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1. The Washington State supreme court has, the Seattle Times reports, ruled that the practice of warehousing mentally ill people at emergency rooms like the one at Harborview in downtown Seattle is unconstitutional.

The ruling puts the state legislature in a positition of having to provide care at one of its two major mental-health facilities, Eastern and Western State Hopsitals, or fund less-expensive beds at community care facilities closer to where clients actually live. 

Like 2012's McCkeary decision, the ruling creates a new conundrum for the legislature, mandating adequate funding for mental-health services while failing to say precisely how those services should—in the post-Eyman, sub-1-percent property tax increase era—be funded. 

2. The New York Times' "Ethicist" column takes on the giant issue of whether a state-sanctioned execution of a convicted murderer can ever be considered "humanitarian," given that new execuion methods are "fast and painless."

The Ethicist, who reframes the question—"Is it acceptable to participate in something unethical if the act itself is inevitable?" (that is, if we can agree that killing another human is wrong, is it OK for a doctor to participate in the act if he or she knows it will happen anyway?)—says no. 

"Sometimes an unethical act is isolated, tangible and clear. And when this is the case, the most ethical response is to avoid participation. If there isn’t a collective or legal obligation to participate, every person retains the right to opt out of activities that he sees as morally wrong." 

As a passionate opponent of the death penalty, this Crank agrees.

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