"This (was) my life," said musician Boujemaa Razgui in December, referring to the 13 handmade flutes that he played professionally, "and now they're gone." Arriving in New York City from Madrid with the 13 woodwinds in his checked luggage, he was shocked to discover that U.S. Customs had destroyed them without notice because "wood" is a restricted "agricultural" import. (Unsophisticated agents had apparently regarded them as mere bamboo.) Razgui plays all over the world including, since 2002, with the Boston Camerata ensemble staged by the city's Museum of Fine Arts.
In February, a California Highway Patrol officer handcuffed and threatened to arrest a firefighter performing an emergency roadside rescue along Interstate 805 in Chula Vista, Calif., because the rescuer would not move his truck from the fast lane, where it was "impeding" traffic. Firefighters are required to block lanes during rescues, specifically to "impede" traffic for their own protection and that of victims nearby. CHP and the Chula Vista firefighters later jointly called the incident a "miscommunication."
Oregon inmate Sirgiorgio Clardy, 26, filed a handwritten $100 million lawsuit in January against Nike for inadequately marketing its Air Jordans. Clardy, a convicted pimp, had received an "enhanced" penalty for using a "dangerous weapon" to maim the face of a john, i.e., he had stomped and kicked a man after accusing him of skipping out on a payment, and the "dangerous weapon" was apparently his shoe. Clardy said Nike bears at least some responsibility for his incarceration because it failed to label the shoe a "dangerous weapon."
In a December letter to the University of Minnesota president, a coalition of black student organizations demanded an end to racial profiling, especially in light of recent campus crime incidents. "(C)ampus safety should be of the (university's) utmost importance," they acknowledged, but among the organizations' complaints was that when "be on the lookout" alerts were issued (usually based on victims' descriptions of their attackers), innocent black students feel "discomforting," "negative psychological effects" -- because the alerts so often describe black attackers.
Officials at the Emu Plains Correctional Center near Sydney, Australia, announced in January that they had pre-empted a planned escape by two female inmates, ages 32 and 21, after finding a 60-foot length of tied-together sheets in a cell. Nonetheless, the officials said they were puzzled, in that Emu Plains is a one-story facility, enclosed, wrote the Daily Telegraph, by a "not particularly high" fence.
Call it what you will, incentives are what get people to work harder. — Nikia Khruschev
Live Long and Prosper….