The Casper Star-Tribune reported that a bison calf has been born on the Wind River Reservation for the first time in more than 130 years. Bison had been wiped out by settlers for the purpose of forcing Indians to the reservations, where they would be dependent on government rations. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, about 5,000 bison were killed every day in 1872-1873.
The birth comes less than a year after the first 10 bison were released on Wind River by a partnership of the federal government, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Eastern Shoshones.
The Star-Tribune quoted Jason Baldes as “buffalo representative” of the Eastern Shoshone:
“Today, Boy-Zhan Bi-Den — Buffalo Return in the Shoshone language — has been blessed with the birth of its first buffalo calf. The birth of the calf is an honor bestowed upon us by the Creator, an homage to what we are doing to bring buffalo back to our lands and culture.”
The Wind River Reservation has already re-introduced pronghorns and bighorn sheep, both of which had been extinguished by overhunting. My picky cousin Ray Sixkiller pestered me to point out that many news outlets reported the Shoshone success at reintroducing pronghorn antelopes. Pronghorns, he reminds me, are not antelopes.
CNN reported that President Trump, in a photo-op for his signing of an executive order he claimed would protect religious freedom, made a bizarre claim that wounded soldiers would now have the right to receive religious items in military hospitals.
The claim is bizarre because the problem Trump claimed to solve has never existed. Pentagon officials debunked the Commander in Chief. Compared to disagreements between the POTUS and the military brass over the location and direction of travel of the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group, this is trivial.
In a related development, the ACLU had been geared up to sue over Trump’s executive order, thinking that this “religious freedom” claim would be just another excuse to privilege Christians or allow them to demean people born outside of gender norms. Upon reading what Trump actually signed, the ACLU put away any thought of suing because the executive order was, the ACLU claimed in a press statement, “an elaborate photo-op with no discernible policy outcome.”
Alternative Press — yes, the music magazine—follows on the report in this column about Crayola retiring the color called Dandelion, which was introduced in 1990. The replacement has been announced, based on a blue pigment discovered in 2009, the first new blue pigment to be found in 200 years, and called YlnMn.
Since that name the scientists gave it is a bit much to inflict on children, Crayola is holding a contest to name the new shade of blue. My favorites among those discussed in the magazine are Deep Blue (after the chess master computer), My Blue Heaven (after the song), and You Blue It (after the Trump presidency).
The Hill reported that Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) is putting up a serious challenge to Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma) for most asinine remark by a Congresscritter at a town hall meeting. Mullin grabbed an early lead by calling a constituent’s claim that Mullin works for the public because the public pays his salary “bullcrap.”
Mullin first claimed that he paid his own salary through his taxes, but apparently somebody told him that he was agreeing that taxpayers pay his salary. So, his final explanation was that Congress “is not how I make my living.”
Rep. Labrador followed Mullin into the rhetorical swamp when he defended his vote to repeal Obamacare by claiming “nobody dies due to lack of access to health care.” Labrador is apparently innocent of the rule imposing a duty on emergency rooms that receive federal funds. It requires that a poor person showing up without money be stabilized, not treated.
From my own experience, I could have appeared stable when I had cancer but my understanding was that it could still kill me.
The exact body count is subject to debate. The last study, from Harvard Medical School, suggested 45,000 deaths per year. Politifact rated Labrador’s statement, “pants on fire.”
MSNBC’s Joy Reid announced on her Saturday show after the tax cut for the one percent impersonating a health care bill passed that her “tireless producers reached out to each and every one” of the 217 Republicans who voted for the bill to offer the lead spot on her show to explain their votes. No takers. Not one of the 217 was willing to go on camera and explain why cutting taxes on the wealthy would lead to better health care.
Every news cycle makes it clearer that U.S. government has gone from “No Drama Obama” to reality television. Bloomberg reported that Gen. H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s national security advisor after Gen. Michael Flynn was canned for lying to the vice president about communications with Russia, is in the doghouse for not deferring to the Ignoramus in Chief. The latest example was when Trump appeared to back off a done deal to provide anti-missile defenses to South Korea and McMaster took it upon himself to walk back Trump’s blunder.
The next major military issue is a plan to ramp up troop strength in “America’s Longest War” in Afghanistan. Military advisors say the Afghan government forces still cannot hold ground, let alone take it. What they do not say is what will change in another 14 years?
The war started October 7, 2001 as an effort to neutralize Osama bin Laden. It quickly morphed into a crusade to save Afghanistan from the Afghans. There have been sporadic allegations that Russia is providing weapons and/or ammunition to the Taliban. Somebody must be unless they are keeping themselves supplied with shrinkage from U.S. aid to the Afghan government. The prime suspects would be Pakistan and Russia.
There are at least four investigations going on directed to whether Russia’s efforts to elect Trump involved Trump’s campaign. His public remarks asking the Russians to hack the Clinton campaign were, he said, made in jest. Every time one of the investigations gets interesting, it goes off the rails in some spectacular way.
House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-California) acquired some classified information from somebody in the White House and then had a press conference claiming he needed to get right over to the White House and make sure the POTUS learned what he had just learned. He got caught and had to quit running his investigation.
House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), known for refusing to give up on investigating Hillary Clinton and Benghazi, had to be dragged into the question of Trump and the Russians, but then he quickly extracted himself by quitting Congress.
Now President Trump has fired the man in charge of the most threatening investigation, FBI Director James Comey, allegedly for Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, something for which Trump cheered him at the time.
The letter firing Comey was hand delivered to the FBI by Keith Schiller, who was Trump’s personal bodyguard before the Secret Service took over. Comey was in California on a recruiting trip, and learned he was out of work when his firing was scrolled across a TV screen in a public place.
Turning to a business similar to the one in Washington, The Washington Post reported that police busted the owners of Jade Massage Therapy in Austin, Texas, for engaging in organized criminal activity and money laundering. They became convinced the business was a front for prostitution when the property manager reported that the industrial waste disposal unit that connected Jade Massage to the city sewer pipes was clogged and disabled by hundreds of condoms.
“Safety first,” Cousin Ray snickered.
Speaking of safety, the Energy Department ordered workers to take cover after the collapse of a tunnel used to store radioactive materials at the Hanford nuclear waste site in Washington.
“You mean to tell me,” Cousin Ray snarked, “that Trump has been on the job over 100 days and hasn’t managed to abolish the Energy Department yet?” Choosing to treat his rhetorical question as a real one, I pointed out that Trump appointed former Texas Gov. Rick Perry to be Secretary of Energy and Perry had promised to shut down the Energy Department when he was running for POTUS.
“Maybe so,” Cousin Ray shot back, “but that was before Perry found out the Energy Department is responsible for nuclear safety. Now he’s gone squishy.”
CNN reported that Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge clocked the best time among the runners assaulting the two-hour barrier that has always stymied marathon runners. Some runners claimed the attempt, sponsored by Nike, was meaningless because it took place on a track. The issue remained unresolved as Kipchoge clocked his marathon (26.2 miles) at 2:00.24.
Ndnsports.com passed on the news from the Oklahoma Track & Field State Championships that Elan Eagle, a Cherokee student at Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah, took the win in 3A long jump with 21 feet and ¾ inches. Flying like an eagle, as it were.