Worst ideas of the week: Dec. 27, 2009

Off-duty EMTs won’t help pregnant woman, UK priest endorses theft, sled dogs found starving, NFL threatens grieving player with fine, and cop nearly gets trigger happy.

1|EMTs on break ignore woman going into labor
The details: A pregnant Eutisha Rennix, 25, collapsed in a Brooklyn, N.Y., coffee shop where two New York City EMTs were taking a break. Instead of attending to Rennix, the EMTs told the coffee shop owner to call an ambulance, then left when they were asked to help. A short time later, Rennix died and her baby was born too premature to survive. Now, the EMTs — Jason Green and Melissa Jackson, veterans with 10 years of experience between them — have been suspended, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said their behavior went against human decency.

Low tally
2|Domestic-violence assaults are under-reported
The details: San Francisco police Chief George Gascón, who took the helm in August, said about 1,200 domestic violence incidents a year should have been reported to the federal Department of Justice as aggravated assaults, but the crimes were not entered correctly into the department’s record-
keeping system.

Thou shalt steal
3|Priest says it’s OK to shoplift if you’re poor
The details: In Britain, the Rev. Tim Jones told his flock that it’s all right for poor people to steal from businesses. Jones said it did not break the Eighth Commandment if the circumstances were desperate, and he urged would-be robbers to avoid burglarizing small family businesses and stick to large, national chains. Jones has been criticized by local police, politicians and other religious leaders for his words, which were called “irresponsible.”

Killer lunch
4|Man jailed after eating rare tiger
The details: A villager in Mengla, Yunnan province, was sentenced to 12 years in jail after eating what may have been the last wild Indochinese tiger in China. Kang Wannian claimed to have killed the tiger in self-defense. The animal
has not been seen since Wannian brought the tiger back to consume with his villagers. The four villagers who assisted Wannian in dismembering the tiger and eating it also were sentenced to three to four years in jail. Fewer than 1,000 Indochinese tigers remain in the forests of Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar.
Animal abuse
5|Starving sled dogs seized by state of Colorado   
The details: Approximately 100 sled dogs were discovered malnourished and neglected at a racing business 70 miles southwest of Denver. An anonymous tip led authorities to Pawsatrack Racing Sled Dogs in the Park County town of Hartsel. Authorities seized 30 starving dogs and found six dead. Authorities later returned to take the remaining 70. One has since died. The dogs were all used in sled racing, and the state veterinarian called the dogs’ living conditions “deplorable.”
Too-friendly skies
6|FAA managers party like it’s 1999
The details: Federal Aviation Administration employees were caught on camera partying while in Atlanta for a $5 million
taxpayer-funded training program. The FAA sent 3,600 of its managers to Atlanta this month for training, and ABC News captured hidden-camera footage of some employees drinking heavily and going to local bars after the meetings. One asked an undercover female reporter if she was a “hooker” because “I was ready to reach for my wallet,” according to the news agency.

No Fun League
7|Teammate can’t wear friend’s number as tribute
The details: Chad Ochocinco draws a lot of criticism for his antics — he changed his last name from Johnson to correspond with his jersey number, 85. But when Cincinnati Bengals teammate Chris Henry died in a bizarre accident last week, Ochocinco was torn up emotionally because the two wide receivers were such close friends. As a tribute, Ochocinco wanted to wear Henry’s No. 15 last weekend against San Diego. But the NFL — which has garnered the nickname No Fun League for cracking down on seemingly harmless acts — threatened a fine. The NFL Players Association offered to pay it, but the league said it could not because of rules.

BlackBerry goes dark
8|Popular handsets hit by second outage in five days
The details: Just look around: BlackBerries are everywhere. So when the second outage in five days struck and left handset users without access to e-mail, public outrage ensued. One report said BlackBerry’s Messenger program was to blame and that Research In Motion, which makes the handsets, has fixed the glitches. The company’s public statement? “We apologize for any inconvenience.” Thanks for that.

The man we love to hate
9|Simon Cowell reportedly leaving ‘Idol’ next year
The details: Love him or hate him, the acerbic British judge is the most interesting character on “American Idol.” Tony Cowell, a radio broadcaster, said in his weekly podcast that a statement was being prepared to announce that his younger brother was leaving the popular Fox singing competition at the end of 2010.

Travel nightmare
10|Passengers stranded on train for six hours  
The details: A trip on New York’s Long Island Rail Road that was supposed to take an hour and 20 minutes ended up lasting six hours after the train broke down and repair efforts failed during a snowstorm. Passengers were not allowed to leave the freezing train because of the blizzard, and to make matters worse, the vehicle’s single bathroom was flooded. The LIRR admitted fault and apologized to commuters.

Sinking ship: Amy Winehouse was charged Wednesday in connection with an assault at a theater, police said. British media reported that the 26-year-old singer allegedly struggled with a member of the theater’s staff after heckling at a performance. Winehouse was acquitted earlier this year of assaulting a fan who asked to take her picture, after a judge said he could not be sure whether she lashed out at the woman deliberately. The Grammy winner’s music has also been overshadowed by reports of drug use, run-ins with the law and a tempestuous marriage.


Detective Michael Baylor
What: Off-duty Washington, D.C., police detective draws weapon during a snowball fight.

Why: Folks in the nation’s capital were unleashing a little winter anxiety when things, well, turned a little too real. During a snowball fight involving around 200 people, the off-duty police officer whipped out his gun after his vehicle was pelted during the frivolous melee. “It was pretty fun,” one unidentified participant told a D.C. TV station. “And then, you know, when the gun came out, uh, it just changed the tone of the thing a little bit.”

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