6 Stories You Might Have Missed: Willie, Death and No Taxes

Apr 1, 2011
Allan MacDonell is TakePart’s News + Opinion editor, with a focus on social justice.

The Internet has become saturated with the blood of a slain Zimbabwean elephant, thanks to Bob Parsons, CEO of GoDaddy. GoDaddy, no need to tell you, is a huge Internet domain registrar and Web hosting company. The world contains a nearly infinite number of blogs and websites today, largely thanks to GoDaddy, and most of those sites have embedded this video of Parsons gleefully killing an elephant. The clip is a graphic documentation of butchery and tribal mayhem, and should be avoided by the squeamish and animal lovers of all stripes. The footage may provide a thrill to product-placement fetishists who have longed to see impoverished African villagers topped off in orange GoDaddy ball caps as they hack the flesh from a slain mammoth.

'Dios ha muerto! Here comes that GoDaddy tool, and he has a gun!' (Photo: Reuters)

In lesser-known news, the much-maligned law-enforcement forces of Mexico coordinated a massive, three-day raid of exotic animal traffickers. Authorities seized 762 parrots and other birds, 67 reptiles, some wild boars and white-tailed deer and three puma cubs. Mexico’s Environment Minister Juan Elvira refused to say how many of the beasts had been en route to GoDaddy Parsons’s home for backyard slaughter. Quick Study: Animal Rescue

Murdered animal news is commonplace; entire herds of it routinely pass through the collective RSS, and only a few oddballs click the links. This routine oversight seems to be lost on officials from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).  The agency has issued a seemingly superfluous gag order on independent scientists who had been contacted to investigate scores of unusual dolphin deaths along the Gulf Coast, perhaps related to last year’s BP oil spill. The scientists are not happy about what they see as compromised transparency, and they should also be not surprised. Quick Study: Ocean Pollution

A spokesperson for Vice President of the United States Joe Biden apologized to Orlando Sentinel reporter Scott Powers, who a Biden staffer had placed in a closet and kept under guard during a March 23 Winter Park, Florida, fundraiser attended by Biden. The apology was not for denying Powers access to the crowd of 150 donors who had assembled to rally for Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida). Biden's people were only sorry that the closet accommodations may have been subpar. The New York Times, Washington Post and Time magazine immediately filed suit demanding reporter access to fundraising events, which was heralded as a major step in the journalistic mandate to pursue government accountability. (That last bit about the free press outrage can be filed under April Fools!) Quick Study: Censorship

Two things more certain than government obfuscation are death and taxes, but at least one of those apparently does not apply to General Electric. News that GE paid zero federal taxes in 2010 on $14.2 billion profit failed to inspire widespread boycotts or demonstrations or worker strikes across the United States. Probably, public reaction would have been more pointed if GE had been found to have some connection at the highest level of the U.S. executive branch of government. Oh wait. Start the riots now: For the past two years, GE’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt has been chairman of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Quick Study: Lobby Reform

Are you moaning that there is no justice? Then your name is not Willie Nelson. The herb-roasted country singer was recently charged for marijuana possession—and not the first time—after approximately 30 tons (six ounces) of the drug was found on his tour bus. The red-headed stranger faced a $2,000 fine and 180 days in jail, but Texas prosecutor Kit Bramblett works in mysterious ways. Bramblett, 78, has proposed that Nelson, 77, pay a $100 fine and sing a tune.

“He’s got to sing ‘Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain’ with his guitar. You bet your ass I ain’t going to be mean to Willie Nelson,” Bramblett told The Sun.

If only that Zimbabwean elephant could have honked out a version of “Tubas in the Moonlight” on its trunk, maybe Bob Parsons would have let him live.

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