Go ahead—just try not to smile.

How Did I Miss That? Hubcap Pup; bin Laden Action Figure

Steve Russell

The Associated Press reported that Junior, a pit bull puppy from Bakersfield, CA, managed to get his head stuck in the hub of an automobile wheel, and had to be rescued by Kern County firefighters, who extracted the puppy unhurt but greasy.

In other canine news, Peanut, a rescue mutt from North Carolina, was crowned world’s ugliest dog. Peanut was an abuse victim who lost his eyelids and lips in a fire, but he also lost the genetic lottery. “You should talk,” snarked my cousin Ray Sixkiller.

In news that would normally be canine, star soccer player Luis Suárez of Uruguay bit an opponent, Giorgio Chiellini of Italy, making the third biting incident in Suárez’s career. Evander Holyfield led the resulting Twitter storm.

KLTV in Tyler, Texas, reported that Joshe Leesheen Johnson, 23, was sentenced to two years in jail for criminal mischief. Unhappy with being evicted, she did over $4,000 worth of damage to the apartment. “This would be why,” Cousin Ray remarked, “jails seldom have toilet seats.”

The Dallas Morning News reported that Jason Hanna, 37, and Joe Riggs, 33 of Dallas, who married legally in Washington, DC, are not being listed as parents on their sons’ birth certificates and the couple will not be allowed to cross-adopt them for the purpose of giving the children two parents. The sons, Lucas and Ethan, are fraternal twins borne by a surrogate. Each man is the biological father of one of the boys.

Meanwhile, former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee addressed a National Organization for Marriage rally, according to The Washington Times: “(S)ingle parenthood is the greatest contributing factor to childhood poverty, and children raised by a single parent are 75 percent more likely to end up in poverty.” Cousin Ray was not amused. “They should call themselves the National Organization for Some Marriages.”

In other parenting news, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported honor student Reid Sagehorn, 18, was suspended for a two word post on Facebook. Asked whether he had “made out” with an attractive teacher, he posted “Actually, yeah.” Sagehorn apologized, but said the post was meant as “sarcasm.” The school superintendent upheld a shortened version of the seven-week suspension because the remark damaged the reputation of the teacher. Sagehorn has now sued the school district for damaging his reputation. I asked Cousin Ray if he thought it was important to teach kids that the Internet is not a rhetorical free-fire zone? “Actually, yeah.”

The New York Times reported that Knoedler & Company, an art gallery in business for 165 years, sold $63 million worth of fake art in the 15-year period before going out of business in a flurry of lawsuits. To the claim that the dealers could not have known a particular “Jackson Pollock” was a fake, lawyers for the victims pointed out that the painting was signed “Jackson Pollok.”

The CIA owned up to a 2005 project called “Devil Eyes,” involving an Osama bin Laden “action figure.” The child’s toy was “painted with a heat-dissolving material, designed to peel off and reveal a red-faced bin Laden who looked like a demon, with piercing green eyes and black facial markings.” Cousin Ray wanted to bid on the leftovers, commenting that the “after” version “is a dead ringer for Darth Maul.”

The Arab Spring continued a cold snap in Egypt when three Al Jazeera journalists were sentenced seven years for conspiring to fib, although the government could prove no actual fibbing. One journalist got an extra three years for “possession of a weapon,” a spent police bullet.

President Obama was photographed reaching over the sneeze guard at Chipotle, leading Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) to call for hearings into “burritogate” and the Tea Party caucus to circulate an impeachment resolution alleging danger to public health. Cousin Ray touted the impeachment resolution as progress, because “the Tea Party finally figured out that they have to give a reason.”

The Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal criticized President Obama for intending to sign an international treaty that bans land mines but stopped short of impeachment.

