10 worst ideas of the week: Sunday, June 27, 2010 

Female suicide bomber kills two, state-of-the-art jail sits empty, restaurant serves lion burger for World Cup, and BP sends publicists to pose as journalists.

1. Blue-eyed special

Couple try to sell baby at Walmart
The details: A California couple tried to sell their 6-month-old baby for $25 outside a Salinas Walmart. Patrick Fousek, 38, and Samantha Tomasini, 20, were arrested after Fousek allegedly asked two women if they wanted to buy his child. The women called police, and Tomasini and Fousek were found at their home at 1 a.m. visibly high on meth. Tomasini told Child Protective Services, who took the baby, that she breast-fed while on drugs.

2. Woman suicide bomber

Two GIs die in first incident of its type in Afghanistan
The details: A woman who detonated explosives hidden under her burqa in Afghanistan — killing two U.S. soldiers and injuring more than a dozen bystanders — was the first female suicide bomber in Afghanistan, government officials told The Wall Street Journal. Suicide attacks were taboo in Afghanistan until recently. The Taliban claimed credit for the attack.


3. Empty jail

No money to staff $74 million facility
The details: The Los Angeles Police Department’s new $74 million, 172,000-square-foot, five-floor Metropolitan Detention Center, one of 10 the department operates, is one of the largest of its kind. But the new jail sits empty because of the city’s dire fiscal crisis, which has left the LAPD unable to hire enough jailers to operate the large, labor-intensive facility.

4. A roaring time

Restaurant serves up lion burger as tribute
The details: It might have been intended as a tribute to the World Cup in South Africa, but a Phoenix valley restaurant’s addition of a lion burger to its menu was not a roaring success. “We thought that since the World Cup was in Africa ... that the lion burger might be interesting for some of our more adventurous customers,” owner Cameron Selogie told Reuters. But the unique burger — priced at $21 — prompted bomb threats and 250 e-mail complaints.


5. Red-light runner

Man arrested while rushing sick wife to hospital
The details: Eric Wright, whose wife Aline has cancer, was arrested after he ran two red lights while driving his wife to the hospital, according to WTVC-TV in Chattanooga, Tenn. Her treatment could possibly lead to a blood clot and stroke. When the couple feared she was having a stroke, Wright rushed her to the hospital. Police counter Wright was driving erratically and was endangering others on the road. He is scheduled to go to court July 9 to face traffic and other charges, including assaulting an officer.

6. Summer in The City

Crime expected to rise with the temperatures
The details: San Francisco’s top brass says there will be fewer police officers on the street to combat the annual summer uptick in crime because the department does not have the budget to support patrols. In addition to the police budget being cut, factors such as criminals being released due to the crime lab scandal and the cut in summer school classes, coupled with slashing a new Police Academy class, leave San Franciscans vulnerable during a peak crime season, said police Chief George Gascón.

7. Messy restoration

Shoddy disposal work tarnishes oil spill cleanup
The details: The BP effort to clean up the toxic sludge from the worst offshore U.S. oil spill in history already has collected more than 1,300 tons of solid waste. But disposal of the polluted gunk has been slipshod, or worse. Piles of oily sand can be easily found in dumpsters along the northern Gulf Coast. Leaky trucks leave trails of oil and tar balls along the roadways en route to landfills or temporary dump sites.

8. Still on the trail

Bin Laden hunter says he’ll try again
The details: Gary Faulkner, the Colorado man who was arrested in Pakistan for trying to hunt down Osama bin Laden, was asked if he had plans to return to the Middle East. “Absolutely,” replied Faulkner, adding “You’ll find out at the end of August.” What’s more, members of Faulkner’s family believe his quest is not “crazy” and said they hope their relative inspires more Americans to go look for bin Laden themselves. Faulkner was detained in northern Pakistan when authorities found him armed with a gun, a sword and a small amount of hashish. He was released without charges about a week later.

9. Pain in Spain

High-speed train kills dozens of summer solstice revelers
The details: Dozens of people, mostly Latin American immigrants, were killed or injured when they crossed train tracks instead of using an underground passageway to get to a beach party in Castelldefels, Spain. A crowd of partiers got off a commuter train to head for the shore. Many jammed an underpass that led to the beach, but about 30 others tried to scurry across the tracks — but didn’t watch for a long-­distance train that doesn’t stop at the station. Seconds later, it struck the crowd at high speed, turning a night of revelry into one of carnage. Most of the victims were identified as Ecuadorean, Bolivian and Colombian.

10. Fake reporters

BP sends PR professionals posing as journalists
The details: BP, struggling in the wake of its underwater oil well disaster that’s tarring the Gulf Coast and waters with millions of gallons of leaking crude, has apparently dispatched an army of publicists to pose as journalists and file positive stories from the region. Their positive reports are being compiled in an online magazine, Planet BP.

Sinking ship

An Oregon masseuse claims former Vice President Al Gore sexually assaulted her during a massage session. In a January 2009 statement to Portland police, the 54-year-old woman said Gore contracted with her for a massage in 2006 and they met at the Hotel Lucia, where Gore displayed a violent temper and approached her sexually. The woman’s tale was met with skepticism after the National Enquirer revealed she aske for $1 million for her story. No word from the Gore camp.

Dim Bulb of the Week

Kwame Kilpatrick

What: The former mayor of Detroit — already serving five years in prison for obstruction of justice for covering up a 2008 extramarital affair — has now been indicted on 19 counts of federal fraud and tax charges that could put him behind bars for another 20 years.

Why: This time Kilpatrick is charged with misappropriating donations to his tax-exempt community services organization to pay for personal expenses and election campaign costs.

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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