Dim Bulbs

A look at some recent not-so-bright behavior from the masses.

Lowlights from the past week:

· NASCAR racing fan Michael Melo of Billerica, Mass., was so upset that his local TV station showed a Boston Red Sox game instead of the regularly scheduled auto race that he flooded Fox Entertainment in Los Angeles with more than 530,000 e-mails. He designed a program that kept sending the same six e-mails to Fox.

While his lawyer says that Melo was simply "expressing his views," he was charged with the federal misdemeanor of damage to a protected computer system and faces up to a year in prison for the crime.

That's absolutely shocking! Not that he could go to prison, but that a NASCAR fan would know how to operate a computer.

· Tucson Police Department Lt. Karen Dickerson faces a demotion after she was found to have driven to work the day after Christmas with a blood-alcohol level of 0.21--almost three times the legal limit. She'll get a reduction in rank and a cut in pay, but won't face criminal charges. According to Police Chief Richard Miranda, it would be almost impossible to get a conviction because they didn't have an eyewitness to the crime.

Yeah, all they have is her confession to the crime, a dozen or so cops who saw her stagger around the building slurring her speech and a police-administered blood alcohol test that was off the charts. Who's the lead prosecutor these days, Marcia Clark?

· Dickerson has also let it be known that she will file an appeal based on the Americans With Disabilities Act.

OK, so now, getting sloshed and showing up to work is the same as being paralyzed or blind or deaf. If showing up for work drunk were a disability, then airline pilots would get to park in handicapped spaces.

People suck. If you sincerely believe that alcoholism is some kind of sickness that certain people (including yourself) might be predisposed to, then you should have the common sense to not start. If it's too late and you've already started, try to stop. If you can't stop by yourself, get help. And, if the help doesn't work and you're too drunk to go to work, DON'T GO TO WORK! Jeez, if I had a degree in psychology, I could charge $500 for that.

· A group of people who lost loved ones in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 is considering filing a class-action suit because the seven-figure payouts they received from the government and other agencies is "too low."

Meanwhile, it was announced that the government is thinking of doubling the amount a surviving spouse receives if an American soldier is killed in combat. The current amount received in such a case: $6,000.

It's horrible what happened to those people on Sept. 11, but the government didn't owe the surviving family members a penny. We're almost certainly going to come to an understanding that the payouts were a bad idea and set a horrible precedent. But, $6,000 for a soldier's life?! Yes, they volunteer to put themselves in harm's way to protect their country, but $6,000? Congress probably spends that much each day bleeping out of the Congressional Record the times Sen. Robert Byrd utters the term "nigra."

· Four different idiots ran onto the baseball field during a game at Chicago's Comiskey Park last week. The first three just disrupted the game, but the fourth actually attacked first-base umpire Laz Diaz, who is also a member of the Marine Reserves. That fourth idiot was tackled by players and emerged with his face bloodied and bruised. He said that he had gone to the game with his fiancée, but they had gotten separated when they entered the park and he just went off on his own and spent the night drinking and watching the game. Afterwards, he noted he "might have a problem with alcohol."

OK, he might have a problem with alcohol, but does he still have a fiancée?

· In discussing the aforementioned incident, Baseball Hall of Fame member Joe Morgan explained that the reason these things happen at baseball games is that "baseball fans are so passionate about their sport. That's why fans don't run onto football fields during games."

No, it's because if a fan ran onto a football field and tried to mess with somebody, there wouldn't be anything left to cart off the field on the stretcher. Football players will beat your ass for $2 and a biscuit.

· The Arizona State House of Representatives initially voted against a revised loyalty oath for state employees because the prohibition against being a member of the Communist Party had been stricken from the wording. After being told that the United States Supreme Court had ruled Arizona's anti-communist provision unconstitutional back in the 1960s, the House passed the measure. The new loyalty oath includes a prohibition against being a terrorist.

That way, if a state employee commits an act of terrorism, he not only gets in trouble for that, he's in double secret trouble because he had promised not to be a terrorist beforehand.

· A Connecticut-based company, Herobuilders.com, is marketing a talking doll based on the wildly popular Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf. (This is not to be confused with the Web site www.welovetheiraqiinformationminister.com, which also exists.) Officially known as the "Iraqi Dis-information Minister Action Figure Doll," the toy actually says the line, "There are no American infidels in Baghdad, never. Our initial assessment is that they will all die. I am not scared and neither should you be. They're not even within 100 miles of Baghdad."

They're now trying to teach the doll to say "The only reason that we haven't found the stores of weapons of mass destruction that George W. Bush swore to us are in Iraq is that they are being guarded by all of the Al-Qaeda operatives who have been operating out of Iraq under the direct supervision of Saddam Hussein over the past couple decades."

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