There is a program that allows pilots who have undergone rigorous training to carry a handgun in the cockpit of commercial airliners. The theoretical concept is good. Execution however is amazingly bad. Basically, every time the pilot has to leave the cockpit, he has to lock the gun up. That is bad enough, and appears designed to make it so inconvenient that many pilots are dissuaded. However, that's not the worst part--the worst part is that the pilots are required to lock their gun up by inserting a padlock through a hole in the holster, and through the triggerguard.
Put a hard metal object through the trigger guard of a loaded gun--and you can't even see the trigger when you do this. You don't have to be an elite trainer to cringe at this.
In theory, the holster should guide the lock behind the trigger. In practice, if the gun is not perfectly seated in the holster, the lock winds up just in front of the trigger, so that any pressure on the gun makes it go off. This has happened more than once--including at least once in the cockpit of an airplane-- yet no corrective action has been taken.
The Dutch have skimmers that can capture 5,000 tons of spilled oil per day per ship. They offered 4 of these to us 3 days after the spill.
In order to be useful, the skimmers have to also suck up water . The water separates from almost all the oil--but a few drops are unable to be separated and remain in the water. We apparently have regulations that forbid discharging water with more than 15ppm oil--even if the oil was in the water when you sucked it in. Apparently this idiotic regulation is why we don't have US oil skimmers. The Dutch skimmers are finally in action and working well, over a month late.
The state of Louisiana managed to get barges running to suck and skim oil--but the coast guard shut them down because....they were not certain that the barges had the appropriate life jackets and fire extinguishers...and instead of going aboard and counting, they wanted to contact the manufacturers of the barges.
I'm not a conspiracy theorist, and I've got pretty low expectations on the intelligence of government--but these stories strain the limits of mere stupidity.
(h/t to Linoge for the oil spill stories)