Law and Disorder
Maybe he had an urgent e-mail from Nigeria
Federal Way Police Chief Brian J. Wilson reportedly was “mortified” after running his unmarked cruiser into the car in front of him at a stoplight. The chief, who was checking e-mail and newspaper headlines on his BlackBerry, mistakenly thought traffic was moving. No one was hurt; no damage done. For ordinary citizens, reading a mobile device while driving is punishable by a fine. Luckily for Wilson, drivers of emergency vehicles are exempt. Except from embarrassment.
And it wouldn’t hurt to look really stylish at your immigration hearing
A Kent couple were charged with being a bit too creative in their advice to would-be immigrants. Steven and Helena Mahoney, who ran an immigration consulting business, are accused of encouraging straight immigrants to say they were gay—and that they were being persecuted in their homelands over their sexual preference. The idea was to persuade immigration officials to let them stay in the U.S. The pair were charged with conspiracy to commit immigration fraud.
Perhaps she should have chosen to be a politician
King County District Court Judge Judith Eiler was punished a second time for committing the ultimate Seattle crime: rudeness. To lawyers and litigants. The Commission on Judicial Conduct censured her and recommended a 90-day suspension without pay. Apparently, Eiler didn’t listen well at sensitivity training where she was sent in 2005 after being sanctioned for similarly questionable courtroom manners. She has filed an appeal. Her comment to KIRO-TV: “If I wanted people to love me, I wouldn’t have chosen to be a judge.”
But all those other justices have really poor penmanship
State Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders authored a ruling requiring King County to pay nearly $900,000 in additional fines for dragging its heels on a public-records request by businessman Armen Yousoufian. The kicker: Sanders had a lawsuit of his own against the state involving the release of public records. Sanders’ lawyers cited the Yousoufian ruling in asking an appeals court to increase the fine the state owed Sanders. When the appeals court refused to get involved—and King County complained that Sanders had not recused himself in the Yousoufian case—the state Supremes reversed their ruling on Yousoufian.
Don’t mess with the mayor (even after she’s gone)
The former mayor of a Franklin County community may put her town out of business, literally. Donna Zink, who was mayor of Mesa from 1990 to ’93, and her husband sued the city, saying city employees wouldn’t give her the public records she requested in 2002 after being told a permit to repair her home had expired. A judge ruled for Zink, putting the town of about 400 on the hook for a quarter-million dollars. City Councilman David Ferguson told the Associated Press that’s about 25 percent of the city’s annual budget. The case is on appeal, and it’s unclear whether insurance would cover the bill. If the town has to pay, it might be curtains for Mesa.
At least prosecutors will have a story ABOUT THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
Though former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens faced the wrath of voters after being convicted of accepting expensive gifts, it was his prosecutors who ended up in hot water, accused of withholding information that could have helped Stevens’ defense. The government’s case was botched so badly that a federal judge tossed Stevens’ conviction. Though dropped charges do not necessarily equate with innocence, the former senator is off the hook legally.
So next they went with the ‘Godfather’ theme
The Italian Club of Seattle was not amused when the state Democratic Party produced a video accusing GOP gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi of having ties to the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW). The video, which the Italian Club called racist, was set to music from The Sopranos, a TV show about Italian mobsters. The Dems said the tune worked well with its message rebutting attack ads against Gov. Chris Gregoire. State Dem spokesman Kelly Steele apologized to the Italian Club and promised to replace the video “with an identical message regarding Rossi and the BIAW’s sleazy attack campaign, using a different song.”
The camel was the last straw
The Snohomish County Republican Party apologized after fake money, featuring then-candidate Barack Obama dressed in Arabian headgear, with a camel alongside, was sold at a fair booth last year. A woman who complained about the phony bills said Republicans at the Evergreen State Fair booth threatened to call security. After receiving the complaint, Snohomish County Republican Party chair Geri Modrell told volunteers at the booth to remove the $3 bills, which she said were not sanctioned by the party.
