Friday, August 31, 2007

Kott/Weyhrauch Pre Trial 1

I went to the US District Court Clerk's office today to see what their public computers might tell me about the upcoming trials of Pete Kott and Bruce Weyhrauch. For one thing it listed all the attorneys. In this post I'll give a little background I found through Google on the defendants' attorneys.

Bruce Weyhrauch’s attorneys

Ray R. Brown has been a shareholder in the firm since 1994. His legal interests are centered on complex civil litigation and trial practice. He is particularly interested in plaintiff's medical malpractice and litigation that involves the use of scientific or technical expertise. Ray graduated cum laude from Gonzaga University School of Law in 1981. He has an undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Texas at Arlington. He has also attended and completed the Trial Practice Institute of the National Criminal Defense College at Mercer Law School.

Following law school and his admission to the bar, Ray served as a senior felony trial attorney and later as the training director for the Alaska Public Defender Agency. He also served as an Assistant District Attorney with the State of Alaska Department of Law, Criminal Division. Following a successful career in the criminal justice system, Ray decided to pursue a civil practice.

Ray's main areas of civil practice include plaintiff's medical malpractice, employee side labor law, class action litigation and serious injury or death cases.

He has tried to verdict more than 150 cases. He is "AV" rated by Martindale-Hubbell and is listed in the Best Lawyers in America since 2003. He served on the Alaska Bar Association Board of Governors (1995-98), and is a frequent presenter at Trial Advocacy programs both in Alaska and in the lower 48. He is a member of the Alaska Academy of Trial Lawyers, Association of Trial Lawyers of America and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He loves traveling, his family and his two dogs. Source

Douglas Pope

Practice Areas: Civil Practice; Personal Injury; Products Liability; Wrongful Discharge; Antitrust; Commercial Torts; Corporate Law; Constitutional Law; Appellate Practice.

Admitted: 1973, Alaska; 1974, U.S. District Court, District of Alaska; 1976, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; 1978, U.S. Supreme Court

Law School: Willamette University, J.D., 1973

College: University of Alaska, B.S., 1970

Member: Alaska and American Bar Associations; The Association of Trial Lawyers of America; National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; Alaska Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Biography: (Also Member, Pope & Katcher)

Reported Cases: Hammond v. Hickel, 588 P.2d 256 (Alaska 1978); Brown v. United States, 665 F.2d 271 (9th Cir. 1982); Johns v. Commercial Fisheries Entry Comm., 699 P.2d 334 (Alaska 1985); Hickel v. Cowper, 874 P.2d 922 (Alaska 1994); Capital Info. Group v. Office of Governor, 923 A.2d 29 (Alaska 1996); Brooks v. Wright, 971 P.2d 1025 (Alaska 1999); Chijide v. Maniilaq Assoc. of Kotz., 972 P.2d 167 (Alaska, 1999); Cable v. Shefchik, 985 P.2d 474 (Alaska, 1999).

Born: Fairbanks, Alaska, June 1, 1945

Pete Kott's Attorneys

Margaret R. Simonian ("Meg") joined Friedman, Rubin & White in 2003. Her prior experience includes a successful career as a criminal defense attorney at the Alaska Public Defender's Office and the Office of Public Advocacy. In this capacity she gained valuable trial skills. Before that, she served as a law clerk for Judge Eric Sanders on the Alaska Superior Court. She is a member of the Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions Committee, the Alaska Trust Board of the Alaska Trial Lawyers Association and the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Meg was born and raised in Alaska. She graduated with honors from the University of Alaska. While an undergraduate, she was a national debate champion and nationally honored as a Truman Scholar. She graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in 1997. She is admitted to practice in Alaska.


James A. Wendt

I couldn't find a bio on Wendt. I couldn't find a law firm website. Just the bare minimum. From I got this:

James A. Wendt
Anchorage, Alaska
(Third Judicial District)

Featured BV Peer Review Rated Lawyer Source

He did run in the Humpy’s Half Marathon August 16, 2007 finishing at a pretty respectable pace for his age group. He came in 104th out of 200 finishers listed at 1:56:43, a 8:55 miles/per minute pace. Not bad for 58 years old.

