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Don't step on Superman's cape -- or curse at a Pennsylvania cop

Thanks to the ACLU, it may soon be safe for Dick Cheney and Joe Biden to drive through Pennsylvania. The civil liberties group has filed suit in federal court challenging what seems to be the widespread practice of police citing motorists for swearing or using profanity.

Both Cheney, in an outburst against Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Biden, in proclaiming the importance of healthcare reform, have been heard using variations of the F-word.

According to the ACLU, Pennsylvania State Police officers, who are known for their politeness, issued 750 citations in one year for profanity or the use of profane gestures. Cops in my hometown in Pittsburgh, who are known for their rudeness, evidently can dish it out but can't take it; they cited people for profanity about 200 times over a four-year period, a practice that cost the city $50,000 last year to settle a lawsuit.

As Biden, who lives in a state that is sort of a Philadelphia suburb, would say: That's a big [expletive] deal.

-- Michael McGough


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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

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