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Smart Bombs: Frequently made mistake

Rather than field questions from the media on the Otto Zehm case, the mayor’s office decided to grill itself. This leads me to my own frequently asked questions on FAQs.

Should FAQs be issued by elected leaders?

Only if they want to look like they’re ducking important and obvious questions.

But aren’t journalists just angry because they didn’t get to spring their “Gotcha!” questions?

This misses the point. FAQs are fine for handling repetitive questions that have been answered many times. They’re awful when used as a first-time response, especially when the answers will be strongly disputed.

The mayor has said she won’t go into any details for fear that this would disrupt legal proceedings. So why bother?

Disrupt proceedings, eh? Like an assistant city attorney disrupting the U.S. attorney’s office probe, which became the basis for feds seeking a meeting with the mayor, council president and the city attorney? Wonder why that was rebuffed?

Good questions.

C-R-A-Z-Y. What’s this world coming to when radical clerics promoting rigid fundamentalism can’t be counted on to stand strong against society’s immoral and blasphemous enticements? First, a trove of pornographic videos is discovered on Osama bin Laden’s computer. Now, there’s news that the recently killed al-Qaida leader in Yemen had a hankering for prostitutes.

But, alas, all is not lost.

Faryal Bhatti, a Christian eighth-grader in a Pakistan school, was accused of blasphemy when she misspelled a word on an Urdu language test, according to the International Herald Tribune. Unbeknownst to the girl, the mistake yielded a slur against Islam. Apparently, this mistake posed a grave threat, because prayer leaders condemned the girl and male students called for criminal charges. Ultimately, school leaders expelled the girl for her innocent error.

So, the rigidly religious can relax (if that’s possible), because the world is still safe for radical fundamentalism and its hypocritical leaders.

Damned if he don’t. How can you tell President Obama wants to grab your guns? He hasn’t, that’s how.

You see, it’s part of the president’s massive conspiracy to get re-elected in 2012 by taking the gun issue off the table, according to Wayne LaPierre, president of the National Rifle Association, who laid bare the president’s purported plot in a recent speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“So when he got elected, they concocted a scheme to stay away from the gun issue, lull gun owners to sleep and play us for fools in 2012. Well, gun owners are not fools and we are not fooled,” LaPierre exclaimed.

You sure could’ve fooled me, because during the 2008 presidential election, the NRA issued warnings that strict gun control measures were imminent if Obama were elected. You might recall that this led to a stampede on gun shops as fearful gun owners stocked up on weapons and ammunition.

Now gun owners are being told that the NRA knew all along that nothing would happen for at least four years. Perhaps they can petition LaPierre for refunds on their hasty purchases, and let him know that they won’t be fooled again. But I suspect they’ll cut him a fundraising check instead.

Don’t ask. Don’t tell. Before Congress changed the banking rules on “swipe fees” and overdraft charges, many consumers were hit with even higher costs. Every time you used your credit card, banks charged merchants a fee, which they either ate or passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices. But the new rule, which was implemented Saturday, limits how much banks can charge merchants for swipe fees. So banks are expected to make up the difference by directly charging consumers for using their debit cards. Bank of America has already announced its $5-a-month fee. This transparent arrangement has sparked consumer outrage.

So, where was the anger when the fees were hidden? Well, that answers itself. Consumers didn’t know.

Guess they preferred to be robbed blind.

Now that’s security. Last week I contrasted a local Ponzi scheme with Social Security, but I left out a significant difference. The people who lost money in the alleged Little Loan Shoppe scam will have Social Security benefits to fall back on. Good thing they couldn’t invest their Social Security contributions, too.

Smart Bombs is written by Associate Editor Gary Crooks and appears Sundays on the Opinion page. He can be reached at or at (509) 459-5026.

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