Are you ready for this week’s absurdity? Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, your finances, and your prosperity.
Town charges woman $60,000 as a fee to renovate her own home
For 40 years Linda and Gary Cameron always dreamed of renovating their small home to accommodate more family and friends.
Sadly, this dream could only be realized when Gary passed away, and Linda received money from his life insurance.
But when the town of Richland in Washington state found out the renovation cost would exceed $50,000 they dropped the hammer.
According to local ordinance in Richland, any home renovation that costs over $50,000 requires that the homeowner also renovate some town property.
I was shocked when I found this out and couldn’t believe it. Sure enough, it’s true. Chapter 12 of the City of Richland’s municipal code spells out “impact fees”, which are fees that the local government assesses on any building project that might have an impact on city infrastructure.
The municipal code goes on to explain that the city can essentially charge whatever they want. And they do.
In order to add a second bedroom and bathroom to her home, Linda was told she had to pay a $60,000 impact fee.
Pretty crazy. Now she has to sue the town government just to be able to make some minor renovations to her own property.
Microsoft says if even ONE person is offended, that’s “one too many”
We want to wish the best of luck to the second largest company on Earth as they embark on their mission to ensure they don’t offend a single person.
In mid-December, Microsoft developers added a tiny icon of a Santa hat in the bottom left corner of one of their programs (Visual Studio Code, also known as vscode).
1 person… as in ONE… complained on the Microsoft’s Github page, posting, and I quote:
Microsoft’s “The Santa Hat on vscode insiders and pushing of religion is very offensive to me, additionally xmas has cost millions of Jews their lives over the centuries. . .”
This ONE complaint led the company to respond, “we’re sorry we hurt your and other’s feelings. We’ll remove the Santa Hat.”
Microsoft then switched the Santa hat icon with a more ‘culturally-neutral’ icon of a snowflake… perhaps to appease generation snowflake and its hypersensitivity.
The company then announced that “. . . the Santa hat was divisive and offensive to some of our users (even a single person being offended is one too many), meaning it represented the opposite of what we wanted to convey to our users.”
But was that the end of the controversy? Oh no.
Other users were offended that Microsoft would nix the Santa hat icon because a single person was offended.
“Well, that was unexpected,” Microsoft’s update on the incident begins.
And there-in lies the catch-22 encircling all modern “woke” companies. Being offended is America’s favorite pastime.
Pokemon breach Canadian military base
Canada had to assign soldiers to play Pokemon Go in order to keep a military base secure.
Pokemon Go is a smartphone game that uses augmented reality to place virtual Pokemon in the real world. The Pokemon show up on users’ camera screens when they aim their smartphone at the right spot.
Newly released documents detail how shortly after the game was released, a number of civilians were arrested after wandering into secure areas of a military base in search of virtual Pokemon.
The soldiers found that not only were Pokemon spawning on base, but that the base had also been infiltrated by a PokeGym.
It all kind of seems like a joke how clueless people can be.
But the game was actually designed by a mapping company owned by Google called Niantic. They collect detailed information on users’ location and behavior, and use it for marketing purposes.
If the point was to drive traffic to certain locations, it was clearly a success. They even breached a military base.
Vermont considers year in prison for anyone under 21 in possession of CELL PHONE
A Vermont state senator introduced a bill this week to ban the use of cell phones among anyone under 21.
You read that right. And no, not just the use of cell phones while driving.
The proposal is to make it illegal, punishable by up to one year in prison, for people 20 and under to have or use a cell phone.
The bill has some great justification written right into it.
For instance, “The Internet and social media, accessed primarily through cell phones, are used to radicalize and recruit terrorists, fascists, and other extremists… Cell phones have often been used by mass shooters of younger ages for research on previous shootings.”
The bill concludes that since the Vermont government has seen fit to ban under 21 use of cigarettes, alcohol, and firearms, this is the logical next step.