Several TV stations in Northern California’s Bay Area carried a story illustrated by a wiggling mound of canine cuteness, a record-breaking litter of 17 Maremma Sheepdog puppies. All the pups—11 males and 6 females—are alive and healthy. They were born to Stella, a guard dog who works protecting the livestock at Napa Grass Farmer, a producer of organic chickens, turkeys, and sheep for about 200 families.
Napa Grass Farmer practices “holistic regenerative meat farming” for “farm members.” Stella’s pile of puppies will probably sell some memberships but in the meantime members have been pressed into service to help with the feeding of the new guard dogs. The farm does not have enough livestock to need 17 guards, but my cousin Ray Sixkiller pointed out that working dogs can usually find homes.
Cousin Ray went on to show that he has a very broad definition of “working dogs,” when The Washington Post riffed on survey data showing the reasons for a big decline in sales of breakfast cereal among younger consumers. Pouring Wheaties and milk into a bowl is too much trouble--because you have to clean the bowl!
When Ray got done howling, he wondered if he could make some cash renting out his dog to millennials. “She gets everything edible out of a bowl and leaves it very clean.”
Cousin Ray has been on a tear this week ever since he read my piece about where the wood came from to build the great houses in Chaco Canyon.
“Lemme get this straight,” he sputtered. “The Spanish burn all the Mayan codices and then claim Indians had no written language. Now you’re telling me the Europeans killed off urban populations and then claimed there were no cities?”
There was not much to say except that Indians who study history are at risk for high blood pressure. I would not have thought ethics could cause the same problem, but then Jim Hightower made a remark in his Lowdown that required some chasing to verify.
Surfing thorough Harvard Business Review and Journal of Business Ethics verified that in a survey of 34 corporate directors who served on an average of six Fortune 200 boards, 31 said that they would “cut down a mature forest or release a dangerous, unregulated toxin into the environment in order to increase profits.”
These corporate directors believed they were required to do whatever they could legally do to maximize shareholder wealth. Business schools cite a 1919 case from Michigan, Dodge v. Ford Motor, for that view. Delaware is the venue for most corporate litigation, and Delaware courts have cited that case once the last 30 years.
There is no legal doctrine that commands environmental destruction when there’s money in it. Cousin Ray said through gritted teeth that if the law doesn’t require that, “then they must think morals do.” He’s a pretty traditional guy and that’s not Cherokee morality.
There was less depressing news from medicine.
University of Texas Professor Jon Pierce-Shimomura created an animal he calls “Supermouse,” apparently because Mighty Mouse was already taken.
Supermouse can take in alcohol without getting drunk. The sober rodent also has no withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is withdrawn. The research question at UT’s Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research is how to transfer those super powers to human beings and break the cycle of alcohol addiction.
If mice with super powers don’t float your boat, there is always some humor on the political side of the news.
Princess Maho Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand made a three-day visit to Yeak Lom Lake in rural Cambodia. The Princess, hearing she was assigned to a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new health center in the Cambodian boondocks, expressed some worry about bathroom facilities. Sixty percent of the people in the area have no toilets.
Her minions spent 19 days and $40,000 to construct an air-conditioned royal outhouse entirely with Thai materials. We can only guess what the Cambodian peasants were thinking.
According to Foreign Policy, a community leader commented:
“She did not go inside the bathroom, she just looked at it from outside and took some pictures.” The Thai government donated the eight square meter building to the Cambodians for use as a visitor center, except they unbolted the new toilet and took it home with them.
The provincial governor said of the fancy toilet, “It can’t be kept because it’s for royals.” So the Princess went home with her throne.
Those of us who find the whole idea of royalty silly were fit to be Thaied….
Sure glad we are having a democratic election in this country, so we can show more seriousness than royal toilets.
This week, Donald Trump retweeted a quote from Benito Mussolini, “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.” Trump was OK with it when informed of the source, but he had fallen into a trap set by the Gawker website, a Mussolini bot, @ilduce2016. The bot has been tweeting Mussolini quotes to Trump daily since December on the expectation that Trump would eventually retweet.
