Archive for May 7th, 2011
WC spent some time yesterday wandering around Fairbanks’ birding hotspots to see what had arrived. It was mostly waterfowl, but that’s all right because they are decked out in breeding plumage and look particularly spiffy. Here are some samples:
While they don’t commonly breed around Fairbanks, Speckle-bellies are reliable early arrivals at Creamer’s Refuge. This guy was suspicious about WC and that big lens even at 40 meters. WC has always thought White-fronteds has extraordinarily big feet, even for a goose.
This Wigeon drake was at Tanana Lakes (neé South Cushman Ponds). Wigeon do breed in the Interior, and are one of the more common puddle ducks. The males are at their very brightest right now.
Barrow’s are a diving duck, and generally breed in mountain lakes. They are in Fairbanks mostly on spring migration. The male is distinguished from the Common Goldeneye by the shape of the white patch under the eye; the females, at least for WC, are indistinguishable, although the males can obviously ￼tell them apart. This pretty pair was at the Peat Ponds on Goldstream Road.
The Honorable Dirty Don Young, U.S. Representative for all Alaskans who voted for him and maybe a few others, has been an annoying boil on the butt of Alaska politics for a third of a century.
He has famously paid lawyers more than $1 million bucks to defend him against charges that have never been filed. Now WC is always in favor of paying lawyers. But even at Akin, Gump‘s ruinous hourly rates, that’s a breathtaking pile of donated dough (Dirty Don never uses his own money).
But it apparently all ended happily for Dirty Don. Back in August, he announced that the Justice Department had told his lawyers USDOJ had decided against indicting him, and that it had dropped its investigations. USDOG didn’t independently confirm Dirty Don’s claim. But they didn’t deny it either.
So why is Dirty Don still raising money for his Legal Defense Fund? Crimes planned but not yet committed?
Why won’t Dirty Don provide an explanation or an accounting? Even though he refused to answer any questions or offer any explanation, the good voters of Alaska re-elected him yet again.
Why won’t the Feds explain anything about the investigation? Why are Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics being forced to sue the Feds for failing to meet public records obligations?
Dirty Don is one of the most senior Republicans in the Republican-controlled House, yet he has no committee chairmanships and has a nearly invisible profile. Dirty Don runs on his seniority, yet despite being the 6th most senior member of the U.S. House and second most senior Republican, he has no plum committee assignments. That suggests that Republican House leadership knows something we don’t.
So maybe Dirty Don does still need his slush fund. We can hope.
WC apologizes for calling Minnesota Representative Matt Dean (R, District 52B) ”A Weasel” for bad mouthing Neil Gaiman.
This whole affair started when Representative Dean, was reported by the Minnesota Star Tribune, to have said:
Dean also singled out a $45,000 payment of Legacy money that was made last year to science fiction writer Neil Gaiman for a four-hour speaking appearance. Dean said that Gaiman, “who I hate,” was a “pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota.”
WC is a serious fan of Mr. Gaiman and his writing, and took immediate offense at Rep. Dean’s ignorant, cheap shot. WC said Dean, who WC automatically disliked, was “an ignorant teabag weasel who wouldn’t know good literature if it bit him on the ankle, and probably has to move his lips to read.” WC also accused Dean of not knowing when to use “who” and “whom.”
After WC had calmed down and investigated this story, it turned out to be a little different than Rep. Dean had said.
How did Gaiman “steal” the money? By giving a speech in Stillwater, Minnesota. Mind you, he was invited. You can listen to the speech here.
But Gaiman accepted — stole, for a given definition of the term – a $45,000 speaker’s fee from the Washington County Library. If by “stole”, you mean “donated to charity,” which would make him a modern-day Robin Hood Weasel, if anything.
Gaiman’s response to all this says more about him than WC can possibly offer. Gaiman is, after all, a professional and a professional writer. From Gaiman’s blog: