Bottom Stories of the Week

With the Obama IRS scandal news and other above-the-fold stories dominating our attention, it is easy to miss some one-offs that deserve notice.  Such as the Germans doing away with the longest word in the German language.No— it isn’t Kissingerischebombischechileanundnorthvietnamungennachtlebensraum; rather, it is Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz, and it is a word that came about because of—you guessed it—government regulation:

Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz – meaning “law delegating beef label monitoring” – was introduced in 1999 in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

It was repealed following changes to EU regulations on the testing of cattle.  The 63-letter word came into being as a result of efforts to combat BSE, or “mad cow disease,” and was given the abbreviation RkReUAUG – itself something of a tongue-twister.  But with the EU calling a halt to the testing of healthy cattle at abattoirs, the need for the word vanished. I’ll resist the temptation for a lot of good and bad jokes here.

But THIS is the truly saddest headline of the week:

I like this detail from the story: “The [fire] chief wasn’t sure whether the truck’s fuel or the Scotch ignited.”  If it was a diesel truck, I think I know the answer.


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