Coroner rules death caused by gambling addiction

Andre Baril, 62, of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, liked playing the lottery. He was a big fan of Loto-Quebec’s Banco game, from which he won $25,000 a few years ago. But since then he spent his entire life savings, over $50,000, trying to hit the jackpot again.

Last summer, Baril fatally shot himself. But he’s not the Stupid Person of the Day.

The coroner announced this week that Baril’s death was caused by gambling addiction, and called for new laws regulating the sale of lottery tickets.

Coroner Jean-Francois Dorval says people who sell lottery tickets have to take some responsibility, “like someone who sells alcohol.’

He says lotto retailers should be licensed and should be trained to recognize gambling addicts. Those who sell tickets to addicts should lose their licenses, he says.

Loto-Quebec spokesman Jean-Pierre Roy says the agency will consider the idea, but that it may be difficult to implement. — CBC News

I suspect that he died from a bullet wound, rather than a gambling addiction. And for that, Jean-Francois Dorval becomes today’s Stupid Person of the Day.

If you have a gambling addiction, help is available. Call +1-800-522-4700 in the U.S.

Town supervisor signs hundreds of payroll checks

Satish B. Mohan has hardly been on the job as an Amherst, N.Y., town supervisor for a week, and already he’s made hundreds of enemies.

One of Mohan’s campaign promises was that he would personally review and sign all checks pertaining to town business, and that included payroll checks. So, when he did, the payroll wasn’t available on time last Friday, as Mohan spent “hours’ reviewing each and every check.

In a letter attached to each payroll check Friday, Mohan reiterated his pledge from his election campaign in which he promised “to personally review and sign all checks pertaining to Town of Amherst business.’

“If this has created any unanticipated inconvenience, I apologize,’ the letter continued. “I am sure you understand the critical importance of the Chief Fiscal Officer taking an active role in managing Town finances.’

[Amherst Police Club president Edward] Guzdek said there are other ways for the supervisor to cross-reference payroll checks with payroll records. “I don’t have a problem if he wants to sign all those checks. If he thinks that’s an effective utilization of his time, that’s up to him,’ Guzdek said. “But there’s a detailed report issued to every department that details every employee’s pay, line-by-line.’

“If Dr. Mohan wanted to find and check, he could have checked and audited it that way with no disruption to employees,’ he added. — Buffalo News

On rare occasions, breaking a campaign promise might actually be a good thing. For not using a quite obvious and better way of reviewing the town’s expenditures, Satish Mohan is today’s Stupid Person of the Day. Hopefully he’ll not do this again in two weeks…

Columbus mayor’s wife sentenced for drunk driving

Frankie Coleman, wife to Columbus, Ohio, mayor Michael Coleman, pleaded guilty to drunk driving and was sentenced Wednesday to three days in jail and a six month driver’s license suspension.

Columbus is the capital of Ohio.

Dash-cam video captured Columbus’s first lady having difficulty walking a straight line after apparently slamming her car into a parked truck.

Mayor Michael Coleman made the trip to the Bexley police headquarters, coming to the rescue of his wife after she failed a breathalyzer test.

At earlier hearings her attorneys challenged the legality of that test claiming the officer’s certification had expired. Ultimately that challenge failed, setting the stage for Wednesday’s formal sentencing.

At an earlier hearing, she plead guilty to driving while impaired and failing to control her car. — Ohio News Now

The incident has pretty much torpedoed any chance Coleman had of running for governor, and for that his wife, Frankie, is today’s Stupid Person of the Day.

Candidate arrested for drunk driving twice in three hours

A candidate for public office in upstate New York was arrested twice in three hours for driving while intoxicated, authorities said Monday.

Brian E. Karst, 34, who is running for Oneida Common Council as an independent candidate was arrested Friday night by Oneida County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Chrysler and ticketed for numerous traffic violations. Sobriety tests revealed his blood alcohol content was 0.14 percent, nearly twice the legal limit of 0.08, deputies said.

After his arrest, Karst was released to a third party.

