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October 25, 2016

America: love her when she’s right. Right her when she’s wrong.

Also at the immigration rally in NYC. Just a cool photo of some flags.

In 2006, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder was killed in Iraq. The Westboro Baptist Church picketed his funeral because according to them ‘God Hates Gays’ more than he hates war. Albert Snyder, Matthew’s father, sued the “church” and it went through the courts. Snyder lost his case and was ordered to pay all court costs. When the ruling came down I was sitting in the radio studio and I was livid. “What the hell is wrong with this country? This isn’t justice!” My producer, Dave, just shook his head at me through the glass. We went to a break. He opened…

Driving To Alaska’s Political Madness


My parents first came to Alaska in the ’60s, driving a red and white Volkswagen bus. They came from Virginia and like so many Alaskans, they came for one year – that was almost 50 years ago and they never left. I’m happy to report I’m making the trip they did, though by a more northerly route. It’s a bit of a shock to my Alaskan mind to drive through four states in a day without going through a foreign country. There is so much to take in on open road and border crossings. You can drive for days on…

Open Thread: The Shrimp Whisperer


Indie Alaska, a project of Alaska Public Media has released this amazing short doc on Al Laudert and his shrimp art pieces. It’s just too fun not too watch.

Step One: Show Up in November


In the recent Alaska primary election, there was a 15 percent turnout — a record low. Alaskans feel their voices aren’t heard. Many have lost hope. It’s easy to see why. We have a Senate President who works for ConocoPhillips and who, along with his other oil company buddies in the Legislature is refusing to fix our oil tax structure that has us paying out $700 million more in oil-tax credits than we get in production taxes. Efforts to fix our fiscal situation were violently opposed by every special interest group out there. Big mines in Alaska pay a measly…

Shame On Alaska’s Rape Kit Backlog

Photo by Department of Public Safety - Crime Lab DNA sampling

Last fall, Gov. Bill Walker requested to know the number of rape kits held by the Alaska State Troopers and police departments around the state. Thirty-four of the 53 police departments have yet to report their numbers. The 19 that have, including the Troopers, have reported that their inventory goes back more than 20 years and is about 3,600 untested rape kits. Unlike the bumper-sticker policies of the last administration, Walker created a Cabinet position with the specific goal of reducing sexual violence. There isn’t one fix to rid us of our rape epidemic, unless rapists all decide to stop raping, so primary prevention through…

It’s Time for Rep. Cathy Munoz to Resign – Your Letters Show Your True Self


Originally published in I’ve been following politics for a long time. Right out of the gate I was convinced most elected officials were geniuses for figuring out how to screw over the lowest rung on the ladder for their own benefit. That was before the FBI raided and charged 10 percent of our Legislature with taking bribes. I still think the feds missed a few. Still, after having sat through those trials, I became a believer in Hanlon’s Razor: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.” I keep wondering about that rule while following a…

Looking for the Tree of Knowledge in Homer


Originally published in I’m spending a few typical August days with my parents in Homer. There’s lots of catching up to do with old classmates or the random co-worker from my teenage job at the Sourdough Bakery. Lots of fishing and addressing what we refer to as Pop’s “halibut insecurity” when the freezer levels dip below a certain amount. I’m writing this column while mom, a retired primary teacher, is volunteering at the local elementary school to organize backpacks for children who don’t have what they need to start school next week. Pop and I have been discussing what…

Wasilla Republican Threatens Bull With Kitchen Knife For Your Vote

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 1.44.50 AM

“I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm, so when I get to Washington, I’ll know how to cut pork,” that was Joni Ernst just months before she become Congresswoman Joni Ernst. America seems to like someone threatening to cut the balls off of livestock. The television ad, titled “Squeal” caused quite a bit of conversation, but that was an election seasons that had soon to be elected officials firing guns at tax code and printed versions of legislation… it wasn’t the worst ad of the 2014 political season. I’m not sure if Alaska State Senate candidate Lynn Gattis was going for…

Instead of Building a Wall, Build a Mirror


The Republican Party has been passing legislation for years that falls in line with what its nominee Donald Trump says. It’s anti-Muslim, homophobic, misogynistic, racist and rejects science. He’s actually the embodiment of Republican policy. Now Trump has mocked the pain of the parents of Capt. Humayun Kahn, a Muslim soldier who was killed in the Iraq War. He taunted Mrs. Kahn for not speaking from the stage of the Democratic National Convention. She didn’t speak because of her grief, not her religion, as he had not-too-subtlely suggested. Trump wants to ban Muslims from coming to America. He blamed President…

Bird of the Week – Eurasian Bullfinch

Eurasian Bullfinch Female, Fairbanks, 1996

There are some birds that are vagrants, birds that turn up in Alaska but have no business – or anyone to breed with – in the area. Maybe the migration instructions in their brains got wired wrong; maybe they are pioneers trying to expand the range. We’ll be looking at some vagrants intermittently the next few months. This isn’t a very good photo, but it is unique in one way: it’s the one of the first bird photos WC took. In 1996, an Eurasian Bullfinch female turned up at a feeder on Rosie Creek Road, outside of Fairbanks, in the dark…