Back in 2013, a story went viral on the Internet about Charles the Monarch, a Labradoodle (cross of a Labrador retriever and a poodle), gold in color, who had his hair clipped in a manner that suggested a mane. Charles’s friend, er, owner, is Daniel Painter, who claims he selected the grooming to honor the Old Dominion University mascot.
The problem was that Charles the Monarch got loose on the streets of Norfolk, Virginia, near the zoo. The dog was mistaken for a lion and 911 lit up. Charles was lucky to survive the incident that made him famous.
This week, The Virginian-Pilot reported that Charles the Monarch is in custody again. The miscreant lion dog was taken to the shelter and his friend, er, owner was cited to appear at a hearing on the charge of “having a nuisance animal.” According to the Virginian-Pilot, this is the fourth time Charles has been picked up since 2010 and at least the second time Painter has been charged.
Most dogs found to be “nuisance animals” wind up facing the death penalty, but Charles is a celebrity. He’s been the subject of a children’s book, appeared on Good Morning America, and has been serving the community by visiting nursing homes. His Facebook page has over 55,000 likes.
My wise guy cousin Ray Sixkiller asked if they could put down Daniel Painter rather than Charles the Monarch and let somebody adopt the dog who has experience controlling lions?
I was thinking of famous dogs when I noticed Gail Collins of The New York Times making the tackiest report since she wrapped the plight of Mitt Romney’s dog Seamus around the candidate’s neck in the last election. She devoted most of a column to Donald Trump’s dodging and weaving over punishing a woman when he advocates that abortion go back to being a crime. While Trump dug himself several political holes, she pointed out that there was no rhetorical dancing when asked whether the man who helped create the pregnancy should be punished?
Of course not.
On the same subject, Buzzfeed reported that a 21-year-old woman from Northern Ireland was sentenced to three months in jail, suspended, for taking drugs for the purpose of causing a miscarriage. The woman, who was 19 at the time of the “crime,” said that she did not have enough money for the trip to England, the destination of choice for women in Northern Ireland who need a safe and legal abortion.
Cousin Ray, who is a Republican but not a warrior in the war on women, commented that he didn’t know Donald Trump was Irish.
On another front of the war on women, the agreement to stall Iran’s nuclear program means that Air France is poised to resume the flights between Paris and Teheran that were discontinued in 2008 as part of the sanctions related to Iranian nuclear research. Mashable reported that several unions representing flight crews are objecting to Iran’s requirement that women serving the flights wear loose clothing and headscarves. One union also complained that female flight crew were warned not to smoke in public, an admonition that did not apply to males.
The irony of this requirement is that France bans face covering in public places and any “conspicuous religious symbols” in public schools. Dress that would be illegal in France may be required of Air France female employees on the Teheran run. The unions are demanding that women flight crew be allowed to opt out of flights to Iran without penalty.
On the other side of the battle lines, The New York Times reported on a hitch in complying with the order of the Secretary of the Navy to render job descriptions in gender neutral terms, now that all jobs are open to women. Most titles yield to “specialist” or “technician,” but “yeoman” is a naval rank with hundreds of years of barnacles and no feminine analog.
Georgetown University linguist Deborah Tannen suggested leaving it in place because the last syllable is commonly pronounced “min” rather than “man” and the real problem is a woman showing up with a title that suggests she’s a man.
Cousin Ray had better things to do and so was a bit grumpy. “Those swabbies are acting like a bunch of yeo-yeos.”
I understand this item would have been a better fit for last year’s column, but I found it when I found it. The BBC reported that Darren Millar, a member of the Conservative shadow cabinet in the Welsh Parliament, sent a series of questions to Labour Minister Edwina Hart about UFO sightings around the Cardiff Airport.
Minister Hart replied “jang vIDa je due luq ach ghotvam'e' QI'yaH devolve qaS.” Translated from the Klingon, she said that the Minister would reply in due course. “However, this is a non-devolved matter.”
Millar allowed, “I’ve always suspected Labour ministers came from another planet.”
The BBC has convinced me Wales is a strange place. On vacation to Queensland, Australia, Rhys Owen Jones and Keri Mules, 21 and 20 respectively, broke into a Sea World. They swam with the dolphins. They set off a fire extinguisher in the shark tank. Finally, they stole a penguin named Dirk and took him back to their lodging, where they tried to feed him and to make him happy by putting him in the shower. When Dirk still seemed distressed, they set out to abandon him in a canal but were seen and arrested.
The Welsh tourists were fined $1,000 each, a light penalty because Dirk was recovered without serious harm.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute released its annual report on global military spending and found it rose in 2015 by about one percent, the first rise since 2011. Most of the growth was in Asia, Eastern Europe, and—surprise!—the Persian Gulf. Human beings spend $1.6 trillion every year on methods for killing each other.
Stars and Stripes reported that the coastal patrol ship USS Sirocco, enforcing the U.N. Security Council’s arms embargo on Yemen, stopped a “small, stateless dhow” in the Arabian Sea. The dhow had been tracked from Iran and was on a course toward Yemen. The U.S. Navy seized the cargo: 21 .50-caliber machine guns, 200 RPG launchers, and 1,500 AK-47 assault rifles.
The French destroyer FS Provence made a similar seizure last month and the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Darwin got another haul from a dhow flying no national flag on February 27.
The seized weapons were headed toward the main proxy war between Iran representing Shi’a Islam and Saudi Arabia representing Sunni Islam. Of course, the “representatives” are self-appointed and tied to the general power struggle in the Middle East. Most Muslims are not Arabs and do not live in the Middle East.
EcoWatch, along with all the mainstream media, reported on the man they call the “King of Coal, ” Don Blakenship, getting a year in the crossbar hotel for conspiracy in the cave in of the Upper Big Branch mine in 2009. The accident killed 29 West Virginia coal miners.
Blakenship was also fined $250,000, which he can probably pay out of petty cash. This case is notable not just because a white-collar criminal got locked up. Blakenship was acquitted on three felony charges that would have found him directly responsible for the deaths. The conspiracy charge that got him amounted to his participation in the daily operations of Massey Coal—the normal operations---in a manner that skirted safety regulations.
Blakenship, even when facing sentencing, refused to concede to being guilty of any crime. His unspoken assumption is that dead miners are just part of the business of running coalmines as cheaply as possible. In pursuit of efficiency, Massey Coal disabled methane detectors and falsified mine records. Blakenship’s hands-on management style left him without plausible deniability.
One denial the King of Coal still maintains in addition to his denial of responsibility for 29 deaths is his denial of the human role in climate change. In the middle of the litigation over the mine disaster he was directing mocking tweets at President Obama that conflated weather with climate.
Climate change denial is going to kill a lot more than 29 people but we think the skirting of safety laws was a bigger deal because the 29 victims have faces and living relatives.
CNN reported on a study from the International Agency for Research on Cancer that showed colorectal cancer to be highly correlated with economic development. The primary causes of this third most common type of cancer are consumption of red meat, smoking, drinking to excess, lack of exercise, and obesity.
Some doctors suggested that the result is a reporting anomaly, because colorectal cancers grow so slowly that countries with longer life expectancies are bound to report more of them. Others looked at the close relationship between colorectal cancer and the Human Development Index and suggested “prosperity leads to cancer.”
Cousin Ray thought that was good news for most American Indians, but he did say that if the association between prosperity and colorectal cancer holds up, we’ll be calling it “the casino disease.” Then he added, “This is just one more reason opening a casino can be a pain in the ass.”