We are entering the very bottom tier of Washington bandits with the arrest of petty thief Claude Allen, former domestic policy adviser for the White House. Allen, who resigned in February, was charged with theft for illegal refunds obtained at area department stores. President Bush today said that he was "shocked, and my first reaction was one of disappointment, deep disappointment - if it's true - that we were not fully informed."

Listen up, George - we are not it the least bit shocked whenever you are not fully informed. That is, after all, your modus operandi. Even so, we imagine that you are quite disturbed at the rather low ambitions of someone that you nominally trusted to be a good ole robber bandit like the rest of your merry men. But this is pitiful.

Take it TIME: He was arrested Thursday and charged with "theft" and "theft scheme" following a bizarre incident at a Target store that detectives allege was part of a year-long spree of fraudulent refunds at Target and Hechtís stores that netted him more than $5,000 in credits to his credit cards. "He would buy items, take them out to his car, and return to the store with the receipt," a police statement said. "He would select the same items he had just purchased, and then return them for a refund." The police said that in 25 incidents during 2005, Allen "obtained refunds for items ranging from clothing, a Bose theater system, stereo equipment, and photo printer to items valued only at $2.50."

"Yes, Miss, I would like to return this Barbie Lightweight Portable Sewing Machine... Ah, yes, as you can see, it's new in the carton. Unopened. A receipt? Yes. Yes I do. As you can see, it's dated right in the last hour... Ha ha, right... Very quick turnaround indeed. You see, I am a, uh... would you like to see something important? Yes, that is my White House ID card. Not bragging, just glad to be serving the old country and all... Not at all. It's... cool. You see, my daughter is going to be a lawyer one of these days, and what I thought I was picking up was a suing machine... No, no, not a thing that I saw that I'd be willing to use as a substitute. As a matter of fact, I did see the Bissell Barbie Real Vacuum Cleaner, I just hope to Jesus that this sort of thing never comes into her life... Joking, joking... I'm sure you keep a fine house... Anyway, if you could just credit my card..."


©2006, Mark Hoback