Weird 2.0 (June 29, 2010)

News of the Weird/Pro Edition/Weird 2.0
You're Still Not Cynical Enough

A Few More Prime Cuts of Underreported News from Last Week, Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
June 29, 2010
(datelines June 19-26) (links correct as of June 28)

Weird 2.0
"To see what is in front of one's nose requires a constant struggle"—George Orwell
"That's close enough for government work"—unknown
"Nero Fiddles While Rome Burns"—Rome Daily Inquirer, 7-18-64A.D.

Close Enough: One of the U.S. Treasury Department's inspectors general reported that 14,000 "home buyers" have wrongly gotten tax credits under the 2008 real-estate-panic law. Now, there were bound to be slip-ups, but 1,300 of the 14,000 questionable "home buyers" were in prison at the time, including 241 serving life sentences, and 67 others bought the same house. (IRS sniffed that only a tiny few payouts appear to have been fraudulent [ed. likely because only a tiny number of scammers are cynical enough to understand that IRS can actually be defrauded from a prison cell].) CNN Money

The Pentagon says it can't "buy American" choppers for Afghanistan, thus enraging all the Senators and Congressmen from military-industrial districts. In fact, DoD feels it must buy Russian choppers because by the time most Afghan airmen, who have limited attention spans and who learned to fly on Russian choppers learn to fly U.S. craft, Gen. Petraeus'll be playing shuffleboard at the Old Soldiers' Home. Washington Post

"If you or I did what the Diocese of San Diego did in [its recent] bankruptcy [to stanch the flow of lawsuit damages arising from priests' sexual-abuse cases], we'd be charged with bankruptcy fraud, and we'd probably be in prison." That was attorney John Manly, who said he's found lots of wealth-hiding, obstruction-of-justice schemes by both the Diocese and the Vatican, itself. Star Tribune

Oops: California's welfare-dispensing debit cards ("Golden State Advantage EBT" cards), making all your state benefit payments accessible by ATM, were unexpectedly found also to work at about half the state's casinos and gaming rooms. The governator was shocked to learn this and by executive order demanded that each recipient sign a pledge that their money will go only "to meet the basic subsistence needs of their families." Los Angeles Times

Elsewhere in California, a Sacramento Bee investigation found that the total accumulated amount of all state workers' paid time off, as of right then, was $2.75 billion. [ed. Obviously, the state doesn't have $2.75 billion right now. To meet this challenge requires hard work and ingenuity . . to develop an entirely new generation of bookkeeping hacks and tricks to make the problem go away.] Sacramento Bee

Besides, Gen. Petraeus's Plate Is Already Full: New York state has raised its cigarette tax again, and you can't buy a pack in New York City (which has additional tax) for less than $10.80. More exciting, though, is that the state is applying its taxes, starting September 1, to sales on Indian reservations (after giving tribe smokers personal exemptions). The Seneca Nation tribe, through J.C. Seneca, said any state attempt to get the money would amount to an "act of war." Said the state budget director, "We would hope there would not be any violence." Buffalo News

The public transit system in Austin, Tex., Capital Metro, has had a $500 OSHA violation thrown out by a federal appeals court, and it only cost the company, er, $61,000 in legal fees (and the meter is still running, actually). Cost is not important, said CEO Doug Allen, when you're fighting for a grand principle, which in this case is Cap Metro's wish to avoid complying with OSHA safety regulations. The appeals court ruled that Cap Metro is a quasi-government agency and is therefore exempt from OSHA's glare. (Allen assured everyone, though, that Cap Metro has its own workplace-safety plans.) Austin American-Statesman

