Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Weird 2.0

"To see what is in front of one's nose requires a constant struggle"—George Orwell
"Nero Fiddles While Rome Burns"—Rome Daily Inquirer, July 18, 64 A.D.

March 2, 2010
(datelines February 20-February 27) (links correct as of March 2)
by Chuck Shepherd
© 2010 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

Homeland Security's cheerleader captain, Janet Napolitano, loves the "E-Verify" system that, lickety-split, tells an employer whether a worker's social security number is valid. Said she, "E-Verify is absolutely where we're going" in security. Problem: 54% are false positives, in that the SSN was real but had been stolen. Associated Press via Yahoo News

FEMA continued to do a heckuva job even after Hurricane Katrina. For instance, it needed a facility in Brentwood, Tenn. Guys with flashlights drove around the Nashville area, inspected a property without electricity, with an intermittently-operating boiler, and without potable water. Deal! $122,000 rent for three months. Quickly, worker sick leave became a problem because of sewage leaks and chemical contamination, so they had it repaired (adding $607,000 in expenses). That's all according to Homeland Security's inspector general (but FEMA blamed it all on the General Services Administration). Politico.com

Last August, "compassionate" Scotland's officials released the Lockerbie bomber, terminally ill, so he could pass his last days at home in Libya. Now, his "three months to live" are six and counting, and he's pretty comfortable, according to this report. Daily Telegraph

The National Security Agency, checking out the computer system of the Secret Service, found it worked at a lightning-like "60 percent" capacity, with a 1980s-style mainframe. It'll cost $187 million to update, and Homeland Security has allocated a whole $33 million. ABC News

Britain's Equality and Human Rights Commission warned that schools are not to require gender-specific clothing styles, such as making younger girls wear skirts. That's because of the few kids who have decided already that they're transgenders and thus might be made to feel uneasy. We can't have uneasiness. The Times

Defining Integrity Down: Briton Roger Day, 62, was convicted of wearing 17 Army medals he didn't come close to earning, but the judgment was overturned because the prosecutor had charged him under an old law that was recently updated, and he consequently decided, what the hell, just turn Day loose. Day: "I am vindicated. I am now considering taking legal action against all those who muddied my name." The Times

Win-Win? (You decide.) An Australian Broadcasting Corp. reporter is the latest to visit the issue of where all those women's hair extensions come from. Answer: Hindu temples accept hair (Some have head-shavers on duty 24/7!) in lieu of money as offerings to the gods, for prosperity. Then the temples sell it to brokers at the equivalent of about US$80 to $120/lb, and it eventually makes its way to Europe and then to salons everywhere. Australian Broadcasting Corp. News

The latest think-tank figures put the yearly total of patients who enter U.S. hospitals infection-free, but who never make it out alive due to infection, at 99,000. (The other 1.6 million patients [annually] who got infected at the hospital, didn't die.) Reuters via Yahoo News

The CW Group International, LLC, would like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, such as by explaining to Guinea's murderous army that they simply must start playing fair. Hence, CWGI prepared this Power Point presentation setting out the rules of civilized warfare, e.g., Don't shoot at civilians. (Of course, traditional African-warlord/civil war/genocide rules require that civilians be tortured and killed.) Foreign Policy

The 5th Commandment can be a bitch. "Honor thy father and thy mother"? Sure. But the gospel according to fundamentalists Michael and Debi Pearl teaches that the best way to convey that is with a section of quarter-inch plumbing supply line, administered forcefully to various parts of your child's body. Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz were charged two weeks ago in Oroville, Calif., for beating one young daughter to death and torturing another, and last week Elizabeth decided she needed a heavyweight lawyer. All they were trying to do, said the Schatzes, was lovingly help their kids to be God-fearing. Mercury-Register (Oroville)

[Weird 2.0 is a kinda-upmarket rendition of News of the Weird / Pro Edition. No perverts, no drunks, no stupid criminals. Just scary important stuff.]