Comparing nations’ capitals: Washington, D.C. vs. Amsterdam

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Possession of marijuana has been legal in D.C. since last Thursday. Coffee shops have been selling pot in Amsterdam since the 1970s. But within the past couple of years, Dutch authorities have been working on laws to allow the sale of weed only to residents of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. And in D.C. sales aren’t legal at all.

So, overall, Amsterdam has D.C. beat in every regard. (I’m biased, because Amsterdam is my favorite city in the world.) Oh, the chart was put together by the Dutch Embassy.

For more information, click here.

To shill a mockingbird

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Would you like to understand how the “new” Harper Lee novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” came to be billed as a long-lost, blockbuster sequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird” — one of the definitive books of the American 20th century — when, by all the known facts, it’s an uneven first draft of the famous novel that was never considered for publication?

Would you like to get a glimpse into how clever marketing and cryptic pronouncements have managed to produce an instant bestseller, months before anyone has read it?

If so, click on this Washington Post story.

Today in Republican rape logic

Two things: First from the West Virginia House (via Jezebel):

The West Virginia House has begun the process of approving a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks in the state; Like other version of the same bill, West Virginia’s proposed law has been dubbed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. It’s based on the bunk science that fetuses are capable of feeling pain after 20 weeks, and that pain should trump the desire someone might feel to not carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

The body’s health committee passed the bill Thursday. But first, as the Charleston Gazette reported, in comments that were picked up by both Huffington Post and Think Progress, Delegate Brian Kurcaba said he couldn’t quite see why there should be an exception in the bill for victims of rape or incest.

“Obviously rape is awful,” Kurcaba said. “What is beautiful is the child that could come from this.”

And now, from the Utah House of Representatives (from the Salt Lake Tribune):

If someone can’t consent, it’s rape.

A Utah measure seeking to make that legal clarification won early approval in a state legislative committee Tuesday, but some lawmakers qualified their support, questioning whether the law would designate sex with an unconscious spouse as rape.

“If an individual has sex with their wife while she is unconscious … a prosecutor could then charge that spouse with rape, theoretically,” said Rep. Brian Greene, R-Pleasant Grove.”That makes sense in a first date scenario, but to me, not where people have a history of years of sexual activity.”

Your GOP in action. Sticking their noses in your lady parts. If you’re unconscious.

Stealing the police car seemed like a good idea at the time

A woman in Pennsylvania suspected of shoplifting was put handcuffed in the back seat of a police car and left alone. That did not go well.

She climbed into the front seat with her hands behind her back, and took off, going more than 100 miles an hour. I have no idea how that’s possible.

And when you see a woman in handcuffs behind the wheel of a police car with its siren blaring (and no cop in sight) how should you answer the question, “Will you help me drive, please?”

The actual video is nine minutes long. You can see it here.

A walk on the wild side?

This is a crime?

It was a one-mile walk home from a Silver Spring park on Georgia Avenue on a Saturday afternoon. But what the parents saw as a moment of independence for their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, they say authorities viewed much differently.

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say they are being investigated for neglect for the Dec. 20 trek — in a case they say reflects a clash of ideas about how safe the world is and whether parents are free to make their own choices about raising their children.

I guess this confuses me because of the way I was raised. In the summer, my mom would say in the morning, get out of the house and don’t come back until lunch, then get out of the house and don’t come back until dinner. Which meant I could do whatever I want wherever I wanted. That wasn’t called parental neglect. It was called growing up. And at one point when I was in sixth grade, I was getting on the subway in the Bronx with my sister, who was in the fourth grade, in order to go to school in Brooklyn. Without adult supervision.

Are things really that more dangerous for children now than they were then?

And now there’s a thing called “free-range parenting.” Which is what people normally did in the past.