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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

We’d Much Prefer Heroin

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A high-school student in Oakton,Va., was suspended for two weeks in March when she took her birth-control pill during the lunch break at school. During those two weeks away from class, the girl discovered that, in comparison, county rules required only one week’s suspension for being high on heroin while at school. The Washington Post reported that the school’s punishment for taking birth-control pills is the same as for bringing a handgun to campus.

Least Competent People

Our Elected Leaders: (1) During an April Texas House committee hearing, according to a Houston Chronicle report, Republican state Rep. Betty Brown suggested a solution to alleged voter-registration confusion caused by Chinese Americans who Anglicize their names and create nonstandard spellings: “Do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?” she asked a Chinese-American activist. (2) During a March Florida Senate debate on whether to exempt “animal husbandry” from the law against bestiality, Sen. Larcenia Bullard asked (seriously, according to a Miami Herald reporter), “People are taking these animals as husbands?”

Cultural Diversity

Only in Japan/Only in Sweden: (1) Sega Toys Co. reported in January that in just three months it had sold 50,000 units of the Pekoppa, a "plant" consisting of leaves and branches that flutter when "spoken to." Some industry observers attribute the success of the Pekoppa to the epic loneliness of many Japanese. (2) Advocates for children complained in April that Sweden's national library, acting on a standing order to archive copies of all domestic publications, has been gathering books and magazines of child pornography from the years 1971-1980, when it was legal, and, as libraries do, lending them out (though access is supposed to be limited to researchers or others who have a “highly credible” reason to view the material).

The Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace commenced campaigns in February to shed light on the peculiar preference of Americans for ultrasoft or quilted toilet paper. In less-picky Europe and Latin America, recycling produces 40% of toilet paper, but American demand for multi-ply tissue requires virgin or managed-forest wood for 98% of the product. The activists claim that U.S. toilet paper imposes more costs on the planet than do gas-guzzling cars.

Latest Religious Messages

Buddhist monks continue to add to their 20-structure compound near the Cambodian border using empty beer bottles, according to a February feature in London's Daily Telegraph. Their building program, begun in 1984, already uses 1.5 million bottles, mostly green Heinekens and brown, locally brewed Chang, both of which are praised for letting in light and permitting easy cleaning.

A group of an estimated 10,000 believers is attempting to reverse American Christianity's declining birthrate by shunning all contraception, in obedience to Psalm 127, which likens the advantage of big families to having a "quiver" full of "arrows" (the group calls itself the Quiverfull movement). "God opens and closes the womb," one advocate said to National Public Radio in March. The report noted that at the woman’s church in Shelby, Mich., the mothers average 8.5 children. "The womb is such a powerful weapon…against the enemy," another woman said. "The more children I have, the more ability I have to impact the world for God."

© 2009 Chuck Shepherd

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