Saturday’s New York Times carried another in a series of investigative reports by Christopher Drew and Danielle Ivory on massive stealing from the US Navy by civilian contractors who paved the way by providing free trips, the services of professional ladies, and even cash to Navy personnel. One corporation implicated in the scandal is run by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum, a relative of the leader of Dubai. “We should be proud,” commented Cousin Ray Sixkiller, “that our Arab brothers are learning from the US government. If they keep catching on to how it’s done, they will soon be qualified to run an Indian reservation.”
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, was on Sunday’s Meet the Press, where he complained that the Roman Catholic Church is being “caricatured as anti-gay.” He then proceeded to draw no distinction between sacramental marriage and civil marriage, and inability to make that distinction led him to decry the trend toward marriage equality in civil marriages. He also opposed Obamacare because it covers birth control. My Republican Cousin Ray agreed that the Church is getting an anti-gay bad rap, commenting, “If you think the Catholic Church is anti-gay, you could think the Washington football team is anti-Indian.”
Sunday’s 60 Minutes reported on an octocopter drone that Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos plans to use to cut delivery time to half an hour within 10 miles of Amazon warehouses. According to Bezos, they are still fine-tuning the technology so the drones—controlled by computer and GPS rather than remote humans—“don’t land on somebody’s head,” and they can’t go on line until the FAA finishes rules for civilian drones. Cousin Ray thought it sounded cool to use drones for deliveries, “but we’re going to regret this when they start using drones to collect overdue bills.”
Sunday was the 58th anniversary of Rosa Parks’s arrest in Montgomery, AL, for refusing to move to the back of the bus. The Republican Party seized this as an opportunity to appeal to minority voters by tweeting “Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in ending racism.” This spawned a hashtag #RacismEndedWhen that produced a lot of ROFLMAO but probably not much goodwill for Republicans. Cousin Ray commented, “I’m sure glad we got that racism thing straightened out. Did you know the Washington football team has a black quarterback? And Indians can get served in almost any bar in South Dakota now!”
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that holiday spending came in 1.7 billion dollars less than last year in spite of the fact that the stock market just hit historic highs. Cousin Ray remarked that the government has been working for the most productive one percent of the population “so naturally they are going to sell more yachts than bass boats.” There never have been many yachts around Tahlequah, but lately lots of Cherokees have had to sell their bass boats.
On Tuesday, the House reauthorized the Undetectable Firearms Act, a law first signed by President Reagan to ban weapons that can waltz through metal detectors. Cousin Ray pointed out that this was done by voice vote, so no Congressman had a public record of his vote, because “you can’t shoot what you can’t see.”
CNN reported Tuesday that Sony’s PlayStation 4 has sold 2.1 million units in its first two weeks. CNN did not delve into rumors that the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology may now have something to investigate. The Committee has been dominated by Tea Party members who do not “believe in” climate change or cloning. One member, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) famously called evolution and the Big Bang Theory “lies straight from the pit of Hell,” and the Committee recently tabled a vote on whether to endorse gravity “pending more evidence.”
On Wednesday, Rush Limbaugh, set off by Pope Francis’s warning against “the idolatry of money,” claimed to know more about Roman Catholic teachings than the Pope. Seriously. Even Cousin Ray was speechless.
The Dallas Morning News reported that Tuesday’s US Supreme Court decision upholding contract clauses for big corporations that require disputes to be settled in their home jurisdictions “is seen as a defeat for mom and pop companies,” particularly since in the case decided all of the witnesses were in the jurisdiction with the mom and pop. The winning lawyer called the decision “good for business.” Cousin Ray pointed out that mom and pop have lately had about as much luck in the Supreme Court as Indians.
Wednesday’s New York Times carried a video report from the Guangzhou National Sex Culture Festival in China, where over three-quarters of the world’s sex toys are made. Given the Chinese government’s prudishness, most of the sex toys have been for export, but the One Child Policy combined with a cultural preference for sons has left great numbers of Chinese men without partners, leading Cousin Ray to remark that most of the toys built for the domestic market “have to be simple enough to use with one hand.”
Thursday’s Morning Joe did their usual dive into the coming issue of Time magazine, so there was talk about how Carl Icahn, dubbed by Time the “wolf of Wall Street,” might differ from the greedheads of the 1980s? Nobody could say. Talk turned to who would be named Person of the Year, since this week’s profile seemed to rule out Icahn. Speculation centered on Pope Francis (who risked his Church to criticize great wealth), Edward Snowden (who risked his freedom to reveal government spying), and Miley Cyrus (who took off her clothes). “Not only did she risk a bad cold,” pointed out Cousin Ray, “did you want Pope Francis to take off his clothes?”
The least productive House of Representatives in the history of the US felt enough shame that they decided this week to reduce their planned 239 days off this year to 238. The extra day of work put them in session one week for a grueling five days. Cousin Ray was appalled. “Do you realize,” he asked, “these public servants only make $174,000 a year? And now they’re only going to get 238 days off!” According to Talking Points Memo, the House had only voted 46 times to repeal Obamacare by Oct. 1. This put them seriously behind schedule and made the one five-day workweek in December necessary. The House Attending Physician’s Office braced for a wave of exhaustion cases, but said this was offset by treating very few paper cuts. “You only get paper cuts from crispy new sheets of paper.”
The Obama Administration expressed confidence this week that healthcare.gov would be able to accept 50,000 simultaneous users without crashing. According to experts consulted by the New York Times, a safe number would be 100,000 and a publicity campaign planned for December was postponed for fear it would attract too many users. “What’s the problem?”, asked Cousin Ray. “The site works perfectly as long as nobody wants to use it.”
The Guardian reports this week that the American Legislative Exchange Council, a powerful lobbying group for corporate interests, has lost membership over its model “stand your ground” legislation that led to an acquittal in the Trayvon Martin shooting. Corporate memberships have dropped from 280 to 214 and legislative memberships from 2,200 to 1,810 (still almost a quarter of all state legislators in the US) according to documents posted on the Guardian website. Headliners at the ALEC meeting this week are Sen. Tex Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), so ALEC remains well connected. ALEC would have stayed out of trouble, Cousin Ray claimed, “if they had stuck to the basics like avoiding taxes and trashing the environment.”
Back on November 14, President Obama announced his choice to head the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, Debo Adegbile, formerly a lawyer for the NAACP. Some on the right are having a fit about his ethnicity—he’s the son of a Nigerian father and an Irish mother. Comments under the story of the appointment in National Review included: “U.S. is turning into planet of the apes.” One blog headed the story “Racist, Anti-White Obama Appoints Racist, Anti-White Debo Adegbile To Replace Racist, Anti-White Tom Perez” and drew this comment: “Shocking animal ooga booga's promoting other animal ooga booga's.” After a couple of tries at pronouncing Adegbile’s name, Cousin Ray remarked, “Could be worse. Could be Hopi. Nobody can pronounce Hopi names except Hopi.”
Lots of Rob Ford news this week. HuffPost Canada reports that drug use allegations against the Toronto Mayor now include heroin, news presumably unrelated to Ford’s new radio show, The Sports Junkies. According to Canada’s National Post, Ford has taken a position on the name of the Washington football team: “To me, that’s ridiculous,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “What are we going to call the Cleveland Indians? The Cleveland Aboriginals?” Cousin Ray said he expects that the Washington team will keep its name longer than Ford will be Mayor of Toronto.