“Is climate change real?” The candidates, all Republicans running for governor of North Carolina, agreed it was easy: “No.” North Carolina is the home of the Research Triangle, a hotbed of scientific conspiracy anchored by North Carolina State, Duke, and the University of North Carolina--Chapel Hill. It’s also the ancestral homeland of myself and my cousin Ray Sixkiller. The neighborhood has sure gone downhill since they kicked us out.
As further evidence of that, Slate reported that Frazier Glenn Miller, the white supremacist who killed two Methodists and a Catholic in attempting to kill Jews and is a former Grand Dragon of the North Carolina KKK, was once caught by Raleigh, North Carolina police in the back seat of a car with a black male prostitute. “Probably,” Cousin Ray said with a straight face, “intending to have sex with a white woman.”
A weatherman for WTVA in Tupelo, Mississippi, was on the air urging people to take cover from a tornado smashing into the city when he was forced to take cover himself. Early reports did not mention any damage to the Elvis Presley birthplace. Cousin Ray addressed God in his best Elvis impersonator voice, “Thankyouverymuch.” Elvis’s great-great-great-grandmother was a fullblood Cherokee, Morning White Dove. “There’s no truth to the rumor,” Cousin Ray said with a grin, “that the King’s childhood nickname was Running Bear.”
In a column in Sunday Review, Nicholas Kristof pointed out that 10 percent of Americans think Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife, no kidding. I presume he was kidding about Sodom and his wife, Gomorrah, and about the Twelve Apostles being married to the Epistles.
Military Times reported the US Army now officially allows soldiers to designate themselves “humanists,” joining Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Wiccan, atheist or “no religious preference,” which is what I got stuck with when the truth was I had no preference among those on the menu. Kind of like the controversy over “Jedi” being counted in the British census. The Jedi won, and the result was 176,632 Jedi in the most recent census, down from 390,127 ten years ago. Cousin Ray wondered if the decline in Jedi coincided with a rise in Sith?
The NBA was rocked last week when TMZ.com released a tape that showed Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling admonishing an ex-girlfriend to quit hanging around with blacks, and specifically not to bring Magic Johnson to another Clippers game. “There is no truth to the rumor,” claimed Cousin Ray, “that Sterling is claiming that African-Americans have problems far bigger than racism and so he’s starting a foundation to address those problems.”
Another high-dollar Donald, The Donald, speaking on Fox, blamed the Sterling contretemps on “the girlfriend from hell.” “Mr. Trump,” Cousin Ray laughed, “is finally opining on something he knows about.”
The Los Angeles NAACP backed off a plan to bestow a third award on Donald Sterling, this one for “lifetime achievement.” “I bet the NAACP will set the opening bid higher next time,” snarked Cousin Ray, “and anybody who is taking money from the OAF in Washington had better pay attention.”
The Los Angeles NAACP sounds like an example of what Juliet Macur said in The New York Times about the NBA owners. Everyone was making so much money, Macur wrote. “their pockets became so heavy they could not stand up for what was right.”
As the sponsors leaving the Clippers hit double digits, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling from NBA basketball for life and fined him $2.5 million. A Fox reporter at Silver’s press conference objected that Sterling’s racist remarks were “private.” Cousin Ray suggested that Fox Sports could hire Sterling for “color commentary.”
Jimmy Kimmel named some sponsors that stayed with the Clippers, including “Really White Castle” and “KKK Mart.”
Rachel Maddow reported on April 28 about George Marshall, the first owner of the Washington football team, saying, “We’ll sign a Negro when the Harlem Globetrotters sign a white.” She showed a picture of the American Nazi Party picketing the Washington team with a sign “Keep Redskins White!” In 1962, after major pushing from the Kennedy Administration, the Washington team became the last NFL team to draft black players. “Isn’t it wonderful,” chuckled Cousin Ray, “that the Washington team put that terrible racist history behind them?”
Last week, New York Yankee Michael Pineda was ejected less than two innings into his start against the Boston Red Sox when a smear of pine tar on his neck was plainly visible on television. It was the pitcher’s second pine tar incident in three starts. “There is no truth to the rumor,” Cousin Ray cautioned, “that Pineda has trademarked the name ‘Pine’s Pine’ for a gig in retirement.”
