Like father, like son – not necessarily a good thing!

The 4-year-old Tennessee boy was found wandering his Chatanooga neighborhood in the middle of the night, beer in hand, wearing a little girl’s dress taken from under a neighbor’s Christmas tree.

Hayden’s mother, 21-year-old April Wright, woke up at 1:45 a.m. and panicked when she realized he was missing. She found Hayden, drunk, outside the house drinking a 12-ounce can of beer.

He was taken to a hospital and treated for alcohol consumption…

Hayden runs away “trying to find his father,” Wright said. “He wants to get in trouble so he can go to jail because that’s where his daddy is.”

Wright’s husband is currently behind bars, and she is in the process of divorcing him…

The boy’s mother says she met with child protective services and was told she will get to keep custody of her son.

Maybe they should put an ankle bracelet on the twerp – with a GPS?

Thanks, Jägermeister

Baltimore mayor guilty of stealing from the poor

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

A jury has convicted Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon of embezzlement for improperly using gift cards intended for the needy, the poor.

She was found guilty of a single misdemeanor count of fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary. She could be removed from office because it is a theft-related crime.

Dixon solicited several cards for her own use from two developers, including Patrick Turner, who testified this month that Dixon asked him to donate gift cards from retailers and have them delivered to her office. He said he spent $1,000 total — $500 for a Best Buy gift card and $500 for a Target one, according to the Baltimore Sun newspaper.

No date was set for sentencing. Cabezas said Dixon, Baltimore’s first black female mayor, faces up to five years in prison. She was indicted in January.

She is guilty of behaving like an old-fashioned American politico. Because she and her machine won an election or two, she presumed approval of anything she chose to appropriate for herself. Like most hacks – she was taking care of herself instead of taking care of the people she represents.

More than anything else, changing this part of American politics is what Obama voters wanted. Obviously Congress, the Republican Party, the Democrat Party – haven’t yet gotten the message.

What makes world leaders think George Bush loves nut pastries, reads poetry and plays the harp?

This week, as it is required to do by law, the US state department published a list of all the presents given by foreigners in 2007 to President George Bush. It was an enormous list, running to hundreds of items, and remarkable also for the consistently unappealing nature of the gifts. I can honestly say that I didn’t covet any of them…

You would think, for example, that before deciding to give Bush a £150 box of Charbonnel et Walker chocolates, Gordon Brown would have borne in mind that the American secret service requires the destruction of all food gifts to the president. However, Brown was not alone in this idiocy. The prime minister of Qatar gave Bush a large tin of “chocolates, fruits and cookies” worth £650, and the Iraqi president gave an “assortment of nut pastries”, but these, too, in the words of the state department, were “handled pursuant to secret service policy” (ie destroyed). The same sad fate befell the £3 worth of “live shamrocks” given to Bush by the then Irish prime minister, Bertie Ahern, on St Patrick’s Day.

Bush would have been allowed to keep another of Brown’s gifts – a “green, beige and red plaid lambswool blanket” – because it is worth so little; but it has ended up all the same in a government warehouse, as has a present from Tony Blair (a Wedgwood bowl inscribed with the words “Am I not a man and a brother?”, the slogan of the 19th-century British anti-slavery movement). If it is difficult to imagine what either British prime minister intended with these gifts, it is even harder to guess what was in the mind of Vladimir Putin when he gave Bush a book of “English Sonnets, 16th to 19th century”, which he obviously would never read, and utterly mystifying why the president of Vietnam gave him an electric harp, which he most definitely would never play.

I clearly still have a great deal to learn about the workings of international diplomacy.

The harp sounds pretty cool to me. Though I’d prefer a non-electrified version for certain. I always played acoustic strings.

Consider Giving a COW for Christmas

As much as I enjoy picking on my Christian brethren, I’m not as much of a hard-ass as you might think. I was recently made aware of Heifer International by some crazy Methodist friends who are together raising money to buy a heifer for a needy family. A little research and a look at the org’s website and I said, “Cool. What a great concept!”

You don’t have to give a cow. Choose from llamas, goats, even trees and honey bees. One of the coolest parts of their site is the online “Gift Catalog.” This is a matter of life and death, folks. Think about it.

I also appreciate the org’s long-term vision, avoiding the temptation of a quick-fix approach:

“Heifer International knows that the solution to hunger lies not only in encouraging people to donate money to buy animals for families in need, but also in establishing a meaningful connection between donors and recipients. Many of us have experiences during our lives that have drawn us to care for people in a specific country. You may have been a missionary; traveled with the Peace Corps; your construction group has assisted a community in a far off land; or perhaps you are a physician who has provided medical care to a country in need. There are hundred’s of examples of connecting with other countries, but we would like to offer another.”

On a personal note, my own mother, who lived through the depression, was sustained during her younger years in part by her family’s ownership of a cow. So this is something that I can really appreciate and relate to. I encourage you to look over their entire website.

Sex, drugs and party favors from the oil and gas industry

A “culture of substance abuse and promiscuity” existed in the federal agency that handles royalty payments from oil companies, including sexual encounters between government employees and industry representatives.

The Interior Department’s Inspector General, who has been investigating the U.S. Minerals Management Service’s Royalty-In-Kind program, said government employees who were supposed to be regulating the oil companies were engaging in drug use and having sex with industry contacts.

“Several staff admitted to illegal drug use as well as illicit sexual encounters,” Inspector General Earl Devaney wrote in a Sept. 9 memo to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.

Devaney said that between 2002 and 2006, a third of the Royalty-In-Kind staff socialized with, and received a wide array of gifts and gratuities from companies with which the government was doing business.

Ah, yes, the Oil Patch Boys surely have enjoyed a party-and-a-half these last several years. Any voters out there with enough brains to consider changing mules?

The head of the department said it really wasn’t too bad. Not more than 50 government employees were involved!