xxxNews Of The Weirdxxx
Bizarre but true stories about real people collected by syndicated columnist Chuck Shepherd.
The Tacoma News Tribune reported in January that Washington state’s halfway house for former sex offenders who are kept on for treatment after their prison terms expire is costing taypayers about $340,000 per “patient” per year (vs. about $25,000 per year to house a prison inmate). So fearful is the state that the three men now housed there will harm the 11 schoolchildren in a nearby elementary school that it has assigned three counselors, a director and a state trooper to watch the men around the clock. Gov. Gary Locke has targeted the program for a cutback, but legislators resist because of their fear of the three men.
Officials at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain repository for high-level nuclear waste are struggling with a Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirement that the site post signs warning intruders of its dangers, lasting as far into the future as the year 12,000 A.D., even though no one knows whether any language now spoken on Earth will be spoken then. (The oldest known writing, Sanskrit, is about 7,000 years old.) Among the suggestions (according to a February Wall Street Journal report): drawings of someone vomiting while drilling at the site; and simply making Yucca Mountain also a global feces dump, to discourage trespassers.
A February report by Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation concluded that Enron Corp.’s tax-avoidance schemes in the 1990s (including 692 partnerships in the Cayman Islands) were, according to a New York Times reporter, “financial maneuvers so complex that the Internal Revenue Service has been unable to understand them.” Even so, the IRS staff consistently failed to challenge Enron’s maneuvers, passively accepting sophisticated opinion letters from Enron’s law firms approving the arrangements (letters purchased by Enron at a typical price of $1 million each).
British boatman Andrew Halsey, 45, set off from Peru last Nov. 28 with 260 days’ food, intending to row solo across the Pacific Ocean to Australia (about 8,000 miles). According to a BBC progress report on Feb. 8, after 72 days of fighting winds and currents and rowing probably 2,300 miles out, back and in circles, he was still 8,000 miles away. (A March 7 update in a British weekly reported that he had closed to within 7,600 miles of Melbourne.)
Send your Weird News to Chuck Shepherd, P.O. Box 18737, Tampa, Fla. 33679 or [email protected]
Copyright © 2001 by Chuck Shepherd
NEWS OF THE WEIRD