Following Up and Following Down: August 2022

Looking back, mid-spring
Looking back, late summer

August set a record in Boise, Idaho for the greatest number of days hotter than 100° F ever, beating the record set in 2017. Happily, WC’s central air-conditioning system worked pretty well. WC dealt with the blast furnace temperatures by huddling around his AC vents. But, hotter or hottest, August is done, maybe way past done, so it’s time to have a look back, following up on earlier posts, reviewing stuff that didn’t make a post and examining whatever else gets noticed by the Magpie Principle. As ever, no journalism has been committed in writing this blog post.

Readers may recall that Alaska Director Elections Gail Fenumiai denied efforts to keep Alaska Rep. David Eastman off the ballot, on the grounds that he was a member of an organization advocating the overthrow of the government. WC predicted litigation would follow. It has. The Northern Justice Project, representing one of Eastman’s constituents, has challenged Director Fenumiai’s decision. It;’s likely too late to keep him off the primary ballot, but the Alaska Courts should be able to rule before the general election. WC will follow the case with interest.

The Sandy Hook families slandered by Alex Jones have discovered that, almost from the time their cases were first filed, Alex Jones has been trying to hide his wealth in a maze of companies to avoid paying the judgments against him. If any reader is even faintly surprised at Jones’s sleaze ball strategy, you haven’t been paying attention. The news explains Jones’s stalling tactics in the defamation cases: he wanted the statute of limitations – the time during which a lawsuit for fraudulent transfers can be made – to expire before the defamation cases got to final judgment. Jones lied to generate his wealth; now he’s lying to hide it.

Mark McCloskey got his fifteen minutes of fame by threatening to shoot protestors walking by his house. His effort to capitalize on that brief interval of notoriety demonstrated that while Missouri voters will apparently tolerate the likes of Josh Hawley, they nonetheless have limits. McCloskey’s bid for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in Missouri was satisfyingly disastrous, with McCloskey getting just 3 percent of the vote. It could not have happened to a more deserving man.

Then there’s Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy, whose pleas for campaign contributions are, for some reason, being sent to WC. Someone in his campaign thinks it’s cute and effective to have this little mutt ask for money. Well, WC assumes it’s his dog.

WC thinks it is sad and desperate. Big Mike is taking fundraising to a new level of pathetic.

Back in July 2021, WC wrote about the passing of a generation of scientists that helped make the University of Alaska and the Geophysical Institute great, and especially Neal Brown, who could explain science clearly, cogently and accurately in a way that WC can only envy. Neal’s son, Kristopher, shared with WC the family’s recent memorial of Neal, scattering some of his ashes near Moose Creek and Camp Denali, north of Denali National Park.

It’s very good that some of Neal’s remains will be in the shadow of Denali. Thanks, Kristopher, for the messages and the photos.

WC has written about Pennsylvania’s “Kids for Cash” scandal, where two utterly corrupt, disgusting children’s court judges took at least $2.8 million in kickbacks for sending kids as young as 8 years old to two for-profit prisons. The judges were both given prison terms, but the civil case by the kids and their parents languished. It was finally concluded, with an award of $106 million in compensatory damages and $100 million in punitive damages to nearly 300 people. The award is largely symbolic; the two judges don’t have a fraction of the sum. It’s on the short list of worst judicial scandals in WC’s lifetime.

Memo to Jared Kushner: Don’t give up your day job. Not that you ever did. Some quotes from the New York Timesreview of Kushner’s “memoir,” Breaking History.

  • A title that, in its thoroughgoing lack of self-awareness, matches this book’s contents.
  • Kushner looks like a mannequin, and he writes like one.
  • Reading this book reminded me of watching a cat lick a dog’s eye goo.
  • The tone is college admissions essay. 
  • Every political cliché gets a fresh shampooing.
  • Once in the White House, Kushner became Little Jack Horner, placing a thumb in everyone else’s pie, and he wonders why he was disliked.
  • He’s a pair of dimples without a demographic.
  • What a queasy-making book to have in your hands. Once someone has happily worked alongside one of the most flagrant and systematic and powerful liars in this country’s history, how can anyone be expected to believe a word they say?

This is not a complete list of the zingers reviewer Dwight Garner manages to squeeze into the short review. As the late Senator Sam Ervin said of the tidal wave of literature that came out of the participants in the Watergate scandal, “Don’t buy books from crooks.” Senator Ervin was a wise man, for more than one reason. His aphorism applies here.

Not satisfied with the images coming out of the James Webb Space Telescope? Well, you can take a shot at creating your own. The JWST creates data, not images, and the data is available publicly. As well as tools to process the data. It’s not exactly easy, and it probably helps to be a rocket scientist to attempt it, but if you feel like a challenge visit the public archives and take up the challenge. The recently processed photos of Jupiter are beyond amazing.

Human scumbag Aaron von Ehlinger, the former Idaho State House member convicted earlier year of raping a legislative intern, tried to avoid his conviction by asking for a new trial. His attorney did the best he could with an idiot client and laughably flimsy arguments, but the trial judge wasn’t buying what von Ehlinger was peddling. Sentencing will be held later today.

And on that hopeful note, WC will declare it’s a wrap. Keep cool.