10 worst ideas of the week: Jan. 24, 2010 

San Francisco plays catch-up with street repairs, 400 tons of ground beef is recalled, and a ­former presidential ­candidate admits fathering a child with his mistress.


At sea

1. Luxury ship docks 60 miles from devastation in Haiti

The details: A Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines ship made a scheduled docking at a private beach just 60 miles from the devastation in Haiti. While it did drop off 40 pallets of relief supplies, it also held a private barbecue for vacationers, who were also given the chance to jet-ski and cut loose.


Fair grade

2. Report rates the streets of San Francisco just ‘fair’ 

The details: The City received a score of 63 out of 100 points for paving potholes and repairing cracks on roads, according to the Pavement Condition Index released Tuesday by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. The City has been trying to play catch-up with long-overdue road repairs. This year, San Francisco plans to spend $42 million on repairing and resurfacing city streets. That’s $20 million more than it was spending four years ago, according to the Department of Public Works.


Hack attack

3. Journalists’ e-mail compromised in Google vs. China battle

The details: At least two foreign journalists in China — and dozens of human rights activists — had their Gmail accounts compromised by hackers breaking in and setting incoming messages to go to the wrong addresses. The attacks come as Google confronts China about censorship, threatening to close down or cut back its operations there.


Blunder over bomber

4. Lapses hurt intelligence effort after failed attack on jet

The details: Rather than calling in a newly created team of elite interrogators created to deal with terrorist attacks and suspects, authorities on the scene quickly read Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights, granted him access to an attorney and placed him in the civilian court system like an ordinary crime suspect, Homeland Security Department officials testified this week. The blunder, one of several, cost officials a chance to gather information about the 23-year-old Nigerian, who allegedly tried to bomb a Northwest Airlines flight traveling from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day.


Bad meat

5. Nearly 400 tons of ground beef recalled

The details: Ground beef produced by Huntington Meat Packing Inc. of Montebello was recalled this week after routine checks detected the potentially deadly E. coli bacterium. Some of the batches of meat being recalled date back nearly two years, but officials say they fear some of it may still be in freezers in restaurants and other customers around California. There have been no reports of illness linked to the recalled beef.


Wrong shots

6. School immunization clinic injects insulin instead of H1N1 vaccination

The details: Several staff members at Schofield Elementary School in Wellesley, Mass., had to be taken to the hospital after mistakenly being injected with insulin instead of swine flu vaccine. No students were injected at the staff-only vaccine clinic, and everyone who received insulin recovered. The insulin belonged to students with diabetes and was provided by their parents. The school nurse who administered the insulin is on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.


Fire dryer

7. Hair dyer triggers fire alarm, forces City Hall evacuation

The details: San Francisco City Hall was evacuated for 15 minutes at 1:45 p.m. Thursday after an employee in the building’s day care center set off a fire alarm while using a dryer on her wet hair in a low-ceilinged room and triggering the alarm with the odor of heated tresses. The evacuation forced everyone in the building to go outside into the pouring rain. Most top officials were out to lunch.


Bad sports

8. Basketball league seeks only white American players

The details: In case you thought the South was losing its redneck status, a proposed professional basketball league is aiming to only use white American hoopsters. The All-American Basketball Alliance is targeting 12 cities in the region, specifying that “natural born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible to play in the league.” Said league commissioner Don “Moose” Lewis: “There’s nothing hatred about what we’re doing. I don’t hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here’s a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like.”


How many?

9. City man may have notched 11th felony strike

The details: When Charles Ryan got into trouble back in the early 1990s, there was no three strikes law. He accrued what is now considered 10 strikes in a condensation of cases that landed him a 24-year sentence. He was recently released, then he was busted for an assault and robbery, and now faces a mandatory 25-year sentence if convicted of the felonies.


C’mon, Dad!

10. Newly elected senator says daughter is available

The details: On the biggest night of his political life, Scott Brown proceeded to embarrass his daughter nationally. The Republican was celebrating his victory for the Massachusetts Senate seat — vacated because of the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy — when he announced during his acceptance speech that she was romantically available. Ayala Brown, a student at Boston College, saw her Facebook account flooded with 1,568 friend requests and 300 inbox messages.


Dim bulb of the week

John Edwards

What: The former North Carolina senator and presidential candidate admitted that he fathered the baby born to his ex-mistress. The baby was conceived in mid-2007, when Edwards was running for the White House and around the time when he was renewing his vows after 30 years of marriage.

How it started: Edwards had admitted that he had cheated on his wife, Elizabeth, with the child’s mother, Rielle Hunter. He, however, denied that he was the father of Frances Quinn Hunter.

The outcome: Edwards admitted he is the father ahead of the release of a book about the 2008 presidential primaries by Edwards aide Andrew Young.


Sinking ship

One in five American teens has unhealthy cholesterol levels, putting them on the fast track for heart disease. Overweight and obese young people are at much greater risk than youths of normal weights. A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report showed that 43 percent of obese teens had unhealthy cholesterol levels compared with only 14 percent of normal-weight teens and 22 percent of overweight teens.

About The Author

Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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