American Elephants

Another Small Case in the Annals of Big Government by The Elephant's Child

From Director Blue:

Dozens of IRS employees claim to be unemployed in order to receive welfare, housing allowances and food stamps.

These are the civil servants, the experts that help to run the government for the benefit of us poor citizens, working for the public good, and paid for with our hard-earned dollars.

Twenty-four current and former Internal Revenue Service employees have been charged with stealing government benefits, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

The IRS employees were indicted on charges that they illegally received more than $250,000 in benefits including unemployment insurance payments, food stamps, welfare, and housing vouchers, the U.S. attorney’s office in Memphis said in a news release.

Prosecutors say 13 of the IRS employees face federal charges of lying about being unemployed while applying for or recertifying their government benefits…

They each face up to five years in prison if convicted of making false statements to receive the benefits.

Eleven others face state charges of theft of property over $1,000, a felony that can carry a sentence of probation up to 12 years in prison if they are convicted.

Doug Ross (Director Blue) adds: “Now take this fraud, multiply it by a million dollars or so, and you get your typical Senator.” But he’s even more cynical than I am.

Visit a Victorian Farm, Circa 1880 by The Elephant's Child

If you have time this weekend, and need a respite from the Boston bombings,  I recommend this documentary from the BBC. It is called Victorian Farm, and is an observational series following a team who live the life of Victorian British farmers for a year.

This is not ‘reality TV’. In Britain, the Acton Scott estate in Shropshire is a world frozen in time, the time of Victorian rural England. The buildings and grounds are cluttered with antique tools and machinery collected by the Acton family, who have lived on the estate since the 12th century.

The team consists of two archaeologists, Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn, and historian Ruth Goodman who go back in time to relive the day-to-day life of a Victorian farmer.  The team moves into a Victorian smallholding on the Acton Scott estate that has not been used in nearly half a century. Their first job is restoration of the cottage. As incoming tenants, they help thresh the previous summer’s wheat crop, their first experience of steam-powered machinery. Alex attempts to sow a wheat crop using horse power. Ruth and Peter install a range in the cottage and take a trip to the canals to load up on coal.

They have as a guide, an 1844 guidebook explaining Victorian tools, and local folk knowledgeable in traditional country ways come by to help them with unfamiliar tasks. It is very professionally done, and if you have no interest in history, probably not your cup of tea. The full documentary is six hours long, but broken up into manageable segments. I enjoyed it immensely. Not Kim Kardashian, but serious scholars discovering the past by doing. Watch a little, you’ll get hooked.

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