|Bobby, I think we have a squirrel to add (JK)|
ITEM:Last year, I had a bunch of fun with Sen. Tom Coburn's Wastebook report, where he brought to light some of the idiotic things your tax money goes to. Last week, a FB friend posted Congressman Steve Russell of Oklahoma's waste report. While nowhere near the concise, amusing job that Coburn did, it did have some neat spots. To wit:
-According to the gerontology research group, there are maybe 35 people in the whole world who have reached the age of 112. Not so, says the Social Security Administration, who has 6.5 MILLION ACTIVE SS#s that belong to people allegedly over 112. That would be roughly 2% of the population.
-In a report I've seen in other spots as well, it seems the EPA, concerned over water usage, is working with hotel operators to install a wireless device that will track how much each guest uses in the shower. Cost? $15,000. Um, there already is this thing called a water meter...
- The Missile Defense Administration was trying to get an audit done on a billion dollar 2009 contract. The Defense Contract Auditing Agency concluded there were some problems and asked for an extension, which MDA approved. 5 days before the report was to deliver the report, MDA signed the contract anyway- costing us at least $11 million on the contract and $130,000 for wasting DCAA's time in compiling the report.
-When I saw the name USAID come up, I thought, this will be a good one, as they by far wasted money on the most stupid projects. This was a pretty light one, by their standards: In order to help stop Islamist radicalization in the slums of Morocco's cities, they spent half a million plus on classes and projects designed to teach teenagers non-violent ways to settle disputes. Thus breeding a kinder, gentler terrorist.
ITEM: Next, I have a couple of lists for you. First, the USA's most literate cities.
The study, conducted by Dr. Jack Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University, measures "citizens' use of literacy" through criteria including local bookstores, educational levels, Internet and library resources, and newspaper circulation.
Because, in this day and age, a thriving newspaper circulation HAS to be an indicator of literacy.
The top ten:
10- St. Louis (when they're not out shooting cops and unarmed ghetto-dwellers in the 'burbs)
8- San Francisco (reading instead of taking all those business trips to evil Indiana, I suppose)
7- Denver (the A Beer For The Shower boys obviously contributing heavilly there)
4- St Paul ( I was going to say, because the illiterates live in Minneapolis, no doubt- but...)
3- Seattle (see #8)
2- Washington DC (go figure)
and at #1.... Minneapolis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Because, let's face it, whattaya gonna do when it's -20 and five feet of snow most of the year?
The list included just the nation's 77 largest cities, and thus the closest to my home base:
12- Cincinnati (You have to be literate to spell the damn place!)
37- Indianapolis (with it's own self writing joke- tied for the spot with Newark and Sacramento)
And dear sweet home Fort Wayne made 48th- right between Detroit and Tuscon.
The bottom? no surprise here- Bakersfield. Just beating out seven cities from Texas and California.
ITEM: On another list, we have Gallup polling the 100 most populous urban areas to see who is the happiest place in the US of A. Results:
10- Winston-Salem NC (where you can still pick up your cigarettes at the factory)
9- Washington DC/Arlington/Alexandria, VA (Where you can pick up cheap hookers as long as you don't work for DOJ)
8- San Jose/Sunnydale/Santa Clara, CA
7- Provo/Orem, UT (mostly due to the Osmond family)
6- Austin/Round Rock TX
5- El Paso, TX
4- Oxnard/Thousand Oaks/Ventura, CA
3- Raleigh, NC (see #10)
2- Urban Honolulu (tell me that's a shocker)
and at #1... North Port/Sarasota/Bradenton, FL!!!!!!!!!!! (Good job, Barb!)
Taking a swing at ignorance is bliss, I see #5 El Paso was second from the bottom on the literacy list...
None of the close areas made the happy top fifty... though Toledo OH was 3rd lowest (not surprising from what Roland and Mad Jack tell me), with Dayton, Columbus, and yes, Cincinnati not far behind.
ITEM: Animal kingdom, not being bright. First, where else but Australia...
...would a poisonous brown snake get his head stuck trying to have a beer? A Mawson Lakes woman found the tableaux on her back porch, as the viper tried to sample a Carlton. In the mean time, in lovely Nuenen, Netherlands...
...a lion gets his head stuck in a feeding barrel, providing several minutes of entertainment to his fellow Leonids. Both were eventually freed... I wonder if that Squirrel ever got back to dry land Sunday?
ITEM: And in a case of animal karma, a puppy named Timmy fell down the well, and had to be rescued by firemen in Fresno, CA. No word on whether Lassie was involved.
ITEM: Next, the most unlikely and yet true excuse for breaking into a home, courtesy the HuffPost:
A San Francisco man accused of burglarizing an apartment last May was acquitted earlier this week after his attorneys successfully argued that the suspect was actually attempting to board a spaceship he thought was on its roof.
Public defender Jeff Adachi told the court that Santonio Aviles, 41, was suffering meth-induced psychosis and believed the end of the world was nigh, CBS San Francisco reports.
Aviles somehow convinced a resident of the building to let him into the complex. Once inside, he climbed onto the fire escape and found an open window that he used to enter an apartment and take a short nap.
When Aviles awoke, he threw an inflatable exercise ball onto the fire escape figuring he could use it as transportation into the next galaxy. He also stole a backpack from the apartment and loaded it with a passport and earthquake kit, SFGate.com reports.
The passport wasn't Aviles'. It belonged to a woman who, like him, had long dark hair. Aviles testified that he believed the passport would ensure his seat on the spaceship, according to a release by the San Francisco Public Defender's Office.
At some point while Aviles was getting ready to leave Earth forever, the apartment resident and his girlfriend woke up to see a strange man in their home.
The resident tackled Aviles and began punching while the woman hit the suspect with a baseball bat. Then the pair called 911.
Aviles suffered a black eye and various bruises, scratches and scrapes, according to the release. The man who lived in the apartment suffered an injured toe and developed a rash from the encounter.
During the trial, public defender Jacque Wilson argued that Aviles did not enter the building to rob or hurt anyone, but was suffering a meth-induced mental health crisis, according to SFist.com.
Meanwhile, back on earth, the excuse was enough to get felony charges dropped in favor of misdemeanor assault and burglary. Beware... aliens use baseball bats.
ITEM: Finally ( I do have two other leads I may use next week), the latest great accomplishments from North Korea and its amazing leader Kim Jong Un. A new textbook was sent to elementary school classes titled Kim Jong Un's Revolutionary Activities, replacing the standard text for history class. In it, among other things, we learn that Kim learned to drive when he was three... which means that this should be no surprise:
"At the age of 9, Kim Jong Un raced the chief executive of a foreign yacht company, who was visiting North Korea at the time," the text reads in translation, adding that Kim won the race despite the odds.
Lee Seok-young, the South Korean director of Radio Free Chosun, a media outlet that covers North Korea, said the text brings into question how the teachers are expected to deliver the incredible statements to students in a school setting. At least with a straight face, eh?