Dawkins in Alaska


This will be a somewhat longer and more complex post than WC ordinarily produces.  The subject is more complex, and worthy of a longer read. Richard Dawkins spoke at the University of Alaska Fairbanks on July 15, 2010. Davis Auditorium was packed, with a number of folks standing and still more watching in another lecture…

Social Security: What Crisis?


WC gets lots of email and snail mail about Social Security. Most of it is borderline hysteria: the Social Security system is going broke tomorrow, or doubling the deficit, or is in some other kind of deep crisis. WC had even assumed some of it might be true. A search on Google using “social security…

Review: Silk Parachute


Silk Parachute, by John McPhee, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (March 2, 2010) John McPhee, in WC’s opinion, has for some 25 years been America’s greatest non-fiction writer. Whether it has been his epic, four volume series of geology, or esoterica like The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed, or his best work, Coming into the Country, McPhee writes on an…

Glacial Lake Ahtna


WC studied a lot of geology in undergraduate school. And he’s never quite shaken his interest in the area. Alaska’s geology is fascinating. To paraphrase John McPhee, most of Alaska, like most Alaskans, originally came from somewhere else. A case in point: Up until a little less than 10,000 years ago, a very large lake…

Saturday Mornings Won’t Be the Same


For the last 20-25 years, Daniel Schorr was a commentator for National Public Radio. In particular, he did a week in review exchange with NPR host Scott Simon on Saturday mornings. Schorr’s insightful, incisive comments were a delight. His 70 year career as a highly-principled, highly-skilled journalist were brought to bear on current issues. He…

Palin and the New McCarthyism


The Anchorage Daily News‘ excellent Julie O’Malley has a nice piece today on the ex-Gov’s bad grammar and the mock Shakespearean quotes it has generated in the Twitterverse. But there is a much darker side to the cause the Caribou Cathy was clumsily trying to support. The issue is a proposed mosque near the site of…

Dunning-Kruger Effect in Action


Want to watch the Dunning-Kruger Effect in real time? In January 2008, the satiric site The Onion posted a completely fake video of a completely fake Congressional bill that pressed every single neoconservative hot button. These are the same folks who just reported a tornado destroyed the White House (“Local Family Homeless After Tornado Destroys…

Judged by the Company You Keep


Note: WC has been accused of “beating up on” U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller. Nonsense. What the Duck says it well: WC isn’t even using the good bat. On to the blog entry. WC’s mother used to warn him that he would be judged by the company he kept. Joe Miller’s mother either didn’t warn…

Ethan’s Appalling Pandering


WC got an email from the Ethan Berkowitz for Governor Campaign yesterday. Understand, WC has supported Berkowitz, even to the point of campaign contributions. The email proudly announced “Ethan’s Royalty Plan.” It might as well have announced Ethan’s Pandering Plan. The following quotes are lifted directly from that email. 1. With Ethan’s plan, the royalties…

Picking [on] Joe Miller


WC has said before he is no fan of Senator Lisa Murkowski. But Joe Miller’s increasingly strange positions merit additional comment. Some points: 1. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding Joe Miller’s resignation as a part-time, assistant Borough Attorney. There’s rumors Miller accused the Borough Attorney of ethical violations. WC thinks Fairbanks North Star Borough…

The Big Lie and the the Big Deficit


The current Republican and Tea Bag political position is that we can’t afford the government we have, that the United States is nearly bankrupt and the federal deficit is exploding and completely out of control. For example, Senator John Kyl said, “[Y]ou should never raise taxes in order to cut taxes,” said the Arizona Senator during…

Smart Phones and Not-So-Smart Phones


WC likes technology, and can usually be found with various electronic gadgets. But not Microsoft; never Microsoft. But it is amusing the Microsoft killed its new smart phone, the Kin (formerly Pink), just seven weeks after first shipping it. There’s a pretty amusing obituary over at Infoworld. Consumer products that are very cool can be…

Examining Candidate Lisa Murkowski


Reporter: “I see, Senator … And just how long does it take a man to completely renounce everything he’s always stood for? Candidate: “At least 36 hours – the paperwork’s incredible!” – G. B. Trudeau, Doonesbury, August 18, 1976 (#760818) Lisa Murkowski is a moderate Republican, pro-choice and reasonably concerned about social issues. But Alaska’s…

Audie & Jenny Get Hitched


WC and Mrs. WC were delighted to be in Paxson for the occasion of the wedding party for Audie and Jenny. Denali Highway Cabins was closed for the occasion. A wonderful event for two wonderful people. The threatening rain mostly held off until the outdoor ceremony was completed. The company – and especially meeting everyone’s…

Two Thirty-four


This weekend WC and the rest of America will celebrate the 234th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Flags will be waved, speeches will be made, barbecues cooked and excessive food and drink consumed. That’s all fine; it’s fun and usually casualties are kept to a minimum. But at the risk of injecting speechifying into…