Monday, April 05, 2010

Weird 2.0
March 30, 2010

"To see what is in front of one's nose requires a constant struggle"—George Orwell
"A little learning is a dangerous thing"—Alexander Pope
"Nero Fiddles While Rome Burns"—Rome Daily Inquirer, 7-18-64A.D.

The FBI, charged in 2001 with saving America from impending overrun by terrorists, set out to build a computer system that would at the least allow agents access to whatever is already known by federal and state governments agencies about potential suspects. You won't be surprised to learn that last week Director Mueller said the system is still not ready and won't be ready until 2011 at the earliest. As of 2008, for instance, the Bureau still could not pull up many suspects by ethnicity or religion. Now imagine a unit at Google or Microsoft or Apple telling its bosses in, say, 2005, that a system they had been working on for four years wouldn't be ready for another two years at the earliest. New York Times

Religious grift–er, I mean, preachers Anthony and Harriet Jinwright of Charlotte, N.C., will go on trial next week for tax evasion. The government fears they are conspiring with each other to align their explanations and wants them jailed pre-trial, to keep them apart. The judge acknowledged the problem but declined to jail them. However, he did tell them, Now, Y'all don't be talking to each other. Charlotte Observer

Like many states, Florida is running huge budget deficits–but not so huge that it can't sympathize with yacht-buyers. For them, the state's 6% sales tax is proposed to be capped at $18,000 (the amount due on a $300,000 boat). This bill is touted by its sponsors, of course, not as a gift to the rich but as something that will ease unemployment in the all-important yacht-building industry. Miami Herald

Kentucky is risking a loss of $42 million in federal transportation funds if it continues to protect a religious billboard along Interstate 65. The Federal Highway Administration withholds funds if a state won't comply with roadside billboard restrictions on Interstates, but Kentucky is trying to exempt a Christian organization's "Hell Is Real" message. Lexington Herald-Leader

Recurring Theme: If a convicted murderer is so totally nuts that it's not fair to pronounce sentence on him, but he clears up if he takes his meds, can the government force him to take meds in order to sentence him? The latest specimen presenting this question is Carlos Bello, who came here on the Mariel Boatlift in 1980, when Castro emptied his prisons, and who was hardly here a year before he killed one cop and wounded another in a drug deal. Florida is highly supportive of the death penalty for cop killers, and Carlos is likely not so crazy, after all. St. Petersburg Times

"The Harris poll" is a respected, mainstream operation so I'm sure they do the best they can, even when they're just quizzing people online (and trying to weight the demographics to give the breakdowns some professional integrity). But come on. 29% of Americans believe Obama wants a one-world government? 24% of self-ID'd Republicans believe Obama is the Antichrist? That can't possibly be true.

Our Only Hope (especially if Obama is the Antichrist): The Church of England composed several suggested prayers for these troubled, cynical political times where anger and distortion have overruled debate and reality. Daily Telegraph

[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.]