National Geographic reported that Swedish nature lover Hans Nilsson of the Värmland region finally scored after three years of stalking. Nilsson shot video of a completely white moose. The bull moose cut a striking figure and experts opined that he was not an albino but an ordinary moose that happened to be white, right down to the velvet on his antlers.
I admired the animal and the title of one of the experts National Geographic consulted. Göran Ericsson teaches at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences as a “professor of elk and moose.”
Ericsson theorizes that all-white moose are becoming more common in Sweden because hunters—by custom rather than by law—will not shoot a white moose, and human beings are the only predators.
White moose have been spotted in Alaska and Canada, but in North America there are wolves and bears that will take juvenile moose. I am not informed whether First Nations are as averse to killing a white moose as U.S. Indians are to killing a white bison, but National Geographic reports that it’s unlawful in Canada to kill a moose that is more than 50 percent white in color.
It took that Swede three years to get a good picture of a white moose and Canada expects hunters to figure out what percentage of a moose is white? Sounds like a job for Professor of Elk and Moose Göran Ericsson.
My cousin Ray Sixkiller said it sounds like you can’t sign up for Ericsson’s classes unless you have four legs.
Aspiring academics looking for something more complicated than measuring moose hides should catch a PBS report that researchers at the University of Alberta have perfected a method of measuring the amount of urine in a swimming pool or hot tub by tracking acesulfame potassium, which is found in common food products and is excreted in urine.
A small neighborhood pool contains about two gallons of urine; a commercial size pool 20 gallons. Hot tubs generally contain more urine per gallon than swimming pools.
Why does it matter? First, the folklore that urine is sterile is even believed by some doctors but it is not true. Second, urine contains nitrogen compounds that can react with certain pool disinfectants to form toxic chemicals in which you do not want to bathe.
So, it’s safer to do what most of us tell our kids and get out of the pool rather than just let ‘er rip.
Trick question: What is the most valuable natural resource? Not gold or silver; not oil or gas.
You know, that substance for which the Dakota water protectors risked life and limb? Remember how the water protectors dared people to compare the value of water in a clean flowing river to oil in a pipeline?
Jim Hightower’s Lowdown spent most of an issue discussing a natural resource that is coming in second only to water and is a lot harder to understand. Sand has become a critical and scarce commodity, running low because world populations are moving to the cities.
Most of a city is made of concrete—sand and gravel and water with a dash of cement. The rest is made of glass—melted sand. Asphalt for the roads requires sand. And not just any sand will do for every use.
The sand on a Dubai golf course is imported from North Carolina. If the Arabs tried to use their own fine sand, a golf ball would just sink. The world’s tallest building is in Dubai, but the sand to build it was imported from Australia.
Should President Trump’s wall ever get funded, a contractor will be the Mexican cement giant, Cemex. The sand will probably come from a concession Cemex mines in Monterey Bay, California.
I’m betting the wall will employ more Mexican citizens than U.S. citizens in a project that is supposed to be about employment. If so, it comes out like the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, which President Trump said would be built with American steel “or we’re not building them.”
According to Snopes.com, part of the Keystone XL steel was made in the U.S.A. for an Indian company and the other part was made in Canada for a Russian company. The Dakota Access pipeline purchased as much U.S. steel as was available and bought the rest in Canada.
The Washington Post attempted a profile of the Boy Dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong-un. The objective was to assess what is likely to happen with his threat to attack Guam and the counter-threats of President Trump.
The Post quoted a South Korean government advisor as claiming Kim displays “narcissistic personality traits” that mean “he exaggerates and overrates himself.”
Cousin Ray said he’s glad our POTUS isn’t that way.
Cousin Ray looks funny when he tries to put his tongue in both cheeks at once.
Foreign Policy reported that the Trump administration is considering privatizing the war in Afghanistan. The person lobbying to bid on the contract is Erik Prince, the former Navy SEAL who founded Blackwater, which rose to fame doing military contracting in Iraq.
By 2009, there had been so much controversy involving abuse of Iraqi civilians that Blackwater became Xe Services. However, the Blackwater name remains on a video game for X-Box, on which Prince gets royalties.