Jackpot. Point made. But the voters don’t care.
Jeb! Bush told Trump during a debate, “You can’t insult your way to the presidency.” With Jeb! gone, Marco Rubio is taking the lesson that you can insult your way to the presidency.
Inspired by a spray tan second only to former Speaker John Boehner, Rubio said that Trump will not make America great. “He’s going to make America orange.”
Rubio did not quite go to what some comics have done—comparing Trump’s hair (piece?) to various living things, but he did refer to the Trump Jet as “Hair Force One.”
Rubio’s pièce de résistance: “You know what they say about men with small hands.”
Did Rubio get under The Donald’s skin? Hard to say, but when Rubio started making fun of Trump’s misspelled tweets, Trump deleted them.
Steve Schmidt had an amazing career as a Republican political operative, but after engineering what a famous book on the McCain presidential campaign called Game Change, he has been short of gigs. Like a retired ball player, he now gives color commentary from the sidelines
Game Change referred to the impact of Sarah Palin. She certainly looked like a game changer at first. Then Palin accused a reporter of bias for asking what she reads and it was downhill from there.
Schmidt has been an aggressive truth-teller since the Palin blunder and has not spared himself. This week, on Morning Joe, Schmidt was commenting on Donald Trump’s reluctance to distance himself from David Duke and the KKK and he let slip an odd revelation about the McCain debacle.
He complained that every large McCain rally would have at least one loud crank saying something racist about Barack Obama. Schmidt said that if McCain had taken on every loud racist who supported him in public, it would have turned the McCain campaign into an “apology tour.”
My Republican Cousin Ray, who liked McCain, was glum. “That’s a tough position, but you gotta ask why those nutcases kept coming? Maybe McCain should have tried shock and awe.”
Writing in The Washington Post, Joe Scarborough commented on Trump’s inability to distance himself from white supremacy. “Is this how the party of Abraham Lincoln dies?”
There was more disgusting behavior in a Foreign Policy report that the U.S. Army has extended its self-imposed deadline to decide whether to end Sgt. First Class Charles Marland’s career for roughing up an Afghan police commander and physically tossing him off an American-Afghan base.
Marland and another Green Beret, Capt. Daniel Quinn, took matters into their own hands when the chain of command failed to respond to reports of the Afghan commander keeping a boy chained to his bed and subjecting the boy to repeated rapes.
I was not aware that intolerance of violent pedophilia violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
When Robert Griffin III, known here in Baja Oklahoma as RGIII, signed with the Washington football team, it broke hearts in his fan base. The Washington team is the archenemy of the regional favorite Dallas Cowboys.
Another problem is that the Washington team is symbolized by a racial slur. It made me queasy when RGIII became an apologist for the indecent name.
RGIII was an explosive and exciting player who drew attention in his high school career at Copperas Cove and his college career at Baylor. The Washington team destroyed his promise, putting him in an unsuitable offense behind a porous offensive line. He was injured as often as not.
Now, The New York Times reports that team president Bruce Allen told a San Diego radio station that RGIII will not be back in the coming season after riding the bench this last year as number three in the depth chart.
Squandering RGIII’s potential was just the latest crime against football by the front office of the Washington team. Here’s hoping RGIII lands on his feet and the Washington team’s mediocrity continues. It would be harder to avoid uttering their name if they were winning.
The Guardian reported on a visit to Australia by Jonathan Rudin of Aboriginal Legal Services in Canada. Rudin was struck by similarities in the way the colonial law played out on indigenous bodies.
Indigenous people are 4 percent of the Canadian population and 25 percent of the prison population. In Australia, those numbers are 3 percent and 27 percent. In Canada, 40 percent of kids in juvenile detention are indigenous. In Australia, it’s 59 percent. Indigenous kids are about half of those in the child welfare system in both countries.
“If it’s something people want, Aboriginal people have less of it,” Rudin said, “and if it’s something people don’t want Aboriginal people have more.”
“Sure glad that doesn’t happen in the U.S.,” Cousin Ray tried to deadpan. But his irony mask slipped.