Cat resting head on book

Fool cat’s holding the book (a Bennett Cerf collection) upside-down.

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Images of various speakers:  Of 600 girls rescued from Boko Haram, at least 214 are pregnant, but, because of the Helms Act of 1973, aid groups lose funding if they perform abortions.  Let's try to understand the mindset of those who think this makes sense.  Old man says,

Via Job’s Anger.

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It’s been a long time since I was a high school senior.

Just when did “senior pranks” become a thing?

Addendum, Later That Same Day:

According to The Guardian, high school seniors’ doing stupid stuff has graduated to a “tradition.”

Back in the olden days, when I was a young ‘un, we tried to hide our stupid, not broadcast it.

Furrfu.

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Reg Henry wants some truth served with his Memorial Day.

. . . a danger lurks in looking at service and sacrifice through a gauzy sentimental veil that obscures a bitter truth: Many wars in which our forces take the field have little to do with preserving our freedoms or way of life, and no amount of pious speeches or editorials will make this so.

In fact, if you count the conflicts that really did represent life or death to the nation in recent generations, only World War II unambiguously qualifies (although the Korean War arguably has a claim).

As for the rest, they were undertaken for reasons ranging from the shabby to the reckless. American forces were too often committed in the service of some political notion later revealed to be crackpot or fanciful. This was not the fault of those who served so honorably.

Read it.

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No right-wing Bible-thumper will think to suggest from Sunday’s pulpit that the flooding of Texas may be a sign from the Almighty that the climates they are a-changing.

Not a single one.

More »

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Gidget the Gadget takes the con.

There’s a reason I prefer maps–the old-fashioned kind that you can fold up.

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Another day in NRA Paradise.

A 4-year-old girl is fighting for her life after police say she shot herself in the face with a gun found in a Yonkers home.

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David Packard:

A company has a greater responsibility than making money for its stockholders. We have a responsibility to our employees to recognize their dignity as human beings.

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A parable in pictures at Job’s Anger.

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John Romano has a strategy for dealing with school-yard bullies.

How do you deal with troublemakers in the classroom?

You know the type. The ones who refuse to listen, and the ones who are slow to learn. The ones who don’t care about the disruptions they cause, or the hours they waste.

As another school year winds down, I have a humble suggestion for dealing with those schoolyard agitators who want to take over every classroom:

Stop electing them to the Legislature.

Details at the link.

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Whatever shall we do about the epidemic of self-politeness?

At least this fellow had the good grace to be embarrassed when caught politing himself.

A man shot in the leg at the county park on Monday accidentally fired the gun, police said.

Police identified the victim as Antonio Quantico Davis of North Charleston. He had a gunshot wound to his left leg, police said.

“Davis initially stated that he had been shot by another person, then later changed his story, admitting that he had accidentally shot himself,” police said.

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Oh, my. Scrabble gets pwned.

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One of the things that most confused me when I moved to Pennsylvania was the structure of local government.

As a native Virginian, I understood Virginia, and, frankly, many aspects of Virginia’s structure make sense, even as the persons who fill elective offices often do not. “Independent cities,” for example, are a great idea. Cities are not part of counties. Therefore, if you are in a city, the only jurisdiction to hold accountable is the city; bucks cannot be passed back and forth between cities and counties. If the governance of the independent city is incompetent, there is only one government to blame. If voters do not turn them out, it’s their own damned fault.

Pennsylvania counties are divided into townships and boroughs for no good reason that I could ever figure out (“borough” is a term for a “township” that is a little more urban than the surrounding area, such as Narberth, the wonderful place where I lived; it’s a “township” on steroids that, anywhere else, would be called a “town”).

After a while, I figured out that most local governance was provided by the township; that’s where I registered to vote, for example. As far as I could figure out, counties existed mostly to create sinecures jobs.

I did a little research and learned that, after the American Revolution, there seemed to be two schools of thought regarding how to promote democracy. One school advocated concentrating power in the hands of elected representatives as a way of guaranteeing “democracy.” The other believed that the more elected officials, the more “democracy”; New England’s town meetings are perhaps the extreme example of this.

Pennsylvania seems to have opted for the latter choice. There are lots of little jurisdictions with lots of elected officials (one of the elected officials was a “prothonotary”–never did figure out what that was, a notary with a big nose, maybe, though Wikipedia tells me it is what anyone else would call “Clerk of the Court”). I remember reading somewhere that Pennsylvania has over 44,000 state and local elected officials, second highest in the nation, though it is a middling-sized state in both area and population.

Now, a couple of decades after I lived there, Pennsylvania’s system of local governance seems to be collapsing under its own weight.

One thing is certain: No solution that involves reducing the number of jurisdictions or elected officials will be brooked. The number of Babbitts must be held constant.

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Jesus to crowd on the Mount:  My followers, when a child comes to your land seeking shelter, you must extend your hand to block their path while chanting.

Via Kos.

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Spill it again, harder! Harder!

The company that owns the pipeline involved in Tuesday’s major oil spill in Santa Barbara has had 175 “spill incidents” nationwide since 2006, including 11 in California, according to a Center for Biological Diversity analysis of federal documents.

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Kenneth L. Pike:

Today’s practicality is often no more than the accepted form of yesterday’s theory.

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Cat got your gun?

A 19-year-old Onalaska man was accidentally shot in the leg on the 200 block of King Street by his 22-year-old roommate, who was making the cat chase the red dot produced by his handgun’s laser sighting system.

Another day in NRA Paradise.

Via Southern Beale.

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They were not caught in the act, but they did match the description. Funny how, when stuff like this happens, the suspects always “match the description.”

Two stepbrothers suspected of trying to steal beer from a grocery store were not armed with guns when they were later shot Thursday by a police officer who confronted them in the state’s capital city.

(snip)

Officers split up to search for the suspects. Donald encountered two men with skateboards who fit witnesses’ descriptions, and moments later, he radioed in that shots had been fired, the police chief said.

In radio calls released by police, Donald calls dispatchers once he spots the men and again to report that he fired shots.

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