Following Up and Following Down: Christmas Bonus Edition


WC hadn’t planned a Following Up post this month; the year-end stuff fills the blog post queue. But there’s some items that are too good – or too outrageous – not to pass along. Hence, this bonus edition.

California law requires nonprofits doing business in the state to register and to provide the state with copies of their Form 990, the information return all nonprofits are supposed to file with the IRS. Form 990 also includes Schedule B, the list of donors contributing $5,000 or more. Form 990s are public; Schedule B is confidential. The Kochtopus is suing the State of California and its Attorney General, Kamala Harris, for insisting the Kochtopus comply with the law. Arrogant, don’t you think, even for the Koch Brothers?

Among the tortures inflicted by the CIA on the detainees it imprisoned was extremely loud music, played at levels that can damage hearing. And among the “music” played – and WC will demonstrate his age here by putting “music” in quotes – was the arrhythmic noise of the band Skinny Puppy. The band was unamused by the CIA’s use of its music, and has submitted an invoice to the CIA and Department of Defense for $666,000 for the unlicensed use. WC shall follow Skinny Puppy’s claim, if not its music, with interest.

Here’s some blog love. WC isn’t a huge fan of Wonkette – his tolerance for unrelenting snark is limited – but  her take-down of star witness testimony to the Missouri grand jury “investigation” of Officer Darren Wilson is a masterpiece. The Missouri DA’s remaining credibility is pretty well shredded. If you have any lingering illusions that the grand jury investigation of Darren Wilson was fair, they’ll disappear by the end of Wonkette’s piece.

Several readers asked why WC, in the extended, five-part blog post on American Torture, didn’t mention “rectal feeding.” Those readers mean anal rape; WC dislikes the use of the CIA euphemisms. The CIA admitted to five instances of anal rape, and threatened it in other situations. As a means of nutrition and therapy, it long obsolescent. Why do it then? According to The Guardian, one medical officer wrote that “[w]hile IV infusion is safe and effective, we were impressed with the ancillary effectiveness of rectal at ending the water refusal.” If that doesn’t make the reason clear, the Senate Torture Report also states that CIA leadership was notified of allegations that rectal exams were conducted with “excessive force.” But WC has let his outrage at torture performed in his country’s name distract him from the question. WC didn’t discuss anal rape earlier because the litany of crimes committed is too long already, even for a five-post entry, without listing each crime. But now you know.

Another reader confessed to being unable to read the Senate Torture Report; she said it made her too angry. WC had much the same reaction. In fact, in matters involving the Bush-Cheney Administration, it happens all the time. If you need rage, WC can give you a reading list. WC’s sovereign remedy is to go outside and split wood. He can recommend it. The Senate Torture Report resulted in about half a cord or so of split spruce and birch.

From the criminal to the trivial. WC has been an unabashed fan of Order of the Stick, one of the better web comics. Not only do readers get to wallow in geeky D & D goodness; the story line is exceptionally well-plotted and the author, Rich Burlew, can do some pretty amazing stuff drawing stick figures. Alas, Burlew seems to be increasingly disinterested in actually drawing the web comic. The cartoon was originally daily or near-daily. It’s now declined to only 2-3 cartoons a month. There’s only been two in December. Long-time readers will recall Burlew had an immensely successful Kickstarter campaign, demonstrating an impressively large and loyal fan base. He has suggested in OOTS Forums that the Kickstarter campaign wasn’t the happy thing it appeared to be. Perhaps that’s been a factor. But WC is sorry to see his favorite webcomic slipping to apparent oblivion. (NB: What the Duck has ceased updates completely since August.)

Freedom Industries was the chemical storage company that dumped thousands of gallons of MCHM, or 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, into the Elk River, just upstream from the drinking water intake for Charleston, West Virginia. A federal grand jury returned criminal indictments against four former executives and two lower-level employees. The bankrupt corporate shell was also indicted. The President of Freedom Enterprises, Gary Southern, was arrested last week, charged with lying about his role with the company in bankruptcy court hearings and meetings to protect his personal net worth of nearly $8 million from lawsuits. Before we get too excited about these happy developments, note that this is the Feds doing the prosecution. The State of West Virginia hasn’t done much of anything in response to their capital’s drinking water being poisoned.

Wickersham’s Conscience will now return to its regular programming.

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