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October 17th, 2017

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Government in Action

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published August 11, 2015

Government in Action

WOOD-TV of Grand Rapids, Michigan, seemingly uncovered an antiquity -- if not a potential vulnerability -- in the Grand Rapids public school system in June when it reported that the heating and cooling systems at 19 schools are controlled using a Commodore Amiga computer (released in the 1980s, about the same time as Windows 2.0), operating on an early Internet modem. It had been installed by a computer-savvy student and, according to the maintenance supervisor, still works fine. Fortunately, the supervisor said, the student still lives in the area and is available if problems arise. [WOOD-TV, 6-11-2015]

Recurring Theme: Government officials who insist on such "bells and whistles" as redesigning their department's logo are often ridiculed for wasting taxpayer money (yet design consultants continue to sell the illusion that a new logo can give a bureaucracy a refreshing rebirth). In May, Tennessee officials unveiled a new state logo (which cost only $46,000 -- not counting the expense of changing signs, cards, stationery, etc.), which consists of the letters "TN" in white inside a red box with a blue trim underneath. (A Watchdog.org critic suggested a contest to design a superior one, but open only to kids age 12 and under, with the prize a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate.) [WSMV-TV (Nashville), 5-22-2015]

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