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Thursday, July 17, 2014 12:01 am

College of electoral knowledge

Curses, foiled again
• Three Seattle teenagers tried to steal a woman’s car at gunpoint but failed because none of them could operate a manual transmission. “I got a five-speed in there,” victim Nancy Frederickson said, “and they couldn’t figure out how to get it going.” Surveillance cameras showed the suspects running away. (Seattle’s KOMO-TV)

• When Darren Shelley, 22, arrived for a meeting with his probation officer at the courthouse in Stamford, Conn., he reeked of marijuana, according to the officer. When asked to explain himself, Shelley responded that he was “not a fool” and “did not bring drugs into the court.” A search, however, turned up 19 bags of pot hidden in Shelley’s left sock, prompting charges. (Associated Press)

College of electoral knowledge
• Asad Asif, 19, was elected to New Jersey’s Middlesex County Republican Committee with only one vote -- his own. “It was kind of like the ‘Mickey Mouse vote,’ where people write in stupid names when they vote for president,” the Rutgers University junior explained. “I wanted to do the same thing, and since there was no real candidate in the slot, I decided to write myself in.” Asif’s ballot in the primary election turned out to be the only one with a vote for the committee position. Although he didn’t seek the office, he said he was confident that he could perform his duties, which include getting voters other than himself to turn out. (New Brunswick Today)

• After unsuccessful campaigns for Congress and the Phoenix City Council, Scott Fister, 34, changed his name to Cesar Chavez and declared his candidacy for retiring U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor’s seat in Arizona’s largely Hispanic 7th Congressional District. “It’s almost as simple as saying Elvis Presley is running for president,” said Chavez, who not only changed his name to that of the late revered farm-labor leader, but also switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat. “People want a name that they can feel comfortable with. If you went out there running for office and your name was Bernie Madoff, you’d probably be screwed.” (Phoenix’s The Arizona Republic)

• After losing to Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., two years ago, Democrat Tim Murray switched parties and ran against Lucas in this year’s Republican primary. He received only 5.2 percent of the votes to 82 percent for Lucas, but told election board officials that he is entitled to Lucas’s votes because “it is widely known Rep. Frank D. Lucas is no longer alive and has been displaced by a look alike.” Murray’s website explained that Lucas was “executed by the world court” in Ukraine in January 2011. “I have never been to Ukraine,” said Lucas, who has represented Oklahoma’s 3rd District for the past 20 years, adding, “This is the first time I’ve ever been accused of being a body double or a robot.” (Oklahoma City’s KFOR-TV)

Slightest provocation
• A 20-year-old student at Michigan’s Wayne County Community College stabbed a 54-year-old student after they argued about a class assignment. Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon called the stabbing an “isolated incident.” (Detroit Free Press)

• Pennsylvania State Police charged Richard Edgar Hill of attacking a man with a glass hummingbird feeder in Fulton Township because the victim was “refusing to party with him.” (Harrisburg’s The Patriot-News)

When guns are outlawed
• Edward Holley, 59, faces attempted murder charges after he admitted throwing a pot of hot grits at a 29-year-old neighbor during an argument, according to police in Orlando, Fla., who noted the victim was burned over 30 percent of his body. (Orlando Sentinel)

• A 17-year-old girl faces weapons charges after police in Cornwall, Ontario, said she threw a juice box at her grandmother. (Cornwall’s Seaway News)

P.C. update
• Minnesota enacted a law renaming Asian carp in response to concern by some people that the term casts people from Asian cultures in a negative light. The fish, which is native to Asia and was accidentally introduced to the Great Lakes, is now officially known as “invasive carp.” (CBS News)

Litigation nation
• Ajanaffy Njewadda filed a lawsuit claiming that a poster advertising the television program “Dexter” caused her to fall down the stairs at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, fracturing her foot, spraining her ankle and hitting her head. The ad was placed across the risers of steps so that it could be viewed while climbing the stairs, but Njewadda explained that while she was walking down the stairs, she turned around to look for her husband, a former ambassador from Gambia, and was startled by the poster showing a close-up of star Michael C. Hall wrapped in cellophane. “That little shock was enough of a trigger to throw her off balance,” said her attorney, Rehan Nazrali, adding, “This is the media saturation and over-commercialization of public space.” Hall is about the only one not named in the suit, which Nazrali said seeks “a fair deal” from Showtime, the New York City Transit Authority, CBS Outdoor Americas (which placed the ad), the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York City. (Reuters)

• Investors who bought eight popular Capitol Hill restaurants in Washington, D.C., accused the restaurateur who sold them of sabotaging them so revenue would drop and the new owners would be unable to make payments to the seller, allowing him to retake the restaurants. Lawyers for the investors claimed that Xavier Cervera also kept a Vespa motor scooter that was supposed to transfer during the sales. (The Wall Street Journal)

• Clinton Tucker sued Benjamin Moore in Essex County, N.J., claiming that the paint maker fired him after his repeated complaints about their “despicable and racially insulting paint colors called ‘Clinton Brown’ and ‘Tucker Chocolate.’” Tucker’s attorney, Charles Schalk, insisted that the colors were named after his client, who identifies himself as an African-American homosexual male who worked at Benjamin Moore from June 2011 until this March. According to the company’s website, Tucker Chocolate was named for 18th-century Virginia judge St. George Tucker, whose house is one of the original Colonial homes in Historic Williamsburg. Benjamin Moore also said it sold cans of Clinton Brown, described as recalling a “perfectly balanced chocolate candy bar brown,” years before Tucker began working at the company. (Courthouse News Service)

Freudian slip
• Firefighters in Tuebingen, Germany, were called to free an American exchange student who got stuck in a sculpture of a giant vagina. Fire official Markus Mozer said the man was posing for a photo when he slipped. (Associated Press)

Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.

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