Monday, November 12, 2007

Civilization in Decline
The UK gov’t introduced a popular bill to de-stigmatize designer babies, even if created expressly for their "spare parts" (as long as the purpose is not elective gender-selection) . . . . . A price war in London means beer sells for less than bottled water . . . . . British-born Samina Malik, 23, a shop assistant at Heathrow, was convicted for writing Islamic terrorist poetry (She apparently has a thing for beheadings: "Tilt the fool’s head to its left / Saw the knife back and forth / No doubt that the punk will twitch and scream / But ignore the donkey’s ass / And continue to slice back and forth") . . . . . It costs $275 (nonrefundable) to appeal a $100 traffic ticket in Massachusetts . . . . . So far this yr, the federal gov’t has run background checks on 25m people, most not for anti-terrorism.

The Human Condition Today
A few of psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich’s fans remind us this week of his passing 50 yrs ago, even though his main contribution has never left the fringe of science: He thought that releasing orgasmic energy was the key life force . . . . . The mayor of Chepstow, Wales, is all for Remembrance Day (Britain’s Veterans’ Day) but wants the full-dress military marchers to leave their "awful" guns at home . . . . . Paul Durant, on trial for murder in Spain, said his mission in life was to kill (and eat) pedophiles . . . . . Just in time for the story in this week’s NOTW (M031, 11-11-2007) of motorists stuck on railroad tracks, unable to move or leave the car, at the precise moment a train is coming: Yet another! (Mineola, N.Y.) . . . . . An F State man, 77 and apparently headed south quickly, bicycled to school to pick up his grandson, and had pedaled all the way back home before his wife informed him that he had the wrong kid . . . . . The South Dakota Supreme Court freed Michael James Plenty Horse from his indecent exposure conviction on the ground that Mr. Plenty Horse barely had his pants down at all when he was caught lying on top of a female mannequin, undulating his hips (i.e., nothing was "exposed") . . . . . What looks so far like a case of Third World’ers caught up in one of those supernatural hysteria epidemics, in this case, "twitching," by a dozen schoolkids, but it was near Roanoke, Va. . . . . . Too Good 2 B True: Fortune magazine reports that a software team is part-way done on a filter that blocks online comments that are stupid (but is hung up on what sounds stupid but is actually ironic or sarcastic, which may actually be brilliant) (but maybe not) . . . . . In Thailand, a free-lance security guard watchdog: He roams the streets, and if he finds a guard asleep, he beats the crap out of him (eight dead so far) . . . . . From Sweden, a Muhammad-blaspheming cartoon is being turned into . . a musical! . . . . . And’s latest mugshot gallery is of 14 people who have made chillingly horrible fashion decisions about their hair.

Your Daily Loser
Near Seattle, a 66-yr-old man was working on his Lincoln Continental, trying to take a wheel off, but was confounded by one stubborn lug nut. Solution: 12-gauge shotgun blast. Unintended consequence: various ricochets of buckshot. Result: hospital, with serious injuries to both legs, on up to his chin.

People Whose Sex Lives Are Worse Than Yours
An estimated 15,000 obscene phone calls (to women, on the subject of underwear) have now sent Paul Kavanagh to jail for 2½ yrs..

Final tally for a city council seat in Winchester, Ind.: Bill Monroe, the incumbent, 111; Tom Sells, 112. Among those who neglected to vote: Mrs. Bill Monroe.

Good Enough for Gov’t Work (Special District of Calamity Edition)
The District of Calamity needs to move its government operations to some other city that’s not serviced by the Washington Post, because last week, once again, Post investigations blistered ‘em for some inexcusable embarrassments that cost millions of dollars and made some struggling people’s lives significantly worse, and as usual, it wasn’t so much the initial miscreants (every organization has ‘em) but the almost-patented D.C. bureaucratic ethical fog that keeps the miscreants out of plain sight. For so many offices, there’s a sense of employee entitlement to raid the buffet (and if anyone finds out, it’ll make everybody look bad, so Shhhhh!). The gov’t was already reeling last week from that $20m (since revised upward) tax-refund scam operated with impunity for three yrs before the feds busted in [NOTW Daily, 11-8-2007], but then on Friday, the Post turned over another rock to find yet another underground pit teeming with worms of corruption: student activity funds at District of Columbia schools. Basically, concluded the Post investigators, if you find even one of the 147 schools’ funds being managed properly, it’s a mistake, and you’ve missed something. They’ve all been misused, for years (and some actually "looted"), by D.C. school employees, at least some of whom in all honesty thought that the funds were there for employee recreation instead of for sponsoring student organizations and field trips and student computer maintenance, etc. Here’s the secret: Keep no records! That way, any auditors (or federal prosecutors) that come upon these train wrecks will have to punt because there’d be no smoking guns that they could show the school board or a jury. (But, wait, D.C. law requires that funds get reported periodically so someone up the chain of command will notice, sooner or later, that reports aren’t coming, right? Answer: This is the District of Columbia gov’t; they never notice. And if someone does notice, it’s not long before he faces the heartbreaking realization that no one else cares about exposing the wrongdoing. Nearly 25 percent of all people listed as "business managers" of their schools had, themselves, bankruptcies, foreclosures, lawsuits, etc., on their records. The funds are mostly in the tens of thousands of dollars, but some are huge: Wilson High School’s is $700k. A couple of the blatant abusers were tracked down by the Post, which was easy to do because they’re still on the job, on "probation," and richly defended by their current boss. D.C. schools: worst performing, most expensive, highest administrative-to-instruction ratio.

Professor Music’s Weird Links
Not today. Maybe tomorrow.™

Newsrangers: Emory Kimbrough, Ginger Katz, Scott Langill, Casey Burns, Karl Olson, Edward Ingram, Gary Goldberg, John Witherspoon, Perry Levin, Joe Littrell, Bob Pert
This posting to News of the Weird Daily is © 2007 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.