WC’s Epic Fails: Augustana Creek


It wasn’t called Augustana Creek at the time of these events. So far as WC knows, the creek and the glacier at its head didn’t have an Anglo name. and if the Athabaskan people had a name for it, that seems to have been lost. The Richardson Highway, as it runs through the central Alaska…

Are We Clubbing Baby Seals?


WC is being deliberately vague in this post about where and when the events reported here occurred, and has altered the facts slightly to make the players difficult to identify. Their identities aren’t the point of the post. It wasn’t baby seals; it was baby sea otters, not that that’s any better. But, yes, an…

How Tough? Pretty Damn Tough


You’ve probably never heard of Thomas Lloyd, Billy Taylor, Charley McConagall or Pete Anderson. They were gold miners, who had followed the gold rush to Fairbanks, Alaska in 1903. Gold miners in Alaska in the 1900s were pretty tough. Certainly tougher than east coast poseurs like Dr. Frederick Cook, a man who didn’t climb Denali…

The Right’s War on Citizens


One of the more troubling aspects of the political right’s recent actions is its war against citizens. WC will draw on three specific examples from his former home state of Alaska, but the same case can be shown for other states where the political right has control of the government. The Two Rivers Fire DistrictAs…

Or Maybe It Was Humble Pie?


The Alaska Republican Party Central Committee met earlier this month, the first meeting since the November 2022 election. We don’t know what they had for dessert, but we know what the main entrée was: crow. Great big servings of crow. Mmm. Tastes just like chicken.1 You see, the Alaska Republican Party Central Committee had censured…

A [Belated] 20th Anniversary


It was the second strongest earthquake WC has experienced. Only the Good Friday Earthquake in 1964 was stronger. But the November 3, 2002 Denali Fault Quake was M 7.9, and the epicenter, under Susitna Glacier, was only 82 miles from Fairbanks. It’s worth marking the anniversary, and noting what geologists have puzzled out about the…

WC Thanks Gail Fenumiai


Gail Fenumiai, Alaska’s Director of Elections, is retiring. Actually, retiring again. Former Alaska Lt. Governor Kevin Meyer – nominally in charge of statewide elections under the Alaska Constitution – somehow persuaded her to return in 2019, four years after she had left the post. It’s hard to imagine a more challenging statewide position than Director…

Poor Tom Cotton is So Confused


Anyone who has lived in Alaska for very long knows that those poor folks in Arkansas get confused about the official abbreviation for their state and the official abbreviation for Alaska. All those “As,” Ks” and “Ss,” WC supposes. Of course, Arkansas is “AR,” and Alaska is “AK.” That kind of confusion is the only…

A 20 Year Plan for Alaska


One of WC’s readers noted that while WC has heavily and frequently criticized Alaska’s fossil fuel-driven economy, there has been no suggestion of an alternative. WC, the reader suggests, should offer some constructive criticism for once. Okay. Here’s a 20 year plan to rebuild Alaska’s economy. It’s not going to please everybody – it likely…

Notes on Alaska’s 2022 General Election


Alaska has brought off its first, full general election using the ranked voting system adopted by citizen initiative back in 2020. WC has some thoughts. For good and sufficient reasons, WC doesn’t write much about The Quitter, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. But WC will make a small exception here and note that Palin has…

Tales from Wasilla: Mom’s Property


You can make the case that some Wasillians shouldn’t be entrusted with private property. The Alaska Supreme Court’s decision last week in Evertson v. Sibley et al. would be a pretty compelling bit of evidence. Karin Eriksson,1 a mother allegedly suffering from declining mental faculties, had two children, a son named Krister and a daughter…

Proposed King Cove-Cold By Road

King Cove’s Road: A Third Update


Readers may remember the ongoing BUCIP – WC’s term for a Big, Ugly, Complicated, Intractable Problem – involving road access between the Alaska communities of King Cove and Cold Bay. It takes a thousand words just to provide an oversimplified summary of the long-running dispute. Readers who are curious should take a refresher course in…

Calling Out the Stupid


At times the sheer, perverse, pig-headed stupidity of Americans threatens to overwhelm WC. It’s self-destructive, appalling and likely to be fatal soon if we cannot find a way to overcome it. You think WC is exaggerating? You think this claim is hyperbolic? WC offers three examples – there could as easily be dozens – to…

Field Notes: Glacial Moraines


While the State of Idaho has many fine points, it does not have glaciers worthy of the name. It has had them in the past, and they did some dramatic alteration of the terrain, but those glaciers are long gone. While the ice may have all melted, the geologic signatures of glaciers are everywhere. Among…

Ben Stevens, 2007, via KTUU

Before We Canonize Ben Stevens


One of the weirdest things about American politics is the virtual canonization of crooked politicians when they die. America did it with Dick Nixon. If you listened to the eulogies at Nixon’s funeral, you’d never have guessed he resigned in disgrace, and avoided a long prison sentence only by accepting a blanket pardon from President…

Tales from Wasilla: The Triumph of the Stupid


Readers ask why WC “picks on Wasilla.” That would be because no other community WC knows is as egregiously, consistently and pridefully stupid as Wasilla. If you think WC is exaggerating, let’s have a look at the latest folly to emerge from the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. The Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly voted October 4, 2022 to ban…