Jackson Browne, 50 Years On


Jackson Browne wrote “These Days,” a song of aching loss and regret, in 1964, when he was just sixteen years old. There are highly successful songwriters who, in their 80s, still haven’t written anything as good as Browne’s first work as a teenager. “These Days” has been recorded by everyone from Nico to Gregg Allman…

The Hackers’ Dirty Little Secret


Key Bank recently notified all of its current and recent mortgage loan customers that the customers’ personal data had been stolen. The stolen information included names, mortgage property addresses, mortgage account numbers and information, home insurance policy numbers and information, phone numbers, and the first eight digits of Social Security numbers. That’s pretty serious. Any…

What Ann Brown Didn’t Say


Ann Brown is WC’s former law partner and the current chair of the Alaska Republican Party. On September 13, the Anchorage Daily News once again gave her space for an opinion column, in which she woodshedded her fellow Republicans for letting a Democrat, Mary Peltola, get elected to Alaska’s sole seat in the House of…

Mind How You Go


Five months before he died, Terry Pratchett wrote five letters, sealed them in envelopes and locked them in the safe in his office to be opened after his death. This was the one he addressed to me. Wiltshire 4th October 2014 Dear Rob, So. I have gone. There were days when I felt I had already gone…

Sorting Out Trump’s Crimes, Part 1


Yes, WC understands it would take a multi-volume encyclopedia-length effort to sort out Donald Trump’s many crimes, so WC proposes to focus on just the most recent ones, those involving the presence of presidential records and classified documents at Mar-a-lago, Trump’s tasteless offense to architecture in Palm Beach, Florida. Heck, even for the post-presidency criminal…

The United Plates of America


Most of Alaska, like most Alaskans, originally came from somewhere else. John McPhee, Assembling California WC’s second year geology classes at the University of Oregon – prosaically enough, Geology 201, 202 and 203 – were taught mostly by visiting professors. The second quarter class focused on structural geology, a refreshing change after the tedious and…

The Last of the Crickets


For a lot of old Boomers, Buddy Holly and the Crickets were one of the seminal roots of rock and roll music. They pioneered not just the music that’s the soundtrack for WC’s generation; they also invented that distinctive band composition: a guitar-vocalist (Buddy Holly), a drummer (Jerry Allison), a bassist (Joe Mauldin) and a…

Thwaites Gets Ribbed


“Thwaites,” in this instance, is Thwaites Glacier and Ice Shelf, located in Antarctica, west and a little south of the Antarctic Peninsula and Ellsworth Land, it dumps into the Amundsen Sea. “Ribbed” is, well we will get to that in a minute. Thwaites has gotten a lot of press. Rolling Stone, back in 2017, called…

Vic Kohring Selling Out, Photo Courtesy FBIourtes

R.I.P. Vic Kohring, 1958-2022


Vic Kohring was a crook. He was a crooked politician, captured on video accepting cash from VECO CEO Bill Allen for his vote on a tax law Allen wanted, and then soliciting still more cash. Yes, the U.S. Department of Justice wrongfully withheld evidence at Kohring’s trial. But there’s still those damning videos from Suite…

Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, in the House chamber on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019 at the Alaska State Capitol. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

An Open Memo to Gail Fenumiai


Ms. Gail Fenumiai, DirectorDivision of ElectionsCourt Plaza Building240 Main Street, 4th FloorJuneau, AK 99801 Re: Matter of David Eastman Dear Director Fenumiai: Wickersham’s Conscience has long admired your reasoned and principled approach to the sometimes challenging issues of Alaska elections. For example, WC wrote applauding your decisions in Senator Lisa Murkowski’s write-in campaign, decisions that…

It’s Not a Bug, It’s a Feature


As you might imagine, WC is immensely pleased that Alaskans selected Mary Peltola to fill the balance of the late Don Young’s term as Alaska’s sole U.S. representative. Representative-elect Peltola is all of the things Sarah Palin is not: thoughtful, articulate, in touch with Alaskans and their views, informed and compassionate. She’s also the first…

Tales from Wasilla: David Allen Nagl


In the summer of 1970, a neighbor was kind enough to loan WC his truck and camper. WC and three buddies drove to what was then Mt. McKinley National Park. Back then, the Parks Highway was mostly blueprints; to get to the Park you had to drive down the Richardson Highway to Delta Junction, then…

Ryan Zinke: Ethical Superfund Site


This post was written pre-surgery. Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund, the very worst environmentally contaminated sites are designated for cleanup by a scoring system called the Hazard Ranking System. If they are bad enough, they get on the National Priorities List – a euphemism if WC…

Knees for the Needy: An Update


WC had total knee replacement surgery on his right knee Tuesday. The good news is that in a few months WC should be walking without pain for the first time in two years. The bad news is that the surgery has WC pretty banged up. As a result, WC’s ability to research, write and publish…

Geology in Real Time: A Barry Arm Update


The thing about landslides is that they move in slow motion until they don’t. WC has written earlier about the potential landslide-generated tsunami in Barry Arm. This is an update. Barry Arm is a glacial fjord in northwestern Prince William Sound, Alaska. The westerly wall of Barry Arm is badly fractured rock, hanging hundreds of…