Boston's energetic meter maids have a never-say-die attitude when it comes to ticketing illegally parked cars—even when the motorist is no longer breathing. Although it's fairly common knowledge that dead men pay no fines, this fact seems to have eluded the parking enforcement officers who twice ticketed a parked car whose driver—keys clutched in his hand and car door ajar—slumped dead behind the wheel. Homicide detectives would like to know why the ticket writers didn't try to wake the man or call police.
Score another victory for modern psychiatry and the insanity plea. Matthew Quintiliano, a former Connecticut cop who was acquitted by reason of insanity of shooting his first wife to death in 1975, has been charged with shooting to death his second wife. After killing Wife No. 1, Quintiliano was committed to a state mental hospital and released three months later when his shrink testified that the former policeman was no longer a danger to himself or others. Makes you wonder whose head should have been examined.
We can all rest easy now that we know the federal government will spend $500,000 to spruce up the shabby-looking railroad station in Kenilworth, Illinois. Of course, the rich little Chicago suburb—one of the wealthiest communities in America, with an average family income of more than $90,000 a year—could have financed the face-lift itself, but no one even suggested that. So the work is proceeding under federal urban mass transit funding appropriated by Congress three years ago. Project critic James Fox says there's a moral to the story of Kenilworth, a town so conservative that Adlai Stevenson received only five votes there during the 1952 presidential election: "Even among the bluest of the blue bloods, in a bastion of conservatism, fiscal responsibility gets only lip service when a half-million dollars in someone else's tax money is being spent on your own little railroad station."
Little Calvin Herring would not eat his broccoli, so a Houston public school teacher and an aide physically held the little brat and shoved the tasty vegetable down his throat. The 9-year-old boy had to be treated in a hospital for vomiting and strained ligaments in his right arm. The young felon had the audacity to buy two lunches when he was allowed only one under teachers' rules. Acting on a complaint from Calvin's mother, Houston police arrested the two "educators," who face charges of injuring the child. As if the first offense wasn't bad enough, Houston school administrators have rallied behind the two child-beaters, insisting that they were following proper policy. No disciplinary action has been taken. "I can't believe they had to treat him this way just over a school lunch," says Calvin's father. "Couldn't they have just sent a note home?"
What a difference a dash makes. New York Criminal Court Judge Bud Goodman refused to accept a $2 check that Robert Scalia mailed to the court to pay a jaywalking ticket. Why? Scalia wrote an obscenity on the check to express his anger about being busted for crossing against the light on the same block where drug peddlers, prostitutes, and muggers were plying their trades without any legal interference. The judge ordered Scalia to appear in court to pay the fine. A court clerk tore up his old check, and the judge ordered Scalia to write a new one. He did, but this time he wrote "A-S WHOLE" instead of the like-sounding vulgarity that appeared on the first check's Memo line. The court accepted the second check without question. "A tremendous waste of court time and taxpayer money," Scalia said.
The General Accounting Office found that the Defense Department spent more than $1.2 million in 1981 to entertain visiting foreign military brass. There was that elegant $500-per-person dinner for three foreign guests that included 74 Defense employees and their spouses. A 10-day visit by the Spanish army chief of staff cost the US Army $16,000 for the military aircraft alone. The chief and his party of three visited such "military" installations as Disney World in Florida and some of New York's finest restaurants. Among some of the incidental items the Pentagon paid for were $345 to escort 12 other foreigners through Disney World, $270 for tickets to a Madison Square Garden horse show, and $87 to guide dignitaries through New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and Rockefeller Center. Pentagon officials say "the worth of these visits cannot be measured in dollars and cents because they are so interwoven in our total strategy for defending this country." We're sure that Mickey, Donald Duck, and Goofy will feel a lot safer now.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Brickbats".