June 27, 2014
Whatever Would We Do Without Legislators?
For one glorious moment, the Editorial Staff were snidely rooting for natural selection:
New York state lawmakers have passed a bill banning residents from taking “tiger selfies” — a rising trend on dating websites in which single men post photos of themselves posing with the ferocious felines in hopes of impressing potential mates.
The bill prohibits “hugging, patting, or otherwise touching” tigers at fairs or circuses.
“They can still pose with bears and monkeys,” the assemblywoman said. “They just have to take big cats off their list.”
...New Yorkers who cuddle a jungle cat would face fines of up to $500.
But then we came to our senses and realized that a civilized society can no longer tolerate all this unregulated fondling of felines. One wonders: did these would-be Lotharios obtain consent, first?
June 25, 2014
It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time....
File under "For *this* we pay taxes????"
Environmental Protection Agency workers have done some odd things recently.
Contractors built secret man caves in an EPA warehouse, an employee pretended to work for the CIA to get unlimited vacations and one worker even spent most of his time on the clock looking at pornography.
It appears, however, that a regional office has reached a new low: Management for Region 8 in Denver, Colo., wrote an email earlier this year to all staff in the area pleading with them to stop inappropriate bathroom behavior, including defecating in the hallway.
In the email, obtained by Government Executive, Deputy Regional Administrator Howard Cantor mentioned “several incidents” in the building, including clogging the toilets with paper towels and “an individual placing feces in the hallway” outside the restroom.
Confounded by what to make of this occurrence, EPA management “consulted” with workplace violence “national expert” John Nicoletti, who said that hallway feces is in fact a health and safety risk. He added the behavior was “very dangerous” and the individuals responsible would “probably escalate” their actions.
“Management is taking this situation very seriously and will take whatever actions are necessary to identify and prosecute these individuals,” Cantor wrote. He asked for any employees with knowledge of the poop bandit or bandits to notify their supervisor.
Sometimes, the "comedy" just writes "itself".
$20,000 here, $20,000 there.
Sooner or later, it adds up to real money Just a drop in the bucket:
The stunning story made national network news: Agency heads were squandering taxpayer money by commissioning painters to produce vanity portraits of themselves, suitable for framing.
But buried in a recent Congressional Budget Office report scoring Senate legislation to address the situation is the slightly snarkily expressed verdict that the problem is actually minuscule.
The bill, S. 1820, reported by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on May 21, was introduced in December by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; and Deb Fisher, R-Neb. It would limit to $20,000 the federal funds that may be used for portraits of officials in the line of succession to the presidency, and prohibit funding for agency heads outside the line of succession. Under the bill, funds may be used to display such portraits, which may also be paid for privately.
But CBO estimates that implementing S. 1820 “would have no significant effect on the federal budget.” Current appropriations law prohibits the use of federal funds for portraits in fiscal 2014, the nonpartisan scorekeepers wrote. Likely, the cost “would be less than $500,000 annually because we expect fewer than 20 portraits are purchased for federal officials not in the line of succession to the presidency in most years.”
Dang. If only there were some guy who was willing to scour the federal budget line by line, eliminating wasteful spending.
June 12, 2013
Today's Looming Childhood Trauma
The horror of mean Lego faces!
Think back on your experiences with Lego men and Lego women. Probably you have happy memories of the time you spent with those tiny figures ...But a new study reports an ominous finding. “The children that grow up with Lego today will remember not only smileys, but also anger and fear in the Minifigures’ faces.”
...While the “vast majority” have happy faces, “the trend is for an increasing proportion of angry faces, with a concomitant reduction in happy faces,” as Christian Jarrett explains in his summary of the study for Research Digest. Hence the researchers’ concern about our children’s futures. They connect this finding with the “considerable array of weapon systems” that are now part of the Lego family, with the toys “moving towards more conflict based play themes.”
Less trumpeted is the fact that each face “received an average of 3.9 emotion labels,” i.e., there was a lot of disagreement about what each face was communicating. ...The real lesson here, I think, is that today’s children are growing up at a time of unparalleled Lego diversity.
Thankfully, we're to be spared the existential angst of Racist Lego:
While attaching the faces to “a body tended to increase ratings for anger and happiness but reduce ratings for disgust and sadness,” skin color “made no difference.”
