Friday, February 29, 2008

We're Back And The Insanity Goes On and On And On!

Good Day and welcome to leap year edition Discover Insanity. We've been away for a couple of days on business in San Diego and were unable to get the blog done while down there. Besides, it seems the news hasn't been all that great lately. I got a laugh yesterday when at a press conference our wonderful President Bush hadn't heard that gas prices may go up to $4.00 by summer! Does that really surprise anyone? But this fact will - Four states - Vermont, Michigan, Oregon and Connecticut - now spend more on corrections than they do on higher education! Yikes. For the first time in U.S. history, more than one of every 100 adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report documenting America's rank as the world's No. 1 incarcerator. It urges states to curtail corrections spending by placing fewer low-risk offenders behind bars. How's that for a solution?

Using state-by-state data, the report says 2,319,258 Americans were in jail or prison at the start of 2008 - one out of every 99.1 adults. Whether per capita or in raw numbers, it's more than any other nation. The report, released Thursday by the Pew Center said the 50 states spent more than $49 billion on corrections last year, up from less than $11 billion 20 years earlier. The rate of increase for prison costs was six times greater than for higher education spending!

And here's the fact that'll really get you. Getting tough on criminals has gotten tough on and me! According to the report, the average annual cost per prisoner was $23,876, with Rhode Island spending the most ($44,860) and Louisiana the least ($13,009). It said California - which faces a $16 billion budget shortfall - spent $8.8 billion on corrections last year! Yes folks, billions. more people are behind bars mainly because of tough "three-strikes" laws. While one in 30 men between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars, for black males in that age group the figure is one in nine. The racial disparity for women also is stark. One of every 355 white women aged 35 to 39 is behind bars, compared with one of every 100 black women in that age group.

I guess we should be proud that the United States incarcerates more people than any other nation. Proudly, we are also is among the world leaders in capital punishment. These sad facts reflect a very distorted set of national priorities...maybe, just maybe, if we invested in our children and education, kids who now grow up to be criminals could become productive workers and taxpayers. Yeah, right. Like that's going to happen. I'd have a better chance of winning a wet t-shirt contest at Hooter's! And then they'd have to incarcerate me!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hot Babe Casting Call: Baseball Team Seeking Plus-Size Male Cheerleaders

I've said this before at Discover Insanity. It seems most of the freaks of our country live in either California, Colorado or Florida. And our good friends in Florida win today's poll. Yes, the Florida Marlins are looking for some footloose fat men. The National League team is creating an all-male, plus-size cheerleading squad to be dubbed the Manatees. Tryouts are scheduled for Sunday. The team hopes to recruit seven to 10 tubby men to dance, cheer and jiggle during Friday and Saturday home games this season. Real manatees, 1,200-pound mammals sometimes referred to as "sea cows," are not considered the most agile of creatures and often get caught in boat propellers. Now if being compared or looked at as a "sea cow" floats your fancy, then get your ass down to those tryouts!

The Marlins already have a cheerleading squad, the considerably more svelte Mermaids.The Marlins want their Manatees to have the same dimensions, but to be decidedly more agile. Men will be judged on how well they dance a choreographed routine. Men selected for the Manatees won't be paid - unlike the women. How's that fore reverse discrimination! Instead, they'll get tickets to games they perform at, and the honor of dancing in front of crowds that have been smallest in major league baseball for the last two seasons. What, no free beer? You've got to include free beer if you're going to get me to dance half-naked in front of a crowd! Come on.

Yes folks, this is 100% real. Check out their website! According to the site, the Florida Marlins are looking for big bellies with the biggest jiggle, big feet with the best dance moves and enthusiasm that will rock Marlins fans out of their seats. Auditions will be held to find a few big men for the Marlins Manatees, the first-ever dance/energy squad in Major League Baseball at Dolphin Stadium on February 24, 2008 at 1 p.m. for the 2008 season. The Marlins Manatees will perform at Friday and Saturday Marlins' home games throughout the 2008 season. Manatee hopefuls do not need prior dance experience-just the willingness to learn routines and have a great time dancing and cheering in front of thousands of fans. Or maybe 5-10 of them.

The Marlins aren't the only pro sports team capitalizing on Americans' expanding waistlines. The Chicago Bulls basketball team have the Matadors, a big-man dance troupe that's entertained fans at home games since 2003. And although cheerleaders might be an unfamiliar site in baseball, big men aren't, as fans have long cheered on the likes of Babe Ruth and Kirby Puckett.