Brown was supposed to teach a seminar for the Alaska Bar Association on September 14, but he's been replaced - presumably because he expects this trial not to be finished. We was going to teach "Look Good" Cross-Examination with Terry MacCarthy which covers:

  • The 3 Types of Cross
  • How to Tell Your Story Persuasively through Cross to the Jury
  • How to Structure Your Cross with Transitions and Looping
  • How to Control Your Witness Without Appearing Overbearing
  • How to Elicit and Reinforce Helpful Information from Your Witness
  • How to Use Short Statements Effectively
  • How to Respond to Objections
Maybe we can watch for these in the courtroom.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Too Nice to Stay In

Towards the end of August we get some spectacular days, touched with enough chill at night to remind us that summer is nearing its end and we better take advantage of the warm days we have left. So we ordered take out at the Thai Kitchen and headed down the Seward Highway. We had made reservations for a table with a view at McHugh Creek.

Then an after dinner stroll. There were red berries everywhere. In this picture they are mostly wild mountain ash (small leaves), and a few devil's club (large leaves).

The Tlingit have turned to devil's club for a list of ailments you wouldn't wish on an enemy: from coughs and colds to stomach ulcers, tuberculosis and hypoglycemia. Tribe members steep it into teas, mash it into salves, chew, sip and steam it. It's also used to ward off evil. The plant, dubbed the "Tlingit aspirin" has not been approved for medicinal use by the Food and Drug Administration.
You can hear this piece on the Tlingit's use of Devil's Club on an NPR site with Quetzel Levine. says this about baneberries:

White Baneberry (Actaea pachypoda)
White Baneberry is also known as Doll's Eyes.

Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant, it is a perennial which can reach 80cm in height (31inches).
Leaves: The leaves are alternate. Each leaf is divided.
Flowers: The flower parts are not discernable with the naked eye and are up to 1cm wide (0.4 inches). They are white. Blooms first appear in mid spring and continue into late spring. Numerous filaments obscure the petals and sepals.
Fruit: Conspicuous white berries, sometimes red, in a terminal spike on thick pedicels. The shinny white berries have dark spots hence the vernacular name or Doll's Eyes. The name Bainberry refers to the fact that the attractive berries are poisonous.
Habitat: Rich woods.

Looking south down Turnagain Arm.

Rose hips have been an important food for all Native American tribes where any kind of roses can be found. Most of them are very sweet. They are extremely high in vitamin C, much more so than oranges, for example. Dried, they keep well, and will always be available in winter. Rose hips have a tangy, yet sweet, flavor and can be used fresh, dried, or preserved. The simplest use is to steep them for tea. Rose hip syrup, puree, jam, jelly, and sauce can be used as is or as a flavoring in other recipes.
from Jolene Adams

Abundant on the trail, they make for a great snack. They're still a little hard now and full of seeds. They get softer and sweeter after the first frost. But I like being able to pick them as I walk and pop them in my mouth.

Looking up toward Anchorage along the tracks about 9:45pm.

Blogging Ted Stevens

While checking how people got to my blog, I found a link from Political Blogging - US Senators where you can look up any US Senator and see what people are blogging about him or her. The link above is to the Ted Stevens pages - 10 pages, each with ten trailers for blog postings that mention Stevens. Most are rehashed stories most aware Alaskans already know about. But the cumulative effect of scanning so many blogs is telling. Our senior senator is now an American symbol of corruption in the eyes of the rest of the world.

Drew Carey's comment in a YouTube segment at Government Bytes (National Taxpayers' Website) about hosting both the Price is Right and a new game show The Power of Ten is probably the most telling. His mention of Ted Stevens is so off the cuff, as though everyone should know what he's talking about.
I thought about it. You're giving away prizes all day and making everybody happy. I really can't complain. Honestly, my whole take on it has turned around now. Now I think you couldn't do better. Here's a car, here's some money. And it's not even your money. You're giving away money and getting credit for it. I feel like a congressman. I'm like the junior Ted Stevens.

While this Seattle Times article on a BooMan post on writes about what a consummate politician Stevens is, the general tone is that a dark cloud now hangs over him.

Stevens is known for his blustery, sometimes combative demeanor in public.

But behind the scenes, he's acted as a dealmaker in an increasingly fractious Senate, orchestrating compromises and pushing legislation through committee.

Stevens' work on the Appropriations Committee, pushing earmarks to fund his projects and backing those of other senators, may help explain why Democrats aren't celebrating his potential fall.

As I said above, not too much that informed Alaskans don't already know and a fair amount of silliness at Stevens' expense. But it's a reminder to those of us who know how profoundly Stevens has positively impacted this state, that many people Outside only associate Uncle Ted with the 'bridge to nowhere' and tubes.

Ben Stevens Confirmed as Senator A

Lisa Demer reports today in the Anchorage Daily News:

Ben Stevens ID'd as Senator A

COURT FILINGS: Ex-legislator had only been named in news reports.

