Assorted Stupidity #79

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  • According to Travel Sentry, Inc., it “creates and manages standards that improve travel security” in cooperation with agencies like the TSA. It doesn’t make luggage locks, but locks made to its standards are “officially recognized and accepted” by the agencies. The main effect seems to be that the TSA has master keys allowing it (and only it) to open luggage with a Travel Sentry lock, ensuring it can inspect the bags but the latter will otherwise remain secure. Or, at least, they might have been secure until some TSA person let the Washington Post take a picture of all the keys, which the Post published; the picture showed the physical key patterns, meaning that anyone who cares can now make his very own set.
  • Police in Esperance, Australia, reported that a woman had called to complain that they were making it too hard to buy cannabis there. “She sees the kids in her street daily searching for cannabis and not being able to get it easily,” an officer said, adding that she argued this was not only unfair to the children but also to blue-collar families like hers that “need cannabis to get them through the day.” By taking cannabis off the street, she said, “we are forcing her and her type to use meth.” Police said they “believed the woman was intoxicated” at the time of the call.
  • In looking up Esperance (which is on the southern coast about 450 miles east-south-east of Perth, if that helps), I learned that it is or was somewhat famous for having been hit by pieces of Skylab when that re-entered the atmosphere in 1979, and then fining the United States $400 for littering. According to this report, a local ranger issued the fine “as a bit of a lark,” NASA “declined to pay it” and the fine was written off shortly thereafter. In 2009 a U.S. radio station sent Esperance a check for $400 to “pay the debt,” so that’s done.
  • The band Survivor, which had a big hit with “Eye of the Tiger” in 1982, has objected to its use at a rally for Kim Davis. Davis is currently enjoying her final 3 minutes or so of fame, which she obtained by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She was released on Tuesday after serving jail time for contempt, and yes, they played “Eye of the Tiger” for some reason at the rally. Variety reports that Survivor’s Frankie Sullivan posted a Facebook message denying any connection. “NO! We did not grant Kim Davis any rights to use … Eye of the Tiger,” he wrote. “I would not grant her the right to use Charmin!” Sullivan previously sued Newt Gingrich to stop him from using the song in 2012, Variety says. That case settled.
  • In other marriage-law news, a judge refused to grant a heterosexual couple a divorce last week, saying that if the Supreme Court was going to tell him what marriage is, it also has to tell him what it isn’t, or more to the point, when it’s over. “Although this Court has some vague familiarity with the governmental theories of democracy, republicanism, socialism, communism, fascism, theocracy, and even despotism,” he wrote, not at all sarcastically, “implementation of this apparently new ‘super-federal-judicial’ form of benign and benevolent government, termed ‘krytocracy’ by some and ‘judi-idiocracy’ by others, with its iron fist and limp wrist [see what he did there?], represents quite a challenge for a state level trial court.” Okay. The couple that just endured a four-day divorce trial probably wishes you’d written an op-ed to say that instead, but okay.
  • Googling “krytocracy” (also spelled “kritocracy”) suggests it’s a term used mostly by conservative groups to criticize judicial activism. It means roughly “rule by judges,” translating from the Greek in the same way as with “democracy.” But “krytocracy” isn’t in the OED at all (under either spelling), nor does it show up in a Google ngram search of books since 1800. Both of those use the word “kritarchy” instead (as in “anarchy”), but I guess “kritocracy” is close enough. Interestingly, the only example the OED gives of “kritarchy” is a 19th-century use of that word to refer to the biblical rule of the Judges in ancient Israel. That was probably the good kind of judicial activism, though, I suppose.
  • “Judi-idiocracy” isn’t in the OED either, in case you’re wondering. “Idiocracy” actually is in there—but they define it to mean “personal rule or government,” I guess from “id,” rather than “rule by idiots,” which is what it really means. This one I think they need to fix.