Being a sports fan is one thing. But being a male cheerleader in baseball? I guess some teams will do anything for a bit of funny and free publicity. And they don't say who there coach is yet. But there is only one person in the whole wide world that looks good in pink shorts, can dance like no other guy can, is as flaming as they come, and would bring in the crowds. Yes folks, Richard Simmons! Now if the Marlins hire good ol' Richard, then maybe, just maybe, I'll try out. That's it for today. Gotta go. It's time for Sweatin' To The Oldies! You go girl!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Joy Of Being A Lazy Californian! Now There's A Company That Solves Another Boring Chore!

Hi kids and welcome to Discover Insanity! It's with great pleasure that we present you with this blog where we scour the Internet for the things that just make you sit back and go, "Whoa…" Or, "NO way!!, "Holy Crap," Or, sometimes, "Ewwww!" Let's face it people, other than getting news updates, looking at porn, paying your bills, sharing photos, searching for more porn, downloading music, connecting with old friends, downloading porn, finding love, taking classes, booking airline tickets or spending coutless hours reading boring blogs (like this sometimes) and watching YouTube videos….this is exactly what the Internet is for. I don't often promote a company but I like this company's basic mission..."We can't do anything about the traffic or your bedhead, but at least your trashcans will be taken care of."

You hate to do it and it is an inconvenient. You don't have the time. You always forget and then have to do it late at night. Your driveway is as long as a runway. You would rather your kids study, than lug trashcans to the curb. You want your neigbors to think it's someone else who's throwing out all those dirty magazine and VHS box covers. Well, your wait is over. CurbSide Trash Luggers brings your trashcans to the curb for pickup and then they return them to your yard after they have been emptied. They take the worry out of your weekly trash chores by providing you with the best trashcan valet service. Yes folks, your read that right...a valet service. And they like to do it!

CurbSide Trash Luggers was established to provide a professional trashcan valet service that eliminates the hassle of weekly trash chores. Their goal is to improve our customer's quality of life by saving you valuable time and energy. They take pride in relieving the inconvenience of their customer's weekly trashcan duties. As CEO/Founder Ric Christopher says, "When we were kids, we would take out the trash for our families. As the years passed, I found out that I continued to be the one lugging the cans to the curb. When does it end? Some time ago my wife and I moved into an apartment building with 4 units. We realized quickly that no one was compelled to take out the trashcans on trash day. Having done it my whole life, I figured I would do the task for the good of the building. Over a year passed and I was still the only one dragging the cans to the curb and back. One day I said enough is enough…I decided to stop. (We did have other tenants that were very capable of helping) I just left the cans at the curb…It wasn't too bad the first week, but as the weeks passed by, I realized that those cans would stay at the curb forever or until I moved them back. To my surprise one evening at 11:30 pm I heard the rumble of the cans rolling back to their resting place in our yard. I was so happy I jumped up to thank the thoughtful neighbor who finally broke down and helped. As I walked out my back door I saw the figure coming out of the dark…It was my wife.

Now here's some guys who took one of the most boring jobs in the world and made a service to solve a problem. Now that's innovative. And heck, for $16 per month, it might be worth it. Their service area is limited...for now...but I'm sure these guys will franchise soon and maybe even become a part of America's service industry which includes pool guys, lawn guys, cleaning ladies, outcall massage "therapists", dog walkers, window washers, car detailer and all the other ones out there. Welcome to America...we're fat and lazy and can't do even the somplist chores ourselves because we're too friggin' busy. My hat is off to these guys! When are you going to service my neighborhood in Thousand Oaks???

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sony Lost The Battle With Betamax But They Kicked Ass With Blu-Ray And They Don't Have To Thank The Porn Industry For It!

Out of the way, Betamax. You're history, Laserdisc. Hey Iomega, Zip it! And now folks, HD DVD has joined the sad-sack society of failed video formats. The high-definition DVD war ended this week and saw Blu-ray emerge victorious from the field of battle. Toshiba was the sole manufacturer of the incompatible HD DVD machines and, this week, the company gave up and surrendered. Now that the dust has settled a bit, I'm still tackling questions from people who might be wondering what all the fuss is about. Well, just as Beta and VHS went head-to-head in the '80s, HD DVD and Blu-ray spent the last two years battling to see which would be the eventual successor to DVD, bringing crystal clear, high-definition picture and sound to our living rooms the bottom line in today battle for superior technology is this - in the end, there can be only one.

