Following Up and Following Down: February 2019

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 attempted something like due diligence, following up on earlier blog posts to report subsequent developments. No, it’s not journalism, and WC doesn’t pretend it is. Think of it as an effort by WC to show he is paying attention. As always, the Magpie Principle applies.

The Washington Post reports a grand jury is investigating disgraced former Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. Grand jury proceedings are secret, so it’s hard to know for sure, but at least part of it seems to involve the huge favors Zinke attempted for casino giant MGM Resorts International. Zinke reportedly attempted to kill a proposed American Indian gambling resort the state of Connecticut at MGM Resorts’ behest. MGM Resorts worried the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes’ resort would siphon off its business. The claim is that Zinke was improperly influenced by Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) and then-Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), both of whom have received contributions from MGM Resorts International. MGM Resorts’ was Heller’s second-biggest contributor between 2011 and 2016, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, giving him $57,450 during that period. If it’s true, it’s hardly the worst of Zinke’s crimes, although perhaps one of the easier to prove. It all couldn’t happen to a better guy.

Trump unexpectedly announced he had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Wait, now, stop laughing. The report was that the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, had submitted the nomination. It turns out to be true (for a given definition of “true”). The nomination, however, came at the request of the U.S. government. Because Trump had opened talks and eased tensions with North Korea. So what we have is Team Trump nominating Trump for a Peace Prize for a result he hasn’t achieved yet and isn’t likely to achieve. That sounds Trump-normal to WC. At the same time, the Nobel Committee reported it had received two different forged letters nominating Trump for the Peace Prize. You can’t make this stuff up.

WC had been working on a blog post on slime ball sexual pervert (and Trump buddy) Jeffrey Epstein. But it’s not easy explaining a pervert’s sweetheart plea bargain in 750 words or so. But here’s a the condensed version: Jeffrey Epstein was caught sexually abusing dozens of underage girls. He plead out to a lesser charge and, appallingly, reached a settlement which excluded participation of his victims and purported to bar their individual claims. Kenneth Starr, of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky fame, was one of Epstein’s lead lawyers. As WC was trying to lay this out, and after a long and bitterly contested fight, two of Epstein’s victims finally got a court ruling holding the exclusion of them as victims from the settlement was improper. The entire agreement hasn’t been thrown out yet, but it looks like that will happen. Among the facts that might emerge would be the identities of those who participated in Epstein’s sex parties with those under age girls. A group suspected to include Donald Trump.

WC’s alternate retirement plan – as a Walmart Greeter, a job likely within WC’s skill set – appears to be in jeopardy. National Public Radio is reporting that Walmart is changing the job description to require something more than being able to say, “Welcome to Walmart.” On a more serious note, this is going to disproportionately impact people with disabilities. No doubt Walmart’s human resources department has its excuses justifications lined up. But the whole business stinks. Mind you, WC doesn’t patronize Walmart. But still.

Yellow-throated Toucan, Darien Province, Panama

Yellow-throated Toucan, Darien Province, Panama

WC posted a series of blog entires on his efforts to count the number of species he has photographed. The trip to Panama changed the total. EVen the few months since WC’s last calculation, the ornithologists have split and lumped species. But it looks like the Panama trip added about 31 new species to WC’s photo list, taking the total to 1,207. If WC is going to substantively add to that total, it’s going to take a new continent.

Several readers emails WC asking why in the world he had written about being sextorted. WC thinks the answer should be obvious: to help others deal with the threat. Blackmailers cannot succeed if their crimes and attempted crimes are made public. Especially when the extortionist is running a bluff. If even one reader understands that they are not alone in receiving the threat, and that the threat is a clumsy bluff, then WC’s post has served its purpose.

WC is struggling with lingering shingles and a big, fat, juicy head cold. It’s time for another cup of mint tea.


One thought on “Following Up and Following Down: February 2019

  1. Thanks for the updates. Shingles clear up = a new continent … which one will it be? Maybe Trump could turn you on to some great birding in North Korea 🙂 Still on Shingrix waiting list … I wonder how big pharma etc. are profiting from this shortage … it could be real but? Yes I have become quite suspicious of big pharma’s motives as I watch the news and see the crazy amount of drug adds.

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