From the ‘Things That Are Just Wrong’ Department
In this case, things were dead wrong
True, they didn’t need them anymore, but there’s something creepy about corpses having their drugs—legal and illegal—stolen. And, according to police, the thief was an investigator at the King County Medical Examiner’s Office. They think Thomas Chapin, whose job included visiting homes when suspicious deaths occurred, stole from houses and evidence lockers for about six years.
Once again proving that there is no free lunch
Two women were charged with kidnapping after they allegedly took a 78-year-old man suffering from dementia out of an Issaquah nursing home, applied for a marriage license, then took him out again three days later and got a judge to marry the man to one of the women, a 56-year-old masseuse. The “honeymoon” was an immediate trip to the bank, where they tried to close out his accounts. Bank employees called police; and the confused man was returned to the nursing home, complaining that the women had reneged on a promised lunch.
No love lost
The state Attorney General’s Office accused a Seattle company of putting deceptive ads on social-networking Web sites such as Facebook.com. The MyLuvCrush ads looked like incoming mail and promised that someone in the user’s city was looking for them. According to the Post-Intelligencer, a series of prompts led to a solicitation for a text-messaging service that would reveal the identity of the secret (read: nonexistent) “crush.” The owner of MyLuvCrush did not admit fault, but agreed to stop placing the ads and to reimburse the state for attorney fees.
Further Tales of ‘Do What I Say, Not What I Do’
Onetime Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, who lamented in an op-ed piece that “lawsuits, verdicts, settlements ... are driving up the cost of goods and services everywhere,” sued (then settled with) the Yale Club of New York for a tumble he took while ascending the speaker’s dais.
More Like You U(Won’t)C San Diego
The University of California, San Diego sent admission acceptance e-mails to 28,000 students before hours later sending another one saying there was a mistake and they didn’t make the cut.
J.C. Penney Believes in America?
J.C. Penney sold T-shirts emblazoned with an eagle bearing the words “American Made,” which were made in Mexico.
What Would You Do With an $85 Billion Windfall?
AIG executives went on a $440,000 spa junket just a week after being given billions of dollars for a bailout by the U.S. government.
Somehow A Little Spa Junket Just Wasn’t Enough
AIG awarded employees $218 million in bonuses from the bailout money they received.
You have to wonder what he would have served as a side dish
Every now and then, a guy just has to have a fire-roasted sausage, and if he happens to live behind bars, he has to get creative. That’s why an inmate at Clallam Bay Corrections Center lighted a fire in his stainless steel toilet to toast the snack sausage he had purchased at the prison store. Unfortunately for him, it created a lot of smoke, which was seen wafting from a sewer vent. The wing was evacuated and firefighters called in. No word on whether the jailbird had time to eat his dinner.
Your Government at Work
Here’s why women should wear fanny packs
A Seattle Times reporter was dragged away by her purse strap from a closed-door budget briefing between some Seattle City Council members and city staffers. Council members said closed sessions were being held in preparation for budget cuts, and that each meeting included no more than four council members—less than the quorum that triggers the state’s open-meeting law. Still, Seattle City Attorney Tom Carr said the closed-door sessions might violate the spirit of the law. The city later switched to one-on-one budget briefings between council members and staffers.
It wasn’t bad enough that we lost the Sonics?
Mariners fans lost their “Metro to the Mariners” bus service this year, thanks to a federal law that says public transit can’t run a sports charter service if a private company wants the job. The private company in question is Starline Transportation of Seattle, which the Mariners say would charge fans $5, with the team pitching in at least $300,000. That’s about double the subsidy the Mariners paid for King County Metro service. Starline also wanted to provide transit service last year, but the Mariners got a temporary waiver from the feds to continue using Metro. This year, they struck out.