There was never a doubt that one format would triumph, the only questions were which one and how soon. The big backers for each side (Toshiba and Microsoft for HD DVD; Sony, Panasonic, Samsung and others for Blu-ray) gambled they'd be victorious, but Blu-ray chopped off HD DVD's head. HD DVD was a longshot from the get-go due to the limitations of the format. Even though Blu-ray had majority support among the major studios from day one, when Warner Bros. defected from the already shaky HD DVD camp last month and sided with Blu-ray, it set off a chain reaction that culminated this week with Toshiba throwing in the towel. Paramount and Universal, the last two movie studios releasing flicks solely on HD DVD, have announced they're switching to Blu-ray. But if you're still watching Murder She Wrote on a 1979 RCA, that's not going to cut it. You need a -- wait for it! -- Blu-ray disc player. At the moment the cheapest options go for about $400 at the big-box electronics stores, or you could get the $400 model of the PlayStation 3, which plays Blu-ray movies and gives you a sweet gaming machine in the bargain.

High definition is here to stay. It’s like when black-and-white went to colour and when VHS went to DVD. It is inevitable. We’ve been saying for the past seven years, if you want the DVD solution, Blu-ray completes high definition. Industry insiders expect that Blu-ray will go mainstream by Christmas and Blu-ray had been outselling HD DVD by a two-to-one margin throughout 2007. Both DVD formats use blue-violet lasers. But the formats are incompatible. Blu-ray backers argue their format is superior because it holds more information and provides sharper images and better sound and has he ability to go forward. HD DVD backers argued that their format was cheaper to manufacture and more stable although their was no room for expansion.

Now just because Sony's Blu-ray high definition format has prevailed over HD-DVD doesn't mean it's going to win the hearts and minds of hundreds of millions of home video viewers. The next battle that will be waged is between discs and digital downloads for movies. While Blu-ray and HD-DVD went toe-to-toe for more than a year, the likes of iTunes, Netflix and Microsoft have been working on getting movies to TVs by download services. The battle for superiority is still on. And in an interesting fact about this format war over the Betamax-VHS battle is wasn't influenced by the porn industry! And besides, why would you want your new hot little lady to find your disk of "Abonement" when you can just download "Edward Penishands" and hide it somewhere on the computer!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Navy Scores Pinpoint Hit On Wayward Satellite. That Satellite's Name Is John McCain!

Have you ever compared two news stories and see how ironically different but ironically thie same the story is? Well, check this out and see what I mean. Last night, a U.S. Navy cruiser blasted a disabled spy satellite with a pinpoint missile strike that achieved the main mission of exploding a tank of toxic fuel 130 miles above the Pacific Ocean. The New York Times suggested an inappropriate relationship between the Arizona senator John McCain and Vicki Iseman, a Washington lobbyist.

Destroying the satellite’s onboard tank of about 1,000 pounds of hydrazine fuel was the primary goal, and a U.S. official told NBC News that it "looks like the tank was hit." The New York Times quoted anonymous aides saying they had confronted McCain and Iseman, urging them to stay away from each other.

"It is still going to take some more analysis" to determine what happened to the fuel, but early indications were positive, the official said. In a statement issued by his presidential campaign, McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said: "It is a shame that The New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit-and-run smear campaign.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered the shootdown, which came late Wednesday as he began an eight-day, around-the-world trip on which he likely will face questions about the mission. "John McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists, and he will not allow a smear campaign to distract from the issues at stake in this election" Hazelbaker said.

While Pentagon officials stressed that the satellite strike was a one-time incident, it certainly will spin off massive amounts of data and research that can be studied by the military as it works to improve its missile defense technologies. McCain defending his integrity last December, after he was questioned about reports that the Times was investigating allegations of legislative favoritism by the Arizona Republican and that his aides had been trying to dissuade the newspaper from publishing a story.

The shootdown, which was approved by President Bush, is seen by some as blurring the lines between defending against a hostile long-range missile and targeting satellites in orbit. The published reports said McCain and Iseman each denied having a romantic relationship, and the paper offered no evidence that they had, saying only that aides worried about the appearance of McCain having close ties to a lobbyist with business before the Senate Commerce Committee on which McCain served.

The goal in this first-of-its-kind mission for the Navy was not just to hit the satellite but to obliterate the fuel tank. Although the odds of that were small even if the Pentagon had chosen not to try to shoot down the satellite, it was determined that it was worth trying to eliminate even that small chance. "Americans are sick and tired of this kind of gutter politics, and there is nothing in this story to suggest that John McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career."

