MSNBC was showing video of a coyote running down a street in Manhattan. The report was “they’ve been trying to catch that guy for weeks, but he outsmarted them.” My cousin Ray Sixkiller had his face very close to the TV. “I’m trying to figure out if Coyote’s loose on Wall Street. That would explain a lot.”
Newsmax, for reasons best known to them, published the opinion of David Stockman, President Reagan’s budget director, that the stock market is “a raging casino.” This was the guy in charge of what the first President Bush called “voodoo economics,” which engineered the greatest redistribution of wealth since FDR…in the opposite direction. While Stockman did repent of the damage he caused implementing what the GOP called “Reaganomics” and the professors called “supply side,” it’s still hard to swallow him as an expert.
Nobody claimed free speech was easy. The Washington Post reported a federal judge ruled, correctly in my view, that a public transit system that sells poster space on buses and subways cannot refuse posters based on the content. Therefore, the posters will go up that read, “Killing Jews is Worship that Draws us Close to Allah,” next to a young man in a checkered headscarf. The poster goes on, “That’s my Jihad. What’s Yours?”
While the argument in court centered on whether the posters would incite violence against Jews, the publisher of the posters is the American Freedom Defense Initiative, labeled an anti-Muslim hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. This year, AFDI will sponsor the first annual Muhammad portrait contest, poking a sharp stick in the eyes of those who consider images of the Prophet blasphemous.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the mainstream civil rights group for Muslims, wanted to run ads against the AFDI ads that said, “#MyJihad is to build friendships across the aisle. What’s yours?” CAIR’s ads were also turned down, but CAIR did not file a lawsuit.
Polling shows that Marco Rubio’s message of being the candidate of the future is working to put Rubio in front of the GOP pack. My Republican Cousin Ray was skeptical. “So, the future is against normal relations with Cuba, gay marriage, abortion, public funding for birth control, and allowing states to legalize marijuana; the future wants to cut medical care and education to fund more weapons and thinks U.S. foreign policy is not aggressive enough. If he wanted to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and clock Indian policy back to termination and relocation, he’d have a clean sweep! That’s the future?”
Oskar Groening, 93, is on trial in Germany on 300,000 counts of homicide. Groening admits that he was a guard at Auschwitz charged with confiscating the valuables of Jews on their way to be gassed. Like David Stockman implementing supply-side economics in the Reagan years of the U.S. to hobble the middle class, he saw horrible things but only played a minor role.
Time reported that The Social Club in Nashville has declared itself to be a church called The United Fellowship. Christians had mobilized to rezone The Social Club to run them off because their purpose was “…to engage in any sexual activity.” The rezoning came up after they had already spent $750,000 on remodeling the property. The “dungeon” is now space for the “choir,” the dance floor is the “sanctuary,” and 49 small private rooms are now “prayer rooms.” Cousin Ray said he guessed that some of the ministers up in arms will have to join The United Fellowship to bust it. “Going undercover, as it were.”
THV11 reported that Susie Clark of Evening Shade, Arkansas, was visiting Crater of Diamonds State Park for the second time in 33 years when she found a 3.39 carat white diamond. That would be about the size of a pinto bean. She named it “Hallelujah,” and as of now intends to keep it rather than turn it into cash. “Right,” Cousin Ray snickered. “That idea will last until she sees her insurance bill---but I bet she doesn’t take another 33 years to get back to the park!” Hallelujah was the largest diamond found since a 6.19-carat stone in April of last year.
Former general and CIA Director David Petraeus copped a plea to a misdemeanor misuse of classified information in return for two years of probation and a fine. This was “punishment” for taking home classified material and sharing it with an adoring biographer with whom he was sleeping. Journalist Glenn Greenwald, who I presume never shared classified information in his own bed, said it all in a tweet, “‘Judge sentences Manning, Snowden to probation, a modest fine for sharing secrets with journalists — wishes them luck’ #AlternativeUniverse,”
Newsmax, as well connected in Republican circles as Fox News, reported that Republicans in Congress are freaking out over what to do if the GOP lawsuit, King v. Burwell, succeeds in destroying the insurance subsidies in Obamacare. Newsmax reported on several proposals being circulated with the objective to keep 7.5 million Americans from losing health insurance just before the 2016 elections. The intent is that 7.5 million Americans lose health insurance after the 2016 elections.
Contrary to the stereotype about an “Ivory Tower,” teaching at a research university means you have colleagues engaged hither and yon. One guy from my department, a specialist in white-collar crime, was in the World Trade Center hours before it went down in 2001. This week, my colleague Leon Pettiway, who is a Buddhist monk as well as a professor, was in Nepal for the earthquake. He managed to find an Internet node in Katmandu and wrote that he’s OK but stuck because the airport is closed. And sleeping outside.
The Crime Report reprinted a powerful essay from The Beat Within, a magazine by and for prisoners, about the moment the jury comes back, a moment I have orchestrated many times.
“Reading that,” Cousin Ray observed, “you would think prisoners are….human beings.”
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will give Hillary Clinton a primary challenge from the left. His take on government policies that ignore the poor and create more poor by ruining the middle class might have legs if he had money to compete with the money Clinton gets from the beneficiaries of those policies. Sanders has never run a negative ad against a political opponent, so the rich lode of negative material Clinton offers is still not in play in the primary. My Republican Cousin Ray salivated, “Bring her on!”
Inforum reported that Republican North Dakota State Representative Randy Boehning, 52, voted against a bill to outlaw discrimination against gay people starting in 2012 and most recently last month. Cousin Ray was puzzled at my choice to report this. “A middle-aged Republican from North Dakota is against gay rights? This is news?”
It became news when Boehning admitted to posting on Grindr as “Top Man!” and using his Grindr account to send a 21 year old man an unsolicited photo of his junk. Boehning told Inforum the picture of his penis is “…what gay guys do on gay sites, don't they?" We’ll see how the 12-year veteran’s south Fargo district reacts to his being outed in the next election.
The Washington Post reported on Boehning’s conservative bona fides. In addition to votes against gay rights, “(H)e once attacked Democrats over their effort to give poor kids extra milk at school.” On the positive side of the GOP agenda, he voted in favor of allowing guns in classrooms and in favor of voter suppression laws.
BloombergPolitics reported that the NFL has decided to voluntarily surrender its tax exemption. Many media speculated that the tax hit bought a different privilege at a bargain price. Giving up nonprofit tax status, the league will no longer have to publicly report the salaries of big shots like Commissioner Roger Goodell. Forbes reported Goodell’s salary at $44 million in 2013.
Unlike the NFL (while a nonprofit), the constituent teams reveal next to nothing, in spite of the fact that most of them have gotten public money to build their stadia. The only exception is the Green Bay Packers. The Pack represents an open book because it is the one team owned by the community where it plays.
Sen. Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat not running for reelection, seized the NFL tax news moment to pressure the league to change the name of the Washington football team with a swipe at owner Dan Snyder. “That tax break that they got is $100 million,” Reid said. “They’re treating that as if it’s nothing because they have such problems with other issues, not the least of which is kowtowing to the owner, especially one that has a team here in Washington.”
I wanted to know how the only publicly owned team gets away with calling Packer fans “cheeseheads?” Cousin Ray reminded me. “A wedge of cheese on your head is better than a fake war bonnet and cheddar is not a racial slur.”