Once in a while, a remarkable report is issued, the substance of which has been known by the cognoscenti for a long time (and whose attitude accompanying this knowledge has always been, "Shhhhhhh! Don't . . don't . . just leave it alone, OK?"). Last week, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform reported that the U.S. pays a big chunk of its $2 billion "security" contract in Afghanistan . . to the Taliban. And the Pentagon knows it. ("Shhhhhhhh!") The U.S. cannot transport supplies into the interior of the country without paying for road protection, which it contracts out to various warlords, and for so many of the warlords, their main subcontractors are Taliban or Taliban-sympathizers. However, the military (all the way up the ladder) simply do not know how to avoid this. As long as the warlords take a predictable amount of riches, to provide a predictable amount of security, and no more than a predictable amount of that goes to the Taliban, everybody wins, sort of. It's like a "given." It's like it's part of the Geneva Conventions. Washington Post

District of Calamity: Washington Post columnist Colbert King wanted to know simply where on the list of police priorities is "tracking down a violent escapee from the D.C. Youth and Rehabilitative Services." Like, is it, Oh, whenever? Or is it serious? YRS has been assigned lots of youngsters and teens, most of them salvageable but some of them probably not, and the latter need to be hunted down when they escape, to, y'know, keep them from murdering people. However, Mayor Fenty ordered the police not to answer King or the D.C. Council. All answers, Fenty said, will be supplied by YRS itself (the most chronically dysfunctional of the various dysfunctional D.C. agencies). [ed. How can it be so bad for so long? OK, channel the movie "Jaws." (1) YRS can only be rehabbed by recognizing that a significant number of young D.C. males are dangerous predators. OMG! (2) Mayor Fenty has to be upbeat, to bring in business and people. To admit that part of your government is a scary hell hole that needs emergency powers is a real downer, especially when a loud minority of voters are still hung up on racial "profiling." (3) Most people balance interests of (1) and (2) by accepting "Close Enough For Government Work" rhetoric, e.g., "challenges," "tragic," "fairness," "second chance," "complex questions," etc.--especially if the losers in the drama are just kids stuck in bad neighborhoods, even the ones gunned down by youth predators.] Washington Post

     Posted By: Chuck - Tue Jun 29, 2010

SD Diocese When "Mother Church" runs out of money Hell would have frozen over deep enough to allow us to skate right over it.

C-state Welfare I pledge not to gamble your money away. Honest. Now, Arnie, can I have some too? Pllleeeeeeesssse? I promise not to buy anything in AZ either.

NY Ciggy Tax If NY attempts to invade the Seneca Nation can I become an honorary member?

Capital Metro And, after we finish with the lawyers can we start in on the politicians?
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 06/29/10 at 10:09 AM
defrauding the irs- i know it is wrong to root for these people but seeint the irs get it stuck to them just once is pretty satisfying.

choppers- we really have no economic hope at all if even the military cannot be compelled to buy american.

the church- i like dumbfounded's idea about taking some land from them to cover it.

califonia- they have been broke, not a suprise

the cigarette wars- no way, the federal government will back the indians, it ain't happening.

texas- pfffft who needs safety standards, I'm sure thye will regulate themselves just fine. 🙄

dc- the whole thing is ridiculous. get the damn criminals of the street. but no, in dc they vote criminals into office.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 06/29/10 at 10:49 AM
Cali Debit Cards -- So what? The ATM they pulled the cash from just happens to be in a casino. Not like the slot machines or pit bosses are taking the money off the cards directly.
Maybe the recipients are making the withdrawals because they gambled away their paychecks and still need cash to pick up some milk on the way home.
Making sure the cards don't work in a casino ATM will accomplish nothing, the gamblers will just stop at an offsite bank before they go. What's next, can't use a particular ATM because it is next door to a liquor store?
It's big joke to hand people money and ask them not to spend it on liquor, cigs or fireworks. Only the dumb will be caught paying directly with their cards before eliminating the paper trail through an 'honest' ATM.
If you really want to make sure the funds are spent on certain items, perhaps the recipients should be chaperoned while shopping, receive gift cards or chits. And let's put the recipients and their households on a 'no entry list' at casinos, liquor stores, bars and make such establishments scan everyone's IDs to make sure they are not banned.
Posted by qualityleashdog on 06/29/10 at 03:32 PM
no it is not, but the irs has a well earned reputation for strong arm tactics and bypassing due process. they come off as the bad guy so often that it makes you want to root against them. but you are right about scammers, they are bad guys for real.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 06/30/10 at 10:48 AM
Buy American - All the current Afgani choppers are Russian, all their stockpiled spare parts are Russian, all their mechanics are trained in fixing Russian choppers, and all their pilots are trained to fly Russian Choppers, so why not buy Russian choppers? The insane part is the $648 million No Bid contract given to ARINC to disguise the fact that we're buying the choppers from a Blacklisted arms dealer.

