How Did I Miss That? Beyoncé Evades the NSA; Batman Takes Austin!
Rolling Stone reported on Friday that Beyoncé's new self-titled album, sprung on the public with no advance notice, sold 80,000 copies in three hours. Cousin Ray Sixkiller remarked that when the Obama Administration finds out why the NSA failed to predict this, “Heads will roll.”
The North Korean government announced the execution of Jang Song-thaek, an uncle of the boy dictator Kim Jong-un. Watchers of the Hermit Kingdom had considered Mr. Jang to be Mr. Kim’s mentor. The official North Korean announcement of the execution described Mr. Jang as “worse than a dog,” leading Cousin Ray to wonder if the comment about Korean cuisine meant that the boy dictator ate his uncle?
Signaling more conventional cases of munchies, the Saturday New York Times carried a story on the marketing hurdles for legal marijuana in Colorado and Washington. Legal dealers are reportedly ditching counter cultural names, with one contemplating a change from “Cat Piss Romulan” to “Midnight Dream.” Cousin Ray, a football fan, expected “Bronco Kick” to be dialed back to “Mile High Memories.”
David Uhlmann published an op-ed criticizing the Justice Department practice of “deferred prosecution” for corporate persons in serious cases, citing HSBC’s involvement in almost a trillion dollars of money laundering and Massey Coal hiding over 300 safety law violations leading up to the disaster in 2010 that killed 29 miners. Cousin Ray fumed “Corporate persons? Lock ‘em up!”
The New York Times reported on Sunday about a document in the bowels of the financial services giant UBS showing Wall Street had rooted for Mitt Romney. However, the stock market has charged back under Obama, adding to the history that the stock market has risen 7.1 percent in Democratic administrations but only 3 percent in Republican administrations. “Poor people vote against their own interests all the time,” observed Cousin Ray, “so why shouldn’t rich people?”
In a lawsuit brought by the cast of the reality show Sister Wives, a federal court struck down a criminal ban on “cohabitation,” while leaving the ban on plural marriage standing. Cherokee law used to limit only white citizens of the Cherokee Nation to one wife to keep white people from marrying in and then taking a white wife to lord it over the Cherokee wife. Ménage à trois could still hide behind sexual privacy. Cousin Ray chuckled “that was BCB.” I had to ask what he meant? “Before Cherokee Baptists.”
There was a new ruling in a lawsuit going on since 1989 over a cross on public land near San Diego, holding that the government should not endorse a particular religion. The losers appealed again. Cousin Ray was glad the Romans did not punish sedition against the empire by hanging. “It would be really depressing to have people putting up giant nooses everywhere.”
Monday papers from the Wall Street Journal to the New York Times breathlessly reported the indignation of Prince Turki al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia over President Obama’s failure to use military force in Syria or to get more aggressive with Iran. Cousin Ray’s nephew was in a USMC outfit plopped down on Saudi Arabia’s border in front of Saddam Hussein’s tanks. All he could say fit for a family publication was that Americans lost more troops to friendly fire in that war (35) than the Saudis lost in total (24).
Morning Joe showed video of a Chinese vehicle soft landing on the moon and reported the Chinese expect to have a permanent moon base by 2020. Cousin Ray figured it would take them that long to get the fang shui right.
John Beale, the top EPA expert on climate change, is about to be sentenced for bilking the government out of almost a million dollars in salary and benefits. Beale covered up not coming to work by claiming he was on a classified mission for the CIA. “No wonder climate change is getting worse,” Cousin Ray chuckled, “if Secret Agent Man was in charge of dealing with it.”
On Tuesday, the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame released the inductees for 2014. One will be Cat Stevens, who converted and changed his name to Yusuf Islam, and was once denied entry to the US for being on the terrorist watch list. The British government protested and he has subsequently been admitted. Cousin Ray speculated that the US government is projecting its hypocrisy onto others “if it thinks the guy who wrote Peace Train is a terrorist.”
