Although discouraging the marriage of children in developing nations has been U.S. foreign policy for years, a data-collecting watchdog group in America disclosed in February that 27 U.S. states have no minimum marriage ages and estimates that an average of almost 25,000 children age 15 and under are permitted to marry every year (“estimates” because some states do not keep records by age). Child marriage is often allowed in the U.S. if parents approve, although no such exemption is made in foreign policy, largely to curb developing nations’ “family honor” marriages–which often wreck girls’ chances for self-actualizing. (However, “family honor” is still, in some states, the basis for allowing U.S. child marriages, such as with “shotgun” weddings.)
Glenn Schloeffel, vice president of the Central Bucks school board in a Philadelphia suburb, recommended that science books be viewed skeptically on “climate change” because teenage “depression” rates have been increasing. Surely, he said, one factor depressing students is reading all that alarming climate-change data. And Seattle’s Real Estate Services rental agency has informed the family of the late Dennis Hanel that it would not return Hanel’s security deposit following his January death because Hanel had not given the lease-required “notice” giving up his apartment. (He had cancer, but died of a heart attack. Washington state law requires only that the landlord provide an explanation why it is keeping the deposit.)
John Haskew, who told investigators that he was “self-taught on the banking industry,” evidently thought he might succeed making bogus wire transfers to himself from a large (unidentified) national bank, in the amount of $7 billion. He pleaded guilty in February in Lakeland, Florida. (He said he thought he “deserved” the money.) And Katherine Kempson, 49, deciding to pay “cash” for a $1.2 million home, forged (according to York County, Pennsylvania, deputies) a “proof of funds” letter from the Members 1st credit union. Home sales are, of course, highly regulated formalities, and several attempted “closings” were halted when her money kept not showing up. One deputy told a reporter, “I’m guessing that she probably didn’t think it through.”
BAIL’S IN HER COURT
The highest bail amount ever ordered in America–$4 billion for murder suspect Antonio Willis–was briefly in play in Killeen, Texas, in February, set by Bell County’s elected Justice of the Peace Claudia Brown. Bail was reduced 10 days later to $150,000 by a district court judge, prompting Brown to acknowledge that she set the “$4 billion” to call attention to Texas’ lack of bail standards, which especially punishes indigent arrestees with little hope of raising even modest amounts when accused of minor crimes.
Researchers including Rice University biochemist John Olson revealed in a February journal article that one reason a man avoided anemia even though he had a gene mutation that weakened his hemoglobin was because he has been a tobacco smoker–that the carbon monoxide from smoke had been therapeutic. His daughter, with the same gene mutation, did develop anemia since she never smoked (although Olson suggested other ways besides smoking to strengthen hemoglobin, such as by massive vitamin C).
PEOPLE WITH UNDERDEVELOPED CONSCIENCES
Just before Christmas, Tammy Strickland, 38, was arrested in Polk County, Florida, and charged with stealing 100 toys from a Toys for Tots collection box. Then in February, thieves unbolted and stole a PlayStation from the children’s cancer ward at Wellington Hospital in New Zealand. And Judith Permar, 56, who was found dead, stuck in a clothing donation drop-off box in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania, in February (a result, police said, of trying to “steal” items), had driven to the box in her Hummer.
PHALLIC NEWS FROM OVERSEAS
In February, doctors at Narayana Health City in Bangalore, India, were successful in a five-hour, 20-specialist surgery normalizing an infant born with the chromosomal abnormality “polymelia”–which resulted in four legs and two penises. Doctors praised the parents, from rural Puladinni village, for recognizing the issue as “medical” and not as “superstition.” And in February, police in southern Bangladesh arrested a family that used a fake penis to convince neighbors that the family had the powers of genies (“djinns”). The villagers had known the family had a girl, but overnight the genies had “changed” her into a “boy,” thus frightening the villagers into making offerings to the family.
Unhappy Ending: Clifford Jones, 58, was killed in a one-vehicle crash in Detroit in January, having lost control of his car because, according to Michigan State Police, he was distracted by watching pornography on his cellphone. He was also not wearing pants. And Leslie Ray Charping, 75, of Galveston, Texas, lived “much longer than he deserved,” according to his daughter, in a widely shared obituary in February, in a life that “served no obvious purpose.” The death notice referenced his “bad parenting” and “being generally offensive,” and closed with “Leslie’s passing proves that evil does in fact die.”