Government in Action! 

In April, Britain's Office of Work and Pensions acknowledged to the Daily Mail that the multiple wives of polygamous husbands who are legally in the country routinely draw dependents' unemployment allowances from the government (even though polygamy itself is illegal in the U.K.). A single person receives the equivalent of about $120 a week, and a married couple about $180, with each additional wife about $60.)

Miles Nurse and Jennifer Plomt, condominium owners in Vancouver, British Columbia, learned in July that they would have to cohabit with as many as 80 bats that had infested their unit for the following six weeks because the B.C. Wildlife Act prevents disturbing the critters during their mating season, which would end in late August. At press time for a July Vancouver Sun story, the couple had found one bat in bed with them, another hanging upside down from a bathroom door frame and five in the ceiling over a kitchen pantry.

It's Good to Be a British Prisoner: Faced with overcrowding, the government announced earlier this year that 25,500 inmates would be early-released, and since that would take away their "free" housing for the remainder of their sentences, awarded each released person "room and board" expenses to live on until their terms expired.

Britain's Prison Service announced in May that inmate obesity was such a problem that it had hired "dozens" of fitness trainers to serve at 25 U.K. jails. Trainers will provide individualized exercise routines and "holistic, alternative therap(ies)," according to a report in The Sun.

Seven years ago, the city council of Bainbridge Island, Wash., set out to build a public restroom for downtown Waterfront Park so visitors would no longer have to use portable toilets. Today, the toilets are still there, following council battles over million-dollar proposals such as a glass-tiled structure dug into a hillside, a combination restroom/scenic-viewing area, and a design that anticipated $45,000 just for artwork. In May 2007, the council gave the public works director some money and ordered him to (in the words of one council member) "just (build) a bathroom."

In February, a New Jersey appeals court ruled against the town of Voorhees, which had waged a nearly three-year battle with a businessman because it disputed the shade of paint he had used on his Friendly's restaurant. Town officials said it wasn't "sandy" (the required color for buildings in that particular shopping center), but rather "creamy yellow." The township spent $20,000 fighting for "sandy," and the restaurateur spent $70,000 to show that "creamy yellow" matched the other buildings, and the appeals court judges seemingly just shrugged.

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