The Denver Post reported that Della Curry, 35, former kitchen manager at Dakota Valley Elementary School in Aurora, Colorado, was fired for giving kids with no money a hot lunch. District policy is that kids who can’t pay and don’t qualify for free lunches get a bun, a slice of cheese, and a small milk. Curry, who has two children, admitted her guilt, telling the Post “I knew the whole time it was a firing offense.”
In another ringing defense of good government and modeling behavior for school kids, the Tampa Bay Times reported that science teacher Dean Liptak, unable to get his students to stay off their cell phones during class, jammed their signals. For this, Liptak drew a five day unpaid suspension. Superintendent Kurt Browning wrote that jamming cell phone signals violates federal law and quoted the FCC website about the danger that jamming could block emergency communications.
“Where would we be,” my cousin Ray Sixkiller asked with a straight face, “without school districts that protect our children from renegade employees? When we were kids, no teacher would jam our cell phones and we had honest employees in the kitchen who wouldn’t give away the public’s food to hungry kids who aren’t poor enough.”
Talking Points Memo reported that GOP presidential candidate and front runner for the evangelical vote Mike Huckabee expressed confusion about the fact that some feminists find public nudity liberating while others find it oppressive. “So, are topless photos of women an offensive display of sexism, or an empowering blow against sexism?” “Poor Huck,” Cousin Ray snickered. “That boy just doesn’t get out much.”
This was the week that paragon of good taste, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, apologized. On the campaign trail in Michigan, Cruz told a tasteless “joke” about Joe Biden that Business Insider called him out on in March again just before Beau Biden’s funeral, setting off a social media firestorm against Cruz. When I noted that where I come from, it’s customary to give people who are grieving some slack, my Republican Cousin Ray, no Cruz fan, piled on: “It’s customary to give grievers some slack where everybody comes from.”
Politico reported on the Republicans piling on Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky for engineering the temporary expiration of the USA-PATRIOT Act’s authorization for the government hoovering up all the metadata from telephone calls placed in the U.S.—who was called at what number where and how long the conversation lasted. The claim that this is not enough information to identify individuals is nonsense aimed at the innumerate. That one call cannot be traced is cold comfort when your entire contacts list will eventually be revealed.
The major political news for insiders in the duel between the two Kentucky senators—Rand Paul and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell---over government spying is that McConnell is as poor a vote counter as Speaker John Boehner on the House side.
Former Republican and former Independent Lincoln Chafee announced that he will become the only candidate for POTUS ever from Rhode Island when he tossed his hat into the Democratic Primary ring. Chafee was the only Republican senator to vote against the second Iraq War.
Chafee made an economic proposal that carries a lot of bang for very few bucks. He wants to adopt the metric system, which the U.S. was on track to adopt in the Carter administration before incoming President Ronald Reagan changed course. Chafee points out that only two countries besides the U.S. are outside the metric system, economic powerhouses Liberia and Myanmar (formerly Burma).
Chafee joins a small field dominated by Secretary Hillary Clinton, and featuring Sen. Bernie Sanders and Gov. Martin O’Malley in the first tier, awaiting a possible declaration by Sen. Jim Webb.
The Democratic clown car contains one-issue candidates Morrison Bonpasse (wrongful criminal convictions), Andy Caffrey (genetically modified organisms), Willie Carter (on a mission from God), Doug Shreffler (not a politician), Michael Steinberg (elder issues), and Robby Wells (liberty).
The GOP clown car is much more crowded and the problem at first will be keeping the bodies on the debate stage down to ten. The line between the first tier and the clown car is extremely fuzzy and controversial. Fox News intends to admit the top 10 candidates according to the (Republican only) polling data. If the debate were held today, the first tier would be, in order of polling numbers, Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Scott Walker, Dr. Ben Carson, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, Gov. Chris Christie, The Donald Trump, and Gov. Rick Perry.
This cut would leave out the man who came in second to Mitt Romney in delegates earned last time, Sen. Rick Santorum, and the only woman in the field, Carly Fiorina, as well as Governors Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, George Pataki, and Sen. Lindsey Graham. With this crowd, the ten more candidates in the acknowledged clown car (Skip Andrews, Michael Bickelmeyer, Kerry Bowers, Dale Christensen, John Dummett, Chris Hill, Michael Kinlaw, Dennis Lynch, Michael Petyo, and Brian Russell) become even more irrelevant than the six in the Democratic one. You might say the GOP will have first and second tier clown cars.
CNN has promised to host a second tier debate on the same night as the first tier debate on Fox. Of those currently in the top ten, I predict Carson, Huckabee, Christie, Trump, and Perry will wind up in the first tier clown car…but this may be wishful thinking.
Cousin Ray was excited to learn that Chafee, a grad of Montana State University, is a skilled farrier. “Go ahead and laugh,” quoth Ray, “but Linc Chafee will have The Journal of Equine Foot Science endorsement sewed up. Or shoed up.”
Turning from horses’ feet and horses’ asses, the sport of politics, to more straightforward sports, Public Radio International reported a fish story to rival the one that occupied this column last week. Anabas testudineus, the climbing perch, can live out of water for up to six days, pulling oxygen from the air, and “walk” on spines that are deadly to wildlife trying to dine on it. A fresh water fish native to Papua New Guinea, it has managed to hitch a ride on fishing boats to islands off the mainland of Australia, where naturalists fear it may make it the rest of the way.
PRI reported, “Their presence there could disrupt existing habitats.” Citing Australians working “to identify and eradicate this invasive species,” the radio report was sanguine. “Should be pretty easy to spot, right? Just look for the green fish walking from one pond to the next.”
BloombergBusiness reported that the investigation the Obama administration ordered over allegations that the Chinese were dumping subsidized solar panels on foreign markets at below cost continues to bear fruit as it appears the Chinese are cheating on a deal with the European Union in 2013 to play fair.
Kidnapping women and children for sex-slaves is important to jihad, Umm Sumayyah Al-Muhajira claims in Dabiq, the organ of ISIS. “And who knows, maybe Michelle Obama’s price won’t even exceed a third of a d?n?r, and a third of a d?n?r is too much for her!” That would be about forty bucks. Conservatives on Twitter proceeded to ally themselves with the ISIS by attacking the FLOTUS.
ISIS remains on the march and not because they are stupid. The United Nations expressed alarm when ISIS took Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with ruins from when it was a major trading hub for the Roman Empire and artifacts from most cultures associated with Syria---Pagan, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic.
The ISIS track record is to loot any portable artifacts for sale on the black market and destroy everything else not attributed to Islam. The Director General of UNESCO used the magic words “war crimes” to describe destruction of significant antiquities.
ISIS took Palmyra and, according to The New York Times, put explosives to work immediately….”on the notorious Tadmur Prison…long used by the Syrian government to detain and torture political prisoners.” By that use of explosives, they improved their reputation in the lands they occupy. An additional benefit was avoiding possible indictment by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, which would make it impossible to travel in most of Europe.
Researchers from Rice University have theorized, based on study of the sediment in Belize’s famous Blue Hole, the cause of the Mayan civilization fading away was a 100-year drought. The decline needs explanation in light of Mayan achievements in art, science, and mathematics. Much evidence was destroyed when the Spanish colonists undertook to destroy all of the Mayan codices, leading to the myth that no culture indigenous to the Americas had writing. The Rice study showed serious drought between 800 and 900 C.E., which coincides with the decline of Mayan culture. Early colonial scholars blamed the decline of the Maya on the Aztecs.
“I guess,” Cousin Ray harrumphed, “once they burned all the Mayan writings, they could make up whatever story they wanted.”