Self-anointed diplomat Dennis Rodman is off to North Korea again to visit his “friend for life” Kim Jong-un. The Miami Herald reported that Rodman intends to “train the North Korean basketball team,” expected to be a challenge when North Koreans are on average 2-3 inches shorter than South Koreans because of malnutrition. Cousin Ray wondered if Mr. Rodman would be invited to dine with Mr. Kim? “I’d watch out for the long pig.”
KWTX in Waco, Texas, reported on the assault arrest of Brad Kolb, 36, whose previous claim to fame was producing a life-sized decal for the back of a pickup truck that showed a bound woman being kidnapped. Cousin Ray wondered if “he was helping test the 911 system?”
Alain Leroy, owner of a French auction house, was quoted in the New York Times, upon learning that the Annenberg Foundation had secretly bought most of the sacred Hopi Katsinam for return to the Hopi: “It’s a good outcome for the Hopi but not the collectors, I suppose.” Cousin Ray figured that Leroy “laughed all the way to the bank, where he keeps what is sacred to him.”
Wednesday brought reports that the Olympic flame, lit by virgin priestesses in Olympia, Greece, has had problems being relayed across Russia to the Sochi Winter Games. One runner has died of a heart attack, three persons have been set on fire, and the torch has gone out some four dozen times. The corporate person who made the torches cannot be sent to Siberia, the New York Times said, “because it is already in Siberia.” Cousin Ray pointed out that in spite of a “morality” crusade that sent the punk band Pussy Riot to Siberia and made it illegal to stand up for gay people, “they still can’t find enough virgins to keep that thing lit.”
“This is sick! This is obscene,” said Joe Scarborough, responding to Congress being unable to find anything to cut in the budget but veterans’ retirement benefits. Cousin Ray said Scarborough does not understand patriotism. “When’s the last time you saw a Congressman without an American flag lapel pin?”
The New York Times reported on Thursday that Britain is joining about two dozen countries that print their money on plastic rather than paper. Cousin Ray would like to see the US do it. “No more problems when your wallet goes in the washing machine with your pants! And it would give a whole new meaning to stretching a dollar.”
Dr. Greg Brannon, running for a US Senate seat in the North Carolina Republican primary, was reported in Mother Jones to be “eager to join Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX)” in what Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) dubbed the “wacko bird caucus.” A bird of the same feather, Rep. Jack Kingston, seeking the GOP nomination for the US Senate from Georgia, came out against the federal school lunch program, seeking to require that poor kids do manual labor for their lunches. “Can chain gangs for the poor be far behind?,” asked Cousin Ray, adding that in these elections, “bird is the word.”
The Texas Observer reports that Austin police have taken an approach to the danger of high-speed chases inspired by Batman. Some squad cars have been equipped with grill-mounted air cannons that fire darts equipped with GPS transmitters. After firing a dart into the fleeing vehicle, police break off the chase, but continue to track it on a computer map. Noting that the number of squad cars so equipped would be limited, Cousin Ray speculated that all other squad cars would be equipped with a bat signal to call in the air cannons.
Last week, Mexican legislators approved a bill to allow foreign companies to explore for oil and gas, an enterprise controlled by the government-owned monopoly, Pemex, since 1938. Pemex has been legendary for incompetence and corruption. Still, one legislator stripped to his underwear during the debate to dramatize what he believed would happen to Mexico if it invites foreign oil companies back in. Most news networks carried the video, but some pixelated and some did not. Cousin Ray said more politicians should debate without clothes “to improve the ratings on C-SPAN”
The Internet continued to boil with snarky comments about what Megyn Kelly said on Fox News: “I mean, Jesus was a white man, too. He was a historical figure. That’s verifiable fact, as is Santa. I just want the kids watching to know that.” Cousin Ray found it logical “the network that called the last election for Mitt Romney would believe in Santa Claus.”
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