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Situational Awareness: Bad Bill Murray, DPRK Anger, Uncle Toms

by Bruce Haring

Situational Awareness. PhotoDune.SAVILE — A BAD BILL MURRAY: You’ve probably seen the photos and heard the stories about the harmless fun generated by actor Bill Murray. The existential Murray makes a habit of generally hanging out, showing up at bachelor parties, and stealing French fries off diner plates. Now imagine a darker version of Murray, and you’ll have the portrait of the late Jimmy Savile, a British TV celebrity of the ‘60s-‘80s who, according to a UK National Health Service investigation released last week, was a prolific pedophile. This final confirmation of the Savile crimes raises the question of whether our celebrity-crazy culture is ignoring similar reprobates with unfettered access to children. One woman, assaulted by Savile at age 16, told investigators that Savile warned her after the abuse: “Nobody will believe you.” Ironically, it’s the same line Murray uses when stealing fries.

APPLES, VEGETABLES, MARIJUANA: Remember when the police actually made arrests for marijuana possession? Now the drug is so unremarkable that it will be on sale over the July 4th weekend at the first cannabis-centric farmers market, to be held in LA’s Boyle Heights neighborhood. The area is welcoming the market as “a new type of way for patients in Los Angeles to access their medicine,” according to Paizley Bradbury, executive director of the West Coast Collective, a marijuana dispensary hosting the event. Access is limited to those who can legally buy pot, which means anyone who bothered to get the easily available medical card — or can avoid questioning.

IMMIGRATION — OLLY, OLLY OXEN FREE!: While illegal immigrants keep pouring over the US southern border (if there’s no regulation, can we really claim there’s a border?), lawmakers and the executive branch continued to bicker over whether new immigration laws are needed. Each side blames the other for the current human wave, ignoring the fact that no one is enforcing the perfectly acceptable existing laws. Meanwhile, it’s been noted there are signs in Chinese at the Mexican border, yet another indication that not everyone coming across is a Mexican or Central America refugee. Given that indicator, it’s a fair assumption that not everyone crossing the border is necessarily coming out of economic necessity. After all, fleeing the world’s largest economy is a step down, right? Unless these immigrants are going to be hired by American banks looking to curry favor with Chinese officials.

IRAQ SCORECARD: You can’t tell the players without a score card when it comes to the situation in Iraq. This week, Syria reportedly bombed Sunni extremists. Iran was allegedly funneling money to Shiites in the south. President Obama asked for $500 million to train and equip members of the Syrian opposition. The Iraq government is still trying to figure out who to include in the Parliament that’s supposed to meet on Tuesday in Baghdad. The US strategy appears to be akin to one of those booths you see at trade shows, featuring money that swirls around and provides anyone a limited time to grab as much of it as you can.

CROSSING OVER WITH THAD COCHRAN: Using a strategy borrowed from the John Edward TV show, Republican Thad Cochran won an open Republican primary in Mississippi last week by getting Democrats to vote for him. With 99% of precincts reporting, Cochran beat Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel 50.9% to 49.1% in a runoff election. Mississippi law allows the crossovers, which saw the race swing largely and perplexingly on African-American votes. “I wonder what the campaign slogan was in Mississippi the past couple days,” Rush Limbaugh said on his show. “Uncle Toms for Thad?”

NORTH KOREA SENDS A NOTE: Angered by the premise of Seth Rogen’s new film, in which two journalists are asked to kill DPRK leader Kim Jong-un, the North Korean government sent two short-range missles into the sea outside the Korean peninsula. It’s becoming the trademark gesture of North Korean anger. In early March, missiles were fired into the sea at the start of joint United States-South Korea military exercises. In late March, the same thing happened while the South Korean leadership met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Barack Obama. Maybe we should keep scheduling meetings — that way, the North Koreans will quickly deplete their missile stock, making them less of a threat.

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