Idaho State Capitol, via Wikicommons

Why Does the Idaho Legislature Hate the Voters?


WC is convinced the Idaho Legislature, a body overwhelmingly dominated by Republicans, hates, distrusts and ignores Idaho voters. Exhibit A: The Legislature refused for years exercise the option of states to expand Medicaid coverage to make health care more widely available under the Affordable Care Act. Idaho voters went ahead and did it by the…

Margaret Bourke-White, Louisville Flood, 1937

Bourke-White: Lessons from History


Old age brings perspective, WC was told. Well, WC has achieved old age, and what it has mostly brought is a sadness that so little has changed. WC will illustrate his point with some photos from another of his heroes, Margaret Bourke-White, a great photographer of the first half of the 20th Century. Here’s her…

On June 2, members of the D.C. National Guard stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during ongoing protests against police brutality and the death of George Floyd. (Win Mcnamee/Getty Images)

Notes on Win Mcnamee’s Photo


WC had never heard of photographer Win Mcnamee before this photo appeared in the Washington Post. His capture of the Washington, D.C. national guard members standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is among the most forceful images to come out of the protests against police brutality following the murder of George Floyd. The photo…

Portrait of Galileo Galilei by Justus Sustermans, circa 1640

“E pur si muove” (“And yet it moves”)


Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was tried by the inquisition, charged with suspicion of heresy. He was forced to recant his theory that the Earth orbited the Sun. Catholic Church dogma said the Sun orbited the Earth. Legend has it that after he recanted, while still in the presence of the Inquisitor, he muttered, “E pur si muove“ (“And yet…

The Donald Acting Out (David Becker/Getty Images)

Notes on Trump’s Attack on the WHO


President Donald Trump has attacked the World Health Organization, accusing it of “covering up the spread of the coronavirus” and failing to “share information in a timely and transparent fashion.” He has declared he is cutting off funding for the world’s public health body in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a transparent attempt…

Alaska’s Economy: Authored by Lemony Snicket


Lemony Snicket, for anyone who has been avoiding children’s literature the last twenty years, is the pseudonym for Daniel Handler. Snicket has written a highly successful series of thirteen children’s books with the master title, A Series of Unfortunate Events. And that describes Alaska’s economy, doesn’t it? The decline in crude oil production as Prudhoe Bay…

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

It’s Official: Barr Gets John Mitchell Trophy


John Mitchell had set the benchmark for U.S. Attorney General misconduct. Back in December, WC warned that William Barr, Trump’s toady Attorney General, was in jeopardy of taking that prize. Well, it has happened. It’s not just the sham investigations into Trump’s enemies. It’s not just his unwillingness to enforce the rule of law. He’s…

Soviet Trial of the Sixteen, the “Case of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Center,” Moscow August 19-24, 1936. All sixteen defendants were sentenced to be shot and their personal property confiscated.

The Republican Show Trial of Donald Trump


From Wikipedia: A show trial is a public trial in which the judicial authorities have already determined the guilt, and/or innocence, of the defendant. The actual trial has as its only goal the presentation of both the accusation and the verdict to the public. There are characteristics of a show trial. Often, witnesses are not…

Bumpersticker on Hayes Street, Boise, Idaho

Maybe We Need Less Intellectual Snobbery?


WC encountered a car with this bumpersticker on Hayes Street in Boise, recently. WC suspects that three-quarters of Americans won’t get it. Physics isn’t a required course in high school and red shift/blue shift is pretty esoteric, even for physics. It doesn’t help you understand football, baseball, hockey or even soccer. Unless you know that…

Mike Dunleavy, Alaska's governor, Bog help us

Mike Dunleavy, Cat Poop and Pretend


One difference between WC and Dermot Cole is that Dermot is a journalist and WC is just another irresponsible blogger.1 As this blog post will show. Dermot Cole ran a fine essay recently, showing just how hypocritical and dishonest Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy is when it comes to Alaska’s state budget. Dermot effectively demonstrated by…

Republicans embrace Donald Trump

2019 in Review: Politics


Not since the events before the Civil War has it been more important for our elected officials to set aside politics, set aside the exigencies of getting re-elected, and simply do the right thing. That’s not happening. What is happening is that their collective obsession with getting re-elected overrides all other considerations, at the expense…

Looking Back

Following Up and Following Down: October 2019


Another month gone by. Meaning it’s time for WC to make his very nearly monthly, very feeble effort at journalism, or at least diligence, following up on earlier stories and noting matters that didn’t quite make full blog posts. Trial started October 22 in the State of New York’s claims again ExxonMobil. Readers may recall…

Mark Twain on School Boards

Tales from Wasilla: The Mat-Su School District’s Problem


The Matanuska-Susitna School District has a problem. In 2016, Superintendent Deena Bishop quit to become the Anchorage School District’s superintendent of schools. The Mat-Su School Board appointed Ass’t Superintendent Gene Stone as Acting Superintendent at Mat-Su. In December 2016, the Mat-Su School Board made Dr. Stone the permanent superintendent. In March 2017, he “resigned”. The…

It can be perfectly legal, and still an unacceptable ethical conflict of interest

Conflicts of Interest: Two Case Studies


Few things are more subversive to the values of a democracy than conflicts of interest in government officials. At the least, they create the appearance of impropriety; at their worst, they are both corrupt and corrupting. Here are two case studies from Trump Administration appointments that illustrate the evil that is a conflict of interest.…

"Doonesbury" cartoon, April 21, 1973, By Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau

Guilty! Guilty, Guilty, Guilty!


The Washington Post, the newspaper that won a Pulitzer Prize itself for its Watergate reporting, self-censored Trudeau’s cartoon of Mark Slackmeyer’s screed. And, of course, Trudeau (and Slackmeyer) were absolutely correct. Nixon’s attorney general and campaign manager was found guilty in 1977 of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury and sentenced to two and a half…