News of the Weird: Socialized medicine sounds better every day

As the U.S. government's role in health care is debated, the French government's role was highlighted in February with a report on about France's guarantee to new mothers of "10 to 20" free sessions of "la reeducation perineale" (vaginal re-toning to restore the pre-pregnancy condition, a "cornerstone of French post-natal care," according to Slate). The sessions involve yoga-like calisthenics to rebuild muscles and improve genital flexibility. Similar procedures in the U.S. not only are not government entitlements, but are almost never covered by private insurance, and besides, say surgeons, the patients who request them do so almost entirely for aesthetic reasons. The French program, by contrast, is said to be designed not only for general health but to strengthen women for bearing more children, to raise the birth rate.

Compelling Explanations

-Drill, Baby, Drill: U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas may have been joking, but according to a February Washington Post story, he seemed serious at a Natural Resources Committee hearing when searching for yet more reasons why the U.S. should support oil drilling in Alaska. Caribou, he said, are fond of the warmth of the Alaskan pipeline. "So when they want to go on a date, they invite each other to head over to the pipeline." That mating ritual, Rep. Gohmert concluded, is surely responsible for a recent tenfold increase in the local caribou population.

-In assigning a bail of only $20,000, the judge in Ellisville, Miss., seemed torn about whether to believe that Harold Hadley is a terrorist — that is, did Hadley plant a bomb at Jones County Junior College? In February, investigators told WDAM-TV that the evidence against Hadley included a note on toilet paper on which he had written in effect, "I passed a bomb in the library." However, no bomb was found, and a relative of Hadley's told the judge that Hadley often speaks of breaking wind as "passing a bomb." The case is continuing.


-U.S. militaryforces called to battle in Iraq and Afghanistan, including reservists and National Guardsmen on active duty, have their civilian jobs protected by federal law, but every year the Pentagon reports having to assist personnel who have been illegally fired or demoted during their tours of duty. Of all the employers in the United States who are seemingly ignorant of the law, one stands out: civilian agencies of the federal government. The Washington Post, using a Freedom of Information Act request, revealed in February that during fiscal year 2011, 18 percent of all complaints under the law were filed against federal agencies.


-Dr. Peter Trigger, 62, apparently suffered a relapse in Thorplands, England, in February. Dr. Trigger violated his Anti-Social Behavior Order (the one reported in News of the Weird in 2009) by standing passively alongside the grounds of the Woodvale Primary School as parents dropped kids off for classes. As before, he was wearing a thigh-length gray skirt and a blue Northampton Academy Blazer even though forbidden to be near a school while dressed in either a skirt or a school uniform. His lawyer said that Dr. Trigger desperately wants to be a woman.

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