Hypocrisy Sampler: July 2011


WC and his readers have survived July, but not without an above-average level of hypocrisy. If you’ve got your rubber boots and gloves on, we’ll wade into some of the low points. The electronic in-box reveals: Andrew Sullivan reports that the ever-perspicacious (ahem) Christiane Amanpour used a multi-syllable word on one of those Sunday morning shows and…

May WC Be Frank? About Taxes


There are a few subjects on which WC finds it difficult to be polite. One of them is Alaskan’s incessant whining about taxes. Despite enjoying an enviable governmental infrastructure, particularly in the Railbelt, Alaskans don’t pay taxes. There is no state income tax on individuals. There is no state sales tax. There’s not even a…

Harry Harlow’s Monkeys


It was widely known though rarely mentioned that an eager young bride could accomplish in seven months or less what takes nine for cow or countess. -Robert Heinlein, “Time Enough for Love” In WC’s misspent youth, he was required to attend three quarters of psychology classes in order to be allowed out of undergraduate school.…

Mental Health Break: King Penguins


As important as the crises of government may be, WC needs to take a break from crises once in a while. Avian photography, as readers must know, if WC’s shelter from the storm. Here are a series of semi-abstract photos of King Penguins from back in December 2010 on South Georgia Island. Another angle: The…

Now THAT’S a Screed: Sam Harris


Sam Harris’s take down of Christopher Hedges is delightful. The man is not only wrong in his convictions, but dishonest—and determined to remain so. I trust this is a consequence of his most conspicuous quality as a person: sanctimony. There is a main vein of sanctimony in this universe, and it appears to run directly…

Calling Out the Big Lie


For WC one of the maddening aspects of the Great Deficit Debate is the willingness of the Democrats, the media and the voters to allow the Republicans, and particularly the Teabaggers, to get away with the Big Lies. If you were to stop the average person on the street, for example, and ask them who…

WC’s Earlier Claim Clarified


WC has earlier compared the U.S. House Republicans’ tactics to playing chicken with the economy. From Josh Marshall at TPM, a critical clarification: Yes, at some level it’s a game of chicken. Something we can all understand pretty intuitively in human nature and game theory terms. But to really get what’s going on you’ve got…

Book Review: Some Place Like America


Some Place Like America, Dale Maharidge (Author), Michael S. Williamson (Photographer), Bruce Springsteen (Foreword), University of California Press (2011) (Amazon link) In the Great Depression, Walker Evans and James Agee (“Let Us Now Praise Famous Men”) collaborated on a series of articles that resulted in a ground-breaking book documenting in words and photos the real impact of the great Depression…

Why WC Loathes Glenn Beck, Part MDXXII


From Glenn Beck’s comments on Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik: And then there was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like, you know, the Hitler youth or whatever. I mean, who does a camp for kids that’s all about politics? Disturbing. WC has dealt with sedimentary rocks that have more empathy,…

The Tenth Time Is the Charm


It took ten attempts, but the dreadful Chicago Cubs managed to win three games in a row for the first time this season on Sunday afternoon. It helped that they were at home. It helped they were playing the Houston Astros, who are actually have a worse record than the Cubs. And it took ten…

Sean Parnell: Governor Flip-Flop


Sean Parnell has been flip-flopping around on the Federal government like a halibut in a fish box. One day the State is suing – and losing to – the Feds on whether the polar bear is endangered, and the existential threat of ESA classification to the state’s sovereignty; the next he is killing the best…

Short Sentences, Simple Words


Any questions? Why, yes, there is one: Why, with a looming national crisis, is Rep. Don Young (R, AK) home raising money for his late wife’s charity instead of working hard in D.C., exercising that much-vaunted seniority, to solve that national crisis?

They Terrify Me


Once again, Andrew Sullivan states it far better than WC can: My view is that Obama has essentially won the argument but not yet the fight. Today’s ABC News poll shows that 62 percent believe we need a mixture of tax hikes and spending cuts to deal with the debt, compared with only 32 percent wanting spending…

About That Beam in Your Eye, Sarah


The Quitter said, I want the mainstream media — and I’ve said this for a couple years now — I want to help them. I have a journalism degree. That is what I studied. I understand that this cornerstone of our democracy is a free press, is sound journalism. I want to help them build…

When Reality Surpasses Satire


When The Onion can post the following satiric article, and have it be indistinguishable from reality, you know America is in deep doo-doo: Congress Continues Debate Over Whether Or Not Nation Should Be Economically Ruined WASHINGTON—Members of the U.S. Congress reported Wednesday they were continuing to carefully debate the issue of whether or not they…

The Debt Ceiling and Henrik Ibsen


WC saw a Gallup Poll finding that among Republicans only 30% believe that the August 2 deadline for the debt ceiling represents a crisis. One of the perils of a liberal arts education is that when you see democracy fail – and that conclusion seems inescapable here – your average liberal arts major immediately thinks…

A Fair Question


“What will it take for my Republican colleagues to wake up to the fact that they’re playing a game of political chicken with the entire global economy?” – U.S. Senator Harry Reid, D., NV

Paying Attention to the Joshua Bells Around Us


As Judy Kleinfeld recently reminded WC, we too often fail to appreciate the beauty around us. In January 2007, world-acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell played as a busker at L’Enfant metro station in Washington, D.C. WC isn’t a huge fan of classical music, but Bell is an astonishing violinist. And he was playing a Stradivarius, the…

Understanding the Consequences: The Debt Ceiling


It is shocking to WC that there are Republicans – persons who call themselves “conservatives” – who pretend to be untroubled by the prospect of the U.S. defaulting on its debts and obligations. Is it ignorance? A bluff? Extreme politics? Standard & Poors has already announced it will likely lower the rating of U.S. debt…