This thieving beaver will be rehabilitated, not jailed.

How Did I Miss That? Bumbling Beavers; Rampaging Jackasses

Steve Russell
12/9/16

Associated Press reported that a beaver attempted some holiday shopping at a Dollar General in Charlotte Hall, Maryland. While the beaver rummaged though holiday decorations, management called the sheriff and the sheriff called animal control. There was no property damage beyond some displays knocked over, so the beaver was taken to a wildlife rehabilitator rather than jail.

KXAN reported that Fayette County, Texas Sheriff’s deputies were called to locate a missing boy just northeast of La Grange. The Emergency Notification System was activated and the deputies called the state troopers to request a helicopter, but before the chopper could arrive Sgt. Randy Thurman deployed his K9 unit (translation: turned loose his dog, Lobos). Deputy Dog found the missing boy in a tree, having apparently been chased up there by a herd of donkeys that was still surrounding the tree when Lobos showed up.

My cousin Ray Sixkiller wanted to know if the kid was a Republican?

Those first two items were about four-leggeds and therefore were rational. The K9 unit was just doing his job and the beaver was trying to get a jump on holiday shopping. I’m not sure about the rampaging herd of jackasses, but I expect it was a comment on the election.

The rest of the column is about two-leggeds and therefore rationality is too much to ask.

Here we go again. It happens somewhere every year. This time, it’s Accomack County, Virginia public schools responding to a parental complaint by removing The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird from student access. The problem is that both classic novels are rife with the N word.

“So what are we teaching our children?” The complaining parent answered her rhetorical question, according to reporting by WAVY: “We’re validating that these words are acceptable, and they are not acceptable by any means.” Of course those words are acceptable to write about the times and places Mark Twain and Harper Lee were describing.

Another parent added, “It’s not right to put that in a book, let alone read that to a child.”

This is a clinic in why rich people do not send their kids to the public schools. Public schools are required to take these remarks seriously.

Comedian Dick Gregory messed up the marketing of his autobiography when he titled it “Nigger.” It published the year the Civil Rights Act passed, 1964, and he used to joke that he grew up thinking that his name was “Nigger” and “Richard” was a nickname his parents called him at home.

The complaint is that the word itself equals racism. If racism is the issue, that means the complaining parent never read either book or she did read them and thinks they preach racial prejudice.

The only character in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with any sense is black. Indians have more reason to be offended by Mark Twain. The villain in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Injun Joe, is evil for no reason other than his Indian blood. It’s a character flaw in the author and it makes me angry, but banning the book is more stupid than the character.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic indictment of racism. To ban it as racist shows a degree of ignorance that might fit in our post-factual world but I thought the point of education was to live in a shared reality where truth matters.

A lesson progressives are supposed to learn from the election of The Donald is that we must treat persons with inadequate education with respect. If we fail to do that, our arrogance will be punished. The only way I can accomplish that is to blame the schools, and that creates another set of complications. And how do you “respect” ignorance without playing along with it?

Speaking of ignorance, MSNBC reported that Breitbart has gotten itself in a public feud with the Weather Channel by running a story about winter storms claiming that to be proof the planet is not warming. Breitbart used video from the Weather Channel in a misleading manner.

"Here's the thing,” weatherwoman Kait Parker admonished Breitbart, “science doesn't care about your opinion. Cherry-picking and twisting the facts will not change the future nor the fact ... that the Earth is warming." Parker holds a degree in atmospheric science from the University of Missouri.

Before dispatching The Weather Channel, Breitbart is opening another front by declaring war on Tony the Tiger. Kellogg’s, the cereal giant, pulled its ads from Breitbart when it found out they were running there because Breitbart’s tight relationship with white supremacy and loose relationship with the truth did not align with Kellogg’s “values as a company.”

Breitbart opened fire: “For Kellogg's, an American brand, to blacklist Breitbart News in order to placate left-wing totalitarians is a disgraceful act of cowardice. #DumpKelloggs”.

The rest of the white supremacist movement has also been feeling its oats with the Donald Trump victory. Richard Spencer, the man who claims to have coined the term “alt-right,” has been speaking hither and yon.

When Richard Spencer brought his racist bill of goods to Texas A & M University, he did not find a warm welcome. Spencer’s appearance was a private event in an auditorium available to the public, so the university lacked the power to refuse to rent the space based on the content of a speech.

The Texas Tribune reported that A & M put on a school-sanctioned counter-event at the football stadium, Kyle Field, where Chancellor John Sharp announced, “If you’re a purveyor of hate and divisiveness…this is the last campus on earth you want to come to.”

The Tribune quoted Spencer:

We conquered this continent. Whether it is nice to say that at all, we won and we got to define what America means. And we got to define what this continent means. America, at the end of the day, belongs to the white man.

Two dozen of the 400 people in the room stood and applauded while most of the room hissed Spencer and he engaged numerous student critics in the audience. Spencer appears to be a racist in the mold of post-KKK David Duke. He wants to peddle his political offal and still be respected among persons with three-digit IQs.

Before the Great Recession, banks epitomized respectability. Now, banks and bankers can meet with skepticism, and one bank in particular is trying to buy back its reputation with an advertising budget while still stiffing the victims of its bad conduct.

Wells-Fargo, a bank that writes more mortgagees in Indian country than any business except Quicken, is coming back from a scandal involving over 1.5 million bogus accounts, opened for people who did not need them for the purpose of harvesting fees. Wells-Fargo’s timing in getting caught was unfortunate. If the bank could have hung on one more year, President Trump has promised to have the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau abolished.

As it is, Wells-Fargo has taken a public relations bath, switched CEOs, and fired approximately 5,300 employees for doing what they were told. The CFPB hit the bank with $185 million in fines. That sounds like a lot of money unless you notice that the departed CEO made over $200 million personally from the scam. The CFPB also required Wells-Fargo to set aside $5 million to pay back the theft victims.

Anyone with a TV knows that Wells-Fargo is funding a major public relations offensive to convince the public it has turned over a new leaf, but The New York Times reported some evidence that Wells-Fargo has not changed at all.

The bank has adopted a litigation strategy of moving the lawsuits over the bogus accounts into arbitration, where the deck is stacked against consumers. How can they do that?

Most account agreements contain an arbitration clause, enabling banks to steal a little bit from each customer because arbitration insulates them from class action lawsuits and an individual lawsuit would cost too much. In this case, many of the victims only lost a couple of hundred dollars or less. Not sums that would support a lawsuit.

“Wait a minute!” Cousin Ray was sputtering. “The whole point is that the accounts were fake. These people never signed an agreement.”

Actually, the people ripped off by fake accounts usually had at least one real one, and Wells-Fargo has been arguing that the arbitration agreements the customers signed cover every dispute with the bank.

A KXAN report on charitable giving found that as much as 84 percent of money given to help veterans never provides any services for veterans. This week, the Republican leaning Newsmax purported to reveal the six most veteran-friendly states and the ten most veteran-friendly cities. That sounded like good stuff to know, so I clicked. Fooled again.

There are lists all right. Each state or city has reasons why it’s on the list, but they are all different reasons, meaning there is no logical way to rank them. For the record, the number one state is Alaska and the number one city is San Diego.

“What did you expect,” Cousin Ray snickered, “from people who think the temperature of the planet is a matter of opinion instead of a matter of measurement?”

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