Abusing the Rules

Yesterday, I promised a post on “gaming the system”, otherwise known as “best abuse of the rules”. I’m familiar with this, going back to some Mark’s entry in 1987 for the Obfusticated C Code Contest.

  • Flying Away. What got me thinking about this post was an article in the Sunday LA Times about frequent flyers who flew too much. You see, at one time AAmericaan AAirlines sold lifetime airtravel passes. Naturally, some people decided to abuse them and profit from them, leading American to crack down on them.
  • Ron Paul. Yes, that Ron Paul. It appears his strategy is to abuse delegate selection rules to pack delegations with his supporters. If the convention goes past a first voice, they can then vote for Paul and throw things into disarray. Don’t believe me? Read about what Paul has done in Idaho, and in Nevada, and in Maine. Here’s a good analysis of his strategy.
  • Congress. Of course, our biggest abuser of the rules is Congress itself. I’m sure you can come up with your own examples, but one of my favorites is the overuse and abuse of the filibuster rules in the Senate. Even the threat of a filibuster kills things. This is all paper and posturing; no “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” here. The latest casualty: attempts in the senate to keep student loan rates low. The Republicans want to respond to their base who want to decimate health services for women and low income people, and would rather do those cuts than tighten some tax loopholes for those making sufficient funds that college is not as expensive an issue. But then again, they are catering to a wing that is sorry women ever got the right to vote. But I digress: Congress is expert at abusing the rules: be it the aforementioned filibuster, campaign finance rules, or other quirks and oddities they can use to their advantage (and this is done by both parties, and it is wrong whomever does it).

Music: Hot Jazz and Dixieland (Louis Armstrong): Struttin’ with some Barbeque


Passing of Note: Digby Wolfe

This morning, while skimming the LA Times before leaving for work, I noticed a familiar name in the obituaries: Digby Wolfe. My parents had an accounting office, and Digby was one of their long-time clients. Digby’s death has been floating around my head, so I wanted to write a quick post remembering Digby.

Now, I think I only met Digby in person a few times. But he did create memories. Thanks to Digby, I remember going to tapings of Cher (which he was a writer on) and the 2nd version of Laugh-In (I think this one had Robin Williams or Jim Carrey on it). I remember my folks talking about Digby all the time. I got the impression (remember, I was a teen here) that he was a nice, caring man.

In Digby’s memory, I want to share something he wrote in the 1980s for a Goldie Hawn TV Special:

Here’s to the kids who are different,
The kids who don’t always get A’s,
The kids who have ears twice the size of their peers
And noses that go on for days…
Here’s to the kids who are different,
The kids they call crazy or dumb,
The kids who don’t fit,
with the guts and the grit,
Who dance to a different drum…
Here’s to the kids who are different,
The kids with the mischievous streak,
For when they have grown, as history’s shown,
It’s their difference that makes them unique.

Rest in peace, Digby.

(Note: Completing the death trifecta, we have George Lindsey (“Goober”) and Maurice Sendak. Both men understood kids who were different: Lindsey, from all his work for Special Olympics, and Sendak, well, from his books.)