Don’t Be Buffaloed


     Random thoughts on assorted topics:
     
     DON’T BE STAMPEDED. In case you haven’t heard, there’s a movement in Congress to have the bison declared the national mammal and politicians from both parties seem to be in favor of this.
     Why?
     I don’t know but when I read that one of the groups supporting this is the NBA – the National Bison Association – and the NBA turned out to be a meat producers group, I had to wonder if bison can possibly be thrilled about this. There’s something sinister about honoring a group and then eating its members.
     But maybe the idea isn’t to give bison a false sense of security. They seem pretty surly, so they probably won’t be fooled by this.
     Still, I have other questions.
     For example, who are the other candidates for this honor? How can we anoint bison without considering the many other worthy mammals inhabiting the U.S.?
     Why is no congressperson championing man’s best friend, the pig?
     I know some of you think dogs are man’s best friends, but consider where bacon comes from.
     Pigs have given us Miss Piggy, Babe, and Rush Limbaugh. They’re friendly, smart, and delicious. What more can you want from a national mammal?
     Or cats. Consider the immense burden on our country’s nursing homes if there were no gangs of cats to care for the elderly and lonely?
     Or bears. Yes, bears can be scary, but isn’t that the image we want to project to those who would do us harm? Don’t mess with us or we’ll steal your picnic baskets.
     Some of the buffalo supporters have been touting their sad history. They – the buffalo, not the supporters – once roamed freely and were masters of this continent before settlers showed up and almost wiped them out. Their comeback in large numbers has been heroic.
     But should an ugly chapter in American history be the basis for a national honor?
     I don’t think so. I say give the buffalo land and let them open casinos.
     It’s only fair.
     
     ALTERNATIVE MARRIAGE. Now that the Defense of Marriage Act has been struck down and more states are legalizing gay marriage, it’s time to consider the next step: marriage to assorted animals.
     This, of course, was predicted by opponents to gay marriage. We were supposed to begin seeing marriages to turtles.
     Oddly, this hasn’t happened yet, although I can’t understand why not. Why shouldn’t Social Security and retirement benefits be available to those closest to us?
     If you’re deathly ill and in a hospital, is it fair that your dog can’t be there to comfort you and lick your scar just because you’re not married?
     The civil rights battle has just begun.
     
     LANDING ON THEIR FEET. I don’t know anything about what really went on at Dewey, Leboeuf, the huge muti-national law firm that collapsed last week. I assume it had something to do with the euro or credit default swaps.
     But Dewey’s downfall did bring a couple questions to my mind.
     One was: how could so many supposedly smart people be so stupid?
     I say “supposedly smart” because, after all, they were running a huge multi-national law firm. Aren’t they supposed to be smart?
     And yet, at least according to the news reports, the firm went under, in part, because they gave annual pay guarantees of about $100 million to about 100 partners.
     Umm.
     Shouldn’t this have struck somebody as a bad idea?
     You may want to note that the firm listed $245 million in debt and $193 million in assets in its bankruptcy filing. Those guarantees made a difference.
     What seems even stranger – at least to someone like me whose pay has never been guaranteed – is that, also according to news reports, 250 of the firm’s 304 partners had already found new jobs.
     So the next question is: why would you hire someone who had just been helping run a firm that dramatically collapsed? Shouldn’t that look bad on a resume?
     Maybe I’d understand this better if I started spending more.
     The next decade of litigation over this should be lots of fun.

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