Regis rubbed the sleep from his eyes as he peeked into my office nook. Moments later, Mrs. Squirrel and the twins – Nancy and Michelle – were there too. I didn’t see them at first, as I was too busy laughing. “He’s lost it,” Regis said. Mrs. Squirrel and the twins nodded.
“Nah,” I said, after catching my breath. “I’m just love the smell of Schadenfreude in the morning.”
No, I don’t mean the tragic death of Andrew Breitbart yesterday. However much I disagreed with his politics and his media tactics, he was also a husband and the father of four children. His death brought me no joy. Upon learning of it, I tweeted “R.I.P Andrew Breitbart. May the hereafter bring you compassion, not justice.” That wish was not specific to Breitbart. We are all flawed, and we all should hope for compassion rather than justice in the hereafter.
Nor did I mean Maricopa, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s unhinged press conference yesterday. Arpaio said he has “probable cause” to believe President Obama’s birth certificate was forged, although the evidence he cited has been repeatedly debunked. Arpaio’s media stunt may play well for birther conspiracy believers, but it will not slow the Department of Justice civil rights case against him. He says his investigation of the president’s birth certificate was not politically motivated, but the DOJ’s report on widespread racial profiling by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department is politically motivated. Maybe he’s spent too long in the Arizona sun.
I began chuckling at the story of Thomas Tolbert, who registered his dog Buddy to vote in New Mexico to ‘prove’ how easy it is to commit voter fraud. Tolbert is the husband of Heather Wade, a staffer for former New Mexico congresswoman Heather Wilson. Tolbert said he “thought the county would be more concerned about fixing the problem rather than trying to prosecute me. Once again no voter fraud actions were taken. I outed myself to show the problem.”
“But officer, I was driving 58 in a 45 zone to show what a widespread problem speeding is on this part of the boulevard. No accidents or other violations were committed. Why are you writing *me* a ticket??”
But it was the story of Charles and David Koch suing for control of the Cato Institute that tipped me over the edge. Founded by David Koch, the libertarian think tank – that phrase alone makes me chortle – had four owners. Charles and David Koch each own a 25% share, as does co-founder Edward Crane, and as did former chairman William Niskanen. Niskanen died in October and his will did not specify how his shares in the Cato Institute should be disposed. Under Kansas law, the shares would go to Niskanen’s widow. However, the Koch brothers are suing Niskanen’s widow, Crane, and the Cato Institute itself, citing shareholders’ agreements that Institute shares would not be transferred without first offering them to the Institute and its shareholders.
I just burst out into giggles again. Sorry. I’m back.
At this point, you may be thinking that my family are right and I’ve lost it. What’s funny about a trusts and estates lawsuit over the transferability of shares in the Cato Institute?
Well, the Koch brothers also fund lots of other conservative groups, including Americans For Prosperity, and they are outraged, outraged I say that Jim Messina – President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager – dared to criticize them in a fundraising letter. Right wing blogger Michelle Malkin piled on, describing public criticism of the Koch brothers as “Obama’s Bully Brigade.” Last month, former Bush administration solicitor general Ted Olson claimed the Koch brothers were on “Obama’s Enemies List.”
Suing widows? Fine. Public criticism? Evil.
I’ve gotta stop. My sides are aching.
Good day and good nuts.