There’s an Internet meme going around that the name for a group of baboons is a “congress.” Very funny, but untrue. The proper term is “troop.” In addition to being incorrect, my Cousin Ray Sixkiller called the meme “insulting to baboons.”
The New York Times reported that an organization has formed in Kern County, California to preserve the boyhood home of country music legend Merle Haggard, 76.
The house was put together during the Depression by Haggard’s Okie father, a carpenter for the Santa Fe Railroad, who created a home for his family from a surplus boxcar. “Save Hag’s Boxcar” promises to build a similar-size home for the current occupant if they can raise the money to move the boxcar to a museum in Bakersfield. Haggard’s father walked on from a stroke when the boy was 9, and Hag hopped his first freight train at 11, beginning “the juvenile delinquency, the incarcerations, the five marriages and bankruptcy.” He poured his pain into the “Bakersfield Sound,” a gritty alternative to the slickness Nashville had become.
The Denver Post reported that Colorado Republican State Sen. Bernie Herpin testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in opposition to limits on magazine capacity that it “was maybe a good thing he (Aurora theater shooter James Holmes) had a 100 round magazine because it jammed.” “What if,” Cousin Ray wanted to know, “the 100 round magazine on your hunting weapon jammed just as you were about to be attacked by an angry herd of Colorado antelopes armed with AK-47s?”
Matt Taibbi, probably the best writer in the popular media on how the investment banks ran the world economy into the ditch, posted an announcement that he’s leaving Rolling Stone for First Look Media, the outfit that now employs the reporter who broke most of Edward Snowden’s revelations. I am known in my small circle for christening the investment bank Goldman, Sachs “Golden Sacks.” Taibbi called it “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” “Steve,” consoled my dear Cousin Ray Sixkiller, “you can’t win them all.”
The Courier of Montgomery County reports on an actual case of voter fraud in Texas. Seven people allegedly switched their voter registration to a Residence Inn for the purpose of taking control of a Road Utility District. This works in a state where a Municipal Utility District once legally floated $400 million in bonds on the vote of one guy living in a FEMA trailer at the behest of developers who expected to flip the property to real residents who would then have to pay off the bonds with property taxes. “If this sounds odd,” commented Cousin Ray, “explain how voter ID laws could stop it?”
An advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration met on February 25 and 26 to consider, among other issues, “oocyte modification in assisted reproduction for the prevention of transmission of mitochondrial disease.” In plain English, genetically modified babies. Critics split between those who claimed to be informed that God is opposed and those who wanted to require a tattoo on a GMO baby’s butt.
Term-limited GOP Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, in a press conference on the White House lawn, broke a custom of bipartisanship within the National Governors Association to assail President Obama’s desire to raise the minimum wage as “waving the white flag of surrender” to becoming a “minimum wage economy.” Democratic Governor Daniel Malloy of Connecticut shot back that Louisiana has one of the largest populations of minimum wage workers and “you can’t get day labor for ten bucks an hour in Connecticut.” Inside the White House, the POTUS had joked that the governors had come to “measure the drapes.” Cousin Ray claimed they were using tape measures “because they couldn’t get those laser gizmos though security.”
Tesla Motors announced plans to build a lithium ion battery plant “somewhere in the US southwest.” The location in the desert is dictated by plans to power the plant with wind and solar energy, and the purpose is to cut down the waiting time to buy a Tesla from months to weeks. The plant is expected to create about 6,500 well paying jobs.
Arizona probably remained on the list of potential locations for the Tesla battery plant when GOP Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill to create an exception to public accommodations laws for people who discriminated on instructions from gods. The bill was aimed at gay people, but by its terms would provide refuge for those who believe God separated the races.
Military Times reports that 3,000 soldiers will be downsized out of the service this year, with more to come.
The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas has announced a showing of the former President’s original paintings this April. Cousin Ray speculated that the paintings are pretty valuable and suggested that he knows where President Bush could hire 3,000 security guards.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, 28 miles east of Carlsbad, New Mexico, had a contamination scare on Valentine’s Day. Public officials said the amount of radioactive leakage was trivial and everyone was perfectly safe. “There is no truth to the rumor,” Cousin Ray asserted, “that those public officials last worked on a water pollution case in West Virginia.” Since the plant was owned by the Energy Department, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) promised to have hearings “to get to the bottom of the cover-up.”
On the morning of February 22, Mexican marines arrested Joaquín Guzmán Loera, head of the Sinaloa drug cartel, in the former tourist destination of Mazatlán. “Former” for those who gave up Mexican vacations when the narco cartels had more beheading videos posted on line than Islamic terrorists did. The billionaire Guzmán, sung about in the narcocorridos as El Chapo (“Shorty”), had been on the run for 13 years, after escaping from a Mexican prison. The photos in The New York Times, according to Cousin Ray, “tell all you need to know about how this will shake out.” The faces of the marines holding El Chapo are masked.
After two weeks of controversy over an investigation of sexual abuse at Bob Jones Academy and Bob Jones University that the University had halted without explanation, The New York Times reported on February 25 that the investigation would be re-started. Alleged victims claimed they were told not to report abuse to the police because “turning in a member of their religious community…would harm Jesus…” Cousin Ray commented “Jesus sounds really delicate for a dead guy.”
The Boston Globe reported on an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association showing that the obesity epidemic in the US appears to be easing among small children. Michelle Obama released a statement touting her “Let’s Move!” campaign against childhood obesity. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) denounced “fatgate” and promised to hold hearings “to get to the bottom of the cover-up.”
President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela gave another lengthy speech on Venezuelan radio and TV, which were required by law to carry it. He allegedly characterized those opposed to his government as “breastfeeding crows that will now peck out your eyes for your cowardice.” Since I read Spanish, I thought I would clear that up…but all I can find on line makes that the literal translation. “Maybe,” Cousin Ray speculated, “Venezuelan crows are different from Cherokee crows?”
Khalid al-Suri, a leader sent to Syria by Al Qaeda to mediate among jihadist factions, was reported on February 23 to have been killed along with five others by a suicide bomber from a rival faction. “Looks like Arab chickens roost at home just like Cherokee chickens,” Cousin Ray commented.
The Cherokee Nation announced that their law enforcement branch has acquired a military surplus M-RAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle for “search and rescue.” Cousin Ray hoped they don’t do much “searching,” since the M-RAPs get about 3 mpg. He added, “Cherokees have had some pretty nasty tribal elections, but nobody has used improvised explosive devices yet. Does Chief Baker know something we don’t?”
On a more positive note, Cherokee Principal Chief Bill John Baker signed an executive order on February 24 raising the tribal minimum wage from $9 to $9.50. The federal minimum wage is now $7.25 and President Obama wants it raised to $10.10, which could pass in Congress if the Republican leadership would allow it to come to a vote. Cousin Ray could not resist mentioning that do-nothing Congresscritters would make $83.65 an hour plus substantial benefits “if they worked 40 hours a week.”
According to Foreign Policy, the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment (GAIAE), a group of purported Islamic theologians based in the United Arab Emirates, has issued a fatwa against Muslims living on Mars. Some 500 Arabs, most of whom are probably observant Muslims, have signed up with Mars One, a private company working on permanent human colonization of Mars. “Where was this GAIAE outfit,” Cousin Ray wondered, “when Columbus got lost?”