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Category:
Government

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

Yogurt Tax

Marion Barry, the former mayor of Washington DC and now a Councilmember, has reportedly taken a stand against taxing yogurt, saying that a yogurt tax is "crazy," and pointing out that "Yogurt is really more healthy than some other things, as is cottage cheese."

However, there isn't actually a yogurt tax. Barry apparently misheard a reporter who asked him about a so-called "yoga tax," which is a proposed tax on gyms and health clubs.

I grew up in DC when Barry was mayor, so it gave me a warm glow to see that he's still making the news.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Jun 24, 2014 | Comments (8)
Category: Government, Regulations

Groucho Sells Bonds

image

Who would buy anything that Groucho was trying to sell? I can't imagine this campaign moved too many bonds.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Dec 31, 2013 | Comments (15)
Category: Government, Money, Advertising, 1940's

Mystery Cabinet

image

Who are these fanciful fellows? Answer after the jump.

More >>
Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Nov 12, 2013 | Comments (4)
Category: Government, 1950's, Europe

Federal Employee of the Year:  2011

2011 Federal Employee of the Year from Partnership for Public Service on Vimeo.



It takes a huge talent for boredom to make one of the worst disasters of the past decade seem vapid. "The pressure was somewhere between high and low." Duh....

If only this fellow had been in charge of TIMBER BRIDGE INSPECTION, life would have been perfect.

Posted By: Paul | Date: Fri Oct 04, 2013 | Comments (3)
Category: Authorities and Experts, Boredom, Destruction, Government, Officials, Science

Charley in New Town



Once upon a time, the suburbs were going to be utopia.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Aug 21, 2013 | Comments (7)
Category: Domestic, Dreams and Nightmares, Government, Urban Life, Utopias and Dystopias, 1940's, Europe
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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.