Reuters reported that Matthew Todd Miller, 24, booked a tour in North Korea and, upon arriving in Pyongyang, tore up his tourist visa and demanded “asylum.” The report didn’t say what kind of oppression Miller claimed to be fleeing in the US. Cousin Ray wondered if Miller would take Dennis Rodman with him?
In a move Time has dubbed the “Big Ban Theory,” the Chinese government has forced a number of TV shows off of Chinese video streaming services, including NCIS, The Practice, The Good Wife, and, yes, The Big Bang Theory. All is not lost, laughed Cousin Ray, since the Chinese still can watch Breaking Bad.
RIA Novosti reported that the unrest in Ukraine might delay construction of a contamination shield over the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The original meltdown in 1986 exposed millions of people to dangerous levels of radioactivity and contaminated land in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. Workers erected a temporary shield over the reactor, and work on a permanent shield started in 2010. “What’s the hurry,” Cousin Ray asked, “when it’ll be safe in just 20,000 years?”
BloombergBusinessweek reported Verizon’s yearly survey of on line “security incidents,” this year compiling information on 63,000 incidents with 1,367 actual breaches, including the biggest retail breach in US history at Target. Only about a third of the attacks were about money, and those came mostly from Eastern Europe. The rest were done for ideology or for sport. “How do you know,” Cousin Ray wanted to know, “when stealing is about ideology or sport?”
WOAI in San Antonio, Texas, reported that an appellate court has blocked a local district judge from entertaining the divorce of a same-sex couple lawfully married in another jurisdiction, leaving a child of the marriage without support of the non-custodial parent and that parent with no visitation rights. “Family values strike again,” snarked Cousin Ray.
The Monroe News-Star reported on April 28 that Louisiana Rep. Vance McAllister, elected as a “family values” advocate but now nationally known as the Kissing Congressman after being caught on video in a passionate lip lock with a female staffer, has decided not to run for reelection. McAllister’s sole accomplishment in Congress was inviting Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson to the State of the Union Address.
Taking a different view of family values, the United Church of Christ, a Lutheran priest, and two Unitarian Universalist ministers filed a lawsuit claiming their religious freedom is infringed by North Carolina’s ban on same sex marriage. A spokeswoman for the North Carolina Values Coalition told The New York Times that the plaintiffs “look to the courts to justify their errant beliefs.” Cousin Ray responded, “Doesn’t everybody?”
Newsmax reported that Jodie Foster has married her girlfriend, photographer Alexandra Hedison. “There is no truth to the rumor,” claimed Cousin Ray, “that John Hinckley, Jr. is on suicide watch.”
Foreign Policy saluted Justin Beiber’s “talent for seemingly effortless international gaffes.” The Beibster Instagramed a photo of himself visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japanese war dead, including 14 convicted war criminals---a major bone of contention for 1.3 billion Chinese that had escaped Mr. Bieber’s notice. When The Canadian Legend posted an apology ending “I love you China and I love you Japan,” a Chinese Netizen provided a snarky translation: “I love renminbi; I love…yen.”
Loving money doesn’t always mean you can keep track of it. Bank of America announced on April 28 that they had made a slight accounting error that made them appear better capitalized than they were…to the tune of $4 billion. I went to ask Cousin Ray what he thought, but he was busy trying to balance his checkbook.
Morning Joe reported April 30 that a new program is putting alcoholics to work in Amsterdam and paying them in beer. Two beers for breakfast stop delirium tremens long enough for the drunks to pull a shift picking up trash, after which they get a hot meal and three more beers. Those in the program appear to drink less and eat better than other drunks. Remembering my time in the military, I can’t imagine beer for breakfast….without cold pizza.
AZCentral reported that legislation to continue the Arizona Historical Society is in trouble. The Society operates seven museums and its collection includes Wyatt Earp’s shotgun and Geronimo’s rifle. Cousin Ray and I wondered if Arizona’s loss could somehow be turned into tribal gains, since there’s a lot of Arizona history that’s waiting to be told from a tribal perspective?