The Continuing Crisis 

Juvenile disruptions by "Girls Gone Wild" video producer Joe Francis in two recent federal lawsuit depositions have apparently backfired on him. Under questioning by plaintiffs' lawyers, Francis had persistently and solemnly claimed not to understand common words and, during one session, repeatedly passed gas. At another deposition, he appeared indignant when asked if he had paid two teenage girls to fondle him ("disgusting allegations (against) a man of my integrity"). One judge summarily ruled against him on a $3 million Las Vegas gambling debt, and the other judge was considering a similar course in a class-action lawsuit by some of Francis' allegedly underage "models."

With no help from Verizon Wireless, law enforcement agencies managed to hunt down a disturbed, 62-year-old man sought in an 11-hour manhunt following a domestic violence call in Carrollton, Ohio, in May. Deputies had wanted to use the man's cell phone signal to locate him, but the company had shut off his service over an unpaid $20 bill and refused to turn it on, even for a few minutes, unless deputies paid the $20. The sheriff was reluctantly about to pay when deputies found the man.

Union Rules: One subway line in Boston is still forced to employ two drivers per train when the other Boston lines, and most all subway systems worldwide, use only one. A June Boston Globe analysis estimated that the second driver, doing virtually nothing useful, costs the government $30 million annually.

At any one time, the New York City school system is forced to keep about 1,600 teachers on full salary and benefits (costing about $100 million per year) even though they cannot be required to work. Six hundred are in a multiyear arbitration process for terminable misconduct or incompetence, and 1,000 are long-term layoffs from shuttered schools but whom principals continually pass over for transfer.

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