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Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 12:01 am

Tax dollars at work

Curses, foiled again
• Police looking for a bank robber in New Kensington, Pa., found suspect Shane Lindsey, 32, two blocks away at a restaurant where he stopped for chicken and biscuits. Officers entered the restaurant hoping its surveillance video might show the suspect passing by, only to spot Lindsey eating at a booth. (Tarentum’s Valley News Dispatch)

• Sheriff’s deputies suspected drugs when they stopped a car outside Daytona Beach, Fla., but found none. Passenger Candyce Harden was getting back in the car to leave when an 11-month-old boy with her reached into her blouse and pulled out a bag of cocaine. She was arrested. (The Daytona Beach News-Journal)

Tax dollars at work
• The National Institutes of Health gave Daniel Resnic $2.4 million to develop an “origami condom,” described as a non-rolled, silicone-based condom designed to “increase pleasure,” but then canceled the project after a former employee accused Resnic of spending the funding on trips to Costa Rica, lavish parties at the Playboy mansion, full-body plastic surgery, a condo in Provincetown, Mass., and patents for numerous “get-rich-quick” schemes. (Washington Free Beacon)

• Alaska taxpayers are funding a two-year, $400,000 University of Alaska study aimed at combating fetal alcohol syndrome that involves making free pregnancy tests available in bar bathrooms. (Alaska Dispatch News)

• Kentucky spends $2 million a year to pay 41 elected county jailers who have no jails to run. According to the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, the figure includes nearly 100 full- and part-time deputies the jailers employ, many of whom are family members. Several jailers also work other jobs, a few of which are full time. (Lexington Herald-Leader)

• The U.S. government spent $500,000 to build a police training facility in Afghanistan that disintegrated within four months of completion, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Its report said the contractor used substandard materials, including bricks made only from sand, that caused water to become trapped between the walls, making the building look like it was “melting.” Inspector General John Sopko called the project “an utter failure and embarrassment.” (Fox News)

Nein on the Rhine
• Some 500 German right-wing protesters arriving for an anti-immigration rally in Schwerin were handed banners and stickers reading “mvgida.de,” which they assumed was the website for Mvgida, their xenophobic, anti-Islam organization. The site actually opposes right-wing extremism and urges tolerance. The duped protesters, many of them professed neo-Nazis, learned hours later that they had been demonstrating on behalf of immigrants instead of against them. (The Washington Post)

• A few days later, members of Germany’s far-right National Democratic Party boarded a train to attend a neo-Nazi protest in Freiburg. They missed the rally because they went 200 kilometers in the opposite direction before realizing their mistake. “We don’t feel their absence here,” Freiburg Mayor Otto Neideck said after organizers canceled the rally due to low turnout. (Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News)

When guns are outlawed
• Allan Johnston, 40, received four years in prison for robbing a woman in Stirling, Scotland, authorities said, by using “a can of Red Bull to mimic a gun.” (BBC News)

Revenue stream
• When Washington, D.C., officials announced an unanticipated $38 million shortfall in projected revenue from traffic cameras, they explained the drop was evidence that motorists were obeying the law. A subsequent probe, however, found that many of the 338 speed and red-light cameras were broken. Police Assistant Chief Lamar Greene said last winter’s extreme cold kept workers from changing burned-out batteries, but since then police “have taken additional steps to enhance internal temperature controls.” Indeed, automated traffic enforcement revenues for the first quarter of the new fiscal year jumped $13.1 million. (The Washington Times)

Thou shalt not spare the rod
• Pope Francis said spanking children is permissible, as long as their dignity is maintained. The pope made his remarks while outlining the role of fathers, noting that a good father forgives but is able “to correct with firmness.” (Associated Press)

• Joe Morrissey, 57, is a Virginia legislator who’s also serving a jail sentence after being accused of having sex with a 17-year-old girl he hired as a receptionist at his law office in Henrico County. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and now is on a work-release program that lets him spend days at the General Assembly while spending nights in jail. When a bill to prohibit pornography in jail came up for a vote, Morrissey voted against the measure. It passed anyway. (Associated Press)

Pretty good eats
• A Korean restaurant in central China began offering free meals to the 50 best-looking customers each day. The Jeju Island restaurant in Zhengzhou escorts arrivals to a “beauty identification area,” where a panel of local plastic surgeons evaluates their faces, eyes, noses and mouth. Protruding foreheads are a particular advantage. City authorities accused the restaurant of damaging the city’s image, but manager Xue Hexin vowed the promotion would continue. (Britain’s The Telegraph)

Define “life-threatening”
• After Facebook and Instagram service went down in San Francisco’s East Bay area, five people called 911 to ask when the sites would be back online. “Even though Facebook is important to a lot of people, it’s not a matter of life and death when it stops working,” the dispatcher said after asking residents to stop calling to complain. “One caller even called back to tell me I was being rude because I told her it wasn’t a life-threatening emergency.” (San Francisco’s KCBS-TV)

• Authorities reassigned a 911 operator in Anne Arundel County, Md., after he told a woman who called to report her father had been hit by a car to “stop whining.” After repeating his response to the caller’s emotional pleas for help, the dispatcher asked if there was anyone else at the scene he could talk to and later told her to “stop yelling.” The victim died. Fire department Capt. Russ Davies acknowledged that the dispatcher might have handled the call differently, but insisted dispatch time wasn’t affected. (The Baltimore Sun)

Getting along
• The Oneida Indian Nation announced plans to open a $20 million casino in Chittenango, N.Y., honoring author L. Frank Baum, who was born in the village and wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Baum also called for the “total annihilation” of Native Americans. Ernestine Chasing Hawk, a descendent of the 300 Sioux slaughtered at Wounded Knee, called the project a betrayal, asking in the Native American Times, “Would the Jews build a casino to honor Hitler?” (The Washington Post)

Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.


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