Following Up and Following Down: January 2015


It’s time for the monthly nod to journalism here at Wickersham’s Conscience, where WC engages in a sketchy kind of diligence and follows up on earlier posts. Don’t confuse it with accountability; the talisman is still WC’s magpie sensibility.

Governor Bill Walker acceded to at least one of WC’s requests, and appointed a special investigator to look into the National Guard mess. He chose retired Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins. WC knows Judge Collins, and while he’d be happier with a career prosecutor, Judge Collins in honest, intelligent, diligent and unafraid. She’s on a firm schedule and the end product will be made public, if not immediately public. WC recognizes the necessity: if crimes were committed, you don’t want to compromise prosecution. But WC regrets the necessity.

Governor Walker gets only slight credit for killing Captain Zero’s megaprojects. They’re dead because of the budget crisis WC has been warning Alaska about for a long time. The lesson – and not for the first time – is that if you hitch your wagon to a commodity price you are in for a very rough ride. Hitching a state’s economy to a path made by the Drunkard’s Walk is stunningly irresponsible. But Governor Walker didn’t do that; he just gets to deal with the consequences.

Marco Rubio‘s U.S. Senate mustered the votes to agree the climate is changing but, before you get too excited, the Republican’s Kochtopus masters wouldn’t let them find that the climate change is anthropogenic. Those same votes caused Senator Dan “The Carpetbagger” Sullivan to fail his first test of intellectual honesty: he claimed “the verdict is still out on the human contribution to climate change” and that there’s no scientific consensus, Sullivan spokesman Mike Anderson said in an email. If Senator Sullivan grows a beard it will be because he can no longer see himself in a mirror. It’s an incidental side-effect of selling your soul.

The Quitter announced she is considering running for President. The old checkbook balance must be low again. Or her compulsive need for attention has once again overcome her limited self-control. How is it no one in that clan is able to find honest work?

WC’s October 13, 2013 post on disgraced former U.S. Senator Larry “Wide Stance” Craig (R, Homophobia) got an unexpected, huge spike in traffic. It turned out that the reporters at the Wall Street Journal were amusing themselves:

Screen shot from James Taranto column, Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2015

Screen shot from James Taranto column, Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2015

To WC’s knowledge, it’s the first time the blog has been linked by a national newspaper.

A couple of letters to WC have claimed WC was too harsh on Christianists. In response, WC offers, for your viewing pleasure, one of WC’s heroes, Sir Richard Dawkins, sharing his hate mail.

WC respectfully suggests that he may not be harsh enough. Doubtlessly a consequence of WC’s Christian upbringing.

A reader has accused WC of “jinxing” Fairbanks by posting a photo from last year of an ice fog-bound Fairbanks. Less than a week later, they point out, it was -40° F in downtown Fairbanks. WC reminds readers that correlation is not causation, that a “jinx” has no statistical reality and that sticking pins in a wax simulacrum of WC won’t influence his blogging.

Shell Games will reportedly resume this year, as Shell Oil returns to the Chukchi Sea, according to the Alaska Dispatch News. Accompanied by its convicted felon contractor Noble Drilling, Shell apparently intends to pick up where it left off in 2013. WC will look forward to Shell’s drilling plan with interest and dread.

Finally, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared on CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday, January 25. Over the course of the segment, they collectively admitted the intellectual bankruptcy of the Republican Party. They agreed income inequality is a serious problem, but blamed it on “government regulation” and “Obamacare.” The Obama Administration has adopted surprisingly few regulations; Speaker Boehner may have confused President Obama with the Bush Administration, which issued a lot more. And there is no credible evidence that the Affordable Care Act has done anything but help Americans. Among other things, health insurance means you don’t have to file Chapter 7 if you get sick.

Of course, Speaker Boehner may be thinking of nuisance regulations like those on the mining industry. Which save lives. But, WC admits, more coal miner deaths might lower the unemployment rate, through attrition. But it seems like a dubious political platform. “Kill more employees to create jobs.” It just doesn’t have the right ring.

Boehner and McConnell, who looked a lot like a bobblehead, rejected pretty much all of the President’s State of the Union proposals. And offered not one alternative.

WC will say it again: intellectual bankrupts, the pack of them.

Now WC is going to have to go out and split firewood to calm himself down. That’s enough for January. Let’s all hope for better news next month.

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One thought on “Following Up and Following Down: January 2015

  1. That is a rather stunning video. How do your “love letters” compare on the venom scale? Occasionally you mention an odd one or two here and there, but surely you must get many that go unmentioned. I continue to be amazed at how liberated some people can be when sitting at a keyboard especially if they’re clothed with anonymity.
    Paul Eaglin

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