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Originally published Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 5:30 AM

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Just how dumb is too dumb to recognize dumb?

The Wrap by Ron Judd

Seattle Times staff columnist

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Sometimes, the local angle to national news isn’t immediately obvious. But when it emerges, the payoff can be rich.

To wit: In a column last week, Paul Krugman of The New York Times invoked a psychological concept, the “Dunning-Kruger effect,” to explain the actions of the hostage-taking wing of the Republican Party in Congress.

The term describes people who reach such a spectacular level of incompetence that they are incapable of recognizing their own incompetence, which ultimately renders them incapable of addressing said incompetence.

Result: Lather, rinse, repeat.

Without commenting on that particular application, we can’t help but note that the theory itself seems quite valid, and in fact, plays out before our eyes locally.

Just ask anyone who frequents Safeco Field about the Lincoln-Armstrong effect.

More head shrinking:

Speaking of the Mariners: The nation’s most-inept sports franchise reportedly begged former manager Lou Piniella, 70, to come out of retirement and return to Seattle. Apparently Connie Mack was unavailable.

Tweet O’ the Week: From The Associated Press: “It was just like Jed Clampett shooting at some food,” says N.D. farmer who found bubbling crude from oil spill.”

This Week’s Ya-Think? Award: Washington State Ferries will add up to 45 deckhands to prevent the sort of staffing shortages that led to cancellation of 82 sailings this year. “Obviously we’re understaffed,” said Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson. Flush with confidence, state ferry managers now move on to brainstorming whether steel boats plying saltwater for years at a time without maintenance might eventually rust.

Attention, Over-Anxious People at Visa: Mr. Wrap is working on a continuing resolution that might free up funding for his credit-card payment in about six weeks. Sit tight.

Pardon the Interruption: The Wrap will be closed to readers for 30 minutes at 7 p.m. Monday to allow for passage of some rich guy’s look-at-me sailboat.

You Can’t Fight In Here; This Is a War Room: In the span of a single week, the U.S. Air Force fired, for misbehavior, gambling proclivity and lack of trust, two senior commanders in charge of enough nuclear weaponry to obliterate the planet. Sheesh; seem like a bit of an overreaction. What’s the worst that could have happened?

Telltale Sign of a Sad Reach for Hipness: You’re an adult person over age 14 who frequently throws the nonword “hella” into posts on social media.

Ahead of Their Tines: Humans in the Pleistocene era regularly used toothpicks, a new study reveals. Well, duh. There’s really no other way to politely partake of delicious Little Smokies mastodon hors d’oeuvres at a cave party.

Dear Adobe Software: Thanks so much for putting everybody’s credit-card numbers and other personal info onto the international-criminal network. Really makes us want to sign up to make monthly software payments to you from here to eternity.

And Finally: Some conservatives are calling the new health-care law something akin to slavery. Well, that explains it. Mr. Wrap thought the chains, shackles and whips at his last blood-drawing were a bit over the top, but as is his custom, didn’t want to say anything and make a scene.

Ron Judd’s column appears each Sunday. Reach him at or 206-464-8280.

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About The Wrap / Ron Judd

"The Wrap" appears on Sundays, highlighting the absurd and providing the punch line to the week's news headlines.


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