Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Short Takes on Gambling Nuns and Fumbling Prime Ministers

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Short Takes on Gambling Nuns and Fumbling Prime Ministers

Article excerpt

Vow of poverty? (thumbs down)

For almost 30 years, two nuns embezzled some $500,000 from a California Catholic school, using it for Las Vegas casino trips. Now, to the fury of parishioners, the archdiocese isn't pressing charges. The story of Sisters Mary Margaret Kreuper and Lana Chang of St. James Catholic School in Torrance, Calif., sounds like dark comedy. Kreuper, the principal, and Chang, a longtime teacher, diverted parents' tuition checks to a separate bank account and used the money for trips. This while the school was struggling financially.

Although the nuns admit it, the archdiocese is declining to press charges because the sisters' order has agreed to repay it. Parents are rightly infuriated. This isn't in the same criminal universe as priests sexually assaulting children. But still, has the church learned nothing about the problem with shielding its employees from the consequences of illegal behavior?

Not May's finest hour (thumbs down)

British Prime Minister Theresa May can't seem to get a public relations break. Last year as she addressed her Conservative Party conference, she had a coughing fit. Then a sign on stage behind her with the party logo fell down, as if to symbolize the party under her leadership. It didn't bode well.

She spent the past week fighting for her political life as a parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal for Britain to leave the European Union had to be canceled because she couldn't muster enough votes. A no-confidence vote followed, which she survived. As she traveled to Germany earlier to salvage the deal, May's limo pulled up to a red carpet, where Chancellor Angela Merkel waited to greet her. And waited. And waited. May was locked in her own car and couldn't get the door open.

Tech-schooling Congress (thumbs up)

House Republicans last week grilled Google CEO Sundar Pichai about his search engine, wanting to know why searches for phrases like "Obamacare repeal" and "Donald Trump" turned up so many negative articles. Others wanted to know why their own names didn't bring up more glowing reviews. Pichai came off as a rational, knowledgeable tech nerd with no discernible agenda, in a roomful of technologically clueless politicians with nothing but agendas.

Google, like Twitter and Facebook, is fending off Republican allegations of anti-conservative bias. Republicans complained that Googling about the GOP attempts to repeal Obamacare turns up articles saying that would result in people losing coverage -- which is objectively true.

The hearing illuminated how little the lawmakers understand that search results are in large part a popularity contest: The pages that rank highest tend to be the ones people have been reading and responding to. If those high-ranking hits are unflattering to congressional Republicans, that indicates they have a bigger problem than Google.

Climate roadkill (thumbs down)

Those lumbering little armored mammals from South America, which weren't in Missouri in any significant numbers up until a few decades ago, are now engaged in what one wildlife expert calls "the armadillo invasion. …

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