Wednesday, November 14, 2012

From the files of the Incredibly Stupid (vol 2)

No, unions never waste public money, how could you think that? The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department still to this day retains one job classification for a "horseshoer", even though the department owns no horses. Over the years, the position has become a patronage slot paying about $57,000 a year in salary and benefits, sometimes requiring the "horseshoer" to do "blacksmith" work such as metal repair. (Because the city employees' union fights to retain every job, no matter its title.)

Another example of the government keeping us safe: In August, the former director of Homeland Security's office in charge of shoring up the nation's chemical plants against terrorist attacks told CBS News that, five years after Homeland Security started the chemical program, "90 percent" of the 5,000 most vulnerable plants have still not even been inspected. The official, Todd Keil, said that when he left the job in February, $480 million had been spent, but that no plant had a "site security plan" and that management of the program was "a catastrophic failure."

Love, Russian Style: Artist Taras Polataiko's two-week-long live re-creation of "Sleeping Beauty" was featured through early September at Ukraine's National Art Museum in Kiev, but it had a little twist: Five women had been chosen to fall asleep daily and, by signed contract, to agree to marry the first man who awakened them with a single kiss (thus to witness "the birth of love," according to Polataiko). Only one awoke during the exhibit, but since that payoff kiss was applied by a female gallery-goer, the contract could not be fulfilled (Ukraine forbids same-sex marriage).

Americans take heart. We are not the only country that has gone law suite crazy: An unnamed passenger on the Russian rail company Krasprigorod won a lawsuit in September for his 2010 experience of being stuck in a crowded train station for two hours and having to endure "moral suffering" from exposure to other passengers cussing. The Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported that the lawsuit (which also noted physical injuries including having his feet stepped on) originally asked the equivalent of $1,550 but that the court in Krasnoyarsk awarded much less.

Least Competent Criminals: Dakoda Garren, 19, was arrested in Vancouver, Wash., in September on suspicion of stealing an antique coin collection in May that was estimated to be worth $100,000. Garren and his girlfriend were identified after spending some of the coins at a movie theater and a pizza restaurant, using rare Liberty Head quarters (worth from $5 to $18,500) at their face value.

Live Long and Prosper...

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