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December 13th, 2017

Diversions

Government in Action

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published Sept. 14, 2015

Government in Action

Officially, now, it is "unreasonable" for a federal agency (the Bureau of Land Management, in this instance) to fail to say yes or no for 29 years to a drilling permit application. (Before July's federal court decision, BLM had been arguing that 29 years was not too long.) A company had requested to drill just one exploratory well in Montana for natural gas in 1985, but the bureau had delayed the proceeding six times since then. The judge ordered the bureau to set a deadline for deciding. [Washington Post, 7-29-2015]

Georgia, one of six states that make taxpayers shell out huge fees to access its databases of public records, tries so relentlessly to control its archive that, recently, in a federal lawsuit, it said opposition to its policy was basically "terrorism." Activists (Public.Resource.org) have been establishing workarounds to free up some databases for citizen use, and Georgia demands that they stop. Georgia even claims "copyright" protection for one category of important legal documents that were initially drafted by state bureaucrats, audaciously calling them "original" and "creative" works. [Los Angeles Times, 7-27-2015]

Mandatory Inaction: In July, the mayor of the town of Ador, Spain (pop. 1,400), officially enacted into law what had merely been custom -- a required afternoon siesta from 2 to 5 p.m. Businesses were ordered to close, and children were to remain indoors (and quiet). [The Local (Madrid), 7-16-2015]

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