Assorted Stupidity #9

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  • A recently re-circulated video shows a TSA officer patting down a 3-year-old girl, causing her to cry and yell "Stop touching me!" (It's a 2-year-old video, but it's not like things have improved.) Responding to outrage over this, a TSA official said more should have been done to make the child comfortable with the search. "If you can come up with some kind of a game to play with a child, it makes it a lot easier," said James Marchand. Advocates for children, though, have suggested that teaching children it is part of a fun game to have strangers grope them is not such a great idea.
  • A prisoner in the UK has won the right to be addressed by the title "Mister," according to the Bridlington Free Press. In an open letter to other prisoners, Colin Gunn advised them that under official policy "[i]t is no longer acceptable to address prisoners by surname alone," a policy he had successfully enforced in a case filed last year. Gunn said that under the Prison Service's "decency agenda," prison staff are required to address inmates with respect (something the government confirmed). Gunn — sorry, Mr. Gunn — is serving a 35-year sentence for arranging the murder of two innocent people.
  • According to the New York Post, a woman has sued McSorley's Old Ale House, a famous 156-year-old pub in the East Village, alleging she had to be hospitalized after Minnie the Cat attacked her in 2009. The pub has kept pet cats for over 100 years, but the report did not say whether one has ever tried to eat a patron. According to the Post, the complaint did not specify how Minnie had injured the plaintiff, alleging only that the injuries were "serious."
  • UPDATE: Grumpy the Clown has been cleared to serve in the Brazilian legislature. Francisco Silva, whose clown name is "Tiririca" ("Grumpy" in Portuguese), got 1.3 million votes when he ran for Congress in October, twice as many as his closest competitor. Doubt remained, however, because of a constitutional literacy requirement that some did not think Grumpy could satisfy. The judge reviewing the matter ordered him to take a written test in court, and ruled last week that the clown had passed, "despite difficulties in writing." (The judge interpreted the requirement to bar only those who are "totally illiterate.")