Oh, my. Scrabble gets pwned.


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.


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.


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.


Kenneth L. Pike:

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


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.


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.


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.



But I’ll take one any day of the week over those stupid “ducks.” My Daddy rode in an amphibious vehicle so I don’t have to.

They came armed and on bicycles, planning a “Mad Max”-style attack.

Their target was PedalPubs in downtown Minneapolis. Their weapons of choice were squirt guns and water balloons.

What they didn’t know was that there were off-duty cops among the passengers.

Two of the people-powered, 16-seat vehicles were hit Saturday in the late afternoon in the Warehouse District, said Lisa Stanplin, manager of Twin Cities PedalPubs.


In the light of recent events, in which a few black looters in Baltimore were designated “thugs,” while many not-black bikers trying to kill each other in Waco were designated “overly-enthusiastic partisans,”* Tony Norman struggles to understand the meaning of the word “thug.” Here’s a bit; read the rest (emphasis added):

So a few pundits rushed to call these bikers “thugs,” too, though there was some hairsplitting about that by the most incorrigible racists. After all, while the scene contained nine deaths and the presence of 118 handguns, an AK-47, 157 knives and 43 miscellaneous weapons, nobody was arrested for looting — which somehow makes these losers superior to the “thugs” in Baltimore.

From what I can tell from this arbitrary distinction, the act of looting is what qualifies a person for designation as a thug. . . .

That’s why I was puzzled by an article in Thursday’s Post-Gazette that failed to identify as thugs four major banks that admitted looting the world’s global exchange markets between 2007 and 2013.


*Okay, so I exaggerated a wee bit, but only a wee bit.


Right wing talking point #4,747:  How to spot a

Via Job’s Anger.


Know them by the company they keep.

More »


Via C&L.


William Whitelaw:

It is never wise to try to appear to be more clever than you are. It is sometimes wise to appear slightly less so.


Practice that politeness.

A 36-year-old Emmaus man accidentally shot himself in the groin while holstering his weapon during a class at the Bethlehem police gun range, according the city’s police chief.

Just the sort of fellow I want to see carrying a concealed firearm, yes-indeedy-do.


GOP candidates hanging from dry cleaner's carousel at debate.  Moderator:  It's the only way we could handle so many candidates.
Click for a larger image.


After all, what could possibly go wrong?

. . . researchers took air samples in Carroll County, Ohio, where there are 480 permitted wells – the most in any of the state’s 88 counties. The team found chemicals released during oil and gas extraction that can raise the risk of cancer and respiratory ailments.


Fantastically racist twits.


Complaining that a movie is not “true to the comic”; bet they didn’t complain about Noah, which was not true to anything.

These folks need to stop trying to make Big Bang Theory reruns come alive and get a life.


The all-purpose Teflon badge number.

Officer Friendly is no more.

Say hello to Officer Fiendly.


The fee hand of the market in action: it’s not for the little guy.