Wright's Point from the east; photo credit Twilight, via Creative Commons License

Geology 101: Inverted Topography


As you drive south across the Harney Basin on Oregon Highway 201, you can’t miss Wright’s Point. The very long, very narrow, steep-sided ridge sticks out 10 miles into the basin, rising 250 feet above the flat lakebed. The much-diverted Silvies River loops around the easterly end of Wright’s Point, headed further south to Malheur…

Class Act: By Robert J. Delahunty, John Yoo Published May 18, 2017 Fox News FILE: Feb. 2, 2012: FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. FILE: Feb. 2, 2012: FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (AP)

A Servant of the Rule of Law


WC missed Robert Mueller’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. One of the blessings of the eastern slopes of the Oregon Cascades is that there is precious little internet access. The respite was wonderful. Since returning to what passes for civilization in these decadent days, WC has read a lot of the House hearing transcript…

The Other Crater Lake


WC is back from a week-long trip to the easterly side of the Oregon Cascades, where the scenery is very, very good but services do not include internet. This is the first of several posts from the trip. Crater Lake, in the Oregon Cascades, is justly famous. That remnant of Mt. Mazama is a near-perfect…

Idaho opinions, shown to the world

Bumpersticker Evidence


This pickup is a parked a few blocks from WC’s house. WC offers this photo as evidence that not every one is capable to critical, logical thinking. Even if their vote counts just as much as yours. Note the two references to Infowars, Alex Jones’ completely discredited conspiracy-mongering website and podcast. Recall that Jones testified,…

Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, 2005 (U.S. Supreme Court official photo)

R.I.P. John Paul Stevens, 1920-2019


Professor Stevens, in WC’s Appellate Law and Procedure class back in law school, told us, “Federal judges have no constituency, and thus have a duty to respect the legitimate policy choices made by those who do.” At the time Professor Stevens was a judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and his course was…

It's a metaphor (Photo credit: Phoenix Channel 10 News)

Cops, Respect and Bad Cops


When WC was a newly minted young Fairbanks lawyer, he worked for a year and a half for a law firm whose clients included a pimp. Yes, really. During the TAPS construction boom, a number of prostitution rings relocated to Fairbanks. New associates in large law firms don’t get a lot of choice about who…

Nymph and Adult Asian Long-horned Tick, Two Haemaphysalis longicornis on a US dime.

Let’s Not Get Hysterical. Yet.


The reporting on the spread of the invasive Asian Long-horned Tick, verges on the hysterical. “Vicious species of tick.” “Bloodthirsty hordes.” “Ravenous swarms.” Sounds like a lousy (sorry) Grade-B horror flick. But there are some scary aspects to this recently invasive species. First, unlike native North American ticks, this species can reproduce parthenogenetically; it can…

Causes of Death in the U.S. (2016 data). From Richie and Roser, Creative Commons license

Wretched Risk Assessment Skills


WC has had occasion before to comment on Americans’ poor risk assessment abilities. Americans still have wretched risk assessment skills. A very nifty chart by Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser not only demonstrates American poor risk assessment abilities; it also suggests at least part of the cause. Click here for a larger image. The first…

The Rule of Law Still Matters

The Hazards of Being “Pretextual”


It appears that a stake has finally been driven through the heart of Trump’s and the Republican’s attempt to sabotage the U.S. census. After losing in the U.S. Supreme Court, Trump has flopped around like a gaffed halibut, trying to find a way to discourage non-citizens from participating that could withstand review by those troublemakers…

What if Carl Sagan was wrong?

WC Gets Conspiratorial


WC is sharply critical of Americans’ tendency to see a conspiracy – sometimes two or three conspiracies – under every stone. In part it’s wish fulfillment; in other part is the primitive part of our brains seeing patterns that aren’t there. When the suspicious noise could have been a tiger, that pattern recognition skill served…

The late Chris Cline (Photo credit: Jamel Toppin, For Forbes)

R.I.P. Chris Cline: The King of Coal


Billionaire coal baron Chris Cline was killed in a helicopter crash flying from his private island in the Bahamas to Fort Lauderdale. WC is sorry for his family and the other passengers on that flight, but is having a hard time working up much sympathy for the coal baron himself. Although folks in West Virginia…

Calliope Hummingbird, South Fork of the Payette River

Field Notes: South Fork of the Payette River


The Payette River, with the Boise River and Weiser River, are the river systems that drain the westerly side of the Idaho Batholith in central Idaho. Like its more famous cousin, the Salmon River and its various forks, the Payette has carved deeply into the Batholith. Unlike its sister streams, in many stretches of the…