Following Up and Following Down: July 2016

For pure nightmare politics, July 2016 must be the worst since the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. There weren’t any street riots in 2016, but for WC the nomination of Donald Trump as the Republican candidate for President of the united States is inarguably worse than any riot. In any normal year, the nomination of Hilary Clinton by the Democrats would be a shocker. But after the RNC’s parade of hate, racism, misogyny and fear, the nomination of a woman by the DNC – albeit a woman with a lot of baggage – is almost anticlimactic. Garry Trudeau’s image of his Doonesbury characters staring in horror at their television screens is near-perfect.

But there were other stories and events worthy of comment this past month and, rather than dwelling on the two conventions, WC will attempt to focus on other stuff.

After reviews of concerts by Paul Simon, Willie Nelson, James Taylor and Phillip Phillips in the last few weeks, one reader wants to know what’s going on? Yeah, and that doesn’t include the unreviewed concert by Suzy Boggus or the pending review of a concert by Albert Lee. It’s a seasonal statistical fluke. More artists seem to schedule into Boise in the summer. And WC attends a subset, and only a subset, of those concerts. WC skipped Kiss, Kansas, Styx and Foreigner, for example. And, yes, there are some more concerts scheduled for which WC and Mrs. WC have tickets.

In an interview recently, the Trumpster waffled on whether not he would defend the Baltic if he were president. The Baltics – Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania – were independent nations until they were annexed by the Soviet Union after World War II. They regained their independence after the break up of the USSR. They are members of NATO; the U.S. is treaty-bound to defend them. No similar treaty obligation extended to the Ukraine and, of course, we know what happened there. Substantial portions were re-annexed by Russia. Apparently, treaties are something that happen to other people, not The Donald.

Unsurprisingly, another bond rating agency dinged the State of Alaska. Moody’s Investors Service knocked Alaska’s bonds down another point; as a result, future bonds will cost the State of Alaska more. Riskier bonds, and that what Moody’s found Alaska’s bonds were, command higher interest rates. So future public works projects will cost the State that much more. And that will make it even harder for the State to get itself out of the economic hole that it has dug for itself. Another hidden cost of legislative inactions.

At least one of the reasons for inaction by the Legislature on fixing the State’s dreadful oil tax structure can be inferred from Rep. Mike Hawker (R, Conoco-Philips) accepting a $78 dinner from Conoco-Philips lobbyist Mike Hurley. Of course, Rep. Hawker’s wife works for Conoco-Philips, so maybe the fancy supper was a kind of coal-to-Newcastle thing. Hawker protested his innocence, but WC’s buddy, former Rep. Steve Frank, has it exactly right:

I think it behooves a legislator to bend over backwards to create the right kind of image for himself or herself, and I think you have to be aware of how you’re being perceived irrespective of whether it is or isn’t. If I were a legislator, I’d probably pick up my own tab so that I wouldn’t have to answer that question.

But it’s no surprise that Steve Frank is more sensible and ethical than Mike Hawker. Yes, Rep. Hawker is seriously ill, but there are rabid skunks more sensible and ethical than Rep. Hawker.

Speaking of Rep. Hawker, WC notes that the Legislative Council has signed a new lease for office space in Spenard, leaving Bob Acree and Mark Pfeffer and the Taj Mahawker in the lurch. Yes, the crooked lease was declared illegal and invalid in March by Superior Court Judge Patrick McKay, but that hasn’t and won’t stop the developers from fighting their $37 million claim all the way to the Alaska Supreme Court. The spokesperson for the developers, the developers, Amy Slinker. was quoted by the Dispatch as saying, “In the meantime, it’s now clear that neither a legally approved and certified procurement, nor any resulting contract with the legislative branch of the state of Alaska, can be relied upon as a contract for performance,” Slinker added. “Our bad for thinking so. Others should be cautious.” The voters and soon-to-be taxpayers of Alaska love you, too, Ms. Slinker.

Finally, there’s still more proof of WC’s Hypocrisy Hypothesis, if we needed any. Oly Sugay, a former teacher at Birchwood Christian School,1 age 35, received 15 years with five years suspended on a single charge of second-degree sexual abuse of a 15-year old minor. He was apparenlty a family friend, too. And, from Birchwood’s Fequently[sic] asked questions page:

What is[sic] the faculty member requirements?
It is the policy of BCS to hire only committed Christian teachers that have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, and are certified to teach. Many have advanced education degrees.2

WC supposed that a guy serving ten in the pen for sex abuse on a minor is “committed,” for a given definition of the word.

Maybe WC can find some whiskey around te house…


  1. Goal: “Children need consistent Bible-based instruction from parents and teachers to develop Godly character and wisdom, and to live joyful, productive, and purpose filled lives.” WC wonders if the victim of Sugay’s rampaging lust for a child 20 years his junior is experiencing that “joyful life.”? 
  2. But not, apparently, the folks who proofread the website pages.