Posted at 7:45 AM on July 21, 2010
by Elliot deBruyn
Start off your morning right This, I did not see coming.
Levi Detweiler, a 17-year-old Amish youth, allegedly led sheriff's deputies on a mile-long, presumably low-speed chase, after running a stop sign in his horse and buggy and refusing to pull over.
This is where he belongs:
That should get you started off on the right foot today.
1) The oil spill saga continues, as expected, and the New York Times has a great interactive map showing where the sludge has made landfall. Meanwhile, the containment cap seems to be holding, while, according to retired Admiral Thad W. Allen, the "seepage" seen above the well is from other sources and not a major concern.
"We don't think they are consequential," [Allen] said. Kent Wells, a senior vice president for BP, said that he was pleased with the results of testing so far and that there was no evidence of serious leaking.
BP also announced they are selling $7 billion worth of onshore oil and gas assets to rival company Apache Corporation -- which was started in Minneapolis in 1954 and stayed until 1987. Is this a sign that they actually might be affected by the spill? We know the Gulf Coast is.
2) This is making me rethink my facial hair.
The suspect arrested Saturday had a similar build and strip-style goatee, Robson said. Police found a similar hat and sunglasses in his vehicle, as well.
Photo from Shakopee Valley News
They arrested (and subsequently released) the poor guy because he had some rockin' goatee. Bummer.
3) News-worthy stories. Maybe Larry King should retire early, if this is what he's got.
If this is how CNN, one of the best international breaking news outlets in the world, spends its energy -- we're in for a serious ride. Of course, she is only spending two weeks there, so it'll all be over soon.
4) The drug war has a new enemy: skydiving 100-pound bags of marijuana that crash onto your roof.
This gives a new meaning to "it's raining cats and dogs... and pot."
5) Finally, Apple reported record profits from their third quarter report. Despite the problems with the iPhone 4's reception, Apple CEO Steve Jobs claimed that they went above and beyond expectations.
It was a phenomenal quarter that exceeded our expectations all around, including the most successful product launch in Apple's history with iPhone 4.
Someone get Apple a gold medal! They have been the subject of more bad press in the past few weeks than ever before, yet still have the constitution to report record profit. Of course, some of that profit is going to fixing the iPhone 4's reception problems, right? ...Right?
Posted at 9:51 AM on July 21, 2010
by Nate Minor
A few days ago, the Duluth News Tribune reported on a couple accused of welfare fraud.
"James Lauer, 49, and Tari Lee Lauer, 42, ... [are] accused of wrongfully receiving cash, food support, medical assistance and child-care assistance totaling almost $20,000 during various periods from October 2006 to July 2008 while failing to report about $400,000 in income and assets."
A St. Louis county investigator discovered the couple went on a shopping spree, including a $37,000 Chevrolet Avalanche, a $67,094 Cadillac Escalade, a $38,680.07 Nissan Titan, and a $18,283.43 2007 Ford Mustang convertible, none of which were reported to the county.
Five days after the article was published, it is still the most commented on the DNT's website (In the Internet age, that means the story has hit quite a nerve.) Some commenters on the story were upset to see their tax money going to a couple that appears to have not needed it, including this
"This is why all welfare should be administered at the most local level. Locals know what's going on and can put a stop to abuse." (Turns out welfare is administered on a local level, as has been pointed out below.)
Many of the comments, including this one, asserted the scope of the problem was huge:
"The fact is it's happening ALOT more than we see."
So is that true? Are most people on government assistance "welfare queens", as President Ronald Reagan implied?
Kaaryn Gustafson, at the Northwestern University School of Law, argued in a recent article (pdf) "The Criminalization of Poverty", that yes, welfare fraud is widespread. However, as you might guess, it's complicated.
"Poor families usually tum to the welfare system only when they are in desperate need and cannot find employment to provide their most basic needs. However, the cash benefits available under [TANF, a federal program] are too low to sustain a family. The gap between resources and need often leads welfare recipients to seek income to supplement their welfare benefits and to hide that income from the welfare office."
While the couple in St. Louis county will be prosecuted, Gustafson would argue it's an extreme case of welfare fraud and not the norm. She references a Los Angeles audit that found only "34 percent of statewide fraud investigations and 30 percent of Los Angeles fraud investigations produced evidence of fraud."
In her own words:
"According to welfare officials, welfare fraud measures are designed to achieve several goals: to catch welfare cheats, to deter would-be and actual welfare cheats, and to reduce governmental costs. The first goal, catching cheats, is one that the system is certainly achieving. The problem, however, is that the vast majority of welfare recipients are technically welfare cheats. If they were not, they would be unable to survive."(6 Comments)