Hilarious musings from Steve Russell, Indian Country Today:
How Did I Miss That? Unicorn sightings, a headache about aspirin and Willie Nelson’s favorite congressional candidate
BY STEVE RUSSELL
Retired teacher Mary Lou Bruner lost the runoff for election to the Texas State Board of Education. Going in, she led with 48 percent of the vote after posting on Facebook claims that climate change is a hoax concocted by Karl Marx, that President Obama was a gay prostitute, and that his healthcare overhaul was an orchestrated plot to wipe 200 million people from the U.S. population. She also wrote that Noah’s flood was what destroyed the dinosaurs. “I get it,” Cousin Ray snickered. “They went the way of the unicorns.”
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Great Big Story reported on the most numerous herd of surviving black rhinos in Kruger National Park, in South Africa. The park lost 1200 rhinos to poachers in 2014 but cut losses to 1175 last year. Ten poachers a day enter the park and they take no meat—just the horns, which are considered a “status symbol” to some alleged human beings. Seventy percent of the horns become status markers for rich people and 30 percent go to quack medicine. The horns sell for $95,000 per kilogram. The black rhino is one of five surviving subspecies and one of three that are critically endangered. Cousin Ray noticed that the scientific name of another critically endangered subspecies—the Greater One-Horned rhino, found in India—is Rhinoceros unicornis. “So,” he said, “some of the unicorns did make it to Noah’s ark!”
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The New York Times reported that some 20 veterans and military organizations sent a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs demanding a crackdown on for-profit colleges and trade schools— many of which deliver no educational value but could not exist without the GI Bill. It’s not that the government doesn’t know about the rip-offs. A Senate report in 2014 found that seven of the eight for-profit schools that received the greatest amount of GI Bill money were under state or federal investigation for misleading students. Problems include poorly credentialed faculty, lack of meaningful admission requirements, low graduation rates, and overstating the numbers of graduates who found work. “There is no truth to the rumor,” Cousin Ray said, “that Donald Trump thinks he is in the best position to crack down on these rip-offs because of his relevant experience with Trump University.”
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Bayer AG, which made a fortune by patenting and trademarking a traditional healing substance from willow bark, has made a tender offer to acquire Monsanto. Bayer invented a method to synthesize the healing substance rather than extracting it from plants. They also coined the name that they still have trademarked in a few jurisdictions: Aspirin. The behemoth seed company was known among family farmers in Indiana when I taught there as “the outfit that turns farmers into sharecroppers.” That’s because of Monsanto’s tactic of suing farmers downwind of fields using Monsanto seed for patent infringement. Not many farmers can afford to litigate with Monsanto. “Bayer or Monsanto?” Cousin Ray was undecided. “I’ll get back to you after I figure out whether Trump or Clinton is worse for the U.S. We all know which one is an Indian fighter.”
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Ray, a Republican, smiled when I remembered out loud that Richard Nixon was horrible for the country but pretty good for Indians.
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CNN Money reported that the boycott of North Carolina begun by Bruce Springsteen over the antitransgender law has cost the state about $200,000 in ticket sales alone. The Potty Purity law has also cost hundreds of part time jobs for workers at the aborted concerts and hundreds of full-time jobs that just are not going to happen.
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Flo Matheson, 77, is running for Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District, a seat that is currently held by Republican Diane Black. The Democratic challenger’s uphill slog got harder when police served a search warrant at Matheson’s home and seized more than 180 marijuana plants. While she claimed the growing operation belonged to a tenant, she also said, “I smoke marijuana . . . two or three times a week.” Matheson said of marijuana prohibition, “I don’t feel that bad about
breaking a bad law.”
“Sounds like she sewed up Willie Nelson’s support,” Cousin Ray said with a smile.