January 2, 2013

Charles Oliver: Interest in science fiction equates to bomb maker?

A 16-year-old boy at New Jersey’s Cedar Creek High School, a magnet school specializing in engineering and environmental science, has been charged with possession of an explosive device. Police admit the boy did not threaten anyone or make any threats against the school. Apparently, he drew a glove with fire coming out of it, and because teenage boys, particularly those interested in science and engineering, never, ever draw science fiction oriented things, a staff member at the school became concerned and reported him to the cops. They didn’t find anything at the school, but they asked to search his house and they say they found electronics and chemicals that could be used to make an explosive. Police Chief Pat Moran admits there was “no indication he was making a bomb, or using a bomb or detonating a bomb.” But because teenage boys, especially those interested in science and engineering, never tinker with electronics, they decided to charge him.

Like sports teams across the nation, the Detroit Red Wings are currently trying to get taxpayers to pony up money to help build them a downtown arena. But it looks like the hockey team doesn’t do a good job of paying its bills. As part of its deal to rent city-owned arenas, the team is supposed to pay Detroit 25 percent of cable TV rights on home games. According to local media, the city hasn’t gotten any of that money since 1980. By some estimates, the Red Wings owe the city $70 million.

Sheila Burgess, the Massachusetts director of state highway safety, resigned three days after local media revealed her driving record included seven crashes, four speeding tickets and numerous other infractions, including failing to show up for a hearing on one of those speeding tickets and failure to pay excise taxes. Burgess had no background in law enforcement, transportation or government administration. She did, however, work as a consultant for state Democratic politicians.

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