I have used this joke before, but it’s a good one.

A rabbi, a priest, and a minister are attending an ecumenical conference in another town, and they stop at a bar at the end of the day. The priest pulls out a deck of cards and pretty soon they’ve got a little poker game going — only to be busted by an overzealous policeman enforcing the town’s strict anti-gambling laws. So they’re hauled before a judge the next morning, and everybody’s kind of embarrassed about it, including the judge.

“Look,” he says, “just tell me you weren’t gambling, and I’ll let you go.”

“Well,” says the priest, “gambling qua gambling seems to me to imply some sort of intent to win money or with the idea that it would exchange hands at the end of the evening, whereas considering a hypothetical situation such as the one we were engaged in where the money is taking on more of the role of a token merely for tracking the interplay of the game and the relative …” and so on.

“Fine,” says the judge, “You can go.”

The minister steps up. “It seems to me that given divine foreknowledge of all events, even if we mortals are not so gifted raises the question of whether gambling as a concept can really ..” and so on also, and is similarly dismissed by the judge, just leaving the rabbi in the courtroom.

“Well?” asks the judge. “Rabbi, were you gambling?”

The rabbi looks around and shrugs his shoulders. “Gambling? With who?”

Good humor – but what if it was real?  Oh, not word-for-word real, but at the core of the humor is that it takes multiple players for some things to work.  And that’s where this little piece of news comes in.  Seems that some hackers broke in and stole something from some computers.  Oh, not credit card info.  Not personal information.  That’s so last decade.

They stole carbon offset credits.

Huh?  The whole carbon offset, cap-and-trade thing hasn’t yet been foisted upon introduced to us here in the States.  Oh, this was in progressive Europe.

So in places where they have bought into the collapsing theory that man is causing Global Warming, they have set up a trading exchange where they can buy carbon offsets and feel good about polluting I mean help Mother Earth with therefore own carbon offsets, somebody has broken in and stolen four million dollars worth of hot air.

Nope – can’t call it that.  But somebody stole $4M of something that somebody thought was worth that much.  Authorities are hot on the trail of the miscreants.

I can’t wait for some poor lawyer to try explaining this to the judge.  Or the jury.

Prosecutor: “The victim paid $4 million so that they could go on polluting, because somebody somewhere else wasn’t polluting, and then THIS MAN broke in and stole it.”

Judge: “Stole what?”

Prosecutor: “Ummmm, non-physical indicators that somebody somewhere else would create less carbon dioxide.  I think they were going to breathe more slowly, or not exhale as much.”

Judge: “Four million dollars’ worth??”

The big problem I see is trying to dispose of the stolen whatevers.  Imagine taking them to the local flea market . . .

“Hey, buddy, want to buy some cheap carbon offsets?”

“Are they hot?”