THEY HAD BETTER IMMIGRATION POLICY, TOO
Tombstone, Arizona, which was the site of the legendary 1881 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, is about 70 miles from the Tucson shopping center where a U.S. congresswoman, a federal judge and others were shot in January. A Los Angeles Times dispatch later that month noted that the “Wild West” of 1881 Tombstone had far stricter gun control than present-day Arizona. The historic gunfight occurred when the marshal (Virgil Earp, brother of Wyatt) tried to enforce the town’s no-carry law against local thugs. Today, however, with few restrictions and no licenses required, virtually any Arizonan 18 or older can carry a handgun openly, and those 21 or older can carry one concealed.
Paul Mason, 50, an ex-letter-carrier in Ipswich, England, told reporters in January he would file a lawsuit against Britain’s National Health Service for negligence—because it allowed him to “grow” in recent years to a weight of nearly 900 pounds. Mason said he “begged” for NHS’s help in 1996 when he weighed 420, but was merely told to “ride [his] bike more.” Last year, he was finally allowed gastric surgery, which reduced him to his current 518. At his heaviest, Mason estimates he was consuming 20,000 calories a day.
BLACK MAGIC, RED TAPE
The government of Romania, attempting both to make amends for historical persecution of fortune-telling “witches” and to collect more tax revenue, amended its labor law recently to legalize the profession. However, “queen witch” Bratara Buzea, apparently speaking for many in the soothsaying business, told the Associated Press in February that official recognition might make witches legally responsible for events beyond their control. Already, witches are said to be fighting back with curses—hurling poisonous mandrake plants into the Danube River and casting a special spell involving cat dung and a dead dog.
HE ALMOST HAD TO ‘TENDER’ HIS RESIGNATION
In November, a Taiwanese factory owner accidentally dropped 200 $1,000 bills (worth about $6,600 in U.S. dollars) into an industrial shredder, turning them into confetti. Luckily, Taiwan’s Justice Ministry employs a forensic handwriting analyst who excels at jigsaw puzzles on the side. Ms. Liu Hui-fen worked almost around the clock for seven days to piece together the 75 percent of each bill sufficient to make them legally exchangeable.
(1) British loyalist Michael Stone still claims it was all a misunderstanding—that he did not intend to assassinate Irish Republican Army political leaders in 2006, despite being arrested at the Northern Ireland legislature carrying knives, an ax, a garotte and a bag of explosives that included flammable liquids, gas canisters and fuses. He was later convicted, based on his having detonated one explosive in the foyer and then carrying the other devices into the hall to confront the leaders, but he continued to insist that he was merely engaged in “performance art.” (2) Thomas Walkley, a lawyer from Norton, Ohio, was charged in January with indecent exposure for pulling his pants down in front of two 19-year-old males, but Walkley claimed he was merely “mentoring” at-risk boys. He said he’s used the technique with other troubled youths, especially the most difficult cases, by getting them “to think differently.” Added Walkley, “Radical times call for radical measures.” (3) Phyllis Stevens, 59, said she had no idea she had embezzled nearly $6 million until her employer, Aviva USA, of Des Moines, Iowa, showed her the evidence. She said it must have been done by the “hundreds” of personalities created by her dissociative identity disorder (including “Robin,” who was caught trying to spend Stevens’s remaining money in Las Vegas just hours after the showdown with Aviva). Stevens and her spouse had been spending lavishly, buying properties and contributing generously to political causes. As the “core person,” Stevens said she will accept responsibility but asked a federal judge for leniency. The prosecutor said Stevens is simply a thief.