San Diego Catholic Diocese - I live in San Diego and was raised in the Catholic Church (it didn't stick; the Nuns weren't able to beat it into me), and I was sickened by the mad scramble to hide assets, the willingness of the Bishops & the Cardinal to lie about it, and that they'd let their lawyers bad mouth the victims to try to protect the child rapists that the Church had spent years and small fortunes protecting.

Shhh... Taliban - This is the same thing we did in Iraq as part of the plan that turned the war around in our favor. Did you know that many of the Warlords that supported us during the initial invasion had originally supported the Taliban but wanted more control over their areas than the Talibs would allow them? And that we have long had arguments among the Generals in the Pentagon and the officers on the ground over the usefulness of the Capitol "T" Taliban vs the lower case "t" taliban? Meaning the leaders of the movement, the guys working hand in glove with Bin Laden, the guys willing to strap a bomb to themselves, and the guys who own an AK-74 and two clips of ammo who would like a paycheck from someone. You turn the little guys against the big guys, and the movement starves for lack of privates.
Posted by Freddie Freelance on 06/30/10 at 12:33 PM
good point about the taliban and the church too freddie.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 06/30/10 at 06:30 PM
What's worse about the Catholic Church fiasco is that, except for a bare handful of cases garnering broader attention, all of this was only getting reported as local news. So the San Diego suits were being reported in the local newspaper, with 5 or 6 mentions of the LA cases and maybe one or two cases from elsewhere around the country, over the course of a year. If you went to Chicago you'd hear about the local cases, a couple updates on regional cases, and maybe one or two mentions about LA or Louisville; the same thing if you went to Baltimore, Boston, Seattle, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Dallas, Tucson, Denver, Palm Beach, Honolulu, Philadelphia, Portland, Anchorage, Memphis, Miami, Oakland, Peoria, and a dozen more cities around the country. And that doesn't cover the Thousands of cases from South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the South Pacific.

The Catholic Church says that 1% to 1.5% of priests were involved in abuse of Children & Teens; overall 3% to 7% of Priests were accused of abuse of members of their church, adults & children. But 95% of dioceses have reports of abuse, which shows that the accused priests had to've been moved around pretty damn often, which means that someone had reason to be moving them, that someone knew SOMETHING but kept silent. And those Monsignors, Bishops, Archbishops, and members of the Friggin' Inquisition, should be held accountable, right up to Ratzinger himself.
Posted by Freddie Freelance on 07/01/10 at 10:45 AM
its a tragedy and shameful that the church has kept this fiasco going for so long. ironically, if they'd done the right thing and excomunicated and reported the offenders there would be far, far, fewer cases as the same pervert wouldn't have had multipule hunting grounds over and over again. the fall out for the church would have been less severe and they would have been percived in a much better light. not to mention it is the right thing to do. i believe the saying goes 'love the sinner hate the sin' not 'love the sinner hide the sin'
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 07/01/10 at 11:54 AM
definitely too sensible for califonians df. :lol:
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 07/01/10 at 11:43 PM
As the 'governator' might have said, "Hasta la VISA!" :coolmad:
Posted by Dumbfounded on 07/02/10 at 07:18 AM
nino (with the squiggle above the middle n)
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 07/02/10 at 05:36 PM
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