My Twitter Feed

May 13, 2021

  • Sen. Dan Sullivan – Leading in the Wrong Direction

    SEN. DAN SULLIVAN ADDRESSES THE LEGISLATURE BUCKLE UP To say it was mind-numbing to listen to Sen. Dan Sullivan in his address to a joint session of the legislature is an understatement.  To say that was surprising wouldn’t be true. Mind you, he’s not up for reelection until 2026. His job security is solid. He doesn’t need to pander and whip up “the base” to get votes any more. This was the perfect opportunity to deliver a positive address, looking to the future, reassuring the 44% of Alaskans who didn’t vote for him that maybe he wasn’t so bad, and…

  • Wasilla Rep. wants marriage defense for ‘rape by fraud’

    MISSION ACCOMPLISHED The legislature finalized House Bill 76 this week that allows Alaska to keep millions of dollars in critical federal covid-related funding. But it didn’t come easy. The House passed their version of the bill back in March, then it went to the Senate, which brought it to the floor with 41 amendments, and only 2 days to spare before the money evaporated.  Republicans had some doozies. Majority leader Shelley Hughes (R-Palmer) had an amendment which said that “biological girls should play biological girls, and biological boys should play biological boys” in high school sports. Minority Leader Tom Begich (D-Anchorage) pointed out…

  • Alaska Senate Removes Anti-Masking Judiciary Chair

    THE DEATH OF IRONY Who is responsible for this atrocity? Senator Peter Micchiche (R-Soldotna). This week he talked on air to Dan Fagan (AK right wing radio host who lives in Louisiana) about Anchorage politics. It was pretty rich. Micchiche thinks that Anchorage took this whole deadly pandemic thing way too seriously and… wait for it… “destroyed an economy.” This insightful piece of economic nonsense comes to you from the Senator who cast the deciding vote on SB21, the infamous 2013 legislation which has taken BILLIONS with a B directly out of Alaskans’ pockets and deposited them into the already-gigantic…

  • Dumpster Fires & Middle School Spats

    WAR OF THE MIDDLE SCHOOLERS   The Middle-School-style social media spat between anti-masker Sen. Lora Reinbold and the Governor’s office (in which they are both losing and that’s fine with us) has claimed a new victim. Former sycophantic right-wing radio hack, Dave Stieren, who is now making six figures working for the governor’s ham-fisted communications team has received a smack-down. Sen. Reinbold made a post on her official page complaining about the fact that she’d been fined $250 for taking her mask off during a meeting, and that therefore she was a victim of the “mask tyranny” being “pushed” by…

  • Misfire and $$ Down the Toilet

    SHOW ME THE MONEY It’s budget time in Juneau, and we’re looking at a strange set of circumstances that is complicating the process. Weirdly, it’s a giant influx of cash! You were not expecting that, were you? Joe Biden’s amazing American Rescue Plan means Alaska will receive about $1.1 billion, plus hundreds of millions more for education from K-UA, tribes and local governments, and infrastructure projects. You’ll recall Sen. Murkowski, Sen. Sullivan, and Rep. Young all voted against this bill. Guess they are not interested in bringing home the bacon anymore. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Now, the Alaska House and Senate must determine how to legally invest the money for the greater good of all Alaskans. Thankfully, there…

Headlines

Anti-masking Alaska Senator Banished from Capitol. Maybe.

Mar 12, 2021

Welcome to the theater of the absurd. If you’re getting tired of watching Alaska Senator Lora Reinbold’s middle school “you’re not the boss of me” antics, you’re not alone. Even her fellow Republican Senators have had enough – and they’re the ones who thought she’d be just swell as part of their “Caucus of Equals,” and installed her as the chair of the powerful Judiciary Committee. Because what could possibly go wrong? Should we still be talking about this? No. Does Sen. Reinbold (R-Eagle River) make that impossible? Yes. Since the CDC-compliant mask mandate went into place at the Capitol, Reinbold has been wearing…

No Room for Nazis, & more committee madness

Jan 29, 2021

NO ROOM FOR NAZIS The good news is that the actual Nazi apologist on the Alaska Human Rights Commission was removed. Gov. Dunleavy felt that her defense of Nazi phrases was… “distracting.” I think the word he was looking for was “wrong” or “abhorrent.” But regardless, Anchorage Assembly Member Jamie Allard is off the commission even though she still sits on the Anchorage Assembly. Tuesday night, when Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson addressed the chamber saying we must speak out forcefully against Nazism and hate, she was booed by a contingent of Allard fans in the audience. It’s irrelevant what your political party is, when…

