Bretagne lived to the ripe old age of 16 — the average lifespan for a golden retriever is about 11. When they carried her body out of the vet hospital for the last time last week, it was draped in an American flag and the sidewalk was lined on both sides with firefighters and EMS techs.
She had just graduated search and rescue school in Harris County, Texas, when she got her first national deployment to New York. She worked 12 hours a day for two weeks straight with other teams from around the world after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The dogs found human remains but no survivors. The canine presence proved some comfort to the humans involved in the grim task.
She deployed for Hurricanes Rita and Katrina but spent most of her career working smaller emergencies in Texas. Her elder years were spent visiting elementary school classrooms where children uncomfortable reading out loud to their classmates would read to her.
Bretagne was believed to be the last living search and rescue dog that served at Ground Zero. She was a Good Dog.
In Anchorage, Alaska, CNN showed a crowd gathering to watch a cow moose give birth in a Lowe’s parking lot. After completing her labor, the mama moose started eating the landscaping…but Lowe’s would probably trade the shrubbery for the number of potential customers who came to see the moose baby arrive and stayed to watch it wobble to a standing position and take a few steps.
The Washington Post published an essay by wildlife photographer Deby Dixon, who had been watching and photographing the buffalo calf that was euthanized by park rangers after tourists took it to the ranger station in their SUV. The rangers, not knowing the calf was already an orphan, assumed that it had been orphaned by the act of humans interfering with it.
On the same issue, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department warned that recent flooding has displaced deer, snakes, and birds and people should avoid contact with wild animals when possible.
Foreign Policy reported some head-scratching numbers from the War on Terror.
Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. has created at least 263 new counterterrorism organizations at a cost that has leveled off at about $115 billion a year.
This has resulted in fewer than 100 arrests, most of them of “amateurs with grandiose plans far exceeding their competence levels.”
The sums spent—applying the same cost-benefit analysis we apply to workplace safety, healthcare, auto safety and regular crime—would need to save 7,000 to 8,000 lives a year to be worthwhile. In a typical year, terrorists worldwide kill fewer than 100 Americans, fewer than are struck by lightning.
In another case of context-dependent risk perception, Austin, Texas police are offering a reward for information to solve the spate of rock-throwing incidents on IH-35, known to some as the NAFTA highway because it starts in Laredo, Texas and goes all the way to Duluth, Minnesota. On the Mexico side, an excellent highway starts in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas and goes to the business hub of Monterrey, Nuevo León.
Since the Mexican drug cartels have been disputing turf along the border leading to their best markets, the quality of the Mexican highways no longer matters. The cartels commit video beheadings and torture like they were auditioning for ISIS.
We have some 70 rock throwing incidents over a two-year period and we consider it a major safety issue—which it is, in context.
Reuters canvassed as many U.S. intelligence officials as would talk off the record about domestic politics. Eight of them expressed concern about the briefing on national security risks customarily given to the presidential candidates. Donald Trump’s tendency to shoot from the hip combined with his lack of background knowledge make him a high risk for disclosing classified information.
Many also were concerned about Hillary Clinton’s negligence with her email.
All agreed that both candidates will get exactly the same briefing so as to avoid favoritism, although one pointed out that Clinton would probably wind up with more information because her experience enables her to ask more probing questions.
One intelligence official discounted the danger from Trump because of the “overview” nature of the briefing. “If he reads the paper every day, he won’t hear much that will surprise him.”
My Republican cousin Ray Sixkiller was not encouraged. “What evidence do we have that he reads the papers? He claimed to get his information from ‘the shows!’”
Garnet News published an essay by Martha Ture titled, “Why Hire a Man Who Doesn’t Want to do the Job?” She listed off all the major issues facing the country and showed that Donald Trump lacks a consistent and realistic policy position on any of them.
Cousin Ray wondered if Trump really wanted to be the Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky. “Hey,” he reminded me, “the one they got wouldn’t work.”
The Pew Research Center reported a study based on polling conducted in May—before Trump went after Judge Gonzalo Curiel for his ethnicity---showing that negative feelings toward people different by race or religion were the most potent predictor of positive feelings toward Trump.
Moderating his xenophobic views to attract general election voters, Trump risks alienating his base. Whites were 78 percent of U.S. voters in 2000. When Obama was elected in 2008, whites were 73 percent. Projections for 2016 predict only 69 percent.
History News Network reported that Matteo Ricci College Student Coalition at Seattle University is complaining that Dean Jodi Kelly recommended that a student read Dick Gregory’s autobiography, Nigger.
According to Dick Gregory, the complaint is not with the content of his book but with the title.
This brings to mind the periodic attempts to ban Huckleberry Finn because of the N word, something I’ve never understood because the only character in that book that has any sense is Jim.
On a personal level, I was a regular and somewhat successful contributor to Daily Kos until I drew a complaint about a writing that attacked the R word by playing with the N word. I was placed in a position where I would have had to either apologize and promise not to play with the N word any more or appeal to Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, the benevolent dictator at Kos.
It seemed silly to bother Markos and self-censorship was never a possibility, so I no longer publish on Kos.
I can’t help wondering how complicated things would get if Indians were as touchy. Dick Gregory is a long time friend of Indians going back to the heyday of AIM, and he’s been known to tell political jokes in faux Indian dialect. Heap funny, too, Kemo Sabe. After backing Dean Kelly, he added, “I grew up thinking that Richard was what they called me at home, but my real name was Nigger.”
A study by Autumn S. Bordner and seven others reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the Marshall Islands near Bikini Atoll are still not safe for the return of indigenous peoples after 67 atmospheric nuclear tests conducted between 1946 and 1958.
Scientists had predicted that radiation levels would have dropped to 16-24 millirems a year by now. The latest measurements average 184 millirems per year but some places registered 639. Average exposure in the U.S. is 300 millirems at sea level.
The maximum allowed dose for human beings is 5,000 millirems per year for adults and 500 for children and 50 per month for a human fetus.
The study concludes that the safety of adults who are not pregnant on the islands depends on how much radiation they get from locally produced foods.
The Daily Edition reported Ellen DeGeneres is being sued by real estate agent Titi Pierce for using one of her signs in the “What’s Wrong With This Sign?” segment of her show to make a breast joke.
I could tell her some stories about my birth name, Teehee, which works better in Oklahoma than places where there are not many Cherokees.
I tried to ask Cousin Ray what he thought, but he had headphones on blasting Johnny Cash.
Johnny Cash - A Boy Named Sue
He mumbled something about not wanting to get his teat in the wringer, but he did say there’s no truth to the rumor that Titi Pierce is hiring Donald Trump as a trial consultant.
KFOR in Oklahoma City reported that attempts to bring Oklahoma driver licenses into compliance with the Real ID Act in time for the federal deadline have failed. In 2007, Oklahoma feared the federal government run by a Kenyan usurper “making a list” with Real ID data and so passed a law that the state could not comply. As a result, holders of the new high tech Cherokee Nation ID will be allowed to fly on airplanes and enter federal facilities but holders of Oklahoma driver licenses will not.
Cousin Ray tried not to LOL, but failed.