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How did I Miss That? Paddling With Sharks – In the Ocean and DC

Paddleboarders recently found themselves surrounded by sharks, and calmly and safely followed directions without harm – no they weren’t in DC.

The Associated Press reported that Oklahoma has asked for and gotten until July 10 to make Oklahoma drivers’ licenses compliant with the REAL ID Act. REAL ID has been the law since 2005 but Oklahoma had refused to comply, apparently not accepting the result of the Civil War.

While Oklahoma was claiming the feds could not tell them what to put on a state document, the Cherokee Nation was issuing new tribal IDs that did comply with federal law.

On the verge of Oklahoma drivers not being able to fly on commercial airlines or enter secure federal facilities (while Cherokees waltzed past them), the legislature finally blinked and this last delay is just to give time to physically comply.

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My cousin Ray Sixkiller was not surprised that the Oklahoma legislature took more than 12 years to redesign an ID card. “These are the same folks who could not connect fracking injection wells with earthquakes until their fillings were falling out. If you think 12 years is a long time for an ID card, you should see how long it takes them to change a light bulb!”

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NBC Chicago tweeted that Dennis Rodman jetted off to Pyongyang to visit his BFF, Kim Jong-un. The Worm came bearing a gift, a copy of the book Donald Trump paid Tony Schwartz to write, The Art of the Deal.

“No more doubts whose side Rodman is on,” Cousin Ray opined. He claimed it’s easy to see it’s a trap for the boy dictator: “Just look at how many great deals Trump has cut since he got elected.”

Rodman returned with not so much as a photo op with the boy dictator. An American prisoner was released about the same time but people from the U.S. State Department were already in country and Rodman didn’t even try to claim credit.

The American prisoner was released in a coma and died within hours of getting home, having suffered the death penalty for allegedly stealing a poster.

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Whatever else you think of Donald Trump, he has kept his jobs promise for one subset of voters: persons who practice law in the District of Columbia. Most of the White House staff has lawyered up despite one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers giving them brazenly unethical advice that lawyering up is not necessary.

It is unethical for a lawyer to give legal advice to any unrepresented person who may have interests in conflict with those of the lawyer’s client except the advice to seek independent representation.

Unless the investigation turns up nothing, somebody is going to wind up under the bus. Trump has a long history of blaming anybody but himself and there is plenty of room under that bus.

“If it’s not necessary to hire lawyers,” Cousin Ray wanted to know, “why are the POTUS and the Veep doing it?”

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The Washington Post reported that Deputy Brian Stockbridge was on beach patrol in a helicopter just off Dana Point in Orange County, California. Stockbridge came down low and addressed paddleboarders below on his loudspeaker:

You are paddleboarding next to approximately 15 great white sharks. They are advising you to exit the water in a calm manner.

The humans followed the advice and no one was hurt.

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There must be something in the drinking water at Trump Tower. Trump’s personal attorney stepped into a Twitterstorm worthy of his boss. Michael Cohen tweeted a picture of his daughter wearing only stockings and a bra. According to The Washington Post, he got more than 1,200 responses in less than four hours, most critical.

She’s college age, so it’s not child porn. Just kind of icky, like when his boss said he would be dating Ivanka if she were not his daughter.

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The New York Times reported on a Mormon congregation frightened into silencing a little girl. Savannah, whose last name is withheld by request of her parents, was at a “testimony meeting,” where members of a congregation are encouraged to share “verbal expression of what he or she knows to be true…” The 12-year-old expressed what she felt had to be true, that God did not make a mistake in creating gay people. The girl came out as a lesbian to her congregation and they turned her mic off.

Cousin Ray said he was reminded of the story about a very young Jesus arguing theology with the Rabbis—and winning. “I don’t blame them for being scared of her,” he chuckled.

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DuffelBlog, regular readers of this column know, is a satirical site for current GIs and veterans. It is hilarious because it spoofs on a level only possible from the inside and those of us who have served know there’s plenty there to tease about.

