Mitch McConnell, "Ol' Turtle Neck"

WC Resorts to Doggerel


Sometimes all a frustrated citizen blogger can do is resort to doggerel. Of all the villains in the Trump’s government shutdown – and there are a lot of them – the one who could fix the shutdown most easily has vanished from the scene. All Mitch McConnell1 would have to do is let the Trump…

Dark-eyed Junco, "Oregon" variety, Boise, Idaho

Some Notes on Juncos


Juncos are a very common bird, but they also represent one of the great ornithological puzzles. Depending on who you talk to, there are between three and twelve species. The number of species depends on whether you think the confusing color patterns represent color and song variations on one species or separate species. As Birds…

Portion of flight route from National Transportation Safety Board Report 3-0604

Aircraft N1812H


If you live in Alaska, especially rural Alaska, you fly a lot. Mostly, it’s safe. But sometimes it isn’t. There are plane crashes and sometimes fatalities. No aircraft crash in WC’s lifetime impacted Alaskans more than the crash of N1812H on October 16, 1972. There were four people on board that Cessna 310C charter flight:…

Pacific Slope Flycatcher, Pinnacles National Park, California

Return of Bird of the Week: Pacific Slope Flycatcher


Once upon a time there was a bird species called a Western Flycatcher. Another member of the Empidonax genus. But ornithologists decided in 1989 that what had been called Western Flycatchers were actually two different species, distinguished by song and geography. Not by appearance. Birds of North America, the on-line databases of North American birds, says (paywall):…

Government shutdown 2019

When American Government Fails


A shutdown of the federal government is a failure of our form of government. It happens when one party or another attempts political blackmail, and the other side calls its bluff. It is a relatively new thing in American politics. And it is being used increasingly often. Here’s a brief history of federal government shutdowns:…

Bad Laws: Criminal Libel


There is no shortage of bad laws in America. For example in 23 states, libel – published defamation – is a serious crime, for example. In Idaho, criminal libel is punishable by a fine of $5,000 and 6 months in jail, with each publication  separate crime. It’s a stupid, dangerous, unconstitutional law and it needs…