In a court ruling this week, a federal judge identified former state Senate President Ben Stevens as an alleged co-conspirator in a bribery scheme involving legislators and oil field services contractor Veco Corp.

Click to enlarge

Though news reports named him months ago, it was the first time Stevens has been so named in a court document.

The development was just one of the intriguing pieces of information popping up in court filings as the public corruption trial of former Reps. Pete Kott and Bruce Weyhrauch approaches. It's set to begin Sept. 5.

"The evidence which the United States will present at trial will show that state Senator A is, in fact, Ben Stevens," U.S. District Judge John Sedwick wrote.

The indictment against Kott and Weyhrauch says Senator A conspired with them and two Veco executives to benefit the company.

In particular, the document describes a June 5, 2006, telephone conversation between the senator and former Veco chief executive Bill Allen. In the phone call, the two agreed that Weyhrauch came to support oil tax legislation favored by Veco because Allen had promised him legal work for the company. Weyhrauch is a lawyer.

Go to ADN for the rest of the story.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Blogging is Like Fishing - Part 2

I didn't plan a Part 2, but Blogging is Like Fishing turned out to be mostly about the psychology and strategy of getting hits on your blog. But there are other observations too.

1. I write more and think more than I would otherwise. Things I would just think about in passing get caught in my blogger net and then I have to figure out what to do with them. I need to look at them in more depth, I start googling to learn more, trying to think about other not obvious connections there are to other topics. One of the points made at the writing workshop in the Village of Wales was to just write as if none of the rules matter. While I'm still observant of the standards of style in general, the blog seems to impose deadlines that force me to stop tinkering and let it float on its own.

2. I'm learning new technologies faster than I would so I can use them on the blog - my camera is a tool to illustrate my blog posts. So I've taken a lot more pictures than I would have, learned different ways to download, edit, and post them. I've had to learn how to post video, which led me to YouTube, and Viddler. If I'd waited to start blogging til now, I would have skipped those because blogger has its own direct from your computer files video upload now. But having a YouTube account gave me a better understanding of how that phenomenon is working. It never occurred to me that people would be looking at my videos. They were just a place to store them so I could upload them. But more people have looked at my 21 YouTube videos than have looked at my blog. The Sierra Leone All Stars being the big draw with over 1800 hits. I've had to learn iMovie - 05, 06, and now 08. I've also found Viddler for better quality videos, and Jamglue for audio. And I've had to learn some html, but as blogger advances, that becomes less and less necesarry, but what little I've learned does help me get the page a little closer to what I'd like, rather than just what blogger allows. But I'm still a long way off there.

3. I'm ready to start writing some of the articles and chapters I've had on my agenda for a while. I'm even thinking of setting up a new blog related to that as a way of creating some artificial deadlines. I don't want to take away from this blog, but eventually my other writing will demand more of my time and this seems like a way to transition.

Lunar Eclipse

Eclipse from midtown Anchorage, August 28, 2007 with a tiny Canon Powershot 550. By 2:37am the moon was gone.

11:48 pm

1:24 am

1:44 am

3:49 am

4:11 am

Monday, August 27, 2007

Why I Live Here - Birding at Elmendorf Airforce Base

We were going to meet our birder friend Dianne at the Thai Kitchen, but they went on a short vacation. So we decided to go birding instead. As Reserve Officer, Dianne can get onto base and she knows great spots. At first the birding wasn't too good, but the evening scenery was spectacular.

Dianne pointed out this tiny plant, a sundew.

Nature has endowed the Sundew with the unique ability to capture and digest insects. This carnivorous habit allows these plants to thrive in nutrient deficient soils and supplement its diet with animal protein. The sundews have a wide range; about 100 recognized species with new varieties being discovered that were not known to exist only a few years ago. This genus has seven North American representatives. They frequent the acid soil of pine barrens and peat bogs and are often found growing along with other Carnivorous Plants.
Sundew leaves have numerous tiny tentacle-like projections. At the end of each is a mucilaginous secretory gland. This gland secretes a droplet of sparkling fluid which gives the plant its dew-drop appearance. Insects, upon being attracted to the plant through odor and color, become stuck to the mucilage. With this stimulus, the tentacles begin to slowly enclose the victim. And later, in about an hour, the entire leaf itself may be bent over its prey. It has been found that these plants only respond to objects of nutritional value and not to sand, paper, or water.
And truly if you look at the picture carefully, the black boggy water is visible. Below you can see the larger bog area around Fish Lake.

No manipulation of these pictures. This is what it looked like!

We were at an air force base. A C-130 I believe.

