News of the Weird – Returns

File this under the category, “These One’s Are for You, Mr. American President”


Chad Hudgens filed a lawsuit in January against his former employer, a sales firm in Provo, Utah, charging that as part of a motivational “team-building exercise” his coworkers waterboarded him. According to a Washington Post article, Hudgen’s supervisor told sales staff, “You saw how hard Chad fought for air right there. I want you to go back inside and fight that hard to make sales.”

From the Post:

Hudgens’s lawsuit… suggests the testosterone-poisoned setting of the David Mamet play “Glengarry Glen Ross.” Hudgens alleged that if the 10-person sales team went a day without a sale, members had to work the next day standing up; [the supervisor] took away their chairs. The team leader also threatened to draw a mustache in permanent marker on the face of sales people for “negativity,” Hudgens said. [Their boss] kept on his desk a piece of wood, “the 2-by-4 of motivation,” he said.

Who was his boss? This guy?


Brigadier General Zuhair Abada Mraweh, traffic commander for Baghdad’s Rusafah district – where car bombs and kidnappings remain pressing concerns, according to the New York Times – announced in April that his officers would soon begin issuing tickets to drivers who failed to use their seat belts. The fine for noncompliance is 15,000 dinars, or roughly $12.50.

From the International Herald Tribune:

“It is part of the healing process of this country and of Baghdad to enforce the law, law by law,” said [B.G. Mraweh].

“The citizens are learning the laws step by step,” said Mraweh, sitting in his office in the Karada neighborhood. “We have applied all the laws concerning traffic, so it’s time for the seat belt law to be practiced.”…

Mraweh said that the seat belt legislation — which applies only to drivers, not passengers — was in effect during the government of Saddam Hussein. After the Americans invaded in 2003, a high import tax on automobiles was lifted, flooding Iraq with enthusiastic new drivers. He said that there were no dependable statistics on traffic accidents, but that enforcing the law would reduce them by 70 percent. [My guess is that the key phrase here is traffic accidents.]

Mraweh is passionate about traffic control. He is particularly irked by the driving behavior by the employees of security companies like Blackwater, who sometimes throw water bottles at people walking down the street or shoot their guns in the air to clear the road, he said.

But primarily, Mraweh sees his job as a way to piece together his shattered country.

“If everyone says there are killings, there are massacres, then I will stay powerless at home and this will disable the country,” he said. “But if the grocer goes to work, the merchant goes to work, I go to work, even you go to work, there will be no more killing, and the criminal will be afraid and he will go back to his den like a mouse”

Original stories cribbed and wrote verbatim from News of the Weird, posted in the Chicago Reader in the June 5th, 2008 edition, p. 109 (I believe. It’s late. It’s hot. It’s bedtime.)


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