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Can't Possibly Be True

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Residents of an Austin, Texas, neighborhood undergoing a federally mandated sewer replacement noticed that, for several weeks starting in September, the work crews would spend the first three hours of their 12-hour days digging a huge hole in the street, and the last three hours re-filling and paving over it (repeating the process each day). The 20-by-20-by-20-foot hole in Monroe Street was too big to be covered with metal plates, and the city's "policy" of minimal traffic disruption required repaving for nighttime use, at least doubling the cost of the work.

Pay Those Dentist's Bills! In October, a 58-year-old patient accused the Rush Green Dental Practice in Romford, England, of injecting Novocain in preparation for an extraction but then refusing to pull the tooth until he had handed over an additional 30 pounds ($47) cash. (The patient had to go home to get his ATM card, according to a Daily Mail report, and did not make it back until the Novocain had begun to wear off.)

Police in the Bavarian town of Neu-Ulm said they were investigating a dentist who allegedly barged into the home of a 35-year-old patient in September, tied her hands, forced her mouth open, and removed dentures worth the equivalent of about $500 because the woman's insurance company had declined to pay.

Blind Justice: An administrator of criminal-case appeals in Louisiana committed suicide in 2007, partly (according to his suicide note) because of guilt that, for 13 years, he had complied with a judge's order to deny, sight-unseen, all appeals filed by defendants who were acting without lawyers. (Under state law, only death row convicts get assistance for appeals; all others, even convicted murderers, either fend for themselves or forfeit the appeal right, no matter how indigent.) According to the administrator (the extent of whose claims are still being investigated by the state Supreme Court), none of the supervisory judges involved in denying the 2,400 appeals ever read a single word in them.

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