Darren’s Daily Dose of Weird News – July 29, 2010

DailyDoseNewsA 20-foot-wide, 10-foot-deep hole has opened up in a street in Tampa, Florida, forcing the evacuation of 11 families. The hole continues to grow, say officials.  ***MARLAR: The city council has decided to rename the street “National Debt Parkway”.

Registered voters by an 8-point margin say they’d prefer to see the Republicans take control of Congress. A year and a half into Obama’s presidency, 51 percent in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll would rather have the Republicans run Congress “to act as a check on Obama’s policies,” vs. 43 percent who want the Democrats in charge to help support those policies. That’s accompanied by a 7-point, one-month drop in approval of Obama’s handling of the economy, to a career low.  ***MARLAR: Apparently the remaining 7% are just ticked off at everybody.

The days of tax-free Internet shopping will, if Rep. Bill Delahunt gets his way, soon be coming to an abrupt end.   Delahunt, introduced a bill that would rewrite the ground rules for Internet and mail order sales by eliminating the option for many Americans to shop over the Internet without paying state sales taxes.   At the moment, Americans who shop over the Internet from out-of-state vendors usually aren’t required to pay sales taxes. This is hardly a new debate: pro-tax officials and state governments have been pressing Congress to require taxes to be collected for a decade or so. They argue that reduced sales tax revenue threatens budgets for schools and police, and say that, as a matter of fairness, online retailers should be forced to collect the same taxes that brick-and-mortar retailers do.  The National Conference of State Legislatures applauded Delahunt’s legislation, saying he should be commended for allowing states to collect as much as $23 billion in new taxes. ***MARLAR: Once this legislation becomes law, he plans to target little kids’ lemonade stands.

A new Rasmussen Poll shows that 75 percent of Americans place responsibility for their state’s budget problems on politicians’ unwillingness to cut government spending.  ***MARLAR: Nice to see someone is playing the “blame game” correctly.

It sounds a little like Christmas in New York City this week.  Salvation Army bell ringers and collection kettles are out on a-half dozen Manhattan street corners.  The Christian charity’s week-long summer fund drive is raising money to meet increasing pleas for assistance during the economic downturn.    Salvation Army bell-ringer Lilybeth Ciriaco says she has been getting curious reactions on the street, but people are very giving.  The Salvation Army says donations have held steady this year, but the needs are greater.  ***MARLAR: And just in time, because the malls are already decorating for Christmas!

A Florida man faces charges after attempting to bribe a policeman with McDonald’s cheeseburgers!  Steven Denton was originally arrested following a fight at a local restaurant but tried to avoid being locked up by bribing a police officer.  Deputy Mark Eastly said: “Denton told me that if I would drive him to McDonald’s, he would buy me two cheeseburgers if I let him go and did not take him to jail.”  ***MARLAR: It was later discovered that this man could very well have been the notorious Hamburgler.

Privacy advocates plan to call on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to suspend use of “whole-body imaging,” the airport security technology that critics say performs “a virtual strip search” and produces very revealing pictures of passengers. The national campaign, which will gather signatures from organizations and relevant professionals, is set to launch this week with the hope that it will go “viral,” said Lillie Coney, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which plans to lead the charge.  ***MARLAR: With the swine flu epidemic, are we sure we want to use the terms “whole body” and “viral” in the same breath?

In an interview with Conservatism, the quarterly journal of the Conservative Christian Fellowship, Dr. David Hope, the Archbishop of York warns that the Internet has the potential to destroy society. “This technology is something that could ultimately devour us,” Hope claims. “The danger is in having all this wizardry in individual homes which people never leave and where there is, as a result, no social interaction…”  ***MARLAR: You know, kind of like when they invented the phone.

Doctors studying airline passengers say being crammed in a tight airplane seat for hours could result in something called “economy class syndrome,” which is a blood clot in the leg that can actually be fatal. ***MARLAR: Not to worry though – the airline food will kill you first.

Scarlett Johansson, who is the face of cosmetics giant L’Oreal, admits she isn’t afraid to use plastic surgery in the future to avoid growing old ungracefully. She says, “I will definitely have plastic surgery — I don’t want to become an old hag!”  ***MARLAR: But apparently she’s fine with being shallow.

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