Via Lenz Blog (this is my week for Germans?), who got it from Richard Stallman's political notes — an interesting but user-unfriendly list that thus mirrors its author — I find out about the US's latest bit of Really Stupid anti-PR—putting foreign reporters in lockup, starving them, then deporting them. (Sadly, almost as stupid policies exist elsewhere.) Yes, when I went to Australia to give a lecture, I had to get an expensive visa and do paperwork and they were fussy about it and if I hadn't they might not have let me in. Yes, the young woman in question (who was going to interview Olivia Newton John for a magazine) didn't do her paperwork right, but she told the truth when asked about it. That may justify an hour's extra questioning, but not deportation. But then I always said the
INS U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was one of the worst bureaucracies in DC.
Incidentally, that remark of mine about “one of the worst” prompted a commentator to ask me what I thought the other bad bureaucracies in DC were. I'd say the Veteran's Administration is near the top of the list, although I like what I hear about the current administrator. The Bureau of Surface Mining, the Bureau of Land Management, the Agriculture Dept, are pretty much captured, so they are terrible if you are citizen, but great if you are their corporate masters. I'm never sure how to class the IRS. It's pretty awful, but some substantial fraction of its problems seem due to Congress.