Wednesday, February 29, 2012

This and that

Some extra reading for this bonus February day...

Visiting this National Park is certainly no pic-a-nic, Yogi
Organ Pipe was named "the most dangerous national park" that year and also in 2003 by the U.S. Park Rangers Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, before the group discontinued the series. The drastic increase of drug activity on Arizona's southern border since the 1990s has turned Organ Pipe rangers into de factor Border Patrol agents, and spurred state lawmakers to pass several laws cracking down on illegal immigrants within the state.
Since 2009, the park has offered van tours to the springs, as long as rangers armed with rifles go along to protect the visitors.

From the "You Weren't Supposed to Notice" files
Last Wednesday in the White House briefing room, the administration’s press secretary, Jay Carney, opened on a somber note, citing the deaths of Marie Colvin and Anthony Shadid, two reporters who had died “in order to bring truth” while reporting in Syria. 
Jake Tapper, the White House correspondent for ABC News, pointed out that the administration had lauded brave reporting in distant lands more than once and then asked, “How does that square with the fact that this administration has been so aggressively trying to stop aggressive journalism in the United States by using the Espionage Act to take whistle-blowers to court?”
He then suggested that the administration seemed to believe that “the truth should come out abroad; it shouldn’t come out here.” 

Staff 'staching of bills
“The Stache Act (Stimulus to Allow for Critical Hair Expenses) aims to earn a well-deserved $250 annual tax deduction for every Mustached American for expenditures on mustache grooming supplies,”reads. was odd that Bartlett would even participate in what clearly seems to be an elaborate parody of Washington, D.C., think tanks and advocacy groups—and Congress.
So I called Bartlett’s office to see if something so silly could possibly be real. Sure enough, it is—but there’s a wrinkle: Congressman Bartlett was never aware that the bill had been referred to the committee in his name.
Wright conceded, when asked whether it’s a waste of the congressman’s time to be toying with legislative stunts like this one, that Bartlett actually knew nothing about the bill he supposedly had referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.
“I did not raise it with him,” (Lisa Wright, Bartlett’s press secretary) admitted. “Actually it’s a staff referral . . . I did it, I referred it.” When asked whether Congressman Bartlett knew about the referral, Wright sheepishly said, “I don’t think I told him yet.”
Remind me again why we hire Congressmen... the machinery of government is a bit expensive to be using as a prank.

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