Talk about a crack employee
Until February, more than a ride could be had on the No. 42 Metro route. Ricky Beavers, a Metro bus driver for 10 years, was charged with dealing crack cocaine on the side. Though there was no evidence that he was selling to his passengers, police say Beavers sold drugs both on the bus and at his home during an undercover investigation. He pleaded guilty to three counts of delivery of cocaine.
About as much fun as, say, having your car towed
Neighbors around Volunteer Park were outraged to find their cars ticketed or towed after the city declared a “car-free” afternoon in the area and closed it off. Outdoor entertainment was rained out, if you don’t count watching the tow trucks. The city later relented, waiving towing fees for 13 cars and changing 21 parking citations to warnings. Mayor Greg Nickels’ spokesman, Alex Fryer, explained that the event “was supposed to be a fun thing.”
Next they’ll ban those little bottles of hand sanitizer
A restrictive state law has pushed Spokane residents to the breaking point. They’re sneaking over the border (to Idaho) and slinking home with trunks full of smuggled items. The cause of the rebellion? A ban on phosphate dishwasher detergent. The environment-friendly law will be expanded to the entire state next year. Spokane residents found that hard water resisted many eco-friendly brands, leaving reminders on their dishes of what was for dinner last night. A Costco just over the Idaho border reports a big increase in sales of dishwasher detergent—to Washington residents—according to the AP. To be fair, these “smugglers” are not really breaking the law; it’s selling the stuff that’s illegal, not possession.
To get a ‘C,’ the city would have to be buried in an avanlanche and lose power for a month
When two weeks of winter storms nearly paralyzed Seattle, the city’s response was chaotic at best. Rarely were all its snowplows in use, according to The Seattle Times. Worse, a recently retired city transportation employee told the Times that the man in charge of the plowing (later reassigned) seemed mainly concerned about clearing the way for Mayor Greg Nickels to get to work. The final insult: The city’s policy of using sand on icy streets—an effort to protect salmon habitat—melted into a spring nightmare when sand washed into city storm drains, shutting down a pump at a wastewater treatment facility. Still, Nickels gave the city’s storm response a solid B.
Politics in America
We don't have George W. Bush to kick around anymore
L&P’s Turkeys section mourns the passing of the Bush administration, which for eight years richly endowed the section. Here are two last hits, in memoriam:
- When asked if he would have invaded Iraq had he known there were no WMDs, George Bush replied, “That’s an interesting question.”
- Michael Chertoff, Bush’s Secretary of Homeland Security, had a lovely gift for hundreds of his former employees: a 315-page paperback of speeches given by Chertoff. The cost (to taxpayers, of course) of each book: about $50.
If Only They Had Decided to Do It Before George W. Bush’s Election
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, unhappy about taxes proposed by the federal government, entertained the idea of his state seceding from the union.
It’s Official: The Winner is the Id over the Super-Ego
Eliot Spitzer resigned the governorship of New York after he was caught on the customer list of a high-end call-girl outfit.
President Obama Would Like to Thank Republican Leaders for Handing Him the Hispanic Vote in 2012
Newt Gingrich called Sonia Sotomayor “a Latina woman racist.” Karl Rove sneered that Sotomayor “is not necessarily” smart. And Rush Limbaugh compared her nomination to the hypothetical nomination of David Duke, former head of the Ku Klux Klan.
I Have Here in My Hand a List …
Rep. Spencer Bachus, of Alabama, said he’s drawn up a list of 17 members of Congress who were socialists.
Our Heartfelt Sympathy on the Death And/Or Injury of Your Beloved Son or Daughter
The Army mistakenly sent 7,000 letters with the salutation “Dear John Doe” to family members of soldiers who died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
An Aptly Named Former Mayor
Los Alamitos Mayor Dean Grose resigned after sending around an e-mail photo depicting the White House lawn planted with watermelons under the title “No Easter egg hunt this year.”
Who’s Like Hitler This Year?
