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Noted and passed -- Jan. 2, 2012

Posted: December 30, 2011 1:22 p.m.
Updated: January 2, 2012 5:00 a.m.

• News reports of the funeral of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il -- filmed by that country’s government-controlled media, of course -- featured common citizens wailing in grief over the death of their beloved leader. Problem is, there didn’t seem to be any genuine tears, just lots of contorted facial expressions. Think there’s any chance that was all staged?

• We’re always amused as well as chagrined to read of political correctness run amok, and no story was more notable in that regard than the one in which a North Carolina school principal suspended a 9-year-old boy for sexual harassment because the youngster said the teacher was “cute.” The principal later lost his job over the incident, and considering his lack of judgment, that was probably not a bad thing.

• Most Chronicle-Independent readers don't need any further information to convince them that professional sports is out of control when it comes to salaries, but just in case, consider this: the Chicago White Sox just signed pitcher John Danks to a five-year, $65-million contract. A quick check will indicate that's $13 million a year. Over his career, Danks has won fewer than half his games -- 54 wins and 56 losses -- and last year he was an overpowering 8-12. Oh yes, one other thing: his lifetime earned run average is 4.03.

• One more reason that there's more and more resentment in this country against big business: Verizon's recent announcement that the company would charge customers a $2 monthly fee for paying their bills online via the Verizon web site. The company lists ways people can avoid the charge, such as paying by mail, which is exactly what companies have been trying to steer customers away from for years. We say fie on Verizon.

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