Only in DuffelBlog will you read things like: “John McCain angered over loss of Hanoi Hilton Honors Points” or “Battalion commander’s list of number one priorities hits 50” or “North Korea executes, trains new rocket scientists” or the one I stole last week, “Reality Winner is actually Delusional Loser.”

One hazard of publishing satire is that people think your stories are true. A hazard I hadn’t thought about arose on Saturday, June 17. Early that morning, a Navy destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald, collided with a Philippine flagged container ship, ACX Crystal, which was under charter by a Japanese shipping company. Seven U.S. sailors were missing at the time and the Japanese Coast Guard was running search grids all around the site of the mishap.

Later that same day, a satirical article that had to have been in the works before the news hit, claimed, “Navy to Save Money by Abandoning Man Overboard Rescues.”

Oops.

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On the other hand, there is sometimes news that sounds like it must be satire…but isn’t. This claim circulated on the Internet:

So, let's get this straight. A rabidly anti-gay congressman who recently voted to let mentally ill people have access to guns and who wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act had his life saved by a black lesbian when he was shot by a mentally ill person and is currently under hospital care that is being paid for by government-funded health insurance. Sorry, there is way too much irony here. Oh, and Capitol Police officer David Bailey is a black immigrant who put his life on the line without hesitation to save all those Republican Congressmen.

In common with most news coverage, there is no mention of a third officer, Army veteran Henry Cabrera, who took part in the gunfight but was not injured. The rest of Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s protection detail went to the hospital, Crystal Griner hit by a bullet and David Bailey hit by shrapnel.

In pertinent part, the satirical sounding report is literally true. The “rabidly anti-gay congressman” is Majority Whip Scalise, whose condition just got upgraded to “fair.” Scalise supported the NRA’s legislation to restore the sacred right to go armed to some mentally ill persons.

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The heroic Capitol Police Officer Crystal Griner is a graduate of Hood College and is married to Tiffany Dyer—a marriage that would be impossible if the people she protected had their way. According Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), a witness, it was Griner who brought the shooter down as she continued to return fire after being shot in the ankle. A week later, Griner was well enough to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Congressional Women’s Softball Game. From her wheelchair.

Griner’s partner, Officer David Bailey, is an alum of North Carolina Central University and an immigrant from Brazil who formerly worked for the Fish & Wildlife Service. Bailey was treated and released and made a surprise appearance at the baseball game for which the people he saved were practicing. He threw out the first ball, an honor that had been scheduled for British Ambassador Nigel Darroch.

Another irony is that both officers are black, and Scalise was embroiled in controversy back in 2002 for making a speech to the European Unity and Rights Organization, a group headed by former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. Scalise claimed at the time that he didn’t know the group to which he was speaking, although he had in another context referred to himself as “David Duke without the baggage.”

After years of being tagged with various kinds of racist baggage, Scalise publicly disavowed white supremacy in 2014.

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The usually reliable debunking website, Snopes, rated a similar item as only “mostly true” because they claimed the irony narrative gives the false impression that Griner and Bailey were motivated by politics. Actually, the whole point was that they were not motivated by anything but doing their jobs.

The shooter had been a volunteer for the Bernie Sanders campaign and Sanders was quick to denounce the shooter and his acts. The only serious attempt to make politics out of the incident was in the special election for Newt Gingrich’s old congressional seat, where an outside group ran an ad blaming the Democrat for the shooting as well as Kathy Griffin’s tasteless joke about a decapitated Donald Trump. The GOP candidate herself disclaimed the ad. She ran her own race against Nancy Pelosi, and the tactic of tying her Georgia opponent to Pelosi prevailed.

Cousin Ray wanted to know what connection the candidate had to Nancy Pelosi?

They appeared in a bunch of TV spots together. Well, not exactly together. Separately, but in the same commercial.

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Speaking of false advertising, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) unveiled the Senate’s rewrite of the bill that claims to “repeal and replace Obamacare.”

It does not repeal Obamacare. It repeals all the taxes that paid for Obamacare, and pays for itself by kicking lower middle class people off Obamacare subsidies and kicking poor people off Medicaid.

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