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New county councilwoman Kelli Dunaway (copy)

Kelli Dunaway, right, gets sworn in as a new St. Louis County councilwoman by Diann Valenti, left, acting county council clerk, on Tuesday. With Dunaway are her children Liam, 5, and Bella, 7, Trachtman.

Photo by Hillary Levin,

Head full of brains, shoes full of feet ...

Since there’s no law requiring St. Louis County Council members to swear their oath of office with a hand on the Bible, newly elected Democrat Kelli Dunaway chose Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” as her book of choice. Her proud children held it for her during the swearing-in ceremony.

The 1990 book offers a message of inspiration to anyone embarking on a new phase of life, whether it’s a high-school graduation, the jump from kindergarten to first grade, or even the next stage of a political career. Alas, Dr. Seuss was not immune to a male-centric narrative as he sought to inspire. But the message is the same whether the reader is a “guy” or not:

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

... Head short on brains, mouth full of feet

Rep. Steve King’s foot-in-mouth disease has reached the point where an emergency tongue-ectomy might be in order. King, R-Iowa, is infamous for racist and sexist commentary that makes his Republican colleagues cringe, such as when he questioned in a January interview why it’s so offensive to be a “white supremacist.” (House Republicans stripped him of his committee assignments shortly afterward.)

Undeterred, King decided to stretch the ignorance envelope once again, declaring that, if not for rape and incest, there would be no human population. “What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” he said in a video posted online by the Des Moines Register.

Even No. 3 House Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming, never reluctant to blindly defend her fellow conservatives, called on King to resign.

Worry when the X-ray smiles back

British doctors needed eight days to figure out why a patient was having serious problems swallowing and eating solid food after having routine surgery. The patient went back to the doctor to complain, but his condition was dismissed as throat soreness from having a breathing tube inserted during surgery.

The problem persisted. Doctors counseled patience. Finally, they took an X-ray and discovered the problem: His dentures had come loose during the surgery and wound up stuck in his throat. The dentures were extracted, and the patient is reported back to normal. Still unanswered is how they wound up so far down his throat without anyone noticing — even when the patient woke up from his initial surgery asking where his teeth were.

Unfriendly skies

American Airlines needs to explain why it stranded a group of unaccompanied children in temporary quarters for 24 hours without feeding them or contacting their parents. The nine kids were attending a Charlottesville, Va., camp for children with neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder. Their flight home to Oregon was stuck in Charlotte, N.C., by a series of delays.

The kids ended up having to stay overnight in an “unaccompanied minors” room, without enough beds to accommodate them. Several of the kids and parents told The Washington Post that they didn’t get a full meal at any point during the 24-hour ordeal — a serious issue, as some of the kids were on medication that had to be taken with food.

There were some vending machines in the room, but they didn’t work. The airline didn’t contact the parents about all this, and the parents couldn’t get anyone at the airline to explain what was going on. American says it is reviewing what happened.

Low-tech landscaping

In a world of depressing news, what could be better than a business that unleashes goats to chomp away at hard-to-mow foliage? As the Post-Dispatch’s Colleen Schrappen reported, an Iowa-based business called “Goats on the Go,” which has St. Louis-area affiliates, will bring a small herd of the hoofed climbers to customers’ steep, rocky or otherwise challenging land and clear it of long grass, weeds and shrubs.

The goats’ handlers use a portable electric fence to keep the animals from going astray. When they’re released onto a new job, “the initial onslaught is like when a pizza box arrives with teenage kids,” said Erika Streeter, who opened one of the St. Louis affiliates last spring.

The goats take several days to trim down an acre, but they do it without pesticides or machinery. As Schrappen writes, “All the goats leave behind is fertilizer.”

The Mooch’s rebellion

You know the political world is upside-down when the wisest thing heard lately from within the Republican Party is coming from none other than Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci. “How are we tolerating all this?” asks the dapper, outspoken former top aide to President Donald Trump in calling for the GOP to replace Trump on the 2020 presidential ticket.

Scaramucci surely set some kind of record by being White House communications director for just 11 days in 2017.

Trump fired him for a series of immediate controversies, including an obscenity-laced interview Scaramucci gave to The New Yorker. But like others Trump has booted, Scaramucci continued carrying his water in public, showing up as a commentator in various venues offering support for the administration.

No more. In recent interviews, Scaramucci characterized Trump’s response to the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio as a “total catastrophe” and suggested (correctly) Trump has lost the credibility to lead the GOP for another term. Trump, of course, promptly proved Scaramucci right with a childish, unpresidential tweet hitting back at him.