Just back from Iraq, man hits jackpot
NORWOOD, Mass., July 21 (UPI) -- A member of the Massachusetts National Guard just returned from Iraq and who had to file for bankruptcy has won a $200,000-a-year scratch-off lottery jackpot.
John A. Morrissey bought a $10 scratch-off ticket at a neighborhood convenience store and won one of the top prizes of the Lifetime Spectacular game. Lottery officials were to deliver the first $140,000 check -- Morrissey's prize after taxes -- this week.
"It's just incredible," Morrissey told the Boston Herald. "That's the real deal; one of those rags-to-riches.
"I was married and I got divorced. And I had to file bankruptcy. Then after that years went on. I went to Iraq and then I came home and got lucky."
Morrissey returned from Iraq about five weeks ago. He had been stationed as the Tallil Air Base near Nasiriyah for about 13 months, working with vehicle parts supplies.
Morrissey told the Herald: "I don't consider myself a lucky Irishman. I just want to say it's been a rough go of it through my life. And I guess I've been lucky enough to be lucky. The biggest thing (is to) send my daughter to college."
Swear words edited out
LAYTON, Utah, July 21 (UPI) -- Someone on a literary cleansing binge has been editing out swear words from the "Murder, She Wrote" series at a library in Layton, Utah.
The swear words have been crossed out and replaced with milder words, like "darn," "gosh" or "heck," written in black, purple, green and even pink ink, the Deseret Morning News reported Wednesday.
In recent months, Charlene Heckert of Layton found five of the 10 "Murder She Wrote" books she has read censored for content, the report said.
"It bothers me 'cause I'm trying to read a book," Heckert said. "It's distracting."
Pete Giacoma, director of the county library system, said this is a rare situation.
"The reality is, catching a person doing it is hard," he said. "Proving it is even harder."
Giacoma says readers might mistakenly assume the library censors books. He said the culprit is committing vandalism by the writing on the books, the same as graffiti. Such an act is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine or six months in jail.
Canadians' pot smoking at an all-time high
OTTAWA, July 21 (UPI) -- The number of Canadians who admit using marijuana doubled between 1989 and 2002, according to a study released Wednesday by Statistics Canada.
Three million people ages 15 or older reported at least one instance of marijuana or hashish use within the year preceding the Canadian Community Health Survey, which was conducted during 2002.
In 1989, 6.5 percent of Canadians reported cannabis use; by 2002 that figure increased to 12.2 percent. Men were more likely to partake of the illegal weed, with 15.5 percent of men admitting use compared with only 9.1 percent of women.
The drug was most popular among teenagers, with nearly 40 percent of 18- and 19-year-olds and 30 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds reporting some use during 2001.
More than 10 million Canadians -- 41.3 percent of the population reported trying marijuana at least once in their lifetimes.
Poetry scholar dissects Dylan's lyrics
BOSTON, July 21 (UPI) -- A Boston scholar who wrote a 500-page book examining Bob Dylan's lyrics, compares the folk singer to literary masters such as Shakespeare.
Christopher Ricks, professor of English and director of the Editorial Institute at Boston University, has written "Dylan's Visions of Sin," published by Ecco, ABC reported Wednesday.
In the book, Ricks examines Dylan's songs as they relate to sins, virtues and graces.
Ricks is comfortable comparing Dylan to literary icons, saying his study makes a case that Dylan's work stands up next to the poetry of Shakespeare and T.S. Eliot.
"I resist the idea that I have some kind of monomania. But I've listened to (Dylan) for 35 years and nobody else comes home with the same poignancy," Ricks said.
Activists demand more political coverage
NEW YORK, July 21 (UPI) -- A coalition of groups led by Common Cause is asking TV stations to provide more coverage of local politics
The Public Interest Obligations Campaign hopes to convince news directors and station managers to devote at least two hours to coverage to issues during the weeks prior to the Nov. 2 election.
The campaign wants the public to pressure Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to require broadcasters to commit to more informative programming, before the government approves a new policy known as the "must-carry" rule.
"Using new digital technology, broadcasters can transmit up to six channels of programming where they now can only transmit one channel," said the organization on its Web site. "That's worth billions of dollars to them, and it's coming free from you, the American taxpayer. But broadcasters need one more big government favor -- a rule that requires cable companies to transmit all their digital programs over their cable systems."
The campaign said broadcasters no longer fulfill their traditional obligation to serve the public interest, citing research that found the majority of local TV newscasts in the weeks leading up to the 2002 election included no campaign coverage.