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All Bad News Considered

Shoppers' Credit Cards Were Compromised, and an EPA Official Stole Thousands of Taxpayer Dollars

This week, thousands of Target shoppers discovered their credit card information had been corrupted, a judge sentenced an EPA official to 32 months in prison for stealing taxpayer money, and the Sister Wives cast's lawsuit invalidated parts of...
December 22, 2013, 11:50pm

Kody Brown's plural family celebrates Thanksgiving. Image via.

This week in Utah, Judge Clark Waddoups decided that parts of a cohabitation law prohibiting polygamy was unconstitutional, because of a lawsuit filed by the Brown family, the stars of the TLC reality show Sister Wives. After the state of Utah threatened to arrest them for leading a polygamous lifestyle in 2011, the Brown family filed a lawsuit arguing that the law violated their religious rights. In his ruling, Judge Waddoups strayed away from the precedent set in Reynolds vs. United States and said the law violated the freedom of religion as described by the First Amendment. The Brown family is now free to continue living in their hot, sweaty plural family cohabitation. Predictably, religious wackos are taking this as proof that the country is going to hell and that soon we'll be allowed to marry our pets and make furry animal babies. In reality, Judge Waddoups's ruling says that a hippie commune-like environment is legal. (Of course, he's talking about the commune environment, not the drugs and shitty music.) Anyways, why shouldn't this be legal? Have at it, brothers and sisters! Also, while you're at it, have at it, gays who want to get married in Utah.

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A real life American hero. Image via

Occasionally, I focus on stories that are jumping off points to make jokes. This story is not one of those news items. It's so awesome and amazing that all I'm going to do is tell the story. Last week, former EPA official John C. Beale was sentenced to 32 months in prison for stealing $900,000 in taxpayer funds. How did he steal? By telling his superiors he was on a covert CIA mission. In reality, John was simply skipping work. Also, because John was a perfect specimen in every way, he also talked himself into a special parking spot at his job—the job he never went to—after claiming he had malaria. Basically, this guy was George Costanza under his desk and “The Summer of George” all rolled into one great American hero.

The face of lotto ticket buyers and winners. Image via

Once in a while, I visit a mom-and-pop donut shop near my place in Oakland, because (a) I get sick of the bougie bohemian types at the nearby independent coffee shop, and (b) I feel as I've done enough “good” during the week to earn a donut. Every time I head in, there's always a line of about three or four people waiting to pay for the lotto ticket of their choice. Sadly, these people don't look like the folks who should be wasting $2.50 a day on anything other than food and shelter. Yet here they are, buying lotto tickets when they're more likely to get killed by an astroid or to be canonized a saint than win the lottery. When you read stories about this week's $648 million Mega Millions jackpot, remember the poor people wasting their money on lotto tickets. These aren't heartwarming tales. They're propaganda telling the underprivileged they could be the next big winner if they waste a few bucks every day.

Target, where shopping is a pleasure and your identity may be stolen. Image via.

Were you one of the hilarious jerks standing outside of Target at 4 AM on Black Friday waiting to kick elderly people out of wheelchairs and trample four-year-olds in order to buy a brand new 3D HDTV for $4.87? If you made that purchase using a credit card, there's a good chance somebody else is now using that same card to buy a bunch of Breaking Bad mittens from Etsy, because more than 40 million credit cards used at Target have been compromised and are now being sold on the black market. No doubt, there are lessons to be learned from all of this, but the biggest lesson is to not shop at places that have giant bull's-eyes on them.

@RickPaulas