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Do you know Bill?

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"Take my yoke upon you ..." Matt 11:25

A man sitting on the bench at the bus stop kept looking at me as though he knew me. I didn't recognize him, and things only got more confused when he asked me, "Do you know Bill?" He was about my age, looked a bit worn at the edges, but he was engaging and eager to talk. As our conversation continued on the bus, I learned that "Do you know Bill" was an AA catch phrase one alcoholic might use to identify another.

The presidential pitch

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One of the "rules" of political campaigns is never have a politician play a public part in a sporting event. They will get booed. This is a particular instance of a greater rule: Know your audience.

Sports fans come to a stadium to watch sports. For some it is merely a fun pastime. For others sports is an escape from the quotidian, a literal "field of dreams" where people can indulge their fantasy of sports' greatness through the power of their imagination. For others, cheering for the home team is part and parcel of local loyalty, as anyone who has been in Red Sox Nation during the playoffs knows. No one, repeat no one, comes to a ball game to see, still less hear from, a politician.

Italy to press UN on compulsory abortions

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Yesterday the Italian parliament, currently controlled by center-right parties, approved a resolution introduced by a close friend of the late Pope John Paul II to press the United Nations to condemn the use of compulsory abortions as part of population control programs.

The most commonly cited example of compulsory abortion in the world is usually China, where the country's one-child policy was strictly enforced as recently as the late 1990s, especially in urban areas. More recently, however, declining fertility and rapid aging have induced China to relax the policy somewhat.

From time to time, the prospect of compulsory abortion is floated elsewhere. In 2006, for example, Bulgaria's Minister of Health suggested a policy of mandatory abortions for pregnant girls under 18 who belong to the Roma people, more commonly known as "gypsies." Under pressure from international human rights groups, the idea was abandoned.

Alumni sue to keep school open

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The fight over the fate of Towson Catholic High School in Maryland escalated Tuesday when the alumni association filed suit against the school's parish and its pastor over the abrupt closing of the school. The group is seeking an injunction to keep the school open at least another year.

"This closing is a slap in the face to the alumni and to anyone who ever loved this school. We were ready to remedy this through various options, but we could not get the [Baltimore] archdiocese to the table," said alumni association president Paul Mecinski, who announced the lawsuit at a rally last night.

Mark Graber, professor of law and government at the University of Maryland School of Law, has said an injunction might be difficult but is possible, given that many parents had paid their deposits and begun making tuition payments for the new school year.

"If they have put down money, the parents have fulfilled their part of the contract with the school, in the understanding that there is going to be a school," Graber said.

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August 1-14, 2014

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