Cliff Edwards, voicing Jiminy Cricket, sings "When You Wish Upon a Star," from Walt Disney's Pinochio

2021 in Review: WC’s Wishes for 2022


In what passes for tradition here at Wickersham’s Conscience, we spend the last week of each year thinking about the year that is ending, and making our wishes for the coming year. This is the final blog post in that annual tradition. Despite the abject failures of his wishes for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018,  2019 and most recently 2020,…

Trump at the Republican Convention

2021 in Review: Politics


In what passes for tradition here at Wickersham’s Conscience, we spend the last week of each year thinking about the year that is ending, and making our wishes for the coming year. This blog post is firmly in that tradition: a look back at the kidney stone that was 2021 and a look forward to…

Say It With Kilowatts


Holiday decorations are nice, a spot of color in a mostly monochromatic winter. But like most aspects of Christmas, they are a strange mix of the very odd, sharply contrasting parts of American culture. It the mostly crassly commercial, most intensively consumeristic of our holidays. Yet it is a holy day. It’s a day celebrating…

Can We Talk About the Sacklers?


The Sackler family until recently owned Purdue Pharma. Purdue, of course, gave us Oxycontin, a time-release form of a semi-synthetic opiate. Purdue, under the direct management of the Sacklers, sold Oxycontin like Proctor & Gamble’s sells soap: aggressively, with only a passing nod at accuracy, and using every possible marketing channel. The problem is that…

Tucker Carlson Helps Out


It isn’t often that Fox News coughs up something helpful, and it’s exceptionally rare for Tucker Carlson to be useful, but it has happened and WC is here to report it. Mr. Carlson, on December 14, 2021, managed in a single ten minute television screed to provide real world examples of an amazing number of…

Climate Change and Bird Range Expansion


Back in 2017, Emma I. Greig, Eric M. Wood and David N. Bonter co-authored a paper documenting the range expansion of bird species in response to human activity. They chose as their example species Anna’s Hummingbird. They showed that, in response to milder winters, increased urbanization and more supplemental food sources – hummingbird feeders – Anna’s Hummingbirds had…

It Turns Out “Woke” Isn’t New in Alaska


Harry Badger arrived in Fairbanks, Alaska before it was Fairbanks, when there was little more there than E.T. Barnette’s recently erected trading post, Barnette’s Cache. Newly appointed Territorial Judge James Wickersham described Barnette’s cache: A rough log structure, with spread-eagle wings [that] looked like a disreputable pig sty, but was in fact, Barnette’s trading post,…

In the Dumps Over Lumps


Okay, WC admits that in the giant scheme of things to be depressed about, the pending lumping together of bird species hardly makes it on the radar of even dedicated birders. But WC laments the discovery of the genetic basis for variation among the three Redpoll species, and the news that the genetic variation among…

Who Knows What Donald Trump Is Hearing

A Very Special Deal for You


From the guy who brought you Trump University (closed after charged with fraud) Trump Plaza (closed after bankruptcy) Trump Airlines (closed after one year) Trump Steaks (withdrawn after 11 months) Trump Mortgage (failed after 7 months) And a wonderful array of additional bankruptcies, product failures and outright frauds, Donald Trump now presents: Trump Media &…

Notes on the Sheldon Spectrum


Before we get to today’s blog post, here’s a reminder to vote for the Wickersham’s Conscience 2021 Hypocrite of the Year. In 1969, Dr. Ray Sheldon, in the course of circumnavigating North and South America, sampled the water columns across a vast stretch of the Earth’s oceans. What he discovered was that across all of…

Tustanema Still in Drydock

Trusty Tusty Rusty, Musty


Does anyone besides WC remember “The Deacon’s Masterpiece, or the Wonderful One-Hoss Shay,” written by lawyer and jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes? WC was made to memorize chunks of it by his fifth grade teacher. The poem came out of dead storage in WC’s brain as WC was reading about Governor Dunleavy’s attempts to make a…

Mitch McConnell, "Ol' Turtle Neck"

2021 Hypocrite of the Year: Your Ballot


This is your chance to hit back. Vote for the Wickersham’s Conscience’s 2021 Hypocrite of the year and help send a message that you are tired of hypocrisy and are calling it out. Remember: the Winner gets a very nearly fancy certificate notifying them of their award. Here’s a cheat sheet summarizing the candidates and…

Geology in Real Time: the M8.9 Honshu Earthquake


The IRIS Education and Public Outreach (EPO) program has some very spiffy visualization of earthquake activity that captures the movement of the surface of the earth in the course of an earthquake. Check out this display of ground movement from the Honshu earthquake: Here’s the more recent deep earthquake in Peru: WC understands many readers…

Senator Lindsey Graham (R., SC)

Hypocrite of the Year: The Reader Nominations


WC invited readers to submit their candidates for the 2021 Wickersham’s Conscience Hypocrite of the Year. There were many nominations. WC summarizes them in a table below. The columns set out the names, the basis for the nomination, and WC’s response. With too many nominees, the ballot becomes unwieldy and the tools WordPress makes available…

Would You Buy This Guy As a Candidate?

Bad Penny Is Back


Is WC the only one who remembers Harold Stassen? Stassen was the governor of Minnesota 1939-1943. It was the last elective office he held. But that wasn’t for lack of trying. Stassen ran for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 1940, 1944, 1948, 1952, 1964, 1968, 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1992.…

Scott Yenor: Giving Misogyny a Bad Name


Scott Yenor, an associate professor of political science at Boise State University, has achieved his fifteen minutes of fame by telling the National Conservatism Conference in Orlando, Florida last month that women shouldn’t be encouraged to pursue careers, that their role in society is to be wives and mothers. Yenor has also written four books…

The Trump Lawyer Fallout Continues


The U.S. District for for Colorado had an early Christmas present for another group of Trump lawyers. Gary D. Fielder and Ernest John Walker, two Colorado lawyers, filed a case in December 2020 as a class action on behalf of 160 million American voters, alleging there was a gigantic, multi-state conspiracy involving state governors, election equipment…