Can't Possibly Be True 

In a March change of regulations, the Pentagon began saving money by reducing "combat-injury" benefits for all except those wounded while actually fighting, explaining that combat-"related" injuries were simply not worthy of full compensation. Thus, in examples offered by The Washington Post in November, Marine Cpl. James Dixon and Army Sgt. Lori Meshell were not entitled to full combat-injury coverage for their Iraq wounds (Dixon from a roadside bomb and a land mine, and Meshell while diving for cover during a mortar attack) because neither was actually fighting at the time. (Dixon, initially denied about $16,000 by the classification, recently won a hard-fought reversal, but Meshell, drawing $1,200 less per month because of the change, is still appealing.)

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, reporting the latest of 10 lawsuits against dentist Thomas Laney, 55, found "flaws" in Washington state's medical disciplinary system, in that Laney was apparently doing "full-body cosmetic surgeries." Laney was being sued this time by a woman for allegedly botching her breast-reduction. His attorney told a reporter that negative outcomes happen, but that Laney should not be held responsible unless the patient suffers deformities that are "terribly, terribly wrong." (When an earlier patient of his died after surgery, Laney was "disciplined" with a fine and an order to get additional training.) [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 11-9-08]

The British Federation of Herpetologists announced in November that the number of reptiles kept as pets in the U.K. is probably greater than the number of dogs (8.5 million to about 6 million, with cats at 9 million). One benchmark the federation uses for its calculation is the booming sales of reptile food, such as locusts, frozen rodents and crickets (now about 20 million a week). [Daily Telegraph (London), 11-24-08]

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