BloombergBusinessweek reported that the corporate lawyer for High Times, Michael Kennedy, is busy raising money for the second private equity fund organized to invest in marijuana businesses. High Times web traffic has gone from 300,000 unique hits a month to five million and advertising has doubled in the last two years, as Colorado and Washington legalized recreational weed, bringing the number of states where marijuana is legal on some basis to 22, and the FDA considers downgrading marijuana’s schedule 1 classification. Kennedy’s goal for the High Times Growth Fund is $300 million. The incumbent in the sector, Privateer Holdings, hopes to have $50 million by July. Cousin Ray was reaching for his checkbook until I explained that the price to play in marijuana capitalism is $500,000.

In less benign capitalism news, The Texas Tribune reported that Texas ranks second in pounds of waste dumped into public waters, behind only Indiana. Factoring in the toxicity of the waste, Texas is number one. The worst polluter, Dow Chemical, claimed it is “in compliance with all state and federal permits.” The Environmental Protection Agency website states that the Dow plant has been out of compliance for 12 consecutive quarters, but the data end in 2013, so Dow might have cleaned things up in the last six months. Cousin Ray is taking bets.

In more urgent pollution news, Al Jazeera reported that the plan to build an ice wall in the ground surrounding the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant to stop leakage of radioactive water is not going well. A human person speaking for the corporate person responsible, TEPCO, said, "We have yet to form the ice stopper because we can't make the temperature low enough to freeze water." Cousin Ray was sputtering. “They want to surround a white hot radioactive core with ice?”

The US Supreme Court turned back a New Jersey challenge to a federal law that limits sports betting to Delaware, Montana, Oregon, and Nevada, the same SCOTUS that decided for the first time that the promise of equal protection of the law in the 14th Amendment applies not just to individuals, but also to states. “That was different,” Cousin Ray reminded. “That case involved an opportunity to gut the Voting Rights Act. Gutting civil rights laws is a result you can always bet on in the Roberts Court—even if you have to call an illegal bookie to bet on a ball game in New Jersey.”

Bloomberg Businessweek and Fortune called hypocrisy on Bill and Hillary Clinton for using residence trusts to avoid estate taxes when they have supported estate taxes as a matter of public policy.

The left side of the Democratic Party is all dressed up without a date for the presidential dance. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts says no. The boomlet for former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer has popped. The Missoulian reported Schweitzer commented on the thumping Rep. Eric Cantor just took in the GOP primary that Southern men “are a little effeminate” and his “gaydar is 60-70 percent” on Cantor. Then he criticized Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s alleged claim to being “a nun” in the matter of government spying when she was actually “the woman who was standing under the streetlight with her dress pulled all the way up over her knees.”

On the GOP side of sex, Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran waxed nostalgic about his boyhood doing “indecent things with animals.” Super PACs supporting Cochran’s Tea Party heir apparent were up within 24 hours with a radio spot featuring a sheep. Cousin Ray claimed Cochran was imitating the Tea Party senate candidate in Iowa, Joni Ernst, who put forward her experience castrating pigs as a qualification. Cochran prevailed by a razor thin margin that his opponent attributed to crossover voting by Democratic sheep, and black ones at that.

Fortune reported on a survey of US state government corruption that concluded state level corruption costs the taxpayers $1,308 each per year and Mississippi is the most corrupt state. The highest corruption showing for a state with major Indian country was South Dakota, at eight. All of the top ten most corrupt states were red except for Illinois and Pennsylvania. Cousin Ray was gobsmacked that Oklahoma didn’t make the list. He demanded fame where fame is due. “Remember the BRILAB scandal, where the feds nailed at least one official in every Oklahoma county?”

I consoled Ray after he heard nine of the 10 poorest states are also red, and Oklahoma is certainly one of the poorest states. “Since Indian Territory, it’s all been downhill,” he grumbled.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby told a press conference on Iraq “there is no aircraft carrier zorching into the Persian Gulf.” The verb “to zorch” is naval aviation slang for “to move rapidly.” Cousin Ray dared me to exploit the Urban Dictionary definition, but I declined, leading Ray to ask, “Where are the code talkers when we need them?”

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