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Special Report

Grapevine: Lunchtime lament

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...

Aging Gracefully?

The U.S. government has social security numbers on file for 6.5 million people over the age of 111. 

No, it's not that Americans are rapidly aging.

The vast majority of those people is dead, but the inspector general warns, some of their identities are being used to steal your tax dollars.

A report by the IG determines fewer than three dozen people in the world have reached the age of 112.

But between 2006 and 2011, 70,000 social security numbers assigned to folks of that age were used to collect $3.1 billion.

Among them, someone cashing checks for a person born in 1886 who died in 1965. 

That person received up to $17,000 a year. 

As of September, the social security administration was still making payments to 266 people born before June 1901.

How can this happen?

The IG says in some cases family members continue to collect checks after a relative dies.

In other cases, illegal immigrants use social security numbers of the deceased.

Blarney Stoned

Ireland's lawmakers are scrambling to pass a new law after ecstasy and several other drugs became legal yesterday.

An appeals court ruled a decades-old law banning the use of some mushrooms, ecstasy, and the like is unconstitutional because of a technicality.

Well, that ruling voids the law, thereby legalizing those substances.

It could make for an interesting Saint Patrick’s Day for the Irish.

But it looks like most will probably stick to Guinness.

Parliament is pushing through emergency legislation to outlaw those drugs once again.

Lunchtime Lament

And finally, an olive branch from the White House for a seven-year-old Louisiana boy extremely upset about changes to his school lunch.

The Times-Picayune reports Trip Klibert wrote to the first lady, lamenting a most unpleasant change to a highlight of the week:

"Dear Mrs. Obama,

Thank you for trying to make my school lunch better, but you have ruined Taco Tuesday. Please bring back the old taco shell. I miss them. Also, the pizza is terrible. If you would like to try the new tacos, I will buy you lunch."

Serious stuff.

The first lady wrote back, thanking Trip for his feedback and explaining the goal of the "Let's Move" campaign to make school lunches healthier.

She sent an autographed photo of the family and trading cards with pictures of the first dogs Sunny and Bo.

Trip's mom says he's satisfied, but he still prefers the old taco shell.