Following Up and Following Down: January 2016


It’s a new year, but it’s the same old drivel from Our Elected Friends. Here’s a quick look back at issues WC hasn’t addressed, or hasn’t followed up on, or was too lazy to write about in a full blog post.

Six Republican U.S. Senators have written to the FCC complaining that the FCC’s definition of “broadband” is too hard. The FCC has set the definition at 25 Mb/second downloading and 3 Mb/second uploading, known in the industry as 25/3. The six whiny senators think it should be much lower. WC supposes that as soon as convenient, the same group of senators will push to shorten the 100 yard dash to 90 yards, make an “F” a passing grade and require only 41 votes to pass a senate bill. Because otherwise, it would be too hard. Of course, France’s definition is 100/5; Germany’s is 50/5; the United Kingdom already has 95% of its folks connected at 25 Mb/second or better. Japan has about half of its citizens connected at 100/10. The GOP sure has a strange definition of “exceptional” sometimes.

Readers will recall that Congressman Lamar Smith (R, Koch Brothers) claimed that “In June, NOAA employees altered temperature data to get politically correct results,” in a Washington Post letter to the editor last November. It was a part of Smith’s months-long campaign against NOAA climate scientists. Ars Technica, God love ’em, wrote a careful piece explaining why adjustments to datasets was necessary, that there was nothing nefarious about it, and that it was genuine, pure-quill science. They even showed the effect of the adjustments:

noaa_temp_update1

Yes, you will need a magnifying glass to see the impact of the adjustments. No, the explanation isn’t going to change Rep. Smith’s McCarthyism. Rep. Smith doesn’t understand anything about the scientific process and doesn’t have any inclination to learn. Accepting the truth of climate change would cost him big campaign contributions, so it isn’t going to happen. But WC applauds Ars Technica‘s efforts.

In Alaska, Senator Rep. Mike “Tajmahawker” Hawker (R, Bad Judgment) got his expensive report from the Menges Group on the impact of Governor Walker’s expansion of of medicaid. Alas, it disproved all of Senator Hawker’s cherished beliefs. Medicaid expansion didn’t cause people to make themselves poor to qualify, didn’t overwhelm the Alaska health care system and gained the state about $10 for every $1 the state spent. All of those ALEC talking points turned out to be false. Life is just so darn unfair sometimes. Senator John Coghill (R, Frivolous Lawsuits) seems determined to press ahead with his lawsuit challenging Governor Walker’s unilateral medicaid expansion because, you know, it’s the principle. Whenever a litigant talks about principles instead of principal – as in money – a lawyer always asks for a larger retainer.

Now occupying another federal property; albeit, no longer armed

Now occupying another federal property; albeit, no longer armed

A few of the armed thugs and welfare queens continue to occupy Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters. There are fewer there than there used to be. The remaining criminals agree they should occupy the Refuge, and they agree they can exclude the rest of Americans from the Refuge, they sure don’t agree on why they are trespassing, vandalizing and extorting. Most recently, the Idaho Statesman reports:

No court, no Congress, no executive, no governor, no county sheriff has the authority to arbitrate the divinely created word of the Founding Fathers, said Joseph O’Shaughnessy, an Arizona Militia leader from Sedona who was at the Narrows camp. Only the people can rise up to enforce what they believe is the strict interpretation of the Constitution.

So they aren’t breaking the law because as they define the law they define the law. Not Congress. Not the courts. And they get to enforce that sociopathy with sniper rifles because that’s how they define the law. It’s isn’t just that the stupid is strong, folks; it’s also heavily armed. The FBI and the Oregon State Police disagreed with the analysis. Unhappily, the trespasser who told national media he’d rather die than surrender got his wish. He was killed in a shoot out. Details will emerge eventually. The remainder of the criminals remain on Malheur, but law enforcement has blockaded the area and, while it may take a while, at least the process of getting the terrorists out has started.

But justice still occasionally happens. The grand jury convened in Harris County, Texas, to investigate the claims that Planned Parenthood is illegally selling baby parts led instead to the indictment of members of the anti-abortion group that created the propaganda that caused all the excitement. The grand jury refused to charge anyone at Planned Parenthood with any crime. How embarrassing for Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. He had asked the Harris County prosecutor to open the criminal investigation into Planned Parenthood. Instead of scoring political points he got justice. Nice!

Finally, Wasilla has voted to ban marijuana outlets and commercial grows in the city limits. It’s ironic that the community with what is likely the highest rate of dope use in the state of Alaska has refused to acknowledge reality. It’s more revenue for Palmer or Anchorage, WC supposes. And more illegal grows. But it’s Wasilla, so it doesn’t have to make sense. Maybe you can understand it best as another instance of the weird split personality of Alaskan communities like Wasilla. They claim to be God-fearing, Jesus-loving and church-going Christians who just happen to pack heat every chance they get. Family-loving, child-protecting folks who just happen to have amazingly high level of domestic violence and child abuse. They ban dope and smoke it like chimneys. It’s more than hypocrisy. It’s a strange kind of reality denial that WC doesn’t pretend to understand.

But just thinking about it has given WC a headache. Will beer work as an analgesic?

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