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May 28, 2017

Send in the Clowns, the Circus is in Session

Photo by Zach D Roberts

Are you still following the news? It’s OK if you’ve glazed over. You’ve got a life and it’s pretty frustrating if you’re trying to live it at the same time you’re following the latest national crisis. Every few hours feels like opening one of those Russian nesting dolls and a new “are you kidding me?” pops out. Special counsel convening, subpoenas turned down, leaked secrets, you’re fired, who knew and when did they know it, and then you realize it’s almost lunchtime. When you try to catch up on local news you get the dreary prospect of the state going into…

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What AKM has Been Doing Lately – from the Mudflats to Tinseltown (I’m not kidding)

I have packed my swanky Hartmann valise; Tinsel Town here I come! And by “swanky Hartman valise” I mean that vinyl duffel bag I got at Costco in South Anchorage seven years ago.

Hello Mudflatters, it’s me! Those who have been here from the beginning know me as “AKMuckraker,” or AKM. Back when I started tapping out anonymous blog posts about Alaska politics from my living room overlooking the mudflats I didn’t put my name on anything because I didn’t figure anyone would be reading it, and wasn’t convinced anyone would care what I had to say anyway. Then insanity struck, and Alaska’s governor got tapped by John McCain to be his VP nominee. The proverbial moose nuggets hit the fan and my readership kept climbing until The Mudflats reached its peak of…

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Oil First, Kids Second

I suppose the saying “dance with the one who brought you” should be changed. “Dance with the one who bought you” is more apropos when watching the Republican Senate majority in Juneau. This week 13 lawmakers voted to drain every single dime out of the statutory budget reserve — also known as our savings account — to pay oil companies more money than the suggested maximum amount. Why? Well, it’s not really a very well-kept secret that come election time their coffers are stuffed from oily folks to make sure our rainy day funds will make the “transfer of wealth”…

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Good Grief, Wasilla – Stop Sending These People to Juneau

Photo: David Eastman's Facebook page

The spanking brand new senator from Wasilla, Republican David Wilson, slapped a journalist from this paper, Nat Herz. He seems nice. Apparently Wilson isn’t familiar with the First Amendment he swore to uphold. Part of it is pretty well known to most, but since it comes right before the Second Amendment, it’s easy to see how it gets glossed over in the race to “Yeah, guns!” Along with freedom of religion, used too often to discriminate, there is prohibition on infringing the freedom of the press. Guess what? If lawmakers could hit journalists and columnists in the face for writing things they…

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An Aurora Named Steve

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I first saw and photographed this phenomenon on August 21, 2014, while shooting the aurora borealis in Portage Valley of the Chugach National Forest with friend and fellow photographer CJ Kale of Lava Light Galleries in Hawaii. The nature of the phenomenon was notably different compared to the typical aurora borealis. It stood straight up from the horizon with a slight bend like a bow, and it pretty much did not move. It had a pale pink hue, and it arced from the west to the east, forming a curved line across the sky. The times I have seen and…

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Easter in Homer: “Isn’t that how we all should feel?”

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This is a holy week for many. I like the years when Passover and Easter fall on the same week. For whatever reasons we gather together with family or our friends — who are the family we choose. I thought it was a good time to resurrect one of my favorite Easter stories. I grew up with Easters. The full-meal deals. Flowered hats and new dresses; I remember a particular gray gingham with lace. It was a bit “Little House On The Prairie” but I kind of liked that. The Little House On The Muskeg was where I lived. Easter…

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If McConnell wanted Dan Sullivan to have principles, he’d give him some.

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It’s no secret that I hold Alaska’s junior senator, Dan Sullivan, in low esteem. It’s a low esteem he has earned. For one thing, he’s a carpetbagger. Alaska was just a convenient horse for his raging ambition. He’s a political mercenary. I cannot understand the “charm” some Alaskans seem to see in him. If Dan cares about anything, it’s the elevation of Dan. Suffice it to say, my opinion of the junior senator was so low he needed to dig a hole to go lower. But this week, Sullivan, Mitch McConnell’s Mini-Me, broke out his shovel. Turns out he’s a…

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From ObamaCare to Trump Don’t Care

copyright Zach D Roberts

Well, it’s a brand new day for my white Alaska friends who have been under the oppressive regime of “Obamacare,” otherwise know as the Affordable Care Act. Finally, after promising for seven years to repeal and replace it, congressional Republicans have introduced Trumpcare as a solution. Included in the pushback is the 10 percent tax on tanning beds. As a person of such blinding whiteness this time of year, I feel liberated. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that just this change will cost $600 million over the next 10 years. For those of us who nerd out and actually read bills,…

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The Last Bird of the Week – Townsend’s Warbler

Townsend's Warbler, University Arboretum, Fairbanks

This is the last of Wickersham’s Conscience’s Birds of the Week. We’ve run through the last species WC photographed in Alaska. The total is 187, if anyone is curious. And for this last species, WC has saved the beautiful Townsend’s Warbler, Alaska’s prettiest warbler. That colorful, strongly marked face makes it easy to identify in the field. While this is a female, and less strongly marked, you can still see what a handsome warbler this is. You can see how much vivid the male’s coloration is in this photo from Anchorage. A beautiful bird, and a good place to wrap…

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ATL Chats w/ Alaskan Photog Carl Johnson

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This week we try something different. This week we’re going to spend out time interviewing just on panelists. This will be the beginning of a new interview series we’re trying out. For the first interview episode we talk to Alaskan nature photographer Carl Johnson. He’s been working on a long term book project Where Water Is Gold about the area would be effected by the creation of the Pebble Mine. A mine that would wipe out a shocking percentage of the worlds pacific salmon. That’s the kind of salmon that you actually want to eat. You can check out Carl’s stunning aurora photos and all his…

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