Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Weird 2.0
January 4, 2011
by Chuck Shepherd
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

[Weird 2.0: No perverts, no drunks, no stupid criminals. Worse!]

"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.


Pat Robertson accidentally faced reality, concluding on his 700 Club that America's anti-marijuana laws are fercockta. "I'm not exactly for the use of drugs, don't get me wrong, but I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot, that kinda thing, it's just, it's costing us a fortune and it's ruining young people. . . . That's not a good thing." Los Angeles Times

Another Black Helicopter Theory Dies: A big field of old Russian and Eastern bloc trucks piled up in Mississippi means, obviously, that then-President Clinton was selling us out to the United Nations! No other explanation! Patriots . . lock and load! Turns out it was part of a failed business venture in young Russia after the fall of communism, and the idea (as well as the trucks) have now died of old age. But, boy, in their time, the presence of those trucks caused a lot of people to buy more camo. New York Times

Government Accountability Office took an official position on the federal government's finances . . er, an official position that no official position was possible: (1) Department of Defense is "inauditable." (2) No reconciliation is possible among interagency activities. (3) There's too much fudging of Uncle Sam's projected assets and liabilities. TaxProf Blog

Eighteen months ago, Homeland Security ordered all those entering the U.S. to ID themselves with highly-secure documents. The Department's pretty proud of itself ("96% compliance" on the Mexican and Canadian borders), but the Inspector General said that, still, about 3.6 million travelers have entered in 18 months with the same old shoddy ID and/or without the required standby inspection for those with shoddy ID. New York Times

There's fraud in F State government offices, but then, on the other hand, there's this, reported by the Miami Herald. The guy running Miami-Dade County Transit's weekly-pass discount program during 2009 might have come up $120,000 short. He was not charged, though, because a lot of the money was found just lying around the office, in his desk drawer and other places. "I'm a lousy bookkeeper," he told police. And it takes a special bureaucracy not to notice the shortages until long after the fact. Miami Herald

Update: Mississippi Gov. Barbour found a workaround for how he could release the two ridiculously-oversentenced black sisters (serving life for an $11 robbery that other people committed) without having to admit that his state's systemic racism screwed the women in the first place [NOTW/Pro, 12-13-2010]: commute the sentences on the condition that one sis donates a kidney to the needy other one. So far, he's getting away with it (in that the NAACP president generously praised him . . even though Barbour was largely saving the state the medical costs of caring for the ailing sister for the rest of her life). Weird (that he's getting away with it). Washington Post

A big-shot military official praised Homeland Security for coming up with that "Thermos watch" airplane passenger notice (DHS: Al-Qaeda might be thinking of putting explosives in the insulation material in mugs and cups). Said Adm. James Winnefeld, TSA is "always trying to think ahead." Well, that would be news, but passengers have been bringing insulated cups on board for nine years since 9-11. Associated Press via Washington Post

California's 2010 death-row scorecard: 28 more admitted to the Big House, running the total to 717 scuzzes now awaiting the Next Life. Not enough money in the budget to get the Inject-O-Matic working again; not enough cojones to admit that capital punishment is just one more thing Californians want but think ought to be free. Los Angeles Times

Social Security recipients generally know they're "owed" their money back from their life-long contributions, and thus display maximum huffiness whenever reformers mention cutting back benefits in any way. And they've got a good point. The system was in fact designed to return mas o menos what a person contributes. However, many display similar huffiness on Medicare, and unless they promise to die by age 70 or so, they'll suck out tons more money than they put in. Associated Press via Google News

USA, still vying for the gold in the technology of exam-cheating! "With more than 100,000 students tested [on one state's high school year-end exam], proctors could not watch everyone--not when some teenagers can text with their phones in their pockets." New York Times