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News Quirks 

How Government Works

Contracting and budget officers at the Defense Department’s Defense Information Systems Agency urged their colleagues to set an aggressive spending timetable to use up all of the DISA’s $2 billion budget before the end of the fiscal year. “It is critical in our efforts to [spend] 100% of our available resources this fiscal year,” budget officer Sannadean Sims and procurement officer Kathleen Miller said in an email to their colleagues. (The Washington Post)

Contractors for the Environmental Protection Agency maintained a warehouse containing secret man caves, according to an audit by the EPA’s inspector general. Contractors used partitions, screens and piled-up boxes to hide the rooms from security cameras in the 70,000-square-foot building in Landover, Md. “The warehouse contained multiple unauthorized and hidden personal spaces created by and for the workers that included televisions, refrigerators, radios, microwaves, chairs and couches,” the report said. “These spaces contained personal items, including photos, pin ups, calendars, clothing, books, magazines and videos.” The responsible contractor, Apex Logistics, has received $5.3 million while operating under the contract. (Washington’s Government Executive)

Smoking Hazard

A jogger told police in Bowling Green, Ky., that two men robbed him while he stopped for a cigarette break on his evening run. The assailants took $7 and the jogger’s remaining cigarettes. (Bowling Green Daily News)

Forbidden Fruit

When a KFC franchise opened in El Arish, Egypt, Khalil Efrangi, 31, organized a delivery service to smuggle meals into Gaza, where the entry and exit of goods and people are restricted. Efrangi, who operates a legitimate delivery service called Yamama in Gaza City, waits until he gets enough orders to make the venture profitable — usually 30 — and then phones the KFC in El Arish and wires payment. Using two taxis and one of the scores of tunnels connecting Gaza and Egypt, Efrangi collects the contraband and delivers it to his Palestinian customers by motorcycle. The entire journey takes about four hours. “It’s our right to enjoy that taste the other people all over the world enjoy,” said Efrangi, who nets about $6 profit per meal. (New York Times)

Seattle butcher William von Schneidau teamed up with a medical marijuana grower to feed the remnants of pot plants to his pigs. Von Schneidau, who operates BB Ranch Meats in Pike Place Market, said the meat, including pot-infused bacon, “tasted savory.” (Seattle’s KOMO-TV)

Second-Amendment Follies

Steve Faler, the president of American Legacy Firearms, defended the inclusion of the Kennedy Memorial on his company’s “Dallas Heritage Rifle.” Calling John F. Kennedy’s assassination one of the city’s most significant events, along with the Dallas Cowboys, he explained, “I do things that are historically … things that happened … and they’re not always good.” He pointed out he has produced commemorative guns for more than 130 cities and even sold one after Sept. 11, 2001, that featured the Pentagon and the still-standing twin towers. Ads for his Denver rifle appeared within days of the deadly theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. (Dallas’ WFAA-TV)

A 5-year-old boy shot and killed his 2-year-old sister at their home in Cumberland County, Ky., while playing with a .22-caliber rifle he’d been given last year. “It’s a Crickett,” coroner Gary White said. “It’s a little rifle for a kid.” The maker, Keystone Sporting Arms, describes the weapon as “My First Rifle,” intended to “instill safety in the minds of youth shooters.” White said the gun was kept in a corner of the family’s mobile home, but nobody realized it was loaded. (Lexington Herald Leader)

Police said a 48-year-old man in Beavercreek, Ohio, shot himself in the chest with a pistol he bought on the street. He explained that he was unfamiliar with handling firearms and pointed the .22-caliber revolver at himself while checking to see whether it was loaded. (Dayton’s WHIO-TV)

Alien Sex

Pakistan leads the world in homophobia, according to a report by the American Pew Research Center, and, according to Google, search requests for same-sex pornography. (International Business Times)

An Indian court ruled that adult couples who have slept together should be considered legally married. The verdict in Tamil Nadu state involved a woman who sued a man for alimony after living with him for five years and bearing two children; he countered that they weren’t legally married. “If any couple choose to consummate their sexual cravings, then the act becomes a total commitment with adherence to all consequences that may follow,” Justice C.S. Karnan said. The news portal called the ruling “groundbreaking,” observing, “It’s not often that a High Court judgment can be used as both a punch line and a pickup line.” (The Washington Post)

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Roland Sweet

Roland Sweet is the author of the syndicated column "News Quirks," which appears weekly in Seven Days.


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