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Noted and passed - March 19, 2012

Posted: March 16, 2012 2:19 p.m.
Updated: March 19, 2012 5:00 a.m.

• One more sign of a changing digital world is the demise of the print edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica, which will no longer publish a paper-and-ink version after 224 years. The World Wide Web, including online encyclopedia Wikipedia, made the Brittanica obsolete. It was considered the granddaddy of all American reference volumes, though its livelier cousin World Book, outsold it. Time waits for no man, and certainly not for Brittanica.

• Something unusual happened in a Los Angeles federal courtroom recently: the 9th Circuit U. S. Court of Appeals sent a terrorism case back to a Seattle judge, saying he didn’t give a stiff enough sentence to al-Quaeda-trained terrorist Ahmed Ressam, who drove a trunkload of explosives into the United States from Canada, intending to bomb Los Angeles International Airport. Ressan got 22 years, but the appeals court, on a 7-4 ruling, advised a sentence more in line with federal guidelines, which call for 64 years to life. Now that’s a terrorism ruling we like.

• It was a fitting tribute when a packed courtroom of people gathered last week for an unveiling of a portrait of Judge Ernest Kinard of Camden. Presiding was Judge G. Thomas Cooper, also of Camden, who reminded the audience that Kinard was only the second circuit judge ever elected to the bench from Kershaw County. Kinard has served 24 years and will now do part-time judicial work, having reached the mandatory retirement age. His is a job well done.

• We marvel at some of the rulings handed down by federal officials, the latest one a decision by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to allow an American Indian tribe to kill two bald eagles for use in a religious ceremony. Federal law prohibits the killing of the national bird, which was for many years on the endangered species list, and Uncle Sam keeps eagle feathers and body parts in a repository, where they’re available for use in Native American tribal ceremonies. Allowing the killing of two eagles at the request of a Wyoming tribe seems strange, indeed.

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