Chuck Shepherd

Although discouraging the marriage of children in developing nations has been U.S. foreign policy for years, a data-collecting watchdog group in America disclosed in February that 27 U.S. states have no minimum marriage ages and estimates that an average of almost 25,000 children age 15 and under are permitted to marry every year ("estimates" because some states do not keep records by age). Child marriage is often allowed in the U.S. if parents approve, although no such exemption is made in foreign policy, largely to curb developing nations' "family honor" marriages — which often wreck girls' chances for self-actualizing. However, "family honor" is still, in some states, the basis for allowing U.S. child marriages, such as with "shotgun" weddings.

Compelling explanation

• Glenn Schloeffel, vice president of the Central Bucks school board in a Philadelphia suburb, recommended that science books be viewed skeptically on "climate change" because teenage "depression" rates have been increasing. Surely, he said, one factor depressing students is reading all that alarming climate-change data.

• Seattle's Real Estate Services rental agency has informed the family of the late Dennis Hanel that it would not return Hanel's security deposit following his January death because Hanel had not given the lease-required "notice" giving up his apartment. He had cancer, but died of a heart attack. Washington state law requires only that the landlord provide an explanation of why it is keeping the deposit.

He's so deserving

John Haskew, who told investigators that he was "self-taught on the banking industry," evidently thought he might succeed making bogus wire transfers to himself from a large unidentified national bank — in the amount of $7 billion. He pleaded guilty in February in Lakeland, Fla. He said he thought he "deserved" the money.

Underdeveloped consciences

• Just before Christmas, Tammy Strickland, 38, was arrested in Polk County, Fla., and charged with stealing 100 toys from a Toys for Tots collection box.

• In February, thieves unbolted and stole a PlayStation from the children's cancer ward at Wellington Hospital in New Zealand.

Least competent criminals

Willie Anthony, 20, and Jamarqua Davis, 16, were arrested in Kannapolis, N.C., in February after, police said, they broke into a Rent-a-Center at 2 a.m. and stole a big-screen TV. After loading the set into one car, they drove off in separate vehicles, but in their haste, smashed into each other in the parking lot. Both men subsequently drove the wrong way down South Cannon Boulevard, and both then accidentally crashed separately into other vehicles, allowing police to catch up.

The passing parade

• Nelson Foyle, 93, is believed to be Britain's longest-time patron of the same pub (the Dog and Gun in Salisbury, England), and fellow drinkers recently bought him an honorary "lordship" title to mark his 80th year on the establishment's bar stools.

• An art collective in a Los Angeles storefront re-created (for a two-week run in January) a retro video store that featured only boxed VHS editions of the movie "Jerry Maguire" — about 14,000 copies.

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