Less than three hours later, Chrysler pulled Karst over again — driving the same car as before. This time, Karst’s blood alcohol content was 0.11, deputies said.

Deputies said Karst also was arrested for driving while intoxicated on Sept. 9. — Associated Press

You’re supposed to drink after you’re elected to office, not before. Brian Karst, you qualify as today’s Stupid Person of the Day.

One-fifth of California high schoolers fail graduation exam

Nearly 100,000 California high school students in the class of 2006 have failed the state’s graduation exam, according to researchers at the Human Resources Research Organization.

The group conducted a review of the test results as part of a report ordered by the California Legislature when it instituted the exit exam several years ago.

Among its findings: 63% of African Americans students, and 68% of Latinos in the class of 2006 have passed both parts of the exam.

By comparison, 89% of Asian students, and 90% of whites, have passed.

Despite remedial classes, after-school tutoring and other academic help, tens of thousands of students — particularly those in special education and others who speak English as a second language — may still fail the test by the end of their senior year, the group said.

The report recommended that the state keep the exam in place but consider several alternatives for students who can’t pass.

“Clearly, we need to have some options for these students,’ said Lauress L. Wise, the firm’s president, in a telephone interview with reporters.

Seniors could be allowed to submit portfolios of work that demonstrate mastery of English and math, the report’s authors suggested. Or, schools could allow students to spend an extra year in high school, or earn diplomas for completing special summer school programs in lieu of the exam, the report proposed.

The state also could establish alternate diplomas or graduation certificates for students who pass part of the exit exam, the group offered.

But California Supt. of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell said he opposed any change that would diminish the worth of a high school diploma.

“It’s important to keep one core principal front and center: awarding a student a diploma without the skills and knowledge to back it up does the student a disservice’ said O’Connell, who added that his staff would study the options spelled out in the new report. — Los Angeles Times

Now the stupid part is that the test covers mastery of an eighth grade level of math and a ninth to tenth grade level of English. Twenty percent of students can’t demonstrate mastery of these basic levels, in their senior year of high school!

But this is not news. Public schools aren’t designed to give children an education. Instead, they’re designed to make them dumb. Anyone managing to get an education in public school has done so despite the best efforts of the school system to prevent them from getting one.

Jesse Jackson to ESPN: Come to D.C.

Activist Jesse Jackson has found a new cause: bringing ESPN’s 50 States in 50 Days tour to Washington, D.C.

The activist and former presidential candidate says it’s insulting that the cable network left D.C. out when it came up with its plans. Jackson says he’ll go to the network’s Connecticut headquarters if they don’t change their tune. — Associated Press

Uh, Jesse, there’s nothing in D.C. that would quite fit in this tour. ESPN is covering events such as the Freestyle Frisbee Championships in Seattle, Wash., today, and the World Championship Cardboard Boat Races in Heber Springs, Ark., tomorrow.

ESPN has already toured 13 of 50 states and also has posted a blog online.

Congratulations, Rev. Jackson, you’re today’s Stupid Person of the Day.

If “Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I’ll kill myself’

Reporter Helen Thomas told The Hill newspaper, “The day I say Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I’ll kill myself. All we need is one more liar.’

According to WorldNetDaily, Thomas has been covering the White House since the Kennedy administration.

It’s one thing to kill yourself because the country is going to hell and you can’t stand it anymore. But at least wait and see if he gets elected first!

Potholes as traffic calming device

A councillor in Bath, U.K. wants to suspend road maintenance and allow potholes in order to calm traffic.

When people are confronted by less well-maintained road surfaces with potholes, they tend to drive slower.

They are worried about doing damage to their car and, as such, are far more careful. They also become more aware of the pedestrians and hazards around them.

And taxpayers would make significant savings, first because less would be spent on road surfaces, and second because less would be spent on road-calming measures such as speed cameras and road humps. — Cllr Andy Furse

This completely ignores the dangers of two-wheeled vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians having accidents as a result of such potholes, for which the city’s insurance company would have to pay.

Congratulations, Councillor, you are today’s Stupid Person of the Day.