The Washington Post quoted Heather Kendall-Miller of the Native American Rights Fund about law enforcement in Alaska Native villages: “The state can’t afford to pay for law enforcement in small villages like this but they also refuse to let tribes have full authority over law enforcement, beyond an unarmed public safety officer.” She went on to claim that state troopers can take days to arrive when summoned. As a result of this gap in protection, the Post reported, many Alaska villages are resorting to the traditional remedy of banishment. “Too bad,” my cousin Ray Sixkiller mused, “they can’t banish the colonists.”
First Look reported from the front of a school where seven children died in tornado-ravaged Moore, Oklahoma that 1,100 Oklahoma schools still lack storm shelters. Republican Gov. Mary Fallin said that the state can’t afford storm shelters in schools and, anyway, state funding of shelters would violate the principle of “local control.” My Republican Cousin Ray, embarrassed by Gov. Fallin again, asked whether “local control” extends to tornados?
Michael Jackson gave a boffo performance for a dead guy at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards performing by hologram. Cousin Ray is tracking down the rumor that Elvis may be next, “but so far, they’ve only got him from the waist-up.”
Continuing the exploits of dead people, The New York Times reported on May 19 that Hyon Song-wol appeared on North Korean TV, proving rumors of her execution greatly exaggerated. The scuttlebutt has been that the boy dictator Kim Jong-un, alleged to be a former boyfriend, had ordered her killed for making a sex tape. “If he was the other party on the tape,” Cousin Ray laughed, “North Korea has acquired a new way to scare people.”
The “sport of kings” rumbled with the threat that California Chrome would not run in the Belmont Stakes, after winning the first two gems in the Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby and Preakness). The issue was that the Belmont stewards were not going to let the horse run with a nasal strip, something allowed in every jurisdiction outside New York and common for almost 15 years. In the end, New York caved and Chrome will have the opportunity to join the ranks of 11 Triple Crown winners or 22 who took the first two races but not the Belmont. “At least,” Cousin Ray chuckled, “the horse won’t be snoring.”
The Tea Party cockfighting guy was beaten in the Kentucky Republican primary against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will soon be the Majority Leader because those people affected by Obamacare and the minimum wage don’t vote in off-year elections. The general election to join the Senate Millionaire Club is expected to cost over $100 million in a state that ranks 47th in household income and 46th in per capita income. “When’s the last time,” Cousin Ray asked, “you saw a millionaire at a cockfight?” I had to reply that I’ve never seen anybody at a cockfight.
The Wall Street Journal editorialized that the Republican establishment has not crushed the Tea Party. The Tea Party has changed the GOP establishment, but the Tea Party lost the recent elections because their candidates were inferior. My long-suffering Republican Cousin Ray asked when Tea Party candidates have not been inferior?
In an interview on ABC, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), continued to rebuff the question whether he is the only guy in his generation who never tried marijuana. Cousin Ray recommended the Bill Clinton solution, since none of the people around you would ever know whether you inhaled.
Back when I worked for the USAF branch of the NSA, we talked about SIGINT (signal intelligence) or HUMINT (human intelligence). Foreign Policy reported on a source previously unknown outside of Indian country: RUMINT (rumor intelligence), or what we would call the moccasin telegraph.
Military Times reported that the Inspector General solved the riddle of what happened to the Medal of Honor recommendation file of Army Capt. William Swenson, who became the first living recipient since Vietnam after a four-year delay when his file failed to emerge from the bureaucracy. A fair reading of the IG report would be that Gen. David Petraeus “lost the file” because Swenson was highly critical of higher-ups for denying his requests for fire support during the Battle of Ganjgal in Afghanistan.
Foreign Policy complained about The Washington Post teasing a story about the Medal of Honor awarded to Marine Cpl. William Kyle Carpenter by saying Carpenter “won” the Medal of Honor. It’s not a prize and you can’t “win” it. I regret to admit I’ve made that error.
Stars and Stripes reported the controversy over the Air Force’s plan to retire the A-10 Warthog, which may be the ugliest aircraft ever flown but has always been beautiful to grunts on the ground needing close air support. Putting the Warthogs out to pasture would save $3.5 billion over five years. “Pure coincidence,” opined Cousin Ray, that the legislators fighting for the Warthog represent the bases where it is stationed.”
In another striking coincidence, casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson was on television promising to spend “whatever it takes” to outlaw on line gambling. In a further coincidence, politicians from both parties who took big money from Adelson have come out against on line gambling. Adelson blew $90 million out of his petty cash drawer on Republican presidential candidates in 2012. “I am shocked, shocked to hear a businessman is trying to get his competition declared illegal,” Cousin Ray chuckled.
According to The Washington Post, the Defense Department inspector general has accused Northrop Grumman of improperly billing the government over $100 million in “a counter-narcoterrorism contract.”
This week, a corporate person was actually convicted of a crime rather than allowed to pay a fine and promise not to do again what they didn’t admit doing. Credit Suisse was fined $2.6 billion for conspiring to aid tax evasion. Another Swiss Bank, UBS, avoided criminal prosecution in 2009 by paying $780 million and turning in the tax evaders, which Credit Suisse did not do. Credit Suisse stock was up on the news. Cousin Ray marveled that people were rushing to buy stock in a felon. “Is it too late to buy into Al Capone?”
Target’s CEO got his pay cut in the wake of last year’s hacking of customer credit card numbers, from $20 million to $13 million. “Can food stamps be far behind?,” Cousin Ray snarked.
The New York Times printed a photo essay taken by high school students and organized by ProPublica documenting how the Tuscaloosa, Alabama public schools, like most public schools, have re-segregated 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education. After working on the project, some of the students proposed to the superintendent a “foreign exchange program” that would allow white and black kids to take classes in each other’s schools for a semester. The plan was approved.
This year, more people will vote than have voted in all of human history. Not in the US, of course, where we have turnout problems and a raft of new laws working to suppress turnout.
The New York Times reported on the uproar at Bryan College in Tennessee when the college added to the “statement of belief” included in all faculty employment contracts, which did read “The origin of man was by fiat of God.” The new language adds Adam and Eve “are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life-forms.” Teaching biology at Bryan College would be like teaching violin at Gallaudet University.
According to the BBC, the fossilized remains of the “biggest dinosaur ever” have been discovered in Argentina. The bones make the beast to have been 65 feet tall and as heavy as 14 elephants. “There is no truth to the rumor,” Cousin Ray said, “that archeologists from Bryan College have been dispatched to Argentina to look for the saddle and bridle.”
The Harvard Crimson reported on an abortive attempt of the Harvard Extension School Cultural Studies Club to reenact a satanic black mass on campus. While the Harvard administration declined to prohibit the black mass, the club moved it off campus because of the beehive of hostility they had kicked over. Pastafarians, take note.
Upon learning the black mass had gone forward elsewhere, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Boston described the event as “disgraceful and despicable.” This would be the same Archdiocese where the Boston Globe pulled at the threads of a cover-up of child sexual abuse that unraveled around the world but did not surprise Indian country.
My own view of “disgraceful and despicable” can be found in Papal bulls called Romanus Pontifex and Inter Cetera. Cousin Ray claimed I should just be satisfied that “they are called bull.”
Speaking of bull, computer scientists at Indiana University have developed software to test whether a tweet came from a human or a bot. Some politicians will be very unhappy. The research to develop BotOrNot was funded by the National Science Foundation and the US military.