The story noted puzzlement that contracting out Afghanistan remains on the table in despite the entire cabinet objecting. Cousin Ray said it only takes one vote to keep the Blackwater option alive, “and his name rhymes with Chump.”
Back in June, the Chump, er, Trump administration removed Yellowstone grizzlies from the endangered species list. Now NPR reports that British Columbia is set to ban trophy hunting of grizzlies starting November 30.
The BC government made it clear that the ban is not about the size of the bear population. It’s about the idiocy of trophy hunting. Hunting for meat will still be allowed, but the head, paws, and hide must be surrendered.
That takes care of the trophy parts, but right now the black market in bear gall bladders might make a kill profitable. The gall bladders are sold in Asia, where harvesting has destroyed the Asian bear populations. Bear bile is supposed to have medicinal properties and killing beats the other method of acquiring it.
They put the bears alive in small cages and catheterize their gall bladders. The bears die. Very. Slowly.
The Wilderness Committee applauded the ban, estimating that 4,000 bears have died in the last 16 years to feed nothing but human egos. Hunters still having ego problems have a friend in Washington. In addition to de-listing the Yellowstone grizzlies, Trump has rolled back trophy hunting bans in Alaska wildlife refuges as well as an Obama ban on baiting bears and wolves.
On the heels of a recent report of king cobras smuggled in potato chip canisters, Associated Press reported that German customs officers in Berlin X-rayed a 6.6 pound parcel and discovered 20 rotting snake heads.
Customs officers burned the snake heads immediately because, they said, “the stench was unbearable.” Customs Office spokeswoman Marie Mueller explained that they often seize snake parts being smuggled as food.
She did not say if they were normally shipped rotten and Cousin Ray commented that those Germans must be really hungry.
President Trump continues to claim that he won the popular vote as well as the electoral vote. If that were true, his stand for white nationalism in the last week would be even more depressing. Having a POTUS defending neo-Nazis, KKK, and a great gathering of racist violence is already hard to dress up with a happy face.
Conservative radio host Hugh Hewett did his best when he pointed out the Trump vote was north of 62,000,000 and went on to estimate the number of racist crazy people at 6,000. Something more than an estimate would be nice, but Republican reaction to Trump’s cheerleading causes hope to spring eternal and Cousin Ray the long-suffering Republican to do his happy dance.
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, interviewed on Good Morning America,said what independent voters wanted to hear:
We don’t want your vote, we don’t support you, we’ll speak out against you.
The POTUS was claiming there are “very fine people on both sides” and otherwise claiming moral equivalence between neo-Nazis and anti-fascists, KKK and Black Lives Matter, those who want monuments to treason in public places and those who would move them to museums.
After it became plain that this POTUS could not risk alienating his base by calling out the racists, Congresscritters began to publicly disown our opponents in WWII and the people who, from behind pillowcases, took the wrong side of the Civil Rights Movement.
Then CEOs started to bleed away from Trump’s American Manufacturing Council. CEOs from Disney and Tesla had already walked over Trump renouncing the Paris Accords on climate change. The first dropout over racism was Kenneth Frazier, CEO of Merck.
Trump was lobbing hostile tweets at Frazier within the hour, but Frazier did not count. He’s black. The situation deteriorated when CEOs bailed in numbers that began to preclude attacking each by name, including the bosses of Under Armour, Intel, 3M, Pepsi, and Campbell’s Soup.
When the POTUS got wind that CEOs had decided to dissolve the Strategic and Policy Forum and perhaps the Manufacturing Council, Trump tweeted that he was disbanding both organizations before they could disband themselves.
In an unprecedented action, heads of all four major military branches weighed in on the events in Charlottesville in less equivocal terms than the commander in chief.
It has not been that long since Trump purported to change military policy regarding transsexuals with a tweet. He got pushback from all the services.
I am reminded of the bureaucrats around Richard Nixon protecting the nation when Nixon was getting drunk every evening and talking to the portraits on the White House walls. They made a plan for when the portraits started talking back, an illegal plan they never had to use.
The legal remedy, the 25th Amendment, has never been used:
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
There’s a first time for everything.