Doing a Heck of a Job, Brouny
Georgia Rep. Paul Broun said that a civilian national security reserve corps proposed by Obama during his campaign would be like the security forces of Nazi Germany.
Deborah Campbell in Holland Township, N.J., was upset when a local ShopRite wouldn’t decorate a birthday cake for her 3-year-old son. The reason: The lad’s name is Adolf Hitler Campbell. Dad Heath said he named his son that because he liked the name and because “no one else in the world would have that name.” Wal-Mart ended up decorating the cake.
The Obama Administration
Joe Biden’s Failed Effort to Bring Airline Traffic to a Complete Halt
Asked about his reaction to the looming swine flu epidemic, Vice President Joe Biden said, “I would tell members of my family—and I have—I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now. It’s [that] you’re in a confined aircraft. When one person sneezes, it goes all the way through the aircraft.”
No Wonder Democrats Don’t Mind Raising Taxes. They Don’t Pay Them
- Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination to become secretary of Health and Human Services after it was discovered he had failed to pay more than $100,000 in taxes.
- Former Kansas Governor and now Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced she had paid $8,000 in back taxes and interest two days before her confirmation hearings.
- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made tax errors that required paying back taxes in 2001 and again in 2006.
- Nancy Killefer withdrew from consideration for Obama’s chief performance officer because of her past failure to pay taxes.
Next, Let’s Pretend To Put All Japanese-Americans
in Relocation Camps
White House Military Office Director Louis Caldera approved the low-flying flight of a 747, accompanied by two fighter jets, over downtown Manhattan. No one in New York was warned of the exercise in advance, which prompted mass panic on the streets as New Yorkers feared a repeat of 9/11.
Or Like His I.Q. That Night
Making fun of his low bowling score on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, President Obama joked that the score was “like the Special Olympics or something.”
But, Oh, That 1 Percent He Left Out!
Candidate John Edwards said that “being 99 percent honest is no longer enough.”
Why Sarah Palin is Completely Qualified to be Vice President of the U.S.
Because, said John McCain, “She knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America.” And, according to Condoleezza Rice, because “she’s governor of a state here in the United States.”
And Then There’s Palin’s Extensive Foreign Policy Experience
When asked by Katie Couric how living next to Russia gave her foreign policy experience, as she has claimed, Palin answered, “It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America. Where—where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to—to our state.”
The Overstatement Files
As Emily Litella Said, ‘Never Mind.’
During the many months before and leading up to the stock market collapse, CNBC’s Jim Cramer screamed and exhorted his audience to “buy, buy, buy” into the market, as it was safe and strong.
The Moral Equivalent of Pearl Harbor
Illinois Rep. John Shimkus called the cap-and-trade portion of President Obama’s energy plan a bigger “assault on democracy and freedom” than 9/11 and both World War I and World War II.
Apparently, He Didn’t Have Time To Mention Moses, Jesus and Mother Theresa?
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, accused of wanting to profit from the appointment of a senator to fill Obama’s former seat, compared himself to Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
Morons and Microphones
And Do We Really Believe Christopher Reeve Had a Neck Injury?
On-air personalities Chris Baker and Langdon Perry of Minneapolis radio station KTLK accused Magic Johnson of faking his AIDS diagnosis for public sympathy.
Rush Limbaugh Shows His Tender Side
Rush Limbaugh predicted Sen. Ted Kennedy would be dead by the time Congress passed health care reform, adding, “Before it’s all over, it’ll be called the Ted Kennedy Memorial Health Care Bill.”
Did Anyone Spot Ann Coulter in Upstate New York Around Election Time?
Hundreds of voters in upstate New York were sent absentee ballots in which the Democratic candidate for president was identified as “Barack Osama.”
…And Inequality For All, Under the Law
At a Republican rally at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis in October, local talk-radio host Dennis Prager told the crowd that “equality, which is the primary value of the left, is a European value, not an American value.” L&P