Looking Back

Following Up and Following Down: October 2019


Another month gone by. Meaning it’s time for WC to make his very nearly monthly, very feeble effort at journalism, or at least diligence, following up on earlier stories and noting matters that didn’t quite make full blog posts. Trial started October 22 in the State of New York’s claims again ExxonMobil. Readers may recall…

Mark Twain on School Boards

Tales from Wasilla: The Mat-Su School District’s Problem


The Matanuska-Susitna School District has a problem. In 2016, Superintendent Deena Bishop quit to become the Anchorage School District’s superintendent of schools. The Mat-Su School Board appointed Ass’t Superintendent Gene Stone as Acting Superintendent at Mat-Su. In December 2016, the Mat-Su School Board made Dr. Stone the permanent superintendent. In March 2017, he “resigned”. The…

It can be perfectly legal, and still an unacceptable ethical conflict of interest

Conflicts of Interest: Two Case Studies


Few things are more subversive to the values of a democracy than conflicts of interest in government officials. At the least, they create the appearance of impropriety; at their worst, they are both corrupt and corrupting. Here are two case studies from Trump Administration appointments that illustrate the evil that is a conflict of interest.…

"Doonesbury" cartoon, April 21, 1973, By Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau

Guilty! Guilty, Guilty, Guilty!


The Washington Post, the newspaper that won a Pulitzer Prize itself for its Watergate reporting, self-censored Trudeau’s cartoon of Mark Slackmeyer’s screed. And, of course, Trudeau (and Slackmeyer) were absolutely correct. Nixon’s attorney general and campaign manager was found guilty in 1977 of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and perjury and sentenced to two and a half…

Rep. Mark Meadows, who promised in 2012 to send President Obama "back to Kenya." U.S. (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Parsing Republican Responses


It has been instructive to watch Republican responses to Trump’s behavior and the empowered impeachment effort. The few Republicans who still put their principles over politics – you can count them on one hand with digits left over – have made their positions clear. Senators Romney (R, Utah) and Sasse (R, Nebraska) have been clear…

University of Alaska Fairbanks in Happier – If Colder – Times, Photo by Erin Strang's spouse, 2012

Ben Franklin* Was Right


The University of Alaska was an important part of WC’s life the entire time he lived in Alaska. A partial list: Elementary school field trips to the University of Alaska Museum (then housed in the Eielson Building) and the UA power plant Training for high school cross-country running and cross-country skiing on the Skarland Ski…