by Chuck Shepherd

The Continuing Crisis

ν Stephen Mader, 25, native of Weirton, West Virginia, and former Weirton police officer, is fighting to get his job back after being fired for not being quick enough on the trigger. When Ronald Williams Jr., in May, made a ham-handed attempt at “suicide by cop,” it was Mader who, rather than shooting, tried to talk Williams down (based on his Marine Corps and police academy training), but when Williams pointed his unloaded gun at two of Mader’s colleagues, and one of them quickly shot the man to death, police officials fired Mader for having been insufficiently aggressive. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9-11-2016]

■ Can’t Possibly Be True: Few U.S. forces in Afghanistan speak the native Pashto or Dari, and the war prospects would be dim were it not for courageous Afghan civilians who aid the U.S. as interpreters under promise of protection and future emigration to the U.S. However, the congressional battle over immigration policy has delayed entry for about 10,000 interpreters, who (along with their families) face imminent death if they remain in Afghanistan. Some in Congress also regard Afghans as riskier immigrants (despite the interpreters’ demonstrated loyalty). [New York Times, 8-18-2016]

Suspicions Confirmed

■ Master baker Stefan Fischer filed a lawsuit recently against Bakery of New York for wrongful firing — because he refused to use “bug-infested” flour to make batches of bread. According to Fischer, when he informed management of the bugs in the facility’s 3,000-pound flour silo, he was told simply to make “multigrain” bread, which Fischer took to mean that fewer diners would complain if they heard “crunching” while eating multigrain. [New York Daily News, 9-15-2016]

Leading Economic Indicators

■ News Corporation Australia reported in September the enviable success of a 16-year-old British entrepreneur, Ms. Beau Jessup, who has so far earned about $84,000 with a simple online app to help rich Chinese parents select prosperous-sounding English names for their babies. Users choose among 12 personality traits they hope their baby to have, then receive three suggestions (including a list of famous people with those names). Jessup got the idea when living in China and noticing that some babies of the rich were given lame names, such as “Gandalf” and “Cinderella.” [ (Sydney), 9-9-2016]

■ Chinese Management Techniques: (1) About 200 employees at a travel service in Shandong Province were fined the equivalent of $6.50 each recently for failing to comply with orders to “comment” (favorably, one supposes) on the general manager’s daily posts to the Twitter-like Internet site Sina Weibo. (2) In June, a motivational trainer working with employees of the Changzhi Zhangze Rural Commercial Bank reportedly told the poor-performing bank personnel (among the 200 at the session) to “prepare to be beaten.” He then walked among the workers, whacking some with a stick, shaving the heads of the males and cutting the hair of the females. [Beijing Youth Daily via China Daily, 8-19-2016] [Reuters via The Guardian (London), 6-21-2016]

The Passing Parade


■ A water line in Hood County, Texas, broke in August, 5 feet below ground on Andrea Adams’s property, but Acton Municipal District worker Jimmie Cox, 23, came to the rescue — which involved Cox briefly submerging himself in the mud, face down to his waist, to clamp the line. He said later, “In this line of work, (we) do it a lot.” [WFAA-TV (Dallas-Fort Worth), 8-25-2016]

  Sept. 9, a man (who said later he somehow could not stop his car) drove off of a nine-story downtown parking garage in Austin, Texas. The SUV hung upside down (caught only by the garage guide wire that wrapped around one wheel) until passers-by pulled him to safety. [KXAN-TV (Austin), 9-9-2011]



  By August, Raymond Mazzarella was fed up with the tree in his neighbor’s yard in Pittston Township, Pennsylvania, as it was continuously dripping sap onto his car — and so grabbed a chainsaw, cut through the 36-inch-wide trunk, and (he thought) fixed the problem. However, the tree fell directly onto Mazzarella’s small apartment house, dispossessing five tenants and, ultimately, forcing inspectors to condemn the entire building. [WNEP-TV (Scranton), 8-22-2016]