Items by Jon Margolis

Thirty days left for politics, petulance
In the waning days of Congress, it begins to look as if the controversial Quincy Library Bill will fall victim to a mixture of "politics and petulance."
A treatise on columnist Alexander Cockburn
A journalist takes columnist Alexander Cockburn of the Nation severely to task for his recent writings, especially about wolf reintroduction.
The latest 1,000-pound gorilla
The American Recreation Coalition, which lobbies for motorized recreation, has become a potent force in the nation's capital as outdoor recreation becomes the dominant natural resource industry, especially in the West.
The Land and Water Fund waits to be tapped
Although the money in the Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund is usually taken for other purposes, this year Congress has agreed to spend the conservation trust fund for land and water conservation.
The scandal culture reaches Bruce Babbitt
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt's tangle with Republicans in Congress who want to have him investigated by a special prosecutor for denying an Indian casino in Wis., is simply another example of the new "culture of scandal" in action.
An 1872 law still calls the shots
In Congress, the 1872 Mining Law still rules despite attempts to change it, but some think there is hope in the future for reasonable reform.
Saving species: A guide for the perplexed
In Congress, Democrats and Republicans engage in complicated battles over the Endangered Species Act.
Montana congressman sweetens a buyout
In complicated congressional wheeling and dealing, a bill to save Yellowstone from mining is held up until some pork is provided for Montana Republican Rick Hill to take home.
A deal is no longer a deal in Washington
In Washington, D.C., Republicans try to resuscitate bills environmentalists thought they had killed.
How a foe saved the Quincy Library Group's bacon
A columnist takes a critical look behind the hoopla surrounding the Quincy Library Group at what has really been accomplished.
Utah's bumbling obscures a valid complaint
The Utah congressional delegation's continued attacks on President Clinton only serve to confuse the real issues raised by the president's declaration of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Critics say 'no surprises' means no protection
A report on the Habitat Conservation Plans conference in Washington, D.C., reveals a lot of uncertainty about whether or not HCPs are good for wildlife.
Politics here consists of hating the East
As the world's great powers meet in Denver and history happens in their countries' capitals, American politicians seem to think of nothing but sex.
Feds learn that a man's ranch is his castle
Federal officials find it difficult to study endangered species when private landowners won't let them on their property.
The Craig bill: Calm down, everybody
The furor over Idaho Sen. Larry Craig's national forest-reforming bill is really much ado about nothing in the rather tame 105th Congress.
Money: the real political organizer
A survey of soft money focuses on Colorado billionaire Philip Anschutz and his generosity to the Republican party.
A U.S. senator who shoots from the hip
A flap over the appearance of Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., in Banana Republic clothing ads highlights the interesting character of a man who seems less interested in being a senator than in doing other things.
Clinton's budget blows off a wilder West
Environmentalists urge President Clinton to budget more money for public lands and conservation in a difficult era of cutbacks and competing causes.
Greens turn from defense to offense
The beginning of a new year and a new Congress stirs a flurry of activity in environmental groups and the creation of an uncertain new group, Republicans for Environmental Protection.
This year, Congress slunk into Washington
In stark contrast to the revolutionary zeal that opened the 104th Congress two years ago, the 105th Congress begins quietly.
Wildlife plan teams with controversy
"Teaming with Wildlife," a proposal to raise money for wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation by adding a small change to the cost of bird-seed, kayaks, hiking boots, etc., faces opposition from both the left and right.
The West is just another ethnic voting bloc
Westerners vote like everybody else, with just a slight Western twang.
Congress' 11th-hour moment of maturity...
After an extended display of childishness, the 104th Congress ends by acting more like grown-ups.
The body politic may edge to the left
The under-rated issue of voter turnout may be the key to a shift in Washington politics.
It's the grizzlies and the birds, stupid
President Clinton may lack the poetry to articulate the irrational, aesthetic love for nature that truly lies behind environmentalism.
The Republicans weren't dull by a long shot
At the Republican National Convention, the party completes its transformation from what it originally was - the nationalist party - into what the Democrats originally were - the party of states' rights.
Doomed park bill just a tool of politicos
The strange history of a controversial parks bill demonstrates that Washington politics often have little to do with actual legislation.
'Takings': Lobbyists love it, the public doesn't
Despite opposition and apathy from the public, "takings" legislation continues to appear in Congress.
This was the revolution that wasn't
The so-called Republican Revolution in Congress stalls because Americans don't really believe in revolutions, despite the hype.
Ski industry masters the sneak attack
The ski industry seeks to slip a bill through Congress that would preserve the current low Forest Service fees resorts pay and let them renew 40-year leases without environmental review.