Artist Beth Grossman created her wall exhibit, "Seats of Power," to encourage citizens to greater activism in local affairs around Brisbane, Calif. (just south of San Francisco Bay). The "Seats" are upholstered cushions individually tailored with the buttprints of each of the 10 city council members, who allowed Grossman to photograph them from behind, clothed, through a sheet of Plexiglas pressed against their posteriors to simulate being seated. All 10 co-operated, including Mayor Sepi Richardson, who said she had been considering her "legacy" lately, "but I never thought it would be my butt."

Small-Town Politics: Resident Tony Randall of Ashland, N.H. (pop., 2,000), a surveyor by trade who was elected chief of the town's 12-member police force in March, promised he would know more about his job by September, when he will finish police academy training.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that a March meeting of the Medina, Ohio, City Council required a recess when all members engaged in serial giggling over one person's flatulence.

Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer of Snellville, Ga., involved in a recent feud with an aggressive city council member, called on police chief Roy Whitehead to escort him to the men's room at City Hall for his safety.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, with the impossible task of "regulating" 18,000 makers of drug devices (and thousands of other companies and enforcing 123 new federal laws since 1988), has had virtually no increase in staff in 15 years. It's little wonder, then, that the AM2PAT company of Angier, N.C., was not caught before bacteria in its pre-filled syringes were linked to five deaths and hundreds of illnesses in December 2007. Subsequently inspected, AM2PAT's saline and heparin syringes were found to contain "debris" and "sediment" and to be "muddy" and "dingy brown" in color. Furthermore, according to a February report in the Raleigh News & Observer, the required "clean (air) room" was found to be just a room with a fan, and the company's "chief microbiologist" was revealed to be a teenager who had dropped out of high school. The company's owner has fled to his native India to avoid prosecution.

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