The West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles always gets its man—even if he's disabled and restricted to a motorized tricycle as his only means of getting around. The state bureaucrats told officials in Vienna, West Virginia, that Jack Myers must stop using the cycle because it doesn't meet state vehicle requirements. Police have told Myers, a 55-year-old veteran who has suffered three strokes, that he may be arrested if he insists on defying the law by scooting around town. But Myers is defiant. "I hate to depend on my neighbors. I just want the local news camera crews to be there when they arrest an old crippled man for this," he says.
The best high school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was investigated by a young reporter sent by the Albuquerque Tribune as an undercover student. Her assignment: see what really goes on inside. Reporter Leslie Linthicum observed rampant drug use in the school and dozens of teachers who were little more than baby sitters and attendance takers. But her favorite course was a "lifestyle" class, where lessons included practice in shaking hands "firmly" and warnings that deserved job promotions would not be forthcoming if spouses displayed poor table manners. To repeat, this was Albuquerque's best public high school.
If three-year-old Raelynn McCarty needed a $50,000 operation to correct her hearing deficiency, Social Security would be happy to pay for it. But the daughter of an unemployed Montana man only needs a couple of hearing aids to solve her problem. The total cost would be $900. Yet state and federal officials say the child is ineligible for help because her problem can be corrected with a hearing aid. Terrific logic. Luckily for the child, the citizens of Great Falls, Montana, decided not to wait for the government to solve the problem. They privately chipped in and bought the hearing aids.
The military dog tag, for decades the metal identification necklace worn by soldiers in war and peace, may soon be another victim of the computer age. The Army's Soldiers Data Tag Task Force is working on an electronic dog tag that would carry a microchip with a record of a soldier's financial, medical, and personnel history. The plastic "tag" could be inserted into a microcomputer, triggering a readout of the soldier's record. And what if the soldier is captured by foreign enemy forces who don't happen to have a microcomputer with them in the field? Then, the American GI will presumably have to provide only his name, rank, and credit card number. Bad credit risks will be dealt with severely.
Hot off the presses comes this startling revelation from the Department of Health and Human Services: "Individuals in poor health are almost seven times as frequent users of physician services as those in excellent health." Yup, the government spent $180,000 to produce a 40-page report that says sick people see doctors more than healthy people. Brace yourselves for HHS's next two studies, which will no doubt seek to prove that very few lepers enter the Miss America Pageant and that dead people are more likely to be buried than live people.
Indonesia's resort island of Bali is getting tough with pets of foreign origin. In a display of xenophobia, authorities expelled 1,378 dogs of foreign breeding and killed 56 others that could not find asylum outside the resort island, a government spokesman said. Even if they were born on the island, authorities view German shepherds, Pekingeses, dalmatians, and chows as foreign dogs. Guess you could say they've had a Bali-ful of foreign-bred pets.
Why can't these people mind their own damn business? The Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry (sounds suspicious already, doesn't it?) is recommending a tax on corporate television profits to finance research into ways of improving the quality of television programming. Naturally, the Group wouldn't mind if the networks asked it to study the tube's psychological effects on young children. For a slight fee, of course.
If a Florida congressman has his way, you will never again be offered a free drink or a cigarette on an airplane. The airlines sometimes provide such freebies to help one forget about long delays or lost luggage. But Democratic Rep. Charles Bennett is concerned that some weak-willed passengers who ought not to imbibe will be unable to resist the temptation when there is such a thing as a free drink. The danger that a recovering alcoholic might regress into a state of dependency because of a free-booze offer is enough to warrant government action, Bennett says.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".