10 worst ideas of the week: Sunday, May 2, 2010 

Football official asks the wrong question, teen plays a costly practical joke, 3-year-old held on suspicion of being a terrorist and bystanders let immigrant bleed to death.

1. No joke

Teen scares child for fun by yelling “I’m going to kidnap you!”

The details: A Montana 18-year-old apparently thought it would be funny to yell “I’m going to kidnap you” as he drove by a 7-year-old girl, but the joke cost him a $185 fine. The girl helped local police create a sketch, and Justin Stockdale turned himself in after seeing his likeness on flyers distributed all over town. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, was fined $185 and given a 10-day suspended jail sentence.

2. LUV to fly

Southwest fined for bumping passengers

The details: Southwest Airlines Co., which bumped more passengers than any U.S. carrier last year, has been fined $200,000 for violating rules on kicking passengers off oversold flights. The Transportation Department reviewed passenger complaints and found many cases of Southwest failing to promptly pay bumped passengers and give them written notices of their rights.

3. Overload

Average class size in Chicago public schools could violate fire code

The details: In an effort to save money, Chicago public schools are considering increasing class sizes from 30 to 35 students. But the Chicago School Board says squeezing 35 kids in one room could violate city fire codes. According to the municipal code, “20 square feet per person” is required in a classroom, which means a 720 square foot classroom is necessary to legally fit 35 students and a teacher. Chicago Public Schools maintains that its classrooms could legally accommodate that many students.  

4. Terror threat?

Boy arrested as suspected terrorist

The details: A three-year-old — identified only as Daniel — was arrested as a suspected terrorist and held at a French police station for two hours until his mother came to pick him up. The boy was with his father, an illegal immigrant from North Africa, who was questioned about links to radical groups possibly linked to Islamic terrorism.

5. Human indecency

Good Samaritan bleeds to death while 25 people pass by

The details: Homeless Guatemalan immigrant Hugo Tale-Yax intervened in a fight between a man and woman in Queens. Tale-Yax was stabbed during the altercation, and lay on the sidewalk dying while more than 25 people ignored him. When a passerby finally did call authorities, it was too late. “It’s a message about humanity,” said Tale-Yax’s brother. “We need to love one another.”

6. Let them go

Employees fired for pursuing shoplifting suspect

The details: Two Sprint store employees were let go for helping a distraught security guard chase down an alleged shoplifter in the Denver mall where they worked. The suspect was running out of an Apple store, and the two workers were on break — but they got in trouble anyway under the Sprint store’s policy that employees should not chase shoplifters.  

7. Oops!

Texas demolition crew tears down wrong house

The details: In Denton, Texas, a demolition crew mistakenly knocked down the wrong house, instead of one across the street. Francis Howard, 69, had resided with her family for 47 years in the now-dismantled home. Howard is living with her son in a neighboring town as she talks to attorneys about a lawsuit. The house that should have been torn down was condemned by the city because of junked vehicles, scraggly lawns and failure to secure the structure.

8. Short-circuited

German man uses meat hook to get electricity

The details: People will go to great lengths in order to save a dime. A 36-year-old German man is being investigated for siphoning electricity off a high-voltage overhead transmission line for a month by using an ordinary meat hook, police said. Not surprisingly, the man put together the idea after the electric company cut him off after he failed to pay his bills. He simply attached a cable to a meat hook and tossed it onto an overhead line. A utility company employee noticed the meat hook during a routine check.

9. Monkey meat

Poachers arrested after making meatballs from rare mammal

The details: The lure of a tasty delicacy prompted a pair of Indonesians to poach rare monkeys and make meatballs out of their flesh. Police arrested the duo after they made the meatballs out of dozens of rare Javan langurs, also known as silver-leaf monkeys, taken from a national park. Their motive? Chicken and beef was more expensive to purchase than the protected monkeys.

10. Cuddle spray

Scientists develop a spritz to make men more affectionate

The details: For those who would like their significant other to be more snuggly, a new spray is in the works that is expected to do the trick. Just a couple spritzes of the “cuddle chemical” — which is based on oxytocin, a naturally occurring hormone involved in sex, trust and confidence — should make a man feel as sensitive as a woman. The scientists behind the invention say that their discovery boosts emotional empathy levels.

Dim bulb of the week

Jeff Ireland

Who: The Miami Dolphins’ general manager asked a potential draft pick if his mother was a prostitute.

Why: During an interview before the NFL draft, Ireland and former Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant were chatting about family when a comment from the player piqued the GM’s interest. He followed up with the question about the mom, who gave birth to Bryant when she was 15. Ireland issued an apology.

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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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