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May 5, 2021

Flaks, Facts & Intelligent Debate: Health Care in Alaska

Back on July 21, 2012, Shannyn Moore wrote a heartfelt essay on the State of Alaska’s reported consideration of the idea of sending some state-insured retirees outside for medical treatment. Moore is her mother’s primary support. That support would be missing, Moore pointed out, if her mother had to go Outside for treatment. In an attempted response, Commissioner Becky Hultberg of the Alaska Department of Administration wrote a Compass piece for the Daily News. Well, she is supposed to have written it. We’ll have to hope it was her press aide, who has since been disciplined. Because as a response…

It Can’t Happen Here – The Costa Concordia

By Wickersham’s Conscience The Costa Concordia still lies on her side off the Tuscan coast, with 16 confirmed dead and many still missing. Alaskans know, to their sorrow, that not all ship’s captains are scrupulously careful, not all crew members fully qualified, and not all accidents truly accidents. A Dutch salvage company is struggling to off load the half million gallons of fuel still on the ship, before something fails and another of the world’s pristine marine environments falls victim to industrialization. In this case, industrial tourism. But as sad as the Costa Concordia’s story is, as tragic as the…

To Sean Parnell – Beluga Whales? Told You So.

By Wickersham’s Conscience WC’s readers will recall that back in June 2011, WC was critical – well, vitriolic, really – of Governor Parnell’s decision to litigate the endangered species classification of the Cook Inlet Beluga Whales. Because Parnell’s other bad decisions had removed Alaskan officials from the group that develops the recovery plan, Alaska had no seat at the table that would affect use of Cook Inlet for decades. All the eggs were in the litigation basket, and the basket was ridiculously flimsy. Today the State’s basket collapsed and its eggs all broke: Chief U.S. District Judge Lambreth threw out the…

We’re #1! Alaskans, Violence, and Firearms

By Wickersham’s Conscience This post started out as a semi-serious recounting of one of the two documented instances of a cougar – a mountain lion – in Alaska. It seems that back in 1989, an off-grid homesteader outside of Wrangell named Paul Matteoni claimed to have opened his door and have seen two green eyes. He didn’t know what it was, so he shot it. A quintessential Alaskan reaction. What “it” was turned out to be a cougar. Probably the big cat had wandered down the Stikine River Valley from British Columbia, where there is a small but stable population….

Voices from the Flats – Gus the Stud Muffin

By Wickersham’s Conscience WC’s house is the home to two owls, a Boreal Owl and a Great Grey Owl. They aren’t a huge inconvenience, once you get used to the frozen mice thawing in the refrigerator. But last night for Alaska Bird Observatory’s Owlapalooza, WC and Mrs. WC hosted two visiting owls from Anchorage, Gus the Great Horned Owl and Ghost, a Snowy Owl. Gus went into the deck owl mew. Ghost stayed in a kennel in the house. At about full darkness, Gus started calling. And called all night. About 1:00 AM, Gus started getting a response. In fact,…

Ben Stevens – the One that Got Away

An Open Letter from Wickersham’s Conscience to Attorney General John Burns about Ben Stevens, former State Senate President and son of the late Senator Ted Stevens. August 11, 2011 John J. Burns, Attorney General Department of Law PO Box 110300 Juneau, AK 99811 Re: Ben Stevens Dear Attorney General Burns: The Anchorage Daily News reports today that Ben Stevens will not be subject to federal prosecution. Based on the federal prosecutors’ track record in Operation Polar Pen has been pretty pitiful. But just because the Feds have abandoned their claims against Ben Stevens doesn’t mean the State of Alaska has to let him…