17 Teen girls at one Boston-area high school make good on pact to get pregnant, school nurses resign after advocating providing contraceptives

Found this troubling article here:

A group of teenage girls at Gloucester High School formed a pact to get pregnant and raise their children together, according to a report in the latest issue of Time magazine.

By May, school officials had discovered 17 girls — none older than 16 years old — were pregnant, more than four times the number who got pregnant in the last school year. But principal Joseph Sullivan told Time that between October and May, an unusual number of girls were visiting the school clinic to get pregnancy tests. They found that nearly half of the students admitted to making the pact.

Sullivan reportedly said “some girls seemed more upset when they weren’t pregnant than when they were,” and that some “reacted to the news that they were pregnant with high fives and plans for baby showers.”

“We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy,” the principal told the magazine.

The situation also led to a nurse practitioner and the clinic’s medical director resigning after they advocated prescribing contraceptives to students. The town’s school committee is expected to vote later this summer on the idea of providing such contraceptives.

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Mr. Smith Goes to War With KBR

Published as a New York Times editorial : June 19, 2008

In the annals of Iraq war profiteering, put Charles Smith down as one of the casualties. Four years ago, Army auditors notified Mr. Smith, a Pentagon contract manager, that KBR, the Bush administration’s most favored defense contractor, could not adequately explain more than $1 billion in war billings.

Mr. Smith, a career civilian employee, did his duty: He confronted KBR and warned that unless they supplied credible justification, he would levy penalties of 15 percent on future work payments while also, needless to say, blocking any performance bonuses for the company.

Whoops. Mr. Smith was replaced suddenly by the brass in overseeing the contract and the Pentagon took the unusual step of second-guessing its own auditors by hiring an outside contractor to reconsider the claims from KBR. Such is the clout of the Texas-based company and largest Pentagon contractor in Iraq, once part of the Halliburton conglomerate so dear to the heart and wallet of Vice President Dick Cheney.

Sure enough, KBR’s claims were soon unblocked. The contract Goliath got performance bonuses, too.

The risks of bucking KBR from inside the defense establishment were disclosed by Mr. Smith to James Risen of The Times. “Ultimately, the money that was going to KBR was money being taken away from the troops, and I wasn’t going to do that,” said Mr. Smith, now retired. The Pentagon insists that it had good management motives in reversing Mr. Smith and heeding KBR’s warning that penalties would erode basic services for the troops. The military dares to maintain that Mr. Smith was not taken off the job because of political pressure.

Nothing much seems to have stood in the company’s way since Mr. Smith was purged. KBR just snared a big piece of a new 10-year, $150 billion Iraq contract.

New born baby birds (barn swallows) on our front porch!

A mating pair of barn swallows have been nesting on our front porch for the past month or so, but today we noticed 5 brand new baby barn swallows poking their heads out at us…

barn swallow babies up close

Some neat info. on the Barn Swallow from Wikipedia:

The barn swallow is the most widespread species of swallow in the world.

In the past, the tolerance for this beneficial insectivore was reinforced by superstitions regarding damage to the Barn Swallow’s nest. Such an act might lead to cows giving bloody milk, or no milk at all, or to hens ceasing to lay.[6] This may be a factor in the longevity of swallows’ nests. Survival, with suitable annual refurbishment, for 10–15 years is regular, and one nest was reported to have been occupied for 48 years.[6]

The Barn Swallow symbolizes the coming of spring and thus love in the Pervigilium Veneris, a late Latin poem. In “The Waste Land,” T. S. Eliot quoted the line “Quando fiam uti chelidon [ut tacere desinam]?” (“When will I be like the swallow, so that I can stop being silent?”) This refers to a version of the myth of Philomela in which she turns into a Nightingale and her sister Procne into a Swallow; in less familiar versions, the two species are reversed.[41] On the other hand, an image of the assembly of Swallows for their southward migration concludes John Keats’s ode “To Autumn.”

barnswallow in flight(barn swallow in flight)

There are mentions of the Barn Swallow in the Bible, although it seems likely that it is confused with the swifts in many translations,[42] or possibly other hirundine species which breed in Israel.[7] However, “Yea, the sparrow hath found her a house, And the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young” from Psalms 84:3 likely applies to the Barn Swallow.[42]

The swallow is also notably cited in several of William Shakespeare’s plays for the swiftness of its flight; for example: “True hope is swift, and flies with swallow’s wings…” from Act 5 of Richard III, and “I have horse will follow where the game Makes way, and run like swallows o’er the plain.” from the second act of Titus Andronicus. Shakespeare also references the annual migration of the species poetically in The Winter’s Tale, Act 4: “Daffodils, That come before the swallow dares, and take The winds of March with beauty; violets dim,…”.