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March 6, 2015

Palin Outraged Clinton Pulled a Palin


Sarah Palin, whom shame and decency dictate should be hiding out somewhere in the back of a dark deep cave with a bag over her head this week, is instead standing on the tippy top of Mt. Hypocrisy with a giant bullhorn yelling, “Look at me!” Should any of us be surprised? No. Was I still a little surprised? A little. Apparently the thought of raking Hillary Clinton (whom Palin thanked in 2008 for putting “16 million cracks in the glass ceiling”) over the political coals was just too tempting, just too enticing to put in check her own conscience, or…

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Bird of the Week – Black-billed Magpie

Black-billed Magpie, southwest of Delta Junction

WC is staying with corvids – birds of the crow family – a little longer, this time we’ll have a look at the Black-billed Magpie. A bird of myth and legend, like the Common Raven, the species is expanding its range, breeding in the Fairbanks area in recent years. The species readily habituates to people, in fact, when Lewis and Clark first encountered magpies in 1804 in South Dakota, these birds were bold, entering tents to steal meat and taking food from the hand. Magpies sometimes seem to WC to model themselves, showing off their flashy feathers for a photographer. How…

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The Economic Freedom to be Poor


New kids at my high school were rare. Most of us had been together since what felt like the beginning of time — and that wasn’t always a good thing. Remember the time Eric barfed in the lunch room? Yeah. Remember when the elastic in Kim’s sweatpants surrendered during fourth-grade dodgeball? She froze like a statue. New kids were suspect curiosities. It took a while to figure out if they were going to be one of “us.” I remember one in particular. He complained constantly about how lame Homer was. He was in town to live with his relatives for…

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Bird of the Week – Common Raven

Common Raven, Fairbanks, Alaska

You knew it would happen eventually. The Common Raven, Corvus corax, is found essentially everywhere in Alaska, all year around. A lot of folks, WC included, think that the Common Raven should be the state bird. Smart, tough, adaptable and clever. The subject of myth and legend. This is the quintessential Alaska bird. Camera geek stuff: f5.7, 1/250, ISO 125 For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.  

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The Weekend Off – News You Missed


Alaska – Legendary Alaska sprint musher George Attla dies George Attla Jr., unmatched sprint racing champion and one of Alaska’s most decorated mushers, died Sunday at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage at the age of 81. Washington Post – In EPA’s expected ‘veto’ of Pebble Mine in Alaska, foes see a vein of overreach Just north of Iliamna Lake in southwestern Alaska is an empty expanse of marsh and shrub that conceals one of the world’s great buried fortunes: A mile-thick layer of virgin ore said to contain at least 6.7 million pounds — or $120 billion worth —…

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Bird of the Week – Gray Jay

Gray Jay, Chena Hot Springs Road, Alaska

This is likely the North American bird with the most nicknames: Camp Robber, Whiskey Jack, Canada Jay, lumberjack, meat-bird, venison-hawk, moose-bird and gorby. A signature bird of the Boreal Forest, the Gray Jay is also one of the species that most easily habituates to people. It has a huge repertoire of vocalizations, including the soft “cheo” and “chef chef chef” that are mostly commonly heard in the woods. A master of caching food, it’s a species that succeeds and prospers through the long subarctic winter. Camera geek stuff: f5.7, 1/1600, ISO 200 For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.  

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Speedo Sinks Alaska Gov’s Appointee


Amid a firestorm of gasps, giggles, and moral outrage, Alaska’s Governor Bill Walker (I) has withdrawn from consideration an appointee to the Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct. Jeff Landfield’s own conduct came under scrutiny after several Facebook photos came to light, which the governor’s spokesperson Grace Jang said were “disrespectful” and “misogynistic,” a characterization Landfield disputes. No specific images were cited, but Landfield’s personal Facebook page is a cornucopia of party pics, poolside Las Vegas romps, and boozy musings. The position Landfield hoped to take for the Walker administration handles complaints filed against state judges – an unpaid appointment which…

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Send in the GOP Clowns


It’s politics as usual in Juneau. As Alaska burns, Alaska Republicans bloviate. We’re staring down the barrel of multibillion-dollar state budget deficits as far into the future as we can see. Are the Republicans majorities in the Legislature acknowledging that their misguided spending and tax policies got us into this fix? Are they prepared to set a new course? Not bloody likely. Rather than rolling up their sleeves, trying to come up with constructive solutions, they’re trotting out the usual gimmicks to divert public attention from their failures. So, by the lights of legislative leaders, what’s the big problem in…

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Bird of the Week – Steller’s Jay

Steller's Jay, Seward, Alaska

The story may be apocryphal. Georg Wilhelm Steller was a German who served as naturalist on Vitus Bering’s ill-fated expedition to Alaska 1740-41. Among his references for the trip was a plate of a Blue Jay sent to him by one Benjamin Franklin, an amateur naturalist in the British colonies. The similarities between the Blue Jay in Franklin’s plate and the bird later named the Steller’s Jay provided Georg Steller with biological evidence that Vitus Bering had found westernmost North America. This particular bird can’t believe his luck: it has found a fallen seed cake in a downtown Seward park….

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Bird of the Week – Semipalmated Plover

Semipalmated Plover, Fairbanks, Alaska

Alaska’s most numerous small plover, the Semi-palmated Plover comes to Alaska to breed. The “semiplamated” refers to the bird’s feet, which have webbing extending about halfway down the toes. A beautifully marked bird, the nest is simply a scratched bit of gravel, often on a gravel airport runway or a little-used road, but most often on a river bar. The male works hard to lead you away from the nest. Camera geek stuff: f5.7, 1/250, ISO 200 For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.  

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