Josh Gordon, wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns, got suspended for a year for testing one nanogram over the marijuana limit. A year off for toking up in the same season when Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice only had to take two games off for punching the mother of his toddler daughter’s lights out? Well, it was Gordon’s second offense.
On September 8, a new surveillance video surfaced that actually showed fist to face and Janay Rice née Palmer falling unconscious. After having sponsored a press conference on March 23 where Rice’s faithful lady (who would marry him six days later) publicly apologized for assaulting his fist with her face, the Ravens canned him. Having already punished Rice, the NFL raised the two-game suspension to an indefinite suspension. Double jeopardy only applies to the government.
The NFL has since beefed up penalties for woman beating to a six game suspension on first offense and a “lifetime ban” on second offense (with possible reinstatement after one year). My cynical cousin Ray Sixkiller is taking bets on those petitions for reinstatement.
The Washington Post reported that the NFL is about to strike a deal with the players’ union that will move the threshold for a positive marijuana test upward. By even the current standards, Mr. Gordon barely failed with one urine sample and barely passed with the other half of the same sample. As NBC reported, if the A and B labels on those two cups had been reversed, the second half would never have been tested and Gordon would have passed. Cousin Ray thought a year off was a little heavy for a result based on chance but he really wanted to know if the marijuana rules would apply to the Broncos and the Seahawks?
The US Supreme Court decided in 2001 that the government needs a search warrant to use thermal imaging technology on your private property to reveal “grow lights” used for, among other things, marijuana cultivation. Citizens expected privacy because thermal imaging was not then in “general public use.” Since 2007, Wayne State University law professor Tony Dillof has been tracking the appearance of thermal imaging devices on EBay and watching the numbers double every year. Dillof claims to be preparing an analysis for the Journal of Armchair Empiricism and the Law. Cousin Ray speculated that High Times might have been a better venue for Prof. Dillof’s research, “and he should seriously consider Sports Illustrated.”
The NBA lost another owner to public racism, an issue that has yet to trouble the owner of the Washington team in the NFL. Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson opined, “the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a significant season ticket base” and “the kiss cam is too black.” Levenson volunteered to sell the Hawks rather than make a circus like former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who admonished his girlfriend not to bring blacks to Clippers games, particularly retired superstar Magic Johnson. Cousin Ray wondered if NBA owners were hanging around with NFL players? “I heard that secondhand smoke can get you stoned.”
After $2 billion spent, Congress pulled the plug in 1993 on the Superconducting Super Collider being built by the Department of Energy in Waxahachie, Texas, in spite of the explanations by Nobel winner Leon Lederman in a popular science book, The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?
The cancellation moved the cutting edge of physics research to Switzerland, where, in 2012, European researchers demonstrated the physical (as opposed to mathematical) existence of Higgs boson aka “the God particle.”
The Times of London reported that Professor Stephen Hawking, author of A Brief History of Time, has warned that at very high energy levels, the Higgs boson could become unstable. In Hawking’s words, “This could mean that the universe could undergo catastrophic vacuum decay, with a bubble of the true vacuum expanding at the speed of light. This could happen at any time and we wouldn’t see it coming.”
“Dang,” said Cousin Ray. “That sounds inconvenient.”
The on line echo chamber is going crazy over reports that a Brevard County, Florida police department is buying 8 Apache Attack helicopters. Professor Google returns five pages of links to “prove” it. The county bought some choppers back in 2011, to use for the normal things counties do—rescue, pest control. Not Apaches. Not armed. “The real question,” Cousin Ray said, “is whether the bozos spreading this will pay any price for being wrong again?”
Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia has been convicted of 11 counts of corruption. His attempt to blame his wife, a former cheerleader for the Washington football team, did not fly. Gov. McDonnell’s extraordinary public humiliation of his wife represented an audacious defense that would otherwise require the jury to believe that a stranger gave the first couple of Virginia over $160,000 worth of stuff and the favors that followed were not out of the ordinary. The claim was that the “family values” husband was so crosswise with his out of control wife that they could not have conspired together. In pursuit of showing that estrangement, he put on a “defense” that completely trashed Maureen McDonnell.
