Wife convicted of murder apparently witnessed by pet parrot

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My kind of story. This one is from White Cloud, Michigan (story here)

A jury has convicted a western Michigan woman [Glenna Duram] of first-degree murder in the shooting death of her husband in a crime apparently witnessed by the man’s pet parrot. . . .

Martin Duram’s ex-wife, Christina Keller, has said that after the slaying, the pet parrot, Bud, repeated “don’t (expletive) shoot” in Martin Duram’s voice. Keller took ownership of the bird after Martin Duram’s death.  –AP via CBS News

There is an old Perry Mason episode, “The Case of the Perjured Parrot,” in which the bird’s testimony also figures. (Synopsis of the show here)

But, as the title suggests, the parrot wasn’t talking straight.


Tip of the hat to my brother, Bob, for this gem.

Dead: Two More Republican Senators says “No” to the Revised Healthcare bill

This evening’s declarations by Utah’s Mike Lee and Kansas’ Jerry Moran, plus earlier statements by Maine’s Susan Collins and Kentucky’s Rand Paul, means there are four declared “no” votes. (Brief story here in the Washington Post.)

With only 52 Republicans in the Senate and all Democrats and independents voting “no,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cannot get to the minimum 50 he needs.


What happens now?

The big questions now:

  • What happens to the American health insurance system, which is now melting down under the weight of Obamacare’s malfunctions and heavy subsidies?
  • What kind of patchwork reforms will be put in place this year?
    • Democrats will want a huge say, but rank-and-file Republicans won’t like that and may try to block the Democrats’ proposals.
  • Who pays the political price for this fiasco?
    • Who is hurt more politically? The Democrats by the Obamacare mess they inflicted on the nation? Or the Republicans by their failure to fulfill their repeated promise to repeal and replace it?
    • What happens to the split between moderate Democrats and progressive single-payer advocates?
    • What happens to the split between modern Republicans and more conservative legislators who want to roll back entitlements?

Bob Wolff, who called sports for over 80 years (!), including Don Larson’s perfect game, dead at 96

The New York Times has a fine obituary.

Bob Wolff, who called Don Larsen’s perfect game for the Yankees in the 1956 World Series, the Giants’ overtime loss in the epic 1958 National Football League championship game and the Knicks’ two title runs in a record-setting eight decades as a sports broadcaster, died on Saturday in South Nyack, N.Y. He was 96. . . .

“If you added all the time up, I’ve spent about seven days of my life standing for the national anthem,” Mr. Wolff once said. –New York Times

But the best way to appreciate him is these 30 seconds, as he calls the last strike in the greatest game a Yankee ever pitched.

What should you listen for?

How Wolff lets the joy on the field take center stage.

Kid Rock’s World. What Theme Song Will He Use if He Runs for Senate?

Before getting into those choices, take a look at his amazing video, Po-Dunk.

In four minutes, it captures the world of J. D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy” (his memories of growing up in Appalachia) and Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart” (his pathbreaking study of the social disintegration among lower-class, poorly-skilled, poorly-educated whites).

The video is a revealing, affectionate gaze at this disturbing world.


Turning to Theme Songs

Since people seem to be taking Kid Rock’s PR stunt as a real thing, I thought we might consider which theme songs he would play as he tours Michigan looking for votes.

This one would make for some great political yard signs:

And that was the cleaned-up version. The explicit one is here.

Hard to believe, but that song is probably more family-friendly than this one. Here Kid Rock is with Hank Williams, Jr., describing the day-to-day events of their life on the road:

When you see a bear in the woods, it REALLY helps to be a professional runner

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Kenyan marathon runner, Morinda Marube, was out for his normal 18-mile morning training in Maine when he confronted two black bears, who thought he looked like breakfast.

According to the Lewiston-Auburn Sun-Journal

[The bears] stopped and looked at Marube. He quickly came to a halt and looked at them.

“I had to think very fast,” he said.

Jumping into the lake wasn’t an option.