Officials said it might take a day or longer to know for sure if the toxic fuel was blown up. As for the campaign of John McCain, it'll probably take some time to see if this missile from the Times will cause it to blow up.

Ironic hunh? well, that's the news. Funny how it looks the same depending on which glasses you're wearing and how many cups of Starbuck's coffee you've had! Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Law & Disorder: Ripping Off Girl Scouts...Now That Takes A Lot Of Balls!

Here's today's lesson in how insane some people in our world really are. So we've all learned that we don't go around the neighborhood selling cookies without an adult, right girls? In fact, let's all just set up a table outside the local grocery store and sell cookies with Mom right there. That'll be perfectly safe, right? Actually, it turns out it isn't, really. In Westminster, Colorado, a pair of con artists ripped off a Girl Scout group when they exchanged a fake $100 bill for cookies, police said. Yes folks, we're talking Girl Scouts. Brownies. Those young, innocent, girls who force us to consume calories we really don't need. But who can resist a kid, right?

The unknown couple handed over the bill Friday night at a supermarket, telling the girls it had been washed when asked about why it looked so strange. "It felt and looked wrong and it was a quarter of an inch shorted than a $1 bill," said Jil Hennessey-Seabolt, (no relation to the Jill Hennessey of Crossing Jordan fame who would have kicked some ass if that happened to her kid!)the cookie director for Junior Girl Scouts Troop 2121. Hennessey-Seabolt said the Girl Scouts gave the couple $93.50 in change after the purchase. The young couple left with two boxes of Samoas and $93.50 in real change, police said. "Unfortunately, it is one of those things that we as leaders are actually trained not to accept the larger bills, and unfortunately, the troop did, and it backfired," said Kresta Vuolo, a Girl Scout troop parent. So Ms. Hennessey-Seabolt, I guess you just weren't paying attention when we talked about that, now were you?

The exchange eradicated the Scouts' earnings that day. The money they raise in the sales goes to camping trips and to area charities. "I just can't believe that somebody would stoop that low," said Lyman Cox, a Westminster resident. The Girl Scouts' council will reimburse Troop 2121 for the funny money. Other people have also called police offering to donate $100 to the troop. Investigators were reviewing security tape from the store to try and identify the suspects. There was also a report of someone offering a $100 bill to Girl Scouts in Lakewood over the weekend. That bill was a gGirl Scout leader who realized that to give a hundred dollar bill for a single box of Thin Mints was just stupid. That lady paid must have paid attention in class. Good job!

And rippping off Girl Scouts has happened before. Last year, nine-year-old Gracie Smith was doing just that -- selling cookies outside a Winn-Dixie supermarket in Southeastern Florida -- when a teenage girl came up and began talking to her. Moments later, the teen reached over and grabbed an envelope with more than $150 of cookie money. She then ran off, jumped into a car with another teen, and took off. Now here's the pisser. The two miscreants apparently did it for the money. "We went through all that effort to get it, we got all these charges and we had to give the money back. I'm kind of pissed," said one. The other one said she wasn't sorry, just angry that they got caught. Luckily, however, they did get caught and will hopefully face some stiff punishment. You think?

The two a--hole criminals even went so far as to fakely mark the bill with a pen to make it look like it had been checked for its validity. That's smart.The story does have a happy ending, though. A resident donated $100 to the Girl Scouts. Crap like this ain't fair when it happens to adults, but when it happens to kids who work so hard, it's pisses me off. What the hell is happening in our world. Ripping off Girl Scouts? Come on. I think it's time we train the Girl Scouts how to subdue and apprehend a criminal. Kind of like in my top of story picture there. That'll make you think twice. Hi! My names Cindy. I'm raising money for my Girl Scout troop so we can go to wilderness camp. You'd like a box of Tagalongs? Okay. $100 bill? Gee, it looks photocopied. I never realized that Bill Clinton was on the hundred dollar bill. On your knees're busted!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Breaking News: Fidel Castro Resigns! Does This Mean We'll Get A Reasonable Priced Cuban Cigar?

Cigar Aficionado's are celebrating today! Ailing leader Fidel Castro resigned as Cuba's president early Tuesday after nearly a half-century in power, saying in a letter published in Cigar Aficionado (only kidding...actually online official media) that he would not accept a new term when the newly elected parliament meets on Sunday. After a half-century in power, Castro said, "I will not aspire nor accept - I repeat I will not aspire or accept - the post of President of the Council of State and Commander in Chief," read the letter signed by Castro and published quietly overnight without advance warning in the online edition of the Communist Party daily Granma. The 81-year-old Castro's overnight announcement effectively ends his rule of almost 50 years over Cuba, positioning his 76-year-old brother Raul for permanent succession to the presidency. Does this mean the end of the emarrgo?