Another family values hero, Pastor Mark Driscoll of the Mars Hill megachurch empire that branched out from Seattle to have 15 locations in five states, has described women in a tortured, extended and just weird metaphor as “homes” for penises. Driscoll was already facing allegations of plagiarism and misappropriation of church funds, but the people he called “penis homes” appear to have sunk attendance and contributions enough that three locations have already closed and more closures are contemplated.
Wendy Davis, Democratic candidate for Texas governor, admits in a new memoir, Forgetting to be Afraid, that she had two abortions. The first was to save her life and the second fetus was expected to be born deaf and blind and possibly in a “permanent vegetative state” because of a brain defect.
The Texas campaign began with derogatory nicknames for the two women heading the Democratic ticket. Wendy Davis was “Baby Killer Barbie” because she is attractive and came to prominence in an 11 hour filibuster to stop a GOP bill designed make abortions unavailable in Texas. Lieutenant Governor candidate Letitia Van de Putte was “Barrio Boopsie,” because her surname created that hazard that the voters would think she is white rather than brown. RedState editor-in-chief Erick Erickson claims “credit” for the Barbie barb, while Rick Atkinson of the Tea Party blog Dallas Morning News Exposed wants props for outing Van de Putte as Hispanic.
President Obama announced on September 10 that we are not exactly going to war with the criminal gang known as ISIS. From the time of The Prophet to now, Islam has not embraced separation of mosque and state except in Turkey after the Ottoman Empire was defeated in WWI and Atatürk abolished the Caliphate in 1924. Arabs had been in revolt against the Turks since 1916 and Sharif Husayn of Mecca declared himself caliph…only to be laughed off as a British puppet.
ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi recently declared himself caliph. He controls none of the turf sacred to mainstream Islam, he rampages though the lands he does control destroying sites sacred to other Muslim sects and executing people he claims are apostates. This guy will end up wishing the ummah only laughed, as the last head to roll will probably be his own.
The Wall Street Journal reported a federal judge’s ruling that BP was reckless rather than merely negligent in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill might encourage BP to cut a deal. BP had set aside $3.5 billion for Clean Water Act penalties. By BP’s figures, this ruling raises the company’s exposure to $10.5 billion. The government wants $18 billion. BP’s total losses in the accident amount to about $43 billion, not including loss of business. “When,” Cousin Ray wanted to know, “does it get to be a sum Big Oil can’t take out of the petty cash drawer?”
They are calling it the Apple watch rather than the iWatch. I call it a challenge for those of us who have bought watches at Radio Shack for five bucks ever since watches became electronic rather than mechanical. The drawbacks, other than the starting price of $350, are that it only works for right-handed people and does not suit tiny people. On the other hand, it will keep your health records and financial records and more apps are on the way. The last question to The New York Times tech column, however, probably went too far: “Is it true that if I sprinkle lemon juice on them, they won’t brown so fast when cut?”
USA Today reported that wild boars in Europe still retain enough radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear plant meltdown three decades ago for the EU to consider their meat unfit for human consumption. Cousin Ray was relieved the meltdown did not happen in the Cherokee Nation, since we could not run our elections without hog fries.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is soliciting content for a time capsule to ride a probe that is expected to depart in 2016 to rendezvous with an asteroid called Bennu and bring pieces of it back to Earth in 2023.
The spacecraft carries the typically portentous name Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx). You are invited to submit a message to be carried by OSIRIS (the space probe—not the Egyptian God of the Dead) by Twitter or Instagram. Cousin Ray said there is no truth to the rumor that the first submission was by the Navajo Nation, an MP4 file in the Navajo language that translates, “Look out, these guys are coming to take your land!”
I finally found the opening lines of Howard Stern’s eulogy of Joan Rivers and I can’t repeat them here but I can endorse the description in other media, “raunchy but hilarious.” Like Ms. Rivers herself, who famously remarked of her performance between the sheets, “my husband never said anything, but after we made love he'd take a piece of chalk and outline my body." R.I.P.