“In my head, I know I can’t swim. I fear swimming. I fear water,” he said.

“Secondly, I knew I could not climb up a tree because bears can climb a tree,” he said. “The only solution I had at that time was to be able to run.”

Those calculations took about five seconds, he said.

The moment he turned his back to them, both bears charged him, he said. . . .

He ran for the [vacant] house, also about 20 yards from where he stood, screaming as he went. –Lewiston-Auburn Sun-Journal

He made it, with only ten yards to spare. He unlatched the screen door, got inside, and realized that the thin screen was all that separated him from two hungry, angry bears.

He was in luck.

They wandered around the base of the porch and some of the out-buildings, then suddenly took off, chasing each other across the dirt road and into the woods. . . .

A day earlier, Marube had run a four-mile race in Bridgton, finishing second.

Had he been chased by bears that day, he surely would have won that race, he said Wednesday. –Sun-Journal

Comment: Police say that after Mr. Marube washes his pants several times, they should be back to normal.


ZipDialog for Friday, July 14: All Trump Jr.: What we know, what we don’t know, and what matters


 The big story continues to be fallout from Donald Trump, Jr.’s meeting with the Russian lawyer.

Amid the firestorm, it is important to remember what matters and why.

Comment and Analysis:

  • What matters is less the meeting itself and more the reasons DJT, Jr., himself says he wanted to have it after being told it involved information from the Russian government, which (he was told) wanted to help his father
  • That help was not given at the meeting.
  • If it had been given, it probably would not have been illegal
  • But it is a terrible idea to accept help from a foreign government.
  • It is even worse when the government is an adversary. And it is still worse when it is part of a multi-pronged attempt by the foreign government to interfere in the US election.
  • It completely obliterates the Trump White House’s denials for months that they had no contacts with Russian government agents during the campaign.
  • It is now consuming Washington, damaging the Trump presidency, and making it more difficult for him to move forward on health care, taxes, immigration, and other policy issues

More information will continue to dribble out, such as yesterday’s story about how Loretta Lynch’s DOJ let the lawyer. Natalia Veselnitskaya, into the country and today’s story that one of the lobbyists the lawyer brought to the meeting was an ex-Russian intel officer.

To me, the main questions now about the Trump side are whether

  1. There were more contacts?
  2. This was just chaos and confusion at the Trump campaign or part of a coherent plan and, if so, did the plan bear any fruit?
  3. The Democrats (Hillary, the DNC, their donors) had any hand in this or other dirty tricks?
  4. Manafort, the experienced guy on the Trump side, knew about the extent of the Russian involvement?
  5. This sought-after cooperation with the Russians involved the nominee himself?

Now that this line of inquiry has opened up, it is also important to know what contacts the Clinton campaign had with foreign-government agents, especially those of unfriendly governments. Those would show that this game is played by all sides and show her campaign’s intent. BUT the Clinton campaign’s activities are much less important now because she lost.

Trump is in the Oval Office so his campaign’s integrity, or lack of it, matters more.

Everyone seems to think the Russians are loving this mess. I’m sure they do–but they probably have more mixed opinions since their fingerprints are all over the room and, because of that, are blocked from all but minor, tactical cooperation with the US.  Who could doubt they are adversaries and malevolent actors?


Question: Was this meeting a criminal offense, as Trump’s sharpest critics have charged.

Answer: Most experienced attorneys have said that the information made public so far is not a prosecutable crime. But that it hardly the end of the matter.

It is still a nasty business politically. It is either a political “crime,” or at least an attempted one, or else extraordinary incompentence. The presence of an experienced operative like Paul Manafort being part of this is inexplicable and disturbing.

It’s not the end for another reason: further information might still come to light and suggest crimes really were commited. You can be certain that the mainstream media, which loathes Trump and now sees blood in the water, will spare no resources to investigate those possibilities. Plus, there’s Mueller’s investigation. Nobody is getting away with anything here.