Senator Lisa Murkowski, Climate Change Denier (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Following Up and Following Down: February 2015


Yes, it’s true. To paraphrase the boys at Car Talk, you’ve wasted another perfectly good month reading Wickersham’s Conscience. It’s already time for another quick recap, a smirking wink at Real Journalism, as WC revisits earlier posts and omitted stories. Sometime this month, the National and Alaska media woke up and discovered that – gasp –…

There’s Something Fishy About This Case


John Yates was a commercial fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico. He was caught by a National Marine Fisheries Service agent with a large number of under-sized red grouper. The agent measured the fish, segregated the undersized fish and directed Yates not to destroy the fish. When the agent was gone, Yates ordered a crew member…

A Frosty Well & Good

Well & Good


WC will be on semi-break the next week or so. It’s not a vacation; it’s more or less the opposite of a vacation. Depending on events, there may or may not be posts. /WC

Spotted Towhee

Hotel Special Guests


WC and Mrs. WC were walking the grounds of a lodge less than a quarter mile from SeaTac International Airport. A portion of those grounds are a “recovered” wetland. The “recovery” seems mostly to have involved hauling away a lot of trash, but the result has been an island of habitat in a sea of…

Senator Lisa Murkowski, Climate Change Denier (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Senator Murkowski Reports the Sky Is Falling


Senator Lisa Murkowski (R, Exxon) announced to the Alaska Legislature last week that President Barack Obama plans to shut down the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. WC can’t make this stuff up. Walking the same path that former Governor Sean “Captain Zero” Parnell used to scare Alaskans into giving Big Oil $2 billion dollars, she’s trying to frighten Alaskans into some…

Chihuly!


Dale Chihuly is a truly extraordinary artist whose medium is epic scale hand blown glass. WC offers a few photos of his permanent exhibition in Seattle, “Chihuly Garden and Glass,” for your pleasure. This is a tiny, tiny fraction of the exhibit itself. Some of the sculptures are very large; all are three dimensional. They don’t…

Angry Elephant Acting Out – Photographer Unknown

Five Reasons to Loath the Republican Party


  WC is an unrepentant liberal. But a registered Independent. The Democrats have made mistakes; you can’t have lived through the Vietnam War without acknowledging that horrific example. But what has happened over the last 15 years is that the Republican Party, the party of Abraham Lincoln, has become so loathsome, so despicable that it…

NSA Hacks: What’s Goes Around


Kaspersky Labs, the Russia-based computer security firm, has published a detailed analysis of what is almost certainly an NSA hack that has affected computers in at least 42 countries, some of them U.S. allies. Kaspersky calls the author of the malware the “Equation Group,” but there’s little question its the United States, and specifically the…

Ethically challenged Anna MacKinnon (R, Eagle River)

Actually, Senator MacKinnon, It Is a Conflict


Senator Anna MacKinnon (R, Eagle River) is the new co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Her husband, John MacKinnon, is the executive director of Associated General Contractors of Alaska. Senator MacKinnon doesn’t think it’s a conflict of interest. She’s wrong. If you want to split hairs, it’s probably not a violation of the loosey-goosey Alaska…

Amazonomachy, Parthenon Metopes, Panel 9, part of the Elgin Marbles, British Museum (Photo by Frozen Feather Images, 1972)

Lord Elgin’s Looting


He’s perhaps the most famous looter in history. Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin, while serving as the rather grandly titled “Ambassador Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of His Britannic Majesty to the Sublime Porte of Selim III, Sultan of Ottoman Empire,” carried off half of the ancient treasures of the Parthenon and the Acropolis.…

Prof. Fred Inbau, left, receiving an award from Illinois Governor Ogilvie

WC’s Mentors: Freddie the Cop


Sometimes a person serves as an anti-mentor, a horrible example that operates as a life lesson. In that sense, Freddie the Cop was WC’s mentor in criminal law and procedure at Northwestern University School of Law. The photo of Freddie the Cop getting an award from Governor Richard Oglvie is a life lesson all by…

First Sullie, Now Stewart


WC understands that only babies like change. But sheesh. First Andrew Sullivan and now Jon Stewart? Who’s going to explain global warming to Congress: The ice cube demonstration is the single best response to the climate change deniers that WC has seen. Anyway, Jon Stewart will be leaving The Daily Show soon, at some unspecified date…

Donna Turner, Convicted Felon

Tales from Wasilla: Donna Turner


Strictly speaking, this is a tale from Big Lake, not Wasilla, but from anywhere outside of Mat-Su, it’s more or less the same place. The Big Lake Chamber of Commerce let Donna Turner, owner of a wedding rental shop, serve as treasurer for a reported eight years, apparently without audit or bonding. Turner embezzled some…

Mohenjo-daro, Pakistan National Museum, via Wikicommons

Western Civ 101: Where We Come From


WC was privileged to have a Western Civilization professor who was passionate about the roots of western civilization. And he decried the tendencies of the deeply religious to deny those historic roots. Prof. Schneider came to mind recently when WC was reading commentary about the Pakistan National Museum by Pakistanii novelist Kamila Shamsie: The Prehistoric Room…

North Pole Refinery, a/k/a Flint Hills

Alaska Energy Prices: A Primer


Reader AKNRC wonders, I’ve always wondered how these politicians can claim that drilling here in the U.S. will assuredly bring lower prices for gas & oil in the states. If this were true, why is it that Alaska has some of the highest gas prices in the country? Is there anything drilled for in AK…

An Open Letter to Senator Cathy Geissel


Dear Senator Geissel: I have reviewed Senate Joint Resolution 11, introduced and sponsored by you. The title of the resolution is embarrassing, “Urging the President of the United States and the United States Congress to acquire the area commonly known as Central Park on Manhattan in New York City on behalf of the federal government; urging…

Andrew Sullivan and Bowie

Sullie Quits. Now What?


NOTE: This is a blog post about Andrew Sullivan. Not Dan “The Carpetbagger” Sullivan, U.S. Senator (R, Ohio, Maryland, God Help Us)  or Dan “The Meat Ax” Sullivan, erstwhile Mayor of Los Anchorage. There are too many Sullivans. WC blames the Irish. Oxford-educated, gay, Roman Catholic, avowed conservative, Obama-supporting, HIV-positive, beagle-loving and utterly brilliant blogger Andrew Sullivan…

Beaufort Sea Program Area, 2017-2022

The State of Alaska: Spoiled Child or Self-Destructive Jerk?


All of Alaska’s elected officials had derided, bewailed and bemoaned the horrible wrongs done to Alaska by the Bureau of Ocean Management’s Five-Year Plan for Alaska’s arctic waters. Governor Walker wouldn’t even rule out secession. Joe Vogler lives on. Now WC is on record objecting to oil and gas drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi…