Following Up and Following Down: September 2014

Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman illustration by John Cuneo

Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman illustration by John Cuneo

Towards the end of each month, WC makes a brief nod to accountability and credibility and revisits issues raised in earlier posts. WC’s readers are right to call the effort lame and superficial. We live in a world of diminished expectations. And if this month’s summary is a little angrier than usual, well, there’s a bit more to be angry about.

Mainstream news in Alaska had a brief bout of utter candor during KTVA TV’s evening news on September 21. Reporter Charlo Greene quit on-air after disclosing she is the owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club. Station management announced after her resignation that Ms. Greene had been fired, demonstrating that the bout of candor hadn’t lasted long. WC wishes Ms. Greene well, but notes she need not apply for employment with WC.

A Catholic church in Montana has told two men, Paul Huff, 66, and Tom Wojtowick, 73, who have been together for over 30 years, and were married in Seattle in 2013, that they cannot receive communion and cannot sing in the church choir until they get divorced, live separately and renounce their marriage. They’ve reportedly attended Saint Leo the Great Catholic Church in Lewistown since 2003 and have also been members of the church’s choir. Who says the Catholic church doesn’t believe in divorce? Or hypocrisy?

The United States has gotten itself involved in yet another land war in Asia. This one in two different countries. As’ad AbuKahlil, a professor at Berkeley, points out that the United States’ latest (mis)adventure is in a multi-layered, multi-sided proxy war in Syria. It has little if anything to do with the Syrian people any more; they are just another set of victims. His article is an insightful perspective on the mess we’ve involved out country in this time.

Glenn Greenwald points out that the U.S. began bombing targets inside Syria, in concert with its five dubious fallies: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Jordan. Syria becomes the 7th predominantly Muslim country bombed by 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama—after AfghanistanPakistanYemenSomaliaLibya and Iraq. But the sad fact is that both Republican nominees, John McCain and Mitt Romney, would have likely bombed still more countries with still more bombs. McCain seems to want to bomb everybody. It’s more than a little distressing to find the U.S. on the same side of a conflict, if not the actual ally, of Bashar the Butcher, the dictator of Syria. WC also wonders if there has been an instance since 9/11/2001 when the U.S. bombing a country didn’t create more problems than it solved.

Captain Zero’s ship of state continues to run onto the shoals of reality. It turns out he didn’t “Choose Respect,” He Chose Neglect in his diligence on the Alaska National Guard. He keeps firing people, but the lawsuits against the State of Alaska for the harm his negligence caused will continue. His prize legislation narrowly survived a referendum, but only because BP kept quiet about a massive layoff until after the election was final. In the meantime, the economy of the State of Alaska continues to augur in. And all the while the State of Alaska continues to self-destruct: more oil in the pipeline equals more megatons of CO2 in the atmosphere equals more damage to Alaska’s coastal communities, to its renewable resources and its infrastructure.

Finally, it turns out that WC isn’t the only person who is furious at the way life has treated Sir Terry Pratchett. Pratchett’s friend, fellow author and sometime co-author, Neil Gaiman, wrote a brilliant essay, ending with:

I rage at the imminent loss of my friend. And I think, “What would Terry do with this anger?” Then I pick up my pen, and I start to write.

And so shall WC, in his inarticulate, bumbling, unfocused way.

Here’s <clink> to a better month to come.

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