It's been 110 years since the first Model T rolled off an assembly line and in a move nobody could ever imagine, Ford has decided to start phasing out car sales. The company announced yesterday that it "will not invest in next generations of traditional Ford sedans for North America," and plans to transition to just two cars over the next few years: the Ford Mustang and the new Ford Active, a "crossover" vehicle to be released next year. That means no more Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, C-Max, or Taurus sedans and coupes in North America. The Lincoln sedans are also expected to vanish. Ford hasn't said exactly when the Taurus and other models will be phased out, but the company's statement says almost 90% of its North America portfolio will be trucks, utilities, and commercial vehicles by 2020. Auto industry experts say the move is a bold one, but not totally unexpected, given the continuing shift among consumers away from cars and toward SUVs. Plus, Ford's car sales have been dismal for the past couple of years, and there's no end in sight to the decline of traditional cars. (TechCrunch)
Supreme Jerk Defined!
Just how low can you go? Pretty darn low we're afraid. In Midlothian, Virginia, 21-year-old Publix employee Liberty Gratz is deaf and partially blind, so she normally interacts with customers using pen and paper. Well, she was straightening a shelf when all of the sudden a female customer intentionally hit her on her back! Gratz says the woman had apparently been trying to get her attention, unaware of her disability. She "turned and told the lady she couldn't hear by pointing to her ear and shaking her head no. She handed the lady a pen and paper so she could tell her what she needed, then showed her where it was." Believe it or not, the customer still acted angry! Gratz says store managers looked "again and again and again" at video footage of the incident, but they couldn't identify the woman "because there were so many people blocking the camera." She says she still hopes to get in touch with her, though, simply to teach her about being kind to people, regardless of whether they have a disability. (WRIC)
More headaches for Delta. Maria Saliagas has multiple sclerosis and can't sit up on her own. Typically, Delta accommodates her with a wheelchair featuring straps that help support her, but during a trip earlier this month the airline didn't have one available - so according to Maria, they tied her to a regular wheelchair - using someone else's blanket! Her son told reporters, "They took a dirty blanket and tied her forcefully with it and she has bruise marks on part of her arm because it was so tight and she started crying." A photo was taken at that moment and posted to Facebook. It gets much worse. The son also said his mother "was told to 'shut the f--- up' or she will be 'left there'" after she started crying. The incident unfolded at the Amsterdam airport after Saliagas and her husband flew to Europe out of the Atlanta airport April 1. In a statement, Delta said: "We regret the perception our service has left on these customers. We have reached out to them, not only to resolve their concerns, but also ensure that their return flight exceeds expectations." Delta also says an airport-contracted wheelchair vendor met the Saliagas at the gate and Saliagas chose a wheelchair out of several options presented to her. After she complained of "slipping," the airline says, she agreed to the blanket plan proposed by a wheelchair assistant and a new blanket was used to secure her. The airline says its "findings do not align with details shared by the customer's family," but that it is "disappointed that our customers didn't have a satisfying travel experience." Delta has offered the family 20,000 free SkyMiles, but they want to see a change in the airline's policy for handling customers with disabilities. (WSB News)
Oh. My. God.
It's bad enough to be detained for a crime you didn't commit; it's worse when that detention leads to nearly three weeks in the back of a van, deprived of a bathroom. Edward Kovari of Virginia is suing Brevard Extraditions, Prisoner Transportation Services of America, and its parent company, Prisoner Transportation Services. It seems Mr. Kovari was arrested in September 2016 in Winchester, Va., with a cop telling him the car he was driving had been reported stolen in Houston. That wasn't true, but Kovari was still extradited to Texas in an 18-day trip in a private prison transport van. Kovari says he and the 15 or so others crammed in the van received small water rations and occasional fast food, that he was denied his hypertension meds, and that, due to no bathroom breaks, he spent much of the seven-state trip sitting in his own and others' waste. An editor for a prisoner legal publication tells the AP conditions like these are common in the private prison transport arena, as the goal is to pick up as many prisoners around the nation as possible for "cost efficiency." When Kovari finally arrived in Houston, he couldn't walk and his blood pressure had spiked to above 200 (a systolic number above 130 is considered high). The charges against Kovari were eventually dismissed. His suit alleges negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and a violation of his 14th Amendment rights. (Washington Post)
Hey Cindy, Mind if I Borrow Your Urine?
An Ohio woman might want to ask some questions if she tries to borrow someone's urine again to pass a drug test. In Belmont County, Ohio, 24-year-old Kiana Wallace was sentenced to 18 months in prison for submitting a borrowed urine sample that - wait for it - tested positive for drugs. Wallace pleaded guilty earlier this month to attempted tampering with evidence. Judge Frank Fregiato asked her, "Let me get this straight. To avoid the positive test with your own urine, you used someone else's urine which turned out to be positive also. That's bizarre." (WTOV-TV News)
The Buffalo Museum of Science has been sitting on a rare find - and they didn't even know it. A collections manager with the museum discovered an elephant bird egg nestled away in a cabinet for more than half a century and erroneously labeled as a cast. The very real egg is 1 foot long, more than 2 feet in circumference, and in pristine condition. Director of Collections Kathryn Leacock says, "It's the biggest egg laid by any vertebrate ever," and that includes dinosaurs, notes the Smithsonian, which reports the egg's volume is equivalent to that of about 150 chicken eggs. Convinced the specimen looked too real to be a model, the museum brought the egg to conservation experts at SUNY Buffalo State who radiographed and authenticated it. The X-rays also revealed a yolk sac and specks of white material, indicating the egg had been fertilized, with the white bits possibly the early stages of a developing bird. Elephant birds, which became extinct in the 17th century, could grow to a height of 10 feet and weigh as much as 1,100 pounds. The flightless birds were found on Madagascar and probably died out due to a combination of factors. The egg, one of fewer than 40 held by public institutions, will be on display at the museum starting in May. (Buffalo News)
Bill Cosby's Lawyer Falls Asleep... in Court!
You'd kind of hope your lawyer would stay awake during your sexual assault trial. Bill Cosby didn't get that luxury as lawyer Tom Mesereau was seen drifting in and out of consciousness while Judge Steven O'Neill re-read prior testimony to the jury at their request. O'Neill began reading from Cosby's deposition as it approached 7.50pm. As the evening stretched on Mesereau began to doze, slack jawed, his face shielded from the jury as he sat turned towards the projection screen on which Cosby's words were displayed. Mesereau was asleep for 30 minutes before finally waking up. Cosby is facing 30 years in jail if he is found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his Pennsylvania home in 2004. Who knows, maybe this will get him another mistrial. (Daily News)
What the What?
Responding to a call about suspected domestic abuse, German police say they rushed to an apartment in the southwestern town of Neustadt only to barge in on a voluntary class on Japanese bondage. It seems a concerned neighbor called to report that two men were abusing a half-naked woman in a nearby apartment. When police arrived they instead found the tenant, a teacher of Japanese Shibari, instructing a couple in the basics of erotic bondage. In a statement headlined "Fifty Shades of Neustadt," police said "the couple was well and in a good mood" when officers inquired about their situation. They even offered to have the officers participate in the class, but the police politely declined. (Newser)