you?

PASHMAN: Yeah, but another fact that's interesting here is that the FDA has not issued any safety standards for sunscreens even though they got a set of recommendations 30 years ago.

PESCA: All right. And those recommendations were by a blanket.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: Two employees working at the West-side Pizza Hut in Wichita, Kansas - so Wichita is a happening place. They've got at least two Pizza Huts. They were startled by a loud noise at three am yesterday. They went out to investigate and found out that the Pizza Hut had been hit by an acid bomb. No one got hurt. There are no suspects, but when I saw that story, I said, acid bomb?


PESCA: That sounds as dangerous as can be. Slate Magazine once posted a helpful explainer on the topic. Basically, you mix up - ah, we don't want to give away too much information, so we'll keep out a key ingredient when I say it. You mix up acid and a base in a bottle and shake it up, and it produces a gas. The gas builds up until the bottle explodes. Slate tells us they go by the name bottle bomb or MacGyver bomb.

PASHMAN: Actually, the MacGyver bomb, you've got to drop one paperclip in.

PESCA: That was the ingredient I didn't want to say!

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: Great, Dan. Now you've just armed the masses. Anyway, they're more like kid pranks, but they can cause a lot of damage.

PASHMAN: Right. A big trade in Major League baseball to report involving my team, the Chicago Cubs.

PESCA: I didn't that we could do baseball trades in The Ramble. This opens up a whole new area of sports talk.

PASHMAN: Yeah, seriously. The Cubs landed pitcher Rich Harden...

PESCA: Steven Canosi (ph)! What do you say about the trade? Yeah. I don't think Harden should have been traded!

PASHMAN: I can't wait for them to bring the Dodgers back to Brooklyn.

PESCA: Phil from Flushing, what do you say?

PASHMAN: All right, the Cubs landed pitchers Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin in a six-player deal with the Oakland As. They sent pitcher Sean Gallagher, outfielders Matt Murton, not Mutton, as producer Ian Chillag wrote, and Eric Patterson, and minor-leaguer Josh Donaldson to the As. Big prize here is Richard Harden. He's one of the most talented pitchers in baseball, as you know, Mike, but he keeps getting hurt. Poor guy has been on the disabled list six times in his six-year career. But I think if he can stay healthy, it's a great deal for my Cubbies. My idea is for the first month on the team, they should just keep him and his tender arm in a hyperbaric chamber, then let him out for the stretch run. Hopefully then, he can stay healthy.

PESCA: Oh, just, perhaps, hoist it around the Chicago area to different hot-dog stands by a team of, you know, willing supplicants.

PASHMAN: The guy could use a little more meat on his bones. That's probably why he keeps getting hurt. He needs to go down to Hot Doug's and get himself a duck sausage.

PESCA: Yes. And let's go to Flint, Michigan.

PASHMAN: All right.

PESCA: It has joined with other cities across the country in cracking down on saggy pants. Calling a style a national nuisance, an interim police chief - and he's bucking for the permanent job with this initiative - David Dicks has announced that his department will be arresting people wearing low riders that expose underwear or worse, you know, the whole shebang. They are categorizing the problem as disorderly conduct or indecent exposure, misdemeanors punishable by a year in jail, where, I believe, the baggy pants thing started. So, that's certainly no way to crack down on this habit.


PESCA: They really get into the detail of exactly how baggy the pants can be and shouldn't be. One 14-year-old resident told the Detroit Free Press his mom had warned him about the crackdown, if you will. I pulled them down to respect her - oh, I'm sorry, I pulled them up to respect her, he said. When she left, I pulled them back down.

PASHMAN: I'm just glad that a town like Flint, Michigan, where they had a lot of problems, is finally doing so well.

PESCA: They're turning it around.

PASHMAN: They have time to worry about this issue.

PESCA: One day on the BPP, I hope to report on what the Village Voice has said is the new anti-tight-clothes rap that has come out by a rap collective. They're against the tight clothes. There's a lot of tension in the communities. And that is your Ramble. These stories and more on our website,

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