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How Did I Miss That? Frozen Cherokee Marshals; Roasted Admiral Kirk

James Mountain Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, threw a snowball in the Senate this week to prove once and for all that he does not understand the difference between climate and weather or the connection between hotter hots and colder colds.

Weather in Tahlequah has bobbed and weaved though February, with most weeks showing temperatures over and under freezing and sometimes the wind convincing people that the forties are the twenties. In this month of cold and very cold, the Cherokee Marshal Service participated in the 2015 Polar Plunge, which involved taking a dive into the Illinois River to raise money for Special Olympics Oklahoma.

The Cherokee marshals raised $4,674. My cousin Ray Sixkiller observed than only one member of the Tribal Council took the plunge, Curtis Snell. “That’s a different kind of cold,” Ray remarked, “unless the rest of the Council bought their way out of it by sponsoring Curtis.”

Reading The Washington Post, it sounded like Due West went due south for gay people. Erskine College of Due West, South Carolina, has amended its official manuals to explicitly denounce gay people, something Jesus never found time to do. This was apparently triggered when two members of Erskine’s volleyball team came out last year.

South Carolina is one of 37 states plus the District of Columbia where gay marriage is currently legal, with court rulings on appeal in ten other states. Jesus could not be reached for comment but St. Paul was standing with Erskine, which released a subsequent statement claiming that gay students would not be disciplined.

In another example of teaching values to young people, The New York Times reported that a social media storm resulted in the Narbonne High School girls’ basketball team getting reinstated in the Los Angeles city championship game. The Gauchos had been kicked out of the tournament for wearing jerseys with pink numbers for breast cancer awareness. The rules require the school colors, green and gold, which were present but relegated to piping. The team will now be allowed to play the championship game, but the coach will be sidelined. The boys’ coach will step in.

Dr. Ben Carson, who remains on a long short list of GOP presidential hopefuls, was educated at Yale and the University of Michigan, but he appears to have absorbed some of the atmosphere at Erskine College. In a CNN interview, Carson claimed that homosexuality is a choice, and he knows this to be true contrary to the preponderance of medical opinion, “because a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight — and when they come out, they’re gay.”

That “fact” would not prove what Carson claims if it was a fact, but it is not. He is apparently innocent of the literature on “situational homosexuality,” which is out of date but still shows how long the people who study sex in prison have known better than Carson’s fantasy.

Thanks to Chicago Sun-Times reporting, Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Illinois) has paid the taxpayers back $1,237 billed to the public for taking a chartered jet to a football game between the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings. According to the Sun-Times, the cost for the private jet was $1,700 an hour plus landing fees, and reporters were unable to determine who paid for the Bears tickets. Rep. Shock is the same Congressman who paid the taxpayers back $40,000 spent on redecorating his office in the style of Downton Abby. Cousin Ray was outraged that the taxpayers were billed for a Vikings game. “I could understand if it was the Packers.”

R.I.P. Mr. Spock, I mean Leonard Nimoy, who walked on from natural causes at 83, having lived long and prospered. Admiral Kirk, I mean Bill Shatner, got a social media roasting because he did not bail on a Red Cross fundraiser in Florida to attend Nimoy’s funeral. Cousin Ray opined that Mr. Spock would say, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few—or the one.”

While Shatner’s critics agreed the Red Cross represents “the needs of the many” during national disasters, they claimed that Shatner could have kept the charity commitment if he had chartered a private jet to attend the funeral. “Who do they think Shatner is,” Cousin Ray asked, “Aaron Schock?”

Boris Nemtsov’s name just got written in the history books beside Anna Politkovskaya, Natalia Estemirova and Aleksandr Litvinenko. All these people were political opponents of Vladimir Putin and by some coincidence all of them have been murdered with nobody brought to book for the slayings.

Nemtsov was scheduled to lead a rally protesting the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The first person scheduled to lead the rally was Aleksei Navelny, but he was serving a two-week jail sentence for handing out leaflets on the a subway. “And we thought locking up Pussy Riot was a big deal,” Cousin Ray reminded me.

