WACHU TALKIN‘ ’BOUT?
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced in August that it had contract work for up to 2,100 language specialists to transcribe wiretaps, with immediate needs in the Atlanta field office for 144 Spanish experts, along with 12 for Vietnamese and nine each for Korean, Farsi and “Ebonics.” Ebonics is recognized by some linguists as the “nonstandard” form of English spoken by African-Americans.
TURNABOUT IS FAIR PLAY
Every weekend for the last four years, parishioners from the New Beginnings Ministries church in Warsaw, Ohio, have gathered in front of The Fox Hole strip club in nearby Newcastle and tried to shame customers by photographing them and posting their license plate numbers on the Internet, and brandishing hellfire-threatening signs. Recently, however, Fox Hole’s strippers joined the duel, congregating on Sundays in front of New Beginnings, wearing bikinis and “see-through” shorts, dancing scandalously, squirting each other with jumbo water guns and wielding their own Bible-quoting signs to greet the day’s worshippers.
An Indian in the western Brazilian state of Rondonia lives completely isolated from humans—the last survivor of his never-contacted tribe. However, the government has taken the unprecedented step of protecting 31 square miles of his habitat, monitored against trespass by technology including heat-sensitive flyovers—even though developers point out that 31 square miles of farming could produce food for many Brazilians. The man was spotted 15 years ago, appearing to be about 30 years old (and leaving one of the spotters with an arrow in the chest), but has left only clues since then, and three years ago, the government stopped looking for him.
MAKING A STATEMENT
Wisconsin law permits independent candidates five-word statements to accompany their names on the ballot, to signal voters just as the words “Republican” and “Democrat” are signals, but Milwaukee Assembly candidate Ieshuh Griffin was ruled in July to have gone too far with her statement, “NOT the ‘whiteman’s bitch’” (her capitalization and punctuation). Griffin said the decision baffled her since “everyone” she spoke with understood exactly what she meant.
AYE, NAY OR BELCH
Mark Reckless, elected to the British House of Commons only two months earlier, apologized in July for failing to vote on a budget bill that required a late-night session to pass. He explained that he had had a drink or two while waiting for the session to begin and barely remembered what happened (except for “someone asking me to vote”).
ADDING INSULT (AND INJURY) TO INJURY
Joseph Wheeler filed a $12 million lawsuit in August against Prince George’s Hospital in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, over its treatment following a June 23 car accident. He was admitted with serious injuries, but hospital staff mistakenly marked him for next-day cancer surgery, and when he protested and tried to leave, two muscular staff “security” men restrained him, dishing out even more pain. Yelled one, according to the lawsuit, “Get off the floor, bitch!…I don’t care who you think you are. This is my camp.” The next day Wheeler talked his way out and over to St. Mary’s Hospital, where he was treated for four broken ribs, a sprained shoulder, a ruptured spleen and a concussion.
(1) In Maine Township, Illinois, Janusz Owca was arrested in August for choking his wife and was booked into jail and given his traditional phone call. With police listening, Owca called his wife and threatened to kill her. (2) Veteran criminal Nathan Pugh, 49, walked in to a Wells Fargo bank in Dallas on July 26 and presented his holdup note to a teller (claiming to have a “bom”). The teller told Pugh that she could not release large amounts of money without proper ID and convinced Pugh to turn over both a Texas state ID card and his Wells Fargo debit card, both in his own name. Police arrived just as Pugh was leaving and after an attempt to grab a hostage, he was arrested. (He even failed with the hostage—a woman carrying a child—who still managed to take Pugh to the floor.)