Following Up and Following Down: April 2015


Another month has gone by, and once again WC has demonstrated his journalism skills haven’t improved. The list of items WC has failed to address or failed to diligently follow up upon is long and discouraging. Once more, in a feeble attempt to preserve shards of credibility, WC will look back over a fairly gloomy month.

No one seems to be writing about it, but at least here in Interior Alaska, there’s a truly gruesome cold bug going around. Not only is the disease itself grim, it seems to carry a whole suite of complications: pneumonia, bronchitis, sinusitis, just to name a few. Worst of all, it lurks around, waiting to inflict a relapse or two or three. If WC had had any idea, he would have bought stock in Kimberly-Clark, whose sale of Kleenex™ has to have surged.

Speaking of snot, the Alaska Legislature, and in particular the Republican caucus of the House and Senate, disgraced themselves. Even running past the citizen-imposed session length, they were not able adopt a budget. There was a lot of finger-pointing, but the guys in charge get to bear the blame. The refusal of the Republican caucuses to even consider compromise to obtain the votes to draw from the Constitutional Budget Reserve is simply the consequence of their ham-handed treatment of the budget, the Governor and the minority in both houses. And their refusal to expand Medicaid without an plausible or credible reason underlines the majority’s boneheadedness. Props to the Governor for not letting them go home, for calling them back into special session. But WC doesn’t have any confidence the outcome will improve.

By coincidence, WC finished reading Mike Searle’s excellent Colliding Continents very recently. It’s the story of Searle’s remarkable investigations of the geology of the Himalayas and the evidence of the continental collision and overthrust as India has plowed into the underbelly of Asia at 5 centimeters a year. Searle all but predicted the Nepal earthquake of April 2015, coming quite close on location, although he did not predict when it would occur. He noted that any central Nepalese quake would wreak havoc around Kathmandu, because the city lies on poorly consolidated lake sediments. WC thoughts are with the wounded and the families of those killed. Nature bats last, and this won’t be the last or the worst earthquake to strike that region.

The much-anticipated U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments over gay marriage were heard April 28. The fundamental problem for WC is that opponents of LGBT marriage rely upon the Bible and tradition. The same arguments can and have been used to argue for slavery, for segregation, for denial of women’s right to vote or own property and even for human sacrifice. And those are just the Christian traditions. The 14th Amendment trumps the King James Bible. WC hopes the SCOTUS makes itself part of the solution and not part of the problem. We’ll know in 2-3 months.

One of the joys of turning 65 is that you are required to register for Medicare, even if you have no present intent to actually use Medicare. WC is a lawyer, has written and developed software, and uses the Intertubes with some skill. But Medicare registration is a royal PITA. Here’s a useful tip: you don’t do it on the Medicare site. That, apparently, would be too easy. No, you register for Medicare on the Social Security web site. Although it’s not obvious on either site that’s where you go. The second of the Three Big Lies: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”

And on that note, we’ll leave April behind, with the hope of better health, better news and better times in May.

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

  1. The second of the Three Big Lies: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”

    That reminds me of the 2009 big fire we had in the Wrangell Mountains, next to the Chitina River. First big one since around 1919, if I recall correctly. The fire was on the south side of the Chitina for about 3 or 4 weeks.Ten miles south of McCarthy, in NPS domain. The NPS superintendent, by law, is forbidden to fight such, unless persons or property are in jeopardy. There is nothing but wildlands where the fire was so the NPS couldn’t do anything.That no-no actually started back when the infamous James Watt under Reagan was Secretary of Interior but has been upheld every since. In fairness, both environmentalists and developer types agree with some of the logic behind the ruling.

    Anyway, the fire was a slow burner for weeks, but they were keeping a close eye on it. Then one Sunday, it made a huge run, tripled in size over 6 hours. Looked like Nagasaki from McCarthy. Folk in McCarthy suddenly got religion, so to speak. Started accusing the NPS superintendent for not doing a anything. Some of those folks were hard core conservatives. When they brought up their accusations around me I would simply say. Reagan said that hearing “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.” strikes fear in the heart of every American. What is it now that you want the NPS to do for you?

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