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Category:
Government

Before the TSA

German travelers in the 1950s complained that beautiful women were routinely being singled out for strip searches by guards at border crossings. The pretext for these searches was usually something trivial, such as a few Swiss francs undeclared. Sounds like the TSA learned some lessons from these guys.

Source: The Corpus Christi Caller-Times - Dec 6, 1951

Posted By: Alex | Date: Mon Jun 22, 2015 | Comments (2)
Category: Government, Officials, Travel, 1950's

Transportation of Avocados

Browsing through the municipal code of La Mesa, CA (it's a suburb of San Diego and also happens to be the fine town that I call home), I came across this unusual law:

Every person who transports a commercial quantity of avocados shall cause a statement of ownership to be prepared and retained in his personal possession at all times while transporting said avocados...
"Commercial quantity of avocados" shall mean any quantity of avocados in excess of forty (40) pounds exclusive of the container...
Any peace officer, upon probable cause to believe a person is transporting a commercial quantity of avocados, may stop such person and inspect such avocados, whereupon, the statement of ownership described in Section 10.70.030 shall be presented to said peace officer upon request.
Any peace officer, upon reasonable belief that a person is not in legal possession of a commercial quantity of avocados, may seize such avocados without warrant. Upon seizure the peace officer shall take custody of the avocados and turn the same over to the custody of the Chief of Police.

Obviously we take avocados seriously out here. I wonder if the same rule applies to guacamole.

(image source)
Posted By: Alex | Date: Thu May 21, 2015 | Comments (9)
Category: Food, Government, Regulations

Tax Per Mile

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Oregon is running a voluntary per mile travel tax instead of the current per gallon standard. The volunteers do not have to pay the gas tax while participating in the study.
Does anyone really believe the gas tax will go away if the per mile tax is enacted? Does any tax ever go away once it is put in place? So if this goes through we may as well expect both.
What a great way to control travel, especially for the poor. This idea is a greater threat to personal liberty than the Patriot Act. It is much easier to control a non-moving populace.
Posted By: patty | Date: Wed May 20, 2015 | Comments (14)
Category: Government, Regulations, Law, Motor Vehicles, Cars, More Things To Worry About

Pole in the Road


This image comes from Bulgaria. The story behind it, as far as I can figure out from the Bulgarian site offnews.bg (with help from Google Translate), is that the pole can be found on a road in the municipality of Tran. The road was recently expanded, but since the pole was owned by the electrical company, the municipality didn't have the right to remove it. So they simply poured the road around it. However, the municipality notes that they have now filed the necessary paperwork to remove the pole, and they hope all the documents will be processed promptly.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue May 05, 2015 | Comments (4)
Category: Buildings and Other Structures, Government, Regulations

Woodrow Wilson on the Make

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[Click caption for readability]

No escape from the media, even in 1915, as President Wilson courts Edith Galt.

Original photo here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Mar 25, 2015 | Comments (0)
Category: Government, Politics, Husbands, Wives, 1910's, Cars

Texas legislators smell decaying rat

In 1969, a rat died somewhere in the offices of the Texas legislature. This led to the passage of Texas House State Resolution 433:

WHEREAS, there are many brands of rat poison on the market today; and
WHEREAS, Some brands of rat poison do cause the rat to leave the building before he dies; and
WHEREAS, The same thing goes for mice; and
WHEREAS, The State of Texas obviously does not use a brand of rat poison that causes rats and mice to leave the building before they die; and
WHEREAS, For the last week and a half, Representatives Jungmichel, Wieting, Ward, McAlister, Allen, Allen of Harris, Jones of Harris, Kubiak, Parker of Jefferson, Cory, Newman, Johnson of Bexar, Kothman, Weldon, Longoria, Ogg and Cummings have unduly suffered mental anguish by having to smell a dead rat; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the heretofore mentioned Representatives hereby go on record as supporting either letting the rats run loose in the Capitol or changing the brand of rat poison.

So what are these brands of rat poison that can make a rat leave the building before it dies? I've never heard of such a thing.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Feb 28, 2015 | Comments (7)
Category: Animals, Government, 1960's

The Well-Balanced Beer

Headline writers had a lot of fun with this story. Ruth Shepler was an Iowa barmaid who had a signature bar trick which involved pouring a bottle of beer into a glass while the glass was balanced on her ample "frontage." She could reportedly balance up to four glasses simultaneously.

But when the IRS heard about this, they decided that her trick was really a cabaret show, which meant that she should have been paying cabaret taxes for the previous three years (1952, 1954, and 1955). And they demanded these unpaid taxes, which by their calculations amounted to $44,694.

Shepler hired a lawyer to fight the IRS. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any news reports that tell how her case turned out.




The San Mateo Times - May 25, 1956
Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Dec 30, 2014 | Comments (6)
Category: Entertainment, Government, 1950's

The Martyr Ebenezer Scrooge

On December 17, 1974, the CIA sent President Ford a top-secret briefing on terrorist activity around the world. The document noted that a bomb had been found at the British consulate in Buenos Aires and that threats had been made to hijack British Airways flights. Even more ominously, it noted that:

A new organization of uncertain makeup, using the name "Group of the Martyr Ebenezer Scrooge," plans to sabotage the annual courier flight of the Government of the North Pole. Prime Minister and Chief Courier S. Claus has been notified and security precautions are being coordinated worldwide by the CCCT Working Group. (CONFIDENTIAL)

This entire report was kept classified until 1999, at which point it was declassified. However, before it was released, a censor blacked out the section pertaining to the Scrooge terrorist group. It was only in 2003 that a non-redacted version of the document was released, in an effort to end the "overclassification" of government documents, and the public became aware of the threat posed by the Martyr Ebenezer Scrooge. [via Unredacted]

Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Dec 24, 2014 | Comments (4)
Category: Government, Terrorism and Terrorists, 1970's

Noisy Falls

No one disputes that the scenic waterfall near the Italian town of Bellano is very loud when its running (see video below). Sometimes the water is diverted to power a hydroelectric plant. But an unusually wet summer has made the falls even louder than normal, causing tensions to flare in the town. Some residents complain they can't easily hear their TVs over the sound. So they've taken their complaints to a regional environmental protection agency, which has now fined the town €650 for noise pollution. [Telegraph]

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Oct 11, 2014 | Comments (4)
Category: Government, Natural Wonders

Innovative Projects in Canada

Canadian tax dollars at work! Back in 1984 (source: Montreal Gazette - Oct 17, 1984), the Canada Council gave the following grants to fund Canadian artists who had "innovative" projects:

Jim Freedman got $4,885 to write a book on "professional wrestling as it relates to small towns, offering reasons for its decline in popularity."

Richard Lyle Hills received $3,125 to write "a collection of short stories examining the lives and values of those who work at construction jobs."

Joanne Claire was granted $8,200 to write "a book which questions the beliefs and assumptions upon which our lives are based."

Daniel Boudereau and Helene Cosette got $14,700 to develop "a performance integrating movement and color by acrobats inside a multi-chambered cubic structure."

Thirty years later, what became of these projects? The only one I could track down was Jim Freedman's wrestling book, which was published by Crowbar Press in 1988 as Drawing Heat (Amazon link). And it actually sounds like an interesting book.

But all the other projects — nada. Did they actually produce anything with the money given to them?

Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Sep 19, 2014 | Comments (5)
Category: Government, 1980's
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.