- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 17, 2001

Noble: Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), for again using a bulldozer of facts in an effort to clean out the stables of congressional pork-barrelling.

This week, CAGW released the "Congressional Pig Book Summary," an unadulterated look at the corruption of the budget process. It is no wonder that government spending went up by 8 percent last year CAGW documents well over 6,000 porky projects, which it estimates will cost taxpayers $18.5 billion.

The report needs to be read to be believed. However, a few examples should leave taxpayers spinning, crying and beating their ballots into bludgeons: $13.5 million for the East-West Center and $1,400,000 for the North-South Center; $250,000 for Vidalia onion research; $1,500,000 for a statue of Vulcan.

Knave: Carolyn Humphrey, the ultimate shower potato.

Mrs. Humphrey was fired from her job as a medical transcriptionist over a grooming ritual which could have driven Jane Goodall, not to mention Martha Stewart, to the apes. The Sacramento Bee reported, "The process of showering, brushing her hair and dressing could take [Mrs. Humphrey] several hours and, at times, she prepared for work from 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. or later." Perhaps she should have switched shampoos, since by that time, the patients, the doctors and even the bodies in the morgue had left for the day.

After being fired, Mrs. Humphrey presumably went home for a shower, since she didn't sue for 11-months. She now claims that her employer should have accommodated her disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Mrs. Humphrey's lawyer, who could probably be similarly accommodated, said her behavior, "is as much of a disability as a missing arm or a leg, just as debilitating, and should be protected in the same fashion."

Her emotional amputations did not detach Mrs. Humphrey from the television remote, since she claims to have realized that she was disabled while watching Oprah Winfrey. Two doctors, whose consultation hours seem to have corresponded well with Mrs. Humphrey's showering schedule, agreed with Oprah, and so did the U.S. 9th Circuit Court (located, surprise! in California). Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote, "A reasonable jury could conclude that if Humphrey was relieved of the stress of having to leave the house, she would perform her transcriptionist duties, and thus was 'qualified' under the ADA."

Putting aside the fact that a "reasonable California jury" is a helpless oxymoron, most of us cough, cough could also claim to work far better without the pressure to, well, be at work. Unfortunately, few bosses, or for that matter editors, agree.

With her new trial merely months away, Mrs. Humphrey is undoubtedly already grooming herself for the witness stand.


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