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The Weirdo-American Community | Perspective

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published Dec. 4, 2015

The Weirdo-American Community | Perspective

"Officially" declaring oneself not subject to the laws of any jurisdiction (i.e., a "sovereign") opens a wide range of career choices. The FBI and Las Vegas police say that in Rick Van Thiel's case, once his porn industry career ended (because someone stole his video equipment), he "decided to go into the medical field," becoming "Dr. Rick" with expertise performing dozens of abortions, circumcisions and castrations (plus cancer treatments and root canals). Proudly avoiding actual licensing, Van Thiel promoted "alternative" remedies, with an office in a Nevada compound of trailers that one hesitant "patient" described as something out of a horror movie. Van Thiel, arrested in October, nonetheless staunchly defended his ability (acquired, he said, by watching YouTube medical videos). (Bonus entertainment: In court, he will be acting as his own lawyer.) [Las Vegas Review Journal, 10-9-2015]

In June, Tennessee's much-publicized program to kick drug users off of welfare rolls (and only from welfare rolls, among all people receiving any type of state subsidy) wound up its first year cutting off fewer than 40 people out of 28,559 people on public assistance ("temporary assistance to needy families"). Nonetheless, the sponsoring legislators said they were pleased with the program and planned no changes. The state paid a contractor $11,000 to conduct 468 drug tests, but did not disclose staff costs of processing applications, deciding who to test and managing cases. [WMOT Radio (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), 10-6-2015]

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