Assorted Stupidity #16

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  • A woman in Vermont may be trying out a "just kidding" defense to a charge of attempted robbery, reportedly telling police that the incident at a gas station was a "joke" and a "misunderstanding." According to the clerk at the station, the woman told her to "give me all your cash, and don't try anything." Which is totally hilarious.
  • Congratulations to the executives of Transocean Ltd., who got six-figure bonuses for 2010. The bonuses included large amounts for meeting safety goals that year, described in an SEC filing as "the best year in safety performance in our company's history." Since that was the same year Transocean's Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew up, killed 11 people and trashed the Gulf of Mexico, those other years must have been pretty goddamn grim.
  • Following Florida's example, Minnesota is considering a bill that would make it a crime to take a picture of a farm, a move apparently designed to protect businesses from undercover investigations. S.F. 1118 would punish picture-taking at a farm or "animal facility" (including pet shops) by up to five years in jail, and it would even be illegal just to "possess or distribute" such a visual record. Possibly the greatest mystery: why anyone would follow an example set by Florida.
  • Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported on a study finding that judges were much more likely to grant parole after lunch. Researchers reviewed 1,112 parole hearings and found that the rate at which paroles were granted started at about 65% and gradually declined, going back up to 65% again if the judge took a break. They this may be explained by an increasing tendency to choose a "default" option – such as leaving a prisoner in jail – as someone gets tired. You might want to take this into account when scheduling your next hearing.