10 worst ideas of the week: Sunday, May 23, 2010 

Greeting for Mexican president lost in translation, wrong ballots sent out, woman can’t pay cash for iPad, and a geometry problem prompts a visit from the Secret Service.


1. Soda in a shoe

High school coach apologizes

The details: Eight South Lake Tahoe High school women’s softball players who struck out on May 1 were forced by their coach to drink soda out of a team member’s shoe. After one of the parents complained, a school district official said the coach has since apologized. “It was meant as a joke, and obviously it went too far,” Lake Tahoe Unified School District superintendent James Tarwater said. South Tahoe Athletic Director Don Borges told The Associated Press his coaches are all required to attend a preseason orientation meeting in which hazing is addressed.


2. Culture shock

Calderon visit marred by poor translation

The details: A halting and grammatically incoherent English translation marred Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s arrival ceremony at the White House on Wednesday, rendering his remarks difficult to understand at times. The Mexican delegation blamed its own translator.


3. June 8 blunder

Voters get wrong mail-in ballots

The details: San Francisco voters could be receiving new ballots after a blunder left residents holding the wrong mail-in forms for the June 8 statewide primary election. Political insiders and candidates on the June ballot have concerns about mail-in forms that were sent to the wrong voters, but even more problematic is the fact that the Elections Department remains unclear about the magnitude of the issue.


4. Viagra blindness

4|Rocker took too many Viagra pills, couldn’t see straight for two days

The details: Tom Kaulitz, 20, guitarist of Germany’s popular Tokio Hotel rock band says he took too many Viagra tablets and had blurred vision for 48 hours. During the band’s Asian concert tour, a dealer offered him some prescription impotence pills. Kaulitz had never used Viagra before, but he swallowed “a few” throughout the night and woke up next day with a pretty bad pounding headache and blurry vision that lasted two days.


5. Taser terror

Armed with stun gun, woman chased worker over botched order

The details: Angered that her drive-thru order was botched, a Florida woman allegedly attacked a Daytona Beach Wendy’s restaurant and tried unsuccessfully to shoot a fleeing employee with a pink stun gun. Melanese Reid, 20, reportedly became enraged after fast-food workers failed to give her enough mustard and mayonnaise packets. She was arrested on a charge of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.


6. No pad

Bay Area woman denied iPad

The details: A disabled woman was not allowed to purchase an iPad at the Palo Alto Apple Store because she could only pay in cash. Because the woman lives on a fixed income, she saved up enough money to purchase the iPad. But upon going to the store she was denied from purchasing it — an Apple company policy designed to make sure their products are fairly distributed. Luckily the company caught wind of the woman’s troubles and rescinded their policy, even delivering an iPad to her door.


7. Baby blues

NYC effectively outlaws midwife-aided home births

The details: When St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan closed, it took with it the legal option for a homebirth. Midwives who practice in New York have to be approved by a hospital in addition to their professional training. St. Vincent’s approved 13 midwives, but they closed their doors on April 30, leaving midwives without any professional backing — and dozens of expectant mothers who were counting on them to aid in their homebirth. Now the midwives must either tell those moms-to-be they’re out of luck, or operate illegally.


8. Bad angle

Teacher uses assassination example in geometry problem

The details: The topic was lines and angles, but the example could have been a little less pointed. An Alabama high school math teacher said during a lesson, “If you’re in this building, you would need to take this angle to shoot the president,” according to a senior in the geometry class. Authorities were alerted and the teacher was questioned by the Secret Service, but was not arrested or charged with a crime. He was, however, placed on leave.


9. Distractions

Passengers visit cockpit just before fatal crash

The details: Polish and Russian investigators revealed that two passengers were in the cockpit and others may have been talking on cell phones just before the plane crash that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski. While an underexperienced crew flew through heavy fog over difficult terrain, cell phone conversations may have obstructed navigational instruments. Finally, the pilot appeared to have ignored warnings of poor visibility and advice to change routes.


10. Not her day

Mom gets fired for bringing her daughter to work

The details: Even though businesses nationwide were celebrating Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, when Qwedra Evans brought her 11-year-old daughter to a Check ’n Go in Michigan, she got fired. The reasons given were that she brought her daughter in, and let her into a restricted area. Evans was told she would have needed to ask permission to bring her child, which would have been denied — but she says that in her 11 years of employment with Check ’n Go, she’s participated in the April “holiday” four times with no problems.



Dim bulb of the week

Kamala Harris

What: The District Attorney chose a well-known private defense attorney — and political donor — to assist with the fallout from the SFPD’s drug-lab shutdown.

Why: Harris announced that John Keker, the founding partner of a San Francisco law firm, would be assisting the District Attorney’s Office free of charge after prosecutors failed to follow basic legal protocols in the crime lab scandal, putting convictions of hundreds of criminals at risk. But this isn’t the first time Keker has assisted Harris. In April 2009, Keker and his wife both gave Harris maximum donations of $6,500 for her campaign for attorney general. Keker and his wife contributed maximum donations as early as 2002. In addition, employees at Keker’s law firm, Keker and Van Nest, also contributed heavily to Harris’ campaign.


Sinking ship

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was his state’s front-running Democratic primary candidate for U.S. Senate until The New York Times printed transcripts of him falsely claiming to have served in Vietnam. Actually he obtained deferments from 1965 to 1970, worked at the Nixon White House and then joined the Marine Reserve — where he only served on the East Coast. His former double-digit lead in the polls is plummeting as more clips of his false claims surface.

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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