As we drove from one lake to another, there were four spruce grouse grazing on the side of the road.

Dianne watching two young common loons and two adults.

In the middle of the lake, at the head of the trail is one of the adult loons.

In the middle of the picture, the white spot is the head of a belted Kingfisher sitting at the end of a branch from where it and its partner dove into the lake.

A red fox sat in the road a while than ran across the grassy field.

A pair of muskrats meet in the sunset lit water.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Engaging Muslims in Anchorage

Alaska Pacific University (APU) is putting on an extensive community study program this year on engaging Muslims. This weekend Dr. John Borelli a Catholic Scholar and Assistant for interreligious initiatives for the President of Georgetown University. This was a solid, academic talk - quite different in tone from Donald Johanson's 'science for the masses' presentation. Borelli got into Vatican political details in discussing the Catholic church's opening of dialog with the Muslim world. There was standing room only. The APU website describes the program this way:

Engaging Muslims: Religion, Cultures, Politics
A Community Education Project
Sponsored by the Cardinal Newman Chair of Catholic Theology at Alaska Pacific University

Global issues mandate that Americans gain a better understanding of Islam. This is especially true as we face the upcoming national presidential election. Islam is now the second largest religious community in the United States. Anchorage is now home to over 2000 Muslims.

Under the direction of the Cardinal Newman Chair, Alaska Pacific University is spearheading a project to foster a respectful understanding of Islam that recognizes the diversity in Islamic cultures as well as internal struggle within the contemporary Muslim world.

There was a series of exquisite handpainted pages from the Quuran outside the auditorium at Grant Hall. (I'm still trying to figure out how to get more control over photo sizes in iPhoto08, so this picture will be big enough to read the translated verses if you click on it.)

And as I neared home after the short bike ride from APU at 9pm the sky was dazzling.

Blogging Is Like Fishing

It's been a year now that I've been blogging. What Do I Know now I didn't know then? Lots. Some thoughts:

1. Blogging is like fishing

I started blogging to just see what it was all about. I really didn't care who read it, and I'm reasonably pleased that those who do stop and comment have been civil (I know that's sounds like an invitation to the uncivil, but it seems they aren't reading it, or it's too boring for them to even respond.) But I noticed early on that I started looking at the "Viewed Profile" numbers. Then someone suggested I put up site-meter. That is addictive - not just seeing how many hits I get, but where they are all from. And until I got site-meter, I had no idea how much information I left at other websites. Unlike fishing, even posts I've dropped into the water months ago can get hits today.

2. Hits

I was averaging anywhere from 3 to 10 hits per day -with spikes into the 20s - before July. Up til then, the biggest days came from my posts on trying to get help fixing my Maytag. But in July I blogged a local trial of a politician tried (and convicted) of extortion, bribery, and money laundering. That got me links on the local newspaper's website and several other sites and my hits zoomed up - 30, 45, on up to 150 and then slowly back down. But some of those folks have stayed and I'm in the 20s regularly now. This week's Sicko review got linked to a major Italian movie site and was translated into German on another site. Then there are the "unknown" referrals. Some, like my mom, are regulars. But I wonder how others found my site. One commenter said her search engine alerted her that my site had mentioned one of her flagged terms: 'prophy-paste.'

3. What are people searching for?

Major topics have been the Tom Anderson Trial, Carnival Cruise lines, Alaska Airport Railroad Depot. I like the idea that people trying to figure out how to get from the airport to their cruise get to read about how the cruiselines are ripping everyone off. A few hits for "Viddler v. Youtube." Then there are my favorites who searh for the exotic. Who are the people (three or four altogether) who have searched for awazdo? (I did some posts on trucks in India with pictures of their "Please Honk" signs. Then I discovered awazdo meant "give me horn" in Hindi (Maharashtri?) and posted on that. ) I guess other people have the same bizarre curiosity I have. People also have searched for names of people (ordinary people) I've posted about. And then there are the people whose searches get them to me, but only because the words appear scattered in different posts, but nothing I have is relevant to them. Someone the other day from New Jersey got here googling, "i live in a condo above a smoker and the smell comes in what can i do to get rid of it." That got him to my April archive that began with a post on the Confucius Institute. But five or six posts down was
"What is it about smokers?" Did he read down that far? Who knows?

4. Searching and Finding
I still haven't figured out exactly why search engines give the results they do. Sometimes they give the archive - like with the smoker - and then the person has to find it on the page. Sometimes they give my latest posts and then they have to search the blog. Sometimes they give the exact post they were looking for. I haven't studied it enough to figure out if there is a pattern - whether the word is in the post, title, or labels. I originally thought the labels were a good idea so people could search my blog by topics so I wanted to limit it to a few general categories. But I've been slipping in more specific things lately.

