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Your Government in Action

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Among the long-term disabilities that have been drawing compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (at a time when the returning wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan are meeting bureaucratic delays in getting their own disabilities properly compensated): 124,000 veterans receiving monthly checks because of hemorrhoids (according to a March Scripps Howard News Service report) and "thousands" of veterans since 1972 having received regular monthly checks to cover venereal diseases that they contracted on their own time while on active duty, including those treated for depression at having caught the disease (according to an investigation by the same reporter, published in May).

Fifty-six New York City principals and assistant principals and more than 500 schoolteachers have records so dismal that no school will take them on its rolls, leaving the school system the choice of either commencing long, expensive termination procedures for each or (as the schools chancellor has chosen to do) placing them into lower-status and make-work jobs (at their previously high rate of pay), according to a March report in the New York Daily News.

Close Enough for Government Work: U.S. Department of Agriculture officials admitted in March that since the early 1970s, 250 of the nation's 6,000 meat-processing plants, which are all required by law to be inspected daily, have been inspected as rarely as biweekly (probably because they were too far away for an inspector to get to), according to a March Reuters report.

KUSA-TV reported in March that a Transportation Security Administration undercover team was able to sneak simulated liquid explosives past screeners at Denver International Airport about 90 percent of the time during a three-day test in February, in nearly every case because, though machines detected the explosives, the undercover agents talked the screeners out of personally searching them.

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