Presidential hopeful Marco Rubio (R-Florida) committed an epic foreign policy blunder in his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, arguing that the President is going soft on ISIS because he “doesn’t want to upset Iran.” All those Muslims may look alike to Rubio, but Shi’a Iran is the blood enemy of the fundamentalist Sunnis in ISIS and ISIS first came to prominence by threatening Iran’s principal ally, the Shi’a government of Iraq produced by the second U.S. invasion.

Rubio followed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s claim that if he could beat the AFL-CIO, he could beat ISIS.

Back in the real world, The Atlantic reported that Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, made heroic efforts to convince the ambassadors from the Sunni Arab nations at least nominally allied with the U.S. to attend Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial speech to Congress.

While the nations subject to Dermer’s blandishments (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the Emirates) despise Iran and fear a nuclear Iran almost as much as Israel does, they are disinterested in appearing as props in Netanyahu’s political ads or in burning bridges with the current U.S. government. Still, the whole contretemps should be a reminder to Sen. Rubio that it’s always important to understand the purposes and cross-purposes at play.

Buzzfeed broke the story that ISIS has declared war on Twitter generally and co-founder Jack Dorsey in particular because Twitter has enforced its terms of service and taken down ISIS-linked accounts that threatened people. “ISIS without threats,” Cousin Ray mused, “would be like a Cherokee election without a hog fry.”

The New York Times reported that Hillary Clinton ran her Secretary of State business out of a private email account, contrary to federal policy. The Clinton idea of fixing the problem was to have an aide look though her emails and decide which ones were State Department business. Cousin Ray said I didn’t get it. “Transparency rules don’t apply to Clintons.”

Then Ray claimed that Indian entertainers are planning benefit concerts to fund a “Leonard Peltier-Marc Rich-Roger Clinton Pardon Fund.” He quoted a Lakota guitar picker, “We understand that Leonard has no family named Clinton, but we don’t want him to miss out on getting pardoned again on account of being outbid by somebody like Marc Rich.”

The Toronto Star reported Canadian law enforcement has discovered the builders of a mysterious tunnel near the site of the upcoming Pan American games. The tunnel contained an electric generator, tools, food and drink containers, and a rosary hung on the wall. Turned out, two working class twenty-somethings were building the tunnel as “a place to hang out.” Cousin Ray said he thought they were looking for Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Announcing her intention not to run for reelection at age 78, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) asked rhetorically of the time between now and the election, “Do I spend my time raising money or do I spend my time raising hell?” Mikulski was the Senate sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and was credited with keeping preventive health care for women in the Affordable Care Act.

On the hell-raising front, she disobeyed the Senate rule against women wearing pants on the Senate floor and dared the men running the place to censure her. They changed the rule.

Mikulski’s open seat may attract former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, one of a tiny number of Democrats considering a run against the Hillary Clinton coronation. O’Malley was keeping his eye on the presidential ball at press time, in spite of his single digit showing in early polls.

Early polling for 2016 recalls the roller coaster of Republican Primary polling last time. Or Democrats in 2008, Clinton and Obama nip and tuck. Barrels of ink are at stake.

Quinnipiac has Scott Walker leading his primary by two points, margin of error territory. Clinton leads her primary by 42 points.

In general election polling, Clinton beats all the Republicans, but Jeb Bush is losing by only three points; Walker by nine. Rasmussen, a Republican outfit, has Walker losing to Clinton by only five, with Bush losing by nine.

In state primaries, Gravis Marketing has both Bush and Walker leading South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham in South Carolina. Former Florida Governor Bush beats Walker by only one point in Florida, but Walker mops the floor-ida with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, 22 to 11.

Early polling for 2008 and 2012 teaches that polling for 2016 right now is only entertainment. “Unless,” Cousin Ray chuckled, “you are a candidate or working for one.”