Chickens, Roosts and Sidney Powell


The thing about free speech is that it can be abused. There’s no requirement under the First Amendment that you tell the truth. Except in the most extreme circumstances, stopping free speech before it is uttered – “prior restraint” – is usually unconstitutional. But there can be consequences afterwards. False statements about a person or…

What’s the Downside to Humoring Him?


In a November 9, 2020 article in the Washington Post, reporters Amy Gardner, Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey and Emma Brown quote an unnamed “senior Republican official” as saying of Donald Trump, What is the downside for humoring him for this little bit of time? No one seriously thinks the results will change. He went golfing this weekend. It’s not…

Gohmert Goobers GOP Coup


Rep. Louis Gohmert (Shawn Thew / Pool via AFP – Getty Images file) Sen. Josh Hawley (Greg Nash/Pool via AP, File) There’s “stupid.” There’s “criminal.” And then there’s U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R, Cretins) and Josh Hawley (R, Blind Amibition). Gohmert attempted to use the U.S. District Court to effect a political coup. It didn’t…

It’s Just So Damned Embarrassing


WC has very low expectations for the Alaska Legislature, and even lower expectations of its Republican members. The Legislature’s failure to address the economic realities facing Alaska, its support of Gov. Mike Dunleavy and its failure to grow a collective spine have fully justified those sub-basement expectations. The Legislature has exhausted the Constitutional Budget Reserve,…

The NRA: Watching the Corpse Twitch


We’ve all been stuck in traffic jams caused by gawkers, slowing down to look at the accident scene. And when your car finally crawls to the scene, you gawk, too. It’s human nature; an unattractive aspect of human nature. Psychologists put a nice face on the behavior, suggesting we are seeking survival information. Maybe that’s…

The Donald Acting Out (David Becker/Getty Images)

My Baby Shot Me Down


Cher is not a featured artist on the soundtrack of WC’s life. But the news that U.S. Circuit Court Judge Stephanos Bibas, a Trump appointee, writing for a unanimous panel, had rejected Trump’s appeal from a decision by one of his own appointees shooting down his idiot challenge to the Pennsylvania election results makes this…

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett

Notes on “Originalism”


I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must…

The Public Water Utility Game


WC enjoys the challenge of writing on complex topics that aren’t the usual subject to blog posts. Admitttedly, sometimes with indifferent success. WC reaches for a new benchmark of difficulty in this post: public utility law. In Ada County, Idaho, WC’s adopted home, the public water system is owned by Suez, a French conglomerate. The…

Burning Down the House


Hold tight, wait ’til the party’s over Hold tight, we’re in for nasty weather There has got to be a way Burning down the house — Talking Heads, “Burning Down the House” WC doubts he is the only one who thinks he has fallen into a Talking Heads song. With no competent evidence – accusations…

Tales from Wasilla: Gavin Christiansen


WC was going to let the latest news from Wasilla pass without comment. But subsequent developments pushed WC over the top, so you get the sordid, violent tale of Gavin Christiansen. Gavin Christiansen was a a wannabe Libertarian candidate for Alaska’s State Senate Seat F, the Mat-Su Valley. He withdrew his candidacy, reportedly for “medical…

A Correction to an Earlier Post


WC made a point of thanking retired Justice Bud Carpeneti recently. The specific instance involved disgraced former Alaska Attorney General and serial sexter Kevin Clarkson’s candidacy for the Alaska Supreme Court. WC got the facts wrong. WC’s source – a member of the Alaska Judicial Council at the time – was emphatic that then Chief…

Meet the New Jim Crow


The old Jim Crow was the body of segregationist laws used largely (but not exclusively) in the Old South to suppress and disenfranchise African-Americans. The name “Jim Crow” has nothing to do with corvids; it has been traced to  “Jump Jim Crow“, a song-and-dance caricature of African-American people performed by white actor Thomas D. Rice in blackface. Jim Crow laws…

Billionaires and Public Lands


U.S. Forest Service Road 645 in Boise National Forest has been around long enough that it has a name: the Cabarton-High Valley Road. It’s a dirt road that winds from Snowbank Mountain Road over to Smith’s Ferry, in the mountains above the North Fork of the Payette River. But about three-quarters of the way along…

Snow Geese, Fort Boise WMA, Idho

Saving the Migratory Bird Treaty Act


WC is, of course, a birder and a bird photographer. For more than 25 years, WC has been involved in watching, studying, photographing, chasing and supporting the avifauna of North America and the world. Mrs. WC has been involved even more extensively and much longer. You can imagine our outrage when disgraced Secretary of the…

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…

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…

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…

Retired Justice Walter "Bud" Carpeneti administers the oath of office to Lt. Governor Byron Mallott (Photo credit James Brooks, via Wikipedia) http://www.ajc.state.ak.us/selection/histlog.html

Alaskans Should Be Grateful to Bud Carpeneti


———————- (This blog post contains a factual error. Retired Justice Bud Carpeneti did NOT cas the deciding vte. Details here.) Alaska state government has its flaws, but the judicial selection process isn’t one of them. The authors of Alaska’s Constitution rejected election of judges because it leaves judges of the trial courts and justices of…

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 26 Jul 1996, p. 8

WC’s Epic Fails: The Wink


WC, for 25 months, practiced law with the late Jerry LaParle. By several orders of magnitude, it was the worst professional mistake WC made in his career. One episode will show why WC makes such an unqualified statement. Tensions between WC and LaParle were already high when LaParle announced he would be representing Fairbanks attorney…

Eric Hoffer, 1902-1983

Kevin Clarkson: The Inexplicable Explained


It may come as a surprise to WC’s readers, but Alaska lawyers are required to follow ethical rules. The rules are called the Code of Professional Conduct, and lawyers are routinely disciplined for violating the Code. The discipline may range from a “private admonition” – being woodshedded by the Bar Counsel for the Alaska Bar…

Pet Safe, not escaping felon safe (Note: this is not a product endorsement)

Tales from Wasilla: Use and Misuse of Pet Doors


The Alaska State Troopers report the successful apprehension of 25-year old Tristen Balthazore, arrested on a warrant for violating the conditions of his probation. Balthazore was captured attempting to escape from a residence on Woodruff Loop. The details are delightful. Apparently, Balthazore attempted his escape through a pet door. He must be a very small…

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…