Change the Subject

What do flat-tailed horned lizards, bighorn sheep and Mexican wolves have in common?

I’ll wait a moment while you ponder this.

The answer is they teamed up to defeat Donald Trump in court. OK, not literally, although I would have enjoyed seeing a lizard, a sheep and a wolf in suits or dresses pleading their cases. But they did give the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals a reason to declare that the Executive Branch could not simply transfer funds out of the military budget to build a border wall.

I only bring this up because endangered species haven’t gotten the credit they deserve. The 16 states that sued the president (along with the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition in a separate suit) might not have gotten very far without the help of the animals. States and the Sierra Club don’t usually get to weigh in on military budget decisions. Environmental damage and species endangerment gave them standing to sue.

The House of Representatives, by the way, was not allowed to sue over this even though it’s supposed to set the government’s budget. (Note to Congress: start doing executive branch stuff like, say, building a wall around Florida. Apparently, another branch can’t sue you.)

If this doesn’t sound right to you, consider the entire situation. Military funding, after all, wasn’t meant for a wall. The wall was supposed to be paid for by Mexico. The only way this could possibly make sense is if the president thinks that Mexican-Americans in the military should pay for the wall. Maybe it’s taken out of their pay.

So using lizards to stop Latinx soldiers paying for a wall makes as much sense as anything else. The obvious lesson here is that you can craft a winning litigation strategy by changing the subject.

Names. The owner of the Washington Redskins has finally agreed to change the team’s name, but, as of this writing anyway, has not announced a new name. So I assume he needs suggestions. I have a few.

The Washington Georges. I know that’s obvious, but it’s an honest name. You could have a cherry tree as a mascot.

The Federal Filibusters. Hold that line!

The D.C. Marvels. Who doesn’t like a good crossover? (If you don’t understand that, ask a comic book fan.)

The Washington Representatives. This is our house!

The National Securities. This is a team that will never reveal its game plans.

The Washington Monuments. The mascot will be very tall.

The District Attorneys. Picture the fans pointing at the other team and screaming, “JUSTICE WILL BE DONE!” and “GUILTY!”

Someone please forward this list to Daniel Snyder.

Footnote of the week: “The criticism is often from the minority party, despite their own history of similar behavior when they stood in the majority.”

It’s nice to see that judges can be as cynical as columnists.

The footnote is from a recent Oregon federal judge’s ruling that Covid-19 (with help from the U.S. Constitution) can overrule the Oregon Constitution. A group trying to get an initiative on the fall ballot doesn’t have to gather the usual number of required petition signatures because social distancing rules made it practically impossible to get the signatures. There’s a shortage of 6-foot-long pens. The First Amendment’s freedom of speech rules over Covid.

It’s not an unreasonable decision — but you just know it’s going to be cited by the next strip club that wants to stay open. Free speech is free speech and exotic dancers know how to communicate.

Perry Mason, episode 4.  Still terrible, but interesting. There are surprises.

Della Street is a lesbian! Who knew? This is fine but it seems to have nothing to do with the plot.

There are extreme closeups of John Lithgow’s and Gayle Rankin’s nostrils. I failed to see any evidence there. There’s more Lithgow nostril at the end of the episode.

A small, innocent-looking child attacks Sister Alice with a huge snake. Apparently, children were scary and cold in the 1930s and had no fear of giant snakes.

Perry gets punched again.

A murdering cop conveniently appears just when Perry walks into a building that could have been an escape route for the bad guy. Perry then sits next to him and wins an auction.

There are hummingbirds. I have no idea why.

No one confessed at the end of the episode.

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