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Editorial: Short takes on redheads and dead heads

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FedEx delivery

A FedEx driver returns to his truck in downtown Pittsburgh.

Absolutely, positively nowhere to be found

After a Georgia man was shot to death in 2019, the medical examiner shipped the remains — via FedEx — to a special lab in St. Louis as part of the investigation. Three years later, the shipping company has been unable to locate the, um, package.

As reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the decomposing body of Jeffrey Merriweather, 32, was discovered weeks after his apparent fatal shooting near Atlanta. The medical examiner’s office in Fulton County, Georgia, shipped his remains to the St. Louis lab for analysis. Why the office used FedEx is unclear. The shipping company has a strict policy against shipping human remains.

In any case, the 18.6-pound box never arrived in St. Louis and apparently is still lost in FedEx’s system.

As if to add an extra layer of the macabre, when the newspaper recently reported on the missing remains and tweeted out the story, a FedEx bot cheerfully responded on Twitter that it was “very sorry for the pending delivery,” and that it would be “happy to assist.”

The medical examiner’s office didn’t respond to questions from the newspaper.

Lethal party platform

While updating its official platform last week, the Idaho Republican Party debated whether its call for a total abortion ban should make an exception for ectopic pregnancies. That’s when a fertilized egg attaches and begins growing outside the uterus. Such pregnancies are always non-viable, and they can kill the woman if the pregnancy isn’t terminated.

The debate prompted consideration of a “lethal danger” exception to the abortion ban in the party’s platform. It failed 412-164.

There is no way to overstate how dystopian this is. It’s a formal party endorsement of letting women unnecessarily die — even women who desperately want a successful pregnancy — if the embryo embeds in a place where a live birth is impossible. Republican lawmakers owe it to themselves and the women they might destine for death to actually read up on ectopic pregnancy before legislating on it.

No prosecution for Colbert’s crew

Stephen Colbert is known for deliberate attempts to create real fake news — or at least to create fake people behaving like real reporters and news anchors. His latest gag led to the arrest of a Colbert crew conducting interviews in a House office building on Capitol Hill using a dog puppet, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. The arrest was based on a technicality: Whichever member of Congress agreed to host Colbert’s crew was supposed to have assigned an escort to accompany them at all times. That escort, however, apparently wandered off.

The crew carried out their interviews the same way they do in every other Colbert gag setting — letting the interviewees make fools of themselves while the cameras roll. Triumph the Insult Comic Dog has hosted a focus group of Donald Trump supporters who were shown outrageously fake Trump campaign ads, such as putting kids to work in meat-packing plants, then recording their reactions to prove that Trump supporters will pretty much support anything they think he supports.

Federal prosecutors said Monday that they would not prosecute the nine members of the Colbert crew because the prospects of conviction were minimal: They were there as invitees and nobody actually asked them to leave.

Helping Herschel Walker clear the air

This was an unusually good week for Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker. The Republican ex-football star managed not to lie or wax embarrassingly incoherent for at least a few days in a row. For Walker, that’s a major achievement in a campaign riddled with blatant falsehoods and ridiculous declarations. He infamously criticized absent Black fathers, only to face revelations that he had fathered three children and had been sued by the mother of one for child support.

The list of embarrassments had been growing so long that Walker’s campaign staff began banning reporters from covering his events, apparently out of fear that he would actually be quoted. On July 9, however, he thwarted his aides’ best efforts by live-streaming an event on Facebook in which he declared that the “good air” over Georgia has a mind of its own and “decides to float over” to China. China’s “bad air” gets displaced by Georgia’s good air and then floats over to Georgia. “We got to clean that back up,” he said.

Instead, it was Walker who got a cleanup with the arrival of professional campaign consultants, who coached him to stay on script and not veer in a Trumpian way into Covfefe-style incoherence. Given Walker’s record, only time will tell whether he can avoid more rhetorical disaster before the election.

Red-hot alert

A British cinema chain offered free tickets into air-conditioned movie theaters to a class of citizens particularly vulnerable to the nation’s record-high heat wave: Redheads. Showcase Cinemas announced on Instagram “Free tickets for redheads on the hottest days ever” for Monday and Tuesday, as temperatures were forecast to reach as high as 104.

The company explained in a statement: “Since redheads are often more vulnerable than most to the sun’s rays, we’re giving them shelter from the sun inside our fully air conditioned cinema screens,” The Washington Post reported.

Many British homes don’t have air conditioning — though most movie theaters do. As the Post noted, people with red hair, pale skin and freckles — often referred to colloquially as “ginger” — are more susceptible not only to sunburn but to long-term issues including skin cancer.


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