Over the decades, the fiery guerrilla leader reshaped Cuba into a communist state 90 miles from U.S. shores and survived assassination attempts, a CIA-backed invasion and a missile crisis that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Since his rise to power on New Year's Day 1959, Castro resisted attempts by 10 U.S. administrations to topple him, including the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. The United States' discovery of nuclear-armed missiles on the island led to a showdown of the world's then-superpowers before the Soviet Union agreed to remove them.

Castro was the world's longest ruling head of state. His supporters admired his ability to provide a high level of health care and education for citizens while remaining fully independent of the United States. But his detractors called him a dictator whose totalitarian government systematically denied individual freedoms and civil liberties such as speech, movement and assembly. But after more than a year after falling ill, the elder Castro still had not been seen in public, appearing only sporadically in official photographs and videotapes and publishing dense essays about mostly international themes as his younger brother began to consolidate his rule.

What's this mean for us greedy Americans and our quest for the ultimate cigar? Marvin R. Shanken, editor and publisher of Cigar Aficionado, interviewed Cuban President Fidel Castro in Havana on Feb. 3, 1994 at the Palace of the Revolution.The interview focused on cigars, but touched on the United States trade embargo and President Castro's future. Here are some highlights of that interview - You don't have to read it but I thought it was quite interesting:

Shanken: If you and President Clinton ever get together, would you smoke a cigar with him, symbolic of peace at last between our two countries?

Castro: Now that would be an interesting thing. As I told you, when I was in the Sierra Maestras [mountains of Eastern Cuba] during the Revolution, and I had good moments, I would smoke my last cigars. Perhaps something like that would bring back my old habit from the days of the Sierra Maestras, but I would have to ask for permission from the World Health Organization. I wouldn't want to lose my medal.

Shanken: I know the issues are great and complex, but do you see the day soon when America and Cuba will work together as neighbors and friends as they did many years ago?

Castro: I hope that day will come sometime, but no one will be able to say when that will happen. It is not an easy thing to happen. As for our side, we do not have any particular objections, nor do we lack the will.

Shanken: Have there been any private negotiations to try to come to a mutual understanding that will result in the elimination of the trade embargo?

Castro: No. No, not at this time.

Shanken: The American trade embargo against Vietnam is ending. Russian and U.S. relations have been turned around. Even Israel and Palestine are trying to get together. Why is it, in your opinion, that Cuba continues to be embargoed? It is a question that we all ask. What do you think?

Castro: It is difficult to answer. It doesn't stand up to logic. Perhaps it is because we are too close geographically to the United States. Perhaps [because] we have resisted the blockade for over 30 years. Perhaps it is a matter of national pride for the U.S. government that has turned us into an exception and has given us the honor to be its only long-standing adversary. I think it is not logical. I don't know what history will say though.

Shanken: There would be many benefits to both sides, if you were willing to take the first step.

Castro: How can we take the first step? We are the ones whom the blockade is imposed against. If we had a mutual blockade, then we could take the first step. But how can we? The first step should be taken by the U.S.

Shanken: From what I read, the American government is looking for Cuba to undergo political reform and improvement in its human rights.

Castro: That is the pretext that they use, and for many years they have used many different pretexts. At one time when we were in Africa, they used to say if the Cubans withdrew from Africa, then the relations would improve. That pretext was left behind. Later they said that when the links with the Soviet Union were cut off, then our relations would begin with the United States. Now the Soviet Union is not supporting us anymore, and nothing has changed. They keep on moving the goalposts back. Before it was Latin American subversion, the situation in Central America...and when they talk about reforms in Cuba, it is a precondition that we cannot accept because it has to do with independence and the sovereignty of our nation. It would be like if we were to give a precondition to the United States that it must change something in the Constitution in order for us to open up relations again. That's absurd.

As far as human rights, and I will try to keep my answer brief, no one in the world has done more than Cuba has done for human beings, for its citizens--no one else, in every sense. The best evidence of that is that our health programs have saved the lives of over 300,000 children, and we have been helping out in other places around the world with our doctors, medicines and knowledge, more than any other country in the world. So, I think that no other country has as unblemished behavior about human rights considering how much we have done for man. That is a legend. It is a fabrication. It is an unjustifiable pretext.

