Oklahoma University consistently ranks in the top tier of degrees conferred upon American Indian students and OU’s student newspaper, The Oklahoma Daily, serves a city of over 30,000 souls within the city of Norman, Oklahoma.
This week, the campus news ranges from whether the Student Government Association President should be impeached over a public intoxication bust (he survived an impeachment resolution, 21-18, with one abstaining) to coverage of a suicide prevention event on campus.
So you might say the student journalists at OU were kind of busy putting out a paper when rocker Jack White called them out in the midst of a February 2 concert for printing his contract and tour rider. It was unclear whether White was more exercised about people knowing his fee ($80,000) or his guacamole recipe or his strict policy of no bananas in his presence.
Word came the next day that OU would be blacklisted by White’s booking agency, the behemoth William Morris Entertainment. In the ensuing social media uproar, Jack White himself and his personal manager denied instigating the blacklist. Taking WME’s demands at face value, it appears the booking agent wants either Oklahoma to amend its Freedom of Information Act to exclude contracts or OU to keep student journalists from using the FOIA.
Though born and raised in Oklahoma, I’m an archenemy University of Texas alum, but in this matter I find myself rooting for The Oklahoma Daily. “Eighty thousand large,” my Cousin Ray Sixkiller whistled, “will buy a lot of guacamole.”
Former GOP Rep. Joe Scarborough was in high dudgeon over President Obama’s remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast pointing out similarities between ISIS and the excesses of aggressive Christianity, Scarborough considered the Crusades, slavery and Jim Crow, and the American Indian death toll too old for what he called “a half-baked moral equivalency.”
Obama was roasted for saying, “People committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.” Cousin Ray suggested people were just mad because Obama was soft on ISIS. “Couldn’t he say more than ‘brutal, vicious death cult?”
Governors who wish to be presidents have a problem with foreign policy credentials and always have. Jimmy Carter less so because of his experience as a naval officer and Ronald Reagan less so because, well, he could play anything.
Chris Christie carefully informed the press about his trip to the UK and his visits with British politicos. Other than stepping in a steaming pile with his comments on vaccines, Christie then ignored reporters except to berate them for trying to do their jobs. He ignored questions about the role of NATO, about what should be done about ISIS…stuff that you didn’t need to be running for POTUS to know something about.
On the lighter side of the news, there was a report in The New York Times about celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s first trip to McDonald’s. I remembered Chef Paul Bocuse’s description, “tasteless, boneless food in which everything is soft.” Zakarian liked the fries and the coffee.
The Washington Post reported that Harvard has undertaken to ban professors sleeping with undergraduates, potentially shutting down a major reason some new PhDs are willing to take the lower pay in academia.
The trial judge told the venire summoned for the case involving the killing of Chris Kyle that it’s OK if they’ve seen the movie made from Kyle’s book, American Sniper. They would not be disqualified automatically. The judge is correct on the law, but if I were on the defense team, I would be cursing my luck that the movie came out at the same time the case was called for trial.
NBC News anchor Brian Williams became news after he lied about having the aircraft in which he was riding hit and that lie morphed into questions about the things he claimed to have seen in New Orleans when covering Katrina. Apparently, he claimed that floodwaters surrounded his hotel, located in the French Quarter, which did not flood.
NBC has suspended Williams for six months without pay. Those in the chattering class have been admonished about giving in to the impulse to put ourselves closer to the center of the action than was true. Remind me again what Fox News did when Geraldo Rivera drew current troop movements in the sand on live TV?
This reminded my Republican Cousin Ray of the time Hillary Clinton was caught in a similar lie about being under sniper fire in Bosnia when video showed otherwise. Ray, knowing I served in the USAF, asked me if I was ever riding in an aircraft that was hit by fire? I’m getting old, but I’m very confident that would stick in my memory. I expect my son, with his two Iraq tours. might have a memory hole for some close calls, but I don’t.
Business Insider reported Jeb Bush’s not-quite-yet campaign for president has seen the necessity to hire a “chief technology officer” AKA social media guru. The guru’s first act was to attempt to clean up his own Twitter feed, but the Way Back Machine disgorged:
March 17, 2009: new study confirms old belief: college female art majors are sluts, science majors are also sluts but uglier.
October 31, 2009: most people don’t know that “halloween” is German for “night that girls with low self-esteem dress like sluts."
Given the gyrations the GOP has undertaken to declare a truce in the war on women, it was no surprise that the young techie (who will not be named here in the interest of helping him live it down) lasted less than a week and ended the butt of jokes.
Speaking of jokes, the Republicans’ latest accusation against Barack Obama is that he has no plan for what to do if the Supreme Court ignores normal construction of statutes and makes a political rather than legal decision that a literal reading of a drafting error means people can’t get subsidies for health insurance bought off the federal exchange.
Fair disclosure: I was once reversed for a literal reading of a drafting error in a criminal case, which is a different thing. In defining one of the ways to drive while intoxicated, the legislature had described the formula for alcohol concentration in blood, breath, and urine in a parallel form, but because they got one of the formulas wrong the parallel did not work and a literal reading could not define the crime. The appellate court admonished that I should attend to the many places other than the definition where they got the blood formula right and just pretend they had made the conversion correctly.
They were not right, but they were last, and so the SCOTUS will have the last word on whether a civil law, the Affordable Care Act, will perish over a drafting error that the Republican Congress refuses to fix. In a civil case, it makes perfect sense to put the error in context and ask what they meant. It makes less sense in a criminal case because, in a free society, all conduct is legal unless it is specifically described in a law that makes it illegal.
Cousin Ray was confused. “So,” he asked, “you are saying that the Supreme Court should do exactly what you got your hand slapped for not doing?” Ray got that right, but seemed puzzled about why. Another way to say it is, if I was required to read a criminal law that way—and I was because I don’t disobey court orders---then if the Supreme Court won’t do the same in a civil case—Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick!
“I’ll never understand lawyers,” Ray muttered. “Who cares?”
If you live in the District of Columbia, you care because Congress made another error in trying to stop the District from legalizing marijuana, when they banned the use of any funds “to enact” a law that was already enacted.
The German art publisher Taschen has put out a book from the 800 or so photos of John Lennon and Yoko Ono taken by Kishin Shinoyama just before Lennon’s murder. A photo from that shoot was on the cover of the last Lennon album during his lifetime, Double Fantasy.
The Taschen title is Kishin Shinoyama. John Lennon & Yoko Ono. Double Fantasy. It will be available this month at your local bookstore for a mere $700. Cousin Ray cleared his throat pointedly and said he’d wait for the paperback.
J. Crew, which calls itself a “specialty retailer,” has released its spring collection, which includes a pair of sequined “wedding shorts.” Not to get married in, but for the after-party or the honeymoon. The price tag is $450.
“Hey, I’ve known guys who got married in shorts,” Cousin Ray announced helpfully. “Of course, they were Wranglers that got cut off after the knees went out….”
Remember Dominique Strauss-Kahn? Known as DSK in Europe, he’s the former International Monetary Fund honcho who was busted for the rape of a New York hotel maid in 2011, touching off a media fest that scuttled his run for President of France. The rape case went away when he “reached a settlement” with the maid.
DSK is now on trial in France for “aggravated pimping,” and he testified in his own behalf the prosecutor was exaggerating his orgy attendance. “The prosecution gives the impression of unbridled activity,” he said, but the “licentious evenings” were “only 12 parties in total—that is four per year over three years.” Prostitution is legal in France from either end of the transaction but pimping is not, and DSK denied hiring the entertainment. “Well,” Cousin Ray commented, “why didn’t he just say it was only a dozen orgies?”