Crimson-mantled Woodpecker

Return of Bird of the Week: Crimson-mantled Woodpecker

Jan 23, 2021

This will be the last Return of Bird of the Week here at the Mudflats. Differences in some of the underlying parts of WordPress have made cross-posting difficult. The Satuday series will continue over at Wickersham’s Conscience if you haven’t had enough birds yet. Thanks for reading the 350 +/- posts. Get out and enjoy the birds. Another very handsome, very colorful woodpecker, the Crimson-mantled is found along the eastern and westerly slopes of the Andes from Columbia to central Bolivia. It’s a medium-sized woodpecker, about the size of the Hairy Woodpecker, and fairly common across its range. There are…

Red-stained Woodpecker, Ecuadorian Amzon

Return of Bird of the Week: Red-stained Woodpecker

Jan 2, 2021

WC will start 2021’s Bird of the Week with a spectacular bird: the Red-stained Woodpecker. The male, in particular, is beautiful bird, with a golden-brown back, a heavily barred chest, a red head and the signature red-staining on primary and secondary feathers in the wings. The female lacks the red staining and red head, and is amazingly cryptic and hard to find. This is a bird of the middle and upper zones of mature trees in the Amazonian basin. It’s uncommon in lower parts of the jungle forest. The first two photos were taken from a tower 120 feet up…

Male Downy Woodpecker, McCall, Idaho

Return of Bird of the Week: Downy Woodpecker

Dec 26, 2020

Common, very widely distributed and tolerant of humankind, the Downy Woodpecker is easily attracted to a suet feeder. Its range extends across North America, from the Seward Peninsula in Alaska to southern Florida, and from southern California to Labrador. A smaller version of the Hairy Woodpecker, it’s interesting because the male and female generally forage on different parts of a tree or shrub. The male usually probe smaller branches; the female on larger branches and the trunk. There are seven subspecies. The female above is medianus, found across the boreal forest; the male is leucurus, fond in the Rocy Mountains…

Hairy Woodpecker, Fairbanks, Alaska

Return of Bird of the Week: Hairy Woodpecker

Dec 19, 2020

The Hairy Woodpecker is one of the most widely distributed and most highly variable bird species in North America. Found from the south slopes of the Brooks Range in northern Alaska to the mountains of Panama, it’s familiar to anyone who has hung up a suet feeder. But in the woods, it’s fairly rare to see a Hairy Woodpecker. For a big bird, that drums frequently, it can be hard to find. They aren’t “hairy,” of course. The name comes from the long, thread-like feathers in the whitish areas on their backs. Those feathers are difficult to see in the…

Females Black-backed Woodpecker, Alaska

Return of Bird of the Week: Black-backed Woodpecker

Dec 5, 2020

Ornithologists called the Black-backed Woodpecker “enigmatic” and the term is apt. It’s a bit of a specialist, inhabiting by preference damaged forests. Historically, in Alaska it was found reliably in recent forest fire burns, but with the increased numbers and extent of wildfires, it seems to be more dispersed now. It also prefers forests invaded by various tree-eating/wood-boring beetles, yet has not extended its Alaska range into southern Alaska in response to the massive invasion of bark beetles there. This is primarily a boreal forest species, ranging across the forests of central Alaska and Canada, but is also found in…

Pileated Woodpecker, McCall, Idaho

Return of Bird of the Week: Pileated Woodpecker

Nov 28, 2020

We have exhausted WC’s even marginally decent photos of Cracids – the Chachalacas, Curassows and Guans. So we’ll shift to woodpeckers, the Piciformes, and start with North America’s largest surviving woodpecker, the Pileated. In the late 1990s, WC was flyfishing for steelhead trout along the Situk River, in southeastern Alaska, near Yakutat. One early foggy spring morning, WC and a buddy set out across the water meadows east of the river, aiming upstream to get away from the crowd. From a stand of deciduous trees not far from the Forest Service road, WC heard a sound like a hatchet striking…