It's going to be interesting to see what position the American government has on this announcement. Will they lift the embargo and let us have the good smokes? Will they keep it in place so all people but dignitaries and media get to come back from Cuba with a box or two? It's time for a change...that's what Barack Obama is saying. Maybe we can vote him into office and get this waste of governmental administration lifted. I'm sure the good folks at Cohiba have got a special celebratory cigar planned. Hey Mr. President. The time has come. Fidel's gone! I'm tired of paying $35 for a cuban cigar!

Monday, February 18, 2008

You Just Can't Stop A Speeding Locomotive!

The Oprah-Obama '08 bumper sticker was meant to be only a lark. Oprah Winfrey, the nation's wealthiest African American and host of an afternoon television program, endorsed Sen. Barack Obama last May. How powerful can an association with Winfrey be? What Winfrey may do for Mr. Obama, like she does with books in her Oprah's Book Club is the stuff of marketing legend. Between 1996 to 2002, titles recommended by "Oprah's Book Club" typically resulted in sales of more than a million copies, a staggering number considering that a typical novel might be judged a success with 20,000 sales. And she's done it

More than 1 million copies of financial adviser Suze Orman's "Women & Money" were downloaded since the announcement last week on Winfrey's television show that the e-book edition would be available for free on her website for a period of 33 hours. The download offer "has built excitement for Suze's book across all formats," Julie Grau, the book's publisher, said in a statement. The publishing community has endlessly debated the effects of making text available online, with some saying that free downloading is a valuable promotional tool and others worrying that sales for paper editions would be harmed.

The offer for "Women & Money," originally released a year ago by Spiegel & Grau, a division of Random House, Inc., has not kept people from buying the traditional version. As of Saturday, the book ranked No. 6 on The paper edition of "The 9-11 Commission Report," published in 2004 by W.W. Norton and Co., was a best seller for months. Just having the Oprah name tied to anything is probably worth more than any other check that she could write. Between 1996 to 2002, titles recommended by "Oprah's Book Club" typically resulted in sales of more than a million copies, a staggering number considering that a typical novel might be judged a success with 20,000 sales.

Among the weapons in Winfrey's arsenal: the television program that reaches 8.4 million viewers each weekday afternoon, according to the most recent Nielsen numbers. Her Web site reaches 2.3 unique viewers each month, "O, the Oprah Magazine," has a circulation of 2 million, she circulates a weekly newsletter to 420,000 fans and 360,000 people have subscribed to her Web site for daily "Oprah Alerts" by e-mail. Yikes. Tell me she doesn't have the golden touch!

You can't laugh off the fact that she can sway many, many people. And we're talking about people who hang on her every word. Her purpose in getting people to buy the book, and getting them to read it, was the intention behind this offer. If it works with books, it could work with the Presidency. The Big "O" can deliver a constituency to the marketplace, no question. What's that say about us? Looks like she could be the "second First Lady" in the White House. Maybe she'd have a room called the Harpo room! Hmmmm.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Our Government At Work: Hey Lady, You're Dead! Deal With It!

Imagine getting this letter after your bank closed your credit card account and attached a note of sympathy: “Please accept our condolences on the death of Laura Todd. We understand it's a difficult time for you.” Well, guess what? Laura's not dead! She says that an 8-year-old typo is affecting everything from her credit to her tax return. "I don't think people realize how difficult it is to be dead when you're not,” she said. She said being dead off and on has made everyday life a hassle.

She said her problems started when someone in Florida died and her Social Security number was accidentally typed in. Todd said she thought the problem had been straightened out, but when she went to refinance her house in 2002, “SunTrust called and said, ‘Your credit report says you're dead.’" She straightened that incident out, but in 2006 the Internal Revenue Service refused to process her return. Don't we all wish that could happen to us?

"The IRS says I’m dead. Everybody says I'm dead,” she said. She said the last straw came recently when the IRS once again refused to let her file her taxes electronically because she's dead. She said that at one point it was funny, but now it’s getting old. “I'm tired. I've been fighting this for eight years, and it never ends,” she said. “I'm very much alive, and would like to live out my life in peace without having this problem." Todd said she'll try to file her tax return again and again and again and see if the problem has really been fixed.

The IRS said it would research the problem (and how many times have we heard the IRS say they'd fix something?) and try to get it straightened out. Social Security said it has updated its computers and that the fix should also fix the problems with her credit reports but their MIS department is a little busy trying to shoot a defunct satellite out of space at this time. Ah, our wonderful government body and the work they do. The real question in this story is this: If she actually dies, could she be declared dead? Hmmmm.