New York state Sen. Ada Smith, known as the “Wild Woman of Albany” for her temper, pleaded not guilty in April for yet another outburst, this time assaulting a staff member with hot coffee after a comment about Smith’s weight. According to Senate officials cited by the New York Daily News, over the years more than 200 of her staff members have either quit or been fired. Besides Smith’s previous run-ins with Albany police, New York City police and United Airlines, other former employees have claimed that she assaulted them—the latest being a woman who said Smith threw a phone at her. Smith has denied virtually every accusation, but her exasperated Senate party leader has stripped Smith of seniority privileges.
PEOPLE WITH ISSUES
In July, Cory Neddermeyer, 42, was turned down for unemployment benefits in Iowa, after a judge ruled that he was fired for cause. His employer, the Amaizing Energy ethanol plant, suffered a massive spill that created a pond of fuel alcohol. Neddermeyer, a recovering alcoholic, after resisting as long as he could, began drinking from the pool. He eventually passed out and later registered a 0.72 blood-alcohol reading.
THE DISTRICT OF CALAMITY
The District of Columbia government’s payroll for 2005, reported by the Washington Times in July, included 1,268 employees paid over $100,000 a year (including 43 over $150,000 a year). The figures for Baltimore (with a slightly larger population) were 55 and two, respectively, and Chicago, with five times the population of D.C., still had fewer employees in both categories. In fact, even though the D.C. workforce has shrunk by 2,000 workers since 2002, the annual payroll has increased by $180 million.
NOT CUT OUT FOR A LIFE OF CRIME
Pierre Barton, 20, was arrested in Cleveland following the robbery of Georgio’s Pizza, shortly after he had accidentally dropped his two “cheat sheet” cards containing his robbery speech, which read “Give me the money” and “Tell I’ll kill your family [sic].” Apparently, Barton was a poor ad-libber: though his makeshift “gun” had come apart and was lying on the floor, he still threatened to shoot the manager as he was fleeing.
David Spellman was sworn in as mayor of Black Hawk, Colo., on July 12, a week after pleading guilty to two charges for pistol-whipping his wife with a handgun—and firing three shots—in 2005. And self-described “pro-traditional family” candidate Jim Galley lost a two-man June congressional primary in San Diego, with no help from the San Diego Union Tribune’s discovery a week before the voting that he had child-support payments garnisheed from his paycheck for four years and was once, for a 17-month period, married to two women.
In 2004 News of the Weird reported research suggesting that herring routinely communicate among themselves via a high-pitched, “raspberry”-like sound emitted from the anus. In June 2006, a researcher at Greenland Institute of Natural Resources said that herring appear also to use anal bubbles as a defense to obscure themselves from killer whales. Researchers are not agreed on whether it is digestive gases or some other mechanism that produces the bubbles. MTW