Potpourri: Electoral college, Pearl Harbor Day, Trump lawsuits (Gazette)

A snapshot from Read Aloud West Virginia’s brochure “Generation Read Aloud”

As the Mountain State marks Pearl Harbor Day, here’s a footnote: Back in 1961, when Darrell McGraw was student body president at WVU, he led efforts to obtain the mast of the battleship USS West Virginia. It was brought by rail and trucks to Charleston, thence to Morgantown, where it still stands. McGraw went on to be a state Supreme Court justice and attorney general.

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USA Today dug through court records and found that Donald Trump has faced 3,500 lawsuits in the past three decades — including the fraud class action against Trump University that cost him $25 million. (The New York Times says the $25 million will be just another writeoff that lets Trump duck taxes.) As of now, 75 suits remain pending. Can he run America while battling 75 ongoing court cases?

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Psychologist-author Marty Klein says that, since around 2000, the Internet has flooded millions of American homes with free sex videos and photos. Writing in Free Inquiry magazine, he says some experts feared the deluge would cause problems — but, instead, there has been a “decrease in rates of sexual violence, teen pregnancy, divorce and other social pathologies since broadband made porn accessible to everyone, all the time ... . Yes, the rates of rape, divorce, suicide and child sexual exploitation have all decreased since porn flooded America.”

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Researchers at WalletHub say West Virginia has almost America’s lowest rate of identity theft and online fraud losses.

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Down in Bluefield, Jeffery Blankenship became weary of prostitutes parading in front of his home and entering cars of paying customers. The Bluefield Daily Telegraph says Blankenship installed surveillance video cameras on his house and posted signs telling hookers and “johns” that they’re being recorded.

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Bearing arms in West Virginia: Devon Stephens, 25, of Fairmont, has been charged with forcing his way into an apartment and shooting Malcom Whitted to death in a possible drug dispute.

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Here is an interesting correlation: As Read Aloud West Virginia has built up its volunteers and activities since 2007, the state’s reading scores have increased.

From 2000 to 2007, the number of Read Aloud chapters fell from 53 to four and reading scores fell seven points. “Following a relaunch in 2008, the program began growing, the gap between male and female scores declined, and in 2015, West Virginia was the only state to see significant gains posted by eighth graders,” says a Read Aloud brochure.

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Electoral College or no? One reader suggests states should follow the example of Maine and Nebraska. They award their electoral votes based on who wins each Congressional district. That approach would draw attention to districts that now may be overlooked by candidates because they are in “safe” states under the current system.

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