5. Google Hits and Technorati Rankings

Technorati seems to be focused on how many other people link to you and how high their rankings are. I've moved up from Zero to 1, then 2, and eventually up to 9 this week. (The Italian movie blog was ranked around 3200 to give you a sense.) So I'm a slight bump in the blogosphere. On the other hand, Google must be impacted by how often you post. I've been posting once or more a day on average and as I check the site-meter to see how people got to me, I've been on page one of Google fairly often.

6. New features

I started with just text. Buying my Canon Powershot changed everything. I was soon adding photos. And then video. First YouTube, then I found Viddler. And now Blogger has an upload, but it didn't work yesterday. That may have to do with the bugs in iMovie08. Fortunately, it left iMovie06 on my computer. (There was no '07, but the blog wags are calling iMovie08, iMovie07.) And Jamfest made posting audio easy. You can even download directly from websites to Jamfest. And Blogger added polls, but I'm not sure how I would use them. They seem like toys on most blogs. And I probably don't have enough readers anyway.


I discovered early, accidentally, that leaving comments on other posts, often brings a visit from that blogger, and even a comment. I do wander to other blogs now and then, though I'm cruising Alaska blogs more than the 'next blog' button. I'm not even sure how I got to Mirksome Bogle. Mirk has become a regular commenter here. Visually, our sites are totally different, but our content has some overlaps - photos of nature, quirky photos, punnish, and eclecticity.

Those are some things that pop into mind musing on my blogging.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Campbell Creek Bike Trail Under Seward Highway

The Anchorage Daily News has an editorial today about completing the Campbell-Chester Creek Trail loop around UAA. That part just needs better signage for people who don't know it. The real key is completing the large loop of the Campbell Creek to Coastal Trail to Chester Creek. And a major problem is Seward Highway and Campbell Creek.

Yesterday I had to go to CompUSA on Dimond from the University. Should I drive or bike? It was a beautiful day, but the bike trail doesn't quite go the way I wanted to go. The big gap in the bike trail is under Seward Highway. The trail to the highway is great and after, but there's this gap. Lanie Fleischer - who was one (and she emphasizes that there were many others) of the early bike trail advocates and whose name is on the trail at Goose Lake - told me once long ago that she talked to the engineers building the Seward Highway. She wanted them to make sure it would be easy to one day build a bike trail under the highway along Campbell Creek. She said they sneered and purposely built it low. Lanie has no reason to make up such a story.

In any case, yesterday I decided to bike it. Here's the obstacle.

I rode south on Lake Otis to 47th, (#1 on the map) I think, where I picked up the bike trail headed west through the Waldron area, past the soccer fields and the small lake. It winds through a small park to Campbell Creek and then ends.
There is a dirt path through the woods, but I took the quiet neighborhood street to the Seward Highway. (#2) The pictures below are getting under the Seward Highway - the box on the map by #2.

This is where the little dirt path begins to go down and under the first of the four bridges (one each for north and south of Seward Highway, and a frontage road bridge on each side).

Down under the bridges.

While traffic whizzes by above, down under the bridges it's a totally different world.

And after the last bridge, now on the west side of the Seward Highway, you take another small dirt path and the new bike trail begins again with this wooden bridge.

Note on this post. The reason I went to Dimond was to buy iLife08 which includes iMovie08 - a totally new way of putting together movies from iMovie06. I did this movie in the new software just by going to help when I had a problem. It is incredibly easy and intuitive. And I saw the other day that there is a new upload video button on blogger, so I wanted to try that out too. It would mean not having to post first on Viddler. But it is taking forever to upload. Let's see what it looks like when it's done.
Well, there's the answer. [When I'm making the post, there's a video screen saying "Uploading Video" but I also got a message saying it can't upload it.] It appears that I can't upload it in Viddler, it's too long for YouTube and it didn't upload here. A quick Google shows that a lot of people are having trouble with iMovie. So I'll just post this for now and see what I can do. [And it doesn't come up. I'm guessing it's too big. But the file format doesn't work for Viddler and it's clearly too big for YouTube.]

Friday, August 24, 2007


It's been raining. Which is why the roofer hasn't been out yet to give us a new roof. But today was a beautiful sunny day, and in the woods along the bike trail, the results of all that rain were popping up. The first set, in honor of Mirk, is called The Three Mushkateers. The rest shall remain anonymush.