Miley Cyrus made news this week without taking off her clothes or twerking. Winning a big one at MTV’s Video Music Awards, video of the year for Wrecking Ball, Cyrus sent a long-haired young man to the stage to accept the award “on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving and lost and scared for their lives. I know, because I am one of those people.”
Before the young man finished, there were comparisons to Marlon Brando sending Sacheen Littlefeather to accept his Oscar for The Godfather. Indians who knew what Brando did when no cameras were around took that very seriously, and Cyrus used the moment to crank up a real-time social media fundraiser for the homeless. Next day, The New York Times commented:
Was Ms. Cyrus’s move a serious turn toward philanthropy? A crass effort to improve her image? “Ice Bucket Challenge” envy? All of the above? It was hard to fully understand her motives on Sunday night. It certainly demonstrated a Madonna-level understanding of media manipulation.
“Why,” my cousin Ray Sixkiller wanted to know, “do they always question motives when celebrities do the right thing? When celebs do the wrong thing, there’s no big analysis of why.”
The “Ice Bucket Challenge” cited above by the Times has raised almost $90 million (as of August 27) to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) aka Lou Gehrig’s disease by publicly goading all kinds of celebs and ordinary folks to accept public humiliation in the form of a bucket of ice water on the noggin and then challenge some of their dearest “friends” to do likewise and get people to donate to the fight against a horrible disease as a price of the spectacle.
Kermit the Frog Takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Proving that no good deed goes unpunished, Jesean Morris, 20, posted a video selfie on Facebook of his Ice Bucket Challenge, which came to the attention of law enforcement and led to his arrest on an outstanding warrant for parole violations.
More evidence? The Washington Post reported that Jesse Helt, 22, who was the stand-in for Miley Cyrus and homeless youth at the VMAs, had an outstanding warrant for probation violations in Oregon. In response to the uproar that followed, Ms. Cyrus tweeted, “Does looking down on the homeless people help excuse…inaction?” Cousin Ray commented, “Billy Ray’s girl is growing up. Good on her.”
I am reminded of releasing a homeless man on his promise to appear when he got his mail in a coffee can hidden in the weeds of a vacant lot, the location of which only he and the mailman (and then the judge) knew. He did show in court, but I wonder how many homeless people have warrants when they really did not get notice of a court date?
In another court, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell made public an email in his defense on corruption charges where he wrote to his wife Maureen, in part: “I am spiritually and mentally exhausted from being yelled at. I don’t think you realize how you are affecting me and sometimes others with your tongue.” Cousin Ray observed that the Governor has solved that problem. “He’s thrown his wife so far under the bus he can’t hear her anymore.”
Foreign Policy carried a fascinating report on China’s “hormone economy,” brought on by the scions of the one -child policy growing up. The one-child policy combined with a cultural preference for boys, sex-selective abortion, and female infanticide, has left China with 24 million more men of marriageable age than there are women to marry.
YY.com launched in 2005 and rung up 700 million registered users at the end of 2013. It hosts “rooms” containing women with microphones and a webcam and sells virtual “presents” for the women, who take a 30 per cent cut. Yes, we have those in the US, but in the US the women take off their clothes. YY.com will take a woman off the web for saying something suggestive or wearing a low cut dress. The most popular women take home about $162,000 a month, and YY.com is now listed on the NASDAQ with a market capitalization of $4.8 billion.
Burger King is in negotiations to buy Tim Hortons, which would substantially improve BK’s coffee. The downside is they intend to use the acquisition as an excuse to call themselves a Canadian corporation for tax purposes. Since that means we would have to pay the taxes Burger King would not be paying, that may be too high a price for a cup of Timmy’s.
The same House that has no time to close the tax loophole of the fake foreign corporation just voted $350,000 of taxpayer funds to sue the POTUS for not implementing Obamacare quickly enough, the same Obamacare they did not want implemented at all. Noting that the lawyers will get $500 an hour on this fool’s errand, Cousin Ray pointed out the House has never found time to vote on raising the minimum wage, either.
If anyone doubted that Secretary Hillary Clinton is running for POTUS, look no farther than how she has been ignoring and ducking questions about the contretemps in Ferguson, Missouri, where anything said will anger somebody. My Republican Cousin Ray was less charitable: “Her focus groups have not yet told her what she thinks.”
Meanwhile, Willard Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Michigan, Utah, and California allowed that another run for the White House is not out of the question. “There is no truth to the rumor,” Cousin Ray claimed, “that Gov. Romney has recently bought houses in Iowa and Florida.”
ESPN did a follow up on the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL, current Los Angeles Ram Michael Sam. The silliness of the report, that went so far as Sam’s showering habits, was best summed up in a tweet by Ram defensive end Chris Long: “Dear ESPN, Everyone but you is over it.”
The Washington Post reported that Arby’s created a poster illustrating all the meat on their menu besides roast beef. Customers started asking for the “sandwich” pictured, so, although it’s not on the written menu, the Post claims that if you pay ten bucks and ask for the Meat Mountain, you will get a bun containing nine ounces of various meats, two chicken tenders, two slices of cheese, and three half-strips of bacon. “They had me at the bacon,” Cousin Ray laughed, “but could I trade the bun for some more cheese?”
I see the Bashar al-Assad government in Syria is demanding that any air strikes against ISIS on Syrian soil be coordinated with them. “You know,” Cousin Ray muttered, “last time we threw in with a dictator who used poison gas on his own citizens, it did not end well.” Ray meant the Iran-Iraq War, when we backed Saddam Hussein.”
To come up with a reply, I tried to get the situation straight in my own mind. ISIS beheads a reporter on video who is a US citizen and promises to do the same to another, but…
If we whack ISIS, we are siding with the criminal Assad regime.
If we support the government in Baghdad’s efforts to whack ISIS, we are siding with “Axis of Evil” Iran.
“Ray,” I asked, “are you forgetting that we built Al Qaeda?” It means “the base,” and it referred to the list of foreign jihadis on Osama bin Laden’s hard drive who had come to Afghanistan to fight “Charlie Wilson’s war” against the Soviets.
“Are you forgetting,” Ray shot back, “how pissed off you got during the first Iraq war and why?”
Saddam Hussein’s troops had rolled though Kuwait and then massed tanks on the Saudi border in the same formation that portended the invasion of Kuwait. Osama bin Laden turned against us when we sent troops at the request of the Saudis, calling it “infidel boots on Holy soil."
When US Marines deployed in front of Saddam Hussein's tanks on the Saudi border, they were ill equipped to stop those tanks. The USAF started bringing in the necessary equipment, and the Saudis complained when the USAF women, like the USAF men, were working in t-shirts when unloading aircraft outdoors in 120-degree heat. The women were also driving in public! Knowing that women pilots were deployed, I wondered if the Saudis thought women driving airplanes were as sinful as women driving trucks?
I knew most of the money behind radical Islam was Saudi money. In spite of that, there were our GIs in harm’s way. I wanted to say to a gathering of Saudi princes: “Those USAF women are there to save your worthless royal asses, and you complain about how they’re dressed while doing it?”
I quit arguing with Cousin Ray because the recent history of the region makes it so hard to tell who’s on first.
Abbott & Costello Who's On First
Autoblog announced the most stolen cars for last year, and Honda took the top two slots, with the Accord and the Civic. All three US brands of pickup truck made the top ten, as did Jeep. Cousin Ray suggested that if US-made trucks being endorsed by people on the rez is not good enough to spike sales, maybe a new slogan would help: “I don’t always steal a truck, but when I do, I steal a truck that was made in the USA!”