Elect a Clown, Expect a Circus


In the faint hope that a Trump voter might change his mind, or that one of the endangered species of undecided voters might benefit, WC, on the eve of the presidential election, will undertake to summarize how President Donald Trump has done in meeting his earlier campaign promises. In a sensible universe, that’s how a…

Don’t Let the Theocrats Win


In Alaska, the theocrats, busybodies and Christianists are trying to oust judges they don’t like, and even to change the the judicial selection process. Alaskans should not let it happen. Alaska’s judicial selection process is a national model for success. It gets Alaskans smart, qualified, honest and hard-working judges. They don’t have any particular political…

Why Blogging Is Hard


As Alaska continues its sad, messy, unnecessary self-destruction, WC has struggled to find a metaphor, a way of describing the crisis, that will collectively grab Alaskans by their metaphoric collars and shake some sense into them. Playing with pretty shells on a beach as a tsunami approaches? Arguing about trivia while the house is on…

Sandstone, Time and Water: Zion


The Colorado Plateau is the uplifted, roughly circular chunk of North America that spans portions of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. It’s mostly the drainage of the Colorado River. It’s a geologic layer cake of sandstones, mudstones, shales and sediments deposited over a very long time. It’s been uplifted – it’s still being uplifted…

Well and Good

WC Is Off Chasing Birds


WC is off chasing birds. Blog posts may be a little irregular or even absent for a bit, because WC will be avoiding the internet in a belated effort to preserve his sanity. If the effort turns up anything interesting, and WC has access to the Web, there may be posts from time to time.…

Diamictite boulder buried in sand, Antelope Island, Utah

Geology 101: Diamictite


Back in the late Pleistocene, when WC took geology, WC truly sucked at mineralogy. It wasn’t a separate class or anything; it was part of the introduction to the fundamentals. WC’s Geology 1011 professor claimed you couldn’t understand geology until you understood minerals, that you couldn’t read until you learned the letters of the alphabet,…

Acting BLM Secretary William Perry Pendley. (Photo provided by Democratic staff of the Natural Resources Committee)

Judge Dumps Pendley: It’s Bigger Than You Think


William Perry Pendley isn’t the Director of the Bureau of Land Management, the federal agency charged with supervision of most federal lands, and the largest landowner in most of the West. He isn’t even the Acting Director. Instead, the Trump Administration pretends he is the “official performing the Director’s duties under the Secretary’s [of the Interior]…

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (via CNN)

R.I.P. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1933-2020


Back in the late 1960s, WC’s girlfriend, TLA, took WC to a Gloria Steinem lecture at the University of Washington. Early in the lecture, Steinem asked the audience of 2,000-plus, the folllowing riddle: There is a bad auto accident. A young man is gravely injured; his father is killed. The young man is taken to…

Tom Collier, Pebble Mine Partnership CEO, testifies before Congress (Source: Gray DC)(GRAYDC)

Is Every Mine Promoter a Liar?


A long time ago, WC was stuck defending a young bank robber. It was court-appointed; there was no option for declining. The 20-year old bank robber had three accomplices, all of whom were testifying against WC’s client. The District Attorney wouldn’t make a plea offer, for reasons completely unrelated to the bank robbery charge. So…

Greenland Ice Comparative Map, 2002 vs. 2019

WC’s 2020 Ice Report


It’s the end of summer, at least by the calendar, and our poor, abused planet has likely reached the end of its increasingly concerning ice loss. At least for this year.  WC is instituting a new annual feature1 reviewing the severity of ice loss across the globe. Polar Ice The year 2020 was the next-to-worst…

Moose, Silver Creek, Diaho

Field Notes: Silver Creek


Silver Creek, in southcentral Idaho, is one of the state’s great conservation success stories. Managed – rescued, in fact – by The Nature Conservancy, it is a highly successful model of what can be done when collaboration is successful. It started in 1976 when the local community urged The Nature Conservancy to purchase 479 acres…

Badly mounted Raccoon that may or may not be expressing an opinion, Shoshone Bird Museum

And Now for Something Completely Different


Out in the middle of the northeastern Snake River Plain, surrounded by sage brush, cheatgrass, black basalt pressure ridges and cow pies, you can find Idaho’s Mammoth Cave and Shoshone Bird Museum. The visit was Mrs. WC’s idea. Idaho’s Mammoth Cave It’s not really a cave; it’s a lava tube, a place where pahoehoe lava…

Welcome to Mordor!


Since Mordor was opened to tourism in February 2020 – the arrival of COVID-19 was likely but not certainly a coincidence – it’s become a popular destination for those folks wanting to escape from the pandemic and yet be reasonably safe from infection by the virus. Mordor, of course, is all about social distancing. WC…

William Barr on Capitol Hill on April 10. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Flynn, Barr and Corruption


In any sensible Administration, in any sensible Congress, a special prosecutor would have been appointed a long time ago to investigate U.S. Attorney General William Barr. But we don’t have a sensible Administration; we have quite the opposite. We don’t have a sensible Congress; we have an impotent Congress, where the Republican majority will do…