As an old man with a creaky back, I love this hilarious video.
Soccer freestyle champion Sean Garnier spent five hours being turned elderly with professional makeup and then inserted himself into a pickup soccer game in Brazil, which is somewhat reluctantly cuing up to host the World Cup.
The kids who got pranked took it all in good humor and the Mexican department store chain that funded the video, Coppel, got all the publicity they could have hoped for when the video went viral.
Jonathan Chait published a piece in New York magazine people are talking about. Chait contradicted conventional wisdom, asserting Barack Obama promised “four big things” and has now done them all. The biggies were national health insurance and ending the Iraq War, both of which are done, the former at incalculable political cost.
Rescuing the economy got added to the agenda by a crash that happened after Obama was running, and the election turned on a comparison of Obama’s pivot to the new reality v. John McCain’s. Finally, there was doing something about climate change, something being defined as more than nothing. Specifically, Obama promised a doubling of renewable energy. Wind has tripled and solar is up 16 times pre-Obama. Thwarted in any attempt to price carbon, Obama authorized the EPA to ban it—which will result in a price attaching whether the climate change deniers like it or not.
My Republican Cousin Ray Sixkiller was content to leave Obama’s report card to history, but conceded that both Sen. McCain and Gov. Romney rendered themselves unelectable by the positions they had to take to get nominated. “I’ve been a Republican all my life,” Ray remarked, “and a big fan of John McCain when he really was a maverick. Obama’s a decent man, but he won because my party went crazy. I can prove it. Saying Obama’s a decent man causes political heartburn.”
Reacting to the news on June 11 that the House Majority Leader was defeated in the Virginia GOP primary, Cousin Ray asserted, “Eric Cantor was the Robespierre of the Tea Party.”
In an ABC interview, Hillary Clinton stepped into Mitt Romney territory when she complained that she and her husband left the White House “dead broke” and had trouble pulling together financing for their houses. Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post commented that when you are calling yourself broke, “house” should not be plural.
A factoid about debt: Americans owe more money in student loans than they owe in credit card debt. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) has filed a bill to allow people with student loan debt to refinance at today’s lower interest rates. “If she pulls that off,” Cousin Ray said, “her Cherokee grandmother would have been proud…if she had a Cherokee grandmother.”
Sen. Warren’s bill to cut interest rates on student loans died of a Republican filibuster on June 11. The bill attracted 55 votes, which is not enough to win in a 100 vote body when the obstructionist zombies of one party filibuster everything.
In other zombie news, University of Chicago Law Professor William Baude is working on a paper examining whether zombies are “persons” within the meaning of the Constitution like corporations are. His conclusion supports “zombie federalism,” that the personhood of zombies is a question for state law. When Cousin Ray quit laughing, he asserted that more tribal governments recognize zombies as persons than recognize corporations as persons.
Corporate person General Motors is run by the first woman CEO of a major car company, Mary Barra, daughter of a line worker who started her education at a community college. Her welcome to the big time was a major scandal over delay in safety recalls. She first apologized to the victims. The New York Times reported on June 5 that she’s fired some 20 persons, including a vice president and a top lawyer. Cousin Ray pointed out that she has taken more action than the US government ever took against the banksters who ran the entire economy into a ditch. I had no comeback to that.
The New York Times also reported on June 5 that video game pioneer Atari has emerged from bankruptcy protection with an idea to produce TV shows based on classic games like Asteroids and Caterpillar. Cousin Ray was impressed until he discovered his grandkids never heard of those games. Ray and I were talking down the memory lane where Donkey Kong and Frogger rendered Pong and Space Invaders obsolete, but the grandkids didn’t even look up from their iPhones.
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has started a clinical trial of a new treatment for persons with gunshot or knife wounds that would normally give surgeons less than five minutes to restore blood flow to avoid brain damage and only about a one in ten chance of saving the patient at all. The surgeons will replace all the remaining blood with cold salt water, lowering the body temperature to 50 degrees. This will extend the time to make repairs to about an hour, after which they will attempt to bring the “dead” patient back to life. “Watch for it,” grumbled Cousin Ray, “the American mullahs will claim doctors are trying to play God. Of course they are!”
The demonization of POW Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has spread to his family, who the FBI confirmed have been getting enough death threats to need police protection.
Conservative op-ed writer David Brooks defended the decision to being Bergdahl home: “It doesn’t matter if Bergdahl had deserted his post or not. It doesn’t matter if he is a confused young man who said insulting and shameful things about his country and his Army. The debt we owe to fellow Americans is not based on individual merit. It is based on citizenship, and loyalty to the national community we all share.”
Talking Points Memo reported on Oliver North’s criticism of “negotiating with terrorists” to secure Bergdahl’s release. This would be the same Oliver North involved in selling weapons to the mullahs in Iran and using the money to fund terrorism against the elected government of Nicaragua. Cousin Ray reminded me “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”
A website that specializes in man-bites-dog news reports that Sandy Hook Shooting “truther” Wolfgang Halbig, an ex-policeman and Jeb Bush appointee to a Florida school safety commission, has raised over $20,000 off GoFundMe that he claims will go for public records requests to prove the massacre never happened and the distraught parents were professional actors paid by the government.
Elsewhere on the lunatic front, the Texas GOP has adopted a platform statement endorsing psychological “therapy” to convert homosexuals to heterosexuals in the face of all studies to date showing such “therapy” to be both ineffective and unsafe. “Our Texas friends assume this would not harm anybody important,” Cousin Ray said, “and I guess the Log Cabin Republicans don’t count in the land of Ted Cruz.”
The New York Times reprinted a rare color photo of the Rosie the Riveter genre, showing 18-year-old Norma Jeane Dougherty holding the propeller of a drone she worked 10 hours a day for $20 a week assembling. That use of expensive color film was authorized by Captain Ronald Reagan. Ms. Dougherty later changed her name to Marilyn Monroe.
Jennifer Lee posted an article on History News Network that explained why so many young people take feminist positions but reject the label: the same historical memory hole that has swallowed so much Indian history. We oldsters remember employment ads segregated by sex, women unable to get credit without a male co-signer, women denied admission to technical schools, and our grandmothers denied the right to vote. Younger people remember none of these things, which reside in the same memory hole as Wounded Knee, Sand Creek, Custer at the Washita, and treaties in the shredder.
General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi won election as President of Egypt by 97 per cent of the vote. “Proving,” Cousin Ray snarked, “that guns move elections just as well as money.”
The Daily Beast reported on the flood of loot from grave robbing since Egypt’s revolution showing up on E-Bay, leading the Egyptian government to start a “repatriation team” to search E-Bay daily for looted antiquities. “If the repatriation movement in the US is any guide,” Cousin Ray suggested, “success will be spotty.”
The Washington Post reported that the sale of a Civil War soldier’s skull found near the battlefield at Gettysburg is causing controversy for The Estate Auction Company of Pennsylvania. “Whether you can rob a grave,” Cousin Ray growled, “has always depended on the race of the occupant.”
The New York Times remembrance of Marine Corporal Chester Nez, the last of the original code talkers, contained the text of the first message he sent in combat: “Anaai (Enemy) naatsosi (Japanese) beeldooh alhaa dildoni (machine gun) nishnaajigo nahdikadgo (on your right flank). Diiltaah (Destroy).” Also his memories of having his mouth washed out with “a bitter, brown soap” for speaking Navajo, of the Nez family sheep being slaughtered by the government, of not being allowed to vote, of leaving the University of Kansas when his GI Bill money ran out. The code talkers called America “ne-he-mah (our mother).” Cousin Ray observed that she was a harsh mother.