While we're on the subject, what in the holy heck is wrong with "conflict based play"?
Update: we'd forgotten the Pink Ghetto brouhaha. And don't even get us started about the blatantly oppressive male privilege of "Erector Sets".
June 05, 2013
Your Tax Dollars at Work, Global Edition
If ever we've seen a burning issue that demands immediate Congressional action, it is the reckless and uncontrolled proliferation of.... camouflage patterns:
A Democrat in Congress says he will propose a measure Wednesday to cut down on duplication in the U.S. military’s camouflage uniforms — requiring the services to share one camouflage pattern, instead of the 10 in use now.
Rep. William L. Enyart, an Illinois freshman, said he thought of the idea after reading an article in The Washington Post last month.
The Post story detailed how, before 2002, all branches of the military shared the same two patterns: a green one for the woods and a brown one for the desert. But since then, individual services have produced their own patterns, with varying degrees of success. The Air Force, for instance, created the “Airman Battle Uniform,” but then decided it was not a good idea for airmen in Afghanistan to wear it in battle. They wear Army camouflage instead.
“Congress needs to exercise its oversight to make sure we don’t do silly things,” Enyart said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
Sometimes the comedy just writes itself.
If you're wracking your feeble brains to think of a more pressing social issue than unregulated digital clothing patterns, have no fear. The Editorial Staff have got your backs. You see, somewhere in the Multiverse, someone is printing and selling offensive t-shirts:
Matthew Taylor, 35, the owner of Taylor’s clothes store on Emlyn Walk in the city, printed up and displayed the T-shirt with the slogan: “Obey our laws, respect our beliefs or get out of our country” after Drummer Lee Rigby, 25, was killed in near Woolwich barracks in London last week.
But following a complaint from a member of the public, police came to his store and threatened to arrest him unless he removed the Tshirt from sight.
Mr Taylor said: “I had a visit from two CSOs (community support officers) because it has been reported by someone who felt it was offensive.
“It’s not meant to be offensive.
I didn’t produce it to be offensive. It’s what I believe.
“At the end of the day if you don’t like the way a country is run and don’t like our beliefs then go somewhere else, don’t go killing people.
“I don’t care if you Welsh, Scottish, English, go somewhere else if you don’t like it.”
Newport city councillor, Majid Rahman said: “I believe in freedom of speech and defend his rights to say what he wants, but once it starts offending people then it’s a police matter and it’s up to them whether they think it’s broken any laws.”
We dunno... we were pretty offended by liberal bumper stickers, t-shirts and even arm bands during the BusHitler years. Who protected our God-given right not to be offended?
Going for the trifecta of stupid, we've gone beyond threatening breakfast pastries, Hello Kitty bubble blasters and tiny toy weapons smaller than most bullets. Now, even mentioning guns is a looming threat to our collective security that cannot be tolerated:
OWINGS, MD -- The father of a middle schooler in Calvert County, Md. says his 11-year-old son was suspended for 10 days for merely talking about guns on the bus ride home.
Bruce Henkelman of Huntingtown says his son, a sixth grader at Northern Middle School in Owings, was talking with friends about the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre when the bus driver hauled him back to school to be questioned by the principal, Darrel Prioleau.
"The principal told me that with what happened at Sandy Hook if you say the word 'gun' in my school you are going to get suspended for 10 days," Henkelman said in an interview with WMAL.com.
So what did the boy say? According to his father, he neither threatened nor bullied anyone.
"He said, I wish I had a gun to protect everyone. He wanted to defeat the bad guys. That's the context of what he said," Henkelman said. "He wanted to be the hero."
The boy was questioned by the principal and a sheriff's deputy, who also wanted to search the family home without a warrant, Henkelman said. "He started asking me questions about if I have firearms, and [the deputy said] he's going to have to search my house. Search my house? I just wanted to know what happened."
No search was performed, and the deputy left Henkelman's home after the father answered questions in a four-page questionnaire issued by the Sheriff's Office.
Now that we think of it, from some angles a penis and testicles could be said to resemble a handgun. The State could confiscate all such threatening equipment too.
You know, just to be on the safe side.