In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, the government decided to build a brand new headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security in southeastern Washington, D.C. The idea was that a centralized physical location would help close up the gaps between national security and intelligence agencies that allowed the attack to occur. The project was supposed to cost $3 billion and be completed by this year.
But so far virtually nothing has been built, according to The Washington Post; indeed, there is talk that the project will be canceled altogether. And yet the bill has already ballooned to $4.5 billion. It is a classic case of Washington dysfunction:
Bedeviled by partisan brawling, it has been starved of funds by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress and received only lackluster support from the Obama administration, according to budget documents and interviews with current and former federal officials.
The crippling shortfall in funding has created a vicious cycle, causing delays that in turn inflated the projected price tag as construction costs escalated over time and DHS agencies — still scattered in more than 50 locations across the Washington area — have been signing expensive temporary leases. [The Washington Post]
Ladies and gentlemen, your elected representatives.
Sylvia Driskell, a 66-year-old woman from Auburn, Nebraska, wants to sue every gay person in the world.
Driskell will represent herself in Driskell v. Homosexuals, claiming she is an earthly "ambassador" of "God and His Son Jesus Christ." In her seven-page, handwritten petition, Driskell writes that "homosexuals say that it's not a sin to be homosexual, and they have the right to marry, to be parents." She goes on to argue that children raised by "liars, deceivers, and thieves" will "grow up to be one of the three, or all three."
Driskell ends her petition by noting that it is "imperative" for her to "start standing up for the moral principles on which our great nation, our great states, and our great cities were founded on." U.S. District Judge John M. Gerrard has been assigned the case, filed May 1, but no summons have been issued thus far. Meghan DeMaria
There are many ways to inform a boss that your days with a company are numbered. Some are professional, some are ill-advised, and at least one now includes cake.
It is "more probable than not" New England Patriots staffers deliberately tampered with footballs during the 2015 NFL playoffs, according to an investigation commissioned by the NFL and made public Wednesday.
Released more than three months after the Super Bowl, the Wells report concluded that a Patriots locker room attendant, Jim McNally, and an equipment supervisor, John Jastremski, likely deflated footballs during the team's AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. Moreover, it determined quarterback Tom Brady "was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities." However, the report found no evidence other players, the team's ownership, or coach Bill Belichick knew of the tampering.
In a statement, Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league would consider possible disciplinary action. Jon Terbush
A Florida woman who was being held at knifepoint by her boyfriend has Pizza Hut to thank for her safety.
Cheryl Treadway's boyfriend Ethan Nickerson took her phone away and was holding her hostage, but Treadway somehow convinced him to let her order a pizza mid-confrontation. Treadway opened up the Pizza Hut app, and in the "special instructions" section where most people would request extra cheese or napkins, she wrote "911hostage help!" and "Please help! Get 911 to me."
When the restaurant received the order, a cook told the manager about the instructions. The Pizza Hut employees called 911, and the the Highland County Sheriff's Office sent a team of deputies to remove Treadway and her children from the house.
Florida's WFLA reports that Nickerson "may have been high on meth" during the situation. He was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a weapon without intent to kill, battery, false imprisonment, and obstructing justice by depriving communication to law enforcement. Meghan DeMaria
Nobody has ever gone broke by giving the people what they want. That's the clear guiding principle behind the new trailer for Magic Mike XXL, which elides over much of the ordinary business of movie trailers — like, say establishing the plot — in favor of two straight minutes of beefy, hunky dudes getting down:
The trailer does spare a brief moment to set up the basic premise of Magic Mike XXL, as the dudes head to Myrtle Beach to compete at an unspecified dancing convention. Beyond that, however, it's all style, as male strippers played by Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, and more take the stage to show off what they can do.
Magic Mike XXL hits theaters on July 1. Scott Meslow
I haven't confirmed this with my editors or anything, but I'm pretty positive that if I accidentally confined someone to a room for almost a week without any food or water, I wouldn't be contributing here at The Week anymore.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), however, has no such qualms. In 2012, the agency arrested Daniel Chong, a student at University of California-San Diego, when he was caught smoking pot. They handcuffed him in an unlit holding cell and promptly forgot about him for five days, leaving him to drink his own urine to survive.
In March, the DEA finally punished the six agents responsible, subjecting them to nothing more serious than a short suspension. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has called the DEA's decision "unacceptable," and is calling on Congress to pursue reform. Bonnie Kristian
An analysis of Supreme Court decisions dating back to the court's earliest cases in the 1700s found that with time SCOTUS has become increasingly accessible — but also increasingly long-winded and grouchy. While decisions are easier to read than they used to be, they've ballooned in length — think 4,000 words for Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and more than 10 times that for Citizens United (2010) — and use an increasingly unfriendly vocabulary.
And when we look at the language choices of specific justices, the current court lineup is historically unpleasant (at least on paper): Sitting Justices Samuel Alito, Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy, and Antonin Scalia all rank in the top ten unfriendliest decision writers in SCOTUS history. Their colleagues were either more temperate (Roberts and Ginsburg) or too new to the court to be included in the study (Kagan and Sotomayor). Bonnie Kristian