Please call or write your
Representatives and ask why a
citizen can't donate the marble
to replace the Monument and save
the taxpayers a couple million
dollars? This is really
Warning! If You Read This,
You'll Get Mad
Here are the facts:
--The marble Tomb of the
Unknowns at Arlington National
Cemetery is cracked
and must be replaced, a decision
that was reached 18 years ago.
--The cost of replacement is a
staggering $2.2 million, plus an
$170,000 to conduct the required
competitive bidding process.
--An American citizen offered to
purchase the marble and donate
it to the
government. The offer was
accepted. (He has the letter
from an Army major
general to prove it.)
--A five-year search for just
the right piece of snow-white
in a cut from the same Yule
Quarry where the original
gold-veined marble for
the Tomb of the Unknowns was
mined nearly 80 years ago.
--The replacement piece is
unflawed and looks exactly like
--The U.S. government refuses to
accept it because it's being
Reason.com reporter Radley Balko
writes about the mind-boggling,
head-scratching situation. The
man who is trying so hard to
marble is a retired car dealer
from Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Haines. The room-sized slab of
marble he had specially cut for
the Tomb of
the Unknowns has been ready
since 2003, sitting outside the
Haines has paid for it in
full--$31,000--and has made
arrangements for its
transport to Arlington, Virginia
in a flag-decorated flatbed
truck at no
cost to the government. And
herein lies the problem.
say they cannot accept a free
donation; instead, they must
pursue a pricey
bidding and specification
process. "It's not doable. A
citizen can't just
give us any piece of marble and
say, 'This is what we'll use to
tomb,'" Thurman Higginbotham,
deputy superintendent of
Reason.com. To which Haines
responded, "I understand how the
works. But there comes a point
when you just say 'to hell with
Meanwhile, the Department of the
Army presented to Congress a
outlining all the possible ways
the Tomb of the Unknowns could
repaired--all but one that, is.
There was no mention of Haines'
patriotic offer. Reason.com has
a great idea! Haines should use
to construct a monument to
go here to read story and
contractors are bidding to fix a broken
fence at the White House in DC; one from New
Jersey, another from Tennessee and the
third, Florida. They go with a White House
official to examine the fence.
The Florida contractor takes out a tape
measure and does some measuring, then works
some figures with a pencil. "Well," he says,
"I figure the job will the job will run
about $900: $400 for materials, $400 for my
crew and $100 profit for me."
The Tennessee contractor also does some
measuring and figuring, then says, "I can do
this job for $700: $300 for materials, $300
for my crew and $100 profit for me."
The New Jersey contractor doesn't measure or
figure, but leans over to the White House
official and whispers, "$2,700" The
official, incredulous, says, "You didn't
even measure like the other guys! How did
you come up with such a high figure?"
The New Jersey contractor whispers back,
"$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire
the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence."
"Done!", replies the government official.
And that friends, is how it all works ! I
think its the same in Canada.
Three strangers strike up a conversation in the passenger lounge in Bozeman,
Montana, while waiting for their respective flights...
One is an American Indian passing through from Lame Deer, another is a
Cowboy on his way to Billings for a livestock show and the third passenger is a
fundamentalist Arab student, newly arrived at Montana State University from the
Their discussion drifts to their diverse cultures. Soon, the two
Westerners learn that the Arab is a devout, radical Muslim and the conversation
falls into an uneasy lull.
The cowboy leans back in his chair, crosses his boots on a magazine table,
tips his big sweat-stained hat forward over his face, and lights a cigarette.
The wind outside is blowing tumbleweeds around, and the old windsock is
flapping; but still no plane comes.
Finally, the American Indian clears his throat and softly he speaks, 'At
one time here... my people were many... but sadly, now we are few.'
The Muslim student raises an eyebrow and leans forward,
'Once my people were few,' he sneers, 'and now we are many. Why do you
suppose that is?'
The cowboy removes his cigarette from his mouth and from the darkness
beneath his Stetson says in a smooth drawl . . ...
'I reckon that's 'cause we ain't played Cowboys and Muslims yet,
But I do believe it's a-comin'.'
Go figure - Stella Awards
It's time again for the annual "Stella Awards"! For those unfamiliar with
awards,they are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot
coffee on herself and successfully sued the McDonald's in New Mexico
where she purchased the coffee. You remember, she took the lid off the
coffee and put it between her knees while she was driving. Who would
ever think one could get burned doing that, right?
That's right; these are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and
verdicts in the U.S. You know, the kinds of cases that make you
your head. So
keep your head scratcher handy.
Here are the Stella's for the past year:
Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000 by
a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a
toddler who was running inside a furniture store.
The store owners were understandably surprised by
the verdict, considering the running toddler
was her own son.
Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California won $74,000
plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand
with a Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn't notice there
was someone at the wheel of the car when he
was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.
Go ahead, grab your head scratcher!!!!
Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania,who was
leaving a house he had just burglarized by way of the
garage. Unfortunately for Dickson, the automatic garage
door opener malfunctioned and he could not get the garage
door to open. Worse, he couldn't re-enter the house because
the door connecting the garage to the house locked
when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight,
count 'em, EIGHT, days on a case of Pepsi and a large bag
of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's insurance company
claiming undue mental Anguish.
Amazingly, the jury said the insurance company must pay
Dickson $500,000 for his anguish. We should all have
this kind of anguish.
Keep scratching. There are more...
Jerry Williams, of Little Rock , Arkansas ,
garnered 4th Place in the Stella's when he was awarded
$14,500 plus medical expenses after being
bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor's beagle - even
though the beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced
yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because
the jury believed the beagle might have been
provoked at the time of the butt bite because
Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and
repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.
Grrrrr ... Scratch, scratch.
3 RD PLACE:
Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania
because a jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant
to pay her $113,500 after she slipped on a spilled
soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason
the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown
it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during
an argument. What ever happened to people
being responsible for their own actions?
Scratch, scratch, scratch. Hang in there;
there are only two more
Stellas to go...
Kara Walton, of Claymont, Delaware sued the
owner of a night club in a nearby city because
she fell from the bathroom window to the floor,
knocking out her two front teeth. Even though Ms. Walton
was trying to sneak through the ladies room window
to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said
the night club had to pay her $12,000....oh, yeah, plus
(May I have a fanfare played on 50 kazoos please)
This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner
was Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma,
who purchased a new 32-foot Winnebago motor home.
On her first trip home, from an OU football game,
having driven on to the freeway, she set the
cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat
to go to the back of the Winnebago to make
herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the
motor home left the freeway,crashed and overturned.
Also not surprisingly, Mrs. Grazinski sued
Winnebago for not putting in the owner's
manual that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat
while the cruise control was set. The Oklahoma jury
awarded her, are you sitting down, $1,750,000
PLUS a new motor home.
Winnebago actually changed their manuals as a
result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has any relatives
who might also buy a motor home.
Are we, as a society, getting more stupid...?
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Activated 0ctober 2004
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