Stories where Americans or people in the media — or mainly people in Washington — just aren't using their head:
First, a story out of California: Federal judges have just ordered California to reduce the number of inmates in the state's prisons by almost 30 percent — that's roughly 40,000 prisoners. They need to do it over the next two years and the state must have a plan to do it by mid-September.
Federal judges said conditions due to overcrowding are unconstitutional and amount to cruel and unusual punishment. The judges stopped short of calling for a release of prisoners, but they gave the state just a couple of weeks to come up with a plan.
Remember, this is the state where they tried to balance the budget, in part, by letting 27,000 nonviolent prisoners serve home detention. That measure failed.
California is still trying to figure out how to cut $1.2 billion from the prison budget, they just can't agree how.
Now, California, I've been thinking here, because I've been using my head. I think we're coming up to the 40-year anniversary of the Manson murders, when the so-called Manson Family slaughtered seven people — including the pregnant actress, Sharon Tate — and then had dinner.
How much is that costing you keeping him alive? Just hear me out for a second. Charlie Manson? Kill him.
Private Jets for Some?
Remember back in November, the Big Three auto executives were called on the carpet during hearings on the Hill. Remember, they were grilled: Did you take a private plane? How dare you take a private plane!
Well, it turns out some members of Congress really do like private planes.
Roll Call newspaper reports the House Appropriations Committee recently approved almost $200 million to buy three top of the line Gulfstream jets for top government officials and members of Congress.
Hey, I seem to remember their problem with this was that the car companies were broke and so why would you spend the money, because nobody in America would take them serious about budget cuts. Remember that whole thing?
The Air Force had asked for one Gulfstream as part of its passenger air service. But, as Roll Call reports, the House Appropriations Committee added another $100 million for two more airplanes. (I hope we got a deal if we bought three.) Specifically, they wanted these planes assigned to units in the D.C. area, units that carry members of Congress, high-ranking military and top government officials.
But wait, it even gets better.
Roll Call writes that since the committee saw the two planes as part of the existing Defense Department program, the money wasn't treated as one of those nasty earmarks, so the legislation doesn't disclose which member requested the additional money for the two extra Gulfstreams.
You know what? White House, I am so with you. I don't know why people get so upset with the government. Oh, hang on. I'm feeling some of that "fake anger" bubble up inside of me. Who is paying for that anger, I wonder? It is it a drug company?
Now, to be fair, military analysts say private jets are worth the money when you account for security and efficiency. But you know, that just really applies to the executive branch and high-ranking military officers. How about Congress, you know?
Wait a minute. Isn't that the same excuse that the businesses used? Oh, well, forget about it. Forget the congressional motto. I mean, I don't know what it was then, but now it's: "Do as I say, not as I do."
Finally, an important environmental message from Brazil that is going to make Al Gore just jump out of his little green seat. The Associated Press reports a Brazilian environmental group is encouraging people to conserve water by peeing in the shower.
The group says if one household would just avoid one flush per day by peeing in the shower, they would save 100,000 gallons of water per year.
The group says the ad is "a way to be playful about a serious subject."
You know what? I live in New York, so maybe I'll just do what New Yorkers do: Forget the shower, just pee in the street.
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