Wednesday 19 August 2009

Stupid Statements (Part IX)

We all say something stupid once in a while but some of the stupid statements said by some people are really dumb. Here are some more of them.

Florida defence lawyer Michael Robb has worn the same pair of Cole Haan loafers to trial for the past 12 years. He calls them his lucky shoes. They are so worn there are holes in the soles. In a pre-trial motion in July 2009, the opposing lawyer argued that his opposing counsel was making a deliberate attempt to sway the jury by making him appear humble and simple and without sophistication. Robb is known to stand at the sidebar of a courtroom with one foot crossed beside the other so that the holes in his shoes are readily apparent to the jury who are intently watching all counsel and the judge at that moment. He wants the juries to think that he is simply a down-to-earth kind of lawyer. Robb stated publicly "They've uncovered my secret. It's my shoes, not my talent, that have gotten me this far in my practice." Anyone wanting to hire a lawyer for his skills in court might want to think twice before hiring this dummy who thinks that it is shoes alone that are winning his cases.

Jerry Siegel, an American, together with Canadian-born boyhood friend, Joe Shuster, created the comic strip, Superman. It later became very popular in the form of comic books bringing millions of dollars to its publishers. Often, people who have opportunities to benefit from great ideas, lose out because of their own stupidity. This is from an editor at United Features with respect to publishing Superman: "It's an immature piece of work, attractive because of its freshness and naiveté, but this is likely to wear off after the feature runs for a while." I wonder if he lived long enough to see the Superman movie.

Just when we hoped that political leaders would stop saying foolish statements, along came U.S Vice President Joe Biden with his share of gaffes. In September 2008, he said in a speech, "When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed." First of all, when the stock market crashed in 1929, the president of the United States wasn’t Roosevelt. It was Herbert Hoover. Second, no one had televisions in their homes in that era. During the 2008 presidential election campaign, when he was standing next to the soon-to-be president, Barack Obama, he said to the crowd when introducing Obama; "A man I am proud to call my friend. A man who will be the next president of the United States, Barack America." In October 2008 during a speech he said; "John McCain’s last- minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the No. 1 job facing middle class and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word, jobs, J.O.B.S, jobs." I counted four letters in that word. Maybe he didn’t use his fingers to make the count. In a speech he gave in September 2008, he was addressing State Senator, Chuck Graham who is disabled and was in his wheelchair at the time. Biden yelled over the din of the crowd; "Stand up, Chuck, let em see ya." What did Biden think he was; a miracle worker? During the swine flue outbreak in April 2009, he said, "I would tell members of my family and I have; I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now." That includes the Congress building where he is the president of the Senate. It also includes any building in the United States. I guess he will be making his speeches in the great outdoors from now on.

Outlaw biker Wayne Kellestine, 60, immediately after being picked up on suspicion of taking part in the largest mass murder in modern Ontario history of eight fellow members of the Greater Toronto Area Bandidos Motorcycle Club boasted to Detective Sgt. Mark Loader of the OPP on April 9, 2006, that he had no fears for his personal safety. He said, "I don't give a (expletive) about myself. I am invincible. I am 10 feet tall and invincible." Well, while he is spending the rest of his natural life in prison amongst other bikers who hate him, he will get an opportunity to see just how un-invincible he is.

Glenn Fontaine, the ambulance unit chairman of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, was disciplined by Toronto EMS for the June 22, 2009 incident, in which an ambulance was abandoned outside city hall with a union placard on its rear and its lights flashing. The 26-year EMS veteran was also criminally charged with two counts of taking a vehicle without consent and two counts of mischief to property. He defended his actions during the civic workers' walkout by saying, "At the end of the day, the public had to know that the paramedics were on the strike." He made that statement despite the fact that his actions could have cost the life of someone in need of the ambulance which he put out of circulation to get a point across.

The former CEO of eHealth Ontario, Sarah Kramer in August, 2009, defended her role in a spending scandal that has cost taxpayers millions of dollars. She said in part, "I, with the full support of the board of directors, believed that was an essential investment in turning around what was a badly drifting organization. Given the many hundreds of millions that were squandered under the auspices of SSHA (Smart Systems for Health Agency), it is ironic that the much smaller amounts spent on these consultants, have garnered so much attention." Consultants who were contracted by eHealth at up to $2,750 a day were also allowed to bill taxpayers for items that included return flights from Alberta, car rentals and parking, and a $75 per diem to cover laundry and other incidentals. Kramer resigned abruptly in June along with former chair Alan Hudson, amid revelations that the provincial agency awarded lucrative contracts to consultants without competitive tenders. Kramer herself billed thousands of dollars for limousine rides, including one $400 trip from Toronto to London, before she resigned from her $380,000-a-year job as CEO in June. She was given a $317,000 severance package and received a $114,000 bonus after just months on the job.

The mayor of Oshawa, Ontario, John Gray Gray's choice of car, powered by 425 horses and paid for by the city, has some of his constituents fired up. The $38,000 six-speed muscle car is out of sync with Oshawa's economic status, bleak unemployment picture and concern for the environment. People are questioning why the mayor should get a free ride on the backs of overburdened taxpayers especially when the sports car only gets 17 miles to the gallon. Oshawa's mayor says of his shiny, new Chevy Camaro, "It's a fabulous vehicle. The looks you get when you drive it, you know you're getting attention. I get to showcase the sports car for the 21st century." That kind of attention can hinder you when you are running for re-election. The mayor should have chosen a hybrid or economical car for the future.

A Somali-born Canadian citizen, an employee of an Etobicoke courier company, had been visiting her mother in Nairobi, Kenya when she ran into trouble. On May 21, 2009 a Kenyan employee of KLM airlines challenged Mohamud’s passport photo at the Nairobi departure gate as she was trying to board a flight home to Toronto and her 12-year-old son. The alleged discrepancy in the passport photo had something to do with Mohamud’s lips and the glasses she was wearing. Canadian consular official, Liliane Khadour, vice-consul and first secretary, sent a letter on May 28 to Kenyan authorities that sealed Mohamud's fate. In her letter she wrote; "Please be advised that we have carried out conclusive investigations including an interview and we have confirmed that the person brought to the Canadian High Commission on suspicion of being an imposter is not the rightful holder of the aforementioned passport. The Canadian High Commission is releasing the passport to your office for the purposes of prosecution." The letter alleged that Mohamud was carrying a passport not her own and was in Kenya illegally. These are serious charges that could have led to a Kenyan prison sentence or deportation to her native Somalia. Mohamud was arrested and held for eight days in a women's prison before friends were able to post her bail. It turns out that there was no conclusive Canadian investigation conducted at all. Mohamud was no imposter. And although it took her three months and a DNA test to prove her identity to Canadian consular officials and two federal departments, Mohamud was in fact the rightful holder of the Canadian passport she was carrying. After being informed of conclusive DNA results, the Kenyans dropped all charges against the 31-year-old single mother and the next day she returned to her son, Mohamed Hussein, and a hero's welcome at Pearson International Airport. Mohamud is suing the KLM employee and Liliane Khadour and the latter is no longer with the Canadian Consulate in Kenya.

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