Following Up and Following Down: May 2016


WC should get a new photo for this recurring topic.

WC should get a new photo for this recurring topic.

It’s been a few months since WC made one of his irregular efforts at journalistic integrity by following up on earlier blog posts and nodding at issues that didn’t seem blogworthy earlier. If you skip a few months it turns out the list of things to cover can get a bit long.

Mark Avery, municipal prosecutor turned swindler, was nailed for 13 years for looting the May Smith Charitable Trust. There’s a fine and an impossibly large restitution obligation, but without winning a lottery, Avery, who last worked as a handyman, will leave prison in his late 60s, disgraced and mostly unemployable. WC feels like he should have a trace of sympathy for the disbarred Avery, but can’t seem to muster any. $52 million, essentially stolen from the little kids who were the beneficiaries of the Trust.

The Alaska Legislature – which adjourned after 121 days without accomplishing anything really important – has been called back into special session by Governor Walker. In a special session, the Governor, not the clowns in the House and Senate, sets the agenda. Governor Walker has eleven items on which he wants action:

  1. A capital budget
  2. A budget for the state’s integrated comprehensive mental health program;
  3. An operating budget
  4. Revising the Alaska permanent fund
  5. Revising taxation and credits on oil production
  6. A tax bill, including a personal income tax and other specialized taxes
  7. Changes to adoption or guardianship of a child in state custody
  8. Changes to the duties of the DHSS for permanent placement of a child in need of aid
  9. Inducements to encourage health care insurers to provide coverage in Alaska
  10. Major medical insurance coverage for survivors of peace officers and firefighters PERS
  11. A loan fund for oil and gas development under AIDEA

WC laughed uncontrollably for a few minutes after seeing the list. WC will be ridiculously optimistic and predict the wretched excuses for legislators will get as many as 3 of those 11 items done. Hint: this is the fourth special session of the 29th Legislature.

It looks like increasing numbers of otherwise nearly sane Republicans are holding their noses, kissing the pig and endorsing The Donald as their candidate. You can sense the barely suppressed shudders of revulsion. In the meantime, Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Hillary Clinton are in a game of Irish Stand-down over the Democratic nomination that may leave both of them too battered to beat The Donald. A frightening terrifying scenario.

Speaking of The Donald, and speaking of the Speaker, Paul Ryan still hasn’t announced whether or not he supports the Trumpster as the Republicans’ presidential candidate. Dana Milbank nicely captures the U.S. House Speaker’s dilemma:

He could withhold support, potentially costing Trump the presidency and perhaps losing his House majority. Or he could support Trump and have Trump define conservatives, and Republicans, for years — even if it’s with isolation, trade wars and racial strife.

The Republicans like to boast about having a big tent; sometimes the tent is too big and it collapses.

The Bundy Brothers are back in the news. They’ve decided that the jail rules at Multnomah County Jail violate their constitutional rights. These alleged adults need pacifiers, not snacks.

More Christianists have turned out to be perverts. Two of the 30 johns busted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for seeking sex with a 15 year old turned out to be preachers, Jason Kennedy, 46, and Zubin Parakh, 32.  Kennedy, for pity’s sake, was a youth minister at Grace Baptist Church. Parakh was a volunteer minister who was training to be a pastor. Both followed through in separate instances by going to a hotel where they assumed they would find the teenager, but were met by the cops instead.

Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor who couldn’t find any Clinton misconduct in Whitewater, so shifted to lies about sex instead, went on to be the president of Baylor University. He’s the former president now; it turns out is harder to walk the walk than talk the talk. Starr was fired because he turned a blind eye to sexual assaults by Baylor football players. Starr has built the fundraising campaign for Baylor around the football team.

Bah. That’s enough, probably more than enough. WC will try to find something positive to report next.

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