The Actual Cost Of Gutter Guards In 2022 May Surprise You! Tabs, Thurs., May 12, 2022
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Ukraine has announced its first war crimes charges, filed against a 21-year-old Russian soldier who is accused of firing from a car window and killing a 62-year-old civilian who was riding a bicycle. Jesus. The soldier could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. (CBC)

In happier news, Maria Alyokhina, democracy activist and leader of the band Pussy Riot, has escaped from Russia. She disguised herself as a food courier and delivered herself first to Belarus, and finally to Lithuania, where she met up with her girlfriend, Lucy Shtein, who escaped Russia a month ago. (New York Times)

Finland is expected to announce a formal bid to join NATO today. Sweden is likely to be close behind. Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said Wednesday that if Vladimir Putin is unhappy about the development, "My response would be that you caused this. Look at the mirror.” (Guardian)


A survey finds that only eight percent of Manhattan office workers have returned full time to in-person work. The Partnership for New York City found that 28 percent of office workers are still fully remote, while 78 percent of workplaces are doing hybrid work. Only six percent of New York companies were doing that before the pandemic. 100 percent of Wonkette writers work remotely, because much though we might enjoy it, Wonkette does not (yet) have a secret base under a dormant volcano. (NYT)

Senate Republicans continue to dick around on passing $10 billion in desperately needed funding for COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccine development, because it's not like there's a new wave of cases coming, everything's fine, and the beaches must remain open for the 4th of July. What shark? We already caught the shark! There's no shark. (The Week)

Senate Democrats were unable to get enough votes to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would have codified into law the protections of Roe v. Wade. The bill failed on a 49 to 51 vote after Joe Manchin joined Republicans, saying the bill "goes too far." Allegedly pro-choice Republicans Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski also voted no. (CNN)

Inflation is beginning to ease, as the Consumer Price Index rose just 0.3 percent in April, a significant dropoff from March's 1.2 percent increase. To make it sound far worse, the Murdoch-owned New York Post led with the annual rate of inflation, which works out to 8.3 percent since April 2021, insinuating that consumer prices had jumped that much in a single month. Hooray for lying with statistics! [BLS / Marketwatch]

Donald Trump sold the lease on his DC trash palace hotel to CGI Merchant Group, which no doubt can't wait to strip the name Trump off the place and steam clean the Republican beef sweat stank out of the suites. The place lost more than $70 million during the time Trump was in office. It will be rebranded as a Waldorf Astoria, presumably after an exorcism. (NBC News)

A trio of Floridas for you, one of which is nice times hooray, the other two of which are mixed but decidedly better than not nice. Yes, we'll save the very nice one for last.

1) The survivors and family members of victims of that awful condo collapse in Surfside, Florida, last year have reached a nearly billion-dollar settlement for damages. On Monday, also, the Miami Herald won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the building's collapse, which killed 98 residents. I'm still a little haunted by the woman who broke down crying on NPR because she felt guilty for not saving her cat when she ran from the building. As Kurt Vonnegut said of Lot's wife, "I love her for that, because it's so human." (CBS News / NPR)

2) A Florida circuit court judge has blocked Ron DeSantis's horribly gerrymandered redistricting maps, and thank Crom for that. (USA Today)

3) A passenger on a single-engine plane bound from the Bahamas was able to safely land the Cessna 208 turboprop at Palm Beach International airport after the pilot lost consciousness. The passenger radioed for help, saying he had no idea how to fly a plane, but an air traffic controller who's a flight instructor talked him through the steps needed to land the plane. It appears the unconscious pilot was taken to a hospital and is presumably OK, but darned if we've seen details.

Good thing the passenger had the lasagna! Please unleash your Airplane! references in the comments, which we do not allow. (Palm Beach Post)

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Hell of a good Washington Post story about a Mississippi county sheriff — with no prior law enforcement experience — who decided to "clean up" drugs in his county, not so much for the sake of actually addressing drug abuse, but to get media attention and a ticket to reelection. If your county sheriff starts sounding like Rodrigo Duterte, you need a new county sheriff. I'd provide a free linky if I could, but WaPo isn't giving me the option. But you can listen for freebie to the podcast series that includes the story. (WaPo)

We'll close today with a WaPo story to which I can give you a free linky, about that assistant principal in Mississippi who got fired a while back for reading a silly little book called I Need a New Butt to second-graders after a guest reader was unable to join an online class. The guy seems like exactly the sort of person who ought to be teaching kids, but he was fired anyway, with the school system contending the book

contains statements and cartoon pictures regarding bodily anatomy, bodily functions and removing clothing to expose private areas of the body in various positions. These statements and pictures are inappropriate for an educator to read and display to second graders, especially without advance notice to the teachers of the students.

That's a whole lot of stupid rationalizations for taking offense at a book full of silly butt jokes. Still, the nice sweet fired educator still has steps left in his appeal process to get his job back. We hope he wins.

Also, the school system is the Hinds County School District, and could anything be more perfect? (WaPo free link)

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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